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Experiencing Revival

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 25, 2021 1:00 am

Experiencing Revival

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 25, 2021 1:00 am

Dave Wilson is joined by former NFL quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky, Jon Kitna, and Josh McCown to provide an inside peek into their time together with the Detroit Lions. While they did not enjoy a lot of success on the field, they experienced a spiritual revival within their team. By the end of it, they saw over 39 players, wives, and children baptized for Christ. As Orlovsky describes it, all three players were psycho-maniacal, obsessive competitors on the field. But they embraced a higher mission as Christ-followers: to be incredible husbands, remarkable fathers, and amazing teammates.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

Do you know what time it is? It's time for... Football! I was gonna say turkey and family. I thought you were gonna say gratitude, which of course it is. Thanksgiving is a great holiday.

My favorite actually because it's so pure. Which is so interesting because for 33 years you're the Lions chaplain and for 33 Thanksgivings... I know you're gonna say I was never home for Thanksgiving. You were on the football field and you loved every minute of it, didn't you? Well, the ones we won, like two of them. But no, I mean we had a tradition because we were always, and we will be again this year, the first game on Thanksgiving Day is always the Lions. And so then we had dinner later.

And then we watched the other two games. Welcome to the Wilson household. 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. What's really exciting about this Thanksgiving is we sat down with three of the quarterbacks and their wives that we got a chance to lead spiritually when they played for the Detroit Lions. And we sat down with them and had a conversation about how God showed up in a big way through their lives and through their ministry.

It was John Kitna and Josh McCown and Dan Orlowski. And I should mention Jenny Kitna and Natalie McCown and Tiffany Orlowski because their wives were a big part of our ministry as well. But God really did something.

Well, you're gonna hear it. It's just amazing what God did, how he showed up in those guys' lives. And it literally changed our locker room, changed our team, and I think changed the city of Detroit. Pretty amazing how God brought the three of you together in Detroit.

I'll start with John. As you signed, it was the only time in 33 years as the chaplain of the team that we were asked by the general manager and the head coach to be a part of a lunch when John, you, and Jenny were coming in to be recruited, basically, to come to Detroit. How did we end up at that lunch and what happened? Well, I think for us, you know, it had been our second time going through the free agency thing. And so when we were coming up to Detroit, we asked them, you know, if there was a chaplain program, who it was, would we be able to meet them when we were there? So then that was the lunch time.

That's how that happened. And obviously they made sure your wife came with because that was like the sealer to the deal right there for my wife and for us. John, why was it so important for you to have Ann and me to be a part of that lunch? We never viewed ourselves as, like, NFL players. We just felt like we were Christians on mission, and God was using the NFL to move us. And so if there was a chaplain program, we wanted to know about it and kind of the fruit of the ministry that had been there before we got there. And so it was important for us because we just always have felt like we were on mission for the Lord in our career. So where did that mission mindset come from? Yeah, I mean, it happened, you know, started happening when I got saved. But then when I got to Seattle and my first five years spent in Seattle with Carl Payne, who was the chaplain there, and just his teaching on apologetics and why it's important to be able to defend our faith and to be able to give people answers for questions that are sincere. And so that's really kind of where it came from, just understanding that our life is not our own, and, you know, the Galatians 2-20 mindset. Well, I remember, John, first of all, when Dave came home and he said, hey, the Lions have asked us to have lunch with this possible quarterback and his wife coming in. I was in shock because I'm thinking, what?

Why would they care about us? And then when we sat down with you and Jenny and I happen to be sitting right beside Jenny in that lunch. Yeah, actually, nobody talked at all except you and Jenny. You guys sat over there the whole time.

I love her. Like, I hope they come because she just had this mindset of like, what would it look like to bring people to Christ, but also to grow spiritually together in Detroit. And that was really pretty new for us that someone had a mindset of like, what could this look like as a ministry together to reach people for Christ in the locker room and for the wives as well and their families. And then right after that, Josh, you end up signing. I don't know if I got the timetable right if you were before or after, John, but you guys both came in and, Josh, you had a similar mindset in terms of, I'm not just there to play football. Yeah, I mean, I remember, no, I didn't get to go to lunch with you guys. They asked and I was like, the chaplain's right to checks.

I mean, like, why do I need to meet with him right now? No, I remember, you know, locking up with Kit in the hallway there and just knowing like, okay, like these guys are here to compete for a job, but like, it was not even, it was just about, man, we're here to work for the team, but for the Lord. And so I think that was the biggest thing for me was just going there and I knew John, I knew his reputation and just really kind of, you know, for four years in Arizona had kind of understood a little bit of how to do ministry, but not like in a locker room where you're able to lock arms with a brother and be intentional about it. So that was the best part of that year for me was just that moment, you know, I felt like God, you know, knit our hearts in that moment to go be able to do that. And it was cool because there was a deep peace that surpassed anything that would transpire on the football field, but just more of what kind of what we felt like was to come. So I always look back at that time, very thankful and appreciative of that moment.

