Brady Ellison: The Right Aim in Life (Gospel Light Minute #68) #VA3

Brady Ellison shoots during a practice session during the U.S. Olympic Archery team trials. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

Brady Ellison shoots during a practice session during the U.S. Olympic Archery team trials. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

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He is an athlete from the United States who competes in team and individual archery. In 2007 and 2011, he won gold in the Pan American Games. In 2010, he won gold in the Archery World Cup. And in 2009 and 2011, he won gold in the World Indoor Archery Championships. He led the United States archery team in the London 2012 Olympics to a silver medal in the team archery competition.

He accepted Jesus Christ into his heart when he was a child, but at the time, he said, “I never knew what that meant. I believe that God saved me from dying in a horrible car accident in Vermont, and from there I started to take my faith a little more seriously. I met a man named Jansen Asbill and he really opened my eyes to the Lord. And then my wonderful girlfriend and family helped change me for the better.”

Regarding how his faith impacts his sport, he says, “Once I put winning in God’s hands, I stopped worrying about that. I just went to tournaments and shot with no fear, doing only the best I can do and leaving the rest up to God.” His name is Brady Ellison.

Tim Brown: ‘You Can Only Live a Good Life if You’re Submitted to God’ (#VA2)

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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.

Pro-Golfer Zachary Johnson says, ‘I Thought Being a Christian Would be Boring, but it Has Been the Complete Opposite’ (Gospel Light Minute #206)

Zach Johnson

He is an American professional golfer who has a total of 12 victories on the PGA Tour and 28 total professional wins. He won the 2007 Masters Championship and the 2015 Open Championship. He is one of only two players to have twice shot a round of 60 on the PGA Tour. As a young child, he played multiple sports before settling on golf. He led both his high school and college team to state championships. His foundation is dedicated to helping children and their families in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

In an article about his faith for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he said, “I grew up in Iowa in a great Christian household where church was very important. I went to a Catholic school, so I had religion classes from first through 12th grade. My mom even worked at the church and the school. …So, I certainly grew up in a Christian household—Jesus was very much the foundation.

“For me, however, it felt like I was just following the footsteps of friends and more or less doing what I was told to do. So, after high school, I went my own direction. It was my agenda; whatever I wanted to do, I did it. My faith didn’t carry much significance. Continue Reading…

“Jurassic World” Actor, Chris Pratt, Shares How he Got ‘Born Again’ (Gospel Light Minute #205)

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt

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He is an actor who is best known for his television roles as Bright Abbott in “Everwood” and Andy Dwyer in “Parks and Recreation”. He played supporting roles in films such as “Wanted”, “Moneyball”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, and “Delivery Man” among others. He was the lead actor in the blockbuster films “The Lego Movie” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”. He replaced Josh Brolin as the lead in the film, “Jurassic World”.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, he shared his “born again” story. He said,

“In Maui, about four weeks before I was discovered to go to California, I was hanging with my buddy. I wasn’t quite old enough to drink, so we got somebody to go in and buy us some alcohol.

This guy came by and was like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I dunno. I was just gonna wait out here, my friends are gonna buy me a bottle of Carlo Rossi and a sixer of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.

So he’s like, ‘Will you fornicate tonight?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’

‘And drugs and drinking?’ It’s like, ‘Most likely, yeah. Probably all three of those things. I mean, at least two of them, possibly all three.’

The guy was like, ‘I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.’ Continue Reading…

Racing Cyclist Amber Neben: ‘People Need to See Christians Live a Christian Life’ (Gospel Light Minute #204)

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She is a racing cyclist who won the UCI world time trial championship in 2008 and the U.S. national road race championship in 2003. She played soccer and ran cross-country in junior high and high school. She graduated with both an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Nebraska all while scoring a top 10 finish at the national collegiate cycling championships. She is the only active American female cyclist to win multiple UCI category 1 stage races, having won the Gracia Tour in 2002, the Tour du Montreal in 2003 and the Tour de l’Aude (Od) in 2005 and again in 2006.

She said of her faith, “When I was 4 years old, I was in the hospital with spinal meningitis. They told my parents I was going to die, but if I survived I would be brain-damaged and deaf. I made it through that, and during that time, I know my parents had some friends who were Christians who were praying for me. As a result, my family started going to a Christian church.

I went to a Christian grade school, so I was around really solid people who walked their faith and talked about Christ. Through that, more so than anything, God was working in my heart at a very young age. I remember as an eighth grader having a real strong faith already. Even in high school when I started dealing with my injuries, my faith was already really solid.

I played soccer and was a distance runner in high school, but I began experiencing stress fractures around the end of high school. I went to college on a track scholarship, but the injuries kept me on and off the field. I really knew that God had given me something special but I wasn’t getting the chance to use it. It was four years of just waiting, trusting, and as the Bible says, ‘rejoice in your suffering, because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope.’ That whole process happened over those four years while I was struggling with the running.

Someone took me out for a bike ride when I was in graduate school, and I loved it. When I found out you could race bikes, I started racing. I missed the Olympic team in 2004 by 8 seconds, then made the 2008 team. I had to fight for four years to come back. During that time, I had a two-year stretch with three really bad crashes and a torn muscle, surgery on my hand and finger, a broken shoulder, a shattered collar bone and another surgery.

It was one of those times where I spent a lot of time talking to God, asking, “Am I on track?” With a lot of prayer and consideration, I knew I just had to run the race set before me and persevere through it. God’s going to be with us, and we use His strength in the midst of all of it to get through it. It’s why I am here and how I got here… it’s all because of Him.

One of my favorite quotes is always be a witness for Christ and if necessary use words. I think in sport just living a life that reflects Christ, walking in a way that honors God and is real, and being genuine in who you are is huge. People need to see Christians live a Christian life. Sport is the best way to be on that stage and to do that. When people have a chance to share how they got to the places they’ve gotten to, it has that much more of an impact.”

Her name is Amber Neben. Continue Reading…

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