Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith by Joshua Cooley October 12, 2018

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:34 pm
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The Biggest Win gives athletes and sports fans of all ages a unique, insider’s look into the lives and faith of six Christian NFL players from the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl championship team: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos. Through the ups and downs of their experiences, Joshua shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God’s Word, genuine Christian discipleship, and sharing their faith. Using their voices and stories, The Biggest Win gives sports-minded readers hope and direction for living out their faith while competing.

The Biggest Win combines biblical truths with practical direction on issues that every Christian faces, including dealing with adversity, competition, change, success, failure, and how to thrive by faith in a pressurized world. Encouraging male and female athletes in any sport, The Biggest Win guides them in finding their ultimate identity in Christ, not their athletic achievements, and assures them that their greatest prize is eternal life.

My thoughts:

I love football (Michigan and Lions football mostly).

You might not guess that about me. I’ve been known yell at the t.v. and jump out of my seat when I am watching it.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. It was so encouraging to read about pro-football players that have a genuine faith in God. How they truly rely on Him.

I loved too, that this book could encourage any athlete and how God can use them in their team. I am thinking my daughter should read this, as she plays on her volleyball team. This give a great perspective on how you can play for the glory of God and not our own.

I don’t even think you have to love football to enjoy this book, but it might help 🙂

Visit Joshua here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me. All opinions are my own. 


Write to the Point with Jake Byrne July 29, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:41 pm
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jake byrneToday we get write to the point with Jake Byrne. I am sure his story will inspire you. His book sounds amazing, especially for the football fans in your life 🙂

Tell us about your newest book.

First and Goal, What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up, published by Harvest House Publishers. Just newly released.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.


Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You’ll discover…

  • what to do when God calls an audible in your life
  • how to respond when God puts you on special teams
  • why prayer is never an incomplete pass


These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God’s dream for you.first and goal

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Now that I’m no longer playing professional football, I’m working for Champion Management, a marketing firm in Dallas. I also got recently married to beautiful, supportive Christian woman, Emma. She’s amazing. And I’m starting a foundation – Type Won – to help kids with Type One Diabetes lead healthy, active lives.

Where did you get your book idea?

When I got diagnosed with Type One Diabetes as a teenager, I didn’t have mentors. I really struggled with managing diabetes while competing as an athlete. It took a lot of trial and error to excel in the sport of football. I learned a lot through those difficulties and went on to play football at the University of Wisconsin. Then, while in the NFL, playing for the San Diego Chargers, my mom called me.

She’s a Christian author and was planning to attend a writer’s conference. She suggested I write a devotional about my experiences with Type One Diabetes and my journey into the NFL. I had mentored kids with type one diabetes in college and agreed writing a devotional would be a great way to encourage youth to reach their goals in spite of obstacles. We put together a one-sheet and my mom pitched the book and Harvest House offered us a contract.

Do you outline or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer? OR HOW DID YOU WRITE FIRST AND GOAL, THEN?

I got together with my mom (the ghostwriter) through Skype or phone or in person and we put anecdotes of my life together in the form of short devotionals and added football terminology. We really enjoyed working on the project together and she even has one last devotional in the book called, Extra Point. Moms always get the last word, or extra point.


Are you working on a new project now?

While working full time and getting my foundation going, I’m pretty busy, but I’d like to write another book –  an informational, practical book based on my experieces with diabetes and geared toward helping those with diabetes stay healthy and active and succeed in life, whatever their goals.

Anything you would like to add?

Well, like in football, getting cut from a team is pretty commonplace. So is getting a few pages or words cut in the final edits in writing. Here’s an excerpt from First and Goal about being “cut” that we had to “cut” due to too many pages for the book. Though my devotional is aimed at the teen market, it’s really a book for all who need a little inspiration. In the end, in a fun and inspiring way, readers might learn some football terms to impress family and friends.

jake byrne collageCurl Route

On the curl route, the receiver runs hard downfield as if to run deep, and then—between 12 and 20 yards—he turns sharply and takes two steps back to face the football. The comeback route generally is run along the sideline. To work effectively, the quarterback usually throws the ball before the receiver turns. He throws to a spot where he expects the receiver to stop and turn.


Joining the New Orleans Saints my first year in the NFL, I survived rookie camp and regular camp only to get cut before the start of the season. I took the news like a deer lost in the glare of oncoming headlights.

I had worked hard and come a long way from OTAs (Organized Team Activities), learning a lot, but of course nowhere near the playing ability of seasoned veterans. At the end of camp, the Saints acquired a nine-year player and I was bumped out of my spot on the roster.

Moping at home in Arkansas with no job, I didn’t know what to do next. Had my NFL career, which started out with so much promise, ended so soon?

I hung in there for weeks, working out and traveling across the country in tiny airplane seats when teams called me for a tryout. I grew weary of hearing, “If someone gets hurt, we’ll call.” No one called. I wanted off the NFL roller coaster. After prayer and a long conversation with my dad, I called my agent and told him I was done with the NFL and returning to finish college.

