I never knew that reading a newspaper could be so exhilarating. So it has proved to be today with NZ's leading newspaper, the New Zealand Herald.
First they choose to name Tony McLean and Austin Hemmings as their NZers of the year. What an inspired choice! And what compelling evidence of the impact on this nation of these two young Christian men (both pastor's kids!) who gave their lives for others. I have commented on these stories more than once: here and here.
Lives like these help make the gospel of Jesus plausible in New Zealand. This is one of our most desperate needs. Some good stories to trump the bad ones.
But it didn't stop there. I love my basketball and so to read the featured back-page interview on NZ's best player, Kirk Penney, and discover that he is a committed Christian was fantastic - just as turning to the sports pages to be reminded again that Nick Willis (Olympic bronze medalist and oh, how I screamed when he rounded that final bend in the 1500m; a Sportsperson of the Year) is also a committed Christian ... For years I have longed to see high profile Christians, particularly in the influential world of sports, adorn the gospel with a grace and humility that draws people to the Jesus living within them.
With the challenge of winning Kiwi males to Jesus here are four testimonies in which I find so much encouragement in 2008.