American Ninja Warrior, Hunter Sipes, Takes Us to Church Part Two: The Orlando Finals

Today, my personal calendar contained a precious anomaly. The dates are normally crowded with a crush of medical reminders that help me stay on track as I war with my mom’s health problems. Each individual medical task is usually unpleasant in and of itself, but seeing them all scrolled out together on the page… they sometimes seem to form a mountain of impossibility. To be honest, I catch myself staring at the dates, wondering how far into that calendar we’ll get before we lose the battle… before I lose Mom.

But today was different. Today, I’d written in big letters to be sure to watch American Ninja Warrior.

Understand, American Ninja Warrior is not a TV show I normally enjoy. While I relish cartoon violence as much as anyone, there’s something different about watching human carnage. And I mean carnage. The last episode of American Ninja Warrior I saw was the Orlando qualifying round, and I hadn’t intended to watch it at all. I’d actually been channel surfing in search of a women’s soccer World Cup game when suddenly, I found myself frozen by the sight of blood.

Some guy had just gotten his forehead bashed in while holding onto some crazy centrifuge of a rolling log. I stood transfixed in horror with a dirty dish clenched in my hand, the chore of actually cleaning the kitchen momentarily forgotten. I couldn’t understand it. Why would anyone will themselves to carry on bleeding through an Acme-style obstacle course that could have been designed by Wile E Coyote to catch the Roadrunner?

I’d finally found the presence of mind to change the channel, when something strangely stopped me. Then Hunter Sipes, the “Kingdom Ninja,” stepped onto the starting platform, and his bio film began to play.

Depression isn’t just being sad. It’s a debilitating illness that can steal your life while you’re still living. Even worse, it can steal your life for real. Hunter Sipes knows what it’s like to battle that kind of illness. Years ago, his depression had driven him to the brink of committing suicide… but something stopped him. To put it more accurately, someone stopped him.

When Hunter was at his lowest, Hunter found an amazing loving God. Jesus died for us, not just to give us life, but to give us a full amazing life, a life with hope and a future (See Jeremiah 29:11). With God’s help, Hunter not only overcame his depression, but he also went on to become a missionary. As his bio video showed, Hunter has made it his life’s mission to fight teen suicide and to share the message of God’s crazing amazing love for us all. To share that message, Hunter was and is willing to do some crazing amazing things himself, like risking getting himself killed on that insane Acme-style obstacle course.

Hunter overcame every Ninja Warrior obstacle in the qualifying round just as he’d overcome every obstacle in life with God’s help. Today, as I looked at that ordinarily gut-wrenching calendar, I just had to smile. I couldn’t wait to see this crazy guy try to do it all over again for God’s kingdom, God’s glory, and for all of us facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles of own.

And believe me, the obstacle course at the Orlando finals truly did seem insurmountable. Competitor after competitor failed to even reach the final of the ten obstacles that comprised this daunting course. In the end, all but two people failed to actually hit that elusive red button at the finish… including Hunter.

After heroically completing seven of the ten obstacles, Hunter fell into the black water underneath the insanely difficult “Cannonball Alley.” Hunter didn’t complete his run. Instead, he fell short…


The core of Hunter’s message to the world is that God is an amazing and loving God, and with him all things truly are possible. Yes, Hunter fell, but “The Eternal sustains all who stumble on their way. For those who are broken down, God is near. He raises them up in hope.” Psalm 145:14 (VOICE)

Hunter didn’t complete the course, but he still advanced to the championship round in Vegas. The top 15 competitors automatically advanced regardless of whether or not they finished, and since only two people actually accomplished that feat, Hunter’s 11th palace finish was enough for him to have the victory in the end.

All things are possible with God. No matter how impossible the obstacles, no matter how hard life may knock us down, God is bigger than all our problems, and he is ready and able to pick us up, if we’ll let him.

For more information on how you can have a relationship with your Heavenly Father, the loving God who died so that you could have life and have it to the full, visit You can check out their video below.

Thank you Hunter for reminding us that with God, nothing is impossible. We look forward to seeing you compete in Vegas!

For more on Hunter, you can visit his Facebook page at or read part one in this series: American Ninja Warrior, Hunter Sipes, Takes Us to Church

Thank you for reading, and remember, nothing is impossible with God! (Matthew 19:26)

2 thoughts on “American Ninja Warrior, Hunter Sipes, Takes Us to Church Part Two: The Orlando Finals

  1. We actually enjoy this show. I don’t watch much TV, but I like “real life” and inspirational stories! This one was a perfect testimony and we were rooting for him! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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