'Grace-filled' Kurt Warner selected to NFL's Hall of Fame

 
After coming up short in his first two years of eligibility, Kurt Warner is finally a Pro Football Hall of Famer. The former NFL quarterback, often known for being outspoken about his Christian faith, was picked for the honor on Feb. 4 by the 48-member selection committee. He was selected along with LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Davis, Morten Andersen, Jason Taylor, Jerry Jones and Kenny Easley. Warner won two MVP awards during his NFL career, played in three Super Bowls and was ...

Alabama, Clemson players pique pastor's compassion

 
Six seasons as chaplain of the University of Alabama football team give pastor Bruce Chesser a unique perspective on the Jan. 9 College Football Playoff title game between Alabama and Clemson University. The uniqueness, however, isn't the strength of his allegiance to the Crimson Tide—though his office does feature a sign that reads "Jesus bled crimson." What's unique for Chesser, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., is the way he thinks about the players on both sidelines. ...

Bobby Bowden's life profiled in LifeWay film 'The Bowden Dynasty'

 
The life of one of Florida Baptists’ own—legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden—is profiled in the inspirational true story, “The Bowden Dynasty: A Story of Faith, Family and Football” in a new film from LifeWay Films. The film of the life and career of Bowden, the winningest coach in college football, will kick-off the NCAA Football National Championship weekend in January. Along with his loyal assistants and players, Bowden fought against all odds ...

Possible record-breaking buck, baptism in same week

 
As his pastor said at Stephen Tucker's baptism, it had been a good week. First he bagged a 47-point buck that may break the world record for largest antlers ever measured, then it was his birthday and then he followed the Lord in believer's baptism. Tucker, of Gallatin, Tenn., was baptized Nov. 13 at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., where pastor Bruce Chesser explained Tucker had been a believer for years but had not demonstrated his faith through baptism. Last ...

Fellowship of Christian Athletes names new president/CEO

 
The National Board of Trustees of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has named Shane Williamson as president and CEO, effective Jan. 1. Williamson, currently FCA executive director of field ministry, replaces FCA president and CEO Les Steckel, who will retire at the end of 2016 after 12 years of service. "FCA conducted a comprehensive, national search for our new president, and the candidates we interviewed were tremendous leaders in their fields," board chairman Bruce Graham said. "When it came down to it, we ...

NCAA & ACC: 'breathtaking hypocrisy' cited in N. Carolina

 
Southern Baptist state legislator Paul Stam, Charlotte pastor Clint Pressley and evangelist Franklin Graham are among those calling the NCAA hypocritical for its decision to withdraw seven championship events from North Carolina over the state's antidiscrimination law. Two days after the NCAA's Sept. 12 move, the Atlantic Coast Conference followed suit by stating it would move all neutral-site championships for the coming academic year out of North Carolina, including the football conference championship game in December. The most high-profile events affected ...

NCAA athletic events pulled from North Carolina over restroom bill

 
North Carolina's pro-family leaders are decrying the NCAA's decision to pull seven championship athletic events from the state during the 2016-17 academic year in response to a state law requiring individuals at public agencies to use restrooms corresponding to their biological sex. "There is an expectation of privacy when women and children go into the shower or locker room, and it's more than an expectation—it's a right," Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said ...

Olympics: USOC volunteers strive to be 'a light for Jesus'

 
  Their relationship began because of tragedy, as Craig and Beverly Bohnert each had experienced their share of pain and heartache. But the Lord used those tragedies to bring them together. And now the Bohnerts, who served as volunteers for the U.S. Olympic Committee this year in Rio de Janeiro, are doing their best to be faithful witnesses for him in the work that God has called them to do. "As God opens doors, we're able to minister," Beverly ...

Olympics wrapup: God praised by athletes in triumph, defeat

 
The images and memories of the 2016 Olympics will endure for much longer than the torch's flame. Simone Biles racking up five medals (four gold) in gymnastics. Usain Bolt running away from every challenger. Katie Ledecky doing the same thing in the pool. Michael Phelps further establishing himself as the greatest Olympian ever. The list could go on. Several athletes who are professing Christians joined in the medal haul. Helen Maroulis won the first gold medal ever for the United States ...

Olympics: Frank Molinaro moves from love of self to love for God

 
The plan was for Frank Molinaro to wrestle in Rio and then make it home in time for the birth of his second child. But little Frank Jr. had a different timetable in mind. Molinaro's second son, Frank Anthony, was born Aug. 8 -- three weeks early -- back home in Pennsylvania while dad was sleeping in Rio. Everyone is healthy, and now Molinaro has something special to look forward to when his Olympic journey is complete. "In 2015 I gave my ...

