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Crossfire Is On Fire

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
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March 23, 2024 1:00 am

Crossfire Is On Fire

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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March 23, 2024 1:00 am

Today Nikita brings back Randy Shepherd for another great episode of Man Up !

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He became my personal savior. Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is set for one flaw. Introducing first, from Lithuania, he weighs 123 kilos, the Russian nightmare, the Kita Kolob. Now, the Devil's Nightmare. Welcome back to another episode of It's Time to Man Up. Welcome back to another episode, the Man Up Show with yours truly, your host, Nikita Kolob. And of course, you know, I love to say in the opening, right, once the Russian, Russian nightmare.

Now, the Devil's Nightmare, because we're trying to knock a hole into hell and expand heaven. And today, I've got a man today on fire, from Crossfire, on fire, Randy Shepherd. Welcome to the Man Up Show. It's great to be back again, brother.

It's a blessing to be with you always and great to be here. Well, and Randy, it's always fun to have you on. And of course, down the road here somewhere, we're going to have your partner, your partner, Jamie Johnson.

I was going to say your partner in crime, but it's not really crime, is it? That's just an old expression, right? Oh, yeah. Yes, sir.

But we'll have Jamie on sometime here down the road. But Crossfire Ministries, you know, I guess what really just kind of blows my mind, even as I look at some of what you've accomplished, right? I'm reading here, Randy, 68 countries and 47 states you have traveled to. Is that correct?

Yes, sir. It seems like a lot to me, too. Thirty-one years we've been going at it, and Jamie's been an awesome ministry partner.

Usually partnerships don't work. As you know, co-pastors, somebody wants to take over, but God has blessed us with his gifts that Jamie has and the gifts he says I have. And we've balanced each other out, but just give the glory and honor to the Lord. And some of those places we just touched very quickly, but I kind of make it a goal and a key to if I'm even going through an airport in a different country, try to share the gospel with somebody in that airport from that country, because we never know where and who it's going to go, and the word of God will not return void. So most of them we spent some time in, but some of them we just touched through there pretty quickly and shared in the airport.

So praise the Lord. Yeah, but still, even if you're just passing through, and I can relate to that, because I mean, like, I think of the country Namibia in Africa, right? Or Kenya, a couple of African countries where, you know, I didn't spend a whole lot of time in those countries, but like you just said, I was passing through, right? And, you know, so you mentioned, I'm going to just, this just hit me, somehow your name came up in conversation the other day, and Jamie, and I don't know if it was you or Jamie, but like, they were like, we were on a mission trip or we were somewhere and we were ready to leave. And I think it was Jamie they were talking about, but it could have been you. And they're like, where'd they go?

Where'd they go? And lo and behold, I guess they found one of you in the kitchen of like some Pizza Hut or something, like to your point, witnessing to all the workers, all the cooks and everyone in the kitchen of Pizza Hut, you know, winning them to Jesus. So one thing about you, Randy, is like, like really just touches my heart is like, you'll witness to a cactus, like out in the Mojave Desert. I can't do that. I just can't.

I mean, I guess I could, but you'll speak to anyone anywhere at any time, won't you? Yes, sir. I just give the Lord the glory. I think it's a gift. Dr. Adrian Rogers once said that you may know how to have the gift of evangelism, but every Christian is called to be an evangelist. So maybe Charles Spurgeon said one time he sees an S or an L on somebody's forehead, not literally, but saved or lost as you think about them. So, yeah, brother, just I'm thankful for the gift. And then sometimes it makes you places you don't want to go. Well, right.

Because he just opens those doors for you. Right. Right. All right.

Well, you know, but you bring up an interesting point as well. And that is kind of getting ahead of myself here, because I want people I want our listeners to get a little more back story on on on Randy Sheppard. We're going to go there in just a moment.

But let me just say say this. You just reminded me of you know, when you said not everyone's an evangelist. Right now, we know there's like, for example, there's the five fold ministry. Right.

There's evangelist, pastor, prophet, apostle, teacher. Right. But we also know and you mentioned the word you said the word gift.

You know, there's you know, everyone, everyone has been given different gifts. And but at the same time, I'm reminded of Second Corinthians Chapter five, verse 17 through through 20. That says, if you've been reconciled back to the Father, that you have you now have a ministry of reconciliation. Right. So even if you're not called to be an evangelist, like like you, myself and others, we're still called to be witnesses. Right, Randy?

