LISTEN: How the Death of NFL Center Kevin Mawae’s Brother Helped Him Find His Life’s Purpose (Gospel Light Minute#248)


He is a former American football center who played in the National Football League for sixteen seasons, primarily with the New York Jets, and is currently a member of the Arizona State University coaching staff. He played college football for Louisiana State University, where he was a four-year starter and was later inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. He was picked by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1994 NFL Draft, and also played for the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans. Over his stellar pro-football career spanning 16 seasons, he evolved into one of the greatest centers in the league and helped set the bar for offensive linemen in the NFL.

Continue reading “LISTEN: How the Death of NFL Center Kevin Mawae’s Brother Helped Him Find His Life’s Purpose (Gospel Light Minute#248)”

Russell Okung: ‘The Great Thing About Jesus is He’ll Meet You Right Where You Are’ (Gospel Light Minute #184)

Russell Okung
Russell Okung

He is an offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. He played college football for Oklahoma State University and was named All-American twice. In 2009, he was awarded the Jim Parker Trophy, an award given yearly to the top collegiate offensive lineman. In 2010, he was drafted by the Seahawks. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012, helped his team win the Super Bowl in 2014, and helped his team win two back to back NFC Championship titles in 2013 and 2014.

He credits Dr. Joel Tudman, his pastor and assistance strength coach at Oklahoma State with guiding him in his spiritual journey after accepting Jesus Christ. He said of his faith in Christ, “Jesus is everything. And the great thing about Jesus is He’ll meet you right where you’re at. It’s free. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to work for it. He gives it because he loves us and He is full of grace. ”

He went on to say, “I intentionally bring Jesus Christ into my game by making sure I’m focused on Him when I step on the field. The Bible tells us to not fear or be dismayed and I take that knowledge with me every time I play. My favorite verse is: Romans 4:20 which says, “He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,” It reminds me that God has a promise for all of us and whatever that is in our lives will not come back void.”

He often encourages children and young people to “make time to know God better through His Word. He’s put a hope in you, so learn more about it. Be able to defend it and teach people about what you believe in. God’s called us to do that on and off the field.”

His name is Russell Okung. Continue reading “Russell Okung: ‘The Great Thing About Jesus is He’ll Meet You Right Where You Are’ (Gospel Light Minute #184)”

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.

Russell Okung Never Knew his Father, but says the Heavenly Father has Always Been Present (Gospel Light Minute #123)

Russell Okung
Russell Okung

He is an offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks who was drafted as the 6th overall pick in 2010. He played college football for Oklahoma State University. While there, he was twice recognized as an All-American.

Raised in a single-parent household, he never met his father. However, he learned at an early age to focus on God and allow God’s peace to rule his life. He said of his faith, “My father passed when I was a very young boy. I have never had my father in my life, but my heavenly Father has always been present. The Lord has placed plenty of outstanding mentors in my life to help facilitate my walk. I’m blessed enough to have God fearing men of great valor and integrity to help me. My faith is important to me because I realize that I’m not in this world by accident. My faith speaks to my heart. It gives me confidence, strength, and renews me each day. Though I don’t physically see my faith, I see it manifested through my life, with my platform, off and on the field as well as my personal life. My faith is my rock!”

His name is Russell Okung.

Matt Hasselbeck: “God Doesn’t Need My Ability. He Just Needs My Availability.” (Gospel Light Minute #116)

Matt Hasselbeck
Matt Hasselbeck

He is a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1998, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. During his time there, he led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl appearance.

After ten seasons with the Seahawks, he joined the Tennessee Titans for a brief period in 2011. After being released, he signed a contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013. He was selected to three Pro Bowls in 2003, 2005, and 2007 and to the All-Pro in 2005.

When he was in the first grade, his parents came to Christ. He said, “I grew up in a great church with parents who were great role models.” He personally gave his life to Christ at Vacation Bible School in Boston at the age of 11. While at Boston College, he got involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He credits God with the success he has experienced in football and seeks to glorify Him in all that He does. He said, “God doesn’t need my ability. He just needs my availability. That’s my approach to life.” He and his wife and children frequently team up with Compassion International because they want to see more children reach their full potential.

His name is Matt Hasselbeck.

Russell Wilson: ‘I Chose the Number Three for My Jersey to Honor the Holy Trinity’ (Gospel Light Minute #83)

He is the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He was selected by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Wisconsin during the 2011 season, in which he set the single season FBS record for passing efficiency and led the team to a Big Ten title and the 2012 Rose Bowl. He received the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year award and was named a consensus first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-American by Yahoo! Sports. Before transferring to Wisconsin, he played football and baseball for North Carolina State University and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year in football and became the first freshman quarterback to receive first team All-ACC honors.

He is a devout Christian who frequently speaks of his faith in press conferences and interviews and posts daily encouragement from the Bible on his Twitter feed. He said that he chose the number three for his Seahawks jersey as a way of honoring the Holy Trinity.

He grew up in a family where faith in God was the foundation of their lives. His family members and former athletic director at North Carolina State University all say that he is strong and sincere in his faith. This strong faith was molded and strengthened during a time when his father was suffering from complications from diabetes and had suffered several strokes. He said that during this time, “I think of the Lord being there and that there is a time and place for everything.”

The day after he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in June 2010, he, his mother, and his grandmother were called to the hospital for the final time. The doctors said his father was unresponsive. But after praying in the hallway, he says that they felt the Holy Spirit telling them to go in the hospital room. He went into the room and greeted his father for the last time. He said, “I walked in and I could see the EKG monitor. I said: ‘Hey, Dad, I’m here.’ As soon as I said that, the line went flat. That’s how I knew the Lord is real. I knew my dad heard me and he could hear everything I was telling him about how I got drafted. He was waiting for something great to happen. That’s how I knew he went in peace. He is here watching me right now.” His name is Russell Wilson.