And so I got that right at the same time and not shortly after that, that we got met then and got to work. I'll never forget that either. I remember in the hallway between the indoor and the locker room and seeing Josh, I didn't know that Josh had been signed and it was just immediately like, I knew about his faith from Arizona and watching him and immediately in my mind, I was like, oh, God's up to something here because to put us in the same locker room, my eyes were just wide open. Yeah.

Yeah. So there was a sense of destiny. I remember with you, John, I think I'm remembering this right. It might've been Josh, but it might've been both of you. But I remember one of you putting your arms sort of around my shoulder as we looked at the entire locker room and you said, tell me about our ministry here. And I remember looking at you like, what do you mean our ministry here? And I thought this is one of the first times I've ever had a player walk in here and realize I'm not just here to win football games, which you were, and you were committed to that. But you were like, as you said earlier, John, I'm sitting here on mission.

This is a ministry. And I remember I looked at you and say, what do you mean? You go, you know, these guys better than I do. You've been here for years.

Tell me the landscape, who's open, who's not. Let's, let's go. Cause God's going to do something. And I remember just thinking, Oh my goodness, I think we're going to be on a journey this year because we have some leaders.

And so I was like, okay, what's God going to do? And then Dan Arlosky was there. He was a rookie the year before, and now he's in his second year and he's going to be in that quarterback room with you guys. So Dan talk about your thoughts as you meet your two new quarterbacks. Cause you know, they replaced the guys before you. And now you've got two new guys who, I don't know, what was that relationship like? I knew of both guys.

I didn't know them personally, but knew of both guys and I had known kit signed and I was still young. So, all right, John Kitten of the veteran comes in. Cool. Like that's the veteran guy. I'm going to learn from him. I'm going to be the starter here at some point. And then I remember when Josh came into the building and I was in the indoor facility and you could tell who's like mature and wise and who's really immature and knuckleheaded through this story.

I'm in the indoor facility in one of the back corner end zones and I'm doing the foot ladder working out and whatnot. And Josh walks in and I'm like, what's up? And I'm thinking to myself like, why is Josh McCown here?

I'm thinking I'm the backup quarterback. And he's like, what's up, man? I'm like, what's going on?

And I'm like, kind of like, I have no time for you right now. And we just chit chat for a little bit. Josh doesn't share with me that he's actually signed with the lions. And so I get done with my workout, but my mind is racing and worry is overcoming me. And I'm like, why is Josh McCown in our building?

And I sit down for lunch and I get word from somebody. I don't know who was, I was sitting with that Josh McCown sign. And I immediately thought to myself, I hate Josh McCown. I want nothing to do with them. I'm going to crush this dude.

Like I, why is he even here? The wildest thing was like, Josh treated me like a best friend the whole time. Now 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 could be very similar to me with their mindset. 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'd 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. Yeah. So they come in and they're obviously followers of Christ. They've talked about that.

They're on mission. Dan, where were you in your life at that time? I grew up in a traditional church home, but I was very much so the second year NFL quarterback who thought he had it all. And he was the man, at least externally. I was there, you know, like I was a womanizer and flaunting money, whatever money I had, totally insecure, making sure that people knew I was a quarterback in the NFL and just kind of, you know, whatever stereotype you had in your mind when it came to a young, immature, reckless adult with money. I was kind of that in my life.

And Dan, I will agree. Like you probably as you got to know them, you saw them as dads and as husbands. What stuck out to you in that realm? That was for me.

I had never experienced anything like that. I had never experienced someone who could be as driven as these guys were on the athletic field and as hard working in the football weight room and as incredible trash talkers as they were, but then like, actually like kiss their wife in front of their boys, hug their wife. And when I say boys, like their teammates, their buddies, not their kids, but like hug their wife, speak positively about their wife, you know, like talk about looking forward to going home and being home and spending time with those people. And then talk proudly about being a father and how important it was to them. And that, you know, the way they allocated their effort and their energy and their time, it was like, you know, family time and family time and family time and all the positivity that came from their mouths about being a dad and husband.

I was like, what? You guys like doing that stuff. Like you like being a dad. You love being a husband. You like giving your wife a foot rub.

You don't yell at your wife for, you know, not breathing the right way. And, you know, I had just never been around someone like that. And so that's why I was just like, I didn't know that guys were supposed to enjoy being married and supposed to actually love being around their wife and their children. And it's all these guys talked about.

