April 2011 - Brookings/SDSU FCA



April 2011 - Brookings/SDSU FCA
April 2011
Jackrabbit FCA Newsletter
Moving Fast
April has been a busy
month, with some of our
FCA regular weekly
events: FCA Huddle, individual discipleship/
mentoring with students,
bible studies, and having
students over for supper.
We were blessed to share
Easter dinner with a great
group of student athletes at
our home that weren’t able
to make it home that weekend.
Power verse of the Month:
“Do you not know
We were really excited to
have our SDSU FCA Huddle host it’s first “Rally”
with over 100 high schoolers and their leaders joining us for a night of FCA
on campus (photos on pg
3). After pizza from our
friends at Pizza Ranch we
enjoyed a night of games
then a panel of students
shared about Christ impacting their lives as student-athletes.
It’s been busy, but we love
being able to serve where
God has us!
On pg. 2 former Jackrabbit
Josh Ranek shares his story
in his words. Josh was a
Running Back for the
Jacks while I was a student
coach, he came back and
spoke to the team this season, he has a great story to
share, I’m sure it will inspire you. Thanks Josh for
sharing your story!
that the runners in
a stadium all race,
but only one
receives the prize?
Run in such a way
that you may win.”
1 Corinthians 9:24 (HCSB)
Using Your Platform—Jared “Benny” Ailts (Track/Cross Country)
Hometown: Yankton,
South Dakota
Family: Dad- Verlin,
Mom-Sharon, Older Sister- Lesleigh
Major: Biology and
Spanish with a specialization in Secondary Education
Best thing about
SDSU: Kind of a cliché
answer, but the people
here are tremendous.
The campus has a nice
Midwestern feel, meaning that I can walk
across campus and people will wave and smile
even though they have
no idea who I am. I feel
like it has a more homey
feel than other campuses of similar size
would. Oh, and the ice
cream isn't half bad either.
Favorite Scripture
Verse: Isaiah 55:8-11 -I
like this verse because it
really speaks to my
heart and has provided
comfort in times of
doubt. At times when I
get uptight wondering
about the uncertainty in
the future, remembering
it helps me take a step
back and realize that
God's plan will come
forth even though I may
not understand it now,
or ever understand it.
The verse has helped me
quell the doubt and fear
that comes with deciding
to live one's life for God
and consciously giving
Him control of it.
How Christ has impacted my life
through FCA: FCA has
benefited me as student
athlete because it provides a time in the middle of the week to help
me regain focus in the
midst of all the stresses
of life. Especially being
an athlete, I struggle to
balance academics and
sports, let alone everything else; so, i too easily push God to the side
until Sunday when I
have more time, but FCA
helps me bring my focus
back to God and not
compartmentalize my
life. Also, the other
members provide an
amazing support group.
Hebrews 12:1 says
"Therefore, since we
have so great a cloud of
witnesses surrounding
us, let us also lay aside
every encumbrance and
the sin which so easily
entangles us, and let us
run with endurance the
race that is set before
us." The members of
FCA provide that cloud
of witnesses and give
me the strength to continue throughout the
struggles of life.
Jared Ailts
Every platform is important in
God’s eyes. Make the most of yours.
“You’ve been entrusted with a unique
set of circumstances, relationships,
and opportunities. No one else stands
precisely where you do. Your day-today relationships elevate you to a
singular position of importance in the
lives of your family, friends, coworkers, teammates, and neighbors– the
people all around you. They believe in
you and derive value from your input.
No one else can have the same impact
in their lives.”
-Tony Dungy “The Mentor Leader”
Jackrabbit FCA Newsletter
Page 2
Inside Story
I remember going
to church with my
family as a young
boy, but as time
went by attending
services became
less and less, until it reached a
point where we
would only go on
Christmas and maybe
Easter. As I grew older,
I continued with Sunday
school classes and was
confirmed my senior
year of high school, but
I had zero knowledge of
who God was and a non
existent relationship
with Jesus.
I had an obvious void in
my life and human nature is to try and fill it
with something, for me it
was athletics; football,
wrestling, baseball, etc.
My main motivation was
to gain acceptance from
my parents, friends, and
girls. For the most part
it worked, or at least I
thought it did.
My parents were always
supportive, and still are,
and I always felt they
would accept me no
matter how I performed,
but I could see the attention from people outside
my family fluctuate
based on my performance level. This of
course made me work
harder to succeed, but it
also set me on a
dangerous path.
Now looking from
the outside, one
could say I had a
lot of success on
the field, and
make no mistake I
had a good upbringing
so I read to kids in
school, volunteered, and
did public appearances,
which are all good
things in themselves, but
if I am honest with you
my heart was not in it
100% of the time because there was something always missing.
