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An Outreach of Giant Proportions

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2022 1:00 am

An Outreach of Giant Proportions

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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May 21, 2022 1:00 am

Today Nikita is joined once again by Larry Kerychuk and this time along side his wife Wendy. Listen as they describe God's road for the lives and His plan for Larry in his professional sports career.

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This is the Truth Network. Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is set for one flaw. Introducing first, from Lithuania, he weighs 123 kilos, the Russian nightmare, Nikita Kolod.

Now, the Devil's Nightmare. Welcome back to another episode of It's Time to Man Up. Welcome back for part two. We had to do a part two with the legendary Larry Karachuk, the Canuck Karachuk, the Canuck from old Canada. Larry Karachuk, welcome back, Larry, to The Man Up Show.

Thank you, it's an honor to be speaking with you today. Well, you know, in part one, Larry, we gave some history going back to the days of your family in Russia. Your family was from Russia.

I was not from Russia, but your family was from Russia. And so for those who may have missed the first episode of the first part of this interview, please go back and listen to that. You're going to want to hear some amazing stories of Larry's upbringing and his background that led into a college football career at Idaho State. And we're going to kind of pick up there, Larry, because you said, you know, you get a full scholarship, you know, a jaw-dropping offer.

I say jaw-dropping because, you know, your dad, you know, didn't think you would ever make it in sports, but you proved him wrong in that. And so you have this full scholarship to Idaho, but then that leads you back to Canada for a career in the CFL, right? The Canadian Football League. Right, right. So, you know, it's interesting, back in the day, they would actually have me playing at training camp. They'd bring me into training camp, and they actually paid me, which was illegal.

I didn't tell anybody. Right, right. Between my freshman, sophomore year, and then before my junior year, I was actually at the camp itself with the pros. And even then, I just knew I knew I'm going to be playing. And, you know, so I was excited about that as well.

Okay, hold on. But back to college. You know, it's interesting because the Canadian football is a little bigger, a little longer, I think. The field, yeah. And the field, of course, is wider. 25-yard end zones, like through 20 now, if I'm not mistaken. But just throwing past deep comeback patterns and different, you know, hooks and out and up and whatever, you know, it's just, you know, you adapt to that ball and that length of field and everything else, you know. But then when I went back to Idaho, the field is like 52-wide, smaller ball.

I mean, dang. We had Eddie Bell as a receiver. He played with the Jets with Joe Namath. First game, he played with the Jets.

He tied Maynard's record 13 receptions. Nobody could cover this guy. They called him the flea. But I remember throwing like deep comebacks to him and stuff. And so it was higher elevation, smaller ball, smaller field. It was like playing on a tennis court almost. It was unbelievable. That's crazy.

It was a big help just between the transition of up there and then coming down to Idaho. Oh, okay. So hold on a second, though. So for our listeners, for our audience, hold on. So you were, I mean, you would have been in today's world, you know, they have their high school ratings and all that sort of thing. And, you know, whatever they call them, blue chippers and whatever names they have for them, you know. I mean, on the depth chart, you were such a standout in college. Hold on.

I want people to understand that. You were such a standout in high school. You go to Idaho, you're playing college ball. But I just heard you say like your freshman, sophomore, junior year, you're going back up to Canada and playing the... Well, I was actually in training. He was in training camp. Yeah, but still, still you're in training camp. Yeah, they called me up to... With the pros. Yeah, so that was amazing.

Well, yeah, it is. In fact, my first marriage, we were on our, we went on our honeymoon up to Banff, Alberta, and I get a call from the Eskimo football team. And one day, and I'm back at camp, and I said, hey, sorry, I've got to go to camp.

They need me. So I ended that one at Brockley. But that was as part of my testimony.

Part of your story, part of your story. How important it was in my life back then. But I think part of my challenge is, I was just so versatile because I could play receiver, defensive back. I held for every team I ever played for, and I punted. I was a punter. And so, and Canada, you know, again, you only got 32 players back then on the roster.

So being able to play all these positions, it was a blessing and a curse in a way too. You're listening to the Truth Network and Nikita Kolof here, and I am excited. Did you hear the huge announcement, the big announcement? Well, maybe it's a minor announcement. Anyway, Facebook, go look up my new fan page, Nikita Kolof Fans, and like it and follow today.

You're listening to the Truth Network and Because, you know, after my junior year, and I'd broken all the school passing records. And then I decided to come back home. I had an altercation with the quarterback coach. And I was immature and got my feelings hurt. And I said, Hey, you guys, I'm leaving.

