Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with several of the Seattle Seahawks players in January and asked them about how knowing Jesus Christ has affected their life - both on and off the field. Defensive Coach Rocky Seto, free safety Chris Maragos, and long snapper Clint Gresham had much to say about the impact that becoming a follower of Jesus has made on their lives.
Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Rocky Seto became a believer when some of his teammates at the University of Southern California (USC) shared the Gospel with him as a senior. After graduating, Seto became a part of the coaching staff at USC. He was given the opportunity to coach with Pete Carroll - who was also head coach at USC while Seto was on staff - for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010.
Coach Seto sees great Kingdom potential in building strong relationships with players, and has had the opportunity to share Christ with many of them. He encourages Christians in the workplace to do the same - "Be awesome at what you're doing, help the people around you be as awesome as they can be, and when you get the opportunity, share the Gospel. Be very clear about it," he says.
Mark Driscoll asked Seto to define the Gospel, and Seto did so without hesitation - "Jesus saves. We all need Jesus - without Jesus, we are damned," he says, stating that it is essential for people to understand their dire need for the Lord. "Jesus is everything ... Jesus owns me, Jesus died for me - Jesus paid the debt that I couldn't pay which is eternal death, and then ultimately He gives me everything I need ... He's the best King that I could ever hope to be under," he says.
Knowing Christ has completely changed Seto's life - "It affects my marriage, it affects how I raise my children, it affects my coaching, and ultimately, you're consumed by Who Jesus is. When you read the Bible and see Jesus in it - it's over, man," the coach says with much zeal.
Ultimately, Coach Seto sees Jesus as the greatest treasure in the world. When you give up your life for Him, Seto says, you get something even better - "Jesus is the Lord of my life ... Who happens to love me," he says with gratitude.
Free Safety Chris Maragos grew up in a Christian household with two believing parents and a brother who is now a pastor. Although he'd had a Christian upbringing, Maragos was rebellious as a young teenager. He had been taught Biblical principles, but he didn't take to them. Maragos idolized sports, and had begun experimenting with drugs in high school before the Lord saved him as a sophomore. Maragos says he is very grateful that the Lord was gracious to save him at a time that he feels could have been a major turning point in his life if the Lord had not rescued him.
Realizing that that he wasn't the best player on the football team (as he had been in middle school), Maragos could see that he would be miserable if he continued to place his identity in sports. "In our profession, everything's based on performance," he says - but not the love of Jesus. God's love is not conditional based on our behavior because He looks at what Jesus did on the cross for all those who believe in Christ for salvation. Jesus gives those who trust in Him an imputed righteousness - forgiveness, and right-standing with God - and John 1:12 says, "But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (English Standard Version).
Maragos eventually played at Western Michigan and later Wisconsin universities, and signed with the 49ers in 2010. Pastor Driscoll asked him what he thought would have happened in his life if he had never met Christ; Maragos believes that had the Lord not saved him, he would be full of pride for being in the NFL. He would likely be consumed by money and selfishness, and he probably wouldn't have gotten married. Instead, the Lord has blessed Maragos with a relationship with Him, and with an amazing wife - a "Bible-verse girl" whom Maragos says is a "Proverbs 31 woman." He has a son named Micah and another baby on the way - Maragos seems very grateful for his family.
Clint Gresham is the long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks. He grew up going to church, but thought that God's love was conditional. "I thought that God loves me as long as I was good. I was constantly discouraged and always feeling like I didn't measure up," Gresham says.
Jesus saved Gresham in college when he was living in a lot of sin. Gresham later did an intense month-long discipleship program that radically changed his life. "God saved me from an expectation of a life of mediocrity," he says - a fear that he'd had growing up. Gresham is amazed that the God of the universe wants to use His people for glorious purposes - "God actually does want to reach the world around me. If I can just be a vessel for Him and allow Him to pour into me, then He can pour into other people through me," he says with humility.
"Jesus is my best friend, and I couldn't imagine life without Him," Gresham says, "because He loves me - in spite of my weaknesses and my shortcomings." Driscoll asked him to explain how his relationship with Christ has affected his every-day life; Gresham says he spends time with the Lord every day, in the Bible and in prayer - "Knowing that He's with me, and I can depend on Him, and that He's for me" encourages him greatly.
The long snapper has a passion for reaching youth with the Gospel and hopes to do ministry after he retires from football. "Kids are like wet concrete, and to have that kind of influence on a child for the Gospel is something that's so amazing," he says.
"We want to leverage this influence that we've been given for the Kingdom," says Gresham, speaking on behalf of all of the Seattle Seahawks members present.