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Leaving a Legacy of Enduring Faith

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 26, 2021 1:00 am

Leaving a Legacy of Enduring Faith

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 26, 2021 1:00 am

Dave and Ann Wilson continue their conversation with NFL players Dan Orlovsky, Jon Kitna, and Josh McCown. They talk about the lasting legacy of their years together in Detroit, not just playing football but also letting their light shine (Matthew 5:16). They offer wisdom to parents raising kids who play sports, answering questions like: "Should parents allow their children to play football given all we now know about head injuries (CTE)?" and "Should we allow our son to play travel baseball?

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

So it's the day after Thanksgiving. The lion's lost again.

Do you know what that means? The day after Thanksgiving? I'm depressed, the lion's lost again. I'm thinking shopping. I'm thinking Christmas is upon us. And that's even more depressing.

You're going to go spend money. I guess you're in a depressed mood today. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.

And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. I guess you're in a depressed mood today. I actually, I really was most Fridays after Thanksgiving because of these two things.

The lion's just lost and you're going to the mall. Every husband's dream. It's awesome for me. I love Christmas. I know. But the good thing is there's another game next week. So football's still going on.

And we're having fun with this because this broadcast is a little bit about football. But more importantly, it's about the spiritual life change that happened with three football players. And that life change wasn't just their lives.

Their ministry rocked our locker room. We're going to go back to a conversation that we had with John Kitna, Josh McCown and Dana Orlowski, three quarterbacks who were in the Detroit Lions locker room at the same time. And I tell you what, God did a miracle and it's still happening today.

And you don't want to miss this because this is a great life change story. Pretty amazing how God brought the three of you together in Detroit. But I want to get back to Dan's story a little bit because Josh and John, you came to me, I think one Saturday mid-season. Dan would know for sure, but you said, hey man, I think if you share the gospel tonight at chapel, Dan's ready. And I was just like, wow.

So that means not only are you guys praying and sharing with Dan in the locker room and in the quarterback room, but you're seeing some movement. So I share the gospel that night. And I didn't always have an invitation at chapel, but I did. I closed it and said, hey, tonight's your night.

Give your life to Christ. I hear nothing. You guys go to meetings. I go home. Next day, I'm on the sideline.

I don't know if you remember this, but Kit you're running over to go on to the field after a punt offense, taking the field. I'm standing there. Dan's got the headset on. Josh is up there and you literally run by me.

Kit, you remember this? You go, hey man, ask Dan what happened last night. You run on the field. I'm like, who is thinking about this right now in an NFL game?

Yeah, exactly. But I walk over to Dan during a timeout and I'm like, dude, what happened last night? And he goes, dude, I gave my life to Christ. I'll tell you later. So Dan talk us through this. What happened? Well, we got to go back in time a little bit because we were as competitive as three human beings could be. And I think that was like the initial draw for me when it came to John and Josh was I had never been around anyone like them. Someone who like they wanted to like crush you when you competed against them and they never held back and they pushed you to the absolute limits. But then they were like amazing human beings to you and incredible husbands and remarkable fathers and great teammates like I did.

I never been around someone that could want to knock you down and help you up at the same time in every aspect of your life. And I think that was like my initial draw to just sitting back and going something that they have is like I've never seen before. And so I'm watching them and my thoughts are starting to, you know, kind of figure out like, OK, there's something different about them. So I start I start to ask them questions about the way they live their life and why they live their life.

And, you know, they're both incredibly open and transparent about it all. And so I'm that annoying young player that I'm asking more non-football questions than football questions, really. And so, you know, they really both just decide to like start inviting me into their lives and start kind of answering the questions with actions. And Kit kind of takes me under his wing of discipleship. And I start going to Kitten's house like a couple of times a week.

Correct me if I'm wrong. I want to say five a.m. or something like that. And so it's five o'clock in the morning. I'm going to Kit's house and he starts me off. I remember the first time we did it, he said, I want you to read First John Chapter one.

And so I'm like, all right, where's first John? You know, like, you know, so. And so I was kind of on this journey. I didn't want to believe in Christianity strictly because like the quarterbacks of my team did it.

And, you know, I thought that was my way to play in the NFL for a long time. And so I asked a lot of unique and difficult questions and I kind of really dove into this studying because I like I'm like you, Wilson, in many ways skeptical and try to prove people wrong type thing. And so read First John and Kitten is, you know, discipling me through it. And then he asked me, all right, now you're going to read acts.

