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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. I want to tell you what, to have this guy back, I just had to do it, because the stories are endless. And we were graced on our last episode with his lovely bride, Wendy Karachuk. Welcome back, Larry Karachuk, to It's Time to Man Up. Hey, buddy. I'm glad to be back again.
God bless you, man. Well, it's great to have you back. And what a pleasant surprise to have your lovely bride on the last show, the last episode. Yeah, she is multi-gifted in so many ways, I'll tell you.
Well, she is as you are. And for those who've been listening and dialing in and following the story of your early days up in Canada, your migration, if you will, from the frozen tundras of old Canada to Phoenix, Arizona, and eventually leaving professional sports, launching into a sports ministry, how all that have happened. And if you didn't hear the prior episodes, I really want to encourage you to go back and listen to more of Larry and Wendy's story.
But I want to focus this episode, Larry, on AIM, Athletes International Ministries. It's how you and I actually, our paths crossed was through these conferences that you've hosted for, what, over 35 years? Yeah, 35 years.
35 years. I'm 75 today, by the way. Well, happy birthday. My birthday, man. Happy birthday to you.
Yes, thank you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Nikita, how old are you now? I'm not 75.
Thirty-nine? I'm 62 and older. You look good, man. Seriously, you look really good. Well, I appreciate it. I do my best to stay in shape and stay in the gym and stay in shape. And so I do my best to do that. That's important. Well, it is. Our overall health is very important.
It's not just being spiritually healthy, but it's important to be mentally healthy, emotionally healthy, and physically healthy. In fact, Lex Luger and I, you know that name, right? Yep, Lex Luger. Lex Luger and I do... One of my heroes, that guy. I'll tell you what, I am amazed when I listen to him.
In fact, so check this out. So, in fact, it's because of, really because of you, I say because of you, because of the Athletes International Ministries Conference that Lex and I were able to reconnect. It was only a couple months after he surrendered his heart to Jesus. April 23rd, 2006, he was invited to your conference. He came out with Pastor Steve Baskins, the man who actually led him to the foot of the cross. And we reunited after an 11-year absence. Amazing. Yeah, I departed from wrestling. I come back.
You know, the Lord leads me into full-time ministry as he's led you. And we're out here at all these conferences and so many wrestlers and other athletes. Football players, Olympic athletes, bull riders, basketball players. I mean, Chuck Norris. I remember Chuck coming to the conference one year. And Bill McCartney. Who are some other names that people would recognize that have attended your conference over the years? Well, Menarche Lemon was one of the first ones. In fact, he was my neighbor.
And so, you know, he had a lot of influence with different people. But I've had, like, Joe Namath, for example. Joe Namath.
I love Joe Namath. Oh, my goodness. He flew out from Florida at three in the morning. Shows up.
Hottest day in the history of Arizona, I think. Walks in and there's J.D. O. giving his testimony.
And those guys used to hang out together. But he's got tears in his eyes. You know, he just said, hey, listen, I'm here to help. Anything I can do to help you guys. Donors, autographs, whatever you want.
I'm here for you. And God really touched his heart. It was beautiful. But we had guys like Evander Holyfield, Bill Strawberry. Jim McMahon was just at our golf tournament. I'll tell you what, we got to pay for that guy. And he's a nice man. Jim McMahon does more for charities than, I think, any athlete I've ever met. Amazing. Jared Allen is a great friend. He played at Idaho State.
We honored him. You're listening to the Truth Network and Truth Network dot com. Hi, Nikita Koloff. Be sure to check out the Man Up show now available on television, broadcast and podcast. Go to MorningStarTV.com 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 Truth Network dot com. Lou Holtz. I mentioned Tom Landry. I'm looking at a picture right now with Pastor Barnett. There's a profile shot of him and Landry.
And just mutual respect. You can see it. And he gave his testimony. David Robinson. George Foreman.
I'm just looking at some of the pictures here. Betsy King, great golfer. McCartney came in, what year was that?
88. His son was at our conference in 87 and gave his heart to the Lord, Mike McCartney, who's an agent now. And Bill McCartney called me and he just said, hey, listen, I don't know what happened to my son, but whatever happened, I want. And can I come to your conference next year?
