SPARK Talks 2019: Week 4

Former NFL player and Emmy Award-winning TV broadcaster, Solomon Wilcots is sharing his story. Brian Tome believes passivity is killing us and will bust the myth that being aggressive is a bad thing.

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From a young age, God put in
me this desire to create art.

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He gave me the space where I'm
free to create and an imagination

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fueled by His creativity.

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I'm inspired by natural
wonders and by architecture.

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I work with multiple mediums,
from murals to ceramics, but

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really enjoy working
with porcelain clay.

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Before I begin, I always invite
God in with a simple prayer.

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God, what do you want
to make this morning?

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And with that prayer, ideas will come
to me and the results are

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usually quite unique.

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The process of creating can
be an emotional one.

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All pottery must go through multiple
steps and can fail at any

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step.

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My clay is subjected to many
changes and looks very sloppy

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during the process which makes me doubt
it will look as good as

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I planned.

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But the finished piece is
always better than I imagined.

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I step back and I see how
God had His hand in the results.

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I'm Gail, and the joy of creating
art with God is what ignites

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life in me.

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Well, welcome to Crossroads, you're
joining us for Spark Talks,

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where you're going to get to
hear from a couple different

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people with something that
might inspire you.

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Right now I'm in California and
you'll get to hear more about

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that later and who these
people are behind me.

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But first, we're going to
spend some time worshipping together.

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And this is an opportunity to set
our hearts and our minds in a

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place to be prepared for what God
has to say to us over the

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next hour or maybe even
over the next week.

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So join us as
we sing these songs.

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Well, welcome to the Crossroads.

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My name is Lena Schuler
and I'm the Crossroads Anywhere

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Community Pastor, because the
beautiful thing about Crossroads

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is you can experience
it anywhere you are.

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And right now I'm in Newport
Beach, California, with some new

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friends.

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[ cheers and applause ]

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Yes. I have had the joy of
getting to know some of these people

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in this room.

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The Byerlys over here have been
so hospitable and gracious to

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host us.

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And next week we actually get to
hear some from the Byerlys and

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from my good friend Megan.

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And they're going to be part
of our Spark Talks series.

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So next week, wherever you live,
you want to check out

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Crossroads.net and find the location
nearest you and head

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there.

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And if there's not a location
close to you, join us on

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Crossroads anywhere, because we're going
to get to experience

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together what's happening in your
local community, whether you

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live in Florence, Kentucky; Mason,
Ohio; or Newport Beach,

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California.

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So check us out next
week for Spark Talks.

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And you know, one of the great
tools that we have at Crossroads

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that you're able to use whenever
you want is something called

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the Connect Map.

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If you head to the Crossroads
Website, you can check out the

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Connect Map.

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And on there you can filter
for groups and people and locations

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that are close to you.

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And that's how some of the people
in this room with me right now

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actually met each other and became
friends a couple of years

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ago is through that Connect Map.

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It's a sweet tool if you've
not checked it out, you should.

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And if you live somewhere outside
of the Greater Cincinnati or

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Lexington area, make sure you put
yourself on the Connect Map

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and reach out to the people
around you so that when someone

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moves, they might be
able to find you.

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Right now, we actually get
an opportunity to be generous.

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One of the marks of our team
at Crossroads is that we're a

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generous team.

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What that means is we believe that
what we have is all God's to

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begin with.

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And so we get the joy of giving
in a way to be obedient to God.

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And because it's His anyways, He lets
us keep a whole bunch of

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it.

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We just get to give a
portion of it back to Him.

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And so if you want to be
generous and give right now and fuel

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things like tools being made,
like the Connect Map and

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communities here in Newport Beach,
California, getting to form,

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you could do that
by heading to Crossroads.net/give

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as a way of saying the God,
"I believe that all of this is

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Yours to begin with and I want
to see more people around the

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country meet You."

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I'm Conor and I
go to Crossroads.

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I grew up in a family of
five boys and then my two parents,

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very, very close-knit family that
was very faith based.

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I decided to go away to college
and to take life into my own

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hands.

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I drank and I partied
and I had a blast.

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And fast forward four years, I got
a degree and got a great job.

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I started dating a woman and we
dated for about two and a half

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years.

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And that was great.

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We talked about taking that next
step and the next step being

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marriage.

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So I bought a ring.

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A week before our engagement
she ended everything and that

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wrecked me.

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I was not eating.

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I lost a ton of weight.

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I couldn't find motivation to get
out of bed in the morning.

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I decided that I had one of two
options, I could go to my own

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vices and I could party and I
could drink and I could sleep

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with women,

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or I can turn back to my faith.

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And I decided that I'm
gonna give God another chance.

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And that led me to Crossroads.

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During the announcements on that
very first Sunday they talked

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about how young adults
was starting up.

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And so I knew that this wasn't
a coincidence, this had to be a,

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you know, a God thing.

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And I decided to take a step
of faith and go to young adults.

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I felt like as I walked through
those doors they could see my

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pain, they could see me hurting.

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I think Josh, one of the leaders,
saw that I might have been a

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little bit uncomfortable and lonely,
and he made a beeline

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straight for me.

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And for the first time in a
very, very, very long time, I felt

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like I could connect with somebody
and they wanted to hear my

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story.

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I felt loved.

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I felt accepted.

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So that next week we formed
our pod at young adults, it's

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basically a small group.

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So it's about 15 people.

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So what I didn't realize at that
moment was that Pod was gonna

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become my family.

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They were people from all walks of
life, but we all were looking

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for something and
that was community.

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And we found it.

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Those people are my best friends
and my family to this day.

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When I was in my in my
darkest spot, I felt like God had

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forgotten me.

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And because of Crossroads, because of
my young adults pod, my

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faith has completely changed.

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I'm not worried about what
my future looks like.

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As long as I trust in
Him, He is going to provide.

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I had no idea how much of an
impact this place was gonna have on

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me.

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And so to those who
give, truly, thank you.

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Well, yes.

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Yes, I'm making an
aggressive move today.

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I have some new shoes on.

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Obviously everyone always knows.

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I swear anytime I wear something

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new, people are like, "Oh,
did you just get those?".

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Yes, I did just get these shoes.

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Thank you very much.

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A friend of mine does some
contract work with Adidas and gave

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them to me.

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They're wonderful.

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I think that's cool.

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And I'm -- I've got a
lot of new stuff today.

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New shoes.

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And also there's been some
new stuff happening on here.

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You know, we're trying to get
more people speaking on stage,

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different voices,
different perspectives.

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And so I've created an outlet
that helps me have more teaching

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content every week,
it's called BrianTome.com.

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I have a new podcast coming
out that's called The Aggressive

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Life.

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It's going really, really well.

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And actually, I'm going -- so,
some people have already heard

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The Aggressive Life.

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And there's some other things.

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You can subscribe
at BrianTome.com

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if you want to, but today I want
to talk about why I would do a

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podcast called The
Aggressive Life.

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Some of us would
say, "Aggression? I've

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read the Bible a number of times
or I've heard about it, but I

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don't remember seeing the word
aggression inside of there.".

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Yes, the word aggression or aggressive
is not in the Bible.

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Neither are the words
empathy, delayed gratification, racial

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reconciliation.

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There's a bunch of things that are
in the Bible, but the phrase

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itself isn't in the Bible,
the phrase itself aggressions

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is not in the Bible.

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Aggression is all
through the Bible.

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I'm not talking today about
using your physical or financial

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might to power up somebody on
somebody and have your way.

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I'm talking about taking
control of your life.

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I'm talking about seeing something that
you want and you think

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God wants you to have it.

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And feeling equipped by Him
to actually go after it.

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Every single Bible hero you've ever
heard of has one thing in

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common, other than
they love God.

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Two things in common,
they all were aggressive.

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We don't know of any prophet from
the Old Testament who had a

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word from God and chose
not to share it.

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We never -- we
don't hear about him.

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It's only the ones who are aggressive
enough to share it that we

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hear about.

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We don't know of anybody in
the early church who did anything

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that was just passive waiting for
it, it was all aggressive.

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Every Bible hero is a hero
because they aggressively went after

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something.

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Jesus aggressively came to this
earth, aggressively went to a

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cross and got nailed to it.

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Now you might think that was
passive, Him going to a cross.

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No, he aggressively chose that.

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He could have talked his
way out of it.

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He aggressively goes to it.

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This is a far cry from
our culture today that is increasingly

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passive.

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The signs are everywhere,
I mean everywhere.

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We have this theory that the
reason my marriage isn't working is

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because I haven't
met my soulmate.

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People are getting married later
and later because we're waiting

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for our soulmate to come along.

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Hey, the clue phone's ringing and
there's no such thing as a

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soulmate.

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They're not coming around,
not going to happen.

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But we're passively waiting for
this perfect person to be

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married to and what do you know?

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There is no perfect person
to be married to.

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If you want to be married,
you have to aggressively ask somebody

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out on a date.

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Shocking, shocking.

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Our culture is
increasingly divided.

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Right, left, extreme
right, extreme left.

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And they look like each camp
is aggressive, but really they're

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only passive inside of their
own political leanings where ever

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they are.

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Nobody's aggressively stepping over the
aisle and shaking a

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hand.

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No one's aggressively stepping over
on the other side to

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understand and strike
up a conversation.

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We're still passive
as a culture.

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We put airbags on everything,
seatbelts on everything, helmets

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on everything, including three year olds
who are on a tricycle

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in a basement.

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Nobody's ever had brain
damage that way.

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And yet it's a
symptom of our culture.

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And when you talk
about the church.

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Oh, my gosh, the church, the body
of Christ are some of the most

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passive weenie people
going around.

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Totally passive weenie
people going around.

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Someone just said say it again.

