Breakfast talk audience
Breakfast talk audience

Dead Men, Walking…

Jerry Leachman’s message given at The Center Mens Breakfast at The Country Club of Birmingham, November 16, 2012.

Thank you, son. I appreciate it. Well, I may have to give him another lick. He said he’d keep his pothole shut, but that was a 25-minute introduction.

I always love to come back to Birmingham. This is my home. My ring tone on my phone, which just flips people in Washington is the famous Alabama song. My home’s in Alabama, no matter where I roam. I have a lot of old friends here, a lot of roots here. Just saw my junior high coach, Norman Green and Snoozy Jones, who a lot of you know, who coached me at Lanier. And both of them are still just building me up big time. They both said, you know, you were one of the best linebackers we ever coached. We still think you could start at Cloverdale Junior High at Lanier, except we’re going to have to move you to defensive tackle.

You know, I want to, I’m going to explain to you at the end of my talk, the other reason you think, why would you go to the South and speak when most of the places I go in California and the Midwest, I speak up in Oregon and Washington state, all the way over to Washington, DC. Two weeks ago, I was with businesspeople up in New York City. Why would you come to the South? They have, you know, they’re overrun with preachers and Christianity and churches and religion. We were talking about this up in Washington the other day, and you know, this guy said, I think the South and places like the South may be one of the great hopes left for America. I’ll tell you what I mean by that as I conclude the talk.

I do bring you greetings from Brit Hume. Brit came down here a few years ago, brought him down to speak at a prayer breakfast at the University. And he loved it. I don’t think he’d ever been to Alabama. He was a foreign correspondent before, but he just never came to Alabama. People laugh about Alabama and then they come here and want to stay. We watched the A & M game last week together. Holly and I teach, the Hume’s have an estate out in Middleburg, Virginia, and they have a place in Georgetown and so, we have a couples group we teach there in the evenings, and he said, come out at 3:30 and we’ll watch the game together. And boy, that first quarter, and, I threw one of his pillows across the living room, and he was looking at me like, where did that come from? I said, Brit, you think—you don’t know southerners. I said, I know I’m supposed to be your chaplain. A perfect spiritual example. I know I’m supposed to tell you nothing matters but Jesus. But I’m just going to have to be honest with you. This matters. I am not happy at all. And being a brilliant journalist, he flipped it and he says, that’s why we like you, Leachman. You got passion. You got passion.

I don’t think I’ve reported into you, since I was with you last time, I had the wackiest thing happen to me. I got a call from the athletic department at Alabama, and they said, we need a favor from you. I thought, what could I do for y’all?  They said that you’re the only letterman we know of in the DC area. Coach Saban won the Coach of the Year award by the Washington Pigskin Club. He said, that’s a 75-year-old sports organization. It’s kind of Washington’s version of New York’s Athletic Club. And we’re wondering if you’d accept the Coach of the Year award on his behalf. And I’m like, “shut up!” I mean, where’s Kenny Stabler when you need him? I wasn’t a star. I was just glad they gave me some somewhere to sleep and something to eat down there. And, they said, no, we’re serious. It’s a black-tie event. He ain’t coming. He’s at Pebble Beach with Belichick playing in the Pro Am. I said, okay. And they said, well, take Holly. And so, we went down to the Capitol Hilton on 16th Street by the Russian Embassy. And I tell you, my heart started just filling up with all kinds of false pride. And I told Holly, I said, you know, when they give me that award, if nobody takes it from me, I’m taking it home and putting it up in my office.

And so, I had an early morning men’s group, and so, they had all the big recruits, all the Redskins’ front office was there, a lot of Redskins players. Every sports celebrity in Washington DC was there. And I looked at the program and I was last, and I thought, I can’t go last. I’ve got to get up early in the morning and teach a bunch of guys. And I thought, wait a minute. I’m the coach of the year. I’ve got power. So, I went up to the head of the thing, said, I need to go first. She said, no problem, Coach. They’re calling me Coach now, by the way. And so, I got up there and Coach Saban’s office, he’s a very organized, controlled guy, and as you could guess, sent me exactly what to just say. And I read it and it was pretty good, pretty gracious, but just wasn’t very funny. And you can’t be in anything I do and not laugh. And so, I put a couple of my jokes at the front and what I thought was a way cool little story at the end and read it. And they loved it. They were dying laughing, got a huge ovation at the end. And then, then I just completely thought, man, this, this is what I was born to be, right now, Coach of the Year.

They gave me the award and The Washington Press took my picture and then my heart just kept getting bigger and bigger and more prideful and prideful. I think my wife was looking at, you know how women, she’s doing this like that, you fool. And then a guy took it back away from me and I looked up, he was like an NFL tackle or something, so, I let him have it and I was going to milk it to the last thing and I was walking off doing this. The people, I had no idea who they were, good to see you. How are you doing? And I was walking off the stage like that. My left foot went six inches off the back of the stage. And I went down off the stage behind it. The crowd was like, ooowwww, like that, and I, it was dark, I couldn’t get up and then that NFL tackle guy looked at me, can I do something for you? I said, yeah, get me out of here. I’m big. He just picked me up like that, put me down. And I’m like, I’m good. Roll Tide. You know? And I looked at my wife and said, Let’s get out of here. You know?