Olympics: Stephen Lambdin looks to testify about Christ

 
When Stephen Lambdin makes his Olympic debut on Saturday (Aug. 20), he'll partly owe it to Michelangelo, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. "I originally got started in taekwondo because I actually wanted to be a ninja turtle," Lambdin told Baptist Press. "I started when I was 6 years old. I bugged my parents about it until they finally caved." Lambdin may not have achieved his ninja goal, but he has reached the pinnacle of his sport. And his aim as he competes ...

Olympics: Taekwondo athlete determined, trusting God

 
At a lot of her taekwondo competitions, Paige McPherson gathers with some fellow competitors and close friends from around the world to pray together. "I'm praying in English, my friend's praying in French, the other person's in Spanish," she told Baptist Press. "It's very encouraging, and I'm just truly grateful to God for bringing these people into my life." McPherson is aiming for her second medal in taekwondo in Rio this year after winning bronze in 2012. Over the past four ...

Olympic wrestler Helen Maroulis content with God's plan

 
Helen Maroulis had lots of grandiose plans for 2012 about how the Lord could use her as an Olympic wrestler. She figured she'd have a tremendous platform to share about her faith in Christ and talk about all the Lord had done in her life. Then she failed to make the team. So much for her plans. "I just remember bawling my eyes out, and I was angry," she said after losing in the trials that year. With her dreams shattered, ...

Olympics: American pentathlete grateful for father's legacy

 
Nathan Schrimsher will fulfill a dream when he competes in the modern pentathlon event at the Olympics. He's been working toward this goal for years, and his training and journey to the pinnacle of his athletic achievement has been a family affair. That's why, despite the excitement, the experience will be mingled with sorrow. Schrimsher's dad, Keith, passed away unexpectedly last year, and he's the one who will be on Schrimsher's mind during the competition. "The Lord gives and takes ...

Olympics: Volleyball player's love for teammates anchored by faith

 
Christa Dietzen comes by the "Mom" nickname her teammates have given her naturally. She's the oldest in her extended family, and she's one of the oldest players on the U.S. women's Olympic volleyball team. For Dietzen, the 29-year-old captain of the U.S. team in Rio, her interest in caring for those around her comes not just from any mothering instincts she might have, but from what she believes is required of her as a Christian. "What does it ...

Olympics: Simone Manuel makes history, gives 'all glory to God'

 
Simone Manuel became the first African-American to win an individual medal in swimming on Thursday (Aug. 11) when she won gold in the women's 100-meter freestyle, and she was quick to credit the Lord for that accomplishment. "All I can say is all glory to God," Manuel said through tears in a post-race interview. "It's definitely been a long journey these past four years. I'm just so blessed to have a gold medal ... I'm just so blessed." Manuel tied Canada's Penny ...

Olympics: Triple jumper Will Claye trusts in God's plan

 
Will Claye's journey to the Rio Olympics began with heartbreak. He thought he had qualified in the long jump during the Olympic team trials in July. He even took a victory lap. But he was wrong. "It took a lot of prayers and a lot of my family, my agent, old coaches just uplifting me and letting me know that this is in God's plan," Claye told Baptist Press. "It was something that I couldn't control and was something that ...

Olympics: U.S. volleyball player seeks God amid trials

 
Micah Christenson spent the past year playing professional volleyball in Italy. Sound like fun? He thought so, too, until he got there. He couldn't speak the language and was living alone for the first time in a foreign country. He didn't have any friends on the team. And then he got sick the first week. "I'm throwing up, and I'm sitting in my apartment alone," he told Baptist Press. "I'm like, man, this is a lot harder than I thought. ...

Olympics: Nightly prayers keep skeet shooter's focus on God

 
Vincent Hancock was so fed up with skeet shooting in 2011 that he almost quit. Despite winning gold in skeet shooting in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Hancock had lost his love for the sport. After a horrible World Cup competition in Slovenia—his worst finish ever—he called his wife, Rebekah, to tell her he wanted to quit. "No, don't do that," Rebekah told him. "Just get home. Let's talk about it. Let's pray about it." Hancock followed his ...