Definitely. I remember Jamie and I were blessed to spend about 30 minutes with Dr. Billy Graham a couple of years before he passed. And a couple of things I remember from that conversation, of course, he was frail in a wheelchair, had oxygen on. But he mentioned that he believed that 95 percent of Christians don't share their faith and probably even 95 percent of Christians will never lead one soul to Christ. And that's really a tragedy, Nikita, because you coming out of the sports world and me in the sports world, we see people cheer, jump up and down, get excited for their favorite athletes. And then we can't seem to talk about our Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And a lot of these athletes that people are watching from the stands, they'll never meet in person.

But we've met the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords that's given us eternal life. So I try to keep that in perspective in my mind that if I cannot get excited in sports, of course we do. We have our favorite teams and I'm a competitor like you. But if we can get excited at sports events, then we need to be excited and want to share about our Lord Jesus Christ.

So let's, yeah, and again, you bring another valid point. Like people will paint up their faces or wear their favorite team jersey, right? And I was in Pittsburgh not long ago. And of course everybody had their Steelers jersey on, you know, and they were all excited that Sunday morning. Even some of them in church, you know, got their Steelers jersey on. You're talking about, you know, and then going out with the lunch with the pastor afterwards and they couldn't help but be distracted, you know, by the big screen TVs in the restaurant, you know, watching the Steeler game, right? And so, you know, they'll act like, I guess I'll use the word lunatics when it comes to cheering their favorite sporting team. But to your point, you know, it's hard to fill a sanctuary with people on Sunday morning, but boy, they'll fill a stadium, won't they, Randy? Yes, sir.

In a heartbeat, in a heartbeat. So, but let's, okay, so let's back up a moment here because, you know, people hear you talking about, you know, being athletes. And so we have some relatability now, not in the chosen sport. My passion was football, but your passion was basketball. And from a very young age, you had an aspiration of, you know, not only playing, you know, high school basketball, college, but even pros, right? You had an aspiration to want to play professional basketball, right?

Yes, sir. I had that goal, started out at a young age and gave my life to Christ as a nine-year-old boy in a church, which I'm very thankful for and went to Christian schools through the eighth grade, learning the word, growing in the Lord. But any young people listening or parents in the ninth grade, I shouldn't have, but I let basketball become number one and transferred over to public schools, you and I, in kind of the same era. And, uh, we knew back then that you, to get a college scholarship, you probably need to be at a public school to get the right exposure. Now, today, homeschool Christian schools are giving, getting scholarships for their young people.

So that's great. But, uh, back then you had to be at a public school. So I transferred over to Asheville hive, got really into basketball and, uh, was hanging out with those who were playing ball. Buzz Peterson, who was a player of the year, the state of North Carolina, 1981 over Michael Jordan was my teammate from about ninth grade on. He was a year older than me and buzz used to beat me in the backyard every day, not with his fist or not with a bat, but with a basketball. But it made me a better player because I was playing against a guy of his level. And then, uh, we met Michael, uh, we went off to Dean Smith basketball camp in the summer of 1980 and checked into our dorm room there.

Eight, eight story high rise and Chapel Hill, Granville towers. And there were two African-American guys in one room, buzz and I were in the other room. And, uh, I, one of the African-American guys came through our joining bathroom, a suite knocked on the door and said, Hey, I want to introduce myself to you. My name is Mike Jordan. He wasn't even Michael. Danny was Mike and Dean Smith was pretty smart because he had put buzz in one room in the suite and put Michael in the other. And we had never met Michael before. Buzz and I, we had heard about him, but we got on the same team that week.

Uh, Mike and I did. And I tell young people, man, he made me look good. I was throwing the ball up to him around the rim and he was dunking it forwards and backwards. And there's a little assistant coach coming in the gym that was a part time assistant at that time. And he was looking at this kid saying, how are we going to get this kid to come play basketball in North Carolina?

And we know that part-time assistant today by the name of Roy Williams, who just retired a couple of years ago. So that was a neat thing in my life. And buzz and Michael decided that week, uh, we all became friends and buzz and Michael were on a different level athletically than I was. And they decided they were going to go to the same school. So they both went to North Carolina, became roommates and I wasn't good enough.

I went to UNC Asheville and we went division one while I was at UNC Asheville. But yes, sir, I had those aspirations from a young age of playing college basketball, university ball, which the Lord allowed. And then didn't make it to the NBA, but God had a better plan.

So I'm thankful. Well, and you and Michael Jordan are friends to this day, right? We're friends, you know, he's a busy guy, got a lot of, uh, uh, people, you know, he's pulling at them every direction, right? Business is going, but I see him from time to time and he used to send Jamie and I shoes and sweats from time to time. And he gave us an endorsement for our basketball camp.

