Patriots Player Devin McCourty: ‘God’s Word and Christian Faith Gives Me a Great Foundation to Lean On’ (Gospel Light Minute #185)

Devin McCourty
Devin McCourty

He is a defensive back and kickoff returner for the New England Patriots of the NFL. He played college football for Rutgers University. Drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, he has played both cornerback and safety during his career. In 2010 and 2013, he was named to the Associated Press All-Pro team. He helped his team win two AFC Championships in 2011 and 2014. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2010.

In the Baptist Press, he said of his faith, “Striving to be rooted in God’s Word and my Christian faith gives me a great foundation to lean on daily. Playing in the NFL or in a Super Bowl shouldn’t define a person. I don’t really think anything in this game we do defines who we are as people. It’s a blessing, it’s a great opportunity…to take advantage of the opportunity but still know who you are as a person.”

His name is Devin McCourty. Continue reading “Patriots Player Devin McCourty: ‘God’s Word and Christian Faith Gives Me a Great Foundation to Lean On’ (Gospel Light Minute #185)”

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Russell Okung: ‘The Great Thing About Jesus is He’ll Meet You Right Where You Are’ (Gospel Light Minute #184)

Russell Okung
Russell Okung

He is an offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. He played college football for Oklahoma State University and was named All-American twice. In 2009, he was awarded the Jim Parker Trophy, an award given yearly to the top collegiate offensive lineman. In 2010, he was drafted by the Seahawks. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012, helped his team win the Super Bowl in 2014, and helped his team win two back to back NFC Championship titles in 2013 and 2014.

He credits Dr. Joel Tudman, his pastor and assistance strength coach at Oklahoma State with guiding him in his spiritual journey after accepting Jesus Christ. He said of his faith in Christ, “Jesus is everything. And the great thing about Jesus is He’ll meet you right where you’re at. It’s free. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to work for it. He gives it because he loves us and He is full of grace. ”

He went on to say, “I intentionally bring Jesus Christ into my game by making sure I’m focused on Him when I step on the field. The Bible tells us to not fear or be dismayed and I take that knowledge with me every time I play. My favorite verse is: Romans 4:20 which says, “He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,” It reminds me that God has a promise for all of us and whatever that is in our lives will not come back void.”

He often encourages children and young people to “make time to know God better through His Word. He’s put a hope in you, so learn more about it. Be able to defend it and teach people about what you believe in. God’s called us to do that on and off the field.”

His name is Russell Okung. Continue reading “Russell Okung: ‘The Great Thing About Jesus is He’ll Meet You Right Where You Are’ (Gospel Light Minute #184)”

Marcus Mariota says his Faith in Christ Keeps him Going in Sports and in Life (Gospel Light Minute #183)

Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota

He is an accomplished football quarterback. In high school, he played football and was a standout track and field athlete. As a senior in high school, he led his team to an 11-1 record and the state title while being named Interscholastic League of Honolulu Offensive Player of the Year. He was offered a scholarship to play college football at the University of Oregon and was the starting quarterback for the Ducks from 2012 to 2014.

In 2012, he was named Pac-12 All-Conference 1st Team, Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, and earning the 2013 Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP Award. In 2013, he earned Pac-12 All-Conference 1st Team honors for the second consecutive year. He was named both Fiesta Bowl MVP and Alamo Bowl MVP, and the Ducks emerged as champions in both the Fiesta Bowl and the Alamo Bowl. In 2014, he was awarded the Davey O’Brien Award, the Walter Camp Award, and the Maxwell Award given to the nation’s best football player. Among many other honors, in 2014, he became the first Duck in the University of Oregon’s history to win the Heisman Trophy. He led his team to victory in the 2015 Rose Bowl and declared for the 2015 NFL Draft a few days after playing in the National Championship.

In an interview with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he said of his faith: “Being a football player, faith plays a huge role. When things start to get rough you find comfort in your faith. Knowing that no matter what, you can dust yourself off and be okay. And you know you do it for God’s glory. You do it for your teammates, your family, but also for His glory and to represent His name.”

