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Tackled by Faith

God 1st / Brian C Thomas
The Truth Network Radio
April 10, 2021 2:00 pm

Tackled by Faith

God 1st / Brian C Thomas

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April 10, 2021 2:00 pm

Elder James Faison joins the program in part 2 of our interview on his book "Tackled by Faith: When Sports and the Cross Collide." For Part 1, please listen to the second segment of last week's program entitled "Our Sacrificial Passover Lamb."

Guest: Elder James Faison (

Book: "Tackled by Faith: When Sports and the Cross Collide"

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Welcome to God First with Brian C. Thomas, a program committed to encouraging you to put God first while viewing life through the window of the Bible. Now, in honor of the one and only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let's join Brian C. Thomas for today's message. An honor and a privilege to join you each week on the God First program. My name is Brian Thomas, and today we have a special guest that is joining us, James Faison, who is the elder at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, North Carolina. He heads the God First Campus Ministries, and he's here today to talk about his book, which is titled, Tackled by Faith, When Sports and the Cross Collide, a Student Athlete's Guide to Success.

As you were a member of the football team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during your playing days. And folks, this is a bold warrior for the faith, a man that I just admire so much. And I just want to thank you, James, for coming on to talk with us on the program today. Brian, it's good to be here, man. Thank you again for this invite. Just looking forward to the discussion, my brother.

Absolutely. It is an honor, truly an honor to have you. Well, so this book that you wrote, you yourself, you are a student athlete, or maybe you could say a former student athlete. I don't know, maybe once one, you always won, but you wrote this book that is targeted towards student athletes. But there I think is something in this for everyone that everybody can glean from this. So I want to start by asking you the question, what was your motivation for for writing this book, Tackled by Faith, When Sports and the Cross Collide?

Yes, sir. Thank you again, Brian. And man, I'm excited just to talk about this book and the Lord, he definitely has a way to bring things back around and bringing everything into perspective. The reason why I wrote Tackled by Faith and for all the writers that are out there, you don't write a book to sell a million copies. The Lord had given me an assignment.

He said, look, I want you to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and what better way to do it than through a book. And so what I did, I combined my student athlete experiences when I was a college student over at UNC Chapel Hill. And I combined that with also with my campus ministry experience whenever I was in campus ministry as a student and then also just taking on a more of a leadership role in campus ministry. And so just combining the two of those and just have an opportunity just to talk about it and and share the good news of Christ. Man, it really it made all the difference in my life and continually it's making a difference as well in my life and my family as well.

And so I'm just glad I could share it with someone else through this book. You had a chapter that was titled The Power Behind the Purpose. What is purpose? You know, when I was writing this as well and I was talking about purpose, man, what came to my mind was just how a lot of people go throughout life and they keep asking, Lord, what is my purpose? What have you called me to do?

What is my assignment? And they're literally walking by people and they're walking by people every day and they're saying this to themselves and or and then the Lord, he just he opened up my eyes and said, James, your purpose is to be a disciple. He has given us all that assignment to make disciples. And that is the whole purpose of our life. And if we center our life around that, then everything else will fall into place. And so that was the whole reasoning behind the purpose.

But we miss out on it. Some people, they go and they purchase books. I'll say purpose driven life. They're searching out for purpose. And they they just look all over Matthew twenty eight, nineteen, where the Lord talked. Jesus Christ talked about the great commission. So we've been commissioned.

We have an assignment. And I want to encourage everyone, if you're still searching for your purpose, you're still searching for what the Lord has called you to do. Hey, evangelize. That's your purpose. But you got to live some person.

You got to you got to live right first before you can evangelize for you to share the goodness of God. You got to make sure that you live. That's right.

That's right. And, you know, so so we will talk about a little more as we go further. But so purpose, the purpose is not to make it to the NFL is not to make it to the NBA. It's not to do this or that. And I was listening, James, to a radio show a few days ago and they were revealing that this interview, they surveyed parents and they asked them, what is the goal for your child or your children? And less than five percent of them said to spend eternity with Jesus Christ. They said they gave all kinds of answers, like, you know, being a professional athlete or being some prominent lawyer, you know, things of that nature. Very few of them talked about the fact that their children, you know, wanting their child to have salvation, eternal life. And it's just to the point that you're speaking on, not just us wanting that for our children, but we should want that for everybody. We should be always looking to evangelize and making disciples for Jesus Christ.

