by Doug Greengard
(AgapePress) – Wherever he has played, Tim Brown has proven to be quite a catch.
From being named the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner as an all-America at Notre Dame, to grabbing a handful of Oakland Raider records and being recognized as an eight-time Pro Bowl pick, Brown has been at the top of his sport at every level of competition he has played. Even with all of his successes, the 13-year NFL veteran knows he has taken hold of something much more valuable than any award or accomplishment a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“When it's all said and done it's not this game that counts,” Brown says. “It's the game of life and if you're living your life for Christ.”
Brown, who is one of only three players in NFL history to gain more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season for seven consecutive years (1993-1999), makes Christ a constant focus in his life.
“God's been good to me all my life,” said the Raiders 1988 first round draft choice, the sixth pick overall. “Sometimes I marvel at what He's done for me and I try to figure out how I can pay Him back. The only way I can do that is to keep living for Him.”
While some players opt to bring Bible scriptures with them onto the field, Brown says knowing God is always with him (Hebrews 13:5) is all the inspiration he needs.
“I'm constantly reminded every time I catch a pass and am able to get up and go back to the huddle I've been blessed,” Brown says.
Brown holds a handful of Raider team records and led the AFC in receiving yards three straight years (1993-1995). One of the toughest and most durable receivers in the NFL, Brown has earned the respect of his peers. Some believe that Christian athletes are not as tough as others, and Brown has made sure that misconception is squashed.
“Anybody who plays against me knows, you're going to get a dogfight the whole game,” said Brown, who also holds the NFL rookie-season record for the most combined yards gained with 2,317 in 1988. “I don't take any mess out there. I have to play a very physical game and make sure people know just because I'm a man of God I'm not going to let you walk on over me.”
Instead, Brown is intent on running right past his opponents and directly into the loving arms of Christ.
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)
‘Hope Share’ Brightening Futures of At-Risk Children
by Allie Martin
(AgapePress) – The largest faith-based organization in America is reaching out to at-risk children.
Salvation Army commissioner Joe Noland says it is time for American churches to develop what he calls a “holy discontent” and do something drastic in fighting for children at risk. That conviction has led to Hope Share, the Salvation Army’s new program for fighting hunger, homelessness, and abuse.
“Hope Share really is about our future and our hope for the future, and I think that hope can be found in this neglected, this forgotten group of children,” Noland says. “It’s really a faith-based intervention, prevention-type program to reach these children in their formative years when they’re malleable.”
Noland commissioned a task force and challenged them to come up with this faith-based program for deprived and downtrodden children.
Noland himself grew up in the inner city, where hunger, neglect, and abuse were common for him. His story is told in a new half-hour film released by the Salvation Army titled Altars in the Street.
N.C. Comedian Tells Teens “Abstinence Is Cool”
by Carmen Ledford
RALEIGH, NC (AgapePress) – It’s Friday night do you know where your teen is?
Over 100 Raleigh-area teens attended a “True Love Waits” rally at the North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene Feb. 9, and the headliner was Christian comedian Keith Deltano, who is based in Julian.
Deltano knows teens, because he has been in their homes, schools and churches as a public school teacher, youth leader, private counselor, and military police officer. After years of teaching sixth grade and addressing myriads of teen problems, Deltano says God convicted him to “develop a hard hitting, yet humorous talk on sexual abstinence, based on Scripture.” It became his full-time ministry in 1996.
Deltano’s main show is entitled “Abstinence is Cool,” but he also delivers shows concerning racism and drugs called “The Redneck Was Right” and “Don’t Be Stupid.” Working mostly on the East Coast, he performs in churches and schools. Public schools require that he remove religious references.
“The message is a lot better when you can talk about God. But I had to make a decision on whether or not to do the good show because I could not do the better show,” said Deltano. “I decided to do the public school shows because the message is still good 'don’t have sex until marriage.'”
Deltano knows what teens listen to, watch, and how they talk, but he says the key to reaching teens is “truly caring about the kids. Kids have internal radar to know if you really care or if you are faking it.”
The Feb. 9 show was high energy, with Deltano constantly moving and interacting with students. His tone, never preachy or “gloom-and-doom,” made the teens think.
He began the show talking about stupid things including the term “safe sex.” Illustrating why a 10 percent failure rate on condoms is bad odds, Deltano strapped a youth to a table and told him there was a 10 percent chance that he would drop a cinder block on him.
“The only 100 percent plan is God’s plan which is sex in marriage,” said Deltano.
He also warned of lies on TV and in music. Speaking to teens who have already had sex, he gave them permission to stop, warning about the lies of Satan telling them to continue.
Deltano also illustrated how love is not sex, and quoted Scripture on how wonderful sex is in marriage. The show closed with teens chanting, “Virginity Is Cool!”
Deltano seemed to have gotten his message across.
“Wait till you get married to have sex and then it is a lot better,” said Marissa, one of several teens who appeared on stage with Deltano.
“He’s crazy. He has a powerful message,” said Drew, a 16-year-old who attended. “I know hearing the part about mistakes in your past and forgetting about them was a blessing to friends that I had here tonight.”
Deltano gave a workshop for parents following the teen show, entitled “Keeping Your Child a Virgin 101.”
He told them the first reality is to know it can happen to their family, giving practical advice about getting involved in teens’ lives and to expect conflict. He recommended removing televisions from children’s rooms, taking away music with inappropriate lyrics and replacing it with contemporary Christian music and strictly monitoring the Internet. He also discussed the importance of a healthy marriage, the father-daughter relationship and the most important relationship being their relationship with Christ.
“Reality was a good approach and he was able to keep their attention all the way through,” said parents Dralyn and Tony Sacarello. “He had some good advice in the parents’ workshop and reaffirmed a lot of the things we’re doing.”
“Keith is right on target,” said youth pastor Greg Alsbrooks. “We wanted a program students could grab onto and give help to parents to raise their kids effectively.”
The teens are participating today in “Seize the Net,” where youth around the country will go online and make a commitment of purity until marriage.