And I started it years ago. It wasn't a spiritual endorsement, but it was an athletic endorsement that he had watched my game and knew that I knew the game and that he recommended people come to the camp. So that always helps from a guy like that.

But yeah, I pray for Michael Daly as the Lord reminds me. So, and, and that brings to mind, uh, another really kind of mutual friend who, who preceded Michael Jordan, uh, at USA, but, but nevertheless made his own mark. Uh, a guy by the name of Al Wood, right? You, uh, Oh yeah. Alan and I have become great friends.

We talk about once a week and I know you and our in the same areas, same, same church and so forth, but I've kind of got to know you a little bit throughout. So that was a blessing. But I remember 1989, John Lots was the assistant athletic director in North Carolina. And John was just a man of God. He, Al jokes and says he would see John coming before Al came to the Lord and he would duck and go the other way.

But John was a man of God. He called me one day in 1989. I had known him a year or two. I'd been in ministry in Memphis, Tennessee with a ministry called Spirit Express, which was a basketball ministry. And John said, Randy, you need to, I want to introduce you to Al Wood. If you haven't met him, he just got saved and he's on fire for the Lord.

And you guys need to be friends. And we've been ministering together for probably 20, 25 years now. We go to the final four and minister together and sweet 16 sometimes. And when his wife doesn't want to go to a Carolina game, he carries me down there when he's gone and we just share the gospel along the way. Al's an awesome man of God, as you know. Yeah.

He is speaking of evangelists. Yes he is. He's got quite a remarkable story of his own. And of course we have become dear friends and done some ministry together. And of course he's quite the golfer. He not only has excelled in basketball, he can swing those clubs pretty good too. Now do you play golf as well or no?

Nikita, I'm a hacker. We have a ministry tournament once a year. And probably 15 years ago, it's Captain's Choice, so I started bringing Al up to play on our team, my team. So he hits the long ball, I get a few cuts in, but I play once a year. But yes Al, I tell people he's probably the best Carolina basketball golfer ever. He can beat Michael and they used to play a lot way back in the day before Al came to the Lord. But yeah, he hits it unbelievably and he uses that as a ministry as well. He does.

And hey, that's saying something. He can beat Michael Jordan in golf. And I'm thinking he could probably give him a run in a little one-on-one as well, probably on the basketball court. But now Al still holds, correct me if I'm wrong, he still holds an NCAA scoring record or something like the semifinals or something, correct? Yeah, they played in 1981 against Ralph Sampson and Virginia Cavaliers and Ralph was a four-time college player of the year, as we remember. But they played them in Philadelphia and Al scored 39 points in that game when North Carolina defeated Ralph Sampson and Virginia. They went on that Monday night, they were going to play Indiana with Bobby Knight who just passed away and Isaiah Thomas who's the first Isaiah Thomas, there's another Isaiah Thomas now that's younger, but all those guys.

And that was the same day that President Reagan got shot. So they weren't sure if they were going to play the game or not. And all day, Bobby Knight, Al tells me the story, was talking back and forth with Dean Smith and the NCAA. And so about three hours before the game was supposed to be on national TV, they decided they were going to play.

So they take the teams to the arena and it'd probably be hard to play, no excuses. But, you know, you've been watching the president being shot on TV all day and then you got to go play a ballgame that night and Indiana beat him. Tar Heels in the next year is when Buzz and Michael came into North Carolina and Carolina won it in 82 in New Orleans. So Al made it to the finals in 81, lost, and then he went pro and the other group won it in 82.

So there were some great basketball teams back in that era. 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. Many people often ask me, is Nikita Kolof your real name?

Well, I have news for you, now you can get the whole story on my audiobook, Nikita, A Tale of the Ring of Redemption, narrated in my own voice, gaining all perspective and insight into my whole life, including my redemption. Would your company, business, or you personally like to partner with me in supporting Kolof for Christ Ministries, The Man Up Show, and Man Up Minutes? Go to and click the donate button. You can give monthly, annually, or one time.

God bless you for making a difference around the world. If you would like to support Kolof 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. You're listening to the Truth Network and Yeah, there were, I always enjoy introducing Al, like when I have the opportunity, when he's speaking or, you know, bringing him in. I'm like, you know, I tell a little bit of his story and I go, and then there's this, you know, this young guy who tried to fill the shoes of Al Wood. Well, you know, by the initials of MJ, you know, some of you might recognize those initials.

Now, hey, one other thing that I want to talk about, your basketball camps and stuff too. So I've heard this and you tell me if maybe you do or don't know, I'm guessing maybe you will, but somebody said, speaking to Coach Smith, like they said one time, they go, yeah, that Michael Jordan's a pretty good basketball player, isn't he? And now I always heard, Randy, that he said, yeah, he is, but he's no Al Wood.