And then, and Coach Bryant has almost been deified. I mean, he was a great man, but I mean, man, the way people, but it’s, it still amazes me. And Northerners don’t get this either. You know, your old coaches, I can’t call my coaches. I still call my coaches, coaches. I got a call, this was like a Mafia event two weeks ago from the sweetest gal from Alabama. And she said, Mr. Leachman, my name is Alyssa. And it turns out she was the homecoming queen this year, but I didn’t know she was. She said, we’d like for you and Mrs. Leachman to come down and speak to students at Alabama the Wednesday before you go to Richard Simmons’ event in Birmingham. I said, well, Alyssa, we kind of book up a year in advance. Can we just do it next spring? And she said, that’d be fine. That’d be great. I said, Thank you. Pretty quick conversation. Very cordial. She was unbelievably polite. I go, well, that’s it. I’ll go down there, and we’ll speak to kids next spring. The next day I get a call from the athletic department and one of Mal’s assistants on there with this somber serious voice, like somebody had just died. He said, Jerry, this is Coach Moore’s office. I go, hey. He said, you don’t know who that girl was that called you yesterday, but she’s very humble. She’s our homecoming queen. And that is Coach Bryant’s great-granddaughter. Okay, now I’m sitting like this at my desk. Here’s where the Mafia part came in. He said, you told her you couldn’t come down to Alabama. Some of Coach Bryant’s closest friends have called in and they said they would appreciate it very much if you could work this into your schedule. And I thought, my gosh, it’s Don Corleone from New York. And immediately I’m a kid again. I’m going, work it out, are you kidding? Thank you. Yeah, I’m there. You know, hung up. What loser was scheduled for Wednesday? He’s out. You know. Richard always worries that I’m not going to—I’ll mention the Lord in a little while. Don’t worry about it.

I do have one other item before I get into our material for today, men, our coaching session. Like, you know me, I’m not a theologian, I’m not a preacher. I’m a born coach. And I basically coach people up and try to light their rear end on fire and send them out the door and tell them to hit something. No joke. But I do want to give you an inside scoop because I’m in touch with all the journalists in Washington. And they tell me things before they hit the news. You can watch for this. And either tonight, so, tomorrow’s news, some of my friends I have in groups with the CIA in Langley, Virginia, informed me the other day that at the time the Navy Seals invaded Bin Laden’s compound, we now know Bin Laden had been in that compound for five years without leaving and when he was discovered, he was in that compound with five wives; hadn’t left the compound for five years. They are now sure that Bin Laden called in the Navy Seals himself.

That’s terrible for a minister to tell something like that, isn’t it? But I don’t care who you are. That’s funny right there. Let me have a brief prayer for you. And then I want to tell you something.

Lord, I pray for these men today. You know them, you know the name of every star in the Universe and wherever they are in their journey, in the game of life, I pray you’d meet them today. Encourage them along, convict us. I don’t like being around speakers or churches where I don’t feel some conviction, because I know I have a long way to go. I want to get better. And I pray you’d just put a fire in these guys’ hearts that they’d want to just keep pushing forward. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Well, I was, Brit and I were talking about this election. Now, why did Romney not win the election? I jotted down some of the things that we were talking about. He didn’t really run that great of a campaign. He ran on the economy. And all this is not criticism, it’s just an observation. Ran on the economy and then thought they could just coast across the finish line.  The Democrats had a really good ground game. They got their people out. We didn’t; the Republicans didn’t. I shouldn’t say “we”. A ground game is where you just go to door to door, and you drive people to polls. It’s what I call hand to hand combat—fixed bayonets. You know, the funny thing, Christendom has not had a very good ground game and I believe, Brit and I were discussing this, it’s why the Christian influence, people who say they believe the biblical world and life view, lost their influence in the culture. We went to an air game, that’s Radio and TV.

Study after study after study says that the people that come to Christ and stick were guided along by friends. The guy you play golf with, the guy in the office, the guy you went to school with, your neighbor, it’s always hand to hand combat. And it’s always one soldier at a time that’s recruited into God’s army. And it’s all volunteer. You don’t get drafted. The studies, believe it or not, for the amount of money poured into all the prosperity people on TV and the self-help preachers on TV, the actual results, the net results, are just paltry, tiny. The work gets done by just average people who care, average people who are available.

The other thing we were discussing is how a lot of these older, wealthy guys—nothing against being older and wealthy, but they’re not fluent in the issues of the younger folks and of the demographics. For example, a guy that could probably have a good chance as it stands now in four years would be Marco Rubio from Florida; he speaks Spanish and he’s younger and he’s fluent.

You can brief an older guy what younger people are thinking, he can talk about it, but he’s not fluent. It would be like if I studied Spanish for three years and I went to Spain to negotiate with your company and tried to do the negotiations in Spanish, I might get through it, but you would quickly recognize that my level of Spanish was like second grade level. Not fluent.

And then the last reason, God. Now, this is the thing that we have had it so good for so long in America. I want to make a few comments on this and then I want to give you a few observations from the men that I meet with, but I’m going to tell you, our groups are like sold out in Washington now. Chaplain of the High-Tech Prayer breakfast. The Hilton Ballroom seats 900; they turn people away. I’m chairman of the chaplain of the Real Estate Prayer Breakfast in Washington. And it’s just because of my association with the National Football League and the Redskins. They want to make you the chaplain of everything because I can get away with it, because I’ve been associated with the National Football League. If I was a Baptist preacher, he could say the exact same thing and they go, shut up, get out of here. We don’t like you. I talk about Christ, and they listen. This guy knows something. It’s a double standard. I know that, but I just ride the wave. But I’m telling you, they’re all sold out. There’s not another seat in the ballroom. I used to spend a lot of time motivating the audience. This is why this is important. This is why you need to listen; I don’t even do it anymore.