“Going through the challenges of the season, my faith has been the steadying force that’s pushed me, along with my family, my friends and my teammates. Losing — especially here [at Oregon] — is tough. We have high expectations as a program to go and win national championships. It’s a huge pressure, but you learn a lot about yourself through it. [My Coach] has helped me learn that football doesn’t define me. It’s just what I do. That was a huge life lesson for me. I really took that and ran with it. My faith is what keeps me going and I can always grow in that.”

He went on to say, “I think as an athlete when you’re able to go out there and have the abilities that the Lord has blessed you with, you want to glorify Him. You want to go out there to represent Him in the right light. To represent your family in the right light and to do that through His power. Since I’ve been here at Oregon, I think my faith has grown tremendously. In high school, I learned about God and Jesus Christ, but I wasn’t really invested in it. I think getting involved with FCA really introduced me into my walk and into my journey. I’m not perfect, but I’m encouraged everyday to continue to open up in my faith. I’ve learned that no matter what, my faith will guide me. However I play on the field, I know my faith will guide me. After sports, my faith will guide me. As I’ve grown in my faith, that’s something that’s given me comfort. God has taught me that I can trust in Him. No matter what–whether things are good or bad — I know I can always trust in Him. And that has really allowed me to go All In for Him.”

His name is Marcus Mariota. Continue reading “Marcus Mariota says his Faith in Christ Keeps him Going in Sports and in Life (Gospel Light Minute #183)”

Terry Crews: ‘My Own Success Illustrates the Validity of My Faith in Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #177)

Terry Crews
Terry Crews
[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/227071-terry-crews-my-own-success-illustrates-the-validity-of-my-faith-in-christ-gospel-light-minute-177.mp3]

He is a former NFL football player and an actor. He played professional football from 1991 to 1997. After being drafted by the Los Angeles Rams, he went on to play for the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles. After retiring, he focused on an acting career. He is best known for playing Julius on the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris” and for his appearances in commercials for Old Spice. His film credits include: “Friday After Next”, “Soul Plane”, “White Chicks”, and “The Expendables”. He and his family starred in the BET reality series “The Family Crews”. He also stars on the Golden Globe Award–winning Fox sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”. He has been married to a former model and Christian musician for nearly 25 years and they have five children.

He is a devout Christian who refers to himself as a “servant to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” He grew up in a strict Christian household, where he was raised primarily by his mother. He attributes his dedication to his family life and his Christian faith to his upbringing in Flint, Michigan. In an interview with MLive.com, he said, “Going to church with [my] family helped me to learn about the faith, and I feel that [my] own success and safety illustrate its validity.” He went on to say, “There were times I’ll be running down the (football) field, I’ll see a guy right next to me, and he’s just laid out. His knee gets blown out. … When you grow up in Flint, that event you were going to go to, you find out your friend got shot at that event. You think, ‘Wow, maybe God is looking after me.’ … That’s one reason I knew I’d reach some measure of fame, just because I always felt a call [of God]. I’m being protected.”

His name is Terry Crews.

This is the “Chief of Sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, reminding you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me. Just as Terry Crews gave his life to Christ, may I encourage you to do the same. Here is how:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Remember, friend, Believe by faith. Share the faith. and Keep the faith!

Phil Dawson: ‘In the NFL There is No Security; Real Security is Found in Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #170)

Phil Dawson
Phil Dawson

He is a placekicker for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. He previously for the Cleveland Browns from 1999 to 2012 and holds their franchise record for most field goals made. He played college football at University of Texas at Austin. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012, twice to the Second-team All-Pro in 2007 and 2012, and twice was named NFC Special Teamer of the Week in 2013.

In an interview with the Baptist Bulletin, he said of his faith, “For a long time, football was a god for me. Although I was raised in church and I knew it shouldn’t be that way, it was. You know all of the church songs and the hand motions that go with them; you go to summer camp; you go to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. This was me up until I was nine years old—when I realized Jesus died for me, and I recognized He died for my sins.”

