Tag Archives: Green Bay Packers

Christian Athlete of the Week: James Jones

James Jones is another one of those great rags-to-riches stories. Throughout his childhood, Jones had to rely on homeless shelters in San Jose, California for food and clothing. When he was seven years old, he met his father for the first time. Unfortunately, Jones’ father was a drug addict and refused to pay child support. From the age of eight to fourteen, Jones grew up in homeless shelters with his mother and sister. He was also surrounded by people who abused drugs and stole money. His future was very limited and not very assuring. At the age of 13, Jones and his mother were evicted from their one-bedroom apartment. All Jones had was a backpack and a basketball. Luckily, Jones’ mother was a beacon of hope for this young man’s life.

 

Jones’ mother, Janet, took her two children, Desiree and James, to a shelter when she couldn’t stay at a friend’s or relative’s house. The Jones family lived in shelters four times, sometimes for five months at a time. Jones moved so much as a child he went to seven different elementary schools. He sometimes took special education courses to keep up academically. While Jones was at school, his mother would take the bus to work and they would meet back at the homeless shelter every night. This went on for what seemed like an eternity.

“I saw how strong my mother was just to keep on,” Jones said. “She worked so hard with nothing. She tried to get a job here, a job there. I saw how hard she worked. I would never let my mother down. I would do anything to make her happy, and what made her happy was me going to school and staying out of trouble.” (Credit: JSOnline.com)

As a young boy, Jones was tempted to do things he knew God wouldn’t want him to do. Living in a bad neighborhood, Jones made friends with thugs, drug dealers and burglars. Somehow someway, Jones held strong to his mother’s beliefs and he stuck close to her rather than falling prey to the ways of the world.

After Jones went to go live with his grandmother during high school, his athletic talents were presented on display. He was one of the best players on the Gunderson High School basketball team, but his play at wide receiver, quarterback and safety on the football team was what the college prospects were really impressed with. The athletic high school superstar went to San Jose State University where he caught 125 passes for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns in 35 games.

From there, Jones was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft.  He was a part of the Packer’s Super Bowl winning team and back on March 17, he signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders. His past did not determine his future as he held strong to his faith and believed in the hope of God through seeing his mother and what she accomplished.

Now, Jones has decided to help out the ones who used to be in his position. He partners with a homeless shelter in Green Bay called Freedom House. For the past four years, Jones has donated to this shelter and has provided for those in need. He also helps out disadvantaged children through his other foundation “Love Jones for Kids.”

Jones’ story proves that everyone can make it. No matter where you come from and no matter what kind of environment you grew up in, you can escape it through the power of Jesus Christ. Jones knows that God doesn’t put any obstacle in his path that he can’t handle. Jones was able to escape poverty and is now making millions in the NFL. It just goes to show that as long as you put your faith in God, He will bless you in due time.

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Christian Athlete of the Week: Aaron Rodgers

Some people may not be aware of this, but Aaron Rodgers is in fact a Christian. He hasn’t been very exuberant of his faith and proclaiming it as much as guys like Tim Tebow have in the past. Rodgers tends to stay away from the media in general as much as he can. He doesn’t want to put himself in the spotlight and let the focus be on him.

Rodgers’ faith started with his parents. He always looked up to them as Godly examples and it was from them that he knew more about Christ.

“I grew up knowing what a stable relationship was by my parents’ example and how it centered on Christ,” Rodgers said, “When our family had its ups and downs, I knew my parents relied on God for everything and He always got us through those rough spots.” (Credit: Beyond the Ultimate)

There was a time early in his life when Rodgers had drifted away from his faith. Luckily for him, he had two mentors that put him on the right path: Andrew Burchett, his youth pastor and Matt Hock the leader of his old youth group “Young Life.” God always puts other people in our life to help us follow Him. He works through these role models so that we can have a better understanding of who God really is. Because of these two men, Aaron Rodgers dedicated his life to Christ when he was 16 years old.

Since then, Rodgers has been a phenomenal quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. I loved this guy before I knew he was a Christian because he had to replace a legend in Brett Favre and he did it well. He had to wait three years to get his chance to start, but when he did, Rodgers threw for over 4,000 yards  and 28 touchdowns in his first season as a starter and had a 93.8 passer rating. Then in 2010, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl and Rodgers took home the Super Bowl MVP. The very next season, he won the NFL MVP award after putting up 4,643 passing yards and 45 passing touchdowns, while only throwing six picks. It’s still a NFL record of a 3.62 touchdown to interception ratio. Rodgers also holds the record for the best career passer rating in NFL history with 104.9. He is also the only quarterback in NFL history to have a passer rating over 100 in both the regular season and the postseason. As of right now, the 30-year-old veteran has 188 touchdown passes and has thrown for over 24,000 yards in his career. In other words, he’s pretty good.

Even with all of these great things happening to him, Rodgers stays quiet during the off season and never brings any attention to himself. When given the opportunity, he always gives the glory to God.

“I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, ‘Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.’ So basically, I’m not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith,” Rodgers said. “I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit.”

Rodgers is the kind of man whose actions speak louder than words. He never talks down to anyone or makes himself known in the media. He has always remained honest and true to his heart. Rodgers also understands that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.

“I try to build relationships,” Rodgers said. “I feel if you are not personally invested in the people you spend every day with, then you are missing out on building a relationship and wonderful life experiences. That is what I like about Jesus: Jesus is about relationships.”

Rodgers is also a big contributor to charities and humanitarian efforts around the world. He is the founder of his own charity called itsAaron, which raises awareness for organizations and people who are changing the world. Once again, he shows through his actions that the focus is not on him, but the people who physically help others everywhere they go. He is also a big supporter of the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) and RAISE Hope for Congo. Rodgers is a great role model to young athletes and kids everywhere. He shows them that life is more than just football and putting up big numbers on the field, it’s about Jesus Christ and serving Him and Him alone. Rodgers’ favorite Bible verse is John 10:10 which says,

“I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.” Rodgers summarizes, “The Lord is my Rock. He has always been there, always present at good times and bad; and to me when I feel His presence, my life is full.”