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I got you, man.

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Someone's into what I'm saying.

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Even classic stories of the
Bible, we don't even understand.

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One of them I want to
share in my remaining remaining moments.

244
00:20:22.880 --> 00:20:25.210
Jacob. Jacob, and Esau.

245
00:20:25.610 --> 00:20:27.140
They are twins who are born.

246
00:20:27.170 --> 00:20:32.090
Jacob is the second born and he
comes out holding the heel of

247
00:20:32.090 --> 00:20:36.020
his older brother, who's born older
by a couple of seconds.

248
00:20:36.740 --> 00:20:40.910
When you hear this talked about
in Christian circles, Jacob is

249
00:20:40.910 --> 00:20:43.030
given the word of supplanter.

250
00:20:43.030 --> 00:20:44.590
He is the supplanter.

251
00:20:44.660 --> 00:20:46.760
That's not what the
word Jacob means.

252
00:20:46.790 --> 00:20:49.010
It means one who
grasps the heel.

253
00:20:49.460 --> 00:20:51.980
And then, when we don't
understand because in Christiandome we

254
00:20:51.980 --> 00:20:54.590
just think we should just sit back
and let go and let God.

255
00:20:54.770 --> 00:20:56.820
Just let whatever will happen in my
life was gonna let happen in

256
00:20:56.820 --> 00:20:57.200
my life.

257
00:20:57.200 --> 00:21:00.620
And it looks like Jacob is
constantly pushing, and so we don't

258
00:21:00.620 --> 00:21:01.190
like this.

259
00:21:01.220 --> 00:21:02.270
Like he's grasping.

260
00:21:02.450 --> 00:21:04.910
He's like, "No, no, I want to be
first, I want to be first out

261
00:21:04.910 --> 00:21:05.360
of the womb.".

262
00:21:05.720 --> 00:21:08.240
He wants to be first out of
the womb because in ancient culture

263
00:21:08.780 --> 00:21:12.740
to be the first born son meant
you got the lion's share of the

264
00:21:12.740 --> 00:21:13.430
inheritance.

265
00:21:13.460 --> 00:21:14.880
That was yours by birth.

266
00:21:14.900 --> 00:21:16.010
It was your birthright.

267
00:21:17.210 --> 00:21:21.210
So as Esau, who's the first one
out, he's kind of the manly man.

268
00:21:21.240 --> 00:21:22.340
His dad's favorite.

269
00:21:22.370 --> 00:21:24.800
Jacob is the momma's boy.

270
00:21:25.070 --> 00:21:26.470
He's mom's favorite.

271
00:21:26.940 --> 00:21:30.150
Esau is out hunting,
he's hairy, he's hunting.

272
00:21:30.170 --> 00:21:32.060
He's kind of a classic
male, if you will.

273
00:21:32.300 --> 00:21:33.590
Jacob. Jacob.

274
00:21:33.610 --> 00:21:34.490
He's cooking.

275
00:21:34.760 --> 00:21:35.540
He's home.

276
00:21:35.720 --> 00:21:39.620
But Jacob is actually far
more aggressive than Esau.

277
00:21:39.650 --> 00:21:43.190
You can drive a truck and
like guns, but be incredibly passive.

278
00:21:43.850 --> 00:21:45.870
By the way, if you have
guns, you should be very passive.

279
00:21:45.890 --> 00:21:48.350
We're thankfully -- We need more
people with guns to be passive.

280
00:21:48.380 --> 00:21:53.240
But nonetheless, Jacob goes and he
posts up on the path where

281
00:21:53.240 --> 00:21:56.240
Esau is going to be coming
back home and Esau is hungry.

282
00:21:57.340 --> 00:22:01.730
And Esau stops to Jacob and
he sees his favorite stew

283
00:22:01.750 --> 00:22:03.050
there and says, "Oh, give
me some of your stew.".

284
00:22:03.260 --> 00:22:06.680
And Jacob says, "No,
I can't do that.

285
00:22:06.710 --> 00:22:07.850
I'll tell you what,
though, I'll make a

286
00:22:07.850 --> 00:22:10.470
trade. I'll make a trade.

287
00:22:10.470 --> 00:22:11.720
I'll give you some soup and
you give me the birthright.

288
00:22:12.710 --> 00:22:15.020
You let me be first born and get
the blessing me for it and you

289
00:22:15.020 --> 00:22:15.620
can have the soup.".

290
00:22:15.680 --> 00:22:19.370
And Esau goes, "Umm, I'm kind
of -- I'm kind of hungry.

291
00:22:19.370 --> 00:22:19.880
Okay. Done.

292
00:22:19.910 --> 00:22:20.780
Deal. Deal.".

293
00:22:21.350 --> 00:22:23.090
So he sells his birthright.

294
00:22:23.160 --> 00:22:26.900
Jacob gives him the pot of stew.

295
00:22:26.910 --> 00:22:29.420
And Jacob gets the birthright.

296
00:22:29.840 --> 00:22:32.210
And some of us go
like, "This is just dirty.

297
00:22:32.420 --> 00:22:33.440
This is just evil.

298
00:22:33.490 --> 00:22:34.150
Why? Why?

299
00:22:34.160 --> 00:22:36.500
Why would -- why would
Jacob just not give it?".

300
00:22:36.530 --> 00:22:41.000
Well, Jacob's a giver, I give
things and I also sell things.

301
00:22:42.110 --> 00:22:45.650
I do, in fact, if you think
that this is wrong, then the very

302
00:22:45.650 --> 00:22:48.380
idea of business you think is
wrong, because business is all

303
00:22:48.380 --> 00:22:49.700
about making a deal.

304
00:22:49.730 --> 00:22:49.970


305
00:22:49.970 --> 00:22:52.190
All of us in here get a
paycheck to some degree or another

306
00:22:52.400 --> 00:22:54.740
because there is a
deal being made.

307
00:22:54.920 --> 00:22:57.350
In fact, even today in our culture
this is why we're drawn to

308
00:22:57.350 --> 00:23:00.160
socialism, because we'd rather
not make a deal.

309
00:23:00.170 --> 00:23:02.660
We'll just sit back and let
somebody else take care of us.

310
00:23:04.130 --> 00:23:06.170
No, we need to go forward.

311
00:23:06.440 --> 00:23:08.360
Jacob makes a trade.

312
00:23:08.380 --> 00:23:10.280
He makes a business transaction.

313
00:23:10.430 --> 00:23:11.240
And it's fair.

314
00:23:11.420 --> 00:23:13.130
It's not -- it's not seedy.

315
00:23:13.280 --> 00:23:14.060
It's the underhanded.

316
00:23:14.110 --> 00:23:15.650
It's a business transaction.

317
00:23:16.220 --> 00:23:21.320
And then Jacob goes on and
he has an amazing life.

318
00:23:21.360 --> 00:23:23.770
Now, you might think to yourself,
"Well, this is not right.

319
00:23:24.130 --> 00:23:25.280
I think Esau's a bad --"

320
00:23:25.280 --> 00:23:27.240
Well, let's see what the
Bible says about this.

321
00:23:27.260 --> 00:23:29.630
The Book of Hebrews, chapter
12, verse 14 and following.

322
00:23:29.930 --> 00:23:33.200
Here's where it talks about,
you notice aggression is all

323
00:23:33.200 --> 00:23:35.330
through this even though
the word aggression isn't.

324
00:23:35.360 --> 00:23:36.900
Here's what it says in verse 13:

325
00:23:44.900 --> 00:23:49.970
Strive, I might
say be aggressive

326
00:23:49.970 --> 00:23:53.490
Aggressively, try to be
at peace with everyone.

327
00:23:53.510 --> 00:23:57.470
If you want to spiritually grow, you
want to be holy, you've got

328
00:23:57.470 --> 00:23:58.760
to have an energy about it.

329
00:23:58.940 --> 00:24:00.360
You've got to want
to try something new.

330
00:24:00.830 --> 00:24:03.200
What's the last new thing
you tried with God?

331
00:24:03.650 --> 00:24:06.320
What's the last new
prayer technique you've tried?

332
00:24:06.560 --> 00:24:08.930
What's the last new
Bible system you tried?

333
00:24:09.170 --> 00:24:12.380
What's the last new book
you open yourself to?

334
00:24:12.410 --> 00:24:13.440
What is it?

335
00:24:13.630 --> 00:24:14.300
Well, I'm not growing,
I'm not growing.

336
00:24:14.300 --> 00:24:15.650
Okay. What are you doing?

337
00:24:15.680 --> 00:24:16.580
You've got to be aggressive.

338
00:24:16.700 --> 00:24:17.780
In that very next verse.

339
00:24:29.630 --> 00:24:30.530
What is bitterness?

340
00:24:30.680 --> 00:24:32.810
Bitterness is when someone
has done us wrong.

341
00:24:32.840 --> 00:24:35.570
Maybe they've wrongfully used their
aggression, they've done us

342
00:24:35.570 --> 00:24:35.900
wrong.

343
00:24:35.930 --> 00:24:37.280
And then how do we stay bitter?

344
00:24:37.610 --> 00:24:41.030
We stay bitter because we passively
keep waiting for it to get

345
00:24:41.030 --> 00:24:41.360
better.

346
00:24:42.400 --> 00:24:45.250
We get bitter because we passively
expect it to go away.

347
00:24:45.280 --> 00:24:49.030
No, no, you need to
aggressively love your enemy.

348
00:24:49.360 --> 00:24:52.540
You need to aggressively
pray for your enemy.

349
00:24:52.690 --> 00:24:55.030
That's how bitterness gets
away from us.

350
00:24:55.030 --> 00:24:57.900
Bitterness never just goes away
by sitting around waiting.

