The inspiring Super Bowl faith stories showing coaches and players on mission

(Lorie Shaull/Wikicommons)




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Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, Super Bowl LII is now in the books. The Philadelphia Eagles are now the world champions. There’s a story behind the story and let’s talk about it today.

DR. REEDER: When I hear that Super Bowl LII is in the books, I say, “Oh my goodness.” I remember the first Super Bowl and I, of course, remember those famous initial games of the Packers and the Cowboys, and all of the hoopla around it, and Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi — those were interesting days — and then to continue to watch this spectacle unfold.

The NFL has had a tough year, but something interesting happened. I just love the way God brings up roses when everybody else looks at ashes. Philadelphia Eagles, they were the underdogs and they won. “Replacement quarterback” Nick Foles basically outshines Tom Brady. I got home in time from the Sunday evening service to see the last piece of it — which NFL games and NBA games are pretty much the same that, if you can see the last ten minutes, you’ve just about seen everything — and it was an extraordinary ending, of course.

And then, I purposely stayed connected because I had a vested interest and I had a sense I knew what would come and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was exhilarated. The first three people that were interviewed were the Most Valuable Player — the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Foles — the receiver who caught the game-winning touchdown and then the coach.

All three of them not only honored Christ, not only honored the Lord, but they did it thoughtfully. The testimony they gave was about honoring Christ. Basically, if I can sum them all up: “I want to thank the Lord. I want to give Him the glory for what we were able to do. I want to thank Him for enabling us to do it. What a privilege to serve the Lord in this game.” And you could tell they wanted to be good stewards of the platform so it was a much more thoughtful, Biblically-consistent Christian world and life view reflecting testimony by the three of them.

I’m cheering and I’m getting up and marching around and everything else — my wife has to tell me to sit down. I love to see when people take whatever platform God gives them and use it to honor the Lord and do it thoughtfully. Now, what we have subsequently found out is that there’s been a revival going on with this team. There’s five or six or seven Bible studies, they have extended prayer time on the night before the game, and the guys have come together.


And then, all of the divisiveness we’ve seen in the NFL, this team is notably united. You don’t see all of this rich/poor, lineman back/quarterback — you don’t see this hierarchy. You got a second string tied in that becomes a spokesman. The replacement quarterback who is lifted up and said, “Oh, yeah, the guy that I replaced, this is his team. I just think God brought me here for this particular purpose and I just want to honor Him in it.” You see this humility in it; you don’t see this chest thumping.

It was just really refreshing to see that, well, the story behind the story is what’s been going on and the work of the Gospel, not only through the quarterback, not only through the head coach and not only through the wide receiver and others — there’s a lineman, this hulking guy, that’s just so gracious and humble in the way he talked — and this perspective that, “Football is fun and let’s do what we do well, but it’s not our life. The Lord is our life,” and that really enables you to not only enjoy life for His Glory, but to enjoy Him in the midst of life and that’s wonderful to see.


Tom, let me give you a little background. The offensive coordinator is a guy by the name of Frank Reich. What you may not know is it’s Reverend Frank Reich. Frank Reich holds two records and they’re the same record: one for college and one for the NFL. In a college bowl game, he was the backup quarterback for the University of Maryland and Boomer Esiason, and he came in after Esiason was injured and led Maryland to the biggest comeback in a bowl game in the history of NCAA football.

Then, when he was in the NFL, he was the backup for Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills. And Jim Kelly was injured and he comes in and, in the second half, again, he leads his team to the largest comeback in the history of playoff football in the NFL. He became known as the “comeback kid.” When he was interviewed afterwards, he quoted the Getty hymn “In Christ Alone.” That was his quote after and that’s what he said he was singing the whole time that he was playing. He later got traded to the Carolina Panthers and, eventually, I had the privilege to be his pastor in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At the end of his career — even before the end of his career — he started going to Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. He graduated and then he became the president of Reformed Theological Seminary for a number of years. He then became an ordained pastor of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and, eventually, he was back in football. I think it was Tony Dungy that brought him in with the Indianapolis Colts as a quarterback coach, and then he went to another team, now ended up at Philadelphia.

