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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Kirk Cousins: Living as an Ambassador for Christ

Kirk Cousins: Living as an Ambassador for Christ

Successful NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins shares his family story and his journey in football, as well as about the importance of discipleship and evangelism in impacting the culture.
Original Air Date: November 3, 2023

John Fuller: NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins shares about one of the driving principles in his life.

Kirk Cousins: And so that’s when he, again, reiterated Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your understanding.” My understanding said that I couldn’t play college football, but don’t lean on your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, trust him, walk with him, and he will direct your steps. And so, my job was to trust and obey, and it was God’s job to steer the ship.

John: Kirk is our featured guest today on Focus on the Family and shares more inspiration about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is Focus on the Family with your host, Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, Kirk Cousins is an incredibly humble man, and he’s all about living his life in a purposeful and focused way. He’s a pro-ball quarterback, plays for the Minnesota Vikings. And some of you might know, unfortunately, we were sad to hear that he was injured in a game last week, so pray for Kirk, uh, to have that speedy recovery. He either holds or is tied for several NFL records. He’s very accomplished. Uh, football is a big part of his life and he wants to be the best player he can be, and that’s great. But his ultimate goal i- in life is so much bigger. It’s about serving the Lord, his family and others that he can help. Uh, he and his wife, Julie, have two sons and his dad, Don, is the lead pastor at Discovery Church in Orlando, Florida. Not long ago we recorded Kirk’s, uh, story in front of a live audience at that church, and it was very inspiring. I wasn’t able to be there, so I asked our very talented, uh, chief operating officer, Ken Windebank, to step in and, uh, record this with Kirk Cousins. Uh, by the way, our friend Ray Vander Laan from That the World May Know, we’ve been doing that series for over 25 years, will be mentioned. And, uh, Kirk Cousins went to his high school, Holland Christian School. He was Kirk’s teacher and he really has continued to be a spiritual mentor for Kirk Cousins.

John: Yeah, and you’ll hear about that as we go along. And Ray Vander Laan has partnered with Focus on the Family to release a new video series. It’s called RVL Discipleship: The Study. It’s phenomenal and you can learn more at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Here now is Ken Windebank with Kirk Cousins from a men’s event in Orlando on Focus on the Family.

Ken Windebank: Kirk, thanks for joining me and congratulations on the 2023 Bart Starr Award for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. That is, that’s some accolade, uh, for you.

Kirk: Well, thank you. It was a meaningful award. You certainly play for team awards, but, uh-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … of the individual awards I’ve had the chance to even be considered for, that one, uh, carries the most meaning because of what it stands for.

Ken: Right, without a doubt. Uh, I don’t know if you know, but there’s a lot of similarities between you and me, you know?

Kirk: (laughs) Are there?

Ken: So, I grew up in the suburbs of New York. You grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I’m a middle child, you’re a middle child.

Kirk: There you go.

Ken: I played quarterback in high school.

Kirk: All right.

Ken: You played quarterback in high school. You aspired to be an NFL quarterback, I aspired to be an NFL quarterback.

Kirk: Yes (laughs).

Audience: (laughing)

Kirk: (laughs) How’d that work out for you?

Ken: You’re an inc- You’re in incredible shape-

Audience: (laughing)

Ken: … and that’s where everything ends right about there.

Kirk: (laughs)

Audience: (laughing)

Ken: So, it didn’t work out, but I had a great time in sports, uh.

Kirk: No doubt.

Ken: Now, when you were a toddler, you had an accident that, uh, maybe jeopardized your sports career, um, and playing sports. What happened? Tell us about that.