351
00:24:57.980 --> 00:24:59.950
Now here's the next and
last verse, check this out:.

352
00:25:01.240 --> 00:25:04.360
"That no one
is sexually immoral."

353
00:25:04.480 --> 00:25:07.120
You'll have to be aggressive to
be sexually pure, by the way.

354
00:25:07.150 --> 00:25:10.180
If you're passive in our culture,
you will fall into sexual

355
00:25:10.180 --> 00:25:10.750
immorality.

356
00:25:10.990 --> 00:25:13.090
"That no one is sexually
immoral," here it is:

357
00:25:21.630 --> 00:25:25.580
Esau is the one who is unholy.

358
00:25:26.390 --> 00:25:30.080
Jacob goes on from this and he
makes a lot of mistakes, he does,

359
00:25:30.110 --> 00:25:30.840
makes a bunch of them.

360
00:25:31.160 --> 00:25:35.160
I like the word aggression because
I want to make aggressive

361
00:25:35.160 --> 00:25:38.940
mistakes, and Jacob for sure
makes mistakes in his life.

362
00:25:39.160 --> 00:25:43.660
But when we make an aggressive
mistake, it'll take care of

363
00:25:43.660 --> 00:25:46.450
itself because nine other mistakes
we made aggressively are

364
00:25:46.450 --> 00:25:48.100
going to more than
make up for that.

365
00:25:48.910 --> 00:25:52.080
Jacob goes off and he ends
up wrestling with God and God

366
00:25:52.100 --> 00:25:56.980
renames -- He names the whole
nation of Israel after Jacob.

367
00:25:57.010 --> 00:26:00.370
Because as Jacob is wrestling with
God and God's just playing

368
00:26:00.370 --> 00:26:01.690
around with him.

369
00:26:01.690 --> 00:26:06.070
While he's wrestling with God, God
touches his hip, jacks up his

370
00:26:06.070 --> 00:26:06.340
hip.

371
00:26:06.550 --> 00:26:07.330
And he says, "You know what?

372
00:26:07.720 --> 00:26:08.680
I like how you hustle.

373
00:26:09.460 --> 00:26:11.110
I like how you're aggressive.

374
00:26:11.440 --> 00:26:15.670
You're going to be named
Israel, which means God's fighter."

375
00:26:15.910 --> 00:26:21.070
And the whole nation visual is
named after a guy who's being

376
00:26:21.080 --> 00:26:22.150
aggressive.

377
00:26:22.540 --> 00:26:27.520
And God says, "I want your
DNA in and through my entire

378
00:26:27.910 --> 00:26:28.570
nation.".

379
00:26:29.810 --> 00:26:32.930
One of our Tome family
motto is Tomes Hustle.

380
00:26:34.070 --> 00:26:34.580
We hustle.

381
00:26:34.640 --> 00:26:35.890
We don't do everything well.

382
00:26:36.770 --> 00:26:40.550
It's not -- when something goes
well, it's not because we're the

383
00:26:40.550 --> 00:26:41.270
best looking.

384
00:26:41.360 --> 00:26:42.140
We're certainly not.

385
00:26:42.170 --> 00:26:43.820
It's not because we're
the most articulate.

386
00:26:43.850 --> 00:26:45.350
It's not because of anything.

387
00:26:45.380 --> 00:26:50.120
But when something goes right, God
may be using our desire to

388
00:26:50.120 --> 00:26:50.630
hustle us.

389
00:26:50.640 --> 00:26:52.430
That's why I named my son Jacob.

390
00:26:52.790 --> 00:26:56.210
I named him Jacob because of
this story and wanting to say,

391
00:26:56.210 --> 00:27:00.190
"Let's have the value of hustle
and aggression in our family.".

392
00:27:00.200 --> 00:27:03.480
And I want you to have
the hustle of value and agression.

393
00:27:03.650 --> 00:27:10.130
Nothing great can happen in your life
and lose the grace of God

394
00:27:10.440 --> 00:27:13.400
intermingles with
your aggression.

395
00:27:14.250 --> 00:27:16.650
Grab your life by
the throat, friends.

396
00:27:16.950 --> 00:27:18.690
You only have one life to lead.

397
00:27:19.020 --> 00:27:20.790
Ask her out on a date.

398
00:27:21.690 --> 00:27:23.700
Start the business.

399
00:27:24.390 --> 00:27:26.330
Stamp out the addiction.

400
00:27:26.400 --> 00:27:28.260
Don't just go, "Oh, I wonder
if I'm addicted or not.".

401
00:27:28.260 --> 00:27:30.660
Stamp, aggressively go after it.

402
00:27:32.180 --> 00:27:35.170
It's the aggressive ones
that are powerful ones.

403
00:27:54.220 --> 00:27:57.460
Hello, everyone, I'm Solomon Wilcots, and
I am honored to be

404
00:27:57.460 --> 00:27:58.720
here with you today.

405
00:27:59.380 --> 00:28:04.360
I just wanted to stop by to
share with you my story of how

406
00:28:04.360 --> 00:28:10.480
prayer and faith has changed the
trajectory of my life from the

407
00:28:10.480 --> 00:28:11.410
very beginning.

408
00:28:12.880 --> 00:28:17.680
And to validate how prayer and
faith works and how God will

409
00:28:17.680 --> 00:28:19.090
stand on His word.

410
00:28:19.990 --> 00:28:23.800
I go to scripture where
in Jeremiah 33:3 it says:.

411
00:28:32.040 --> 00:28:36.300
Our ability to call on God in
the moment when we run into

412
00:28:36.300 --> 00:28:41.310
roadblocks, that really is a
wonderful opportunity to not only

413
00:28:41.310 --> 00:28:46.320
grow close to Him, but I
think we often will understand that

414
00:28:46.320 --> 00:28:50.640
sometimes hard work, perseverance
doesn't always work.

415
00:28:51.540 --> 00:28:54.750
I know we've been told that
if you just continue to push

416
00:28:54.750 --> 00:28:58.470
forward, if you continue to try
hard, if you just persevere,

417
00:28:59.040 --> 00:29:02.850
that you will be able to
achieve your goals, dreams, and

418
00:29:02.850 --> 00:29:04.740
aspirations in life.

419
00:29:05.250 --> 00:29:08.400
But what happens when hard
work just isn't enough?

420
00:29:09.180 --> 00:29:12.930
What happens when perseverance
falls just short?

421
00:29:14.280 --> 00:29:17.670
I'm here to share with you just
a few examples in my life where

422
00:29:17.910 --> 00:29:22.800
those moments occurred and
prayer provided the

423
00:29:22.800 --> 00:29:27.300
breakthrough those roadblocks that
would have prohibited me

424
00:29:27.300 --> 00:29:30.390
from achieving dreams
and aspirations.

425
00:29:31.830 --> 00:29:34.920
Go back to being 9
and 10 years old.

426
00:29:35.280 --> 00:29:40.050
I grew up in a church where
most of the congregation there were

427
00:29:40.050 --> 00:29:44.100
family members: cousins, aunts, uncles,
I come from a large

428
00:29:44.100 --> 00:29:45.200
extended family.

429
00:29:45.210 --> 00:29:47.640
My grandparents were
in the church.

430
00:29:47.700 --> 00:29:49.440
My dad was a pastor there.

431
00:29:50.670 --> 00:29:55.320
That idyllic life came to an end
when my parents divorced when I

432
00:29:55.320 --> 00:29:57.120
was about 10 years old.

433
00:29:57.630 --> 00:30:02.640
My three older brothers went to live
with my dad and I decided

434
00:30:02.640 --> 00:30:03.490
to stay with mom.

435
00:30:04.380 --> 00:30:09.210
And while I had been used to living
in a home that was full of

436
00:30:09.270 --> 00:30:14.220
energy, that was the bustling with a
lot of people and a lot of

437
00:30:14.220 --> 00:30:18.360
chatter and three older brothers that
took out their worst days

438
00:30:18.360 --> 00:30:19.050
on me.

439
00:30:19.650 --> 00:30:21.810
Now there's no one there.

440
00:30:22.410 --> 00:30:25.220
My mom worked two jobs
to make ends meet.

441
00:30:26.730 --> 00:30:29.550
She worked second shift on her
second job, she would typically

442
00:30:29.550 --> 00:30:30.900
get home around midnight.

443
00:30:31.320 --> 00:30:33.420
I would see her in the morning.

444
00:30:34.020 --> 00:30:36.180
When I was on my way to
school, she was getting up in the

445
00:30:36.180 --> 00:30:36.660
morning.

446
00:30:36.660 --> 00:30:39.660
And then I would have to stay
up till midnight if I wanted to

447
00:30:39.660 --> 00:30:40.590
talk with her.

448
00:30:40.830 --> 00:30:44.810
But typically I would be asleep
by the time mom got home.

449
00:30:46.080 --> 00:30:52.380
And you fast forward just a few
years beyond that, I knew I

450
00:30:52.380 --> 00:30:54.050
always wanted to go to college.

451
00:30:54.060 --> 00:30:55.440
I loved to read.

452
00:30:55.470 --> 00:30:56.820
I loved playing sports.

453
00:30:56.850 --> 00:30:58.950
If I wasn't playing sports,
I was somewhere reading.

454
00:30:59.490 --> 00:31:03.060
If I wasn't somewhere reading,
I was somewhere playing sports.

455
00:31:03.540 --> 00:31:07.500
So naturally a kid who's
curious, who loves learning, loves

456
00:31:07.500 --> 00:31:10.740
playing ball, you want to go off
to college and you want to

457
00:31:10.740 --> 00:31:11.970
play sports in college.

458
00:31:12.000 --> 00:31:17.000
It was a tremendous dream of mine
from a very, very early age.