I’m a veteran. I can see it in their faces. And they’re like, if you have anything important to say, we’re listening.

You know, this is a different moment. Many people are wondering, have I seen the America I have known fundamentally change before my eyes? And maybe it’s never coming back. But I want to tell you, I’m going to talk about the remnant today because in the Bible and all the way through the Bible, it’s the remnant that always saves the city. And I want you to wonder, are you part of that remnant or are you just one more scared guy filling up with anxiety, bluffing your way through the world, trying to pretend to be brave, but you’re really not.

Now, I give more of Richard’s books out. Boy, if I could have set beside Richard in high school, I would’ve gone to Harvard probably, but I got caught cheating. I wrote on one of my tests, I don’t know either. And they nailed me. And that’s not even a joke. I like Richard’s book so much, as many of you know, I wrote the forward. Richard asked me to. It’s heartbreaking to see men waste their entire lives trying to convince other people they’re someone they’re not. This is why men’s souls do not grow mighty in spirit and courage. They spend their existence covering up, living in fear that they’ll one day be discovered as the fraud they really are. There’s a voice deep inside that keeps telling them, in spite of all the ornaments they collect in life, they’re still not okay. The results are a lifelong filled with tension, guilt, shame, and anxiety. It’s always been understood that in times of crisis, God expects His men to be the brave ones that others can count on. Well, we’re in crisis. Where are all the brave men? I want to say a few things about what I think the position of our country has been because you need a correct diagnosis, and then I want to say a few things about bravery and courage if you think you may want to be part of that remnant.

Now, you may be thinking about just giving up, living the rest of your life in fear, cursing the darkness, cursing the politicians and leaders you don’t like. Well, you can either spend the rest of your ride down here cursing the darkness, or you could be proclaiming the light. I’m going to proclaim the light. You know, I always tell the men different books I quote from. A lot of them are wanting to build their own libraries and add things. This is a fellow named Erwin Lutzer, used to be the pastor of the Moody Bible Church. These old-time pastors were scholars. They weren’t just topical speakers. He wrote a book, Is God on America’s Side? President Reagan said, it’s not so much is God on our side. What’s the real question? Are we on His side?

Let me read a couple of comments by Pastor Lutzer, that’s L U T Z E R.

“So, after 9-11 (nine eleven), to borrow the phrase from R.C. Sproul, God was allowed off the reservation. A few months, He was allowed off the reservation to fulfill His responsibility to bless us.”

This is the American Christian and Evangelical Christian; certainly, a lot of the clowns on TV, this is their viewpoint. God’s job is to rescue us and to bless us. That’s it.

Now I’m going to tell you the first thing I see. All this prosperity crap, all this self-help crap. It is not going to help you or me or our country with what’s about to come down the track. Living where I live and the people I talk to, I almost get more information than I can bear sometimes. It’s time for Big Boy Christianity. This is big boy football now. And you’re either going to have to decide, I’m going to be a man and I’m going to take this stuff seriously or go ahead and drop out. I never worry about offending a guy like you because you’re not going to do anything anyway. I’m 62 and I only have so many years left. I want to spend most of my time coaching guys up that want to be players, that want to have Big Boy Christianity in their life, because those are the only guys, those are the only guys that are going to matter, I think, from here on in. He says:

“Once the nation felt secure again after 9-11, God was safely tucked away. Church attendance declined and so called the wall of separation of church and state was built a notch higher. God is even less welcome now in the affairs of our public life than He was before 9-11. Recently I read about a girl who was wearing a chastity bracelet in school, signifying her intention to be a virgin until she marries. It was banned from the school because it was deemed religious. God is constantly banished from science, economics, history, education and government. The role of religion we’re told is to bless the soul but not interfere with the lifestyle or public policy. Clearly, God who was briefly allowed to reenter the American public life was not the God of the Bible. He was not the God of our civil religion. This God described by R.C. Sproul as a certain kind of being, He’s a deity without sovereignty, without wrath, without judgment. During the months following 9-11, God was expected to put His approval on the American way of life without expecting us to repent of our sins. He was briefly allowed into our public life only to give us benefits, but not judge us for our sins. God who was allowed off the reservation was a God who was only allowed to bless us. But listen to the words of God through Moses if you want to know the biblical God. ‘See I’m setting before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if you obey my commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.’ (Deuteronomy 11:26-28) So, there it is: God gave Israel a choice of either being blessed or being cursed.”

When’s the last time you heard a sermon on curses? You know, I’ve been studying curses. The Bible mentions the word blessing over 400 times, but it mentions curses over 200 times. I had traveled to seven countries with Chuck Colson. Chuck Colson, as you know, went home to be with the Lord. I had the honor of speaking with Chuck Colson at the Scottish Prayer Breakfast one year in Edinburgh. And we used to talk about this, and he was convinced that if our country didn’t repent and the Christians didn’t have a revival, and I said, that’s interesting. I think what we need to have first is a revival among the ministers in this country. I think we have to have a revival among the people who name the name of Christ in this country, and I think we have to take some responsibility. Our family motto is, winners take responsibility, losers blame others. And I’m around all these people that say they’re Christians and they keep pointing at all the bad guys. But the Bible says judgment starts in the house of God first. We had incredible influence in this country, and we lost it because we turned our hearts to idols. All of us, me included.