Would that be a correct quote? Probably, maybe his freshman or sophomore, junior year before Michael really took off. I wouldn't doubt that because Al was, you know, two or three time All-American and I remember being a kid, you know, four, five, six, seven years younger than Al and just thinking about that pretty jump shot he had. He had one of the most pretty jump shots and I remember Buzz who went on to play with Michael at Chapel Hill. Buzz would get mad. He was a big Tar Heel fan when we were growing up and if Carolina lost, Buzz would just get very upset and we used to watch Al in the living room. So I wouldn't be surprised if Coach Smith said that and then Coach Smith went on to say, or they say this about Coach Smith, that he was the only one that could hold Michael Jordan under 20 points. Wow. There was a couple good sayings there.

That's quite a statement. And you mentioned Michael endorsing your basketball camps. Tell our listeners about your camps, what Al's involved in that and tell them about it. When I was 1990, just out of college playing basketball collegiately at UNC Asheville, I had worked with a ministry in Memphis called Spirit Express and got the idea of coming back to Asheville. I was living in Memphis and starting my own basketball camp here and prayed about it. The Lord opened the doors up just miraculously and the first summer, we set a goal for 100 boys and we ended up with 175 or 35 on the waiting list. And I said, Lord, if one of these boys comes to know Christ and learns some basketball, it's going to be a success. And so over the first summer, over 100 boys made a first-time decision for the Lord out of 175 and some mamas started calling after that and said, when are you going to have a girls' camp?

So I said, well, we'll pray about it. And the next summer we had 65 girls and about 240 boys. And glory to God, Nikita, since then, 33 years later, we've had over 25,000 boys and girls ages 6 to 18 come through the camps and gospel was presented to every one of them and thousands made first-time decisions. So we just give the Lord the praise and glory and honor. We can give them all the basketball they would get at North Carolina Duke, at NC State, Wake Forest, athletically, but we're going to share God's word every day and have speakers in like yourself and other basketball athletes that share the gospel. Our coaching staff of about 20 coaches and men and women that are all sold out to the Lord. So can't really explain it, but a God thing. So very thankful.

And Jamie came on with me the third year. We changed it from Randy Shepard basketball camp to Crossfire basketball camp. So glory to God.

Yes, in the summertime we have half-day sessions, full-day sessions, and overnight sessions. Last summer we had 220 campers from 10 different states for our overnight camp, and then we do a full-day camp here for the western North Carolina area and also half-a-day camps, one in Hendersonville and one in Asheville. So we had about 910 kids in camp last summer, and glory to God, about 545 indicated they were making a first-time decision for the Lord Jesus Christ. So praise God.

We give Him the glory. So even though the camps are in the Carolinas, but people I'm guessing come from multiple states to attend the camp. Yeah, we had 10 different states this summer. They hear about it through social media. We do some things there on the Truth Network, advertising and word of mouth.

And we've had some students come from Egypt before and also all through the Bahamas and different countries. So yeah, just put it out there. Now we'll come to another area and do a one- or two-day clinic, preach in a church, speak at FCA. If there's a pastor or a church leader out there, we will come.

Just can't really give a whole week of camp in the summer because of our camps here locally, but we'll come to a one- or two-day clinic and also speak in a church on a weekend. We've done that many times in different cities. So yes, sir. And how did you come up with the name Crossfire?

That's a good question. We were driving, Jamie and I, from Asheville one time. We were Spirit Express driving. We had come home.

We were driving down to the High Rise Prison, which is not even there now in Morganton, North Carolina. We had been praying about the name. We hadn't officially said we were going to start a ministry yet, but we were praying about it.

And I had this thought. The cross is our salvation. Fire is the Holy Ghost. And then fire is also a basketball term back in those days, firing the nets. So Jamie liked it. We ran with it, did the ball with the flame on it, and there you have it.

So we try not to be, say, over spiritual about everything, but the Bible does say pray about all things, and we did. And that name came to mind, and it stuck. So that's how we got it. That's awesome. And of course, I've seen you speak sometimes, and you're pretty amazing.

What you can spin that basketball on besides your finger is pretty amazing from cell phones and everything else. I mean, it is quite a presentation for anyone that's never seen you or had the experience for you to speak. Now, Randy, so if a pastor's listening or someone wants to send their child to your camp, I'm sure there's a website. Where can people find out more information about Crossfire Ministries?