Olympics: Diving duo wins silver, gives credit to Christ

 
U.S. divers David Boudia and Steele Johnson have known each other for 10 years, since a teenaged Boudia drove the 10-year-old Johnson to practice every day. On Monday (Aug. 9), Boudia teamed up with that "little giggly kid in the back seat," as he remembered Johnson, to win a silver medal in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform event. "It was a successful day for both of us," Boudia said. "Going into it and throughout the competition, I've never felt so content ...

Olympics: Swimmer wins gold, shares source of happiness

 
Take a close look at Caeleb Dressel during some of his swimming competitions, and you'll notice a Scripture reference written across his face. The reference changes with each event, and he hasn't yet worn the references at the Olympics, but a favorite one for the 19-year-old is Isaiah 40:31: "but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles ..." That verse served as the inspiration for the large eagle tattoo on Dressel's left ...

Olympics: Faith, support steadies American archer's focus

 
Mackenzie Brown showed enough promise as an archer that she moved to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., as a teenager. That proved to be a difficult experience that required a lot of extra maturity, and Brown relied on the Lord to help her through those times. "That was kind of a culture shock for me," Brown, now 21, told Baptist Press. "It definitely put me through a couple of rough patches where my faith wasn't as strong, but ...

Olympics: 'Thy will be done' is shooter's prayer

 
In Sarah Scherer's competitions, the slightest movement -- even an errant breath -- can be the difference between winning and losing. It's understandable that such circumstances can cause times of nervousness and tension during a shooting competition. That's why the Olympic shooter a few months ago decided to start reciting the Lord's Prayer to herself when the pressure is on. "I realized I do that in life," Scherer told Baptist Press. "I might as well do that when I'm competing. ...

Olympics: U.S. diver abandons chase of fame, pursues Christ

 
Diver David Boudia had accomplished his life's dream when he captured a gold medal in the men's 10-meter platform competition at the 2012 Olympics in London. He soon learned how small and inconsequential that medal actually was. "My biggest issue was my continued belief in the lie I had started listening to as a child -- that the gold medal would be all satisfying," Boudia writes in his book "Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption," published this year ...

Michael Phelps' rehab after second DUI arrest was 'Purpose-Driven'

 
Michael Phelps, Team USA flag bearer at the Olympics opening ceremony tonight (Aug. 5) in Rio De Janeiro, was heavily influenced by Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Driven Life" during rehab after his second arrest on a drunken driving charge. "It's turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself, and there is a purpose for me on this planet," Phelps said about the book in an ESPN feature. The most-decorated Olympian ever with 22 medals, including 18 gold, to his credit, ...

Rio Olympics will present Gospel opportunities

 
Sid Hopkins is an eye-catching sight when he visits the Olympics. The retired director of missions for the Atlanta-area Gwinnett Metro Baptist Association dons a hat and vest decorated with hundreds of pins that people aren't bashful about inspecting. Hopkins trades pins with other Olympics fans while distributing pins made especially for the Olympics that tell the story of Jesus. "There is an openness by people to talk with one another and to talk about spiritual things," Hopkins said. "So ...

Yankees great Bobby Richardson's life marked by Christian faith

 
Bobby Richardson played baseball for the New York Yankees during the golden years of their dynasty. He retired from baseball at age 31 and shortly thereafter became the first full-time baseball coach at the University of South Carolina, establishing a winning tradition that continues today. But the key to his outstanding career, his marriage of 60 years and his witness for Christ has been his Christian faith. Bobby met his wife, Betsy, at Grace Baptist Church in Sumter, S.C. She sat ...

Accident teaches basketball player what's 'really important'

 
Watching Laura Spradlin drain 3-pointers and block shots, it's hard believe a car crash nearly took her life. "I love that basketball is a game for tall people," said Spradlin, who has played since she was 5. At almost 6-foot-2, not being able to play basketball was torture. "I couldn't run for months because of my injuries," she said. "But I knew I needed to try my hardest because I really wanted to play again." Driving alone on her way to ...

Pastor saw spiritual side of Pat Summitt

 
Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history who professed her faith in Christ four years ago through baptism, died today (June 28) at age 64 after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Summitt, coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team from 1974-2012, was a member of Faith Promise Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Knoxville, Tenn. Her pastor, Chris Stephens, told Knoxville's NewsTalk 98.7 June 27 she would "probably pass into heaven in the next few days." Stephens led listeners ...

Commentary: What can we learn from LeBron James' theology?

 
Being a resident of northeast Ohio, I've had a lot of fun watching LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as they clawed their way to an NBA title. At times I have lamented as the star basketball player has been lionized and other times vilified for his views on life. James' passion for playing and winning basketball games has been analyzed, questioned and even challenged over the years. He has proven he can take on a seemingly larger-than-life goal and ...