You know, if you turn your heart to idols, you will live a life of fear and anxiety. I jotted down some notes last night on just the people I counsel, not stuff out of a book because I believe God put the man in the White House this time, He wanted but for his Gospel purposes. You know, we’ve worked long and hard trying to make Jesus Christ our personal assistant, to keep the stock market up, to keep me happy. We pray for parking places and stuff like that. The prosperity people say God wants you all to be rich. Let me just tell you, I just returned from Africa. I was over there with a group training pastors; went way out into the bush, into the jungle to visit one of my favorite pastors that I gotten to know there. Hs name was Enoch. I said, Enoch, you’re number seven. What? I said, Enoch was the seventh man listed in the Bible. You’re in the top 10. He’s like, alright. He showed me his land. He said, my father gave me this land. My father was killed by an EME. He had 60 little children in a school. Many of them had never seen a white person. Some of the kids ran up and started rubbing my hand like that. I said, what are they doing? He said, they’ve never been around a white person. They want to see if that white stuff comes off of you onto them. And I was hugging and loving on these kids. We were going to have dinner with Enoch.  My son Josh, many of you know, was with us. We went up to his property and he said, I want to build a church right here one day. Now Enoch lives in a little house they made their self, no electricity, no running water. He said, would you pray a prayer? Bless my family and bless our land. Africans are so connected with the soil, and we got on our knees on the African soil. And I did my best to pray down heaven for Enoch and his family. And then it was his turn to pray. This man, who had seen his father slaughtered before his eyes, lives in a house with a dirt floor, no electricity, no running water. And he said, Oh God, could you please remember the less fortunate? Now when he said, could you please remember the less fortunate, I remember, my eyes cut over to Josh and his eyes cut over to me. Like, excuse me, where would we meet these people? And I thought, you know, why don’t they come to our country and tell us what Jesus is really all about? He’s all in for the Gospel. He’s all in for the Gospel.

Now here’s the first thing I want to mention. If you don’t believe, these are the most fearful men I’ve I worked with. If you don’t believe in the omnipresence of God, you will go through your life with fear and anxiety. You’ll actually be paranoid. You’ll have a paranoia. Here’s a little notebook. I was just counseling a guy. And a lot of the guys that are addicted to pornography, who are trying to run around on their wives, they’re cheating in business, I always ask them this question; do you believe in the omnipresence of God? And they’ll go, yes. I go, no, you don’t. You don’t. You just say you do.

I wrote down when I was talking to one man recently, If the omnipresence of God does not affect every area of your life, even your thought life in Revelations, it says the books will be opened. What books? Well, there’s a book of life, but there are others. And one of them records everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever said, and everything you’ve ever thought and felt. How about that? If the omnipresence of God does not affect every area of your life, even your thought life, as well as actions and speech, then you are either a deist, an atheist, or a humanist. Get out of denial. That’s who you are. Most men confess to me, I’m most tempted to look at something on the computer I’m not supposed to when I’m in the house or the office alone. You’re never alone. And you know, the fact is, if you are alone, then nothing matters. You don’t matter. Nothing you say matters. Nothing you do ultimately matters. If we’re alone, nothing matters.

The other thing I had is idols. The different idols that we worship. I’m always telling my men, stop putting your faith in things that can and will be taken away from you. God’s promise, there’ll be a whole lot of shaking going on. Whatever can be shaken will be shaken. The fear of people, a lot of the men I work with have an unbelievable fear of people, but they’re sophisticated. They know how to dress and present themselves. But the reason they fear people is they want something from them. Either their stuff, their Rolodex, their network. I tell you this, and I’ve told you this before, if you want to have influence with people, stop wanting what they have, and you’ll be in line in their life all by yourself. You’ll be the one guy that’s there to give, and then, go it alone. Most men, truth be told, when trouble hits their life, they’re alone and they’re unprepared. They have acquaintances but no real friends.

One of the lessons Coach Gibbs used to have me give to coaches over and over again the year when we won only four games, and these guys kept falling into fear and anxiety and despair, was the lesson of Chronicles. Jehoshaphat was the king and his recon, his intelligence, came and said, there’s a force coming up against us that’s so overwhelming, we don’t even have a plan to confront it. A lot of people feel that way today. And it said his first instinct was to fear, in the sentence it said, and Jehoshaphat feared, and then it says, and then he set himself to seek the Lord. His volitional will, his discipline. He began to seek the Lord. And I have almost memorized the prayer. He prayed, he gathered up every man, woman, and child at the temple and basically said, God, we’re all in. You can rescue us. That’d be great, but if you don’t, we’re all in. We’ll be right here in front of this house with your name on it. We don’t even have a plan, but our eyes are on You. And in that prayer, he says, God, You’re not only the God of Israel, are You not the God of all nations? And this is what we forget, God’s the God of the good guys and the bad guys. Do you understand that? He’s the one that puts leaders in, and he’ll take them out. Babylon fell in one day. If you’re feeling hopeless, I’m telling you, it could turn in one day. God can turn everything in one day.

But I believe with all my heart, He’s waiting on me and you to put down our idols, stop being fearful you’re going to lose your money, because I’m going to tell you, money is like manna. God gave them in the desert money, but it was only good for a day and if you tried to hoard it, it went sour. Now, if you’re somebody who hoards your money, your life probably has no meaning whatsoever. And if your life has no ultimate purpose, no ultimate meaning, I’ll tell you what, you’re just fidgeting. You’re just fidgeting around until the day you die.

