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2002 Conversations


Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Playing on God’s team

(January 28, 2001)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter is famous for making one-handed catches and acrobatic sideline receptions. This past season, he became only the second player in NFL history to catch more than 1,000 passes, securing his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But when he is enshrined, he will be remembered for more than his game. Fans will remember the athlete whose career and life were transformed after he accepted Christ and the boldness with which he shared his testimony. And they will remember how after each touchdown catch, he took a knee and pointed skyward to his Heavenly Father.

Carter spoke recently with Paul Cossentine for the Pentecostal Evangel.

Evangel: The story of your release by Buddy Ryan and the Philadelphia Eagles has been called the wake-up call of your career. Is that what caused you to look to Christ?

Carter: It wasn’t immediately after that. I realized there were aspects of my life that I wanted to change; but, as far as inviting Christ into my life, it still took several more years after that.

Evangel: What eventually drew you to Him?

Carter: My wife and I consciously decided that we knew there was a better life than what we were living. We knew that Christ was the way. It was just a matter of submitting to His will instead of doing what we wanted to do.

The hardest thing for me was realizing that, even though I was a great success, I was really nothing without God. I never really had joy in my life. I had temporary happiness, but I was never really satisfied. My only satisfaction has come through a relationship with God, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. After walking with God for seven years, I don’t know how I ever made it without Him. I really don’t.

Evangel: You’re among the most visible and vocal athletes in sports when it comes to sharing your faith in Christ. Why?

Carter: Every man casts his shadow. For me, my shadow is very big given my professional life and the recognition I have received. Young people and adults alike look up to me. So it’s a tremendous opportunity to share and to show people the love of God — not only professionally what has driven me to have success, but also spiritually what guides me on a day-to-day basis.

Evangel: You are viewed as a leader in the locker room. Talk about the influence you can have on your teammates from a spiritual perspective.

Carter: The biggest role I have to play is day-to-day. How I respond to adversity. How I love my brothers. Can I be unselfish? Can I accept people, whatever their condition? Am I understanding? Am I a good listener? Those are the things that drive me.

Evangel: At times your actions as a leader have been criticized. What are your thoughts and feelings on dealing with the media?

Carter: Given what we’re up against spiritually, I realize that the media is going to do certain things to try to discourage me and try to take things away from my testimony. God gave me great compassion. But people want to use [my Christian faith] to persecute me — as if I shouldn’t have fire, or shouldn’t challenge my teammates, or shouldn’t want to win as much as I do. But they’re just using it as an excuse to be critical of me. It doesn’t bother me, and I realize that it’s part of the territory.

Evangel: What makes you a great receiver?

Carter: It’s really working hard and trying to perfect the receiver position as far as technique, running good routes, being competitive daily, understanding the game, studying the game plan, studying the film and being a student of the game. Making the unbelievable catch is something that I practice and really strive for.

Evangel: What professional goals do you have left?

Carter: Ultimately, win a Super Bowl. That’s an accomplishment that I haven’t been able to achieve. I’ve changed my goals as far as catches and touchdowns and things like that because I never envisioned having the type of numbers that I have now. I would like to catch 150 touchdowns if I can stay healthy, God willing. And catch 1,100 passes.

Evangel: Where do you think God may be leading you when your playing days are over?

Carter: I’ll be involved in worldwide evangelism, at least part-time. Sharing the gospel, sharing my story, sharing my life with people who are really hurting. My wife and I might also counsel youth and young married couples about how Christ led us out of a very average relationship into a great relationship.

Evangel: Many may be reading this magazine and be confronted with the gospel for the first time. Maybe they’re on the fence and they aren’t quite ready to make a decision for Christ. What would you say to them?

Carter: You’re either in, or you’re not. There is no in-between. You either love Him and want to submit to Him, or you’re going to do your own thing. The one thing I always try to convey to people is, "You’re either working for God or you’re working for the enemy." And you have to realize that the sooner you get on God’s team the sooner you’re going to have victory in your life.

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