Athlete Profiles:

Jake Peavy

"Preach the Gospel-use words if necessary." This advice, often found on Christian T-shirts, describes the way Jake Peavy approaches Christianity. He does unashamedly use his words. "The most important thing in my life is Jesus Christ," he says. "I'm not ashamed to say it." But he places more emphasis on conduct than words. When you're involved in professional sports, you're a role model whether you like it or not, according to Peavy.

With talent and determination, Peavy has made it far in baseball. He knows that people are watching how he lives his life-from little kids to fans to teammates. This is why his passion for his faith is rooted in his deep caring for others. When he builds relationships with others and shows them the love God has shown him, he believes they become more receptive to his faith. They want to see what a Christian walk is all about.

Peavy shared his enthusiasm for baseball and the Lord by beginning a prayer time with some players before games and developing a heart for missions after a trip to the Dominican Republic. He is preaching the Gospel not only with his words, but with his life.

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Tim Tebow

As the current quarterbacks for the last two national championship teams, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow have taken center stage in two of the most intensely scrutinized college football programs in America. Even as sophomores, this concept is not lost on McCoy and Tebow. They know they are being watched. They also know that with the immediate access they have to so many people, the opportunities to be a model and a spokesperson for Jesus Christ are preeminent. "In some places it's not the cool thing to do or the popular thing to be and God is not No. 1," says McCoy.

Tebow and McCoy were both hatched from close-knit, deeply Christian upbringings that saw them come to faith at an early age. Tim Tebow's fater, Bob Tebow, heads the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which claims to be the conduit of close to 9 million people coming to faith in Christ in the last 8 years.

An NFL career is a goal for both of these young quarterbacks, but they are realistic enough to know there are no guarantees. McCoy looks forward to what God has in store. "God willing, I'd like to be in the NFL, but the important thing to do is His will."

Shaun Alexander

Whether Shaun Alexander spends his Sunday morning wearing a football jersey on a field or a suit in a pew, he's the same guy. "Shaun is a Christian 24/7," says close friend and teammate Mack Strong. "He's a great example. It's a testimony to him, to God."

Alexander has made a lasting name for himself in the NFL. The accomplishments and praises he's received are only dreams for many. He's not surprised by his success; he's always set lofty goals and worked hard. Now he's a household name, but he says, "This is no time to say, 'Look at me.'" That's because, for Alexander, it's not just about football. "I play football to make a difference in people's lives."

The difference he wants to make is a difference for Christ. He has a heart for providing hope, especially for youth, and giving to others as unto the Lord. That's the purpose of his foundation and the community center he started with his brother. "You can't outgive God," he says.

The best day in his life? Being valedictorian of his graduating class? Setting NFL records? Becoming 2005 MVP? No. "It was the first time I led someone to Christ," says Alexander. What else would we expect?

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