You never know who you will run into at the Super Bowl.
This was the case for me last year in Minneapolis when I was presented with an opportunity to talk with the only player enshrined in two halls of fame.
Kurt Warner is a player who is a member of both the Pro Football and the Arena Football Hall of Fame.
I was at Super Bowl LII on assignment for Athletes in Action to cover an event where Benjamin Watson spoke.
I was in the hallway and wrapped up some interviews when Kurt strolled by me. I took the opportunity to say hello and ask him about his testimony.
Over the past few months, I have developed a strategy to engage high profile athletes and ask them about their Christian journey.
Kurt was friendly and willing to share some stories with me.
Below is a portion of a devotional which will appear in my latest book, First Down Devotions: Inspirations From NFL’s Best.
Over the years, a few professional athletes have made some audacious statements. Some used them to try to intimidate their opponents while others have blathered them due to a cocky attitude.
Let’s look back at three of them that I liked:
In 1963, then Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) joked and rhymed his way to a fearless prediction about his heavyweight fight with Henry Cooper. “This is no jive, Cooper shall go down in five,” the Greatest of All-Time said. The referee stopped the fight in the fifth round because Cooper’s eye was swollen shot.
On January 9, 1969, just three days before Super Bowl III, New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath responded to a comment from a fan who said his Jets would lose the game. “Hey, I got news for you. We’re going to win Sunday, I’ll guarantee you.” New York won the game 16-7 over the Colts.
And who can forget when Boston Celtics star Larry Bird told everyone in the locker room that he would win the inaugural three-point shootout during the 1986 NBA All-Star Weekend? The Legend strolled into the locker room and sized up his competition. “I’m just looking around to see who’s coming in second,” he said to them. Bird won hands down and even connected on 11-straight three-pointers in the final round.
But the one that takes the cake is what Kurt Warner did on national television after his Arizona Cardinals won the NFC Championship game in 2008 to advance to the Super Bowl.
During the post-game interview, live on TV with Terry Bradshaw, he thanked and praised his Savior Jesus Christ.
And in 2000, after his Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV, Warner did the same thing. He acknowledged Christ to millions who watched the celebration.
“I think one of the greatest moves I ever made was when I professed Jesus on the podium after I won the Super Bowl,” he said. “Because now, everyone knows about my faith.”
His boldness brought about accountability as a Christian. Now, he had to be the example in front of the audience.
“When I did that and thanked Jesus, it pushed me to be more accountable with my faith and turned out to be the greatest blessing I’ve enjoyed,” he added. “Everyone knows that I’m a Christian, and I love that.”
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have an opportunity to let everyone around you aware of your faith?
How did you respond?
You want to be careful not to turn people off, but at the same time, capitalize on any opportunity you get to confess your Savior. Tell others in love about the mighty God you serve. Be brief but excited to let others know you follow Jesus Christ. Here are some tips to help you become bold in public:
· Be confident when you talk about your experience: Kurt didn’t back away from the microphone. He took it and let everyone know how he felt.
· Pray: Don’t shy away from giving thanks in public: Raise a hand or bow your head in front of people. It’s a great conversation starter.
· Use social media: Let your followers know where you stand and don’t post things that might compromise your position. I retweet posts from “friends,” but if they send me one to share that I can’t support, I simply don’t do it. I don’t condemn or judge, I just resist.
And there are more listed in Chapter 13 of First Down Devotions: Inspirations From NFL’s Best.
The odds are high that you will never be given a microphone to use in front of millions of viewers after you have won the Super Bowl. Kurt received that opportunity and made the most of it by thanking Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be on stage to proclaim your dedication, but be ready at all times to make the call.
My book officially releases August 5, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER - 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful —can be purchased on Amazon.