Within an hour, he called me back. “The Texans have a spot for you. A tight end got injured.”

“But I quit the NFL—”

“No more tryouts. Just get to Texas and you’ll be on the practice squad.”

In the dying embers of my passion for football, a spark ignited. Why not? With only two games left in the season, if it didn’t work out, I could return to college, finish my last few classes, and return to job searching.

I flew to Houston and had a great end-of-season with the Texans. I was called into the office after the last game, where Rick Smith, the general manager, and Coach Gary Kubiak waited for me.

“We want you for next year,” Rick said.

Now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

Those few words from God in Isaiah are loaded with hope, promise, and love. They are God’s words, not only for me, Jacob, or for the Israelites, but for all of humanity.

The Bible is chock-full of comeback stories. Jesus, being crucified and coming back to life, of course, is the greatest story. Joseph’s experience in Genesis 30–50 is another amazing one. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and endured years of false imprisonment. At all times, Joseph maintained his integrity and faith.

Even while in prison, God had a plan for His servant’s future. Joseph became one of the most powerful figures in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. And in the end, when Joseph could have taken revenge on his brothers, he chose to forgive them, understanding that through the worst situations, God was preparing him for his destiny. If Moses, Joseph, and even someone like me can make a comeback, you can too.

Ultimately, even if we’ve made mistakes, God wants us back. He doesn’t abandon His children. He wants us reaching our goals and living our life to the fullest. If things aren’t going well or according to our plan, we might have to run fast, turn around, and take a couple steps forward, like the comeback play. When we turn to face God, He will be there to redeem us and bring us to the place where He needs us. He loves us enough to open the right doors at the right time—and occasionally close them at the right time too.

BIO: Jake Byrne has battled with type 1 diabetes since a young teen and has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, Jake has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger.


Jake blogs at

Facebook Page (Type Won):

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81


Thanks so much for sharing with my readers, Jake. Your story and devotional are sure to inspire many people. I pray God will use you in big ways 🙂





Life Intercepted February 28, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:41 am
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football 2I wrote this post after the 2010 Superbowl. Do you remember that game?

I am not a huge football fan, but I do understand a few basic things, thanks to my football coach husband. This past weekend (Feb. 7 2010) the Saints won the Superbowl.

Now, I will be honest, I went to bed before the fourth quarter, so I didn’t see this huge interception that locked the game for the Saints, but I understand that it was pretty exciting. People were on the edge of their seats.

Was Manning going to go for this long pass?  He did but the Saints intercepted the pass and took it for a touchdown.  Many, many people celebrated.

I had to ask myself, do we get that excited when we see God intercept in peoples lives? Do we jump up and down and just praise Him? Does the church really celebrate when we hear a marriage has been saved, a drug addict has walked away, an alchohalic has been set free?

I had shared with my church about my strained relationship with my sister. That I was praying that God would bring her home. He did atfter many months of praying. So I celebrated that one Sunday morning. I did not expect the church to get up and clap and they didn’t. But afterwards someone came up to me and said she felt like she wanted to clap, to celebrate that God had answered my prayers, but she felt she couldn’t.

My question is, if we can’t celebrate in our church God intercepting in lives where else can we?

Why is okay to yell and scream when your football team intercepts the ball but not when God intercepts a life? Why do we get angry and yell when our team looses the ball, but we don’t get angry at the Enemy when we see Him destroying marriages and taking away our children’s hope for the future?

Something’s wrong here, there is a disconnect in the church and we need to be celebrating more, not judging and saying, “well they should have not gotten themselves in that situation in the first place, they are just lucky they got their lives turned around.”

Prehaps that’s why people don’t come out and say, “I had an affair but God saved my marriage.” Would we automatically celebrate or would our first reaction be, “Can you believe she did that to him?”

Picture the ball that Manning threw but now think of that ball as the drug addict, the Enemy is in control of the that life and he thinks he has it, he is taking that life all the way down to the pits of despair.  He drops back and waits for the perfect moment, he sees one of his demons ready and willing to finish the job.  He throws that life and it goes whizzing down, down, down, all hope is lost, until, wait, what is this… a saint?  Where did this guy come from?

He leaps up out of no where and takes that life and tucks that life into his arms and he goes running.  The enemy is flustered, they try to chase him to stop him from taking that life all the way Home but they are no match for this saint. Before they know it the saint has taken that life and placed it in the Kings hands, a touchdown.  Another life is saved.

The church goes wild, they can’t believe it, but they celebrate and they can’t wait for it to happen again.

Is that me, is that you, is that us? We needed to celebrate each and every life that we see God intercept. Get on the edge of your sit, it’s going to be a good game.

Has God intercepted in your life recently. Care to share? We would love to celebrate with you.