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Faith in the workplace? ESPN announcer Dan Orlovsky says yes

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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January 13, 2023 4:15 am

Faith in the workplace? ESPN announcer Dan Orlovsky says yes

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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January 13, 2023 4:15 am

After publicly praying on ESPN for Damar Hamlin’s accident, Dan Orlovsky shares how prayer in an NFL locker room changed his life too. And why he models faith at work.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

So before we get started today, I got a question for you.

Best thing about the Family Life Weekend to remember getaway? I think the best thing is we seldom take time to evaluate our marriages or even to think, God, what do you have to say about our marriage? It's hard to pull away. And in a culture that we're so busy and bombarded, even with our devices in our hands, it's a time just to kind of analyze, how are we doing? Yeah, and all the things we put energy into. You think about it. We say our marriage is, if not the most important thing, it is definitely top three.

Jesus hopefully is number one, but it's one of the most important things we'll ever do in our life. And it's hard. And so few of us ever put energy into it. It's like, yeah, my body matters. I'm never going to work out.

I'm not going to eat right. Of course you're going to eat right and work out. And the same thing's true about a marriage.

Like, when are we going to put time in to say, we got to really work on this relationship? So all that to say, you can right now get a half off registration to go to the weekend, remember? And you can go to any one you want in your own city, in another city, a destination, whatever you want. Go online right now, the Sign up, maybe even surprise your spouse if you want. Ooh, that's a good idea. And say, man, sign up. I can make you a promise. And you know what I'm going to say. This will transform your marriage. It will be better as a result of getting there and letting God do His work in your marriage at the weekend to remember.

So do it now. Sign up. 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 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. 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 the Family Life app.

This is Family Life Today. So yesterday we talked about something that took place on an NFL football field last Monday night, which was when Damar Hamlin, a player for the Buffalo Bills in a Monday night football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, almost died on the field. He collapsed from a cardiac arrest. The medical staff for the Bills basically saved his life. And that incident caused a national attention about, first of all, this man's life.

And he's doing really, really well. The entire nation sort of stopped and watched that Monday night. But then it became a story all through the last couple of weeks of people, I think, looking vertical. Don't you think they sort of stopped and said, hey, there's more to life than a football game? Yeah, I think it was pretty inspiring to see how many people were actually saying we need to pray for him.

Like that, that doesn't always happen. Yeah, especially as a result of a football game. But, you know, one of the interesting things that we talked about yesterday is people were saying my, my thoughts and prayers are with Damar. My thoughts. I mean, you heard that from national celebrities.

You heard that from people at the grocery store. Everybody was thinking about Damar and saying my thoughts and prayers are with Damar. And then on Tuesday, as we talked about yesterday, our friend Dan Orlowski, who used to be a quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and I knew him because, you know, I was the chaplain for the Lions for many years. And now he performed his wedding. Yeah, he and Tiffany. I officiated his wedding back in 2000.

I think it was like six or seven or eight. Anyway, he's now with ESPN as broadcaster, has a great career. He did something on Monday, or excuse me, on Tuesday, the day after. I don't think it's ever been done that I know of on a national sports program where he just sort of said, you know, you know what, we played this yesterday, but maybe you missed it. And if you missed yesterday, listen to the whole program. But we're going to play it again for those of you that might have missed it. But listen to what Dan did the day after on ESPN's NFL Live.

This is a little bit different. I've heard it all day, like thoughts and prayers. And you just heard Sheriff and Jonathan Allen say, like, all we can do is pray for him. And I've heard the Buffalo Bills organization say that we believe in prayer. Maybe this is not the right thing to do, but it's just on my heart that I want to pray for. It is.

Damar Hamlin, right now. I'm going to do it out loud. I'm going to close my eyes.

I'm going to bow my head, and I'm just going to pray for him. God, we come to you in these moments that we don't understand, that are hard, because we believe that your God and coming to you and praying to you has impact. We're sad. We're angry.

And we want answers, but some things are unanswerable. We just want to pray. Truly come to you and pray for strength for Damar, for healing for Damar, for comfort for Damar.

Be with his family to give them peace. If we didn't believe that prayer didn't work, we wouldn't ask this of you, God. I believe in prayer. We believe in prayer. We lift up Damar Hamlin's name in your name. Amen.

Amen. So after Dan did that last week, I texted him immediately. I could read my text, but it basically was, what a bold move.

Way to go. I don't think I've ever seen anybody do what you just did. I mean, that took guts. He texts back right away, and then I ended up talking to him later, but he texts back and said, Dude, I just kept hearing in my head, reject passivity, reject passivity, reject passivity.

