Big Guys and a Big God
A growing number of pro athletes are experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit.

Top: Todd Fordham of the Jackson Jaguars. Bottom: Hunter Smith of the Indianapolis Colts. Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 1:35 and John 14:26 motivate these guys.

Bryce Drew will be best remembered for "the shot." It came in the opening round of the 1998 NCAA Basketball Tournament, when Drew's buzzer-beating jumper from beyond the three-point line gave Valparaiso, coached by his father Homer, a dramatic one-point victory. Some consider it the most dramatic shot in NCAA Tournament history. As for Drew, he is more interested in being known as someone who made something far more important: A commitment to live his life for Jesus Christ.

"My favorite verse is Colossians 3:23, which basically says, 'do your work for God, not for men,'" said Drew, guard for the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Hornets. "There are so many games and so many ups and downs; a good game one night, a bad one the next. I think the most important thing is to keep your eyes on the Lord and trying to serve Him."

Drew was raised in a Christian home but says he was not very serious about his faith until he was in high school. It was during that time that he began to experience a condition that would cause his heart to race up to 150 beats per minute. With his basketball career hanging in the balance, Drew would be forced to undergo surgery. "I think that's when the faith began to be mine," added Drew, who was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana. "When I was laying on the operating table, my mom gave me a verse, Psalm 46:10, which says, 'be still and know that I am God.' That was the moment that I thought, 'I don't have control of my life and the Lord wants what's best for me.' That was a life-changing period of my life."

Since then, the 6-3, 185 pound guard has been in pursuit of a deeper, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. "I think there are always different levels of your relationship with the Lord," said Drew, originally a first round pick of the Houston Rockets in the 1998 draft. "Each year, it seems like I grow closer to Him. Since I've been in the NBA, this is my fifth year, there have been a lot of ups and downs. My faith has definitely increased."

Always ready to take the open jump shot or pass to the open man, Drew is equally quick to share his faith in Christ, and the peace and joy he gets through Him, with others. "When you're praying in your room and you experience God's peace, that's the greatest thing I try to share with non-believers," said Drew. "It's just a peace you have when you're walking with the Lord. It's a peace that nothing on this earth could ever compare to."

Far better, even, than making "the shot."

Reprinted with permission from Charisma, (November 2002). ? Strang Communications Co., USA. All rights reserved. www.charismamag.com

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