I'm going back to Canada. And that's what I did. And I'm starting defensive halfback. And I ran into a guy's knee by the name of Willy Bethea. I'll never forget it. I woke up in the dressing room. I had a severe head concussion. The next week, we're in Montreal. We're playing against the Montreal Alouettes.

And again, they put you back in. You know, concussions back then were no big deal. Protocols a little different back then. Yeah.

How many fingers am I holding up? The gear itself, the helmets weren't that, you know, the kind of suspension thing. Right. Oh, yeah.

But I remember vomiting and walking in the airport. And I throw them throwing up. And the trainer runs up to me. What are you doing? What's the matter? He said, Were you drinking last night? I said, No, I don't drink, man. He said, Oh, it was that concussion.

You've got a concussion, man. So they rushed me back to Edmonton. And I was in the hospital for a week. And so that really, that was a tough one to fill to swallow. And so my first two years in Edmonton were miserable.

They were miserable. I tore my hamstring five times. And I, you know, ended my career in Winnipeg.

I played there. I had some more concussion issues. But I played different positions.

So primarily, I was backing up in different positions. And so, you know, statistically, it wasn't like I had a great career in Canada. But I was a good player.

I really was. Well, yeah, you were a multi versatile is how I would phrase it, player. You were a Deion Sanders before Deion Sanders.

I'm just saying. I know the manager was really upset when I decided to retire because a guy named Doc Eshelman came into my life. And I was actually the chaplain, the first chaplain in the CFL. And that's when I was playing in Winnipeg the first year. So we started chapel services on our team.

We're the first team where that ever happened up in Canada. All right, well, hold on. That's a long story in itself.

But that's kind of how God transitioned me into athletic sports ministry. Right. Right. There's no question about it.

Okay, we're going to get there. I decided what I knew in my heart, what I'd be doing the rest of my life. It was as clear as day. I mean, it was just a revelation. God could have spoken to me audibly.

It would have been the same impact as the impression I had in my heart, what I'd be doing the rest of my life. All right. And I was just a kid back then, you know. But anyway, that was one of the highlights for sure.

Well, and that's okay. So on part one, we said, hey, come back and listen to part. So first question, so you did get to play. You had a dream as a kid to play in the stadium down the block. So that dream was fulfilled, yes? Yep. Yep.

So you got that. And what would you say was there, if you were to... And it's always hard because people ask me like, Nikita, can you distill your wrestling career down and tell us your... I did a recent interview with Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson on their podcast show, and they're like, your greatest match. But is there one particular highlight in your CFL, Canadian Football League career? There's a number of them, but one big one was I got traded from Edmonton to Winnipeg, and this one coach just didn't like me. He loved my uncle, but he didn't like me very much because I don't know if you've ever had a hamstring injury and know what it's like, but when you're almost like you're 90% healed, but it's that extra... When you stretch quickly and that thing will tear again, it's a miserable injury.

I don't know anyone that's... Guys have had it, but that's a tough, tough one. And so I had to deal with that. So I've got scar tissue right now on that hamstring from way back then. But the highlight of my career was when we played Edmonton, in Edmonton, and first pass play, they throw in my zone. I got a pick. I had a fumble recovery. Both had timely situations that were critical in winning the game. And so I had one of my best games against my former team, and that was really nice.

That's always a highlight. Like, okay, take that. You don't want me? Okay. Exactly. We put that in your face. Yeah, exactly. Well, that's pretty cool in and of itself. And so, okay, so let's fast forward. So you have this career in the CFL, the Canadian Football League, and you made mention of starting a chaplaincy and that sort of thing.

And so that was kind of a first you said. You're listening to The Truth Network and All feet agree. Clinton's carpet is where you need to be. With carpet, vinyl, tile, and hardwood from the top brands, Clemens carpet does it right from beginning to install.

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You're listening to The Truth Network and That was huge, man. Yeah, and at what point, so I know you said you were reluctant to go into ministry because you didn't want to be like your dad, but eventually you launch an impactful sports ministry that ultimately crosses my path with your path.

Unbelievable. So take us back, yeah, take us back to, like how did that unfold? How did you go from the Canadian Football League to ministry? When Doc showed up, he knew I was a preacher's kid, and he said, I want you to introduce me in a chapel tomorrow. The coach is allowing us to have a chapel service with the Bombers, one of the paper bombers.

