How David Tyree ‘Cried Out to God from a Jail Cell’ and Later Gave his Life to Christ (Gospel Light Minute #215)

David Tyree
David Tyree

He is a former wide receiver who played for seven seasons in the National Football League from 2003 to 2010. He played college football for Syracuse University. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens. In 2005, he earned a Pro Bowl selection as a special teams player.

He is best known for the miraculous Helmet Catch in 2008 which helped the New York Giants defeat the previously undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII (42). He is currently the Director of Player Development for the New York Giants. He retired from football in 2010.

In 2006, along with his wife, he started Next In Line, a project that counsels teenagers in his hometown. In 2011, he became an advocate against legalization of same-sex marriage in New York.

He says of his journey to faith in Jesus Christ: “The environment where I grew up was ‘anything goes.’ My mother was a Christian but she never pressed it upon us, and I was not interested in hearing about it. I started drinking at age 13. During college I was getting drunk every weekend and blacking out from too much alcohol, not knowing what happened. Basically, I was a functional alcoholic. I also began using and selling marijuana.

“When I began playing in the NFL I had a lot more money, which made things worse, as the addictions were easy to satisfy. After my first season, I was pulled over and arrested for possession of marijuana. At the time, I was dating my girlfriend — now my wife — and she was pregnant with our second child. I cried out to Christ from the jail cell and confessed that I needed him to forgive me and change me.

“On March 14, 2004, I walked back into my church to get my life right. I saw a woman at church who was so happy, but I didn’t know why. I discovered that she had also been forgiven by Jesus Christ. She had true freedom and peace with God. I wanted that too and gave my life to God.

“Now I’m all about getting to know God more intimately and allowing my life to be a testimony that he still lives today. I can’t separate any portion of my life from Christ because He is living in me.

“I now have a life with endless possibilities. God allows me to live a life of freedom, hope and joy. I had fallen victim to the surroundings that our society is engulfed in — money, pleasure, fame — that’s what I sought after and football was my pinnacle. But now I strive to know God and His attributes so I can show them to others. God continues to blow my mind by giving me an opportunity to know Him.”

His name is David Tyree.

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 David Tyree 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!

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)”

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.

Jacob Tamme: ‘Faith in God Comes First in Life’ (Gospel Light Minute #135)

8916-tamme-jacob_largeHe is a tight end for the Denver Broncos. Before going to the Broncos in 2012, he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He played college football for the University of Kentucky, and as a senior, he earned first-team All-SEC honors from both the Associated Press and the coaches polls.

In 2007, he was named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and elected to the first-team Academic All-America squad by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He was the 2007 recipient of the Bobby Bowden Award, a national honor presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He helped his teams, the Colts and the Broncos, win the AFC Championship, the Colts in 2009 and the Broncos 2013. He recently helped to lead his team, the Denver Broncos, to a Super Bowl berth in the January 19th’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. His team played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48 on February 2, 2014.

He said of his faith, “I’ve been blessed with two great parents who taught me how to do things the right way and that provided a great foundation for my spiritual life. Today, I am very thankful to have a life partner in my wife and a son. This has given me a great responsibility to lead my family in our faith, relationship with Christ, and provide the same foundation that my parents provided for me. To me, this is the thing that matters most in life.”

“My faith is important because it’s the core of why I believe we exist as humans. Faith allows us to spend an eternity with God and it fuels my every day actions. I’ve seen how having faith in God can change lives and it certainly has changed mine….God has to come first in all of our lives, then family second. Everything else that we chose in life comes after. Football is very consuming and I love being able to go out and compete week in and week out, but you have to elevate the other two (faith and family) because they are most important and the cornerstones of our lives.”

His name is Jacob Tamme.

Peyton Manning: ‘My Faith in Christ has Been #1 in My Life Since I Was 13-Years-Old’ (Gospel Light Minute #134)

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning

He is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Before playing for the Broncos, he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He played 14 seasons from 1998 to 2011 for the Colts. He led the Colts to eight division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl championship in 2007.

His statistics throughout his playing career have ranked him among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. He has been awarded four NFL MVPs — a league record. He has also been named to 13 Pro Bowls and 7 AP All-Pro teams. He has thirteen 4000-yard passing seasons, and is the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes for the Indianapolis Colts. Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated named him the NFL “player of the decade” for the 2000s. And in 2013, Sports Illustrated named him “Sportsman of the Year.”

Also in 2013: He broke the record for most passing touchdowns in a season with 55 of his own; he joined Brett Favre and Dan Marino as the only NFL players in history to throw for over 60,000 yards; and he broke the NFL’s passing yardage record by exactly one yard in the final game of the regular season.

He led his team, the Denver Broncos, to a Super Bowl berth by throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the January 19th AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. His team plays the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48 on February 2, 2014.

He said of his faith, “At age 13, I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since….For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. As important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old.”

He said further, “Some players get more vocal about their faith, and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and I don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism…My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I once looked for. I’ve been blessed—having so little go wrong in my life, and being given so much. I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don’t talk about it or brag about it because that’s between God and me, and I’m no better than anybody else in God’s sight. But I consider myself fortunate to be able to go to Him for guidance, and I hope (and pray) I don’t do too many things that displease Him. I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way.”