Kirk: Yeah. I was about 18 months old and, um, just one of those freak accidents at the home where, uh, there’s boiling water. And I got ahold of it and poured it on myself, not knowing what I was doing. And when you pour boiling water on and you have clothes on, my mom came running over, my shirt was stuck to my skin. She goes to pull my shirt off and my skin comes off with it.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: And I’m screaming, and my mom calls 911. And they take me away in an ambulance and, um, I, thankfully, have no memory of it.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: But I was in the hospital for two weeks, and they had to do a daily process to help with the healing of the skin where I would go sit in a warm bath. And obviously, when you have burn… severely burned skin-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … and you’re sitting in, in water, it’s extremely painful. And so I was screaming and my parents had to just kinda hold me through that for two weeks. And thankfully, the, a lot of the scarring is gone. It’s just a couple spots in my arm here and here that, where the scarring is permanent. But, um, it’s very interesting because when my parents left the hospital after two weeks, the doctor said, “No long-term implication. Obviously, cosmetically, there might be some implication, but nothing, nothing functionally, except he will have some limited movement in his shoulders,” which to this day is still where the most significant scarring is-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … is, is around my, my armpits. And they said, uh, “For example, that could, that could hurt him in terms of like throwing a ball.”

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so, it was very interesting that that-

Audience: (laughing)

Kirk: … be, that that was the, the thought coming away from that. Um, but obviously, that, that was not the case.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And I can throw a football just fine, so very, very grateful for that. And if there is a silver lining to it, which I think there is, we believe to this day that maybe, uh, those two weeks of going through those painful process to help heal may have helped toughen me up in some way, shape or form.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: Because to this day, football requires a high pain threshold and pain tolerance and an ability to push through physical pain. And while I don’t like doing it, it would seem that there’s an ability there, and we wonder if maybe that experience was what maybe raised my pain threshold.

Ken: You know, I, I think we can look in the news today and a lot of, a lot of young people are struggling with identity and issues of who they are and… What is the message that you would carry to young people today in that regard, pushing through and, um-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … embracing those things in your life that are difficult?

Kirk: Well, it can be very easy to, um, wrap your identity up into what you do, how you look, what people think of you. And if you do that in my job, you don’t get too far-

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: … because someday football, you’re gonna retire. Your skills are gonna decline. And, uh, you’re constantly under criticism from media and fans. Rarely are people saying nice things about you over and over. It tends to be criticism and nitpicking.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so that comes with the job. And so, um, if you’re waiting for people to tell you you’re… y- you know, good things about you and have this everything go right in your career, in my job you’re gonna be waiting a long time-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … to have your identity wrapped up in something that’s gonna make you feel good. So for me, it was a lesson I learned long ago.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: I threw an interception in a college game at Notre Dame.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: And I remember it was a interception that cost our team the game.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: We lost the game because I threw the interception, and I got hit on the play. So I landed hard into the turf, and I remember walking, picking myself up off turf-

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: … walking off the field, listening to the deafening sound of 80,000 people in the stadium cheering my failure.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: Because it was a away game.

Ken: Wow.

Kirk: And I’m pulling a clump of grass out of my helmet ’cause I got hit into the turf so hard.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: And I’m thinking, “Life isn’t too good right now.”

Ken: Right.

Kirk: But another thought was, “If I had built my life on football and that was where my identity was, I’m in trouble right now because football just crumbled.”

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And I thought, “Thank you for the gospel.”

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: “And thank you, God, that my life is not built on football.”

Ken: Right.

Kirk: But my life’s built on you and you’re not changing.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so I can throw an interception and be pulling turfgrass out of my helmet and have to go face questions from the n- the media in 10 minutes that are gonna ask, why are you so dumb? (laughs)

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And I can face all that knowing that God’s not changing. God saw this event before it happened. He’s sovereign over it. He allowed it to happen, and I have to trust him-

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: … that he’s gonna make good out of it and he’s not gonna waste it.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And when you have that as your underlying comfort and peace and foundation of your life, it goes back to the words of Jesus in Matthew where he says, “You’re building your house on rock.”

Ken: Amen.

