How Studying and Applying the Bible Led WNBA Player, Monica Wright, to Faith in Christ (Gospel Light Minute #196)

Monica Wright
Monica Wright

She is a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. She played college basketball at the University of Virginia and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year. As a senior, she was named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and National Defensive Player of the Year. She was also selected as a member of the USA Women’s U19 team which won the gold medal at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship in Slovakia. She has won two WNBA championship titles in 2011 and 2013.

In an interview with CBN, she talked about her faith in Jesus Christ. As a new college student at UVA, she was focused on playing basketball and making good grades. She said of that time, “I’m a basketball player, so I need to play basketball and do well on the court; I need to make good grades so that I can stay eligible. There was no time to try to figure out who I was because who I was, was a student-athlete at that time.” Besides playing and studying, she also partied and by the time she arrived at her senior year, she began to feel that something was missing in her life. She said, “Once you come to your end you want to make sure that there was probably a little bit more purpose to your journey. You want to look back and see, ‘what did I do? What was my legacy?’ I felt like maybe I should be doing something more constructive. There was something missing.”

Around that time, she began to notice the difference in the lives of other Christian athletes. She said, “There was something I desired they had, and I wanted to know what it was but I never went up to them and asked them. Maybe it was something I was afraid of or insecure about so God came up to me.” After meeting a local pastor on a bus ride one day, she began studying the Bible with his wife on a regular basis. She said, “At first I was trying to find fault with her and see where I could catch her in a contradiction. At the time I was taking a German philosophy class where I learned about Martin Luther and his works. Both the class and the pastor’s wife challenged my thinking. I’m reading these books (95 Thesis) and studying with this lady about the Bible, the solidity of the Bible, and what the Bible is and how true it is and how can we be sure. She really wanted me to search it out for myself and read who canonized the Bible, the Council of Nicea, what happened? When people were deciding what books to put in the Bible; what books were left out? Why were they left out?”

The more she studied, the more God began to work in her life and she started making some changes. She said, “I just stopped cold turkey stopped doing some of the things I was doing; drinking, going out, partying, dressing in a certain way. My language changed altogether. My attitude changed about my teammates and basketball changed altogether.” After further Bible study, she began to realize that she needed more than just knowledge. She said, “Okay, I’m over this. I’ve looked and studied and read everything there is to read, bottom line is me as a person I’m not who I want to be. I’ve read scripture upon scripture about how I can change my everyday life. I’ve done it, I’ve put it into action. Overall I can’t be who I need to be without Christ.”

After a while, she went to a small church and gave her heart to Jesus Christ. After she was baptized, she said, “I had people there who knew me as well but didn’t know I was studying the Bible and they were like, ‘wow, is this the Monica we know?’ And it was awesome, I went into the tub they dunked me in and it was just great. I never cry—and I never, ever cry in public—but that day I bawled. I let it out in front of the whole church. I couldn’t contain it.” SIx weeks later in April 2010, her lifelong dream of playing in the WNBA came true as she was selected by the Minnesota Lynx as the second overall pick.

She said, “God has spoken to my heart and said this is a pause in preparation for more that I have planned for you in the future. I trust Him. I’m just going to hold fast to those promises and knowing that He has the best intent for me and He knows exactly what I need.”

Her name is Monica Wright.

Having Jesus Christ in his Life Made Former Alcoholic Pat Summerall Feel ‘Ecstatic, Invigorated, Happy, and Free’ (Gospel Light Minute #95)

Pat Summerall
Pat Summerall

He was an American football player and television sportscaster who worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN. In addition to football, he also announced major golf and tennis events. In total, he announced 16 Super Bowls on network television (more than any other announcer), 26 Masters Tournaments, and 21 US Opens. He also contributed to 10 Super Bowl broadcasts on CBS Radio as a pregame host or analyst. After retiring as a football player, he joined CBS as a commentator and worked with Tom Brookshier and John Madden on NFL telecasts for CBS and Fox. Though he retired in 2002, he continued to announce games on occasion.

He was named the National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 1977, and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1994. That year, he also received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999. He was honored by the NFL with an award named after him which is presented during Super Bowl weekend at the NFL headquarters “to a deserving recipient who through their career has demonstrated the character, integrity and leadership both on and off the field that his name represents.”

Early on in his career, much of his life was characterized by alcoholism and the abandonment of his family. In 1992, his friends and family staged an intervention on his behalf, encouraging him to get professional help for his alcohol problems. He was angry at the idea but reluctantly agreed to enter rehab. While in rehab, he made the decision that changed his life.

He said, “I realized there was a Savior, there was a God.” He made the decision to accept Christ as his Saviour and said, “once I began to realize His involvement in my life, it was easy [to overcome alcoholism]. I never had a craving since then. My thirst for alcohol was being replaced by a thirst for knowledge about faith and God. I began reading the Bible regularly at the treatment center, and it became a part of my daily routine. The more I read, the more I felt a void in my life that needed to be filled.”

He was later baptized at the First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas. He described emerging from the water as though he was surfacing in a new world. He said, “For the first time in my life, I knew what people meant about being ‘born again’. I had already accepted that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died for our sins. Now, I felt I was truly part of his family. I felt ecstatic, invigorated, happier, and freer. I felt as though my soul had been washed clean.” His name is Pat Summerall.