Yes, sir. Just go to Crossfire Ministries, singular, T-R-Y, Crossfire Ministries was taken when we first got started, so we had to do our website as Crossfire Ministries, singular. Just go to It's got all the information there. Come preach at your church, the summer camps, youth rally.

Speak to your football, basketball, baseball, any sports teams. It's all right there. And one thing about us, Nikita, like you, we don't demand a figure to come and speak. The gospel's free.

Obviously, we've got to live. We've got to be taken care of, but we go by faith and just trust the Lord. And 31 years, God has never failed us and always met our budget needs, so yes, sir, we'll go by faith and trust the Lord and minister from kids to senior citizens, whatever the Lord opens the door. Faith-based ministry, and I can relate to that. Part of my testimony, my last boss was a guy named Ted Turner.

That's who signed my checks, WCW, World Championship Wrestling, November 1992. So talk about walking by faith. Now, let me ask you this. I know you mentioned over 25,000 have attended camp. I want to ask, before we run out of time, we're almost out of time, but before we run out of time, and I know there's no way you can really calculate this, but I was having lunch with a pastor friend recently who asked me this question, and so I'm going to pose the same question to you. The question he posed to me was, in 2023, Nikita, how many people through Koloff for Christ Ministries would you say have come to the Lord?

And I'm like, oh my gosh, I don't know. Because I'm not a big numbers guy, Randy, and I try not to be evangelistic. I try to be very realistic and not exaggerate the numbers. So I don't know what the numbers would be, but I'm going to expand it, this question for you in our last minute or two here. Over the course of your ministry, what would you conservatively say? Because I know you said 95% of believers never lead one person to Christ, plus or minus on that percentage, but it is a high percentage.

Who would never do that? Give me an approximate number that Crossfire Ministries, Jamie Johnson, Randy Shepherd, have led to the foot of the cross. Just an approximate number.

What would you estimate? Yeah, I'm like you, Nikita, I get bashful when somebody asks me that because a pastor asked me from the pulpit last Sunday, I was at his church, and he looked down at me and asked that question, and I said, I don't want to say. He said, I want you to say, I'm trying to motivate the people. Right, right, exactly.

Me too, me too. We write down numbers every year for 31 years of international trips and so forth, and someone has added up the numbers and said over 200,000, but I qualify that with they walked forward, they raised their hand, they stood up, they said they were making a decision, but I learned a long time from a great evangelist. He said, Randy, don't say they got saved. He said, say they made a profession of faith.

If they meant it, they definitely got saved, but if they didn't mean it, only God knows the heart. So I started saying about 20 years ago, profession of faith, so estimation we've been told over 200,000 professions of faith, and Billy Graham was one asked that same question. How many of those that come forward at your crusades are real, he thought, and he even went lower than that. He said, probably 25% because he was such a humble man, and they said, really, why only 25%? He said, well, the seed fell by the wayside, and the birds got it.

Some of it was trampled, and he was using the parable of the seed. But glory to God, I pray that over 200,000 is correct, but as you know, I've heard a message by Dr. Adrian Rogers that the value of one soul, so I'm definitely not boasting in that number. I'm thankful that we've been able to present the gospel that many times, and I pray they all mean it, and I pray they're all growing in the Lord. But you know, Nikit, as evangelists, there's only so much we can do. We present the gospel, and then we trust it to the Lord. Well, and you bring up a very valid point for all of our listeners out there, and perhaps you were challenged today by hearing some of Randy Shepherd's story, and you are a Christ follower, and maybe you never have led somebody to the foot of the cross. You know, the results are up to the Lord. What we're called to do as Christ followers is sow the seed.

And to Randy's point, you know, whether or not a person makes that decision or even prays a prayer, how genuine that prayer is, only God truly knows. But don't let that discourage you from sharing your faith and sharing a gospel message. So one more time, real quick, Randy, the website where people can find out more about Crossfire Ministries.

Yes, it's,, or you can call us at 828 area code 255-9111, 828-255-9111, or So thank you, Randy, and thank all of you for tuning in and being so faithful and supporting the Man Up show week in and week out. God bless you, and I hope you go out today and live a God-filled, God-blessed life. 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 are enjoying the Man Up show, would you help us spread the word? Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your neighbors to download, subscribe, and leave a comment. Hi, Nikita Kolov. 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. Nikita Kolov here. If you're needing to buy a car and have marginal credit and considering using buy here, pay here, that's worse than taking the Russian sickle. Winston-Salem Motor Cars will put you behind the wheel of a car you can rely on while helping rebuild, repair, or establish your credit score. Conveniently located on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem, be sure to check them out today at because you are number one.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-23 02:12:40 / 2024-03-23 02:25:58 / 13

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