I fully expect Frank Reich to be a head coach someday. He’s a great guy. Playing golf with him, I can tell you this: he hits a drive about 325 yards — he smokes it. Absolutely wonderful man and I love his family. What people don’t know is this quiet, gentle leadership that he brings — thoughtful leadership. He’s written a wonderful paper on a Biblical world and life view on competition.


I tell you, it’s just absolutely astounding how the Lord has used him and how the Lord has used the receiver, Ertz, and how the Lord has used Foles. By the way, isn’t it interesting that, in the NCAA Championship, you had the backup quarterback come in, he wins the game and he lifts up honor to the Lord — Tua with the University of Alabama — and then, here in the Philadelphia Eagles, you get this guy who is brought back as the backup quarterback and, when the franchise quarterback is injured, he steps up and leads them and becomes the Most Valuable Player, also in the championship game. And, in both cases, they both deflect from themselves and they lift up Christ.


Let me just make one other point, Tom, in conclusion, on this. When I see what Frank Reich has done, and the quarterback, and the coach, Pederson, when I see what’s happening at the Alabama team, I see these consistent Christians on-mission, on-message in ministry doing evangelism and discipleship, and then I see revival taking place and then I see a Gospel awakening where people are being brought to Christ.

And I see the culture of an entire team stand in stark contrast to all the division that’s taking place in the league and I see all of that that happens in the blessings of the Gospel, not only in the conversion of men to Christ, but also the changing of their lives, and the changing of their families and the changing of their team.

And then putting life in Biblical perspective as a game is embraced and they do their job well, but they don’t idolize the game — the game isn’t worship, their fame is not worship, their awards are not worship. The Lord is honored and the Lord is lifted up and you see everything changing in the culture of that team, Tom. That’s exactly what I pray for every single day.


Well, I know I’m not a Frank Reich, I know I am not Coach Pederson and I know I’m not the wide receiver. Listen, I know I’m just a Presbyterian pastor in a Presbyterian church in Birmingham, Alabama, but I’ve asked God, “God, help me to be faithful.”

All of our listeners, I want you to pray, “God, help me to be faithful: on-mission, on-message, in ministry,” and see what God does in your family, what God does in your business, what God does on your team, your classroom, everywhere else. And this culture of Gospel blessings where people are converted and being discipled, it consequentially changes.

I can tell you right now: Frank Reich and these other believers, their aim was not to bring Jesus to make Philadelphia Eagles a championship team — their aim was to bring Jesus to those people. The result was the changing culture of the team and the result was achievement. All of that’s fine, but whether they had won or lost, they would have given the same testimony because the objective was to make disciples, preach the Gospel, disciple men and women to come to Christ and to grow in Christ and watch what happens.”

I just ask God, “What You did on that team — even in its imperfections — would You do again and again and again? And would you do it in this nation and to all the nations of the world?”


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, we are out of time for today. On Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a story out of Life Action. California Senate has voted to approve a bill that would require all public colleges and universities in the state to provide medication abortion pills.

DR. REEDER: We continue the march in the culture of death even though the culture’s dissipating because of the culture of death. What are the answers and what are the pitfalls? What all is happening there and always remembering what happens in California usually seeps into the other states as well — let’s take a look at it tomorrow.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.


11 mins ago

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ theme too offensive for school prom

A New Jersey high school principal apologized Friday for a “Party Like It’s 1776” theme at prom.

Dr. Dennis Perry, principal of Cherry Hill High School, posted on his Twitter feed an apology for the theme printed on prom tickets, calling the decision “insensitive and irresponsible,” reported Fox News.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” Perry wrote in a statement.


To make up for what he deemed an indiscretion, the principal said students would not need to bring their prom tickets in order to get into the event — they would instead only need to state their names to be matched up with a list of who bought tickets. Cherry Hill High School would also give every student attendee a “commemorative” ticket displaying a new design at the prom. Perry stated that a “diverse group of people” would review information distributed by the school prior to its dissemination, in the future.