I'd love to have you. So he showed up in 88 and was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit and Dr. Kolm mentored him. And he gave a word of knowledge or a prophecy about promise keepers. We thought he was crazy.
You know, we'll have 55,000 men in stadiums across the country. And that vision was fulfilled. It really was. I've got a beautiful picture here, by the way, my son, Matthew. Matthew just got married last week. My son, Matthew, who you well know. Yeah.
Incredible picture here I'm looking at. I've got Sting, Hawk, Ted, superstar Billy Graham, who's got his fist at my kids ahead. Matthew can't be older than what, they're eight or nine, maybe six or seven. Yeah. Hawk's holding him. It was quite the deal, but those are just a few of the household name athletes. Ernie Banks. I could go, Gastineau, Mark Gastineau.
Yeah. We got to pray for him. He was at our home. And I'll never forget three guys that were kind of different. Mark Gastineau, Dwayne Thomas, and John Mackey. We're all together.
That was quite a sight to see. And Dwayne Thomas, he's a guy who never, didn't speak for a whole year to anybody, Dallas Cowboys. I think the only word he said was evidently, when the reporter asked us, that was the greatest season of his life. But Mark knows the Lord. He's got cancer.
He's struggling right now. So we got to pray for him. I could go on and on, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. Deion Sanders, the great Archie Griffin, two-time Heisman Trophy winner, on and on. So many different people. And then we got you guys that showed up. Are you there?
Oh, I'm here. I'm just taking a back by that list of who's who that you just... And then the rodeo world, the pro PBR. Wendy introduced me to those guys.
Cody Custer, Donny Gay, Adriana Marias, on and on. They started their own chapel program because I think the conference, I know it did, had a huge impact on them doing that. But I remember in Vegas, Wendy and I are there sharing with about 30 cowboys and horses and kids. And the next year, they've got, what's the name of the place? The Bay? Mandalay Bay.
Mandalay Bay. 2,000 people, 2,000, 3,000 people showed up at 8 in the morning. And these guys are leading in praise and worship and the whole nine yards.
It was amazing. Everywhere they went around the country on the PBR tour, Cody Custer was one of the founding fathers of the PBR and strong, strong Christian. But everywhere they went around the country on tour with the PBR, they had the PBRO, which was the PBR outreach, where the guys themselves are multi-talented.
They would open up the stadium on Sunday morning for the fans to come in and join them in the chapel service for the PBR. And they do praise and worship, and they're preaching. The guys are giving their testimonies, and they're spreading the gospel in every city that they competed in across the country. And again, that's what the goal of AIM is, is to teach an athlete or to encourage an athlete to use their platform to present the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God's given them that gift to succeed in athletics, no matter what form – football, baseball, basketball, rodeo, whatever it is, wrestling – and to use that platform to glorify God and build His kingdom. You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. Nikita Koloff here.
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You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. Well, and you're here. Hey, man, she's leaving now. She's going to work.
That was Larry's bride, Wendy Karachuk, giving some insight there and some great insight. And for those of you listening out there, listen, you don't just have to be a world-class athlete. I don't care what your line of work is. I mean, you know, you can be selling insurance, you can be cutting lawns. It doesn't matter what you do, you know, what you're doing, and just surrender your life, your heart to God, and He's going to use you right where you're planted.
And you're going to grow right where you're planted. So regardless of your line of work, don't just think, oh, man, I don't have a big household name like that. You know, how can I make a difference? Well, you can. You can make a difference. That's what she just shared.
I want you to be encouraged by that. I know she's left, but Larry, so what she just described, I actually had an opportunity, because I got to know Cody Custer through your ministry, through Athletes International in Nashville, Tennessee, on one of those Sunday mornings. He actually invited me down to be a guest speaker, and we had several hundred people there, just as you're describing, that morning, and was able to share some of my testimony as a wrassler, one of them wrasslers, to all that. Because there was a crossover there, so they weren't only bell riding fans, many of them were wrasslin' fans as well. And so, yeah, so I actually got to...