And so I read acts. And so we're going on this journey month after month. Meanwhile, sprinkling in Bible study on Thursdays and the couple study me as a single person on Monday nights.

So I'm going to all these studies. Kit is discipling me one on one in the mornings. And then obviously we're with each other almost every single day. We're playing golf with each other all the time.

We're playing hoops with each other all the time. And so in many ways, they were discipling me with the actual Bible. And then they were discipling me with their actions and their words in their everyday life. And so that September twenty third of 2006 is my second year. And I'm pretty into I'm on fire at this point and pretty into my discipleship and whatnot. And it's we're in chapel that night and I'm sitting somewhere in the middle of the room. And I just remember you going like, guys, I don't normally do this, but it's put in my heart that I should give someone the opportunity or anybody the opportunity to accept Christ tonight. And I remember sitting there and going.

No way. I think Wilson's talking to me, but I'm not going to say anything. So he's like, all right, you know, close your eyes and repeat after me. And I'm just looking around and no one's doing anything. And I'm repeating the prayer. But I'm like, I feel like this is strictly to me, like I'm getting this nudge in my back to actually say something. And I'm like, no one's touching me. I feel like he's talking to me.

So, you know, that is the night in the process of me giving my life to Christ. And I didn't tell anybody that night. And I woke up the next morning and I remember running around the field and pregame and just having this freedom, this like weight lifted off of my shoulders, this joy. And I remember Kit coming up to me and being like, what's up with you, man? And I was like, nothing. You know, I was like a nine year old who just got some kind of cool video game or something.

Nothing. And, you know, through a couple of minutes of conversation, you know, I told him that I'd given my life to Christ. And him and Josh actually both got me this Bible.

You guys probably can't see it. Yeah. It's the archeological Bible. I'll never forget that. Yeah. You guys gave me this Bible shortly thereafter and wrote like personalized notes in it to me for brothers in Christ or born in Christ and really cool stuff.

Yeah, it's pretty cool. The other day, Dan, your text to John and Josh and I, the group text was if you had been drafted somewhere else, you don't know who you are today. What did that mean? I was heading down a path of becoming everything I did not want to become when it comes to being a husband and being a dad. I don't think I would have been bad at it, but I knew I was going to become what I didn't want to become with it. I was going to cheat on my wife at some point, whoever that wife was going to be. I was going to cut my kids down and belittle them and intimidate them and kind of become this version of myself that was my greatest fear. And when you look back at like, man, why did you get drafted by the Lions in 2005 and the weather stinks and our team stunk? And as I went through this process with you guys, with Josh and Dave, you know what I realized was like I never went to the Lions for football. If I had gotten drafted by the Bears or the Chargers or someone else, I more than likely would have ended up being exactly what I didn't want to end up being. But because somehow God decided to put me in Detroit and Kit in Detroit and Josh in Detroit and the Wilsons were there. It just changed my life. It changed my kids lives, changed my wife's life, and I don't know where it goes from there, but I just know if it wasn't for that, if it was to 31 other teams, I'd be a loser, dude. You know, in many ways, and it's hard for me to try to put into words on a daily basis, like how thankful I am that I went to Detroit because of that time, I didn't become what was my biggest fear of becoming.

Hearing you share your heart and God knew exactly what he was doing. Obviously, he always does, but to put Josh and I there at the same time, because Dan was skeptical and Dan likes to argue and Dan likes to bring up stuff like before he was saved, he would he was really trying to like stump you with questions. And I'm a black and white person, like it's just like, and a lot of times that would cause Dan and I would be, you know, kind of going at each other a little bit. And Josh was always right there to kind of kind of come and soften a blow for Dan, but then also to grab me behind closed doors and say, I think you were wrong there.

And I think you're approaching this totally wrong. And like, it was literally Paul and Barnabas type stuff like watching it happen and living it. And like, knowing that Josh, it's like Proverbs, a wounds from wounds from a friend can be trusted. Like, that's what he was. And he's like, dude, like, and it wasn't just Dan, there was multiple guys in the locker room like that, that Josh would be like, look, man, you're gonna lose him.