His name is Peyton Manning.

O.J. Atogwe on Committing his Life to Christ and the Violent Nature of Football (Gospel Light Minute #115)

Oshiomogho Atogwe
Oshiomogho Atogwe

He was drafted in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams and played with the team until 2010. In 2011, he played for the Washington Redskins. And in 2012, he played with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Stanford University. In 2007, he was the NFC Interceptions leader, and in 2008, he was awarded the MVP award by the St. Louis Rams.

Born in Canada with Nigerian heritage, he said that as a child, his parents taught him about Jesus and he understood the basic Christian holidays, but it wasn’t until he was a freshman at Stanford University that he came to know Jesus Christ personally and he chose to commit his life to serving him. He joined a group called Cardinal Life, a Christian athlete ministry for all the sports teams at Stanford, and through their activities he saw that there was a better way to live.

As the son-in-law of NFL coach and former Chicago Bears middle linebacker, Mike Singletary, he is known to deliver hard hits. When asked whether there was a conflict in aspiring to be a good Christian and the violence inherent in the game of football, he said, “As long as I’m playing by the rules I’m governed by, then God will be pleased with me. As long as I’m hitting them where I’m allowed to hit them, it’s fair game. Everybody agreed to the rules. If he is hurt, you pray for him. He’s in God’s hands. You don’t want to seriously harm anybody. I don’t’ believe that is in the heart of a Christian. We are here to love each other and build them up. God wouldn’t be OK with me trying to hurt someone because we are putting the sport above the lives of the people He created. But He has called us to play this game 100 percent without fear or hesitation to His glory, and as long as we do that within the rules, I believe that in His eyes He is pleased with what we are doing.

His name is O.J. Atogwe.

New York Giants Player, Justin Tuck, says his Faith in Jesus Christ is ‘Essential’ to his Development (Gospel Light Minute #114)

Justin Tuck
Justin Tuck

He is a defensive end for the New York Giants. He played college football for the University of Notre Dame. And was picked in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in 2008 and 2010 and twice to the All-Pro in 2008 and 2010. He and his team won Super Bowl 42 in 2008 and Super Bowl 46 in 2012. He has also been voted defensive team captain by his teammates for the past 3 years. His commitment to serving others inspired him to create the “R.U.S.H. for Literacy Program” which seeks to encourage children to Read, Understand, Succeed, and Hope.

He said of his faith, “For me, it started with my upbringing. My mother and father raised us in the church. I know a lot of times you hear about people going to church every day, but I can honestly say that I went to church…just about EVERY DAY. It was this lifestyle of constant worship that was embedded at an early age. I truly believe that I have been blessed to have this platform as an NFL player in one of the biggest markets in America for a reason. That reason is to spread how good God has been to me and to let his light shine through me…Faith is tremendously important in my family and it’s been essential to my development.”

On the impact of Bible study with his teammates, he said, “For our team dynamic, I feel that bible study serves as another way of helping guys stay faithful to God. In the locker room it can be very hard sometimes because you don’t always have guys that are necessarily living for God, so sometimes you need to see a face or hear a voice from guys that are trying to walk in that way. I think it’s been really beneficial for our locker room because it’s brought a lot of guys closer in their faith and closer to each other. It’s really helped us.”

He encourages young people and student athletes to place their faith in Jesus Christ as well. He said, “When I started being recognized as an athlete, it was hard to prioritize my faith. I tried to play both sides of the fence. When I was around people that were Christians, I tried to act like them. Then when I would get around guys that wanted to go out in the club and party I tried to put on that front. If I could offer any advice from the mistakes that I’ve made, I would say: Don’t try to fight it, and don’t try to impress everyone. Live your life the way that you know you’re supposed to, which is living for God. Don’t worry about what people might say or think…You’re not going to make everyone happy so you might as well do what you know is right. Be who you are and that’s good enough. There will be a lot of pressure that will come your way. However, I’ve found out that by being who you are, a child of God, you have all the defense that you’ll need in life.”

His name is Justin Tuck.

GLMX #161: Life, Salvation, and the NFL

The football season is in full swing now that Summer is almost over and Fall approaches. Many men and women look forward to seeing their favorite teams play each Sunday leading up to that special day in February. There are many minor goals along the way, but one ultimate goal — the Super Bowl. While eleven men battle it out for their team, thousands of spectators are content to watch, cheer them on, and at times, boo them for not playing up to expectations. Even with the news about the impact of concussions and why football is a dangerous game, hundreds play, dozens coach, and millions watch the battle of football.

Football is probably the most exciting sport to watch. Not only because it is an aggressive sport, but in some ways, it captures the essence of what it means to fight for something in life. The ultimate goal of each game is to win, just as the goal we strive for in life is to be successful.

