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Challengers hear challenge to go ‘full force’ for God


GATLINBURG, Tenn. (BP)–Motivated to take their faith and impact their world with “full force” for God, 550 Challengers and their leaders were sent from the Gatlinburg, Tenn., convention center Feb. 10 to their 14 respective home states.

The three-day National Challengers Rally featured a diverse program including speakers and missionaries from across the country. The rally theme was “Full Force,” based on the Challengers theme verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58.

The special guest for the rally was Bruce Crevier, current Guiness world record holder for simultaneously spinning basketballs — 18 at current count.

“Young men who know Jesus Christ today have to stand for truth. There is so much garbage out there with pornography, drugs and television. A lie often told sounds like the truth and the truth seldom told sounds like a lie. I’m here to tell you the truth. You can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you. The only way I could ever spin 18 basketballs is because Jesus helped me do it,” Crevier said.

Crevier, encouraging the Challengers to win in the game of life, said, “If you want to win in this life, you get into the Word. You have to blow the dust off your Bible, open the pages and read what God has to say to you. You have to have integrity. You stand for what God says is right. And when you’re faced with adversity, never give up. Jesus never gave up. He could have skipped the cross, but he never gave up,” Crevier said.

Evangelist Brady Weldon energized the Challengers with a commissioning service in the final session of the rally. Weldon is associate pastor of Southside Baptist Church, Martin, Tenn. There were 25 professions of faith in Christ during the rally, with 15 young men dedicating themselves to full-time missions or ministry service.

“You’ve got to stand up for God right where you are,” Weldon said. “Don’t bend, don’t bow, don’t budge and you won’t burn. If a tennis shoe company can say, ‘Just Do It,’ then Christians can say, ‘Just Do It’ for God.

“There is enough spiritual power in this place to turn your hometowns, your states and this country upside down for Jesus. Look around you. If 12 men can change the world, just think what we can do if we take God at his word,” Weldon said.

Other program speakers included Brad Lartigue of Big Sky, Mont., affiliated with the Home Mission Board’s special ministries department work at Yellowstone National Park; Tom Canady, Southern Baptist foreign missionary to Honduras; and Challengers National Missions Speak Out winner Ashley Johnson. Brotherhood Commission President James D. Williams served as master of ceremonies for the weekend.

The rally also offered conferences on topics ranging from CPR training to missions on-line and from dating to relating to parents. An adult Legacy Builders conference also was held during the rally.

Challengers is the missions education and ministry action program for Southern Baptist young men in grades seven through 12. It is administered through the Brotherhood Commission in Memphis, Tenn.
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  • Joe Conway