Kirk: And the storm is gonna come. You’re gonna throw interceptions.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: They might lose you games, but the house won’t fall apart.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: It’ll be standing on the rock. And so for me, I’m grateful that my life is built on the rock. I don’t want the storms to come, but when they do, uh, we’ve got the right foundation.

Ken: Well, obviously, a lot of people have spoken into your life and built that into your life, your family, um, being one of them. Talk a little bit about your family life growing up and, and what your parents poured into you-

Kirk: Yep.

Ken: … in that regard, in regard to building that foundation and that outlook in life.

Kirk: Yeah. My parents did a great job, first of all, modeling what it would look like to follow Jesus. Um, they didn’t push us or force the Bible on us. I felt like it was something that was caught and taught.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And it was just a natural thing to want to, uh, follow their path that they had laid out. You know, my dad taught us scripture from a young age and brought up Proverbs 3, 5 and 6, um, you know, to trust in the Lord with all your heart, to not lean on your understanding. In all your ways to acknowledge him-

Ken: Hmm.

Kirk: … and he will direct your steps. And, um, he taught us Galatians 6:7, you know, which says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And he talked about the importance of being a great decision maker and knowing that there are consequences-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … to the choices you make in life, good or bad.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And if you sow good things, you’ll reap good things. But if you sow poor decisions, you’ll reap poor decisions.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And so, you know, the truth of God’s word was evident in the home. And, uh, whether it was my mom or my dad, it was very clear what it would look like to follow Jesus, what it would look like to shine a light to other people-

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: … in, in your school and on your sports teams. And it was a passion of theirs that we really caught.

Ken: That’s great. Let’s turn to high school. Uh, sometimes can be difficult years. You played quarterback at Holland Christian. And we have a common friend in Ray Vander Laan.

Kirk: Yes.

Ken: I don’t know if you have all heard That the World May Know at Focus on the Family. It’s a great series that we’ve done with Ray for 30 years, incredible biblical teaching, incredible biblical scholar. I’ve learned a lot from him at my time at Focus on the Family. Uh, was able to go to Israel with him. I know you did as well. Talk a little bit about what stands out from his teaching in the classroom. You know, sometimes it can be very academic in the classroom, but you know, my times with Ray and personally, uh, there’s something about his teaching that moves you out of the classroom-

Kirk: Right.

Ken: … from an academic standpoint-

Kirk: Right.

Ken: … into walking like Jesus walked. I mean it’s-

Kirk: Yep. I took two classes with Ray. My sophomore year of high school was Life of Jesus.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And that was a semester, and, uh, he just made the Bible and the life of Jesus just come to life.

Ken: Wow.

Kirk: He’s just a gifted teacher.

Ken: He is.

Kirk: Unbelievable storyteller and, uh, he brought so much truth out of the scriptures that I never realized or knew were there, even growing up in a home where we were around the Bible all the time.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And then my senior year, I took a course called Discipleship, where he talked about it’s one thing to be a fan of Jesus.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: It’s another thing to be a fully devoted follower.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And he talked about the definition of being a disciple is to be a fully devoted follower. And he challenged us to understand that that meant following Jesus even if it costs you something.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: So if culture goes this way and Jesus went this way, if you’re a disciple, you gotta go this way-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … even if it costs you something. And so I, I felt from his challenging teachings in high school and through some of the experiences I’ve had in sports, I just drove a stake in the ground late in high school that I’m gonna be a fully devoted follower-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … even if it costs me something. And, uh, I’m gonna trust him and build my life on, on his truth. And, uh, you know, through those ups and downs and the rollercoaster of life, it makes all the difference.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so, um, Ray’s teaching was a, was a foundational impact on my life.

Ken: Now, you had a moment in high school where you had something that occurred to you that-

Kirk: Mm-hmm.

Ken: … again, put your sports career in jeopardy.

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: Um, tell us what happened.

