Monday, December 10, 2012


Tim Tebow Kurt Warner Jeremy Lin Robert Griffin III David Robinson Josh Hamilton Albert Pujols Mariano Rivera

For some reason it has become controversial for professional athletes (in fact, for anyone with any degree of fame) to profess their faith in Jesus Christ.  Apparently, some people are offended when God ventures anywhere outside of the church.  God, it seems, just doesn't belong on a football field or a basketball court -- and certainly not on ESPN.

Once upon a time the focus was just to get God out of government and out of our schools.  No Ten Commandments and no Nativity scenes.  And then they started looking to get rid of signs and mentions of God in obscure public places -- like a cross in the middle of the desert or on a remote mountain top.  

Now the goal seems to be to remove God from any public context.  Professions of Christ come at a cost.

Having said that, there is a sense in which it seems strange to me that people with a public profile feel the need to share their faith.  To me, that says a great deal about who and what we have become.  When public figures take the time to share their Christian faith, it is because they believe that their faith sets them apart from others.  It marks them as unusual -- as outside of the norm.  And sadly, that is exactly what they are.

When I was young I remember there being a distinct effort to cast sports heroes as role models -- their on-the-field performance being intentionally connected to their character (at least as marketed).  Today, in contrast, our sports heroes are defined almost exclusively by their performance on the field -- little thought is given to the quality of their character.  We welcome the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick back with open arms as long as they perform; requiring only that they give lip service to some sort of remorse for sometimes astounding off-the-field actions.  Tiger Woods can still be paid millions and receive our adoration as long as he keeps making those birdies.

Look, I know that Tim Tebow will never be the greatest quarterback ever to have played the game.  Far from it.  But I personally think winning a Super Bowl is nothing compared to what he has already accomplished.  I appreciate greatly those public figures who desire to give glory to God -- and who are willing to accept the consequences of doing so.  I thank God for men and women who are willing to show a troubled generation that godly men and women don't have to finish last.


Robert Griffin III

“Whenever you can be a Christian and come to a Christian university like Baylor and make a difference like this whole football team has, it’s great. He gives you the stage to make a difference and not to just talk about yourself, but lift Him up. There are a lot of different types of Christians everywhere, but my biggest thing is it’s not our job to judge; it’s just our job to go out, praise Him, let people know what He’s doing, and let people follow if they want to."

“So I praise God, I thank him for everything. Purposefully, you live every day for Him, and when He gives you the opportunity to speak up for Him or to do something in His name, you do it.”

Mariano Rivera

"Every time I was going through a hard time, somebody was there to help. It's not too often when you play in the minor leagues that a coach will tell you he will take care of your son while you stay with your wife at the hospital. My pitching coach did that, and one lady from Panama-I never knew her (before)-offered to stay with my wife while I was playing. Even though I had nobody here, I was never alone. That made me accept Jesus as my Savior. I knew it wasn't a coincidence. It was the Lord putting someone there for me."

Jeremy Lin

"I realize I had to learn ... to stop chasing the perishable prizes of this earth ... and give my best effort unto God and trust Him with the results."

David Robinson

"This championship is gratifying on so many levels. One of them is that Avery (teammate and fellow Christian Avery Johnson) and I have given evidence that having a strong religious faith doesn't mean that you can't be a tough competitor."

Kurt Warner

"When you stand up and say, 'Thank You, Jesus,' they think you are saying, 'Thank You for being here. Thank You for moving my arm forward and making the ball go into that guy's hands so that we could score a touchdown and win the game.' But, in essence, it is a matter of thanking Him for the opportunity, thanking Him for being there in my life, for being the stronghold, for being the focus and the strength to accomplish all things, to accomplish anything, and to be where I am at, to have gone through everything I have gone through. It is a constant thing in my life. It is not just for something specific He did on the football field to help us win; it is for everything that He has done in my life up to that point and for everything He will continue to do in my life from here until eternity."

Josh Hamilton 

“Understanding where I was before Christ came into my life, understanding where I am now and staying humble is not very hard for me to do. I just use this as a bigger platform to share Christ with people. That’s what it’s about. Whatever gift you have, no matter what it is, it’s all for God’s glory. I’m just excited to be here, again, and be able to share Him with a lot of people.”

Tim Tebow

“People often seem to think that when you're following the Lord and trying to do His will, your path will always be clear, the decisions smooth and easy, and life will be lived happily ever after and all that. Sometimes that may be true, but I've found that more often, it's not. The muddled decisions still seem muddled, bad things still happen to believers, and great things can happen to nonbelievers. When it comes to making our decisions, the key that God is concerned with is that we are trusting and seeking Him. God's desire is for us to align our lives with His Word and His will.”

Albert Pujols

“It doesn’t matter if I hit a home run. It doesn’t matter if we win a game. It doesn’t matter if I go four for four,” Pujols says. “Whatever happens at the end of the day, as long as I glorify His name, that’s what it’s all about.”

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