You're saying truth, but the way you're saying it, you're gonna lose him. And Josh was so good at that, that, you know, just really making sure he had the, you know, he was very in tune with the pulse of guys in the locker room and collectively and individually. And, you know, it was Josh's idea, like, hey, let's, let's carpool with Dre Bly and Dom Riola. And, you know, like, stuff like that. He was just unbelievable that way.

I'd never seen it. And you got to understand, I was at the end of my run. But it was just, it was amazing to see how God orchestrated that. Yeah, I just think it speaks to community. And while we're supposed to do life and community, because we all have different skills. And as believers, obviously, we have different gifts and, and those things are needed so that God can draw people to Himself. And that's what for me that year, more than anything, it's just like, all right. I think some of the things that I saw in John, like, I admired, like, he was, he was so firm on things and could, and I was, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.

And, you know, I mean, and so I think those are things that I walked away from that year, like, getting better at, you know, and growing as a man in that, in that regard, and understanding that. But there was always a need to bring it together. And it was just the combination, I think, allowed us to be able to use each other's strengths and gifts for God to amplify our gifts and glorify Himself. Yeah, it's great to think, and I know you guys know the word so well in John, it talks about Jesus coming in grace and truth.

And that's what I watched you model. There was a truth that was firm and strong. And there was a grace. And I'm not kidding. I've rarely seen the kind of joy and laughter and acceptance that was in that locker room with you guys at the same time.

There was no compromise in the truth. But there was, that's why I said the locker room leaned toward, I mean, they're playing cards over by you guys. They didn't play the other side of the locker room. They played by— Because joy is contagious. Joy is contagious. And they wanted to be around Josh's joy and laughter and Kit's truth.

And it was just the gifting of the body of Christ was so real that it drew Dan and others. And think about this. I mean, I know you know this, but the legacy of you guys, I mean, I watched you now as husbands, as fathers with your sons and daughters. And you each have an amazing wife. Each of you. Like your wives are incredible.

Yeah. And so, I mean, I would just say for Anne and I, and I don't know if we've ever said this to you privately, but we love you guys. And we thank you for that year.

It was in 33 seasons, one of the best, if not the best year of our lives. Watching you guys do the ministry. It wasn't our ministry. It was God's ministry through you. We called it the year of Jubilee.

We called it the year of Jubilee because we ended up with a car at the end of the year, and that was pretty special too. Hey, you know, the whole time you guys were talking, I was thinking of Matthew 5.14, because you guys and your wives were this to the Detroit Lions that year. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. I don't know if I've ever seen that lived out so well as all of you, and you're still doing it. I think that's perfectly timed, Anne, because one of the most appealing things through all of it, for all of us that were part of that, was Josh and John never wavered.

In the midst of absolute darkness, when it comes to our everyday life, what we were doing with our jobs, it was a struggle. There were multiple opportunities for those guys to waver and for it to look fake. There was never a wavering of Josh's joy. We practiced as hard as we possibly could, and we lost 35 to 14 or something like that. Never a wavering with Josh's joy.

Or practice as hard as we can, and we get beat by whatever. It was never a wavering in kitness truth. It was never the circumstantial thing, dependent on if we were playing good, if we were winning every game. I think so many of us, certainly for myself, that was such a defining aspect of it. That's when it was real. When everything pointed for you not to be that way, you guys were that way. It was hard to be that way, I would imagine, given the circumstances we were in. That's what was the craziest thing to me at that time, was how the circumstances of what we were going through had no impact on your foundation of who you were.

The thing that, and I tell this all the time, such a part of my testimony in the Lord, which is it was literally like watching the Bible just come to life. Dan said four years, that was his four years. My two years and four games inside of that, and then Josh's one year inside of that, and the reverberation effect of what happened there. Dave, you said 25, and I think it was somewhere around 25 that one year. I was at PAO three years after that, and a teammate that was in Detroit that I'd never had one conversation with comes up, I want you to baptize my wife and I. The last I counted was 39 people that got baptized because of what happened that year.

Again, it was just so fun because it was God. Like Dan said, four years for him, three years basically for me, 10 games. We won 10 games in three years.

By all accounts, it's a complete disaster. I'm not speaking for Josh, but I'm pretty sure Josh came there and was lied to why he signed there. I'm almost positive. We've never even talked about that, but I'm pretty sure Josh was lied to. But God got him there somehow because God chooses the foolish things to shame the wise and the weak things to shame the wise.