So I just love that so much. What you are saying, you also you had a chapter on sacrifice and you mentioned the sacrifice that athletes make. Now, I played sports in school. The best that I could do was intramural basketball in college. I was not a real athlete like you are.

You play college sports. But just from the taste that I had, though, from from playing in middle school and high school level, that was a sacrifice, though. But I don't think it compares to what the friends of mine that I saw that played on a collegiate level to the sacrifice that they made. And so it is definitely a great sacrifice. But I want you to talk to us about what the sacrifice mean and then speak to what you define in the book as the ultimate sacrifice. Yes, sir.

Definitely. And while being a student athlete and that was a long time ago, I want the audience to know, look, I was student athlete years and years ago, but I can remember it vividly. Being a student athlete was literally a full time job. And thankfully, I had my head on straight whenever I went into college and and my parents also.

Hey, they stayed on me a lot as well, too. But. There was a lot of times, I mean, we just couldn't two days. Oh, my goodness, we you literally would eat, sleep and drink football all day long.

And this is just it took out a lot out of you. I mean, these are the times during. Matter of fact, it's right in the spring.

Right now, a lot of college students, student athletes that are playing football, they're going through spring training and they're getting ready for their spring game. And and it's two days. And this was my first time getting introduced to two days.

I've never experienced it before. Didn't think I would get tired of football, but I certainly did during those times. There was times when you hated it because they were the coaches would take your keys away from you.

Couldn't go anywhere. You had to just go to practice, study game to go back and study your material. It was lifting weights. I mean, it was a regimen. They literally gave you they literally made sure that you were going to be prepared for that spring game. And so I'm telling you, just the amount of effort that they put into it just to get you prepared and ready. I was just like, man, that was a big sacrifice because then there's a lot of a lot of kids. And I try to encourage these student athletes and I encourage everyone as well.

I'm just like, look, man, that's only going to be temporary for a short point of time in your life. And you've got to really make sure that not only are you making a sacrifice for four athletes, but you need to make a sacrifice where it really matters. And in the book, I talked about the ultimate sacrifice was John three, 16. Well, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son and whosoever believe in him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. And I will tell you, that's the ultimate sacrifice. And even as we're getting ready to celebrate Easter and we realize what Jesus Christ, he did on the cross for us. He demonstrated his love towards us while we were yet in our sins. Christ died for us. I'm telling you, that is the ultimate sacrifice. I don't care what we do in life, nothing will ever compare to what Jesus Christ has done for us. And we owe it to him to serve him as a result of what he's done for us. And so I'm just glad that I'm glad that he allowed me to write this book, to share this message.

But I'll tell you, this book is way far from being about me and it's pointing people back to the cross. Yeah. And like you said, you know, the sacrifices that we make in life when when we're practicing hard and your lungs are burning and you're tired and all that stuff. I remember playing basketball.

I coach when he would we would have days we go in the gym during conditioning and we walked out on the court. He was placed in a trash can at each end of the floor. And so everybody knew what that meant. You were going to run to the point that you were going to start puking.

So, yes, sir. But as bad as that was, it no way compares to the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We just cannot wrap our minds around the fact that our Lord, he came and died for our sins. We should have died the death that Jesus died. But the thing about it is we die that death because the Bible says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. But so we if we die, we would we would go to eternal damnation if we die without Jesus Christ. It if it had not been for his sacrifice. And that's something that James, you know, when I just think about the sins in my life, just me as one single person and think about Christ died for all of my sins.

And then you take that and multiply it by the billions of people that have ever lived. He took all that upon himself at one time when he went to the cross. And so, like you said, that is the ultimate sacrifice. I don't know if we can ever really fathom and really get a grasp on on what that really meant until maybe when we step into eternity and we we really see him face to face. Yes, sir.

You're right. And I tell you, it's man, it's it's not only we shouldn't only reflect on what Jesus Christ has done for us during Easter time. And I hope and pray that the audience, they don't just only look at it as, hey, man, this is the time where we reflect on what Jesus did on the cross, because it definitely is. But we need to think about this constantly every day and it'll lead us into how we should live our lives up because we're thinking about all the sacrifices that Christ has done for us.

So, I mean, this is 20. This is every day for us. It's definitely every day for me.

And I pray that it would be a relationship and for everyone else, not religion, but a relationship. Amen. Amen. Well said. And, you know, James, the thing that I picked up on you from you from the very beginning when I met you several years ago, you have a great spirit about you. You're the type of person that you see the joy of the Lord. It comes through.