Now, there is a remnant out there, I promise you. I just met with a group of generals in the Pentagon. We didn’t talk about anything military. We talked about Jesus Christ, the Gospel train. Which way was it headed? And how do we get on? We all huddled up like a football team, in this general’s office and we all prayed to Jesus Christ, guide our sword, show us the way. I’m telling you, there’s some guys all in. They’re inspirational. You know, an executive likes to have as many options at his command as disposable; that he’s disposed as many options as possible, but when you only have one option, it gets down to this. It’ll be either be your worst hour or your finest hour. Now, I think I’ve told you this story about Tony Snow, but I want to tell you again in coaching, if you don’t repeat, you’re not coaching.

Run it again. Run it again. When Tony was dying of cancer, he called me down to the West Wing of the White House and said, Give me a lesson. I’m so hungry to hear God’s Word. Put all of his staff outside. I was teaching him a lesson from the Bible. He doubled over with pain with his intestines. And I just froze. And he looked at me with one eye and he said, why? Why’d you stop teaching? I said, well, Tony, you kind of got pain here. He said, I want to hear God’s Word. I said, Tony, I’m going to give you a word from God and please don’t think I’m mocking you in your suffering. God may take you out, Tony, God may heal you. I don’t know. He had three kids and a wife he loved terribly. And I said, but I’ll tell you this, if you will praise God, even in your suffering, the Bible says, God inhabits the praise of his saints. He will come near to you. It’s like a miracle and it works every time. And Tony sat there doubled over with pain. I said, I’m going to go get the Secret Service in a minute to take you to Georgetown Hospital. But Tony began to praise the Lord. God, even though I may die, even though I’m in pain, You’re with me. I’m never alone. You suffered and You never complained. When You reached up to God on the cross, all you got was air. Jesus said, I call you my friends. Lord, You’re my friend. It was unbelievable. I just sat there and wept, listened to this man who I thought was probably dying in front of my eyes, praise God.

He called me a week later was out in Colorado and I saw his name on the phone. I said, What’s up? He said, I’m up in Kennebunkport with Putin and the President. They’re just talking too long. I can’t, I don’t even know what they’re talking about. I had to get some fresh air. He said, Leachman, I know as a chaplain, people all bring you their garbage, but that praise God thing, it works. It works.

Most men are alone when trouble hits their life. You know, Jesus, one of the last things He taught his disciples, He said, I call you my friends. Now, this is awesome. We keep screwing up the Gospel. We keep making it religious. It’s all about friendship. And Jesus said, I’ve cut you in on how I feel. I cut you in on what I’m thinking. I call you my friends. You know, at the cross God said, I’ll tell you what, if you want to get out of this, you have to give up your friends. But if you want to keep your friends, you’re going to have to go to that cross. And Jesus said, I’ll keep my friends. That’s why I’m never ashamed of Christ, never ashamed of Christ. He comes all the way down here from glory and offers me the right hand of His fellowship. And it’s about friendship.

You know, when you, you have four levels of friends. The first one is just an acquaintance.  An acquaintance I knew in college was Miss Purdy. She was the food lady. That’s all I knew about her. And she had the power to determine how much food went on your plate. Loved Miss Purdy. She walked like a goose. But I told her she was beautiful every day. That’s all I knew about her. She just put the food on my plate. The second level of friendship is a team member. You don’t necessarily choose who you’re on a team with. Colleagues at work, a ball club, a military group. You’re on a team. That’s a notch higher than an acquaintance because you’re going through something together. The third, that’s a social friend. These are people you agree with your discretionary time to spend time with. But the fourth, this is an inner circle friend, a level four friend. This is a friend that has access to your heart, how you feel, what you think, and you have access to theirs. Now with level four friends, you’ll have starters that are your inner circle, and you will have franchise player friends in level four. They can never be traded. Never. They will lay down their life for you. I have three men on speed dial, and I’ve told all three, you’re on speed dial, the first letter of your name. If I’m pinned under a car, I’m just going to, I’m going to grab my phone, and punch it and you’ll come running.

I read a story about these two guys that were franchise player friends in World War I with the trench warfare. And they were out on the sortie, all the barbed wire, they were both headed back to, under heavy machine gun fire, headed back to their trench. And one of the men was shot. The other guy jumped in the trench and went up and down and asked him where his franchise player friend was. They said he is hanging on that barbed wire, three rows over. He heads out of the ditch to go get his friend. His lieutenant said, don’t go out there, he’ll die, and you’ll get killed. He went anyway. He eventually came back to the ditch with his friend on his shoulder. Right before he got in, he got nailed with a bullet. They both fell in the ditch. He eventually died in his lieutenant’s arms with his lieutenant saying, I told you not to go out there. What a waste. He said it wasn’t a waste. He said, my friend was still alive when I got to him. And you know what he said? I knew you’d come.

I have friends like that. Do you? Most men I know have no level four friends. That’s the God’s truth. No level four friends. And it’s the most powerful thing. It’s what Jesus was trying to tell us. I call you My friends, now boys, lay your life down for each other and you be that kind of friend to each other. It’s powerful. The Bible says if one can chase 1,00, two can chase 10,000.