Lloyd Henderson, president of the Camden County NAACP East Chapter, saw the incident indicative of a school culture “where African American students’ needs are not considered along with the rest of the school,” but mentioned that he appreciated Perry’s speedy response.

Cherry Hill High School made headlines in February when it suspended social studies teacher Timothy Locke after Locke told students to remember him if he died defending them during a school shooting.

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1 hour ago

Alabama boy drowns in rough surf along Florida’s Gulf Coast

A 5-year-old Alabama boy died after getting caught up in rough surf on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The News Herald reports Christian Doyle of Dothan, Alabama, was one of three swimmers pulled from the water off Panama City Beach on Saturday evening. Officials say single red surf warning signs were flying at the time, notifying beachgoers of the poor conditions.


Panama City Beach fire rescue crews and a bystander performed CPR on the boy, but he died a short time later at a hospital.

The conditions of the other two swimmers, who were also from Dothan, were not immediately available.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Why Christians should visit holy lands

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TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, we talked about the opening of the new embassy in Jerusalem by the United States. Guatemala, later in the week, also moved their embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

Harry, in the aftermath of what happened on that day, there were, as we talked about, a number of Palestinians that were trying to breech the security border fence in Israel and they were pushed back by Israeli soldiers. A number of Palestinians were killed.

Later last week, we found that, indeed, while there were a number of Palestinians protesting, they were infiltrated by a number of terrorists and, in fact, there’s video evidence that Hamas was paying children to be involved in that group and some of those children lost their lives.


DR. REEDER: Tom, I’m going to be over there while this program is airing. People ask me, “Why do you go there?” It’s a principle I’ve learned in my own life and I use it in teaching others: If you can get direct access to the environment to where things occur, you pull in all of your senses when it comes time to learn and that enhances your learning — you get insight while you’re on-site.


As we are spending the time there, we’ll go to the various places. I have a wonderful guide that goes before us and checks all the logistics and then makes her statements about the area. She’s very knowledgeable and then she steps back. And then I start going into connecting the dots — Old Testament, New Testament, what happened here, why’d it happen here — and the providence of God.


I take people to the city of Naan — that’s where Jesus raised the boy who was being carried out of the city. I actually have found the place where that occurred and, not long after that, interestingly, an archaeological team working from the United States working in Israel found that the gates of the city were actually right there. And the way I found it is I found the ruins of an old church that used to be there, knowing that, early on, they would build churches on sites where certain things had occurred. That’s how I found it and then archeology, there was a big article on this in Biblical Archeological Review, they begin to dig and, sure enough, they found out that here’s where the gates of Naan were.

Now, there’s a lot of reasons to weep when your only son died if you’re a widow. In the surrounding societies, widows lost their legitimacy of existence when their husband died. What could preserve them is their children, in general, but the firstborn male, in particular.

Therefore, with her husband gone and her child gone, if she actually had been in another country, many of them, they just put them out and let them die or even, in some cases, put them to death because such women were considered as a burden upon society and no longer a productive member of society.

In Israel, that was not the case because the Lord had embedded the dignity of women into the ceremonial laws, in general, and the Law of God, in particular: “Honor your father and your mother.” “Do not commit adultery” — the sanctity of marriage and, therefore, the wife’s position in a marriage, that a wife was not just property.

He raises the boy and she’s got a lot of reason for joy and the people are amazed and they say, “He’s a prophet.” What a lot of people don’t realize is that there was a great prophet by the name of Elisha and that is the very area where he ministered. He, of course, raised a widow’s son as an affirmation that he had followed Elijah, who raises a widow’s son.

And, right there in that very area, they would be fully aware of that, very sensitive to that story and, when Jesus comes in and raises up the widow’s son in that same area, no wonder they cry out, “This is the prophet of whom we have waited.” What you can see is the amazing connecting of dots of all that takes place in this rather small country, about the size of New Jersey.


