I love blogging about Christian athletes. I love finding their stories, reading their stories and planning out a little of the direction that I want to take my posts. I’ve got a pretty good idea of the people and stories that I am going to use for this upcoming baseball season already (at least the National League part) and look forward to putting those pieces together.
But sometimes, God will bring a new story to me out of the blue. That is what happened last night. My family was at church last night for our regular Wednesday night activities. I took the girls home so Steph could put them in bed, and I went for a fast food run since I had skipped supper to get to church. As I was driving, I tuned in to Fox Sports Tonight on the radio. Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken are pretty entertaining. It was the eve of the NFL draft and they were going to be interviewing Brian Bosworth, former NFL linebacker and current actor. They were going to talk to him about the draft and a little about his upcoming film. You can hear the interview below starting at the 11:45 mark until, but I want to draw your attention to the 18:00 mark to 20:00 when the conversation shifts to the new movie that Bosworth is in. During that part of the interview Bosworth shares a little of how making this movie took him, personally, from holding a grudge and being angry at God for all the things he went through to living his life for God as a Christ-Follower.
You can also read about the movie and how God used it to change Bosworth’s life in this article from Enid (Oklahoma) News.
I’ll confess that when I heard that Bosworth was going to be interviewed, I thought about going to find a NBA playoff game up the dial a little, but something compelled me to keep listening and I am glad that I did. What I learned from his story is this:
1- God is not scared away by our anger at Him
You often hear about people who are sad, depressed or outraged about what life has brought their way. It is hard to take responsibility for how it all played out. It is much easier to blame God for it – He’s in control of the universe, why can’t he work things out the way I want Him to? What we forget is God wants our heart to long for Him and to realize that we need Him. But if we don’t get that, and we allow ourselves to hold Him responsible for the bad things in our life – He still loves us and continues to make himself known in our lives. He then gives us a platform to use our story and how we see Him working to let others know how far He came in pursuit of us.
2- God is irresistible
Bosworth had no reason to do this movie. He was ready to be done with acting. He was angry, and bitter at God, and sent a “Christian” movie to do. It would be easy to dismiss, but he was drawn to read the script, and in it he found a magnifying glass that showed him the state of his heart and that there was more to this life than he was living.
3- God uses our story to accomplish his plans
Why do I know about Brian Bosworth’s newfound faith? Because he played parts of 3 seasons in the NFL, more than 2 decades ago. He is well known enough that people want to know his opinion about football things, and through that, he is able to talk about his changed life and share what God has been doing.
Here is Bosworth telling his story at the movie premiere.
It has been a couple of months since the Super Bowl, but with Free Agency and the combine and the draft approaching quickly, football is never far from the discussion of sports fans. After the draft at the end of the month there is a break to football season that stretches into July.
And of course, the first of April brings along the start of the baseball season. So in an effort to pay tribute both to the upcoming break from football and the start of the baseball season, I would like to offer a giveaway as well as invite you to check out my new e-book Living Beyond the Game. Here are the details.
First, for you baseball fans. My e-book is about 6 major league baseball players and the lessons I’ve learned from their journey of faith. Sign up for my mail list to receive all future blog posts to your email inbox and receive the first chapter free of charge. If you like what you read, you can purchase the rest of the book.
I’ve written a couple of posts about Idonije, including an interview I did with him during last football season. One of the things that he talked about was a new venture that he has on the go – A comic book series called “The Protectors”. I’m excited to check it out. You can too. Head over to the Athleta web site here, where you can learn more about it, and read the the free webcomic. The print series launches later this month. To celebrate this, and in an effort to promote this project here, I am giving away a shirt signed by Israel Idonije. For a limited time, when you sign up for my email list, you will receive chapter 1 of my e-book, and your name will be entered in the drawing for the autographed shirt.
The drawing will take place on Friday, April 19th at noon. You have until then to enter the drawing for the shirt and receive the first chapter of Living Beyond the Game for free.
Thank you to Israel Idonije for this t-shirt donation to give away.
What a great game. I hope you enjoyed it and were entertained by how close it was right up to the end. Here are the results of the Giveaways that I held as part of the event
Blindside DVD – Tracee Foster
Kurt Warner Jersey – Blake Kaplan
Thanks for visiting, entering and sharing the posts.
I hope you will continue to check back in and share what you read.
As a special finish to the NFL season, I would like to share with you some highlights of a conversation that I had with Chicago Bears Defensive Lineman Israel Idonije.
Last October, I wrote a post about Idonije and his faith in God. Soon thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to interview him and share some more information about him, his faith and some of the amazing things that God is doing through Idonije’s influence. I will talk more about his journey to the NFL with part 2 of my interview, which will post later. And I also hope to edit and prepare the audio of the interview in it’s entirety to make available soon.
But with this post, I really wanted to draw out and share some of the amazing ways that Idonije is using his platform as an NFL player to reach the world and have an impact for the Kingdom of God – particularily through his business ventures Athleta Comics and Blessed Communion.
