Why "Beyond the Rings"?

The Olympics are athletes competing, countries bragging, and cultures mixing.  The atmosphere in an Olympic host city is unlike any I have ever experienced.  Each is unique and impacted greatly by the culture of the people of that culture and country.  People are open to meeting people from all over the world.  As in all of life, there is a significant spiritual element unseen yet very much present.  That is what is meant by "Beyond the Rings".
There is more going on, much more important and lasting.  The one true God is at work in bringing lives together in this space and time for the purpose of sharing the greatest story ever told.  Men, women, boys, and girls are hearing of God's love for them, many, for the very first time.  Seeds of truth are being sown, prayers for clarity, understanding, surrender, and salvation are being lifted and lasting impacts for this life and for eternity are taking place.
All of this is communicated in one image I saw after the London 2012 Summer Olympics. 
After returning from this Olympic outreach I was doing a Google search for images to use in a PowerPoint presentation.  That is when I came across this picture for the very first time.

When I saw the moon sitting behind, and far beyond, the rings hanging on the London bridge, it hit me.  That is what my involvement in the Olympics all of these years has been about.  Yes, I have been to some incredible places, I have experienced some fantastic things, and I have met some wonderful people.  But the reason I am there and desire deeply to return each and every new Olympics is to engage in Gospel conversations with people.  People, who like me, have been scarred by sin and are trying to figure out how to get through the day with purpose, meaning, love and hope.  They, like all of us, are lost and in need of an answer.  But the only answer that will truly satisfy is not just "an" answer, but "the" answer, Jesus Christ.  They need to hear about their need and about God's provision.  They need to know how to say yes to Jesus.
Since 2012 I have been using "Beyond the Rings" as the name for my involvement in Olympic ministry.  I created the website, www.beyondtherings.net, so I could post pictures, videos, and stories from previous Olympic outreaches as well as share prayer requests, plans and need for upcoming Olympic outreaches. 
My hope and prayer is that Beyond the Rings will continue to serve as a vital part of the taking of the Gospel to the world gathered during the Olympic Games.


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