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The Rest of the Story – Super Bowl Edition

For my money the three most annoying things on the internet are:

E-mails from African princes in exile who promise a million dollar care and handling fee for a funds transfer.

Calls to return to faith, family and common sense values allegedly penned by drug addled Marxist celebrities.

And,  of course, keys to blessings and happiness that threaten curses and pestilence on those who won’t pass the cheerful missive along to 20 of their closest friends.

But every now and then, I will receive a message that really makes my day.

Not just because it is inspiring, but because it is true.

And so, with a hat tip to Hall of fame broadcaster Paul Harvey, I’d like to share with you a story that may change the way you view the Super Bowl coming up this Sunday.

It’s the story of Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check out girl.

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman, maybe 26, and he was only 22 and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to  find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled  softly at him, took her  card and punched out, then left.  He looked at her card, BRENDA.  He walked out only to see her start walking up the road.

Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted.  When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work.  She simply said it wasn’t possible. He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn’t afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly, she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday.

That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him.  The baby-sitter had called and cancelled. To which Kurtis simply said, “Well, let’s take the kids with us.” She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed.  Finally Brenda, brought him inside to  meet her children.  She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug,  Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair.

He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome. Kurtis asked Brenda, “I still don’t understand why the kids can’t come with us?”

Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman  with two kids, especially if one had disabilities – just like her first husband and father of her children had done.

Kurtis was not ordinary  – he had a different mindset. That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him.  When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis.  At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.  A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added two more kids.

Now this account would be remarkable in and of itself. But as they say, there is a rest of the story.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl?  Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals, who will be playing Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida on February 1, 2009.

And what was the motivation that allowed Kurt Warner to not only perserve through the challenges of a sure to be Hall of Fame football career and the even greater challenges of being a husband and father in a blended, special needs family?

“I believe that the Lord has a plan for each of us that’s better than anything we can imagine–even if that plan isn’t obvious to us at every stage. He prepared me for this over a long period of time–in lower-profile locker rooms and the grocery store and in Europe, through all the personal tragedies and in spite of the people who doubted me along the way,” Warner explained. “Whether I’m a Super Bowl Champion or a regular guy stocking groceries at the Hy-Vee, sharing my faith and glorifying Jesus is the central focus of my time on this earth. And the fact that I now have a podium, I believe, is no coincidence. I want to be a role model for Christ in everything that I do. Living my life for Him and showing people the beauty of that reality is my mission in life.”

“Before I could devote my life to Jesus and start living my life for Him, I had to go through a lot of personal struggles, including a period a few years ago where I got a little caught up in things that aren’t important–fame, money, lust….”

Warner suffered a series of disastrous setbacks in his career. He faced financial problems, family problems, even the sudden and tragic death of his wife’s parents. All the hurts and the heartbreak caused Kurt to take a good hard look at his life–and what was missing from it. “Growing up I’d always put my life on one side and my relationship with God on the other. I knew God was there, but I only called upon Him when I needed Him or felt compelled to thank Him.Eventually, I realized I needed to live every day for Him.”

So when you are watching the game on Sunday, realize there is more going on than just an amazingly hyped four hours of entertainment.

Some of these men on the field have won greater victories than anything represented by the Lombardi Trophy.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (I Corinthians 9:24-27)


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