Kirk: Yeah. So, I, uh, and I joke with NFL players to this day that I did not play varsity football until my junior year. Most pro football players probably were good enough as a freshman or sophomore to get pulled up to the varsity. I, that was not the case for me. I played freshman football as a freshman, JV as a sophomore, and then my first varsity game was my junior year. And in the very first quarter of the very first varsity game I ever played, which was a dream come true for me to be a quarterback at my high school on the varsity team, I got hit on my left side in that first quarter and broke my left ankle. And the doctor put the cast on my ankle and told me I was likely done for the season. If I did come back, I wouldn’t really be the same player.

And I remember driving home from the hospital with tears in my eyes and calling my dad and saying, “Dad, it’s broken. I’m out for the year. Now I won’t get recruited and by the time I get to my senior year, assuming I have a good year, who knows if that will happen, all the good schools will have already found their guy, and I won’t get an opportunity.” And my dad said, “Kirk, you don’t know that. But even if it doesn’t happen, even if you don’t get a scholarship and football does go south because of this injury, you have to trust God’s plan for your life, and you have to believe that he has a plan.” And so that’s when he, again, reiterated Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your understanding.” My understanding said that I couldn’t play college football, but don’t lean on your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him. Trust him, walk with him, and he will direct your steps.

And so, my job was to trust and obey, and it was God’s job to steer the ship. And I decided in that moment, ‘kay, that’ll be my life first, and I’m gonna truly live that. I’m gonna trust and obey even when it’s hard and I don’t feel like it, and we’ll see where he wants to steer the ship.

Ken: Hmm.

Kirk: It might not be football, but let’s let him steer the ship, not me.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And I’m not gonna worry about it. And sh- a year and a half later, I was signing a scholarship to go to Michigan State, which would have been my dream school all along. And it was just a moment where I could look back and say, “God is so much bigger than not only a broken ankle-”

Ken: Amen. Right.

Kirk: … “but bigger than the circumstances we see in our lives.” The key is that through those circumstances, we trust him, obey him, and give those circumstances over to him.

Ken: Right. You’ve mentioned your dad several times, and that’s, that’s quite moving that you can pick up the phone and have that relationship with your father and your heavenly father. Uh, you know, you see both of those things in your life. You know, a year and a half is a long time to come back from an ankle injury. Was there any specific moment that you really felt like, I don’t know if I can do this during that time? Did, did your dad speak life into you? Was there any, any moments that, that occur?

Kirk: Yeah. I think time and again, my dad has spoken belief in me. I mean, to this day I’ll have a poor game and I’ll inevitably call him on my way back from the game or when we get home. And he always has a way of communicating glass half full.

Ken: Yeah.

Kirk: You know, but yep, those were bad throws, but think about the good throws you had and, and these moments. And so there are a lot of, uh, times where he can help me right my perspective.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so, for me, as I look at our society and I think about how can we fix societal issues, obviously the first thing I go to is the gospel, but to the degree that the gospel will be pushed back on, I then go to dads.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: We need dads to be dads.

Ken: Amen.

Kirk: And we need men to lead and fathers to lead. I just see too many times I look around our locker room, teammates’ stories where there was just no dad present in their life.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And if the dad was present, he really wasn’t a dad-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … as I define a dad.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And, and when I think back on the role that my dad played, if he had just been removed from the picture, I would’ve been lost.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so when I look at bigger issues in society, I keep seeing politicians give speeches and I say, “Why are we not talking about dads?”

Ken: Right.

Kirk: We need dads to be dads, and we have so many who aren’t. And it’s hard. I’m a dad and I’m learning just how hard it is. And so I can see why people are tapping out and saying, “I don’t wanna do this.”

Ken: Right.

Kirk: But we have to press in and lead because I go back to so many issues stemming from, well, where was the father and what was the role he was playing?