Like it was all they talked about and then their actions followed it. And I would say like, you know, like what Kit says as far as like when he and I met in the hall and that feeling that we got, it was the exact opposite when I met Dan. So that's what I knew God was up to something because I was like, there's something deeply there's something deeply disturbed in my spirit for this guy.

And he was all those things that he said, but no, you could just tell, like it was I'm with Kit. Like you're, we were in a place where there was, there was fertile soil, man. It was, it was going to be, you know, something cool was going to happen.

Yeah. And so, you know, we're sitting here talking about it, you know, decades ago, sort of a revival started to take place in that locker room, including we'll hear Dan's story, but from John and Josh, what do you remember? What, what started to happen? Why did it happen? What do you, when you think back, and I know you've been on other teams and you played many and God's working in all kinds of different places, but in that one year, there's something pretty special to happen.

What do you remember? Well, I think first of all, it was just, you know, getting to meet you and having the Bible study and, and then just, you know, asking guys to go and obviously Dan's in the quarterback room. So we're going to definitely ask him. And I think what Dan, you know, was saying is, okay, is this how you last in the league this long?

So it was like, do I do, okay, I'll go and do this, you know, cause this might prolong my career more than anything. And I think, you know, and Josh and I, we weren't necessarily having conversations like, okay, Hey man, you know, you got those five, you got the, it was just like, let's just be us. And the, the talking trash and, you know, you show up at lifetime fitness and Josh is dunking on people and, you know, you come back in the locker room and you're playing spades and you're playing dominoes, but you're doing it without cussing and you're doing it without having to go outside of the word of God to compete. And I think, and that was from the guys in the locker room, some of the stories and some of the testimonies of listening to guys in the locker room, that was the thing that stood out from them. It was like, they'd never seen that. And, uh, I remember having conversations, uh, with, with some guys that were, you know, believers on a team and, you know, we're talking the same kind of thing that I was asking you, Dave, like, tell me about guys in this locker room. And there was guys in the locker room. They're like, look, man, stay away from that dude. That that's like, it's the closest thing to the devil as you'll ever find. And God reached those guys.

It was amazing. Uh, I guess to just put it in a capsule, like the, the Monday night couple studies that we had at the house and seeing 40 people in one house on a Monday night, that's just not NFL. It's not how it's done. And so it wasn't really anything that was like I was doing or Josh was doing, or you were doing. It was like, God was like, here you go. Here's a ministry for you.

Yeah. And I think too, like in the facility, Dave, I give you a lot of credit. You created a space of a Bible study that was a conversation more than it was just a study. And I think it was relatable. So it just was a continuance of what was happening in the locker room to where guys were then coming in and getting some good theology.

And then even with an on Monday night with the couples. So, um, so I think you guys were a huge part of, I don't think one, one happens without the other because there needed to be another space to go to that. God's voice was represented and you guys did a great job of that. So I think that was critical in the Bible studies. When we would get a guy to come that he wouldn't get uncomfortable because of your leadership, you guys have mentioned the Bible studies, right? So we did the Thursday afternoons and then the couples, the number one reason why that those became such a big deal and impactful.

And I'm probably speaking for others here, but I'm taking a stab at this is I had never encountered another man in my life who loved me. Like truly, I felt loved by, like I had with Wilson and McCown and kit that I didn't look at and go, eh, he's just soft, right? I mean, I'm a competitive, we're all competitive.

He's athletes. So we have a little bit, that was the first time that I'd ever been like, wow, that, that man literally loves me, but he's not soft. And there was something so appealing about that to so many of us in the locker room. That's one of the reasons why those Bible studies became the draws that they did in the Monday nighters that became the whole football team, essentially. Yeah. Our Monday night couple study in the past, you know, for decades had been, you know, 10, eight, maybe 12 people.

And that thing grew to, like you said, almost 40. I remember one night sitting in the, you guys remember it was in John's basement, but I remember sitting there and some wife was sitting there and I'm like, Hey, you know, we don't start for like 10 minutes. She's she's like, Oh, I drove, you know, we drive two cars. I'm like, what? Well, I got to get a seat. I'm like, so my husband comes later. And, and then I'll never forget.

This happened several times. I'd be sitting there and I'd look over and there'd be a player there. That'd be the last guy in the locker room I'd expect at Bible study. And, you know, and I'd be looking at her like, what, what is he doing here?

And so I ask him, and I don't know if you guys knew this, but I'd say to whoever, I'd say, Hey dude, what are you doing here? And almost every time they point at John or Josh and just go, I'm here because of them. They were what you guys just said, they were watching your lives. And I don't think they had ever really seen what Dan just explained. Well, it's funny what you just said. They were watching our lives, right?

Yep. Like literally guys would tell us that there were, we were working out in the offices, doing offices and workout. And it was one of those, like Jason would have the hardest workouts I've ever been through. And like, I never felt like I couldn't do it, but there was times.