TOM LAMPRECHT: And, Harry, as we look at Israel and the miracles that took place — some of the stories that you just shared with us just now, yet today it seems to be somewhat of a powder keg ready to go off at any moment. Harry, is that coincidental or is there a spiritual implication there?

DR. REEDER: We’re constantly amazed at how accurate the Bible is, both what it has recorded as history and then what it prophesies as history. Prophecy in the Bible is pre-written history and God has already told us of these conflicts that are going to be there, the conflicts that are going to exist throughout the world, and the particular conflicts that are going to be there in terms of the enmity of the nations.

Now we should, as believers, always pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we should always promote peace in the area and we need to deal justly with all sides in the conflict that is there. And you need to remember that you have brothers and sisters who are Jewish, who are in Christ and know the Lord, and you have brothers and sisters who are Palestinian who are in Christ and know the Lord. Therefore, we’re always laboring for that peace in the area.

However, Tom, while I’m there, I hope to let people see their Bible come alive and then, when we get back, I get people writing me all the time, “Can I tell you what that means? My Bible now is so alive when I read it because I was right there,” –getting insight while you’re on-site.

One of the places that the people will go is the Golan Heights and, when we go there, we’ll be looking over into Syria. Not only is there tension on the southern border of Hamas and Egypt and the Gaza, but there’s also, as you know, quite a bit of tension with Syria because Syria has become a proxy for Iran and Iran has already attempted some incursions. We’ll be taking a look from the observation post that they allow you to look from.


While we’re there, we’re going to share Christ with people and we’re going to pray for Israel. Let me just also say, Tom, that 30 years ago, it was less than 1 percent of Jewish people confessed Christ as Lord and Savior. It is now believed that they’re rising up to 5 percent. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but that is an extensive multiplication.

There’s also some evidence within the military of an underground movement of the Gospel taking place in the Israeli country and there have been a number of churches that have been able to secure some freedoms that Christian churches have not enjoyed in the past but now do enjoy, which then has opened up other doors in ministry as well.

When I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I not only pray, certainly, for the peace among the nations and the ethnicities, but I also want to pray very specifically for the Gospel of Peace so that men and women can be right with God through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit of God.

When you’re filled with the Spirit of God, then you have the fruit of the Spirit — love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and goodness and faithfulness, and gentleness and self-control — and then pray that the Gospel of saving grace in Christ that brings men and women at peace with God would promote their peace with one another and then, in fact, reach out in peace, certainly not to the detriment of the security of the nation, but in order to promote the security of the nation.

And I do pray that, somehow in some way, God uses our country here, America, as a part of both of those desires that I pray for. One part is that America will have believers who are praying for and sending those who can share the Gospel throughout the land of Israel. And, secondly, that the leadership of our nation might be able to assist in some way to bring a political, and national and ethnic peace among the peoples that are there but, all the while, seeing that movement of the Gospel of peace of Jesus Christ and the redemptive work of Christ bringing the true shalom — shalom, that wonderful word of peace.


TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a report that was released by the New York Times last week which ought to be somewhat concerning for all of us. It really describes how the separation of the three branches of our government are starting to erode.

DR. REEDER: Not only is it the law that is king in America — not any individual or any one branch of government — but how that wisdom needs to be embraced once again.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

2 hours ago

Trump: Hire America also means helping former inmates get work

President Donald Trump’s Hire American plan includes helping former inmates find gainful employment, he said Friday at the White House Prison Reform Summit.

“When we talk about our national program to hire American, this must include helping millions of former inmates get back into the workforce as gainfully employed citizens,” the president said. “At the heart of our prison reform agenda is expanding prison work and the programs so that inmates can reenter society with the skills to get a job.


“We also want more mental health services so released inmates can cope with the challenges of life on the outside, and some of those challenges are not easy. We’re developing more effective drug treatment so that former prisoners can remain drug-free,” he said.

“Prison reform is an issue that unites people from across the political spectrum,” Trump said, adding, “Our whole nation benefits if former inmates are able to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens.”

He said over 62,000 inmates are released from mostly state prisons, and they struggle to find a job, stay off drugs, and “avoid old habits that lead them back to a life of crime, back to prison.”