During my senior year
of college I was having
a captain’s meeting with
my head coach. I remember it like it was
yesterday, we were visiting about some issues
on the team and he
started talking about his
faith and how it had affected his
life and I
looked him
in the eye
and said
that faith
and football
should be
kept separate, basically saying
that Christ
was no help to me on the
football field or in my
life. I did not know it at
the time, but I had hit
rock bottom with my
faith, or lack there of.
After college, I signed
with the Dallas Cowboys and thought I had
finally made it, until
about a month later
when I was cut. For the
first time in my life the
thing that I had chosen
to fill the void was gone
and I was lost. A few
weeks later, I found myself in the Canadian
Football League in Ottawa, Canada. After the
first practice, the team
chaplain introduced
himself and asked me
about my faith and staying true to form I blew
him off. Football was
in my life again so I
thought I was back on
track. After the first
week, I struggled because I was not gaining
the attention I accustomed to and for the first
time in my life I wanted
to quit.
God had a
different plan,
I was waiting
outside after
practice one
day for a ride
and one of my
invited me to
the team bible
study. I was a little
hesitant at first based on
my past experience, but
for some reason I went.
What I found was a
group of men discussing
real life experiences and
problems and using the
bible as a reference on
how to live their lives. I
continued to attend the
weekly studies and before the season ended, I
had found what was
missing in my life and
had committed my life to
Reflecting back on the
last eight years since
that day, it is awesome
to see the Lord at work
in my life. And even
before I committed my
life to Him I can clearly
see that God had been
pursuing me my entire
When I first became involved with Athletes in
Action I did a speaking
engagement to some
high school kids and I
felt as though I was not
being truthful because of
the wavering faith that I
had. Through the years
Christ brought me to a
place where I realized I
was a sinner, but He
could still use me for
His purpose and during
my last year of football,
I was able to humbly
share my testimony in
front of 3500 people at
the Grey Cup Breakfast.
What was even more
amazing was hearing
from the Athletes in
For even more pictures, video and other information on FCA at SDSU follow us on Facebook
Page 3
Jackrabbit FCA Newsletter
Action director that over
200 people had committed their lives to Christ
through this event.
Before I came to Christ,
I entered into most relationships with the
thought of “what am I
going to get out of this”.
As I continue my walk,
God has changed my
thinking to “what can I
offer this relationship”.
I have found this line of
thinking especially
helpful in my marriage.
Instead of merely living
each day under the same
roof, my wife and I are
sharing our lives together. I am learning to
subdue my own selfcenteredness and be the
leader of my family as
God has called me to be,
loving and communicating with my wife and
children in a way that is
I am far from perfect,
but if the Lord can take a
proud young studentathlete who thought he
had the world figured
out, and had no desire or
need for Christ in his life
and in just a short period of time transform
his heart and set him on
a path to impact His
people for the glory of
the Kingdom, He can do
it for anyone. All you
need to do is be willing
to open the door. I wake
each day with a simple
mission in mind, living
with Christ at the center
of my heart and my life,
allowing me to be victorious at home first and
then in the world.
Photos from our “Jackrabbit FCA Rally” 4/20/11:
Please support our business partners as a way of
saying “thanks” for their support of FCA.
Contact TJ for more information or questions about FCA
605.651.3592 or [email protected]
Page 4
Jackrabbit FCA Newsletter
A Big Thank You!
As we head into May we are excited to
begin fulltime serving the athletes and
coaches of SDSU and the Brookings-area
next month. We had a great month of fundraising, as we get closer to the goal of
being fully funded. We are humbled by all of
your support and want to thank you.
We are using Sport as a tool to impact
individuals for Jesus Christ, and to come
along side and bring help and hope into
people’s lives. Again, Sport is a tool, what’s
your tool? What do you do, or what are you
passionate about that you can use to make
a difference in the lives of those around
you? Use your cubical, your office, your
spot on the assembly line, your dorm room
Your support Makes a Difference!
or classroom. Make a difference with your
golfing buddies, your scrapbooking friends
or those you share you share a cup of
coffee with.
Your gifts are vital to what God is
doing through FCA at SDSU. Whether
it’s a one time gift or monthly
Thanks again for your financial gifts to our
ministry with FCA and for your prayers—
the doors God is opening -that are allowing
us to make a difference, are amazing!
All financial gifts to Jackrabbit FCA
should be sent to:
SD Fellowship of Christian Athletes
1601 E 69th Street, Suite 301
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Please add memo: “T.J. Carlson/FCA”
You can also make a gift (one time or
monthly) online at our website
Please pray along with us, as we strive to finish the race and finish strong in our fundraising goals by June 2011!
Jackrabbit FCA
306 Hickory Street
Brookings, SD 57006
Mailing Address Here

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