Friday, March 14, 2014

Former Seahawk Jon Kitna: Faith That Works

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Former Seahawk quarterback Jon Kitna made news last fall.

The Dallas Cowboys signed him to a one game contract to come to Dallas and help the team--for one game.

It's not surprising the Cowboys would call on Kitna to help them in that he played in the NFL for 16 years in Seattle, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas.

It was what he did with his $53,000 paycheck and what he is doing with his life now that he is retired from football that caught national attention.

Jon Kitna grew up in Tacoma, Washington.

After graduation from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, he went to Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA to play quarterback.

While there, CWU won the NAIA National Championship.

While he was in Ellensburg, something else happened to him. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

Following his college career, Kitna was not drafted by the NFL so he began applying for high school coaching jobs.

Seahawks head coach Dennis Erickson had visited the campus to give a tryout for his nephew, a receiver on the Central Washington football team. He had noticed Kitna's strong arm and passing ability so invited him to attend the Seahawk's training camp in 1996.

This led to Kitna's 16-year pro-football career.

Now retired from football, married with 4 kids, Kitna has returned to Tacoma to teach math and coach high school football at none other than his old high school--Lincoln High.

When Dallas called him last fall to join the team for one game, he agreed. When he donated his $53,000 paycheck, it caught the attention of the national media.

USA Today and many other news organizations reported that Kitna was giving away the money.

He did. He gave it to Lincoln High.

Kitna told KING 5 last January, "When we first got here, we had 100 kids and only 22 of them were above 2.0."

He said, "Kids that had no shot of graduating are graduating and more importantly they're having a good impact on their school and community around them. They live up to the expectations set out there."

Kitna said if kids are in a pinch or have life questions "you want them to come find you."

So what does Kitna say to the kids when they "find him?"

He says he wants to motivate and guide young men to be their best---in the classroom and on the field.

He admits he had a very troubled youth.

In a more recent interview, KING 5 says he spoke openly about his path "to renewed faith through redemption."

He said kids today have significant challenges and temptations. He has created a program he calls "Building Up R.E.A.L. Men." R- Reject passivity E.- Empathize with others A.- Accept responsibility L.- Lead courageously I'm wondering if Jon could slip down to Olympia and share that talk with some of the Legislators. This reminds me of the biblical instruction found in James 2: 14-18. James is not suggesting works is the path to redemption. There is only one way to God, and that is through His Son Jesus Christ. But our deeds are "because of our faith"--a natural expression of God's gift. "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, 'you have faith; I have deeds'; Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds." Faith is our foundation and salvation--Deeds is the natural lifestyle that must follow. Be Inspired. Be Active. Be Blessed.