It's very obvious. And when I was reading your book, you said that there was a coach that you had and he would get on for smiling during practice. And I chuckle because I have I have a little story to tell about that, too. But but speak to speak to us for a moment about this coach that would get on you about smiling in practice. Wow. Oh, my goodness, man. I tell you, I'm not I can't even name the coach.

I let people go in and read the book and you'll find out about the coach. But I believe it was definitely a test. It was definitely a test for me.

But at the same time, it helped me to grow my walk with Christ. But I'll never forget. I remember just like yesterday and I'll never forget. We're out and we're preparing for a game. This is it was game week.

So we're in preparation and we were running a play. And and the way that I get over making a mistake, I would just always kind of smile and just kind of move on. But the coach, this coach, he just he did not like to see me smile. He didn't. He was like, what you're smiling for?

Nothing to smile about. You just messed up on the plate. And at the time, I'll tell you this. I'm grateful to the Lord because at the time I was running on what with Christ and the Lord showed me how to how to respond to that. Because, I mean, life is 10 percent.

What happens to your 90 percent higher respond? Charles Wendell mentioned that. And I'm grateful that I knew how to respond because I'll just tell you this. I had a real good buddy on the team who this guy was a McDonald's All-American. He played basketball and he played football as well, too. He didn't know how to handle this particular coach.

And when I say this coach just literally took all of all of his life out of the sport. I mean, this guy, he was I'll just tell you this. This guy, he was better than Michael Vick.

Wow. He was the talk of the town out of Virginia. But I'll never forget it. This one coach just literally just took the wind out of him. And I literally saw it because the coaches talked down to him all the time. I mean, really gave him encouragement. And I'm praying for that coach. I pray that the Lord saved his soul and he got right with the Lord.

But at that time, that was just the way that he coached. But at the same time, I'm just thankful that the Lord showed me how to respond to it because it could have just killed my confidence and just could have just made me look at life in a whole different manner. But I just realized, hey, look, the joy of the Lord, it is my strength and I'm going to show him the joy of the Lord. And I kept right on smiling, even though he told me to stop.

I didn't get to play that much during that time. But hey, people, people, they still respected me for who I was and having a personal relationship with the Lord. Yeah, because I mean, you have that joy of the Lord, you know, it's just going to come through.

It's just going to show. And it reminded me of a time in which I mentioned earlier, I played intramural basketball in college. And so we had a team and we went out and played and I was out there and I was I was enjoying myself and I would talk to the opposing team, you know, during free throw breaks and things like that. And I would smile, maybe crack a joke or something. One of my teammates got mad about it, though. He started, you know, tearing into me like, hey, man, we we are here trying to win. Why why are you smiling and stuff?

I'm thinking, man, look, this this is not this is not my enemy. This is this is sport. This is a sport.

We are here. Of course, you know, we want to win. But this doesn't mean you can't you can't have a good time. I mean, the whole point of sports is you're supposed to have a good time.

Right. And so but when I read when I read your your your story, your account, it reminded me of that. And also, let me say this to folks. The high school that you went to, James, the Clinton Dark Horses, you all had some serious, serious football teams through the years. I remember back in my school, we I played basketball, as I said, and the football coach, he came to me a few times and tried to persuade me to come on to the football team.

And so I thought about it for a moment. But the only thing I could think of was big guys like you. And he wanted to put me as a wideout. He said, yeah, man, I could put you as a wideout. The only thing I could think about was going across the middle and looking back for for a pass and want to use like a safety.

One of you big guys, a safety or a linebacker hitting me with a blindside hit, you know, taking my head off. And after your team came and played high school in football, I remember one year in the playoffs, just as clear as like yesterday. And I just remember how you all ran circles around us. I mean, it was like every play seemed like it was 40, 40 yards here, 50 yards there. So you all had some awesome, awesome football teams. But I'm glad today that I stayed off the football field. I stuck to the round ball.

I don't like getting hit. But I'll tell you, just like just like you said, hey, look, Clinton really had some. And I'll say to that. Really, my foundation, it came from home, just really being centered in the things of the Lord. And it really came from home and then really knowing how to how to work hard for what you wanted in life. That foundation came from home. And so I'm grateful for the coaches back at home that stayed on me.

And then my parents who stayed on me as well, too, and just making sure that I did what was what was necessary. But, yeah, Clinton, we won a couple of state championships. I'll say that. And they won a few after I left as well, too.

