By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

For 14 seasons, Randall Cunningham was the versatile NFL quarterbackLay_It_Down_Randall_Cunningham whom teams depended on to make miracles happen on the gridiron.

Now, Cunningham, 50, is a pastor, a mentor, and an author. His second book, “Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best,” (Worthy Publishing, $19.99) was recently released. The book takes readers through several episodes in his professional and private life that brought him to rely on God for support and clarification. The most pressing situation – the accidental drowning death of his 2-year-old son, Christian, in 2010. Cunningham fittingly alludes to the death of his son in the title of chapter 2, “The Biggest Hit I Ever Took.”

Instead of showing frustration for his son’s death, Cunningham immediately praised Him. “I got in my car, backed out of the driveway, and began to scream, ‘Hallelujah! Praise God! Thank you! I love you, God.”

“The goal of the book is to allow people to think about life solutions,” said Cunningham, who spent his career playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Baltimore Ravens. “There is no way we could have got through this (the death of Christian) on our own.”

Fittingly, Cunningham uses football-related phrases to frame his story. Nice touch. For further study of the chapter, the book includes reflection questions and epigraphs from the Bible, C.S. Lewis, Tim Tebow, Tony Dungy, Tony Dorsett, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

Mentorship takes on a circular meaning in “Lay It Down.” Cunningham said mentors have been “divinely planted” in his life.

“I’ve always had mentors, I just didn’t realize it,” he told Inside The Pew. “When I was in Pop Warner as a boy, there were men who volunteered their time to coach me. When I attended church, I had pastors who would pray for me. There were teachers who took a vested interest in me because if they didn’t I would not have become the man I am today.”

Cunningham credits Troy Johnson and Robert Johnson for introducing him and his wife, Felicity, into discipleship.

In the book, he also mentions how he is mentored by the nearly 12,000 members of his Las Vegas, Nev., church – Remnant Ministries.

As an NFL player, Cunningham considered the late Reggie White as his mentor, among others. Near the end of chapter 4, he speaks highly of hall of fame defensive end. But, before the “minister” began to connect with him, Tom Cameron introduced him how to stand with God and become a born-again believer. The prose here was engaging.

“It was Reggie White who got in my face and told me you better straighten your life up,” he said.

Just as some of the same ways teachers and pastors mentored to him, Cunningham serves the same role to teens who participate in the high school track and field and club track and field teams he coaches. As a coach, he said is able to mentor to athletes, especially those who are fatherless.

Cunningham wrote, “The building block of our culture begins with strong families, and the father is vital to that equation. Children need a father who is there. … Mentoring begins as a father.”

The book can fit into the classifications of a biography and inspirational non-fiction (well-organized story telling in several chapters). Cunningham’s message is clear as the reader closes its covers: set goals, stay focused, and never hesitate to rest on others for support. These attributes have taken Cunningham pretty far.

“Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best” is available at Amazon and Borders. To learn more about Remnant Ministries, visit http://www.remnantministries.net/.

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

John Harbaugh, Super Bowl XLVII winning head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, will serve as the keynote speaker of Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquetJohn Harbaugh and fundraiser at 6 p.m. on March 4. The event will take place at Martins West, 6817 Dogwood Road, in Baltimore, Md. Harbaugh, who has been head coach the Ravens since 2008, led the Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers (coached by his equally talented brother Jim Harbaugh, on Feb. 3. Learn more about the Central Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes at http://centralmdfca.org.

Harbaugh’s alma mater, Miami (Ohio) University announced Feb. 26 the school will induct John into the “Cradle of Coaches” next year. According to The Associated Press, the statutes honor Miami grads “who have been names a coach of the year at the college or professional level, won a national college or NFL title, or been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame or Pro Football Hall of Fame.” More irony, John will join Bo Schembechler, among others, in the “cradle.” Schembechler coached Jim while the younger Harbaugh was a quarterback at Michigan.

Tebow to headline sold-out men’s conference

Where ever Tim Tebow speaks, it is almost always guaranteed to quickly sell out. The 2013 Wildfire “Men’s Impact Weekend” conference in central Virginia is no different.

