Friday, April 20, 2007

Discipleship and Hockey

Blogging is a challenge when you're traveling. And since I'm on this 9 city trip of the US it has been quite a stretch specially with changing planes, hotels, homes etc. I have resolved to overcome, so here is my second post since this trip started.

As I write this post I am sitting in Mike Gowans’ (my pastor friend) home in Chandler, Arizona. Last night Mike’s brother Mark and I went to the movies – Amazing Grace, the movie about the Christian statesman William Wiberforce. On the way to and fro Mark told me his life story.

Mark played professional hockey for the Detroit Red Wings. He has had over 20 surgeries because of injuries from playing the sport. What he described reminded me of Lee Majors (bet none of you remember him), the bionic man. A goalie’s life is tough. And this guy is one tough cookie.

Mark grew up a Catholic. While he was thankful for his background he sensed there was something much more to life than just religion. At the age of 10 he had an encounter with the Lord, a relationship that never left Him. Unfortunately Mark never experienced what he called mentoring. What I would call a discipleship relationship.

All throughout his growing years and well into his professional career while he kept his faith in Jesus, he longed for a discipleship relationship which somehow eluded him. During our drive he expressed how things could have been better if he had a sounding board or someone whom he could counsel with before making life decisions.

Today Mark lives in Arizona, where he has since become a businessman. He is also part of Gateway Life Christian Church where his younger brother Mike is the senior pastor. His long desire for a discipleship relationship has been answered. This church is committed to making disciples and not just having Sunday services.

In the meantime Mark continues his passion for hockey coaching and training young players. His own son Daniel (now 14) is an avid hockey player. His vision is to provide these budding athletes what he did not have during his growing up years, a discipleship relationship. Mark has learned that there are hurts worse than hockey injuries that people face. Hurts that life brings but can be avoided through discipleship relationships.

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