He did that. 39 people are getting baptized, and then that's not talking about, like Dan said, his family and his wife and his kids. Now you watch what Josh is doing. Jesus is walking in the NFL, wherever Josh goes.

I want to add this. We've talked about the legacy, but what John and Josh, you guys don't know, is when Dan goes away from the Lions, traded, and then comes back. How many years later, Dan? Was it before he came back? Five years?

Six years? Yeah, he comes back six years later, and guess what he is in that locker room? He's now John and Josh.

He led like you guys led. This guy who didn't know Christ now comes back and leads a revival in a different way, in a smaller way, but in the same way, hosts the Bible study at his house. Then John, you go on to coach high school football, and you're impacting kids around the country, and you're going to continue to do that through your own family and others.

Josh is going to play football until he's 60, and then maybe he'll coach high school football. I don't know, but anyway, your legacy is continuing on, and it's the way God designed us to do life. We are called to make a dent where we're sent. I'm telling you, Dave, you were the perfect person, because you just created this space for us. Come to my church, preach.

Of course, Josh and I were like, absolutely, let's do it. Guys are coming, and in chapel, you're giving us opportunities to lead, and in Bible study, and you're giving us just incredible stuff, the real man stuff. My whole coaching career is based on that, those four pillars of manhood. You know what you meant to my wife, and how we would just show up at your guys' house on Friday nights for date night, and just sit on your couch.

Still to this day, but the space you created, not just for us, but for how many years were you there, 50 years? I am the losing-est chaplain in the history of the NFL. That's been clarified by data. People are getting saved, though.

They are. You know, for a lot of families, football really is a big deal. Whether you watch it or play it, wherever you are in that continuum, it's very important for a lot of people. But I think what we've heard today is that even guys who play at the professional level, some of them understand where football fits into the reality of the rest of life. That football, even being a big deal, can't be the most important thing. It can't be an idol. That's something all of us have to be on guard against, not just with football, but with any activity, anything that you prioritize in your life that is a big deal to you.

You've got to make sure you understand where that fits into the totality of life. We've been listening today to three former NFL quarterbacks, John Kitna, Josh McCown, and Dan Orlovsky talk with Dave and Ann Wilson about a great spiritual movement that happened among the Detroit Lions years ago when God moved powerfully in that locker room. You may know somebody who's a football fan who would enjoy listening to this conversation with Dave and Ann and with these three former NFL players.

The podcast is available online at Now, I know for a lot of people, today is all about shopping with Black Friday. Isn't it Small Business Saturdays tomorrow? Monday is Cyber Monday. By Tuesday, you should be completely shopped out, I would think. Maybe Christmas will be done for you by Tuesday.

You'll have everything ordered or everything purchased for your family. Tuesday is Giving Tuesday, and I think you've heard about that, a day when we pull back and think about ministries or organizations, nonprofits that have been used in our own life, and we give back. Here at Family Life, we want to invite you to do your Giving Tuesday giving today. In fact, we're taking all of the giving that comes in this week and applying it toward Giving Tuesday. When you make your Giving Tuesday donation today, whatever amount you give is going to be matched dollar for dollar from a matching gift fund that's been made available to us here at Family Life, a fund that we are hoping to take full advantage of, and there's more information about that on our website at if you want to check that out. Not only will your donation be doubled, but we want to send you as a thank you gift a new devotional book written by Dane Ortlund called In the Lord I Take Refuge. 150 daily devotions through the Psalms.

You can start using this right away when you receive the book during the Christmas season and into next year. And we'll send you a deck of playing cards that include conversation starters for you and your spouse so that as you play cards or games together during the holidays, you'll have on those playing cards some good conversation starters so that it's more than just a card game that you're participating in. Again, all of that is available when you make a Giving Tuesday donation today here on Black Friday. You can go to to make an online donation. Again, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar and we'll send you these thank you gifts. And we just want you to know we appreciate you and are grateful for your participation in the Ministry of Family Life today.

And with that, we've got to wrap up for today. Thanks for joining us. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together with your local church this weekend. And I hope you can join us on Monday when we're going to look at the only way that Jesus describes himself in the Bible.

It's where he calls himself gentle and lowly of heart. Dane Ortlund will be here with us to talk about why that description is so significant and what we can learn from it. I hope you can be with us for that. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. Have a great weekend. We'll see you Monday for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-17 01:33:53 / 2023-07-17 01:43:47 / 10

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