The New York Jets quarterback will headline the conference on at the Liberty University Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., on March 8-9, starting at 5 p.m. Tim Clinton, founder of Wildfire, said Tebow will share his testimony of faith on March 8.

To get on the waiting list, visit http://wildfireweekend.com/.

Other notable guests slated to speak at the conference include John Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves pitcher; Willie Robertson, star of the reality show, Duck Dynasty; Joe White, president and founder of Kanakuk Kamps; Rick Rigsby, a dynamic motivational and leadership speaker; and more!

This annual gathering will also feature inspirational praise and worship with Michael O’Brien and the Wildfire Worship Band. Attendees can expect a two-day event packed full of workshops, exhibits and fun around the stuff that men love — hunting, fishing, motorcycles, racing, athletics, extreme sports and other outdoor activities — taught by some of the leading experts in the world.

Davis makes history

Congratulations to Texas Wesleyan University distance runner Jessica Davis for becoming the first athlete in the school’s history to make the finals of the NAIA indoor national championships in the 5K-meter run. She clocked a time of 17:57.71. Finals for the 5,000 is March 2. Davis looks to continue her success when she competes in the 3K-meter run on March 1 during the three-day event in Geneva, Ohio.

Contact Trimmer at pewnews@aol.com

By Aimee Herd
Special to ASSIST News Service

NEW ORLEANS, La. (ANS) — “God has brought me this far, He’s laid out a phenomenal path for me and I can’t do anything but thank Him.” — Colin Kaepernick

On Feb. 3, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers will wrangle on the grid iron in Super Bowl XLVII.

The faith of a few members of the NFL has been increasingly highlighted in recent years, and it is certainly not lost on some of this year’s players.

Colin Kaepernick is the first. In fact, forget the eye-black-with-Scripture so significant when worn by Tim Tebow in his time as a Gator; 25-year-old Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers has plenty of it-in the form of tattoos on his arms.

Perhaps literally guilty of “wearing his heart on his sleeve” (pun intended), Kaepernick seems to back up the tatt depictions of his Christianity with a personal devotion to the God he follows.

“My faith is the basis from where my game comes from,” Colin explained in a Daily Sparks Tribune interview last year. “I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at. When I step on the field, I always say a prayer, say I am thankful to be able to wake up that morning and go out there and try to glorify the Lord with what I do on the field. I think if you go out and try to do that, no matter what you do on the field, you can be happy about what you did.”

Regarding his tattoos, Kaepernick told Reuters, “I don’t really care what people think about my tattoos. I got them for me and to show people this is what I believe in. God has brought me this far, He’s laid out a phenomenal path for me and I can’t do anything but thank Him.”

On the young quarterback’s right bicep the word “Faith” is inscribed, and “to God the glory” and a scroll with Psalm 18:39 elsewhere on the same arm.

On the other side of the field, there is equal passion for the Lord, probably most prominently displayed by the Ravens’ defensive leader and linebacker, Ray Lewis.

“I just know that when you put your trust in God, that anything is possible,” Lewis told a CSN reporter about making it to this year’s Super Bowl contest. Earlier this year, after returning from an injury, Lewis announced that he would be retiring at season’s end.

Lewis’ fiery on-field persona is balanced by a strong faith in the Lord, one that has helped lead the Ravens through the season, as Lewis reads and preaches from the Bible in the locker room, prior to games.

While Lewis’ faith has risen out of troubling circumstances and a very different scenario than that of, say, Tim Tebow-Ray is just as passionate, and has had a huge impact on his teammates, especially this year.

Orlando Magic vice president Pat Williams described Lewis’ faith this way, “He’s come from a totally different background than someone like Tim Tebow. He has come to Christ later in life but isn’t that true of so many? The Bible teaches us that not only are our sins forgiven but they are forgotten.”

What does Lewis say?

“Don’t look at my yesterday, look at my tomorrow,” explained Ray in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes interview. “I’ve said it before, God never changes. The relationship was there all along.”