459
00:31:18.650 --> 00:31:22.130
But at about 14, as I was
coming out of middle school and

460
00:31:22.250 --> 00:31:23.990
looking for a high
school to go to.

461
00:31:24.000 --> 00:31:28.190
I grew up in Compton, California,
was in environment that I

462
00:31:28.190 --> 00:31:30.170
desperately wanted out of.

463
00:31:30.590 --> 00:31:35.990
And it was definitely an environment I
did not want to remain in

464
00:31:36.350 --> 00:31:39.800
to go to high school because
no one came to Compton,

465
00:31:39.800 --> 00:31:44.030
California, for Friday night
football game looking for

466
00:31:44.030 --> 00:31:45.540
potential college students.

467
00:31:46.100 --> 00:31:49.430
So I remember going to my mom and
I had to convince her to allow

468
00:31:49.430 --> 00:31:54.410
me to move away about an hour
outside of Los Angeles to live

469
00:31:54.410 --> 00:31:57.350
with an older brother
who was rarely home.

470
00:31:57.470 --> 00:32:00.680
He was busy living his life, but
he had a home in a better

471
00:32:00.680 --> 00:32:04.370
community that offered me a
better opportunity for education

472
00:32:04.680 --> 00:32:06.620
and opportunity to
earn a scholarship.

473
00:32:07.460 --> 00:32:14.340
And after much chatter, after much
talk of convincing my mom,

474
00:32:14.490 --> 00:32:17.130
she relented and she allowed me
to go live with an older

475
00:32:17.130 --> 00:32:17.470
brother.

476
00:32:17.490 --> 00:32:21.630
She laid out all the requisite
things that I had to do.

477
00:32:21.960 --> 00:32:24.960
And if I, of course, would screw
up even one of those, she was

478
00:32:24.960 --> 00:32:26.220
going to pull me back home.

479
00:32:27.420 --> 00:32:31.710
But I acclimated very quickly,
made friends with the right

480
00:32:31.710 --> 00:32:37.680
friends, adapted academically, and
I adapted athletically.

481
00:32:37.680 --> 00:32:42.360
And I had a wonderful high
school football coach who prescribed

482
00:32:42.360 --> 00:32:45.300
for me various things that
I had to do.

483
00:32:45.300 --> 00:32:49.440
And that if I performed at a
very high level that he would work

484
00:32:49.740 --> 00:32:52.000
to help me earn
a college scholarship.

485
00:32:52.320 --> 00:32:54.120
So it was exactly what
I wanted to hear.

486
00:32:54.870 --> 00:32:58.320
And I remember by the time I was
a junior, it was -- we were

487
00:32:58.320 --> 00:33:00.630
going into our final game
of my junior year.

488
00:33:01.820 --> 00:33:05.040
Now, I remember the coach called me
and one of the other players

489
00:33:05.610 --> 00:33:08.760
into an office and he says,
"Guys, I have some bad news.".

490
00:33:09.420 --> 00:33:11.910
He said, "We have this final
game that we need to win.

491
00:33:11.910 --> 00:33:13.830
If we don't win it, we
don't get into the playoffs.".

492
00:33:13.850 --> 00:33:17.760
Now our school had not been
to the California state playoffs in

493
00:33:17.760 --> 00:33:20.220
19 consecutive seasons.

494
00:33:20.400 --> 00:33:24.150
This would be 20 years in a row
where we would have to sit it

495
00:33:24.150 --> 00:33:24.540
out.

496
00:33:25.320 --> 00:33:28.800
Well, he proceeded to tell us both
that if we did not win that

497
00:33:28.800 --> 00:33:33.180
game and get into the playoffs
that his contract would not be

498
00:33:33.180 --> 00:33:34.950
renewed, that he would be fired.

499
00:33:35.310 --> 00:33:38.100
And then he proceeded to tell
us that, "Those scholarships that

500
00:33:38.100 --> 00:33:40.440
we talked about, well,
that's off the table.

501
00:33:41.160 --> 00:33:44.190
I don't know what's gonna happen
if another coach comes in here,

502
00:33:44.820 --> 00:33:48.720
but I could tell you that it
would be real slim chance that

503
00:33:48.720 --> 00:33:50.460
you'd be able to
earn that scholarship.".

504
00:33:51.240 --> 00:33:54.390
He said, "So here's what I need
in order to win this games: I

505
00:33:54.390 --> 00:33:56.430
need two interceptions
from you.".

506
00:33:56.690 --> 00:34:00.270
And then I kind of, you know,
I just kind of went numb.

507
00:34:00.660 --> 00:34:03.420
And I remember him telling my
teammate he needed something from

508
00:34:03.420 --> 00:34:03.690
him.

509
00:34:03.720 --> 00:34:06.180
There were some things he needed for
him to do in order for us

510
00:34:06.180 --> 00:34:06.930
to win this game.

511
00:34:08.120 --> 00:34:12.170
And I just remember thinking to myself,
"How is all -- and why

512
00:34:12.170 --> 00:34:14.030
is it gonna put all
this pressure on me?

513
00:34:14.300 --> 00:34:19.130
This 14, 15 year old kid we've
got to win this game in order

514
00:34:19.130 --> 00:34:20.880
for all these great
things to happen?".

515
00:34:21.650 --> 00:34:25.250
But I remember going home that
night and after just being very

516
00:34:25.250 --> 00:34:30.290
overwhelmed because I saw everything
flash before my very eyes,

517
00:34:30.770 --> 00:34:34.880
all the dreams, the hopes,
the aspirations of attending

518
00:34:34.880 --> 00:34:35.530
college.

519
00:34:36.660 --> 00:34:39.150
I'm thinking if we lose this
game, I'm going back to Compton,

520
00:34:39.180 --> 00:34:43.200
which is the last thing I want
to do is to go back there.

521
00:34:43.510 --> 00:34:49.230
And maybe having a sense of
failure for having gone back without

522
00:34:49.230 --> 00:34:53.730
accomplishing the goal that I
set out to accomplish.

523
00:34:54.830 --> 00:34:58.910
I just remember praying that
night feverishly and not

524
00:34:58.910 --> 00:35:02.660
necessarily to get two interceptions,
but to certainly to want

525
00:35:02.660 --> 00:35:03.830
to win the game.

526
00:35:04.440 --> 00:35:08.000
I remember going to school the
next day, that Friday morning.

527
00:35:08.000 --> 00:35:13.340
And as we went through the
day of going through classes, of

528
00:35:13.340 --> 00:35:16.490
going through some of the
pregame rituals for warming up,

529
00:35:16.520 --> 00:35:20.480
I just remember having a great sense
of calm that came over me.

530
00:35:20.930 --> 00:35:23.180
No longer did I
have the anxiety.

531
00:35:23.180 --> 00:35:26.300
No longer did I have
the fear of failing.

532
00:35:26.330 --> 00:35:30.140
No longer did I worry about what's
going to happen if we don't

533
00:35:30.140 --> 00:35:31.250
win this game.

534
00:35:31.490 --> 00:35:34.730
What's gonna happen if I don't come
through and hold up my end

535
00:35:34.730 --> 00:35:35.050
of the deal?

536
00:35:35.420 --> 00:35:39.650
It was a sense of calm that
came over me, and I remember just

537
00:35:39.650 --> 00:35:41.000
having the game of my life.

538
00:35:41.870 --> 00:35:43.820
In fact, I didn't even think I
was good enough to get two

539
00:35:43.820 --> 00:35:45.910
interceptions in the game,
but I did.

540
00:35:46.930 --> 00:35:48.160
I got two interceptions.

541
00:35:48.220 --> 00:35:49.630
We won the game.

542
00:35:49.990 --> 00:35:55.540
And I just remember this sense
of adulation that came over me

543
00:35:55.870 --> 00:36:00.340
because I could almost reach out and
touch the dream that I had

544
00:36:00.370 --> 00:36:01.300
out in front of me.

545
00:36:01.540 --> 00:36:07.120
I felt it was a major milestone
that for all the hard work that

546
00:36:07.120 --> 00:36:11.570
I put into it, that I
needed help in this situation.

547
00:36:11.840 --> 00:36:13.730
I needed help
getting two interceptions.

548
00:36:14.120 --> 00:36:17.180
I needed help winning the game, not
only the help of my other

549
00:36:17.180 --> 00:36:21.350
teammates, but I felt
I needed divine intervention.

550
00:36:22.840 --> 00:36:26.050
I needed that conversation
with the Almighty.

551
00:36:26.770 --> 00:36:30.310
And through that moment of
humility, through that moment of

552
00:36:30.310 --> 00:36:33.250
helplessness, I grew
closer to Him.

553
00:36:33.760 --> 00:36:37.840
And in growing closer to Him,
all the sense of anxiety, fear,

554
00:36:37.840 --> 00:36:39.460
and doubt subsided.

555
00:36:40.450 --> 00:36:44.780
I just remember a couple of weeks
later, my coach calling me and

556
00:36:44.780 --> 00:36:48.760
a few teammates over to his house
and we were helping he, his

557
00:36:48.760 --> 00:36:51.970
wife and two daughters, they were
moving into a better home.

558
00:36:52.450 --> 00:36:55.540
He had been awarded
with a better contract.

559
00:36:56.340 --> 00:37:01.480
And I just remember coming away
from that understanding that the

560
00:37:01.480 --> 00:37:05.740
prayer that I was seeking, whatever
was going to happen on the

561
00:37:05.740 --> 00:37:09.880
other end of it, it had to
do more than just having something

562
00:37:09.880 --> 00:37:10.750
to do with me.

563
00:37:11.590 --> 00:37:14.620
There were so many people who were
blessed as a result, not only

564
00:37:14.620 --> 00:37:18.310
my coach and his family for
being blessed to move in a

565
00:37:18.310 --> 00:37:19.090
different home.

