Sharing The Light – Question 7 April 2022

Question #7, April 2022:

What motivated you to play competitively once you became a Christian?

Tom Rossman:

Tom Rossman

This is a fantastic question and sums up what happened to me when I became a Christian and what I believe is available to anyone accepting Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior.

Psalms 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Motivation prior to becoming a Christian was mostly “self” focused for specific goals or “desires of my heart” that I wanted to pursue. After I became a Christian I became acutely aware that focusing on Jesus (like Peter in the boat) would allow the Holy Spirit latitude to “direct my steps” (motivate me) in the way He wanted me to go.

With Peter, the Holy Spirit held him on top of the water because the Holy Spirit was simply “directing the steps” of Peter at that moment, and as previously noted…as Peter continued to focus on Jesus. Once Peter took his eyes off Jesus, the Holy Spirit removed Himself from the picture, so to speak, and Peter sank because “self” got in the way and he realized that he was on top of the water and should be sinking, which he did.

Bottomline, before I was a Christian I did competitive events, etc. without thinking about or focusing on Jesus and each action was done by very often poor free will decisions and self motivation. Once I became a Christian, I understood that by focusing on what Jesus did on the Cross for me (and all people) the Holy Spirit living in me would motivate me the way He wanted me to go by using my senses (spiritual eyes, spiritual ears, etc) to “direct my steps”. “Self motivation” laid dormant because I could not focus on Jesus and “self” at the same time.

Self motivation became a Holy Spirit motivation. This Holy Spirit direct connection was exactly what God wanted to do for me so that He would receive the glory, while providing me the “desires of my heart” — AMAZING!!

I often think of a special verse in the great song — The Old Rugged Cross”  that reinforces Holy Spirit motivation.  It is the Holy Spirit now moving in my life and the following musical verse is so real that competition is simply something that God allows me to do in order to “give Him the glory through it all”.

Here is the verse that make competition what it is for me today:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies, at last, I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

Focus on the Cross and what Jesus did there and lay down the trophies that Jesus allows you to watch over. For me I look at trophies differently now and in my heart lay all of them down. Through the wonderful Holy Spirit “motivation” I thank God for the “crown” that only He can provide via His Son’s amazing grace.

Submitted by: Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman, 3/24/22

Steve Lillis

Steve Lillis: 

Let me start by explaining what initially motivated me to play competitively as I was a Christian at age 11 before starting to play pool competitively at age 16. Playing little league baseball at age 11 and getting a pool table for Christmas that same year along with Willie Mosconi’s little red book inspired me to be the best I could be for the love of the game both in baseball and in pool. I was not allowed in pool rooms in my home state of New Jersey until 16 years old where I was introduced through peer pressure to gamboling. I fell for that trap which ended some 20 years later after losing not only my love for the game but my faith in the process as well.

After 12 years apart from the game and delighting myself in the Lord, God began to do amazing things. I became a college professor with a desire to reach students for Christ. A campus pastor suggested that I use pool. The rest is history as Gospel Trick Shot Ministries, Inc. was born in the mid 1990’s reaching not only students but people around the world.

Now back to the original question about playing pool competitively after becoming a Christian. In my case I rededicated my life and my game to Jesus Christ. After 4 years of exclusively doing ministry with Gospel Trick Shot a few of my fellow GTS board members suggested that I return to play competitively after a 15 year hiatus. My motivation was to make Jesus and the ministry more visible. God honored that and my love for the game competitively returned and the ministry expanded around the world as I competed as an ambassador for the Kingdom of Heaven. To God be all the glory!

Robin Dodson

Robin Dodson:

I wrote this story many years ago about how I picked up a pool cue after I became a Christian. It took a total of 5 1/2 years before I returned to the game I had loved from childhood. Pool would be my mission field very clear to God, looking back now, it also became very clear to me too.

My Story:

Story #21 – Ezekiel

Father, who will I be when I grow up, what shall I become? My past memories, my old life of playing pool, partying and drugs were gone. I found myself wondering just what was I being prepared for, what did my future hold. These were now the questions I had for God. Reading my Bible daily, I happened to be in the book of Ezekiel (by chance?).

First Question: Father God, where will I go?

Ezekiel 3: I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen!

Right away I thought the only people I know who are not foreign to me are pool players. I was such a fish out of water anywhere but the pool room. We were a breed all our own language was even different…pool terms only a regular in the pool room could understand.