These guys were kind of the golden age of wrestling, I think, more than anything. Many have said that. And just people look back. I was just talking to Ted yesterday about this, but it's just kind of a different ballgame now. It's a much different game, but Larry, let me do this. Let me, for our listeners, let me help them understand. So they're like hearing about this conference or whatever, but I just want everyone to understand. So the format of the conference, just so you understand, and the vision behind it, and then, Lord, Larry, just jump in when I'm done and bring any clarity. So the vision was bringing world-class athletes, but not just big names like Larry just mentioned, also collegiate athletes. And if you were an athlete, you'd come to this conference out in, typically in Scottsdale, Arizona, beautiful resort, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, culminating Sunday morning in Tommy Barnett's church there at Phoenix First. And the idea was for athletes to come with their families, so their families were invited to come as well, and just to come in a very relaxed atmosphere without autograph seekers or autograph hounds or any of that, and be able to kind of, if you will, let their hair down, so to speak.
I don't have any. But anyway, let their hair down and just be ministered to. Had some incredible speakers over the years like Jensen Franklin and many others, but just to be ministered to. And then I also remember we always went out to the youth detention facility on Saturdays, and we ministered to the kids in the detention facilities, and we did that as part of it as well as an outreach. But the athletes were also encouraged to bring their teammates and others who maybe didn't know Christ. And so Larry, I know you saw numerous, not just wrestlers, numerous other athletes come to Christ. The multiplication factor when Jesus said to preach the gospel throughout the nation, you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you'll be a witness to all the nations.
I mean, when you think of just Bill McCartney and Promise Keepers, just like that one entity, Meadowlark Lemon, you guys, Ted. Ted spoke the first time he showed up. He didn't know he was going to give a testimony. And Tommy Barnett, I don't know if he was there that day or not, he gave his testimony. Before the service, the pastor asked him, what are you going to be doing the rest of your life?
He said, I'm not sure. After the service, we had like 300 people come forward. And after the service, Tommy looked at him and Ted just said, looked at him in the eye, just, I know exactly what I'm going to be doing.
And he's still doing it. And to guys like yourself, I mean, it's really, you know, we're coming at a time politically where we're at with this nation and the direction we're headed and the turmoil and the demonic presence around this world is just unprecedented. But I believe if we are persecuted, it's going to bring in revival like we've never seen before. And no one likes to go through persecution, but that could be coming up just around the corner. And all these guys and women that have received Christ and have that platform. But again, I don't care who you are, you can have an absolutely no name identity and impact the world like no one that's ever lived.
If you choose to follow Christ, because the power comes from God, comes from the Holy Spirit. And I'm looking at this picture while we're talking here, I've been looking at it the whole time, because both Joe and Hawk are gone. But it's kind of, they're darkened, but their faces of this picture I'm looking at are bright. And in the background, it says, in words, big bull birds are on the screen, amazing love, how can it be that thou, my king, should die for me? And they both have their hands raised, their eyes closed, and their hearts as pure as snow. And these guys were animals. You know, it's the same thing with ballplayers. I mean, really, we've experienced a lot of crazy stuff in our lives.
But a forgiving, loving God has forgiven them and given them hope for eternity. It's beautiful. I mean, it's just amazing. So that kind of sums up this ministry. And, you know, one thing I want to do, I'd like to do probably, Joe Jackson just did his book, and it's done. It's fantastic.
I'm really proud of him. But I'm thinking of doing like a Sports Illustrated, the history of football, history of baseball. Ours would be AIM, Legends, and the stories of, you know, we could do 10 books on those. But it would be interesting just to really highlight some of the athletes that came and gave their hearts to the Lord or whatever, and the impact of their lives and so on. Because I think people are kind of nostalgic now, looking back, and you know, the current quarterbacks are great, but you still think of John Ioannidis or Bart Starr or, you know, and Grant Arkington. And those were the legends back in those days.
And I think people want to see them and hear from them again. Well, certainly, there's no telling the ripple effect is what comes to mind. The ripple effect that Athletes International Ministries... And, you know, anybody, the ripple effect can be amazing. All the time, you're one person away from a Billy Graham and you don't even know it. You know, you're one person away from a Billy Sunday or a Tommy Barnett.