566
00:37:19.270 --> 00:37:23.740
He wasn't released from his job,
so he had secure employment.

567
00:37:24.160 --> 00:37:26.890
Our student body that
year we became closer.

568
00:37:27.340 --> 00:37:31.360
Not only the very next year,
we came together, we won 14

569
00:37:31.360 --> 00:37:33.970
straight games, went to
the state championship game.

570
00:37:34.750 --> 00:37:38.920
The student body population, we
had greater unity, we came

571
00:37:38.920 --> 00:37:40.390
together as a community.

572
00:37:41.510 --> 00:37:46.460
We had 10 players the very
next year, including myself, to earn

573
00:37:46.460 --> 00:37:48.560
a scholarship to play
Division 1 football.

574
00:37:50.070 --> 00:37:55.160
It was something that was beyond
whatever work that I did.

575
00:37:55.590 --> 00:37:59.670
I think it was a direct
correlation of being humble enough to

576
00:37:59.670 --> 00:38:02.100
ask God for help in
a time of need.

577
00:38:05.160 --> 00:38:08.880
As I moved forward and went
to college, I had great times.

578
00:38:08.970 --> 00:38:13.140
I had some difficult challenges along
the way, but I did

579
00:38:13.140 --> 00:38:13.980
persevere.

580
00:38:14.010 --> 00:38:21.390
And I remember 1987, 32 years ago,
I was fortunate enough to be

581
00:38:21.390 --> 00:38:24.150
drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals
in the eighth round.

582
00:38:24.780 --> 00:38:26.310
And I'm coming to Cincinnati.

583
00:38:28.840 --> 00:38:32.620
Now, in the NFL, there
are only seven rounds.

584
00:38:33.280 --> 00:38:34.840
I was drafted in
the eighth round.

585
00:38:36.500 --> 00:38:38.540
If there were would have been
many years later, I wouldn't have

586
00:38:38.540 --> 00:38:40.910
been drafted at all, wouldn't
be coming to Cincinnati.

587
00:38:40.910 --> 00:38:43.430
I would have been
an un-drafted free agent

588
00:38:43.430 --> 00:38:48.680
But I was blessed enough to be
drafted to come here and we went

589
00:38:48.680 --> 00:38:49.610
to training camp.

590
00:38:49.610 --> 00:38:54.370
In those days you go to training
camp with 90 players, only 45

591
00:38:54.380 --> 00:38:55.640
players are gonna make the team.

592
00:38:56.590 --> 00:39:01.510
Roughly half the players who report
to training camp are going

593
00:39:01.630 --> 00:39:02.800
to be sent home.

594
00:39:03.190 --> 00:39:06.220
Imagine you're coming out of college
and you're going for this

595
00:39:06.220 --> 00:39:12.540
dream job of yours and you're going
to work the very first day

596
00:39:12.550 --> 00:39:13.450
and they tell you,

597
00:39:13.870 --> 00:39:16.810
"All right, you've got six weeks
to prove that you could keep

598
00:39:16.810 --> 00:39:19.900
this job because half the people
in this room we're sending

599
00:39:19.900 --> 00:39:20.290
them home.".

600
00:39:20.980 --> 00:39:23.200
That's what it was like for
me coming to Cincinnati, being

601
00:39:23.200 --> 00:39:24.850
drafted by the
Cincinnati Bengals.

602
00:39:25.280 --> 00:39:29.110
And we went up to training
camp in Wilmington, Ohio, on days

603
00:39:29.110 --> 00:39:31.900
that were hotter than the
one you experienced today.

604
00:39:32.300 --> 00:39:35.630
90 players battling
every single day.

605
00:39:36.280 --> 00:39:39.010
Two practices a day,
meetings that night.

606
00:39:39.310 --> 00:39:42.380
Take the information from meetings that
night to go back onto

607
00:39:42.400 --> 00:39:44.260
the practice field the
very next day.

608
00:39:45.250 --> 00:39:47.730
And if you screw up, back
to the end of the line.

609
00:39:48.770 --> 00:39:51.600
And it was a battle, it
was a war of attrition.

610
00:39:52.290 --> 00:39:55.560
You had to perform and you had
to perform at a very high level.

611
00:39:56.280 --> 00:40:00.270
I remember six weeks later, you
don't get the call saying that

612
00:40:00.270 --> 00:40:01.350
you made the team.

613
00:40:01.830 --> 00:40:08.670
In fact, you get a call saying
bring in your playbook, your time

614
00:40:08.670 --> 00:40:09.300
here has ended?

615
00:40:09.960 --> 00:40:13.440
If you don't get a call, you
sort of creep into the building the

616
00:40:13.440 --> 00:40:16.770
day after Labor Day, hoping no
one taps you on the

617
00:40:16.770 --> 00:40:17.430
shoulder saying,

618
00:40:17.430 --> 00:40:19.020
"No, you weren't one
of the guys.".

619
00:40:20.640 --> 00:40:23.430
Apprehensively, you continue to go,
you sit in the meeting.

620
00:40:23.550 --> 00:40:24.420
Then you're looking around.

621
00:40:24.420 --> 00:40:28.530
You're in a room with
Anthony Munoz, Boomer Esiason, Chris

622
00:40:28.530 --> 00:40:29.280
Collinsworth.

623
00:40:29.670 --> 00:40:31.710
And then you realize, I
think I made it.

624
00:40:32.960 --> 00:40:34.990
Now, they don't really want to tell
you you made it, because I

625
00:40:34.990 --> 00:40:38.200
think they want you to
feel precarious about the job.

626
00:40:38.500 --> 00:40:39.440
You'll play harder.

627
00:40:39.460 --> 00:40:40.590
You'll try harder.

628
00:40:42.240 --> 00:40:45.540
All I know is that I played
in two games, that was my rookie

629
00:40:45.540 --> 00:40:47.680
year we play our first game,
then play the second game.

630
00:40:47.700 --> 00:40:50.400
We come into the locker room
and the veteran player say, "Guys,

631
00:40:50.970 --> 00:40:53.050
don't come into work
tomorrow, we're on strike.".

632
00:40:55.190 --> 00:41:00.230
It was the year that the NFL
players went on strike, and as a

633
00:41:00.230 --> 00:41:01.610
rookie, you have no choice.

634
00:41:02.650 --> 00:41:06.490
I'm getting calls from the ownership
saying, "You need to cross

635
00:41:06.490 --> 00:41:09.550
the picket line to play with
the replacement players in these

636
00:41:09.550 --> 00:41:10.090
games.

637
00:41:10.750 --> 00:41:14.800
And if you don't, we can't promise
you that your job will be

638
00:41:14.800 --> 00:41:16.120
here when you come back.".

639
00:41:18.390 --> 00:41:23.000
I remember going through that
period, I was depressed because

640
00:41:23.250 --> 00:41:26.820
imagine I had earned this dream
job, I had earned it.

641
00:41:27.150 --> 00:41:28.500
But now it's gone.

642
00:41:29.070 --> 00:41:32.580
That's when I came to understand
that the NFL was an acronym,

643
00:41:32.820 --> 00:41:34.470
which means "not for
long." [ laughter ]

644
00:41:35.360 --> 00:41:39.720
And so I remember feeling helpless
and I just remember praying.

645
00:41:39.720 --> 00:41:42.540
And I remember having a
conversation with the Almighty and

646
00:41:42.630 --> 00:41:47.770
asking God to show me who am
I outside of being a football

647
00:41:47.770 --> 00:41:48.160
player.

648
00:41:49.300 --> 00:41:52.390
This is the conversation most athletes
don't want to ever have,

649
00:41:52.390 --> 00:41:55.360
because they don't ever want
to imagine themselves no longer

650
00:41:55.360 --> 00:41:56.870
being the athlete, right.

651
00:41:58.270 --> 00:42:01.120
But here I am, I'm forced
to have this conversation because I

652
00:42:01.120 --> 00:42:02.610
did everything, I worked hard.

653
00:42:02.650 --> 00:42:03.580
I persevered.

654
00:42:03.820 --> 00:42:05.200
I made the team.

655
00:42:05.480 --> 00:42:06.430
Made the cut.

656
00:42:06.910 --> 00:42:10.810
Then why am I sitting home on
a sofa with an uncertain future?

657
00:42:12.820 --> 00:42:16.630
So I begin to have a conversation
with God and asked Him to show

658
00:42:16.630 --> 00:42:20.510
me who am I without
the game of football?

659
00:42:22.350 --> 00:42:25.740
And it wasn't too long after that
I end up meeting two gentlemen

660
00:42:25.740 --> 00:42:28.570
who I remain very
close friends with today.

661
00:42:29.190 --> 00:42:31.050
They had played at
the University of Michigan.

662
00:42:31.080 --> 00:42:33.840
They never even got an opportunity
to play in the NFL.

663
00:42:34.380 --> 00:42:37.260
And they were working at a
local insurance company here in town.

664
00:42:38.340 --> 00:42:39.810
And we became close friends.

665
00:42:39.810 --> 00:42:42.080
They were telling me about their
job and I was so intrigued.

666
00:42:43.050 --> 00:42:44.250
I said, I'm looking for a job.

667
00:42:44.820 --> 00:42:46.620
I said, I don't care if
I go back and play football.

668
00:42:46.720 --> 00:42:49.470
If I could get a job, work
every year in the offseason, that'd

669
00:42:49.470 --> 00:42:51.640
be great because I need
to figure it out.

670
00:42:52.020 --> 00:42:55.260
So I end up like went in
and I interviewed, I ended up getting

671
00:42:55.260 --> 00:42:57.840
into a management training program
where I work in

672
00:42:58.170 --> 00:42:58.890
underwriting.