And so I thought, the guy's crazy, you know, he's got this red jacket, turtleneck, his red Cadillac is parked down the street, I can see it. But I introduced him and his wife, and so he starts ministering now. He's in the, he was the first guy to start chapel services in the National Football League, and back in those days, I think Don Shinnock, Bill Glass, other guys like that, that were born-again Christians. That was way back now.

So anyway, he wanted to start the same thing in Canada. So we did, the first chapel was in the film room. The place was filled with guys.

It was during, I think it might have been during training camp. And I'm just, his wife sings a song, and I'm embarrassed. I'm thinking, oh my goodness, this is crazy. And he starts to minister and share his faith and testimony and message.

And I kind of look around from the corner of my eye, and there's guys with tears in their eyes. And when he said the sinner's prayer, half the team got saved, man. I mean, it just blew me away, the reverence for God. And you know, I've noticed that with athletic teams, no matter when and where, there is a respect that they have for the Holy Spirit, for God, and for His presence. And that's what kicked it off.

Then I knew, down the road, somewhere, sometime, I'll be starting a ministry with athletes. And I did my first conference actually in 1975 in Winnipeg. And we had guys coming in from all over Hawaii, from Alabama, from California.

And it's 60 below in Winnipeg, the coldest place on the planet, probably. And that conference was life-changing in so many ways, in so many people's lives. I mean, it was amazing, really amazing. And then I moved here to Arizona. I've been here 42 years, and Tommy Barnett comes into my life. Tommy Barnett and Metal Arc Lemon were my neighbors. And I had no idea who they were, but I've been with Tommy Barnett for 42 years.

We did our first conference in 85, and we've had close to 15,000 athletes, wives, and kids that have attended over the last 35 years, including mission trips, including conferences in different countries. It's been quite the ride. I'll tell you, it's just been amazing. But Nikita, one of the major highlights was you guys, the wrestlers. That was a move of God like I've never seen in the athletic world.

It was just truly unbelievable. Well, just so people understand, too, the listeners understand. Okay, so they're hearing, I mean, and you're just giving some highlights here. I mean, so God launches you into the sports ministry from, I guess at first, in that film room in Canada, right, when half the team gets saved. Right, right.

And so that God gives you... I worked with the AIA for a while, Athletes in Action, which is an arm of Campus Crusade, and Dave Anna was very instrumental in mentoring me, so I was very blessed with him and with Doc Eshelman. And then, but moving to Arizona, I worked with Pro Athletes Outreach for a year, and Arliss Priest was the president of Pro Athletes Outreach, and Norm Evans, of course, took it over. You know, I'm a real good friend of his, but he's in Phoenix where I met Tommy Barnett, my pastor, and he's been the covering. If it hadn't have been for him, I don't know that we could have ever done what was accomplished, seriously.

Well, yeah. Tommy Barnett is like in a whole world of his own. He is. He's an amazing visionary, and of course, I've spent time around him, with him, and ministering on the platform with him. But, hey, I gotta say, for the record, I gotta say, I can clearly see how God would lead you out of 60 below Winnipeg to sunny Phoenix, Arizona. I mean, that's God all the way.

You know, that doesn't take a lot of discernment, does it? It's like, Lord, I'm gonna launch a ministry. Phoenix, Arizona looks good.

Maui, Hawaii would be another good place to launch a ministry. What an amazing, wonderful transition that was. Hey, I love Winnipeg. Don't get me wrong. I've been there. Everywhere I've been, I've enjoyed, because there's always, you know, the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. No, I understand, Larry, but if I'm flipping a coin and I have to decide between 60 below Winnipeg and sunny Arizona, I'm probably gonna err on the side of Arizona. It's February, I'm driving down Scottsdale Road, and there's the fountains and the palm trees and the green grass and the orange trees.

Right. I mean, I was on a high for a year after that, but then you got the summertime here, so there's a trade-off. Well, there is. I know it's hot, but there's no humidity. You don't sweat. I'm like, yeah, whatever.

I don't know who came up with that one, but they didn't know what they were saying. Anyway, so you transition to Phoenix, Arizona. You meet Pastor Tommy Barnett. I know at the time it was the first Phoenix First Assembly. I believe now his son is in charge of the, I say in charge, he handed it off to, I know he's got one son in Matthew. Luke's doing a great job.

Luke's in Phoenix, and they renamed it, right, the Dream City Church, and then the Dream Center with Pastor Matthew Barnett out in Los Angeles, who has done, by the way, unbelievable work in the last 20-plus years out there. Yeah, it's just amazing. It's a miracle of miracles, really, that whole thing.