Really, really good team and everything. But man, yeah, there was nothing like nothing like those times. But I'm grateful that the best time that I've had in my life have been since I've been living for the Lord. So I'm very excited about that. Yeah.

There's nothing like living for the Lord. You also write in the book, I want to I want to read a quote. You wrote, quote, Moreover, according to the New York Times polls, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that the divorce rates for pro athletes are high by common estimates among athletes and agents. The divorce rate for pro athletes ranges from 60 percent to 80 percent.

Let me read it again, folks. The divorce rate for pro athletes ranges from 60 percent to 80 percent. The New York Times article also mentions the reasons why the National Football League and other sports marriages fail. Rampant infidelity.

Women who target athletes, trophy wives, lifestyles not conducive to marriage and players being surrounded by entourages, which can discourage intimacy. End quote. Speak to that quote for us.

Yes, sir. Whenever I was doing that research, that was one of the things that that really made me really think about my future and where I wanted to go. And I'll be honest with you. A lot of young people, they'll say, man, I want to go to the NFL. I want to go to the NBA. I want to I want to do these things.

This is what I want to do. And only thing they see are the dollar signs. But they don't see the heartache and the headache that comes with divorces. Oh, man, these entourages coming in and taking over. And I'll tell you this. I had a lot of buddies that went and they played in the NFL and I mean, they made a lot of money from it as well, too. But I could probably name a one on one hand out of, I'll say, 10 of those guys that went to the NFL. How many of those guys are married? And it's probably only maybe three or four that are still married.

It just that audience in the Lord. He showed me after the fact, too, because if you don't watch out and you'll you'll say to yourself, man, maybe I've made the wrong choice. Maybe I should have went on heading to the NFL.

Maybe I should have tried a little bit harder. But then the Lord's like, no, if he would have done that, you never would have had the opportunity to write this book. It never would have been on my mind.

I wouldn't be married to the love of my life because my mind would just would have just been in a whole different different place. I'm just really focusing on football. But whenever I saw those statistics and I saw those things back in the day, I put them in the book for a reason, because I wanted people to see that, man, this stuff is this for real. And I mean, these came they came from really good sources. And those were some really there are some really good articles.

I'm doing the time whenever I came out with the book. And these things are still known known today as well, too. And so these are things that are they're trying to make improvements on it, but at the same time. It's still happening. It's definitely still happening.

It's a sad truth, but it's still happening. But I'm glad that I made the decision that I did. And so it was it was definitely God's plan and his idea for me to do exactly what I did. And so for anybody else out there that's thinking and questioning, man, did I make the right choice? Did I make the right decision? You can never make the wrong choice by submitting to the will of the Lord and following his plan. You'll always make the right decision doing that. Amen.

Amen. And what so many things came through my mind as I was reading this and one of the things I thought about is I remember back in college how so many women were just throwing themselves at these athletes. You know, it was like the glamorous life kind of thing.

And and you look at it. And like I said earlier with this interview or this survey of parents and what they said their goals were for their children. And it just brings back to my mind that no matter what you do in life, whether it's be a professional athlete or actor, actress, you can make a lot of money. You can have fame, you can have fortune.

But if Jesus Christ is not the center, those things are not going to satisfy. And I think that that is what this is just showing us to people that you may think getting to a professional level in sports, making a lot of money, being famous, being well known for for a woman. You know, women can also you know, they have professional sports, but but being married to someone who's who's a professional athlete, you may think, well, that's that's my goal.

That's my dream life. But you look at this divorce rate and it just lets us know that unless you have Jesus Christ at the center, then it's not going to work. And that doesn't mean that what we're saying here, folks, is that professional sports and Jesus Christ are are in opposition to one another because there are some who are very devout Christians that are professional athletes. But it seems as though more times than not, the focus is not Jesus Christ, especially when you're on that level. That's right. You're right.

You are 100 percent right, Brian. And and we're praying for for young athletes that are crossing over to that that next chapter of their life, because this is the one area where athletes are not prepared. I mean, a lot of them are not prepared to deal with the financial side of things, but most importantly, they're not prepared to deal with the spiritual side because they're number one.

They they they don't want to listen. And a lot of the guys, they go when they don't want to have a personal relationship with the Lord. The only thing they want to focus on is making that money and getting as many girlfriends as they can and just doing whatever they want to do. But those things, they catch up with you and you'll realize. And one of the statistics for the NFL, one of the things that is known for is NFL stands for National Football League, but it also stands for not for loan. Those guys only are only there for about their career average is about three, three and a half to four years, if that. And they are broke. Yeah.

