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The ABC's of Christian Life
By Dick Crawford, Central Ohio FCA Board Member

Forty years ago, in October 1968, the Lord led me to my "man in the gap": Rex Kern. At the time, Rex was quarterbacking The Ohio State University to a national championship in football. I was an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio.

Dick Crawford (right), with FCA Central Ohio staff member Tim Brown 

The circumstances were as follows: Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, had fired Angela Davis, a professor at UCLA, in part for teaching Communism at the university. As a result, several churches, including mine, proposed on our church agenda that the elders and deacons raise $10,000 for Angela Davis' defense fund. I was the only voting member who opposed the proposal. I made it clear that she, as all Americans, was entitled to her day in court. My objection was the use of our church money for her defense. I stood alone and requested the pulpit to explain my position. Someone in the audience heard me, and my position went out over the wire. More than 90 percent of the Lay Presbyterians supported my position. I decided that, if that was church life, I wasn't interested and had pretty much decided to resign as an elder and leave the church.

God had another plan and, of course, the right plan. Shortly after this took place, I went to the Phi Delta Theta house (my fraternity) to talk to the officer and house mother. Afterward, I visited Rex Kern in his room at the house to talk sports. As I entered the room I declared to Rex that I was quitting the church for the aforementioned reasons. He admonished me to "judge not, lest you be judged," and then asked me if he could share the ABC's of the Christian life with me. It sounded to me like a riddle, but I was about to hear the most clear statement about Christianity that I had ever heard. Rex explained each letter clearly.

The letter "A" was daily bible study. Rex explained the importance of reading the Word daily, both Old and New Testament. The reason: How could you witness for Christ if you didn't read the textbook?
"B" was daily prayer or conversation with the Lord. The Lord loves you and knows all your concerns, but He wants you to share those with Him in your relationship.

"C" was caring and sharing, which Rex explained was showing your concern for others (i.e. visiting senior citizens, going with teammates to children's hospitals, etc.).

When his presentation concluded I, in Rex's room, asked Christ into my heart and have never looked back. Rex later invited me to an FCA meeting, and that is how I first became involved with FCA.

In the years since, I have had numerous opportunities to share my witness with people all over America and even parts of the world. My forums have been several: the church, FCA, and events held during the years that the Lord allowed me to serve as the mayor of Tulsa, Okla. I am also pleased to say that Rex and I have remained very close brothers in the Lord. And I am very proud to report that in December 2007 I attended the National Collegiate Football Foundation Hall of Fame dinner and induction, at which time my "man in the gap" was inducted into that dignified body.

Praise God for Rex and for the time he took to share with me the ABC's of Christian life. They marked the beginning of my 40-year journey with Jesus Christ and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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