We will face opponents who try to stop us from reaching our goal. In that case, we must tackle them in order to keep them from hindering us. We may at times be striving towards a goal, and for some reason, get distracted and lose our focus. Every now and then, while we are going towards our goal to make some touchdowns in life, to make some first downs in life, to win the game on our way to the Super Bowl, we may get hit. And every now and then, it is good to get hit. Nothing will knock away the cobwebs from our minds, our souls, and our spirits, and help us to realize what is truly important in life like being hit by some tragedy, some crisis, or some difficulty. And then, at times, we have turnovers, allowing someone else or something else to gain an advantage over us. Unfortunately, dear friends, we fumble the ball, or we throw an interception. Sometimes, rarely in football, but more often in life, we go the wrong way. Or, we may have to settle for a field goal every now and then to help us stay in the game, to keep it tight, when we really want to score a touchdown. We also have to get in the huddle from time to time to gain advice, information, and encouragement from trustworthy friends and associates. When we fight hard enough and stay in the game of life long enough, we will eventually make a touchdown reaching a goal that we have set on the way to the bigger goal of winning the game and the game of life.

Many things go into a football game — practice, preparation, planning, and, yes, even prayer — it all must be done. Sometimes, players get injured and they have to fight through it. Sometimes, we get injured and we have to fight through it. Sometimes, games get intense and players and coaches have to keep their cool. We have to do the same. But at all times, football has proven to be a battle for a prize, albeit a finite, earthly prize.

Jesus Christ also fought a battle for us, a more important battle — a battle for our souls. On His way to victory, He huddled with His disciples often, taught them, and prepared them to carry on after He was gone. Jesus had to tackle the devil and the temptations the devil tried to use to get Him off His game. He had to overcome being intercepted by people, particularly religious people, who did not believe in Him and who wanted to see Him dead. He had long stretches of ministry, miracles, healing, and service to others. He scored, if you will, a touchdown when He accepted the responsibility in the Garden of Gethsemane for the world and He chose to willingly take the cross up to Calvary and die a painful death for you and for me. Jesus Christ is truly a world champion — the Lord of Glory, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, yours and mine. He won the Super Bowl for us.

When He cried out, “It is finished,” and gave up His life, he scored the greatest victory of all time. It was a battle but He won that battle. He died on the cross for your sins and mine, so that we could be saved from the devil and Hell. When he rose from the dead, the victory was manifest. He fought hard for our souls and He wants you to give Him your soul today. He wants you to trust in Him today so that you can have eternal life and be delivered from eternal punishment for your sin in a place called Hell — a place that will make you a loser forever. Don’t you want to do this today? Don’t you want to truly win the Super Bowl of life by trusting Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Here’s how you can be saved; here’s how you can be a winner for eternity…

+ Plus, listen to Trip Lee singing “War”

Tim Brown: ‘You Can Only Live a Good Life if You’re Submitted to God’ (Gospel Light Minute #102)

Tim Brown
Tim Brown

He is a former NFL wide receiver. He played college football at Notre Dame, where he became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy Award. Drafted as the 6th pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, he played for sixteen years with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders where he established himself as one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and to the All-Conference six times. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. He ranks number two in NFL history with nearly 15,000 yards receiving and third in catches with more than 1,000. His 240 games in a Raider’s uniform are the most in franchise history.

He became a Christian as a teenager and sang in the church choir. But after graduating from college, his life took a drastic turn. At 22 years old, he was in the NFL, had a pocketful of money, and was struggling to walk the straight and narrow. After seven years in the NFL, he wanted a change. He said, “I just got tired of living the way I was living. I mean, I’ve never been a drinker or drugs. I never did that kind of crazy stuff, but the things I was doing were bad enough that I couldn’t even look at myself. I even got to a point it was so bad that when I got up in the morning, I wouldn’t even turn the lights on in the bathroom because I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror.”

It was at this point that he chose to commit his life to the Lord. As a teammate and now as a retired football player, he takes the opportunities God has given him to be a role model to others seriously. He often admonishes children and young people to, “Go to church. You know, because in my opinion there is nothing more important you can do with your life. Education is great, but I tell them I know a lot of educated fools out there. There’s a lot of educated fools out there, but it’s the Word of God, and the Spirit of God that can keep you from being crazy and doing the things that we shouldn’t be doing.”

He went on to say, “Only when you’re living subjected to God are you capable of leading a good, clean life — not a perfect life because nobody’s gonna be perfect, but you can lead a clean life. If there are people out there that know me and know me to be a good person, I’m here to tell you that without God, I wouldn’t be that person. Without God in my life, I wouldn’t be that person because the ideas and thoughts that run through my head are just like everybody else out there. But it’s because of God that I’m able to go, ‘hey, we don’t do that, that’s not who we are,’ and I’m able to move on. But its only because of God that I’m able to do that — not because I love my beautiful wife so much. I love my kids and God knows I do I love my kids and my wife tremendously, but as a man you know sometimes that just doesn’t matter. I tell my wife all the time love doesn’t have anything to do with what happens in our world in the NFL and sports world. I mean guys get caught up in it all and things happen, but its God that can keep you.”

His name is Tim Brown.

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.