Joel Osteen, Ravi Zacharias Encourage Dying CNN Sportscaster

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  • Nick Charles
    (Photo: CNN via The Christian Post)
    Sportscaster Nick Charles shares his testimony on CNN. Charles Charles was diagnosed with incurable bladder cancer in 2009.
Facing death, sports anchor embraces life
Facing death, sports anchor embraces life
By Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter
April 13, 2011|5:58 pm

After reading about Nick Charles’ terminal illness with bladder cancer, one megachurch pastor decided to reach out to the dying sportscaster.

Joel Osteen, according to CNN, personally called the former sports anchor, offering him his prayers and encouragement.

“God is going to take care of you and your family,” Osteen told Charles, praying for his family over the phone and inspiring him to fight.

The megapastor had grown up watching Charles as a sports fan, while Charles admitted to CNN that he too watched Osteen regularly. Cory, the sportscaster’s wife, had even attended Osteen’s church in Texas while her husband was undergoing chemotherapy.

Humbled to hear from one of the most well-known preachers, Charles relayed to CNN that the thrust of Osteen’s message was that God had a plan for him. “I’m not ready to go yet.”

The anchor’s story not only touched Osteen, but hundreds of others as well who have contacted Charles through phone or email, including his former 6th grade teacher, Sister Benita Coffey.

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Best-selling author and evangelical minister, Ravi Zacharias, who also officiated Charles’ wedding to his current wife, revealed why the sportscaster’s story has resonated with so many people.

He exemplifies the convergence of faith, family and finitude, said Zacharias to CNN. “All three have come together. His surrender to an ultimate purpose of God has made him handle this journey. I’m sure he’s had some dark nights of his soul when he’s all alone. It’s impossible not to have them.”

“What I’ve seen in Nick Charles is the miracle of a transformed life,” the minister continued to tell CNN. “What people will take away from Nick is not just a lifestyle, but a death-style – that you have to face death. The dark night and the dark valley he’s walked through, he’s walked through with courage and with fortitude.”

Believing that the world would be a better place if others followed Charles’ example, Zacharias explained to CNN that the sportscaster knew how to hold his convictions with dignity and respect for others with different views.

Speaking with Charles on Monday over the phone as he is currently traveling Asia, Zacharias told him, “Nick, I have watched you over the last fifteen years now and seen your love for God and what God has prepared for you.”

Zacharias quoted 1 Corinthians 2:9, assuring him that “‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ what God has prepared for those love him.”

“God has a plan even though what He’s taking you through now is so painful and unbearable,” reported the evangelist.

Having never received so much feedback as he was presently, Charles noted to CNN that all the responses have “morphed into something amazing” for him.

“I remember my mother used to say in her older age, ‘Jesus used to walk with me, talk with me, be with me,’” he explained to CNN. “I said it [too] – he was in the room with me, he was sitting on the bed with me, he got me through the night.”

“There was a lynchpin moment [in my life]. We had been looking for a church out here in Santa Fe and we couldn’t find one for many months. The next morning after that night that I felt Christ in the room with me, my daughter got up and said ‘I miss Bible study, I want to go to church.’”

Charles and his family found the right church afterward, and have been attending the same church ever since.

“It was just a watershed moment in my life. And it absolutely thrust me to the next level.”

Having come from a Catholic background, Charles’ wife Cory had helped bring him back to the Lord. And everything clicked for him while attending a service one day in Atlanta with his wife.

“I saw this guy who looked like he was living on the street [approach the altar] and I just got it. I just broke down and wept on that balcony. I saw the look in this man’s eyes and the contentment,” he recalled to CNN.

“How you could just come to God and there’s no backtrack, no guilt involved, no keeping score, and I said this is where I should have been before but this is where I am now and I’m moving forward with it.”

Every day he tells his daughter and his wife that he is going to prepare a place for them. Excited to watch his daughter grow up, whether on Earth or in heaven, Charles has full confidence in God and in his faith.

“If I’m wrong I have lived a better life since 1992. I’m a better person,” Charles told CNN. “When they cremate you or throw dirt on you and there’s nothing after that, what have I lost?”

Faith is fastening on to what is unseen, Charles disclosed to CNN.

Reciting 2 Corinthians 4:16 (“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”) the inspiring sportscaster declared that though ultimately cancer will take his life – “barring a miracle from the Lord” – his faith has taught him to fear nothing.

“Eternity is what we’re talking about.”

Utilizing his story to inspire millions of believers and nonbelievers, the healthy or the sick, Charles continues to look beyond his grief and hopes that his illness can be used as a platform to help stop child trafficking and abuse, increase education and allow children to embrace life through support of World Vision and TEACH NOW.

 

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