673
00:42:58.920 --> 00:43:00.510
I worked as a claims adjuster.

674
00:43:00.530 --> 00:43:02.460
I worked in human resources.

675
00:43:02.710 --> 00:43:05.450
And every year, even though we
were called back after the strike

676
00:43:05.450 --> 00:43:08.160
to come back and play, even though
I got to play in a Super

677
00:43:08.160 --> 00:43:11.550
Bowl the very next year and I'm
having the time of my life

678
00:43:11.550 --> 00:43:12.870
playing in the NFL,

679
00:43:13.290 --> 00:43:17.220
every single year when the season was
over, I went to my real

680
00:43:17.220 --> 00:43:20.760
job, a job that I felt
that God had led me to,

681
00:43:20.760 --> 00:43:25.350
because there is where I grew
exponentially and begin to learn

682
00:43:25.350 --> 00:43:28.350
and grow in ways that
I never thought possible.

683
00:43:29.220 --> 00:43:33.030
And had I not gone through
that transition, that it would have

684
00:43:33.030 --> 00:43:36.850
made it more difficult that when
my playing days were over, it

685
00:43:36.850 --> 00:43:40.500
would have been even more difficult
to transition into a real

686
00:43:40.500 --> 00:43:40.920
job.

687
00:43:41.850 --> 00:43:45.630
And that leads me to this final
story of how prayer and faith

688
00:43:45.960 --> 00:43:50.790
helped crystallize my belief that
God still answers prayer.

689
00:43:52.380 --> 00:43:55.050
Later in my football career, I
remember we were playing a game

690
00:43:55.080 --> 00:43:57.960
in Spain, we're playing
the San Francisco 49ers.

691
00:43:58.560 --> 00:44:04.410
And my wife at the time,
we were pregnant expecting our third

692
00:44:04.410 --> 00:44:05.130
child.

693
00:44:05.700 --> 00:44:11.310
And so we had some complications and
flew back here, go in for

694
00:44:11.910 --> 00:44:13.800
for inspection, for treatments.

695
00:44:14.280 --> 00:44:17.820
And the doctor pulled us in a
room and said, "I have some bad

696
00:44:17.820 --> 00:44:23.760
news. The umbilical cord is
not attached to the esophagus.

697
00:44:23.790 --> 00:44:28.230
The stomach is not
attached to the esophagus.

698
00:44:29.040 --> 00:44:32.130
And the chromosome count
seems to be off.

699
00:44:33.100 --> 00:44:37.840
This is common in children who are
expected to be born with Down

700
00:44:37.840 --> 00:44:38.350
syndrome.".

701
00:44:39.720 --> 00:44:42.310
And I remember crying
a lot of tears.

702
00:44:42.310 --> 00:44:46.270
I remember them offering
us opportunities to abort.

703
00:44:46.920 --> 00:44:50.500
And I remember thinking,
I can't do that.

704
00:44:51.310 --> 00:44:54.490
And I just went home
and I called my mom.

705
00:44:55.390 --> 00:44:58.900
And I can still hear
her saying, "You know what?

706
00:44:59.080 --> 00:45:01.340
I'm gonna get all the women at
the church and we're going to

707
00:45:01.340 --> 00:45:01.800
pray.

708
00:45:02.320 --> 00:45:03.570
That baby is gonna be okay.

709
00:45:03.610 --> 00:45:05.050
Don't you do anything?

710
00:45:05.740 --> 00:45:07.630
You just pray with us."

711
00:45:08.500 --> 00:45:11.830
And I remember praying and
going back to my Bible.

712
00:45:11.830 --> 00:45:14.950
And there was the scripture,
Jeremiah 33:3 which says:.

713
00:45:21.090 --> 00:45:22.830
That scripture keeps
coming back.

714
00:45:23.840 --> 00:45:26.810
After that, I didn't worry, I
just knew seven months later I'm

715
00:45:26.810 --> 00:45:28.670
going into the emergency room

716
00:45:28.670 --> 00:45:32.420
or I should say the delivery room,
and I had pretty much had

717
00:45:32.420 --> 00:45:36.670
forgotten all the fear and
anxiety had left me.

718
00:45:37.130 --> 00:45:37.820
I didn't worry.

719
00:45:37.820 --> 00:45:39.590
I just went to
work every single day.

720
00:45:39.620 --> 00:45:41.540
I was doing all
the right things.

721
00:45:41.540 --> 00:45:46.310
And when there were a team of
doctors that rushed into the room,

722
00:45:46.340 --> 00:45:51.380
that's when I became aware again
of what the potential was to

723
00:45:51.380 --> 00:45:53.660
have a child born
with Down syndrome.

724
00:45:54.850 --> 00:45:56.050
I remember Dr.

725
00:45:56.050 --> 00:46:00.990
Nelson, after my son was born
and this team of doctors doing

726
00:46:00.990 --> 00:46:03.810
all these tests and poking all
-- they were doing so many

727
00:46:03.810 --> 00:46:04.110
things.

728
00:46:04.110 --> 00:46:08.460
And I remember him just saying,
"Who said this baby was sick?

729
00:46:08.610 --> 00:46:11.020
This baby is perfectly okay."

730
00:46:12.110 --> 00:46:16.550
Born to us was a healthy
baby boy who thrives today

731
00:46:17.210 --> 00:46:22.900
[ applause ] and by the grace
of God, He answered our prayers.

732
00:46:24.500 --> 00:46:26.900
I've told that story to
other people and they

733
00:46:26.900 --> 00:46:30.260
say, "Well, are you sure
they just didn't misdiagnose?

734
00:46:30.260 --> 00:46:30.590
Are you sure that
it wasn't this?

735
00:46:30.630 --> 00:46:31.910
Are you sure it wasn't that?".

736
00:46:33.280 --> 00:46:36.430
But I believe that God
does stand on His word.

737
00:46:37.090 --> 00:46:42.100
I believe that during those
moments of uncertainty, because all

738
00:46:42.100 --> 00:46:46.120
the money in the world, all the
fame in the world could not

739
00:46:46.690 --> 00:46:49.450
heal my son in utero.

740
00:46:50.230 --> 00:46:54.280
There was nothing being an NFL player
was going to do to fix

741
00:46:54.280 --> 00:46:55.360
that situation.

742
00:46:55.960 --> 00:46:59.020
I had no choice but to
fall on my knees and pray.

743
00:46:59.710 --> 00:47:04.450
I had no choice but to
have faith in the darkest moment.

744
00:47:05.320 --> 00:47:08.080
And so that's what I
leave with you here today.

745
00:47:08.470 --> 00:47:12.670
Not only will God answer prayer
when hard work and perseverance

746
00:47:12.940 --> 00:47:13.900
falls through.

747
00:47:14.560 --> 00:47:16.030
He will come into your life.

748
00:47:16.030 --> 00:47:19.840
He'll draw you closer to him
and he will answer you.

749
00:47:20.290 --> 00:47:23.680
He did it for me, and I
know he'll do it for you.

750
00:47:23.680 --> 00:47:24.430
Thank you very much.

751
00:47:24.430 --> 00:47:24.440
[ applause ]

752
00:47:38.500 --> 00:47:40.190
>> Let's talk about some
stuff you talked about here.

753
00:47:40.970 --> 00:47:45.530
I love -- I love that
line about hard work isn't enough.

754
00:47:45.680 --> 00:47:47.660
Our own efforts aren't enough.

755
00:47:47.910 --> 00:47:52.350
So you obviously, you're
working hard, right?

756
00:47:52.470 --> 00:47:54.470
You're getting scholarships.

757
00:47:54.470 --> 00:47:57.110
You're doing everything you need
to do, you're working on.

758
00:47:57.470 --> 00:47:58.970
But then you've got
the prayer thing.

759
00:47:59.150 --> 00:48:02.780
So is it -- is it you work
hard and then when your work isn't

760
00:48:02.780 --> 00:48:05.720
doing it, then the prayer picks
up or is it intermingled

761
00:48:05.720 --> 00:48:06.770
throughout or how
does that work?

762
00:48:07.110 --> 00:48:10.340
>> No, I think you need to
do both because particularly as say,

763
00:48:10.340 --> 00:48:11.390
if you're an athlete?

764
00:48:11.390 --> 00:48:12.470
What happens if you get injured?

765
00:48:13.160 --> 00:48:15.830
Because you know,
it's inevitable.

766
00:48:16.490 --> 00:48:20.870
You know, athletes, it's not about
when I get hurt, you are

767
00:48:20.960 --> 00:48:23.950
going to get hurt, particularly
in a sport like football.

768
00:48:23.960 --> 00:48:26.390
You continue to play, you
are going to get hurt.

769
00:48:26.930 --> 00:48:31.730
So I remember every single time before
going out to a game, you

770
00:48:32.380 --> 00:48:33.550
-- there is some humility there.

771
00:48:33.560 --> 00:48:39.410
You have to have that and
ask for protection and understand that

772
00:48:39.650 --> 00:48:42.770
hard work and all the weight
lifting and all the training does

773
00:48:42.770 --> 00:48:45.410
not amuse you from injury.

774
00:48:46.280 --> 00:48:51.450
That divine intervention conversation
with the Almighty, it

775
00:48:51.450 --> 00:48:52.490
really does help.

776
00:48:52.700 --> 00:48:57.470
There's been many instances in my
life where I didn't just pray

777
00:48:57.490 --> 00:49:00.920
and ask for results without
putting in the hard work.

778
00:49:00.950 --> 00:49:05.390
>> Right. Well, talking about the
physical game, when I was

779
00:49:05.390 --> 00:49:08.810
talking with Solomon about, hey, let's
have you kind of stand

780
00:49:08.810 --> 00:49:08.930
up.