Second Question: Lord, do you want me to go to the pool room to tell them about what Jesus has done for me?

But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.”

Wow, it sure sounded like pool players to me and it also sure sounded like me! I thought, really? Lord Pool Players, I would LOVE that!!! I really loved pool players and I loved pool.  I wondered; do you want me to play pool again too. I continued and asked.

Third Question: Now, Lord, do you want me to go NOW?

Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. 11 Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.”

I thought to myself…could this be real…is God talking to me about playing pool again, to share my faith with pool players??? I was so overwhelmed by now I couldn’t contain myself…I ran into the house and told the ladies with my tender yet bold young faith what I thought God had planned for me. “When I finish here at the Harvest House, I’m going to play pool for God” and in seconds without missing a beat laughter came (and doubt enter me just as fast) “Robin get a grip you’re not going backwards” God is not going to have you play pool again, I figured surely they knew more than I, so I pretty much dismissed it thinking I was over reading God’s word into my own life.

When the ladies at the Harvest Housed laughed at my first revelation, they did not see what God saw. In His Time, He makes all things Beautiful!

Tommy Kennedy

Tommy Kennedy:

Honestly I didn’t know for sure what it was until time went on and it became evident.  What I can say is that as a Christian I was able to play because He allowed me to play and continue on. I quit gambling and was willing to quit totally, but The Lord allowed me to continue on. The difference now as a Believer is now I play for Him and I will use my ability to serve Him and reach others for Christ through playing pool. Yes it is a job, but now it’s a joy because I do it for Christ and not just for myself. Also He provides for my every need because of playing. I have never gone without now that I’m a Christian. He always provides and in reality I should never have to worry about winning or losing. I can play and exalt Christ and not me anymore. It’s also a motivation to have a good attitude and not be upset if I lose. We need to be good examples of Christ no matter how bad it is or how bad we are losing. It has been a tremendous test of my faith. To do what I do for over 40 years and still hold onto my faith in Christ is amazing. He sustains me through the good and the bad. I will admit it hasn’t always been what I would want it to be, but I do what He wills and I am committed to doing His will no matter the cost. So the motivation is to love Christ and play to His glory and whenever the opportunity comes up, just be a witness for Him to reach others for His kingdom, preach Christ, and trust in Him for the wins. Just to give you a Biblical perspective on this. In Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted By Satan in the wilderness, here is the first temptation out of three that comes to Christ by Satan.  Satan tries to create doubt in Christ’s mind and says, “(If) you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” Then Jesus gives this classic answer, “It is written, Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.”   Here’s what’s going on in this temptation of Christ. Satan says (If). Satan knew that Jesus was God’s Son and Jesus knew that Jesus was God’s Son. But Satan is always on the attack and he will do whatever he can to confuse the issue. But Jesus had nothing to do with Satan’s temptation. Jesus responded beautifully. It is written. Those were the first 3 words of Jesus’ ministry. It is written. Jesus had a biblical ministry and anyone who claims to be a Christian should have a biblical ministry also. Then Jesus said, “Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” There is a lot here to talk about and I don’t want to go too long on this letter, so suffice it to say Jesus was telling Satan, when God is ready to feed Me, He will feed me.” The temptation was for Christ to go ahead of God’s plan and make bread for Himself and satisfy His own needs independent of God’s will. And that’s how I feel when it comes to pool and to winning, and especially gambling. God says He will provide for my every need. And I will win when He is ready to let me win. I will not get all upset and agitated and discouraged when I lose. I will live by God’s words and not by my own abilities and thoughts and desires. I will do His will even if I never win again. God is in total control of my life and His decisions for me are the final verdict. So this is really what is motivating me to play now as a Christian. All glory goes to Him and not me. He has been so good to me and He deserves all of the credit.  I will say what Jesus said, “Begone Satan, begone!” Don’t believe the lies of Satan!!! Believe God for all of your needs!  Tommy

Nick Mannino

Nick Maninno:

It took me a long time to realize the power and peace I acquired having the Holy Spirit, sent by my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. It doesn’t get any better! I was relieved of the burden of self. I would pray not to win but to give me peace as only He could. My game got stronger when I started to rely on Him.  Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the Nations, I will be exalted in the earth!   Amen and Amen!    Agape Love to all!  John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  –  Nick Mannino