A heart for discipleship
Friday, Dec 29, 2006
By Lee Warren
LINCOLN, Neb. (BP)--Some Nebraska football fans consider game days to be a religious experience. For Art Lindsay, a single, 72 year-old part-time insurance salesman, one particular Saturday afternoon in 1992 turned out to be a true religious experience. God spoke to him about a redshirt freshman quarterback named Brook Berringer.
“I was in the south stadium with my pastor when Brook entered the game for the first time,” Lindsay said. “I knew nothing about him, but when I heard his name, God just laid it on my heart to start praying for him. I put him on my daily prayer list from that point on.”
Lindsay prayed for Berringer over the next two years, at the end of which he felt like God was calling him to reach out to Berringer, so he began writing letters to him. Over a nine-month period, he sent him eight or nine letters. One day, after planting many seeds, Lindsay invited Berringer to lunch. When Lindsay went to pick him up, Berringer hugged him, even though they’d never met — the first indication that their relationship would become something special. Lindsay, not one to mince words, got right to the point at the restaurant.
“The first thing I asked him was, ‘Brook, what is your relationship with Jesus Christ?’ and he said ‘I don’t have one,’” Lindsay said.
Lindsay asked him if he wanted to begin meeting on a regular basis to pursue a relationship with Christ and Berringer said he would. Six weeks later, on the day that Berringer found out that he would not be the starter for the 1995 season — even after leading the Huskers to the national championship game in 1994, Lindsay visited Berringer and they sat down with an open Bible. Lindsay walked him through many verses and when they were done, Berringer became a Christian.
Lindsay began to saturate Berringer with Scripture. And then, Lindsay received shocking news.
Just eight months after Berringer’s conversion, he died when a plane that he was piloting crashed in a field near Lincoln. A secular radio station broadcast Berringer’s funeral, during which the gospel was clearly presented and people all over the state were moved enough to want to hear it broadcast again — which the station did the following night.
Jan Berringer, Brook’s mother, received 10,000 letters from people who were touched by Berringer in some fashion. Four months later, Scott Frost, the man who would become the starting quarterback for the Huskers in 1996, asked Lindsay to begin meeting with him the same way he had with Berringer. Frost became a Christian under Lindsay’s discipleship — a relationship that lasted three years.
And God wasn’t finished yet.
After that, athletes began to seek out Lindsay for spiritual guidance. Over the years, Lindsay met with Eric Crouch, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Nebraska, and he met with Nebraska baseball players Daniel Bruce and Aaron Marsden. Now he’s discipling Steven Kern, a wrestler at Kansas State.
Lindsay never sought a platform and many might consider him to be just a common man. But Ron Brown, the receivers coach at Nebraska when Berringer was there and the current state director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Nebraska, has seen firsthand what God can do with a man who seeks to follow Jesus Christ obediently.
“These young boys are hungry,” Brown said. “And they’ve whetted their appetite with junk food that has no nutrition. It just temporarily fills them up. But they keep coming back, longing for some protein. And Art has the protein. And although the world likens him to a common businessman, he has the most uncommon, most powerful ingredient that man is seeking desperately and he has the courage to go out and present that to people.”
In addition to discipling athletes, Lindsay also visits men in the People’s City Mission in Lincoln and he regularly meets with eight men who are in prison. And yet, his attitude continues to be clothed in humility.
“I marvel constantly that God has allowed so many great young men to impact my life,” Lindsay said. “They keep me young and challenged. I do not use even the same Bible portions with any of them — beyond the verses I start out with in Romans Road. I, of course, have to keep pace with each of them, which is a joy. But, I never feel that I am doing anything beyond what is expected of me. On the contrary, I am honored to be used at all.”
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