From the Winter 2012 issue of Relationships magazine.
After a particularly rough day, the last thing leader Mike Thornton felt like doing was going to a soccer game at Southern Lehigh. Feeling angry, tired and not in any mood to hang out at the high school, he called fellow leader Kelly Griffin to let her know he wasn't going.
"I called Kelly, explained to her the kind of day I was having and attempted to get out of going to the soccer game that night," said Thornton. To his surprise, she wouldn't hear it. "But, Mike, you really should go tonight." Thornton and Griffin went back and forth for several minutes. She won. "I took the hint and told Kelly I would go, but I wasn't happy about it," Thornton conceded.
Driving to the school from work, Thornton came up with his game plan. "I went to the school straight from work and got there about a half an hour early. There was no one there yet, so I went to the top of the bleachers, sat down, crossed my arms and made sure I looked angry enough that you wouldn't want to talk to me." Little did Thornton know, he was in for a surprise.
The Southern Lehigh mascot is the Spartan who dons a feathered helmet, leather skirt, arm and leg bands, metal chest plate, and carries a sword and shield. Once the game started, the mascot ran up into the student section, where Thornton had unintentionally sat, and started to rally the crowd. He then made a beeline for the top of the bleachers, heading straight for Thornton. "Hey, you're that Young Life guy," he said, "My name is Dan. I came to Young Life club a couple of times and remember seeing you playing the guitar." He went on, "I'm glad I ran into you. Things have been rough at home and I decided to start reading my Bible. I don't understand it all. Do you mind if I talk to you about it?"
For a moment, Thornton was speechless. "I had to pause to pick my jaw off the ground. I honestly couldn't believe it. I didn't even want to be there and God sends me a kid who needs help." As Thornton sat in awe, he thought, "Wow, God is awesome and wow, I am such a dope."
Thornton and Dan spent the rest of the game talking about Jesus, except when the team scored and they had to break so Dan could run the bleachers in all his Spartan gear yelling with the student section.
That night, Mike Thornton showed up and God showed off. Dan heard the Gospel and his life, as well as Thornton's, will never be the same.