The True Hero and the NFL All-Star

8 04 2013

A lot of the readers out there including myself grew up as NFL wannabees.  We worked hard when we were young and continued that work through high school and maybe your hard work took you to college to play.  Either way, that dream lived for a lot of us to one day get into the big show, the NFL.  Just yesterday, my pastor turned me onto the amazing testimony of Jason Hanson, the place kicker for the Detroit Lions.  No matter what your thoughts are of the Lions, you have to give respect for this gentleman.  I looked up some of his statistics:  Over the course of his 20-year NFL career, he holds the NFL record for most games played with one team. He holds the NFL record for most 50+yard field goals. He also is tied or the most 50+ yard field goals in a single season. He is the first player in NFL history to score 2,000 points with one franchise and has the most career games with one team. His consistency and his accuracy defy reason. He is the first kicker in NFL history to go 8-for-8 on 50+yard field goals in a single season. He holds NFL record making 24 consecutive field goals of 40+ yards. Amazingly, after the 2010 NFL season, Hanson has only missed eight extra points in his 20 year career! In addition, he can be counted on when the game is on the line, accounting for 17 game-winning field goals.

Here is his thoughts on all that:

I’ve had a wonderful career. I’ve been to two Pro Bowls. I’ve kicked several game winning field goals. I’m proud to have been with the Detroit Lions my entire career, and I want to finish well.

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 18: Jason Hanson #4 of the...My greatest struggle is not the pressure of making the kick when the game is on the line, or driving the ball deep on kickoffs. Actually, my greatest struggle has nothing to do with my performance on the field, or dealing with all the external elements. It’s an internal struggle. It has to do with not allowing my identity to be dependent on my performance.

God has used football and kicking to shape me. I don’t know how I could kick without my faith. God has given me ability and a mind to use. I find peace in knowing that. I train as hard as I can. I execute my technique as perfectly as I can. And if I miss, I know that God still cares for me and has a plan for me, and my identity does not depend upon a field goal.

Which is not to say that a missed field goal does not bother me. It does. If I miss, I’m more upset than anyone. But even if I lead the NFL in humiliation, I know that my hope is not tied up in what happens on the football field.

I grew up in a Christian family. I was a decent guy, and never visited the wrong side of the tracks. I didn’t come to Christ because I had hit the bottom. In fact, my story is somewhat the opposite. God worked through my success to draw me closer to Him. Success can be as big a test as failure. I began to experience how good it was to succeed. I was a consensus All-American my sophomore year at Washington State. I’ve signed nice contracts. I have a certain amount of celebrity. But I’ve discovered it’s all empty. It can’t satisfy. The greatest despair in life comes from reaching your dream and discovering that’s all there is.

I’ve always liked the Bible story of the rich young ruler, who had everything a person could want – fortune, good reputation, power and influence – but he was missing the most critical thing – a relationship with God.

Over the years, as I tasted success and found it empty, I have become more and more convinced that everything the Bible says is true, and Jesus is exactly who He says He is. In fact, I’ve based my entire life on Jesus being who He says He is – the Savior of the world.

Jesus said, “Come, follow Me.” And I have. And in Him alone I have found peace.   Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is something you can always rely on. I’m going to make mistakes, maybe miss a kick or whatever, but I know no matter what, I have my relationship with Christ. And that’s the most important thing of all.

 

Great stuff!  Do you think Jason claims that he is the hero of the story, or someone a lot bigger?  Most see his fortune, cars, and big house and believe it is only the skill and money.  Jason also has a marriage that lasts from 1992 and 3 children.   It makes one think.  No matter what you think of God and His Savior, you can’t deny the evidence.  You must get around people like Jason to truly see if it is real.  But where?  I get this opportunity with my friend and mentor, Bill Lewis .  He has all the success one would like, but consistently gives God the glory.  I would compel you to look into the depths of the Life Company.  Not the surface, but the heart is where the meaning lies.  They welcome your presence and your desire to be more.

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.

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Live from Hollywood — Forgiveness!

6 04 2013

I have been following Tullian Tchividjian for about 3 years now.  He is a powerful pastor and author.  His book, “Unfashionable” should be read by all.  He has a powerful way of preaching that appeals to many including myself.  Tullian has an active blog that I follow to gain insight.  On March 22nd, he had an entry called the “Fruits of Grace“.  I started to read the article when it diverged into a recent event in Hollywood.  Now I am very grateful for what the movie industry has done in bringing fiction and non-fiction alive.  I am consistently amazed at the imagination of men and women who work in the motion picture business.  They have a great eye for detail and in keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Recently (and maybe always) the people of Hollywood have been a little less active in their profession and more active in the downward spiral of America.  They tend to have a large influence on the minds of Americans in this media focused world.  (Remember that this is my opinion)  But I love it when I see truth being projected from those whom face is in the lights.  Too many people expect the actor/actress to be same off camera and on.  I expect them to be real and to show their real side.  And that their “fruit” in life tells us how much or who they can coach.

Well, in the recent blog by Tullian, we see an amazing act of forgiveness and also, an expectation of forgiveness from others.  Robert Downey, Jr.  was given the “American Cinematheque Award, a prize given to an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures”.  A mouth full to say the least.  Most of us know Mr. Downey,Jr from the 80-90’s and recently with the Sherlock Holmes series and the Iron Man series.  He is probably considered one the top names in Hollywood right now.  With receiving this award, Robert can ask anyone he chooses to present it on stage, and he choose Mel Gibson.  Most of us have heard bits and pieces of Mel’s quick drop from the top.

With all this being said, here is Downey’s acceptance speech:

I asked Mel to present this award to me for a reason. Because when I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith—didn’t have to be his or someone else’s—as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired so he cast me in the lead in a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head, and he kept food on the table. And most importantly, he said that if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly—”hugging the cactus” he calls it—he said that if I “hugged the cactus” long enough, I would become a man of some humility and my life would take on new meaning. And I did and it worked. All he asked in return was that some day I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume that at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him. Or that some day was tonight.

Anyway, on this special occasion… I humbly ask that you join me—unless you are completely without sin (in which you picked the wrong… industry)—in forgiving my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate you have me, and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame. He’s hugged the cactus long enough. [And then they hug].

Wow!  What an act in the bright lights.  At complete risk of his own career, Downey gives and asks forgiveness.  Someone at the bottom and someone at the top can work!  What if we used this as an example of grace in our life?  What if we were to give more hands up and less hands out?  What if we were to truly give from ourselves and expect nothing in return? Our neighborhoods can be like this once again.  It just takes you.  The whole “Pay it forward” theory.  My friends and mentors in the Life company believe in the motto of “making a difference”.  Check it out for yourself and you will see it LIVE.

God bless,  Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart!