Saturday, January 21, 2006

News from Eagle Brook Church...


Congratulations to Bill Butters, Olympic Chaplain this February in Torino!

Long-time EBC attender (and friend of Sr. Pastor Bob Merrit) and Hockey Ministries International chaplain Bill Butters will be commissioned at the 4 pm Saturday service at EBC. He was chosen as one of ten chaplains worldwide who will minister to the athletes and coaches during the winter Olympic games, which will be held next month in Torino, Italy. Please pray for Bill during this time as he ministers to athletes from around the world!

From Hockey Ministries International
:

Bill Butters - The Power of Prayer

I grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, with my mother and my two sisters. My mother taught me how to play baseball and it became my first love. I couldn't hit a curve ball so I thought I would try football. I was only 5'9" and not a swift runner so I knew that I did not have much of a future in football either. Then I tried hockey and to me, it was like football on skates. I got to run into people and I became a feared and fierce competitor on the ice.

I was recruited by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. At the time, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins in the National Hockey League were basing their winning ways on intimidation and toughness, so I thought that if I wanted to play pro hockey, I would have to be a rough, tough player.

At the end of my senior year of college, I got married and signed a professional contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They sent me to the minor leagues and because I fought a lot, my reputation as a tough guy grew. In fact, during my career I was probably in more than 100 fights and had more than 240 stitches in my face!

During my college career, I started some bad social habits like drinking and lying and I engaged in other destructive behavior. After one year in the Toronto organization, I played for several years in the World Hockey Association. I thought I would play until I was 35 or 40, but my career ended when I was 30 years old.

I went back home to Minnesota to look for a job. Although I had attended college for four years, I had not completed my degree, so I had trouble finding employment. Then a friend, long-time pro hockey player Tom Reid, called me and asked if I would like to help at a youth hockey camp. At first I agreed, saying that I could use the money. Tom told me that this was a Christian camp and I would be working as a volunteer. I told Tom that I really didn't know much about Christianity and if I wasn't going to get paid then I wouldn't come. I hung up the phone, but Tom was persistent calling me again and again. For some reason, I agreed to work at the camp.

At that camp I saw young boys and pro players having fun, singing songs and studying the Bible. No one was swearing, fighting or doing other things I had witnessed in boys of that age. In one of the large group meetings, the song leader looked at me (assuming that all of the pro instructors at the camp were Christians) and sang, "Oh, Billy do you love Jesus?" I was supposed to respond with "Oh, yes I love Jesus." Instead, my face started getting red and my eyes welled up with tears. I was embarrassed, not so much because I didn't know the song, but because I didn't know who the song was about. During the meeting, Chico Resch, a pro goalie, got up and told the audience how Jesus had changed his life. It was the first time I had heard anyone talk about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Later, we broke into small huddle groups. At the end, the counselor said we were going to close in prayer and whoever wanted to, could pray. The counselor prayed, the boy next to him prayed and then each boy in the circle prayed. They were heading in my direction and I was nervous because I had never prayed before and I didn't know what to say. All of a sudden, a calmness came over me and I started to listen to the boys' prayers. Each boy was praying for me. The Holy Spirit used those prayers and those 11 and 12 year old boys to show me the love of Jesus Christ. I was there teaching them how to play hockey and they were teaching me how to love. They prayed that I would find peace in my life, employment and that I would know Jesus as my Savior.

I went back to my room, got down on my knees and asked Christ into my life. I admitted that I was a sinner and that I needed Him to help me turn away from the sinful life I was living.

When I came home from camp, I knew Christ had changed me. I told my wife about my becoming a Christian. I told her that I had asked God for forgiveness and then I asked for her forgiveness. After some time, my wife saw the change in my life was real and her faith allowed her to forgive me. Jesus Christ has restored our marriage. We have three children and regularly attend church where we have all been baptized.

Since I became a Christian, many of my close friends and relatives have become Christians also. I have had the privilege of sharing my testimony at a Billy Graham Crusade and I have continued to speak at Christian Athlete Hockey Camps. I speak to many different groups. I am not proud of my past, but if people hear me speak, they may think, "If Jesus Christ can change Bill Butters, He certainly can change me." God's grace empowers me to share my faith with whoever will listen.

The last 18 years have been so wonderful. I owe it all to God's grace and those boys who had the courage to show me the love of Jesus Christ.

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1 comment:

yes mom, its me said...

We were at the 6 p.m. Sat. night service when Bill Butler spoke just for a few minutes. Thats was 8 days ago & I still haven't stopped thinking about how he has changed live of kids who are athlete. I know of one of the boys he mentioned as two of his siblings attend school in our area. How can we as Christians get it through almost EVERY coach that Sunday is Sabbath...not bball tourney's etc. I wish Bill could have sit down with the Centennial hockey coach...because over all his hockey boys are way way out of line. Its sad to see how they behave in & out of school. Too bad Bill Butler couldn't hold yearly coaching seminars. Now that would be God working in ways that parents would view Possitive