After high school, he experienced spiritual struggles in college. He said, “The problem was that I continued to be that little kid in church, doing all the same things. So when I went to college, I don’t know how personal my relationship with Christ was.” He credits attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes retreat and the Longhorns’ team chaplain for helping turn his life around.

We went on to say, “It’s a struggle to find contentment when I’m thinking I’m never good enough. At one point, I had seven good seasons until one year—an off year—and I really struggled with being content. It’s been a working lesson in being content and trusting God. It makes you appreciate the security we have in Christ, because in the NFL there is no security. They can drop you at any time.”

His name is Phil Dawson. Continue reading “Phil Dawson: ‘In the NFL There is No Security; Real Security is Found in Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #170)”

GLMX #216: Take a Knee

Take a Knee
Take a Knee

In American football, when the team that has the ball wants to run down the clock at the end of the game in order to preserve a lead or win, the offense will implement a play called taking a knee. After the ball is snapped, the quarterback will immediately drop to one knee, ending the play. Usually, the opposing team does not tackle the members of the offense as they have already resigned themselves to the outcome of the game. There is no need in trying to challenge the inevitable.

In life, sometimes, we are faced with situations where we have to choose whether to resign ourselves to an outcome that appears all but certain or to try and change the outcome. Perhaps you have heard of people who have been faced with choosing between allowing a loved one to continue living in a vegetative state and taking that person off of life support. That is a very difficult and heart-rending decision to have to make. Continue reading “GLMX #216: Take a Knee”

Sterling Lucas on Football Becoming an “Idol” and How he Learned to “Truly Follow Christ” (Gospel Light Minute #163)

Sterling Lucas
Sterling Lucas

He is a line backer for North Carolina State University. In high school, he was team captain and team MVP. In the Shrine Bowl, he also won defensive MVP honors after recording 8 tackles. And after his senior year, he was named an all-state, all-region, and all-area top player.

In an interview with Beyond the Ultimate, he spoke about growing up in church and how he came to know Jesus Christ. He said, “I grew up in the church my grandmother pastored. I always heard that Jesus died for our sins, but I didn’t fully grasp that Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross in our place, even when He did not deserve it, for our eternal life.

“After my grandmother died, I stopped going to church. A few years later, my family and I joined another church and I began to once again pursue Christ. When I got to college, I began doing what most students do: living the party lifestyle. I was still a believer but did not always show it, and I wasn’t bold about my faith. I basically put God on a shelf.

“Now, I understand how important it is to be plugged into a church or spiritual community to help you grow in your faith and keep you accountable. Athletes in Action provided that outlet for me. A teammate invited me to the meetings, and they talked about your identity not being in your sport, which appealed to me. I kept going back, and began really growing in my Christian walk.

“When you truly follow Christ, you find peace in knowing that whatever you go through, the Lord is able to get you through. Once I suffered a knee injury and had to sit out the season. I believe that God allowed this experience to draw me closer to Him. I realize that football does not define me as a person, but it had become an idol in my life.

“I am first and foremost a man of God, and football is just one of the many platforms that God has given me to bring Him glory. I am not perfect, and I fall short on many occasions, but I am standing here today by the grace of God, and I am going to do everything I can to fulfill God’s will for my life.”

His name is Sterling Lucas.

Ben Watson: ‘I Put My Faith and Trust in Jesus; He Has My Best Interest at Heart’ (Gospel Light Minute #162)

Benjamin Watson
Benjamin Watson

He is a tight end for the New Orleans Saints. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2004 and played for them through 2009. He also played for the Cleveland Browns from 2010 to 2012. He played college football at Duke University and the University of Georgia. He and his team, the New England Patriots, won Super Bowl 39 in 2005, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles. He helped the New England Patriots win two AFC championships in 2004 and 2007.

Growing up in a Christian home, his earliest memories are of going to church with his parents, attending Christian school, and participating in summer camps with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His father who is a pastor led him to the Lord when he was a young child.