And that's the truth. I mean, you just... And I marvel, like you mentioned, we've had a lot, of course, a lot of athletes who weren't household names, but they've got great ministries and God used them. The height of our, like numerically, we had in 88, 89, I think we had like 700 athletes, wives and their kids, and then college athletes. Half of that group would be college and they'd come in from everywhere.
You know, Penn State, USC, one bus from LSU came in and it just had linemen on there, 18 guys coming off the bus. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was quite a sight to behold.
But when they left, we would be on such a high. When that thing was over and it took a lot of work, I mean, it's a killer. I'm going to do another one probably. You know, I wasn't because I had COVID and I almost died from pneumonia.
I was sick for seven months. I'm finally getting my strength back and we just did our celebrity golf classic. It was fantastic. And we just did our, we've had two, three weeks of our youth football program and that's going great too. But so God's given me the, I don't know, the healing power physically, but spiritually that we should do these again.
Probably I'm probably going to do it again. You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. 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 truthnetwork.com. Well, you have definitely made an indelible impact on the sports world and you're embracing and saying yes to the Lord when so many others, you know, have said no. You know, how many other, how many people out there? Nikita, I gotta ask you a question. Hulk Hogan, is he with the Lord again? I have no idea.
But personally, I have no idea. I met him at Hawk's funeral. It was in a, I met him in a gym. We were staying with Greg, Greg the Hammer, him and his wife. They had two pet pigs, those were their pets. How do you forget a night like that?
But they were cute little pigs. But the next day I met him, and I had tried maybe half a dozen times trying to get him, like Shawn Michaels, he came and others, of course, that you've named, but he came up to me and he didn't introduce himself or anything. He just looked at me in the eye and he just said, you know what? He said, I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 16 years old. And then I kind of looked at him, I said, Hulk, and you know better than anybody that you can impact the lives of millions and millions of people, mostly young, a lot of young people. And he looked at me and he kind of said, I know, brother, I know.
And he shook his head kind of and walked away. But I've heard, I've heard lately recently that he surrendered his heart back to God again, you know, like the prodigal son. And I'm hoping that's true. Darrell Bock Well, I hope so. And others, you know.
Chuck Gilmore And others, yeah. Because, you know, it serves a very precious commodity and, you know, the Bible says, what is the profit of man against the whole world, but he loses his soul. We can't afford to lose our soul, my God. And I think sometimes we just get so used to life and kind of beaten down and we all go through dry spells.
I don't care who you are. You know, we all have, we may limit God in so many ways just because of the way we live. Sometimes we make some stupid choices. But he's there.
He's always there. And don't give up on your kids. I gave up on my daughter. And she was really bad in terms of drug addiction and everything. But she's back now. Man, she's back.
And I literally gave up on her. I apologize for that. But there's a lot of kids. And Jensen Franklin preached a great message one time regarding the prodigal son. He knows the way home.
He knows the way home. And God's word does not return void. And so there's hope for everybody, I believe.
Darrell Bock Well, yeah. And we rest on that, right? We stand on that. And for those listening out there, you know, to the show today, just that's a good, that's a good word of advice. No matter how... David Morgan McKeit, I just want to tell you too, you and I had the privilege, two trips we took. We may have done more. I'm aware of two, though.
We went to Africa on a trip, and then we went to Korea. Announcer You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. Darrell Bock Nikita Kolov, and I am here with a huge announcement, like big, big announcement. Man Up Men's Conference, Morningstar Ministries, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 25th to the 27th. You're thinking, that's a ways away.
No, not too soon to sign up. What a lineup of speakers we have. The Benham Brothers, David and Jason Benham. All Star, NBA All Star, Al Wood is speaking. World Wrestling Champion, The Total Package Lex Luger, Chris Reed, Rick Joyner, Delta Force Commander, General, Lieutenant General, Jerry Boykin retired.
Yours truly, Nikita Kolov, world renowned evangelist, Frank Shelton. Register today. It is live. M Star Events, mstarevents.com slash man up. Go get registered. You will not want to miss this event.