I want you to think about do you have any level four friends? And within that, do you have franchise player friends? Now, if you do later today, you need to get an appointment with him sometime and sit down and go, boys, what’s this going to look like? And talk it over.

I want to show you the power in friendship. There’s a movie called We Were Young and Soldiers. And when I saw this, I was just ready to join up. You see, if Mel Gibson in this speech illustrates that principle of laying your life down for your brothers. Is the thing cued up, boys? Okay, well, we’ll forget that. Mel Gibson gives a famous speech. You’ve heard it and basically it says—we’ll just bag it, or can you get it going? Okay? First and goal from the five. Right? It’s not plugged in. This is how my week’s gone. Everybody I pull for and vote for loses. I’m 0 for the week.

Let me keep going though because I only have about 12 minutes left. I will tell you this. If you want to stop living a life of fear, go ahead and die. I have a lot of Special Ops Delta Force guys, Navy Seals in my groups. A guy told me the other day, he said, you know how we prepare mentally and emotionally before we go on a mission. I’m going to skip that thing, okay? And we’ll just go to the last images. He said, we go ahead, and we prepare mentally and emotionally that we have already given our life for this mission. And when we get on the mission, we make no fear-based decisions. Now I tell you, this works. The things I’m supposed to care about. I’ve worked hard, I’ve gone ahead and died. I’m already a dead man walking on behalf of my family, my children, and my grandchildren, and my level four friends. I’m a dead man walking. They already have my life. When that moment comes, there’s no decision for me to make. Jesus Christ is a franchise player friend of mine. He has my life. And that’s one reason I don’t fear people. Oh, you’re bragging. I’m not. I don’t fear people because I’m dead.

I’ll tell you how this works. The other night, three o’clock in the morning, Holly woke me up in DC where they’ll kill you. She said, somebody’s in our living room. Immediately I jumped out of bed, sprinted down the hallway and socked feet slid into the living room. There was nobody there. And I gotta confess, I was disappointed. Isn’t that a great way to live? But you’ll never do it. Now the Bible calls this death to self. I don’t make fear-based decisions. I just concentrate on dying to self.

The other thing, the power of this of level four friendship like in Christ, you know, a Navy Seal told me recently, he said you start out with 250 and then they get it down to 50 and the 250 are total studs. Then they’ll put 50 in chilly water in a life vest. And they go first 25 out, you’re done. Last 25 in, you go to the next level. They did a study on the last 25 in to see if there was a trend line. You know what it was? Every one of them had people in their lives that they would absolutely be mortified to go face them and said, I quit. I got out of the water. That’s the power. Now, all my level four friends, including my wife, my children, and now my grandchildren, the men I have on speed dial that I have a covenant relationship with, I would literally die in the water. I would rather die in the water than get out and have to go look them in the eye and say, I quit. It’s because I’m a dead man walking. Now that’s no brag. I’m just coaching you up. I’m just telling you, this is Big Boy Christianity. And it’s right there in the Bible again and again, isn’t it? Christ said, he who finds his life will what? Lose it. But if you lose your life, you’ll find it and you’ll stop living a life of fear and anxiety and making fear-based decisions.

Stop whining over trying to hold onto your money. Stop it. Stop being a baby. Sucking your thumb over this election. Jesus Christ is into the Gospel. Nicodemus was a very wealthy man. He came to Him, and Christ interrupted him and said, you must be born again. You must be born again, Nicodemus or you can’t even see the kingdom of God. I don’t care if you have a PhD in theology or not. Then he goes to the woman at the well. She’s the other end of Nicodemus. She’s a nobody. The town slut. Probably a recovering psycho as far as we know, into serial marriage. If some of you have been married three times, well, you can feel better about that. She’s got you beat by a lot. And Christ engages her and leads her to Himself, gives her living water. And He said, if you knew who it was who offered you this water, if you knew who it was that offered this water and this friendship to you, you’d ask Me for it.

I want to show you something as we get near the finish line today. Do we have the image of the Hubble telescope? You know, this has built my faith up as much as anything that’s happened in recent years. The Hubble Telescope. You know the Isaiah 40, Isaiah says, to whom will you compare me, to who is my equal? Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army of incomparable strength. Not a single one is missing. Isaiah chapter 40. Isaiah recorded what appears to be a divine invitation to mankind to look up, inviting man to search the stars, to find anyone equal in power.

Since Galileo, man has embarked on a bold quest, spending billions of dollars, devoting hundreds of millions of man hours in a race to the stars that has now culminated in the invention of the Hubble telescope. For the past two decades, the Hubble has recorded the unfolding awe-inspiring universe.

Interesting, when Isaiah pinned those words, he didn’t even have a telescope. How did he know? The Hubble, in recent years, has discovered powerful galaxies like this, the sombrero galaxy. There it is. We didn’t even know that thing was out there before the Hubble. This is the now famous sombrero galaxy. I hope you can see it. Google it when you get back to your office or something like that. Let me just take a moment to tell you about this galaxy. The sombrero galaxy is made up of 800 billion stars. Now that right there is so far beyond us, we can’t even begin to comprehend this galaxy. 800 billion stars. Now keep listening.

As a culmination of Man’s 400-year quest, NASA’s hub and other telescopes around the world have discovered that the known universe is made up of over 125 billion galaxies.

Let me just say that again. If you think you have a high IQ. This one galaxy has 800 billion stars. Now, all the scientists all over the world, no debate about it. It’s not controversial, just in the known universe, and they think there’s much more out there, there’s 125 billion of those. This is unimaginable power.

