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Former Seahawks player Shaun Alexander tells students to meet God’s standard

(Photo by Chase Gyles)

Former NFL running back and MVP Shaun Alexander delivered a message of inspiration to the Liberty University student body on Friday morning, imploring them to “tap in” to their identity in Christ, the standard they are called to, and the direction they should walk in as God’s chosen.

Alexander was a first round draft pick and played eight seasons in the NFL (2000-08), the majority with the Seattle Seahawks. His visit to Liberty was the latest in a long list of current or former professional athletes to speak at Convocation in recent years, including Tim Tebow, Michael Vick, Brett Favre, Ray Rice, Joe Theismann, Stephen Curry, and Simone Biles, among others.

Convocation remains the largest weekly gathering of Christian students in the world. The fall schedule officially kicked off on Aug. 24 with a special worship Convocation featuring guest singer-songwriter Micah Tyler. Upcoming guests include the 48th Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence (Sept. 14); Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, the first female Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth and the first Black female elected to statewide office (Oct. 5); and Christian media personality Priscilla Shirer (Oct. 14). (See the full schedule.)

Alexander began by sharing his remarkable football journey from being the No. 1 high school football player in the country to a record-setting running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Seahawks. Then he opened up about his troubled family history, encouraging students that God can use anyone, no matter their family’s past.

“If you go two generations (back) on my mom’s side, you have adultery, (and) you go two generations (back) on my dad’s side, and you have murder,” he said.

He said that as God’s children, we have been chosen by the Creator of the world and, referencing John 15:16, that we are chosen to bear fruit that honors Christ.

“I’m looking around the room and I’m seeing a bunch of people that were chosen,” he said. “God did it. He set the stage. He’s sovereign, and He knows exactly what’s going to happen, and he set you all in this room right now.”

Alexander did not grow up with a desire to read Scripture, but as a 10-year-old boy in church on Easter Sunday, he saw grown men become broken by the Gospel message, and something in him changed.

“The power of God was so strong in that room that Sunday,” he said, recalling leaning over to his mother to ask what was happening.

“She said, ‘Some people are going through things, some people are coming out of things, and some people are preparing for what’s going on right now — and they’ve realized the answer is Jesus.’”

That day, Alexander told the Lord he would follow in obedience to His calling on his life, and since then, he has seen the Lord’s hand over his life in powerful ways, especially through a vibrant prayer life.

(Photo by Matt Reynolds)

Alexander said his spiritual walk was strengthened when he was a freshman at Alabama and challenged by a member of the football staff to begin reading Scriptures. It was Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart,” that left him marveling. He was determined to live out that verse and delight in God’s promises.

Alexander, now a father of 12, shared how he has learned over the years that a father always gives his children an identity, always sets a standard, and always gives direction.

“God is speaking to His children,” he said. “He uses the Holy Spirit, and He uses other people to always whisper, ‘Here’s my laws, here’s how we do it.’”

He spoke on the importance of Christians holding one another accountable in the pursuit of holiness.

“Do we stir one another up to really love people, to get to know them and say, ‘Hey, I love you enough to not let you keep any of that dirt that’s on your face?’”

Alexander referenced Hebrews 10 and said that while it is a difficult passage to hear, it offers a stern warning to those who “deliberately keep on sinning” once they have encountered the Gospel.

“Where do we really want to go?” he asked. “How do we want this story to end?”

“A Father gives you the identity that you have; you are fearfully and wonderfully made,” Alexander added in closing. “Our God sets that standard for who you are and how to go live it out. Our God points you in the right direction. Let’s stir one another up for God’s good works.”

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