Announcer You're listening to the Truth Network and truthnetwork.com. Frank Shelton On a trip, and that was with you and the Road Warriors, and that was one of the most fantastic mission trips I've ever been on, both of them, but the one was really special in Korea as well. Well, and let me just say before we run out of time, let me just say, I know we're running out of time, but let me just say on that note though, really I'm glad, cause it's, you don't just do conferences. You even mentioned the football leagues for the little guys and stuff that you do, but yes, the trips to Uganda where we made some trips and we did some athletes conferences and some, you know, and really ministered to the people of Uganda. That is a favorite memory of mine with AIM ministry, but the South Korea trip, probably even more so because it was actually set up by the US military army, by an army chaplain that you guys knew. And what we did is, as you remember, we did breakfast, we did special prayer breakfast, prayer lunches, and I'll never forget, Larry, I'll never forget this. We were going to do a service one night on one of the bases, cause we hit about six different bases, and I got to say this too, is the trip to the DMZ.
That is forever. That trip to the DMZ and Hawk flexing at the North Korean guards, like, dude, dude, stop, stop. Do not try to intimidate the North Korean guards. Oh, that's funny.
They're scrambling up there like a bunch of ants. Yeah, something more, something else could happen, but more serious could happen, but that will forever be memorable. Flying a $43 million chopper simulator that I got to do as well. It didn't crash, did it?
It did not crash. The guy, I don't know what level in the military he was, but he thought you did pretty good. Well, he did, he did, but listen, listen, I got to get this in.
I got to get this in. So I'll never forget, we're doing this evening service and we're looking around, it's like a couple of crickets in the chapel, and you're like, hey, want to go knock at some barrack doors with me? And I'm like, sure, Larry, why not? And I'll never forget this, you're wrapping up the doors, and these guys are coming, they don't look happy. I mean, they're opening the door. And your first words are like, hey, you ever watch pro wrestling?
Russia Nightmare, Nikita Kolov here. And man, one by one, they lit up and the next thing you knew, we had 50, 60 people in the chapel. You got them out of bed. We saw salvation. And here's the highlight before we end this show. Here's the highlight, I'll never forget, between all the prayer breakfast, the luncheons, and those chapel services, we witnessed 250 military soldiers, men and women from all backgrounds, Muslims and others that came and got saved, gave their life to Jesus. And Larry, you were instrumental in that, and so was Athletes International Ministries. Man, you got a good memory.
Well, it was amazing. Hey, give your website one more time so people know how to find... Athletes International, I guess, dot com, I don't know. Athletes International dot com.
You're listening to the Truth Network and Truth Network dot com. Well, Matt, listen, I hope all of you out there have been enjoying these conversations with Larry Karachuk and a special edition, his lovely bride, Wendy Karachuk. I mean, yeah, it's... And we could go on and on and on with stories, and we may have to have you back again one day, Larry, but... Yeah, get Joe Jackson on. Well, we'll get him and many others, Larry.
Yeah, that would be good. He's got stories too, because he's been with me for 35 years. Thirty-five years, and we'll get him and many, many others, and he could share some stories about playing with the Minnesota Vikings and other things. So Phoenix, Arizona, man, you're doing such a great work out there in Phoenix, Arizona, impacting from little lives all the way up to senior citizens, and just so grateful for our friendship, Larry, and that invitation to come to your conference, that God connected us together. Yeah, Nikita, let me just share, you're a rare commodity, and I've worked with thousands of athletes, but you are definitely right up there with one of the greats I'm talking about in the kingdom of God, and I'm so proud of you, brother. Well, Larry, I have a special place in my heart, a love for you and your lovely bride, Wendy, and your family, and I'm gonna say this, okay? I'm gonna re-emphasize once again, don't give up hope on anybody. You just heard Larry's story. You know, don't give up hope on anybody, whether they're addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or any other type of addiction, food, exercise, or anything else. God can set a man or woman, boy or girl, free. You just keep praying.
You just keep interceding. Hey, if you're listening today and you're hearing some of these stories, maybe for the very first time, right? If you've never surrendered your life to Jesus, man, today would be a great day to make that decision. Get your book, your name, entered into the Lamb's Book of Life. Larry, thank you for being on.
It's time to man up. Thanks, Nikita. Love you, brother. Love you too. God bless you. Tune in again for another episode.
It's time to man up your Toyota. 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.
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