781
00:49:08.930 --> 00:49:09.740
You don't have to sit down.

782
00:49:09.750 --> 00:49:10.530
This isn't a studio.
Let's have you

783
00:49:10.940 --> 00:49:11.930
standing up around.

784
00:49:11.930 --> 00:49:14.600
And the reason why
you didn't stand was?

785
00:49:14.930 --> 00:49:17.360
>> Yeah, I told him, I said,
"I have this old body that's been

786
00:49:17.360 --> 00:49:20.270
beaten up by football, you
know, bad back, bad hips.

787
00:49:20.270 --> 00:49:20.280
>> Right.

788
00:49:21.680 --> 00:49:22.850
>> I said, "I need to sit down.

789
00:49:22.880 --> 00:49:27.140
You can stand that's good for you,
but give me a perch to sit

790
00:49:27.140 --> 00:49:31.430
on because, you know, I'm 54,
but my body and joints are

791
00:49:31.430 --> 00:49:31.730
much older.

792
00:49:31.820 --> 00:49:31.910
>> Tell me if
I start hurting you.

793
00:49:31.910 --> 00:49:31.920
>> That does not
hurt, Brian, no.

794
00:49:31.920 --> 00:49:33.870
>> Yet?

795
00:49:34.120 --> 00:49:35.950
>> No, no, no. You

796
00:49:35.960 --> 00:49:37.610
don't hit as hard as
some ballplayers, so it's okay.

797
00:49:37.610 --> 00:49:39.810
[ laughter ]

798
00:49:41.720 --> 00:49:46.700
>> But that, man, that is I mean,
that's really wild to be in a

799
00:49:46.700 --> 00:49:51.770
profession for six years that's going
to affect the rest of

800
00:49:51.770 --> 00:49:52.250
your life.

801
00:49:52.640 --> 00:49:54.470
>> Absolutely. Physically.

802
00:49:54.530 --> 00:49:55.280
>> Physically, yeah.

803
00:49:55.340 --> 00:49:55.880
Physically.

804
00:49:56.210 --> 00:50:01.630
>> There was times I remember after
a game the next morning and

805
00:50:01.670 --> 00:50:05.060
you go to get out of bed and,
whoa, I mean, you hurt from head

806
00:50:05.060 --> 00:50:05.570
to toe.

807
00:50:05.990 --> 00:50:10.310
And all ballplayers will tell you
this, the very next day you

808
00:50:10.310 --> 00:50:15.170
have so much inflammation, you're in
such pain that you get up

809
00:50:15.170 --> 00:50:15.950
slowly.

810
00:50:16.370 --> 00:50:19.790
And that's when you know that this
isn't good for my long term

811
00:50:19.790 --> 00:50:22.100
health. There's just no
way this is good.

812
00:50:22.760 --> 00:50:26.390
And you keep doing it and
you keep getting back on that

813
00:50:26.390 --> 00:50:29.530
horse, sooner or later, something
is going to happen.

814
00:50:29.540 --> 00:50:32.750
My body would pop in places
that I even know existed.

815
00:50:33.980 --> 00:50:40.050
And now I'm still feeling the
pains from from having done that.

816
00:50:40.100 --> 00:50:41.900
But I wouldn't change
it for anything.

817
00:50:41.990 --> 00:50:42.380
>> Well, what?

818
00:50:42.380 --> 00:50:43.160
Why not?

819
00:50:43.190 --> 00:50:46.820
I mean, it seems to me
maybe there's some credibility to

820
00:50:46.820 --> 00:50:48.080
football should just go away.

821
00:50:48.530 --> 00:50:49.640
>> No, I don't think so.

822
00:50:49.970 --> 00:50:54.950
I think it does still offer
our youth opportunities to come

823
00:50:54.950 --> 00:50:57.110
together and learn how to
win as a team.

824
00:50:58.070 --> 00:51:02.480
Learn how to operate within a
team setting and still strive for

825
00:51:02.480 --> 00:51:05.990
goals, dreams, aspirations, as I
did in high school.

826
00:51:06.560 --> 00:51:09.620
The game helped change the
trajectory of my life.

827
00:51:10.010 --> 00:51:13.190
We learn how to fail
and still bounce back.

828
00:51:13.610 --> 00:51:15.680
That moments of
failure aren't permanent.

829
00:51:15.770 --> 00:51:17.660
I learned that
from playing sports.

830
00:51:17.690 --> 00:51:19.020
I learned that
from playing football.

831
00:51:19.650 --> 00:51:23.330
I got beat, gave up touchdowns,
came back and made a play.

832
00:51:23.360 --> 00:51:26.570
You have to always get
back up and keep fighting.

833
00:51:26.780 --> 00:51:31.190
So there's so many things that we
can learn, okay, that we can

834
00:51:31.190 --> 00:51:33.860
carry with us the rest of
our lives that we learn from

835
00:51:33.860 --> 00:51:34.950
participating in sports.

836
00:51:34.970 --> 00:51:36.170
Football did that for me.

837
00:51:36.170 --> 00:51:40.280
It might be another sport for
your son or daughter, but that

838
00:51:40.280 --> 00:51:41.690
game should not go away.

839
00:51:41.720 --> 00:51:45.110
There's always gonna be some young
kid on some farm in the

840
00:51:45.110 --> 00:51:46.850
Nebraska, he wants
off that farm.

841
00:51:47.120 --> 00:51:48.410
He's tired of bailing hay.

842
00:51:48.600 --> 00:51:48.720
>> Yeah.

843
00:51:48.890 --> 00:51:52.580
>> Right? But football offers him
an opportunity to one day buy

844
00:51:52.580 --> 00:51:53.120
that farm.

845
00:51:53.240 --> 00:51:57.230
>> Well, it's not just that, I
like a sport that gives a healthy

846
00:51:57.350 --> 00:51:58.520
outlet for aggression.

847
00:51:58.880 --> 00:51:59.450
>> There you go.

848
00:51:59.720 --> 00:52:00.690
Absolutely.

849
00:52:01.070 --> 00:52:05.360
>> A lot of young males
need a healthy outlet for aggression.

850
00:52:05.680 --> 00:52:09.680
And I think that are paranoia
over football is coinciding with

851
00:52:09.680 --> 00:52:11.270
our embracing of passively.

852
00:52:11.390 --> 00:52:15.110
We just -- we just want less
and less of a vigorous life.

853
00:52:15.110 --> 00:52:16.130
And I'm concerned about it.

854
00:52:16.490 --> 00:52:18.140
>> Well, you talk
about being aggressive.

855
00:52:18.140 --> 00:52:21.380
You cannot survive on a football
field if you're not aggressive.

856
00:52:22.070 --> 00:52:24.770
Even the quarterback who you don't
think of is being aggressive.

857
00:52:25.070 --> 00:52:28.310
I mean, if you watch Tom Brady
and you watch him, he's head

858
00:52:28.310 --> 00:52:29.660
butting with his offensive line.

859
00:52:29.720 --> 00:52:32.940
He's getting jacked up and he's
not going to tackle anyone.

860
00:52:33.470 --> 00:52:37.040
But even when it comes to
throwing that laser ball with the

861
00:52:37.040 --> 00:52:40.880
clock ticking, he cannot be
passive in that moment.

862
00:52:41.360 --> 00:52:44.480
Defenders are swarming around Rob
Gronkowski and he's still

863
00:52:44.480 --> 00:52:46.730
going to squeeze that ball
in that tight window.

864
00:52:47.060 --> 00:52:51.290
And if he's passive or if he's
at all tentative, there's no way

865
00:52:51.290 --> 00:52:54.350
he's going to be able to win
as many championship rings as he's

866
00:52:54.350 --> 00:52:54.600
won.

867
00:52:55.110 --> 00:52:57.890
>> You saw it on blows this
out, he was a guest on The

868
00:52:57.890 --> 00:53:00.410
Aggressive Life podcast and you
did a great job.

869
00:53:00.410 --> 00:53:00.470
>> We had fun with that.

870
00:53:00.470 --> 00:53:02.720
>> And we did some
race stuff on there, too.

871
00:53:02.720 --> 00:53:03.770
It was a really,
really good one.

872
00:53:05.600 --> 00:53:05.770
>> That's right.

873
00:53:05.770 --> 00:53:08.690
Okay. Big question for you,
last question for you here.

874
00:53:08.810 --> 00:53:12.500
Solomon has not talked
about his broadcasting career.

875
00:53:12.930 --> 00:53:19.100
He went to work for free at
a local TV station in Cincinnati,

876
00:53:19.370 --> 00:53:21.680
just to earn ropes
and climb the ladder.

877
00:53:21.680 --> 00:53:24.310
And he's been on the
sideline reporting gig at this

878
00:53:24.330 --> 00:53:25.550
Super Bowl, a number
of Super Bowls.

879
00:53:25.550 --> 00:53:26.840
How many Super Bowls
have you reported on.

880
00:53:26.960 --> 00:53:27.830
>> Oh, four?

881
00:53:27.830 --> 00:53:29.180
>> Four. How many Super
Bowls have you won?

882
00:53:30.040 --> 00:53:31.130
>> I've won none, Brian.

883
00:53:31.590 --> 00:53:33.530
He already knew that.

884
00:53:35.940 --> 00:53:37.350
>> You've got
an interesting perspective.

885
00:53:37.430 --> 00:53:42.590
Like you've been in the NFL and
you've been in reporting at the

886
00:53:42.590 --> 00:53:45.530
highest levels, not just in
sports, but some other things.