John: This is Focus on the Family, and that’s NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins. And he’s speaking with Focus on the Family’s Ken Windebank. Now, Kirk was a high school student in Ray Vander Laan’s Bible classes. And, uh, Ray has a new video series released with Focus on the Family called RVL Discipleship: The Study. This is really an amazing series of Bible lessons that unpack what it means to be a follower of Jesus. And you can learn more about this resource at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and rejoin Ken Windebank and Kirk Cousins on Focus on the Family.

Ken: All right. You’re, let’s turn a corner. You’re off to college, okay. And, um, statistically, we know that a lot of young people lose their faith in college. They walk away from Christ. It’s a moment that many parents, Christian parents, they’re excited about launching their kids off into university, but some are nervous, uh, about that. You obviously had a great, a great foundation, but, uh, talk to us a little bit about being at Michigan State and what maybe tested your faith and how you, how you stayed strong in your faith and who you pulled in around you.

Kirk: I remember as I left for Michigan State, um, listening to some message tapes on the Book of Daniel.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And it so paralleled what it’s like to be a freshman in college. You know, Daniel was plucked from Israel, was placed in Babylon. He was identified as someone with abilities, and so they wanted to brainwash him and, and take the Israel part out of him-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … and make sure he became like the Babylonians and have him forget all that he was raised to be and become someone else. And Daniel was aware of that and wasn’t going to do it if it meant disobeying God.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And so, he stood his ground and said, “I’m, I’m not going to cross these lines, uh, ’cause it would mean I would have to go against my conscience and disobey God.”

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: And God honored that.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And so, for me, I, I just felt going to Michigan State, I was raised a certain way. I knew there were gonna be all kinds of temptations in college, and it was gonna be important that I stand my ground and say, “Even if it costs me something, I’m not gonna do that.”

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And, um, God provided the grace to be able to do that. He also, uh, provided people around me so I wasn’t alone.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: You know, it wasn’t the whole locker room, but there were four or five guys that I could do life with-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … where I didn’t feel like I was alone. And I think God does provide those people for us. And college was really a key moment where, okay, you’re leaving your home, you now have to stand on your own. You talked about being a fully devoted follower-

Ken: Right, right.

Kirk: … in high school. That sounded good-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … but now the boots are hitting the ground. Do you really want to do that?

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And, um, and so my freshman year, sophomore year of college were really impactful years to be able to drive that stake deeper in the ground and say, “No, I’ve built my life on the truth of God’s word. That’s the playbook for my life, and I’m not gonna deviate even if it might make me look strange to my peers in college.”

Ken: Right. You’ve talked about three big decisions you need to make in your life, your master, your mate, and your mission.

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: Tell us about those.

Kirk: Well, certainly, you know, the most important decision you can make in life is to bend the knee at the cross and give your life to Jesus and give your sin to Jesus and trust him. And so that’s who’s gonna be your master, what are you gonna build your life for. And then your mate being your spouse. Those of us who are going to get married or are married, you understand the importance of the marriage relationship and, and how it pictures Christ and the church and, and how we become, you know, that message to our world. And so who you’re gonna marry is, is a big decision. And, uh, and then certainly what you’re gonna do in life, uh, for your occupation, for your calling is a, is a big deal. And so, when you get those three decisions right, you set yourself up well in life for a lot of success.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And if you get one of those three decisions wrong, you can enter into a, a lot of challenges.

Ken: Yeah, a lot of chaos, potentially. So let’s turn to, uh, the NFL. It’s a, again, y- there’s a spotlight on you. Everything you say, everything you do-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … is in the news. It’s difficult managing your faith and being in the locker room. Ta- talk to us about how you approach your teammates, how you approach the locker room with your faith, and how you do that every single day, day in and day out. And hopefully, we can take that back to our workplace or our school.

Kirk: Yeah. I think it’s important to, first of all, walk the walk. So if I sit here with you and talk about being somebody and then I’m not that person on a day-to-day basis, I’ve lost any effectiveness for shining a light or sharing the gospel. So, I need to be the person that I like to think I am (laughs), first of all, and walk the walk. But then, um, I think it’s important to really lead and invest in teammates’ lives so that they know that I care a great deal about their success on the football field, not just my own.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: And then from there, you certainly wanna use opportunities to share your faith.