You read Hebrews, you read Colossians, and you read John and it says what most Christians who’ve been in churches their whole lives, they’re completely ignorant of. It’s, do you know who it says created that? Jesus. Jesus creates this. This is unimaginable energy and power, and He comes down here and offers us friendship. We just screw around with it. Are you serious?

I was playing golf with a guy recently and he misses a four-foot putt. “God damn.” I said, really? And I don’t mean from a religious sense, I just mean from a, from an intelligent. Are you serious? Do you know? You don’t even know who you’re talking about, dude. He starts apologizing to me. I said, don’t apologize to me. I’m not a religious guy. But you, if you’re going to say the name Jesus, you’re dealing with some power, and He comes down here and He humbles himself and says, I want to be friends. I’m laying my life down for you boys, and I want you boys to be the same kind of friends I am to you. And you lay your life down for each other. Now, if you got guys like that around you, come hell or high water, you’ll stop whining about what’s going in the world. You will not be afraid. You will be part of the remnant. He meets that woman at the well said, if you knew who it was talking to, you’d ask me for this gift. She comes to Christ and in 30 minutes she goes back and leads her entire village to Jesus. How much of the Bible did she know? But she’d met Christ.

Guys, it’s not ability. It’s availability. Some people are part of what God’s doing. Some people just sit around and watch, and other people have no clue what’s happening. Which kind of man are you? And I will tell you this, and this is not condemning, it’s convicting. If you haven’t been sharing your faith and pointing people towards this for the last 30 years or depending on how old you are, just shut up. Now, don’t worry. If you say you’ll never come back here, fine, I’ll still be friends with Richard because we need a Holy Ghost revival in this country. Politics isn’t going to get us out of anything. We need a great awakening. Right after the revolution, many people don’t understand this, the country was worse than it is today. Alcoholism was higher. This we right after we won the Revolutionary War. Illegitimate births were higher, and only 10% of American people identified themself with any church affiliation whatsoever. It was the wild west. And then we had a revival with the Wesley Brothers and Whitfield. Ben Franklin even became a supporter of Whitfield. He was mesmerized by him. He never made a profession of faith, but he sent him a check. And this is what we’re going to have to have. And God will send it if we have a faithful remnant, I’m telling you, we really have to choose from here on in. All the free stuff is gone.

You know, I shared this with about 300 men up in Washington recently, and I’ve been getting so many calls and emails. They said, Leachman, I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem. I’ve been sharing Christ with everything that breathes.

I want to close with the story for you. You know, I used to organize mission trips to Russia, and we’d get medical teams, and I knew the guy that headed up MD Anderson. He was in one of my groups. And I said, hey, we need some free medicine. He said, well, we buy a hundred million dollars of medicine a year. I think our vendors would be up for giving us a donation of free medicine. And we were over in Russia, we were working in prisons, we were working with children. Well one of the surgeons was like a million dollar a year surgeon, you know, great guy. But he loved Christ. He wasn’t an idol worshiper. Loved giving money to different things. And we went out there to see a football game or something and he said, you know, one of my nurses has heard all our stories about these mission trips. She lives kind of out there, but she’d like for you to come and speak in their little church on Sunday. They’ve never had a missionary that went to Russia before. I said, that’d be an honor. My son Josh was with me. Well, we got in this guy’s truck. We started driving to her church in Arkansas. And I thought of what Lou Holt said. He said, you know, Arkansas is not the end of the world, but you can see it from there.  Alabama looked like New York City compared to Arkansas. We came upon this little church. I mean, the only stuff I saw were those chicken huts.

And we came upon this little church after about an hour and a half drive out into what I thought was wilderness. And it was a little wooden church in the pines. There was a girl’s outhouse and a guy’s outhouse. And the pastor was what they call a lay pastor. He was a mechanic. He had little oil traces under his fingernails I noticed. But he stood at the front door like an ambassador.  He had his blazer buttoned; his tie was that far below the bottom of his blazer. He gave me a handshake that what one of those candy handshakes you get in Washington. My knees were doing like this, and I was trying to hang in there with him, but I lost. He said, we are so honored you’re here. So honored. I don’t know who he thought I was. Well, I went into little church, and it did remind me my grandfather was a coal miner and he lived back in Springville when it was just a tiny little settlement almost. And it reminded me of their little church out in northern Alabama. Windows would be open, and a bird would fly through and do a couple laps and go out the other window. There was no air conditioning. They must have had 40 people in the church. They were not into the prosperity church growth movement. That’s everybody that lived within a hundred miles. They were done with church growth. That was; everybody was there. There was no choir. There was an out of tune piano. And the pianist’s hands would do like this. All their songs had echoes. Jesus is coming soon, coming soon. And they did that kind of old kind of gospel. If you wanted to be in the choir that day, you just walked up. They had two songs and then they began to pray. And then they began to pray for the United States of America. And they began to weep and cry over this country, over our people that have lost their way, over the Christians that are ashamed of Christ.

