Kurt Warner Helps Others Find Their 'Moment'
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
CBN.com - Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” – Hebrews 13:5
If there is any one person who is the true definition of a rags to riches story it is former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. The epitome of the term “underdog”, Warner overcame the greatest of odds to become a standout player in the NFL for more than a decade. Along the way, he led two different teams to a Super Bowl and was named that game’s Most Valuable Player.
From being an undrafted free agent to playing minor league football to even bagging groceries at one point, Warner never lost sight of his dream, holding out hope that one day he would find gridiron glory.
Now retired from the NFL, Warner wants to help others fulfill their hopes and dreams. His new television show, The Moment (Thursday nights, 10pm EDT, USA Network), seeks to give people a second chance in life to pursue their dream job.
I recently sat down with Kurt to discuss why he never gave up on himself when every door seemed to be closing, his advice for people seeking that second chance, and how churches can aid people in fulfilling their calling.
Your life is the personification of a person who got a second chance and made the most of it. You went from being third on the depth chart at Northern Iowa, you played in the Arena Football League, and the World League. You bagged groceries for a while before you ended up with the St. Louis Rams and won the Super Bowl MVP. Simple question to start, why did you refuse to give up on yourself through all of that?
I think the biggest thing was that I believed that’s what I was supposed to do, that there was nothing that made me feel more alive, there was nothing that made me feel more confident, made me feel more like I was in my element than playing a game of football. It was what I loved to do. It’s what really made my life feel full. I could try other things and work other jobs, but nothing gave me that excitement for life that playing football did. Even though sometimes the circumstances were bleak, and it didn’t look like there was going to be any chance for me to make it, when there were people telling me it’s time to get a real job, it’s time to give up on this dream, it was that yearning and that desire inside of me, that, this is what I love to do, and I’m not going to give that up until somebody throws me out and says you can’t do this anymore, you can’t chase this anymore. There were frustrating times, there were moments where I wondered if it was too late, but I wanted to exhaust every opportunity. I wanted to exhaust every chance that I had to pursue my dream, because I really felt like there was nothing else in life that was going to be able to fill that void for me.
As I’ve watched your NFL career and subsequent work in television, I keep coming back to the thought that God has placed you in these moments, “For such a time as this.” Do you ever step back from everything that has transpired in your life, and say, “God, I don’t know why you’ve brought me to this place, but please use me and make the most of it.”?
It goes through my mind all the time. I really feel like my story in modern day times is very similar to a biblical story. You know, somebody that nobody expected, that everybody said couldn’t, and by God’s grace and power, I was able to accomplish a lot. God just continues to set things in my path. I remember one of my first prayers when I became a Christian was simply, ‘God, provide a job for me. I don’t care how hard I have to work, just provide a job and opportunity so that I can take care of my family.’ And you know, that was really all I asked from Him. And now that I get into retirement it’s just one thing after another He just lays out in front of me. And so, what I’ve said quite often recently, is, ‘God, I’m going to continue to walk through every door that you open, and when You decide to close it, I’ll be ok with that. When You decide to close it and open that door for someone else, I’m okay with that. But as long as You keep opening doors, I’m going to keep walking towards them and allow You to do what You do.’ That’s really been my perspective on life for a long time now, and He just continues to show up and do amazing things.
Let’s talk about your new show, The Moment. If you could, please give me a snapshot of what the show is all about and what makes it so unique?
The show is simply about chasing your dreams, and I think everybody, through the course of time at one point or another, has had a dream. They’ve had something that they had a desire to do, or to be. And a lot of times, people chase that dream, and then life gets in the way. Something happens in life that derails them a little bit, something financially, or something happens within your family, or you’re forced to have to move in a different direction to take care of your family, or whatever that may be, and that’s really the premise of the show. They were forced to go a different direction because of life but never lose sight of what they always wanted to do, what they believe really makes them who they are. And so, I’m fortunate as the host of this show to step back in, and to present them with an opportunity to chase that dream again. And from there, we present an opportunity to them. We take them through a period of training where we hook them up with one of the top mentors in their field, who takes them through a couple weeks of hardcore training, kind of pushing them to the limit. The mentors teach them, getting them back up to speed in that field. And then at the end of the time they have an audition or an interview for the job of their dreams. That doesn’t mean that the job will make them a CEO or a starting quarterback of a football team, but it’s an opportunity to get their foot in the door and to prove to whomever that they’re worth taking a chance on.
What advice do you have for that person who is bagging groceries at a Safeway, who knows in their heart that God has a greater plan for their life?
The first piece of advice is nothing’s impossible with God, and I’m a perfect example of that. When everybody else said there’s no way, when circumstances said there’s no chance, God was able to take a man that believed, and do some amazing things with him. I start there, and then I would just let them know that if you truly feel that God’s calling you to something, don’t allow someone else, don’t allow circumstances to define what your future’s going to look like. I think too many people allow the “right now,” in what they visually see in front of them, or what they hear from somebody next to them to affect their whole outlook on life. I think a lot of people miss out on opportunities, they miss out on achieving their dream, and they miss out on doing what they love to do, because they’re allowing something else, something outside of them and outside of God, to dictate what their life’s going to look like.
Running in tandem with the launch of this show is an organization called ‘Make the Moment’. This seems like a great ministry to help pastors aid those who need a second chance. What can you tell me about it?
I love this endeavor, because it’s a chance and a practical way to do a couple different things. The Make the Moment idea is connecting with churches, so pastors can get really in touch with their congregation. They can figure out what gift church members have, what careers they’re in, what opportunities they may present to other individuals. It helps them to find out other people in their congregation that are struggling, that have a dream in a certain area, that need a second chance from someone. It’s an opportunity to connect those that have the opportunity to be a mentor, to give a second chance to somebody, with those in a congregation or in a community that need a second chance. It’s a chance within churches for certain individuals to minister, to use their platform that they have to help out others, to reach out to those who may be hurting or searching in the church, and present them with a second opportunity to do what God’s called them to do. In getting involved with this show, I didn’t want it just to be, let them (show producers) pick nine people – although I will take helping nine people any day of the week. I wanted it to be about being able to reach people at home, being able to reach people in every community, and this Make the Moment endeavor gives us the opportunity to do that. This is an endeavor that’s going to allow churches to kind of pull together and figure out ways in which different individuals can use their platform to impact people in their church, or impact people in their community.
What’s your greatest hope for The Moment? What would you like people to get out of this show after watching it?
I think my greatest hope, is that people grab hold of their passion again. I believe that the only way to truly be fulfilled, the only way to truly be the person that God created us to be, is to live in our passion, is to do what we’re passionate about. It changes everything about us. It changes our demeanor. It changes the way that we go about our marriage. It changes the way that we parent our kids. It changes the way that we have relationships with our friends. It changes the way that we wake up in the morning and the way we go to sleep at night. My hope is that it inspires and encourages people to not give up on what God created them to be. That it kind of lights a fire, or brings a little spark back to somebody that says, you know what, I don’t know why I gave up on this. I don’t know why I stopped believing, but even if I can’t give up everything that I have right now to chase after this one hundred percent, there are ways that I could implement this passion back into my life. There are ways that I can make sure that I’m not wondering and missing the opportunity to be and to use the gifts God gave me.
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