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And you want them to be natural and not forced and, you know. But you certainly try to take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves.

Ken: Right. You know, one of the things I learned from Ray on the trip was this idea of taking the kingdom back one inch at a time.

Kirk: Yes.

Ken: And sometimes I think we, we think we need to do big things.

Kirk: Right.

Ken: And it’s, it’s great to be able to do those things. You have an incredible platform to be able to really kinda move the needle in people’s lives with, you know, who you are-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … and what the Lord has afforded you. But what I think when I think of the locker room, I think of that comes to mind-

Kirk: Yes.

Ken: … is hey, one inch at a time.

Kirk: That’s a good word.

Ken: And really being intentional about the guys that are across from you and paying attention, uh, to them.

Kirk: I agree.

Ken: Yeah.

Kirk: I think, I think it is inch by inch. And if we expect big things, we’ll get discouraged.

Ken: Yeah.

Kirk: I think we do have to almost expect it to be inch by inch and then allow God to do those big things from time to time. But, um, the expectation should be that just daily faithfulness of shining our light, being bold, uh, even if it is just inches is faithfulness and, and obedience to God.

Ken: Being in an environment that you’re in, it’s, uh, you know, it’s entertainment, you know? And the NFL, it’s a great sport. I’ve loved it all my life. Uh, but it can be a very secular environment-

Kirk: Mm-hmm.

Ken: … a very difficult environment. Uh, like you said earlier, a lot of temptations that as you enter into, you know, in college and I think even more so in the NFL. Talk to me, share with us how you strengthen your faith. What routine do you go through? What are the daily things that you do to make sure-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … that you’re, that you’re not just coasting?

Kirk: Well, to this day, God has always provided a remnant. So there’s that half dozen guys in every locker room I’ve been in that walk with God and that I can do life with. So, you never are in total isolation. I think it’s important to find those people-

Ken: Right.

Kirk: … in your area of life so that you don’t feel like you’re alone, uh, understanding it won’t be the majority, likely. And we, so we have a chapel gathering Saturday nights before games, which is a real positive, uh, time, closest thing that we have to a church service, being that we’re playing on Sundays. And then on Monday night, we have a couples Bible study. On, uh, Tuesday, I try to take a sabbath, which is a real spiritual thing for me-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … to truly take the day off, rest, and trust God that if I’m not in the building working, he can do more with six days than I can do with seven.

Ken: Hmm.

Kirk: And so Tuesday becomes a real spiritual experience for me to just rest and trust him. And then, uh, uh, we also have on Thursday morning a prayer gathering, uh, with teammates just before the workday starts because we just feel like we need to begin our work week or our workday in prayer and give it over to the Lord and not begin it in pride-

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: … where we think we have all the answers and don’t need to pray. So, um, it’s important for me to just always be in the word, be in prayer, and be in community with other believers.

Ken: Let’s, let’s end on this, on this question. Uh, I got a phone call from a, another mutual friend not too lon- a few years back talking about a piece of artwork that was really-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … important to you-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … in the That the World May Know series.

Kirk: Yes.

Ken: And I, I have to be honest with you. When I had heard what you wanted to do with that painting, I’m getting choked up now.

Kirk: (laughs) Yes.

Ken: … having young boys, it was moving-

Kirk: Yeah.

Ken: … to think about that. Talk to us about, about that piece of artwork, what you’ve done with it-

Kirk: Yep.

Ken: … and what’s your intention for your boys?

Kirk: So, so Ray, uh, when he went to, Ray Vander Laan, when he would lead Israel trips, Focus on the Family commissioned a, uh, artist to, uh, do drawings, paintings of Bible scenes so that when Ray talked about the Bible scene, they could cut to a visual of that Bible scene drawn by someone. And Ray was able to speak over the drawing so that it was accurate to what is believed would’ve been the look of the image in Bible times. And those images have, you know, moved on and they’re, you know, pretty much you don’t see them as much anymore.