You know what I hate? I was driving down Massachusetts Avenue the other day. I went by the biggest mosque in Washington; it was during Ramadan, and I saw three or 400 Muslim men’s faces on the ground in prayer. And I thought, Muslims aren’t afraid of their faith. Why are Christians ashamed of Jesus? I hate that. Could I just coach y’all up and exhort you today? Damn it. Stop being cowards. Cowards are listed in the book of Revelations of the people that will not inherit the kingdom of God. And cowards are the first thing on the list. Because to be a coward is to be an unbeliever. You’re all in for yourself if you’re a coward. The brave men have something to give their life for. And if you don’t have anything you’re going to die for and you’re unashamed of, you’ve got a sorry life. Not condemning, only convicting. You know in your heart what I’m saying is true, don’t you men? If you want to go to the next level today, just stop being ashamed of the people you love. Not ashamed of Christ. I love my wife. I praise her at the temple gates. I love my children. They’re doing well. But I’ve told my boys, if you guys screw up and you go to prison, I’ll be the one there talking to you through the chicken wire. You’ll never not be my boy. I love my grandchildren. I’m a dead man walking for all of this. I have a great life because I have stuff, I am happy to die for.

Well, back to this little church, man, I think I had a talk put together and then my son Josh looks at me and he’s whispering, Pop, your job in Washington’s to take highly successful, highly educated people and just shuck it down to the cob and make it simple and try to get them to get real. These folks are looking pretty real already to me. What are you going to say? I said, well thanks for the encouragement, son. I said, I’m completely blank. And I was supposed to get up in like three minutes, no talk. Well God may be slow but He’s never late. And right before I got up when the pastor was introducing me, I didn’t hear what he said because I was trying to say, God, You’ve got to drop something down the chute. And He did. You know what it was? It’s my final thing and then we’ll have prayer. He said, you know what? You’re learning something today boy. These little old nobodies in the middle of nowhere, Arkansas. That’s my remnant. Did you hear them pray? These people are on praying grounds. They’re living Big Boy Christianity. They’re not faking. They care. They cry when they lose. I love coaching guys that it just killed them when we lost. I couldn’t stand coaching the little Christian kids that prayed that prayer Lord, we just thank you for this loss. I go, shut up.

You can only pray that prayer unless your heart is broken. You can only pray that prayer if there are tears in your eyes and you’re not happy, then if you can thank God, that matters. Do you understand the difference? If you’re a coward and you quit, don’t thank God. Just shut up.

Well, I got up and here was my message. I go, you know, I know you guys think I’m coming in here from Washington DC to tell you what you need to do to help save our culture. But I’m here to tell you, keep doing what you’re doing because it’s because of little churches like you in nowhere Arkansas, that God’s keeping the doors open a little longer in places like Washington. There are little churches like that up in Pennsylvania, out on the plains of Texas, and all over Alabama, Georgia. Some of y’all know little churches like that. I can’t say it doesn’t happen in a big church, but it normally doesn’t. But it absolutely does. It’s happened in our church in DC, and we have 20,000 people, but our pastor’s a broken man. He ain’t in it to be a celebrity. He’s all in for Christ.

Are you on praying ground and are you part of the remnant? I’ve prayed that every man in here would re-up today. Wherever you are now, maybe you’ve never even joined the team and you’re not wearing Christ’s jersey. He’s offering you friendship. This is Christ, unimaginable power. He’s offering you friendship, not religion, friendship. Take His hand, boys, take His hand. If you’ve never done that before, if you feel like He is a friend, why don’t you just become a Navy seal for Christ today and say, I’m a dead man walking. I’m tired of being afraid all this crap. And as long as it’s an idol, you’ll be afraid. You can go to church and get all the religion you want. You’ll still be afraid. I had a guy tell me the other day, I’m sick of being sick of myself, Jerry. I said, then go ahead and die and stop making fear-based decisions. Stop being a coward. I’m praying today, men, that your arms would be made stronger, and your hearts were made braver, and I swear to God, and that’s not blasphemy because I’m serious, I’m not here to give you a talk. Y’all know me. I wouldn’t care if this is the last talk I ever give. I’m here to give you a message. Stop whining; it’s game on. This is our time. We’re the only ones with a message. Stop being ashamed. Now you boys got the game plan. Let’s have a prayer.

Lord, I pray for these men. You have a mission for every man here. You know every star out of this 800-billion-star galaxy in the 125 billion galaxies, Isaiah said, every star is exactly where it should be. And He knows the name of everyone. If He knows then He knows the name of each man here. You did not allow one of these men to be born into this world just to fidget till they die. What a waste. What a fool. Convict every man here. We’re not talking about church or religion. We’re talking about being a franchise player to you because You are to us. Please, every man here, I pray in his heart right now, he wouldn’t resist. He’d just, he’d give up. I pray he’d get in the water and say, I’m in the water, and I’ll either survive it or die here, but I ain’t getting out till God tells me to get out. Lord, I pray this group right here, that we would all be part of the remnant like that little church in Arkansas and all over our country. Thank you for these nobodies, that’s why you’re keeping the door open a little longer. And God, if Babylon can fall in a day, You can send a Holy Ghost revival to our country. I pray if these men are discouraged and they’ve lost their vision, they’ve ceased to dream, you’d light it and they dream again, You’re God almighty. You are God almighty, maker of the sombrero galaxy. You’re our friend Lord. Like Tony Snow did in obedience, we praise you today, and if You have to bring our country a little lower to our knees or a lot lower to our knees for us to have a revival, then it sounds completely counterintuitive, but we say, bring it on. Bring it on. We’re ready. Bless these men today in this powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Now, I always say that this, when I finish the peace of the Lord be with you. Men, let us offer the right hand of fellowship and let us offer each other the peace of the Lord as we depart.


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