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CBN.com Meet Steve Lillis. He has fused his passion for pool and for people into his own Gospel Trick shot ministry. Steve remembers getting his first pool table as a kid.
“On Christmas morning, I was so surprised. My eyes must have been open like saucers, because I saw that beautiful 4’ x 8’ billiard table with the shiny balls and the green felt,” he tells The 700 Club.
That year Steve also received the gift of salvation.
“It was around the campfire that I gave my heart to Jesus,” he confesses.
“With the fire burning on a beautiful summer night, I prayed to receive Jesus at the age of 11.”
As he got older, Steve honed his billiard skills, and by the age of 20, became a paid professional in the sport of pool -- touring across the country with a desire for more fame and fortune. But life in the spotlight left him with some tough decisions.
“I compromised my faith, my principals, my upbringing,” he says. “So I found myself in a place years later that I really didn’t want to be in.”
That place forced him to see the futility of his celebrity lifestyle. Steve recalls the night that changed his perspective -- an encounter with a very famous baseball player.
“I was actually in Las Vegas at a blackjack table, and he was playing blackjack hiding out from the media. I met a few other very famous people in my travels,” he shares. “I saw the emptiness that they had; I didn’t see any joy. I thought, ‘Wow! This is what I’m chasing?’”
That’s when he surrendered it all.
He says, “I symbolically laid my cue stick on the bed as I knelt and said, ‘Lord, take my life. Take my game. Do with me as You want. I’ll never play this game again unless You call me to. Twelve years later, He did.”
Steve teaches novice pool players to execute tough trick shots. Then he delivers the message of Jesus Christ right on cue. Steve now tours professional pool events and college campuses spreading the Good News with the game of pool.
“[There is] this shot called ‘The Chattanooga Choo-Choo’, and this shot means a lot to me," he says. "It was in Chattanooga, Tennessee, back in the 1980s that God began to really work on my heart.”
Steve uses the game of pool to share the Gospel around the world. He has even landed back on the professional tour, but not in a way you might think.
“I kind of evolved into the 'Pastor of Pool', if you will,” he says.
While this pastor doesn’t preach from the typical pulpit, he knows what can happen when people put their trust in God.
“As I put God first and as I seek God first, He gives me all the desires of my heart,” Steve explains. “God knew my heart back in 1985 when I surrendered my game and my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew a secret desire was to play this game that He had given me a talent to play. Seek Jesus first. He knows what you want and what you need. He’ll give it to you if you put Him first.”
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