Tampa-area pastor has big league ministry

 
Ken Whitten used to dream of playing professional baseball. But even though God closed that door following Whitten's college pitching career nearly 40 years ago at Eastern Illinois University, He reopens another door into baseball for Whitten each spring as major league players and coaches -- especially New York Yankees -- descend on the Tampa, Fla.-area Idlewild Baptist Church, where he has served as pastor for 26 years. With the Yankees' spring training facility less than half an hour away, some 8...

NCAA pressed to defend transgender athletes

 
A homosexual advocacy group is pressuring the NCAA to exclude from its membership all schools with federal government approval to "discriminate" against transgender individuals on religious grounds. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. predicted the NCAA eventually will succumb to pressure from activists and grant the request to ban schools with a biblically orthodox view of human sexuality from America's most prominent college athletics association. Campus Pride, a coalition of more than 80 homosexual and transgender advocacy groups, ...

Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem: 'Without my faith I wouldn’t be here'

 
Growing up on the mean streets of Miami, nothing was given to Udonis Haslem nor did anything come easy. At almost every corner, his faith was tested. His biggest test came in July 2010 when his mother, Debra Haslem, died of cancer at age 53. “Growing up in the inner city, losing my mother to cancer and losing a lot of family and friends to drugs and violence and different things—my faith has been tested a lot,” said ...

FCA founder Don McClanen lifted sports into ministry

 
Don McClanen, who founded Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 1954 after enlisting the support of several Christians in sports, died Feb. 16 at age 91. More than 60 years after its founding, FCA is a worldwide ministry headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., with 1,200 staff members who use athletics as a means of reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Former Major League pitcher Rick Horton, who now serves as the St. Louis-area FCA director in addition to his role as a St. ...

Carolina Panthers long snapper finds identity outside spotlight

 
It's safe to say Carolina Panther J.J. Jansen won't make headlines if his team wins the Super Bowl this weekend. He's in the starting lineup and he will touch the football every time he's on the field. But when the game is over and the confetti settles on the field for the Panthers or Broncos, the only way most people who watch the game will know who Jansen is will be if he makes a mistake. So goes the ...

Denver Broncos punter: 'God causes all good things to happen'

 
After having to pay $1,800 for his newborn daughter to be able to attend Super Bowl 50, Denver Broncos punter Britton Colquitt is quick to point out that all things work together for the good of those who love God. Colquitt captured attention earlier this week after news broke that he would need to pay for his newborn daughter to attend the Super Bowl. While each player is allotted 15 tickets, they are required to pay a $1,800 fee for each one. And that ...

Super Bowl: Broncos, Panthers discuss sportsmanship, faith

 
While underinflated footballs aren't dominating Super Bowl headlines this year, the National Football League still had its share of unsportsmanlike conduct calls, concussions and doping allegations this season. But rules do matter and those who don't follow them must pay the consequences, players say. Team members from the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers weighed in on the importance of sportsmanship and their Christian faith during Opening Night of Super Bowl 50 with the media at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., ...

Southwestern seminary aims for souls through Men's Game Banquet

 
A Paige Patterson-penned Gospel tract gives evidence to his credentials as an expert hunter. In "Hunting the Most Dangerous Game," one portion of the tract by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's president reads: "My 500 Nitro Express double rifle was already on my shoulder, safety off, ready for instant response. When the charge came, time stood still. A flurry of action and this magnificent lioness lay at my feet. When I reached over to touch her, my heart broke into a race ...

Alabama-Clemson matchup about more than championship

 
For many, it could be difficult to imagine a College Football Playoff National Championship between two more quintessential Bible Belt teams than tonight's (Jan. 11) Alabama-Clemson matchup in Glendale, Ariz. Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 1A for fan bases that love God and football, with that order sometimes up for debate. Talk to those in the know, however, and one thing isn't debatable—both teams have a strong core of players and coaches who are faithful Christians and who have a higher ...

Pastor sees Dabo Swinney's faith in action

 
  Ryan Goodroe couldn't believe what he saw when he took his kids to play baseball in Clemson, S.C. When he showed up for one of the first practices, he noticed Thad Turnipseed, recruiting director for the Clemson University Tigers football team, coaching one of the teams. Goodroe, pastor of Utica Baptist Church in Seneca, S.C., just down the road from Clemson, had met Turnipseed a couple of times, so he approached him with a question. "How are ...