I asked what Idonije saw himself doing when his playing days were over and this is what he answered:
Israel Idonije – “My main business is a manufacturing business. I manufacture pre-filled communion cups. My company is called Blessed Communion. With that business, we’ll sell probably 40 million units of product this year throughout North America. We did our first shipment to Ghana. When I bought the business in 2009, it was in rough shape, and to go from 0 sales to 40 million units, is just one of those things I don’t know how we did it – it’s only by the grace of God that we’ve been able to make it through that storm and mitigate the issues and problems that we’ve handled. And ultimatley my vision for that. Blessed Communion is our main company. We sell we make communion products throughout the world. And I’ve finished writing my first 2 childrens books and we will hopefully be published in the next few of months and have in circulation through our “blessed” brand. Through that, 10% of everything we are fortunate to net we will tithe back into our own non-profit called Blessed Community. My vision for that is, all the churches that we serve, that we sell product to, that anywhere we serve in the world that needs the body of christ, we’re able to have a leadership core of ministers that will manage this fund and allow a church to apply for a grant to get a building and will go to 100 missionaries every year to go wherever they want in the world and do mission work and touch people’s lives. And this Blessed Community fund will go to fund churches and missionaries and peoople that are looking to touch lives. That is my vision for the Blessed Company. “
(and about Athleta Comics) “I wrote my first comic book story in 2007, everything is getting finalized and will launch in April 2013. It’s just the premise is the origin story of athletes. Why do you have a Devin Hester, a Julius Peppers, Jay Cutler, with these extreme athletic abilities, what was that gift given for and the story on the front end is that they were sent to earth to protect humanity from this great evil disaster that is about to destroy humanity and a peaceful human race and now you have been given this gift ability, that is linked inside you – the athletic ability is just a product of why you were placed on this earth and who you were really meant to be and now that you know that, each of these athletes has a decision to make. Am I going to live this mundane life as an athlete or will I really champion what my true puepose is and thats to save humanity and save the people of our world from this evil force.”
Chris - Is it going to be nationally available?
Israel – “Thats the plan to have it go national and also across all digital media. Early next quarter we will do a web comic which will lay out the whole story. On the front end, it is a story that everyone can connect with but at the core, it is about every individuial’s journey and purpose of life that every person, i don’t care where you’re from or who you are. We all have a gift and ability. You are using your gift, your abilities to write and tell stories to inspire people, that gift is no less then the ability to tackle someone. Everybody has a gift that has value and every individual has to make the decision to use your gifts to add value to the lives around you and to your world and to help people. That what the story is about and hopefully we can get it translated into all the languages and across all digital media across the country and around the world and I’m pretty excited about it.”
God has given Idonije a great vision for his Blessed Communion company and Blessed Community non-profit. The Bible calls us to be helpers and encouragers. That is what I see in this project – a company that wants to reach the world for God, and that encourages others to do the same, by helping facilitate ministry through financial grants, training and partnerships with missionaries. If you attend a church that could use these communion products, there is a lot of reason to support Blessed Communion, with their vision for ministry and reaching the world for God.
What a great truth shared by Idonije. We do have a choice in this life. We have all be given gifts and abilities that serve a purpose and add value to our lives and the lives around us. These abilities are given by God and He has a plan to use us, and to use them in the lives of the people around us. The choice, however, is ours. Are we content to go through this life living for ourselves and keeping ourselves happy, or do we aspire to something greater? Our lives are not our own, God created us for his purposes. Those purposes are to love Him with everything we have, and to go and tell others about Him. In doing so, we, like the heroes in Idonije’s upcoming comic book, will “Save the Planet” - 1 soul at a time.
As the Super Bowl nears, there are so many stories to share about how God has been working in and through the players on both teams. I hope you have enjoyed the ones that I have shared here, and that you are encouraged in your faith as you see the faith of these men growing and showcased for all to see.
Each year, CBN compiles a video from the media day interviews they conduct. On the following video, you will see and hear from some members of the 49ers (Colin Kaepernick – QB, Vernon Davis – TE, Patrick Willis- LB, David Akers – K, Andy Lee – P) and from the Baltimore Ravens (Anquan Boldin WR, Terrell Suggs – LB, Michael Oher- OL, John Harbaugh – Coach, and Ray Lewis LB) enjoy!
Andy Lee – Click here to read an article about Lee giving up on his superstitions and leaning on his faith in God to help him focus on his job – and having the best season of his career.
Patrick Willis – One of the best linebackers in the league, faced many challenges to get to the NFL. Willis gives credit to God for guiding him through life and making an amazing story out of a hard childhood.
And check out this link to faith stories shared on Inspiring Athletes blog
And here is some info on the coaches of the big game. First a video about Jim Harbaugh
And here is an article about 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and some mission work he’s been involved with in Peru