Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Orlando Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac conquers fear, preaches at church

As the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Jonathan Isaac is the youngest player on the Orlando Magic. The power forward turned 20 on October 3 and two weeks later made his NBA debut with four points in 16 minutes.

He wants to be liked, he wants to fit in, he wants to be a part of the team. That’s been tough as he’s battled injuries; he’s played in only 15 games, and none since December 26.

But none of that stopped him from listening to the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit told him to get up in front of his church in Orlando, J.U.M.P. Ministries Global Church, and preach.

And he preached well. Isaac began by being honest, saying, “I do not want to be up here right now, but I’m taking a step of faith. I’m doing something that I’ve never done before.”

Then he detailed the events that led him to step up on stage. Upon finding J.U.M.P. (Joyously Unveiling the Master’s Plan) Ministries, Isaac was taken under the wing of Dr. Durone E. Hepburn, a bishop at the church. And a few weeks earlier, Isaac heard “Doc” preach about taking one’s faith to the next level.

So Isaac prayed, “God give me an opportunity to take my faith to the next level. And He said, ‘All right. I will give you an opportunity.'” Isaac and the audience laughed. “Lo and behold, here I am.”

Isaac then explained that not only was preaching out of his comfort zone, simply inviting his Magic teammates to come listen to him preach was terrifying.

“I invited my teammates,” Isaac said. “I invited my teammates and that was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do yet. None of them came, but I took the step and I invited them.”

The audience cheered, then Isaac continued. “When Doc told me, ‘You should invite your teammates,’ I was frozen. I froze. I said, ‘What? I’m the rookie. I’m the youngest person on the team. I can’t tell them that I’m about to preach. What? They don’t serve the Lord. What are they going to think of me? What are they going to say about me? What are they going to say behind my back? I want to be a part of this team; I want them to love me — truly.’

“And I typed the message up and I deleted it. I typed it and I deleted it. I typed it and I deleted it. Finally I was like, ‘This isn’t about me. I’ve got to take myself out of the equation. I’ve got to do what God is telling me to do.'”

Check out the entire message from “Pastor Isaac” here:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” — Proverbs 29:25

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