Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since. Peyton Manning
I cannot wait to hear what you think about this issue! I do think we do inspiring stories well—only because we come across inspiring subjects. But this has to be one of the all-time best of the bests!
I think Paul Lacoste was about ten years old the first time I heard his name. Although he and my son, Lem, are the same age, they attended different elementary schools. I had overheard many a conversation between Lem and his friends about Paul, the superstar. They talked about his size, his ability, and his serious commitment to eat right and train right. It was clear that as ten-year-olds, they were more than a little intimidated by this peer. The first time Lem’s basketball team met Paul’s, it was likely 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning (brutal!) and I got my first look at Paul. I almost wanted to request that we see his birth certificate!
A few years later, Lem and Paul were seventh graders together. For the next six years, I watched Paul excel in whatever sport he tried. He was always focused, never got into mischief, and was well liked by everybody. One thing about that particular class at Jackson Prep I recall is that the parents of those kids in the Class of 1993 were all “for” each other in the best sense of the word. When one child excelled, we all cheered. As parents, we were not competing with each other.
I lost touch with Paul after high school. Lem went one way. Paul went another. Every now and then I would run into Paul around town. We exchanged pleasantries, but that is all. I have always loved that group of guys who were my son’s friends. They were a special group. I heard a few rumblings about Paul’s training camps. He was a great trainer—if you were thick skinned enough to survive his language. I knew I was not going there, being the major “hate-to-sweat-person” that I am. Still, it was hard for me to imagine the Paul I remembered being so uncouth.
Fast forward. One of my “young” friends mentioned to me last year that I should reach out to Paul. He had been through so much but he had also had (as we say in the South) a “Come-to-Jesus” experience. He would be a great story.
As I checked out this report I got so excited about it! I ran into Paul at the annual FCA Bill Buckner luncheon this past spring. Although he was still the picture of toned fitness and looked like an Olympic body builder, he was different. His face was radiant and there was that look about him that you sometimes see when you just know that you know that you know that something has changed about this person. Paul had definitely met Jesus—or is it the other way around?
When he, his wife, Lizzie, and I met in my office to talk one day this past month, we talked for THREE hours. Paul would say it is because his ADHD gets him off track. I would say it is because the Holy Spirit has so permeated every fiber of His being that I wanted to hear more and more and more of his incredible journey. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Our Pastor’s Perspective is also a must read this month. If you follow the news, like me, you have your moments of panic and fear and anxiety over what threat is going to overtake us next. Dr. Ligon Duncan’s “Should Christians Worry in These Times” will adjust your lens and remind you of the fact that God does indeed still have His eyes open.
As Believers, we can take a deep breath and lay our heads on our pillows at night knowing He is still in charge. “Let not your heart be troubled.” It is still God’s Word—as relevant and powerful today as in the day when John, the beloved disciple, penned them. Amen and Amen.