Which you've been preaching for years and years, and you would even preach that with the lions. Yeah, every season I would do a thing, which I borrowed from Robert Lewis, who wrote a book called Raising a Modern Day Night. And, you know, I talked about the four pillars of manhood, and one of the pillars is a real man rejects passivity. You know, we have a tendency to be passive and not act and sort of just stand there when there's moments when a man, and women can do this, too.

Yeah, for sure. Need to step up and do the right thing. But let's just say that is a risky thing to do in our culture today. Like, to bring God not only into the workplace, but to national TV?

Like, whoa. Yeah, and as I watched him do it, and I feel the same way even 10, 12 days later, I think he modeled for millions of Christian men and women what it looks like to be a Christian in the public workspace. How do I exhibit my faith? Now, you don't walk up to somebody in a cubicle and start praying for them, although there are times where that's appropriate as well. I would do that.

Yeah, you would. And so sometimes that's the right thing to do, but man, in this moment, you can even hear his co-host saying, yes, yes, this is the right thing. They knew this is the right thing to do, and it was a powerful moment.

It's motivated me to be a stronger man of God in public space, and I think this program is going to help all of us know how to live as a Christian in situations when God calls us to reject passivity, step into a moment, and do the right thing. Well, the cool thing about Dan is, too, that you actually called him and said, hey, we would love to interview you about this, but he refused because... Yeah, he's not on the program today because he said, this has become way too much about me. This needs to be about Damar, the player who was injured. And man, that, again, just shows you his character. But it's going to be about him anyway today because we are going to play part two of a program that we recorded years ago with Josh McCown and John Kitna, who were two quarterbacks in the Shortlands locker room when Dan came in as a rookie. And then in Dan's second year, an amazing moment took place in his life, which tells you the backstory of why Dan would do what he did on NFL Live. So we want you to hear the backstory of Dan's conversion, which was a beautiful, beautiful thing.

And then you'll understand why Dan would do what Dan did. And I hope it inspires you to do whatever God calls you to do, whenever God calls you to do it. 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 he 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 shared 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 and I'm like, who is thinking about this right now in an NFL game? That's why we were 3 and 13. 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 the initial draw for me when it came to John and Josh was I had never been around anyone like them. Someone who they wanted to crush you when you competed against them and they never held back and they pushed you to the absolute limits.

But then they were amazing human beings to you and incredible husbands and remarkable fathers and great teammates. 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. 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 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 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 Kit's house like a couple of times a week.

Correct me if I'm wrong. I want to say 5 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. 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 the 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 Kitna's, 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 23rd 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 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 like 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 and 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 in 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 them that I had given my life to Christ and him and Josh actually both got me this Bible. You guys probably can't see it, but 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. Before he was saved, he was really trying to stump you with questions.

And I'm a black and white person. And a lot of times that would cause Dan and I would be kind of going at each other a little bit. And Josh was always right there to 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.

I think you're approaching this totally wrong. And it was literally Paul and Barnabas type stuff, like watching it happen and living it and knowing that Josh, it's like Proverbs, wounds from a friend can be trusted. That's what he was. And he's like, dude, 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 going to lose them.

You're saying truth, but the way you're saying it, you're going to lose them. And Josh was so good at that, at just really making sure he was very in tune with the pulse of guys in the locker room and collectively and individually. And it was Josh's idea, like, hey, let's carpool with Dre Bly and Dom Riola and 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 why we're supposed to do life in 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, is 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 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.

So, yeah, it's great to think. And I know you guys know the word so well. And, 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. And 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. 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.

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, right? 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 choose the foolish things to shame the wise and the weak things to shame.

Like he just, 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. It's freaking Jesus is walking in the NFL, wherever Josh goes.

And I want to add this. I mean, 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 you came back? Five years? Six 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. And 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. And 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. And 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. And you know what you meant to my wife and how we would just show up at your guys's house on Friday nights for date night and just sit on your couch and still to this day. But the space you created, not just for us, but for, you know, how many years were you there?

50 years? I am the losing this chaplain in the history that's been clarified by data. People are getting saved though.

They are. Do you ever wonder what you should be doing as a man? Like what even is masculinity? It's so hard to answer this day and age. Well, next week on Family Life Today, Dave and Ann Wilson talk about the four important pillars of manhood. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time 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 / 2023-01-13 09:34:08 / 2023-01-13 09:45:25 / 11

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