Preacher and tennis legend Margaret Court inspires churchgoers with her life as a winner.
Contributed by Jonathan Teo
|CN PHOTO: Gay Sen Min|
Exuding an aura of benevolence, Margaret Court, founder and pastor of Victory Life Centre in Perth, Western Australia, preached at City Harvest Church last weekend. She shared her powerful testimony that encouraged and inspired many.
Australia’s most successful and famous tennis player to date, Court started her message by commenting on CHC’s new location at Suntec Singapore. “Your building is a building of faith,” she said, “And the house of God should not be hidden.”
Court is best known for being the winner of 62 Grand Slam titles, and the first woman in open era to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same calendar year. The International Tennis Hall of Fame describes Court this way: “For sheer strength of performance and accomplishment, there has never been a tennis player to match her.”
Court shared how “discipline, commitment and focus” were keys to her success. “You have to keep your eye on the ball to win the game. If you look at your opponent, you will miss the ball and lose the game.” Growing up poor, Court was discovered by a neighbor who saw her hitting a ball against a wall with a stick, and gave her an old racket. She started playing on the tennis greens opposite her house, and eventually had a chance to go to Melbourne to train. Despite having been rejected by coaches due to her thin frame, she overcame all odds to be a tennis champion. She never gave up on her dream to be the first Australian woman to win the Wimbledon. At the age of 17, Court achieved her first Australian Open title.
She retired from tennis at her peak, met her husband during a two-year break, and was determined to become world number one again after the birth of her first child. And she did what she set her heart to do.
Court’s achievements and her infectiously fervent spirit inspired the churchgoers to adopt the same focus and determination in their own lives.
“Her testimony makes you feel like you, too, can scale greater heights. She also simplified a Christian’s walk with God,” said Tan Kok Keng, 20, a student, adding that many believers think too much and make Christianity so complex.
Court shared openly about her struggles as a young mother to four children, falling into depression and getting into wrong teaching. She reached a point in her life where she gave up on church. But a Full Gospel meeting she attended changed her mind, and she eventually heeded the call to start a church.
Her willingness to talk about her depression gave hope to members in the congregation, like J. Chia, who also experienced similar hopelessness when faced with her young children and a household to run. “Her message gave me hope,” said Chia.
The preacher also talked about the importance of our Christian duties in the marketplace; “there are needs out there for us to meet.” She encouraged the church to step out and share the Gospel as a lifestyle. In addition, she reminded the church that thoughts and words are extremely powerful, and that one had to be careful with them. “We should not shun from darkness because we are the vessels of light.”
Another church member, P.L. Su, 24, said, “Margaret Court made me realize that evangelism is actually very simple.” The service concluded with a time of healing and ministry, where members were given an opportunity to be ministered to.
“She made winning sound so simple, as if it was just a way of life,” said student Brendan Chia, 21. “Her message was very easy to understand, but it was also very powerful and inspiring.”