They haven't saved any of their money. And so those are things that I'm I'm trying to encourage and moving over and just into the go pro in the area. But whatever you do in life, like you said, make sure Christ is the center and not focusing on the wrong things.

Don't try to even the corporate world, not trying to step up, climb up the ladder by stepping up over somebody else. I mean, there's things that we can take out of the book as well and just making sure we're getting to our goal in the right manner. And we can get there if we have the character of Christ. Well said. Well said. All right.

So I want to wrap things up by as you come to the conclusion of your book and then we're going to share with our listeners how they can get a copy of it. You speak on a new mindset. Why should we have the mindset of the three Hebrew Hebrew boys in the account of the fiery furnace?

Yes, sir. The three Hebrew boys, they had a mindset that, look, no matter what happens to me in life, no matter what trial, no matter what challenge that I'm facing. I can still make it through life because I realized that, look, God, he's I believe God so much to the point that even if he doesn't deliver me out of whatever I'm going through in life, I'm still going to trust. I'll trust him no matter what.

And it's almost like you can even add in there. What the apostle Paul said, I've learned the secret of being content and whatever situation that I'm going through. And he said that, look, the reason why I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me is because I learned how to be I learned what it is to be rich.

I learned what it is not to have not to have much for the three Hebrew boys in their in their account. They just let they let King Nebuchadnezzar know that we're going to trust God no matter what. We know that he can do Jesus Christ. He can deliver us out of this fiery furnace. But if not, let it be known that we're not going to bow down.

And I want to I want to tell the world I want to tell the listening audience, most importantly, that, look, you don't have to bow down to the world's influences. You don't have to bow down to things that are that are not like Christ. If you serve the Lord, he is going to look out for you. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And all of these things shall be added unto you. Put God first.

I'm just like with your station. You put God first and he's going to work everything out out for you when it comes to your career, when it comes to your marriage, when it comes to your family. You put God first.

Everything else will fall into place. Amen, brother. Well, James, you have just wet our appetites here. So share with the listeners how they can get a copy of this this great book that you've written.

Yes, sir. Please, everyone, go to Amazon dot com. You can purchase my book from there.

It's called Tackle by Faith When Sports and the Cross Collide Student Athletes Got to Success. You can also get the book from tackle by faith dot com tackle by faith dot com. But definitely check it out on Amazon and tell your friends about it as well and share the book.

And I'll say this as well, too, Brian. I've had some some friends that came and reached out to me. I mean, I wrote this book. I published it back in 2013, if I'm not mistaken.

It's been a couple of years ago, quite a few years ago. But I've been having people still reaching out. And I thank God for you for reaching out as well, too. And people are just saying, hey, man, this this thing has really blessed me.

And how it's even touched some even some other young athletes as well, too, and just touched some older people as well, too. So, man, I thank you for the opportunity. Yes, sir.

Yes, sir. Well, the book is definitely a blessing. I know it blessed me personally, and I know it's going to bless anybody else that picks it up and read it. So I want to commend you.

I applaud you. I thank you for for following the leading of the Holy Spirit to author this book. And again, people, we want you to pick up this book and to read it, because, again, there's something in there for everybody.

This is a book for everyone. And student athletes, please take heed to the things that you say and don't do things today that's going to ruin your future. It's so important. We tend to think that we're going to be young forever and that things we're doing now, there are no consequences. But there are consequences. There's so many people that look back on life now that had been down that road that you're on right now.

And they look back and they say, I wish I had did things differently. So please heed to the words of Elder James Fason. So, James, I want to thank you for joining us again. You have been a blessing to us. And I pray many blessings upon you and your ministry and this book to your family. Thanks again for coming on.

And we'll be talking with you soon. Thank you, Brian. Again, for having me. And God bless you and your family as well, too, my brother.

All right. Thank you. And to our listeners, I want to thank you for tuning in with us. Please come back next week as we continue to encourage you to put God first while viewing life through the window of the Bible. Until then, remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless God's great nation of Israel. To the only wise God be glory through Jesus Christ forever.

Amen. You've been listening to the Bible teacher, Brian C. Thomas, founder and president of God First. Brian and God first reserve all copyright protection under applicable law. Our copyright policy is available at our Web site, God first dot org. Until next time, remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless God's great nation of Israel and seek first the kingdom of God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-03 05:40:48 / 2023-12-03 05:53:13 / 12

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