“Drugs are playing a tremendously big role in our lives — in so many lives — not only having to do with prisoners, but having to do with people that never thought they’d be addicted, that never thought they’d have a problem like this, that are having a really hard time coping — drugs. We’re doing a big, big job on drugs. It is a scourge in this country,” the president said.

“In this effort, we are not just absolving prisoners of their central role in their own rehabilitation. There is no substitute for personal accountability, and there is no tolerance for those who take advantage of society’s generosity to prey upon the innocent,” Trump said.

The president said he supports prison reform efforts, and he pledged to sign prison reform legislation that clears Congress.

“As we speak, legislation is working through Congress to reform our federal prisons. My administration strongly supports these efforts, and I urge the House and Senate to get together — and there are a lot of senators, a lot of Congress people that want to get this passed — to work out their differences. Get a bill to my desk. I will sign it, and it’s going to be strong, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be what everybody wants,” Trump said.

A bipartisan prison reform bill backed by the White House cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

The FIRST STEP Act (H.R. 5682), sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries,” provides for programs to help reduce the risk that prisoners will recidivate upon release from prison, and for other purposes.

The bill authorizes the Bureau of Prisons to spend $50 million a year for five years on job training and education programs to reduce recidivism. It also clarifies current law to allow inmates up to 54 days of credit for good behavior each year. It was previously interpreted to allow only 47 days a year.

The bill also has the support of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Several Democrats – Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) – wrote to their fellow Democratic lawmakers Thursday urging them not to support the bill, spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, because they say it is “flawed” and doesn’t include sentencing reform.


3 hours ago

4-year-old Alabamian Austin Perine feeding the homeless with huge heart and wise words: ‘don’t forget to show love!’

Most 4-year-olds live with only a few things on their minds: Mom, Dad, siblings, play, eat and drink.

Not Austin Perine.

He feeds the homeless.

Ask him why, and be prepared for a simple but wise answer.

“If you were homeless, would you want to be fed? Well, that’s why I’m feeding the homeless, because they’re hungry,” Austin responds.

(Austin Perine is a young Alabama Bright Light who proves some heroes do wear capes from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.)

Austin wears a superhero cape when he goes on his feeding outings with his father, T.J. Perine. At Linn Park recently, the little guy handed sandwiches and drinks to the homeless. Every time, he exclaimed, “Don’t forget to show love!”

Show Love is the name of the nonprofit the elder Perine started.

“This whole thing started when we were sitting at home watching Animal Planet and a baby panda was abandoned by its mom,” Perine said. “Just to give him an answer, I told Austin that the panda would be homeless. Then he asked, ‘Well, are people homeless?’ and I said yes. That sparked an idea for him to want to come and feed the homeless, so here we are just a few months later.”

A few of the homeless at Linn Park knew little Austin with his superhero cape, and exchanged hugs and fist bumps. Those who did not know him were flabbergasted. One homeless man said he’d never seen anything like this.

Most people are concerned with their own well-being. The few who show this level of dedication to serving others are usually adults with a giving spirit. For Austin, it’s not about age but empathy.

Austin explained how doing this makes him feel inside.

“When I feed the homeless it makes me really happy and I think what I do is very special,” Austin said. “When I grow up I want to be president. My jobs when I become president would be to feed the homeless and to chase the bad guys out of schools.”

Austin’s efforts have garnered worldwide attention from media outlets interested in his story.

“We’ve been on CNN, NBC and CBS, and we’ve been covered by news in France, Germany and England,” Perine said. “Austin has been doing his thing and has no idea; he’s just being Austin. I think it’s remarkable. Every day I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m still alive, because this is like a dream.”

Austin continued handing out sandwiches and drinks when he got a huge hug from a woman sitting on the steps at Linn Park. She had a grocery cart full of bags and clothes and other items, most likely all she owned.

“When I get hugs from the homeless, it makes me feel great inside,” Austin said.

Remember this: Austin Perine is only 4 years old.

To donate or for information visit,

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)