Jan. 30, 2014
For Immediate Release
|Eric Gilbert, pastor of 3trees Church in Russell Springs, Ky., speaks to student-athletics at Powell Athletic Center about integrity and coming to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (Campbellsville University Photo by Richard RoBards)|
By Chris Megginson, sports information director
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Forty years ago, the University of Notre Dame practiced all week to cut down the nets for an upset win over UCLA. On Jan. 19, 1974, the Irish did just that after knocking off No. 1 UCLA to end the Bruin’s 88-game win streak, the longest in NCAA basketball history.
That story was one of many Pastor Eric Gilbert used last week, Jan. 24, in a talk to Campbellsville University student-athletes to encourage practicing and preparing for victory in their lives.
“I think God intends for you to cut down the nets. God didn’t just come to save you from just your problems. He came to save you from your sins,” Gilbert, pastor of 3trees Church in Russell Springs, Ky., said.
“Whatever your sport is, and wherever you’re at in your life, you’re going to cut down the nets.”
Gilbert also used stories from his final game as a Laker basketball player at Russell County High School in 1998 and Biblical examples of Moses, David, Paul and Samson to share stories of how no one should be counted out when it comes to what they can do for and through God.
“As I read the scripture, one thing I consistently see is that we serve the God of the comeback. As I heard one guy say recently, he’s the God of the underdog. There are so many folk who feel like they’re blending into the crowd and they’re just anybody and they can just settle for this and settle for that. But When you have the spirit of God living inside of you, you’re not just anybody,” Gilbert said.
The talk was part of Campbellsville University’s partnering with the NAIA’s Champions of Character initiative to teach integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership to student-athletes.
“Always we want to try and improve our character, each and every one of us. I’m a whole lot older than the athletes, but I still have issues within my own character. I hope we can all improve our character,” said Jim Hardy, CU assistant athletic director.
“We’re focusing on that and hopefully being able to build or improve these traits in every athlete who comes through Campbellsville’s campus. We want to continue that and continue to build on it with projects, activities and speakers.”
Gilbert challenged CU’s nearly 700 student-athletes to not do what he did in high school and save his best game for his last.
“I believe God wants to do something in you that is exceedingly and abundantly more than you can ask or think according to a power that he can deposit on the inside of your life. And that’s not just motivational speaking, that’s the Bible,” Gilbert said. “I believe God wants his church to go out with a bang. I believe he wants you to be a part of that because you’re not just anybody.”
Gilbert has visited CU numerous times in the past year, speaking at chapel in the fall and at CU’s FIRST CLASS. He hopes to return to campus more to speak to student-athletes and CU students.
An interview with Gilbert and student Lindey Young will be on “Inside CU Sports” on WLCU TV, Comcast Cable Channel 10, at 5 p.m. today, at 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, and at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1.
“I’m just absolutely amazed at Campbellsville University and your leadership. I can’t get enough of it,” he said.
Hardy hopes to bring in other speakers through the spring semester.
“We want to do the very best we can and we feel anything we can do like this that makes us be better athletically and spiritually, is always good,” he said.
CU has also encouraged character education and development by focusing on a different NAIA core value every three weeks with coaches, student-athletes and community members participating in promotional videos about each word.
Hardy is also organizing a group of 32 CU athletic department employees to go on a mission trip to Costa Rica in July 2014 through SCORE International.