887
00:53:45.770 --> 00:53:49.520
What's God doing in the NFL
and what's God doing in broadcasting

888
00:53:49.520 --> 00:53:50.000
these days?

889
00:53:51.100 --> 00:53:54.790
>> Wow. I mean, that's a very
tough question because I think we

890
00:53:54.790 --> 00:53:59.440
see it across the landscape of
media, whether it's in sports or

891
00:53:59.440 --> 00:54:03.280
whether it's in politics, that it's
hard to be a truth

892
00:54:03.280 --> 00:54:06.190
teller in media.

893
00:54:06.820 --> 00:54:08.770
It's hard to be a truth teller.

894
00:54:09.550 --> 00:54:12.550
In fact, you're almost
rewarded for embellishing.

895
00:54:13.310 --> 00:54:13.650
Right?

896
00:54:14.410 --> 00:54:17.050
Whether it's in politics, whether
it's in political news,

897
00:54:17.050 --> 00:54:21.790
whether it's in entertainment news,
and sports is like

898
00:54:21.850 --> 00:54:22.600
entertainment.

899
00:54:23.830 --> 00:54:28.210
So, for instance, I remember
being in production meetings and

900
00:54:29.110 --> 00:54:31.540
for instance, we were talking about
JJ Watt, he plays for the

901
00:54:31.540 --> 00:54:32.380
Houston Texans.

902
00:54:32.470 --> 00:54:36.550
I absolutely love JJ Watt because
I love the community work.

903
00:54:36.580 --> 00:54:40.930
When you talk about the work that
he did when there was a

904
00:54:40.930 --> 00:54:47.650
hurricane, it struck Houston and he
opens up this Go Fund Me

905
00:54:47.650 --> 00:54:47.950
page.

906
00:54:47.970 --> 00:54:50.470
He just only wants to donate
a couple of hundred thousand

907
00:54:50.470 --> 00:54:51.010
dollars.

908
00:54:52.060 --> 00:54:59.030
He ends up raising millions of dollars
to give to those who lost

909
00:54:59.030 --> 00:55:02.990
their homes due to the hurricanes
in Houston, in the city where

910
00:55:02.990 --> 00:55:03.420
he played.

911
00:55:03.890 --> 00:55:05.090
So I want to talk about it.

912
00:55:05.120 --> 00:55:07.570
I say, "Hey, we need
to talk about this.

913
00:55:07.570 --> 00:55:09.620
We always talk about the negative
things when a player gets

914
00:55:09.620 --> 00:55:13.490
arrested or when some of these
things -- let's talk about, you

915
00:55:13.490 --> 00:55:15.320
know, some of the work these
players are doing in their

916
00:55:15.320 --> 00:55:15.860
communities.".

917
00:55:15.950 --> 00:55:17.900
And I remember, oh, no,
we're not talking about that.

918
00:55:18.320 --> 00:55:20.490
But we could talk about
who the player's dating.

919
00:55:20.510 --> 00:55:23.540
We could talk about how they
were arrested for whatever they

920
00:55:23.540 --> 00:55:23.960
did.

921
00:55:24.350 --> 00:55:29.330
And so to be able to find
the space to do that consistently is

922
00:55:29.330 --> 00:55:31.660
something that we often
have to fight for.

923
00:55:31.880 --> 00:55:34.500
>> Which that would be
something that God would want.

924
00:55:34.520 --> 00:55:36.740
God would want us to dwell
on some of the positive things.

925
00:55:36.750 --> 00:55:40.760
But you're saying where you've been
in, that's hard to do.

926
00:55:40.880 --> 00:55:42.370
>> Well, I would
say, yeah, absolutely.

927
00:55:42.400 --> 00:55:45.590
It's been challenging because you
have producers, you have

928
00:55:45.590 --> 00:55:47.630
bosses, they tell you, "Here
is what we want.

929
00:55:47.630 --> 00:55:49.280
Here's what we want
to focus on.".

930
00:55:49.520 --> 00:55:51.800
But when I came up through
our journalism school at the

931
00:55:51.800 --> 00:55:55.850
University of Colorado, you had --
you learned to be fair and

932
00:55:55.850 --> 00:55:56.330
balanced.

933
00:55:56.330 --> 00:55:59.990
Fair and balanced mean tell
both sides of each story.

934
00:56:01.160 --> 00:56:02.690
We don't do that anymore.

935
00:56:03.350 --> 00:56:08.450
In fact, in the mid 90s,
the FCC, the Federal Board of

936
00:56:08.450 --> 00:56:12.530
Communications, they passed legislation where
you don't have to

937
00:56:12.530 --> 00:56:12.800
do that.

938
00:56:12.860 --> 00:56:17.390
You could tell one side of a
story and only that one side and

939
00:56:17.390 --> 00:56:18.590
not lose your license.

940
00:56:19.100 --> 00:56:22.640
So since the beginning of
television, which the advent of

941
00:56:22.640 --> 00:56:26.810
television and 1950s, you had to
tell both sides of the story,

942
00:56:26.810 --> 00:56:29.090
whether you're Walter
Cronkite, Edward R.

943
00:56:29.090 --> 00:56:34.440
Murrow or any of the great
news broadcasters of the past.

944
00:56:34.450 --> 00:56:38.170
And today you get to sell
one side of the story.

945
00:56:38.660 --> 00:56:38.900
>> Wow.

946
00:56:38.900 --> 00:56:42.620
>> We all know that one side
of the story is not the whole

947
00:56:42.620 --> 00:56:43.250
story.

948
00:56:43.890 --> 00:56:44.300
I'm all right?

949
00:56:44.420 --> 00:56:44.810
>> That's right.

950
00:56:44.960 --> 00:56:47.840
Well, we're glad that we've got
folks like you who are in

951
00:56:47.840 --> 00:56:49.770
places that the rest
of us aren't.

952
00:56:49.790 --> 00:56:53.030
Would you -- would you just up
pray us out here today before we

953
00:56:53.030 --> 00:56:54.800
have all of our
community pastors come up?

954
00:56:54.980 --> 00:56:55.580
>> Absolutely.

955
00:56:55.760 --> 00:56:56.600
And close us out. Would
you just pray for us?

956
00:56:56.970 --> 00:56:59.330
>> Gracious eternal Father, Lord God,
we thank you for this

957
00:56:59.330 --> 00:57:03.230
opportunity to come and share the
fruits that you have given us

958
00:57:03.620 --> 00:57:04.520
one with another.

959
00:57:04.520 --> 00:57:07.310
We pray, O, Lord, that you would
continue to bind us to Your

960
00:57:07.310 --> 00:57:11.690
word, that You would combined us
as a community to stick

961
00:57:11.690 --> 00:57:13.010
together in love.

962
00:57:13.340 --> 00:57:17.350
We thank you, Father,
for your word today.

963
00:57:17.750 --> 00:57:21.020
We pray that as we leave here
today, you would protect each and

964
00:57:21.020 --> 00:57:24.620
every one of us to arrive
home and at our destination safely.

965
00:57:24.890 --> 00:57:26.990
We thank you and ask
this in Jesus name.

966
00:57:27.140 --> 00:57:27.520
>> Amen.

967
00:57:27.860 --> 00:57:28.220
>> Amen.

968
00:57:28.730 --> 00:57:29.000
>> All right.

969
00:57:29.030 --> 00:57:30.590
Let's bring up our community
pastors. [ applause ].

970
00:57:46.310 --> 00:57:48.980
Thanks for joining us this
week for our Spark Talks.

971
00:57:49.070 --> 00:57:52.970
I hope that right now you're
feeling inspired maybe with a brand

972
00:57:52.970 --> 00:57:53.750
new idea.

973
00:57:54.410 --> 00:57:58.610
Next week for our Spark Talks
all of our community pastors are

974
00:57:58.610 --> 00:58:01.820
going to be speaking
live in their locations.

975
00:58:02.150 --> 00:58:05.420
And there will be local people
in each of those communities

976
00:58:05.630 --> 00:58:07.160
getting to share their stories.

977
00:58:07.190 --> 00:58:10.730
And so it's a great weekend for
you to check out what locations

978
00:58:10.730 --> 00:58:14.660
are near you and maybe head
to the location nearest you.

979
00:58:14.930 --> 00:58:18.560
Or join us here on Crossroads Anywhere
and get to hear a little

980
00:58:18.560 --> 00:58:21.380
bit more about what's happening
in California with this group

981
00:58:21.380 --> 00:58:21.980
behind me.

982
00:58:22.160 --> 00:58:23.840
We'll see you next
week for Spark Talks.

983
00:58:23.840 --> 00:58:23.850
[ music ]

984
00:58:23.850 --> 00:58:23.860
Closed Captioning: Maverick Captioning
Service, Cincinnati, Ohio
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Chaser—a few questions after the weekend service to start conversations. If this is your first time in a group, or your group has new members, take a few minutes and introduce yourself. Two truths and a lie is always a good place to start.

  1. No matter where you live across the country, this week was a scorcher. What did you do to cool off this week?

  2. A definition of the word “aggressive” is this: “pursuing one’s aims and interests forcefully”. What are some aims and interests in the world that are worth this kind of pursuit?

  3. What is something you want to aggressively pursue in your life right now?

  4. “My hard work wasn’t good enough.” Share a story of a time when it took more than just hard work to succeed. What else did you need?

  5. Read Hebrews 12:1-3 out loud. What jumps out at you? How can you aggressively go after something and still “fix your eyes” on Jesus?

Challenge

What’s an obstacle in your life right now that makes you want to give up on your goals? Share it with your group and pray together right now. Ask God what your next steps are to move through that road block. And don’t forget to thank Him when he answers you!

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(This stuff helps us figure out how many fruitcakes to make come December)

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Jul 21, 2019 58 mins 55 sec

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