But I had an, a vision in my head of a few different Bible scenes, but one of them being, uh, David before he faces Goliath. And, uh, in my head there was this image that I remember seeing from one of Ray’s teachings where David is standing there with a sling and five smooth stones, and he’s in that valley. And he’s about to fight Goliath, but he hasn’t killed him yet. And Goliath is standing there, you know, however many feet from him with the armor bearer there with Goliath. And I call it kinda the moment before the moment.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … where you’ve got this decision.

Ken: That’s right.

Kirk: Am I really gonna do this and put all my, my livelihood out there on the line, or am I gonna shrink back?

Ken: Mm, right.

Kirk: And, um, I wanted that, that picture, and so I reached out and I said, “You know, do you still have that?” And so you were able to get me the original-

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: … which is deeply meaningful to me. And so now, I now have that original painting over my, uh, fireplace in my office at home. And for me, it’s just a reminder of what it has been f- like for me and moving forward to walk with Jesus.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: That I’ve gotta stand there looking at Goliath and say, “I’m doing this.” And even if I die, I die.

Ken: Mm-hmm.

Kirk: I’m gonna trust, uh, him and not trust my instincts, but trust his word. And so, I always say that, you know, once you make that decision standing there with Goliath’s right in front of you and you’re holding the stones and you make the decision to do it, then it’s easy from there.

Ken: Mm.

Kirk: But it’s in that moment, are you gonna retreat in fear, or are you gonna keep going forward in faith?

Ken: Right.

Kirk: And, um, that painting will always remind me of that.

Ken: The moment before the moment, what a great way to end our time together. We so appreciate you, your faith, your stand. We pray for you as, um, as you play, for you and your family and what the Lord has ahead for you. Let’s, uh, let’s thank Kirk Cousins.

Kirk: Thank you.

John: Jim, that was a really fun and engaging conversation that, uh, our COO, Ken Windebank, had with Kirk Cousins at that live event. And boy, you can’t help but admire Kirk’s love for the Lord and his heart for ministry.

Jim: Well, it comes through in everything he does, whether in the locker room, as we heard, or in public, his public stance for the Lord. Uh, he’s all about being a Christ follower. And we learned how his dad and Ray Vander Laan have helped shape his life. Boy, mentoring, uh, is so important. We all need fathers and mentors to guide us. Uh, we mentioned at the top of the program that Ray has a new video series called RVL Discipleship. It’s a digital series that you can get exclusively through Focus on the Family. You can’t get it anywhere else.

Uh, the RVL Discipleship Study is a four-part series which gives you the tools to change how you experience scripture and view your role as a disciple of Jesus. It can change how you live and interact with your family, friends, and the culture. It’s all digital, and the first season includes 10 episodes about 15 minutes each. And they’re great to use in small group study or with your family as part of the family devotional or as an individual. Visit the website to get all the details for this incredible RVL Discipleship Study. I can’t encourage you enough. Uh, Jean and I will be doing it along with you. You won’t be disappointed.

John: Mm-hmm. I’d agree. And you’ll find all the information you need, including a link to a free preview episode, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let me encourage you to come alongside others to give families hope through your support of Focus on the Family. Your gifts help us to do invaluable ministry to reach the lost and to encourage believers on a daily basis. And right now through a special match opportunity, your gift will be doubled dollar for dollar, so your gift can bring healing and redemption to twice the families. Donate today at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or when you call 800-A-FAMILY. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

RVL Discipleship: The Study

RVL Discipleship™ The Study has the tools to change how you experience Scripture and view your role as a disciple of Christ — the Rabbi of rabbis, Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom. Watch episode 1 for free! And then have the option to purchase season 1 or the entire series.

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