In an interview with Beyond the Ultimate, he said, “One night…Daddy and I knelt down to pray before bed and he asked me this question, “If you died tonight do you know what would happen to you?” I replied “no,” and Daddy proceeded to tell me about John 3:16 from the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Daddy explained to me that I was born a sinful person and that because God loves me, He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty of death that I deserved. All I had to do was receive the free gift of salvation that I could never earn on my own. Right then and there we prayed and I received that gift and made Jesus Lord of my life.”

He went on to say, “My life since that day has been an incredible journey. I have learned more and more what it means to live in the power and freedom that life in Christ brings. More importantly I’ve started to exercise and apply that knowledge in my everyday life. Through high school and college at the University of Georgia I stayed involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a local church, but it wasn’t without struggles and temptations. I can remember asking God for forgiveness a number of times, and I can say He forgave me every one of them. I always feel God’s presence, and my desire is to please Him. I do not always please Him but I know that in Him I am a conqueror and He has freed me from the guilt of past failures.”

“The number one thing He has taught me and continues to teach me is that it is not about me. God has a plan that sometimes doesn’t match up to my plan. But I put my faith and trust in Him that he has my best interest at heart and all things will work together for His glory. It is a great comfort for me to know that my job is to be obedient to Him and the rest is in His hands. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as unto the Lord, not for men.” Whether I’m playing football, being a husband to my wife, being a teammate, working out, studying or one day being a parent, this verse challenges me to do it all to the glory of God.”

His name is Ben Watson.

Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh on ‘God Being in the Driver’s Seat’ and the ‘Critical’ Habit of Spending Time with Him (Gospel Light Minute #157)

John Harbaugh
John Harbaugh

He is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Before that, he coached the defensive backs for the Philadelphia Eagles and served as the Eagles special teams coach for nine years. While leading the Ravens to 71 wins since 2008, he is considered one of the best head coaches currently in the NFL. His 9 playoff wins are the most by any head coach in the NFL since 2008. He led the Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans in 2013.

In an article for BeyondtheUltimate.org, he said of his faith: “I had always been more fascinated by church history than the Bible itself. When I arrived at Miami University (Ohio) as a freshman defensive back, two teammates invited me to a Bible study. I was intrigued by the Bible’s logic. Things started clicking about God, the universe, sin and Christ’s death on the cross. Before long, I surrendered myself to Christ. I remember walking home thinking, ‘If I fall on the ground and die right now, I’m right with God.’ I felt a real freedom.”

He went on to say, “My Christian faith brings me peace. It brings a certain peace that surpasses all understanding. I think if you have that, it gives you a chance to accomplish whatever it is you are supposed to accomplish. I think it’s critical to make time for God; it’s a way to honor and praise God. You just humble yourself before God and let Him know that these things that we do are for Him. The biggest thing I’ve learned faith-wise is that God is in the driver’s seat. That is what faith is. It’s the belief in the things that are unseen. It’s a certain trust in life and in God, our Creator.”

“More than anything else, I want God to stay close to me so I don’t get caught up in myself and basically embarrass myself. I used to pray for other reasons, and every now and then I’d pray for a turnover. But that’s selfish behavior. When you make yourself small and raise up the other people around you, that’s the Christian message.”

His name is John Harbaugh.

Mike Brown says his Relationship With God Gives him Peace in Times of Uncertainty (Gospel Light Minute #156)

Mike Brown
Mike Brown

He is a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was signed by the Jaguars in 2012. He played college football at Liberty University, where he played quarterback. In 2011, he was named the Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and named to the Big South Preseason All-Conference. While at Liberty, his team, the Liberty Flames, won four straight Big South Conference championships between 2007 and 2010.

After being overlooked in the 2012 NFL draft and overcoming a back injury in 2013, he has been committed to his faith in Jesus Christ, which he said has given him peace in times of uncertainty. He said, “I have no idea how people deal with (the pressures of this job) without a relationship with God. I can sit back, and I can trust in Him and know that no matter what, He has my back. At the end of the day, whatever He has planned for me is going to happen.”

His name is Mike Brown.