from Bruce Laverman:
You wouldn’t usually go to the Sports Page of the local newspaper for some sound advice on evangelism, but here it is from the Arizona Republic, Sunday. November 27, 2011, in an article by the newspaper’s sports columnist, Dan Bickley: “Warner’s advice to Tebow: Let your actions show your faith”
“Take a knee in victory, and the masses cheer. Take a knee in prayer—as Tim Tebow often does on a football field—and it’s another story. If the Broncos quarterback could see into the future, he’d be wise to tone down the religious rhetoric just a notch.
‘You can’t help but cheer for a guy like that,’ former NFL star Kurt Warner said. ‘But I’d tell him, put down the boldness in regards to the words, and keep living the way you’re living. Let your teammates do the talking for you. Let them cheer on your testimony…’
To date, Tebow has absorbed every barb without flinching. His strength clearly comes from his conviction, which is pawned by his religious beliefs, and this is where the story crosses some prickly boundaries…Undaunted, Tebow continues to flaunt his beliefs. During an ESPN interview, Tebow said: ‘Anytime I get an opportunity to tell (Jesus) that I love him or (get) an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m going to take that opportunity.’
Warner understands completely. After winning a Super Bowl with the Rams, he thanked Jesus on national television. It was the moment that defined the rest of his life and how we would live it.
For w while, Warner seized those live platforms, aware that networks often edited out his religious references in taped interviews. Then he learned some things along the way.
‘There’s almost a faith cliché, where (athletes) come out and say, ‘I want to thank my Lord and savior,’ Warner said. ‘As soon as you say that, the guard goes up, the walls go up, and I came to realize you have to be more strategic.
“The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say but how you live. When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life, people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”
Tebow should listen up, because Warner already has lived this story. He’s had coaches who felt religion was cutting into football time, telling Warner he spent too much time with the Bible. He saw how some fans were offended by the frequent shout outs to Jesus, that Warner somehow was suggesting that God was a football fan, caring more about and NFL quarterback than, say “a tsunami victim.”
It’s a tough subject. Some people recall; some people related. Some cheer, some jeer, some turn away completely. On his journey, Warner found his biggest impact on people came during his personal struggles, when he had no platform, when he was relegated to the bench and people witnessed how magnificently he handled demotions and adversity.
It wasn’t about words. It was words in action, the kind that speak volumes.”
Somedays, the Sports page is just where you’ll find what you’re looking for, whether you’re a pastor or a quarterback.
Reach Bickley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-444-8253. Follow him at twitter.com/danbickley. Listen to “Bickley and MJ” weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on KGME-AM (910)
ADDENDUM: Here’s a link to video of an interview Tebow did with ESPN’s Hannah Storm where he discusses Tebowing as a means of humbling himself: ABC Interview with Tim Tebow