Barker speaks to Demopolis youth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker made his way to First Baptist Church in Demopolis to deliver a very special speech to local students. Barker spoke about growing up, accountability and how God helped him through the good and bad times.

Barker challenged the young people to live their lives for Christ, not glory on the playing field.

“I challenge you tonight to walk with Christ,” Barker said. “I look around this room and I see the football team is here tonight. I see people of all ages and I want to take this chance to impact you all.”

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Barker said he hoped a clear message would be heard, though not necessarily from him.

“It is not going to be the things that I say tonight that will impact you,” Barker said. “It is the things that are said through Christ. That will have the biggest impact of all.”

He later asked the students to take a close look at their definition of success. He said their definition of success and God’s could be two very different things.

“God views success as a relationship with him,” Barker said. “He views it as a relationship with him and being obedient to him.”

Barker also asked the students to define what a true champion should be. He said in order to be a true champion there was a very simple formula.

“In order to be a champion you have to realize that everything in your life has got to be Christ centered,” Barker said. “Everything in your life has got to be Christ centered. Everything you do has got to be centered around him.”

Barker said while being a football fan is a great experience, there is a higher calling than filling stadiums on Saturdays. Barker said when people begin to get as excited for Sunday service as they did for SEC football the world would see great changes.

“The same people who get out of bed at 5 a.m. and can’t wait to get to Bryant-Denny stadium or Jordan-Hare struggle to get out of bed to go to church,” Barker said. “They see football as a god. When we are finally tailgating outside church and so excited about the work the pastor is going to bring to us we will finally get it. We need to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We will see a lot of lives changed.”

Barker stressed life is a continual learning experience. He said as long as we live we should have the goal of building a strong relationship with Christ.

“I am still a work in progress,” Barker said. “I want my whole life to be so centered on Christ that I have a passion for Jesus stronger than I could ever feel about football. He deserves that.”

Barker also stressed the importance of humility. He said humility is one of the most important traits a person could exhibit.

“If you want to be champions of Christ you have got to have a hunger and spirit about him,” Barker said. “You have got to have humility. God loves a humble body. Humility is that one point in time in your life when you say I can’t do this on my own. It is when you recognize you need God and Jesus in your life.”