And they got one in Phoenix, too, but the one in L.A. is like 15 stories, you know. I mean, when you go there and you see the type of ministry they do, you wonder if you're even a Christian. Seriously.

You're listening to the Truth Network and Hi, Nikita Kulov here, and I am excited to announce the first annual Morty's Star Men's Conference, August 25th to the 27th. Our theme, man up.

It's time. We have a phenomenal lineup of speakers, including NBA All-Star Al Wood, WWE Superstar Lex Luger, David and Jason Benham, the Benham brothers, Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, world-renowned evangelist Frank Shelton, Chris Reed, Dr. Rick Joyner, of course, yours truly. Get registered early. You do not want to miss this event.

Go to You're listening to the Truth Network and These people are amazing over there. They've impacted so many lives. Well, I know. I mean, no, I've been there. I've ministered on the platform. In fact, quick funny story. When I was ministering and, you know, I'm in the green room and they're like, okay, when you're ready to, you know, when you're ready to wrap up your message, just go ahead and hand it off to Pastor Tommy. And I'm like, yeah, that's cool. You know, they're like, you know, I hope that's okay. I'm like, look, I'm just here to serve.

Fast forward to the story. You know, I ministered my heart out. We're at dinner that night and I'm sitting next to Tommy and he looks at me and he goes, you know, if I knew you could preach like that, I wouldn't let you have done the altar call. And I'm like, it's okay. He goes, no, you don't understand.

We've had some athletes that's taken me 15 minutes to, just to clean it up to get an altar call. You know, I go, I get it, Pastor Tommy. It's all good. He goes, no, really. He goes, I did not know you could preach like that. I'm like, it's all good. So anyway, and I know we did an outreach there at Phoenix during one of the pastor conferences and the largest salvation ever, right? Well, at least at that time.

It was unbelievable. In fact, I have my wife, Wendy, here and I'm going to have her explain that evening to you guys, okay? Here she is.

Yeah! Miss Wendy! Hi, Nikita! How are you?

I'm doing great. Welcome to the Man Up show, Wendy. Oh, wow. I hope I'm not the first woman on the Man Up show. You are not, but what I love about having women on is you give, you give men a woman's perspective. So, welcome. What a pleasant surprise. This is needed sometimes, huh?

We, we mentally need lots of wisdom from women, just for the record. I'm just saying. So, but no, this is a great surprise. Yeah, tell, tell us about the, the outreach that night at Phoenix First. We did a wrestling illustration and what happened? Right.

So, it was an illustrated sermon and, you know, I had been involved in the production department there for many, many years with, working with Pastor Tommy Barnett, developing illustrated sermons and the celebration of Christmas and the Easter Passion plays and everything. And, you know, there's, as you know, being a professional wrestler, there's a certain element of drama and theatrics in that. Not that the wrestling's fake because they don't want to get called out by Sting.

That's right. You know, the falls are real and everything, but there is a certain element of theatrics in it. And superstar Billy Graham had written a script called The Empty Ring and it was the ultimate illustrated sermon because it, it talked about and, and illustrated really what many athletes deal with in the fame that they acquire and the results of that fame in their personal life and how it affects them. And, and so the basis of the illustrated sermon was we built a wrestling ring in the middle of the orchestra pit and the choir loft was the fans and we put on the wrestling match and we had the good guys and the heels, I guess, as you call them. And, um, but there was the question there that is presented to all of us in daily life. What's the price of your soul?

And will you sell it out to the devil or will you submit to Christ who paid the ultimate price with his life? And so we put this on and, and, you know, it was, uh, I think there was an article written somewhere. Who is this aim group? Because they've got more A-list wrestlers than the WWE has right now. And that night we had, of course, yourself and Ted DiBiase and the Road Warriors, our beloved friends, Hawk and Animal. Um, Sting was there. Buff Bagwell was there. Greg the Hammer Valentine was there.

Um, Jason the Wolfman Sanderson was there. And Bill, Bill, Big Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez was the referee. And, um, I don't even know if Bill was saved at that one. I think, was he saved at that one? I know Bill got saved in the middle of this match the first time we did it. And, um, so we did, we put this wrestling match on in the middle of the church and we're scared to death.

We didn't know what the reaction was going to be. Um, but the place was packed to capacity. And if you've ever been to Phoenix First Assembly, which is now Dream City Church, it seats about four, four to 5,000 maybe at the time because it was a pew, so you could really squeeze together. There's a gymnasium that they had full of a couple thousand people with big screens and another wrestling ring in there. And I think wasn't the ultimate warrior out there and somebody else doing a just, you know, wrestling match out in the gym for people that couldn't get in the main auditorium.