And I had a guy, one of the young, younger believers on the team afterwards in the locker room was like, kid, man, I just want to come and tell you, you know, I just really feel like I need to challenge you. Cause I heard you cuss today. And I'm like, yeah, I don't think you heard me cuss today, man. No, no, we were working out.

We were doing that. And I heard you cuss. And I just really feel like, man, you probably should talk to the guys about that. And there was another guy in the locker room that said, nah, he didn't cuss cause I've been waiting for two months for him to cuss. So I follow him around waiting for him to cuss.

And then he ain't cussed. It's funny because you run into these guys, you run into Gerald Alexander, Ernie Sims and, and Dom Yulebach and Paris Lennon, like God somehow has kept that happening for me. And to listen to their testimonies 10 and 12 years later and hearing what God did in that, you know, that short amount of time, it wasn't even a full year, you know, eight, nine months and what he did and is still doing in the lives of these, these people is, but they were watching, they were watching. I remember one time walking into the, the guy study in the locker room and Calvin Johnson came running in and that day in practice, you guys remember it. I wasn't there, you know, kit, you went off on somebody, the defense gets, you know, it was a goal line deal and, you know, and we all been there, you know, where they're grabbing guys and doing stuff and you run up there and you're screaming and Calvin comes in and his comment is, I never seen a guy get so mad and not cuss. You never cussed one time you honored Christ even in that moment. And he just walked out of the room.

I'm like, what did, what just happened? But again, it struck him with Dan said strength, but under Christ. That's not something like that. I think we intend.

Okay. I gotta be a certain way. Like that's walking with Christ. We're called to be a peculiar people. Like that's what should be peculiar is that we can compete like crazy, like Dan is saying, and we can be angry without sinning and people should be looking and going, okay, what's different.

That's first Peter three 15. And that's what Carl Payne trained us on all those years in Seattle. Well, it's interesting too, because behind the scenes, my wife's Bible study that I had grew that year too. And it was pretty interesting too. As I talked to the wives, like, Hey, and it's exciting that you're here.

What are you doing here? And they're all like, we just want marriages like the kidneys and the McCowns. The bad thing was that everyone hated their own husbands because Jenny would be like, Oh yeah, John came and he rearranged the furniture on his day off. And then he bought me all these new clothes and all these wives are like, what are you talking about? But I think what they saw was the way a man, a Christ follower loves his wife and makes his wife and his kids a priority. And they were blown away by it.

And I think that's why all the wives wanted to come to these Bible studies and they're getting their husbands like, you need to be more like Josh and John. It was like the guys were feeling pressure as they watched and their wives were kind of watching as well. You know, the interesting thing is when I talk about that year, I say the locker room tilted toward the quarterback lockers. I don't know if you guys could see that. I'd walk in there and it's like the whole locker room was where you guys were.

They were drawn over there. They had Kit with his big Bible, blam, right there on his locker in your face. And they had Josh as this lover and jokester. I mean, I couldn't even start a Bible study without McCown ripping my shorts, you know, just making fun of me. I couldn't even get my opening line out. He'd be like, Hey, your shirt's too tight.

You know, when you try to show us your bias, I mean, it's like, what, what just happened here? But the whole locker room was just like pulled over there. And then, you know, by the end of that season, I think we baptized 20 or 25 players, wives, and kids, which was a beautiful thing. I know as I watch football today, which I'll do a little football watching today. I think most of us will. I will remember that there are guys playing in the games today where football is not their number one priority.

That doesn't make them any less competitive as athletes. It just means that they understand where Jesus fits into the whole story. And we've heard that today as we've heard Dave and Ann Wilson talking with three former Detroit lions, Dan Orlovsky, Josh McCown, and John Kitna, all three of whom were involved in a spiritual renewal that took place in the Detroit lions locker room over the course of a season. You may know somebody who is a lions fan or a football fan who would enjoy listening to this conversation with Dave and Ann and with these three former NFL players forwarded onto a friend and share this story with them. It really is a remarkable story and a great story to think about here on Thanksgiving Day. And I just want to make sure you know, as a listener, one of the things we are most thankful for here is you for your notes that we receive, your feedback, your encouragement, your support for this program. Thanks for tuning into Family Life today and making us a part of your lives.

We are grateful and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we're going to hear part two of what happened in Detroit years ago in the middle of a spiritual awakening among the Detroit Lions football team. We'll hear part two of Dave and Ann Wilson's conversation with Dan Orlovsky, John Kitna, and Josh McCown tomorrow. Hope you can join us for that. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. Have a great Thanksgiving and we'll see you tomorrow 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 11:59:10 / 2023-07-17 12:09:50 / 11

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