And then we had the whole front lawn filled with thousands of people again for watching this on the main event on the big screen. And so we put the wrestling match on and we told the story of, you know, uh, Hawk was the, the hero in this one and, and how he, you know, had a famous wrestling life and fought, was a big hero in the wrestling ring. But when the lights go down, his demons come to haunt him and the demons of lust and alcoholism and drugs and, uh, you know, ego and all of that stuff. And we represented that by, you know, demons. And, um, and then, uh, in this particular one, we had Sting fly in, um, from one of the aerial rigs with his famous baseball bat, chase the demons off. And, um, and, um, then there was a cross resurrected and, um, he helps lead Hawk to the cross.

Hi, Nikita Koloff. Be sure to check out The Man Up Show now available on television, broadcast and podcast. Go to or the Truth Radio Network.

Check out your local listings or better yet download the Truth Network app today. You're listening to the Truth Network and And, um, there's a beautiful song by Carmen, you know, about paying the price and he shed his blood for me. And, um, and that's where, you know, we showed Hawk giving his life to Christ and all of you guys came up at the end to support him and pull, you know, and the, and the demons had wrapped him up in chains and bound him. But, you know, at the end, um, Jesus took the chains off of him and freed him of all of these, um, these demons that haunted him. And you guys all came at the end and I'll just never forget that picture of Hawk because we literally had a cross with an actor portraying Jesus hung on the cross and Hawk just kneeling before the cross with his hands on those bloody feet of Jesus and all of you guys coming around and embracing him. And let me tell you, I mean, people were, tens of thousands of people were saved that night. And it's just amazing. And I, and I think that embodies the whole purpose of AIM is, you know, people are always asking, how do we join AIM?

There's nothing to join. You know, we, we take athletes, we encourage them to use the gift God has given them with their athletic ability and the platform that he's given them to lead people to the Lord. You know, and if we use our talents to glorify God and build the church, then that pleases God.

And he gives us all different talents, but the purpose of that talent is to glorify God. Darrell Bock Well, and, and that is, um, wow. I mean, you just nailed it on the, on the head. I'm grateful to have you on the show. What a pleasant surprise. And believe it or not, and, uh, I mean, time just flies on these shows and I hope people got a mental image, Wendy, of what you were just sharing and, and through that, that illustration that we did that night. And you're right, just the thousands and thousands of people that surrender their heart and their life to Jesus.

Here's what, here's what we're gonna have to do, Wendy. We're gonna, we're gonna have to have a part three, believe it or not, because I, I, we haven't even talked about athletes, really got into Athletes International Ministries and the impact in 35 plus years that, that you and, and Larry have had on numerous athletes. Everyone from not just wrestlers. Now you just gave a great illustration of how the wrestlers have impacted, you know, people's lives, but from football players to basketball to bull riders, which I know kind of your forte. And I mean, from Olympic athletes, uh, there's so many stories that you guys have with Athletes International Ministries. Wendy, real quick, before we have to go, what's the website for Athletes International Ministries? It's Okay, so You are gonna wanna, you're gonna wanna go check out, check out that ministry. They do so many other things besides hosting conferences and, and, and doing, uh, wrestling illustrations. And, and I'm telling you the impact that this ministry, Wendy Karachuk, Larry Karachuk, have on even youth, uh, football leagues and things that they're doing out in the Phoenix community and just impacting their community. And so check out, be sure to check out, go to that website, visit that website, and you are going to have to come back for a part three, cause you're going to want to hear more of the stories and how Athletes International Ministries has impacted so many lives and people have come to Christ through these world-class athletes.

And so Wendy Karachuk, Larry Karachuk, on the, it's time to man up with Nikita Kolov. Thank you guys so much for being a part of the show today. Thank you so much for inviting us. Awesome. God bless you. Tune in again for another episode.

Yes. Thank you, Larry. Okay, man. This podcast is made possible by the grace of God and your faithful prayers, support, and generous gifts. May God bless you for your continual contributions. Go to and donate today. If you would like to support Kolov for Christ Ministries for a gift of $25, Nikita will send you his two CDs, Adoration and Declaration. For a gift of $50, Nikita will include his book Wrestling with Success. And for a gift of $100 or more, Nikita will include a signed copy of his newly updated life story, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption. Go to and donate today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-15 23:18:20 / 2023-04-15 23:30:39 / 12

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