About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat? Drew Dat - Reflections from the Superbowl

Not sure if you have heard of this guy. His name is Drew Brees. He had a pretty big night last night in Miami. Not only did the New Orleans Saints win the Superbowl (WHO DAT!), but Drew won MVP. The picture above shows Drew with his wife and son, Brittany and Baylen. Drew and his wife moved to New Orleans in 2006 during a time of great uncertainty. Katrina had just destroyed our city and the Saints were one of the worst teams in the NFL. This uncertainty went both ways. Although the Saints weren't a great team, Drew had just come out of a major shoulder injury. Signing him to a large contract was a huge risk.

Last night as the Lombardi trophy was presented to the team, Drew Brees teared up with emotion. That moment represented not just a player's accomplishment on the football field, it represented a player's love and passion for his Lord, his family, his team, and his city.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Saints obliterated the Arizona Cardinals. The 4th quarter was a joke and the commentators were struggling to find things to talk about. I think they even started talking about what they had for dinner the night before. Towards the end of the game they started to talk about the journey of Drew Brees. In an interview following his move to New Orleans, someone asked him why he chose New Orleans over Miami. His response was something like this.

"I believe that God has called me and my family to a great opportunity for impact not only on the football field but off the field throughout the entire New Orleans region." From day one, he has been a man of his word. Superbowl win, the Brees Dream Foundation, etc. When I heard this story I was reminded of the time when I met Drew Brees.

In the spring of 2007, my wife and I went to Audubon Park to roller blade. Yes, I said roller blade. As former college athletes, Annabeth and I are extremely competitive. Some of our biggest arguments have come as the result of a game or a race. We roller blade because there is no option for competition, it is more like survival. On this spring afternoon, we ran into Drew and Brittany Brees walking around the park. They live in Uptown close to Audubon Park. As we passed them, I tried to act cool and gave him a macho nod even though I was a giddy as my little boy when he watches Imagination Movers. Because we were on roller blades, I told Annabeth that we needed to book it so that we could see them again. As we flew around the park (well, as I flew around the park) I brainstormed what I was going to say to him. As I came around a corner I saw him and Brittany still walking. Here was my chance.

As I came alongside him, I did this jump-turn-around-move in order to talk with him face to face while he was still walking. I had never done this move before and I will never do this move again. I can't remember exactly what I said to him, but this is basically the summary.

"Hey Drew and Brittany, my name is Rob and I am a new pastor and Uptown resident. I just wanted to thank you for coming to our city to help rebuild our Saints and our city. I also wanted to thank you for your Christian witness and testimony. I believe God is going to use you in a mighty way for His glory."

He and his wife looked at each other surprised and said, "Thanks, we don't get that kind of compliment often."

By that time Annabeth had caught up with me, I looked at them and said, "Here comes my wife, her name is Annabeth. Hope you guys have a great day." I did another jump-turn-around-move and went on my way.

Now I have always dreamed of becoming good friends with the Brees family. I would love to welcome Drew, Brittany, and Baylen into our home for dinner and friendship. I would love to welcome them into our Vintage Church family. I'm sure they are hungry for some Christian friendship. I'm not sure if that would ever happen. But Annabeth and I will always have a soft spot for this family.

Although we have different backgrounds and experiences, we have a lot in common. Both of us have come to New Orleans around the Katrina catastrophe. Both of us have been active in rebuilding organizations in New Orleans. Both of our us have made the Uptown neighborhood our home. Both of us have celebrated the birth of our first son in the past year. (Maybe Bolt and Baylen will either play on the same team or against each other. Right now my money is on Bolt. He has a crazy good arm.) Most importantly, both of us love and serve Jesus Christ.

We will probably never connect with Drew and his family again. But I am thankful to God for sending both of us to this great city. Even though most of New Orleans doesn't recognize this truth. This Superbowl victory goes way beyond the football field. God is orchestrating His perfect plan for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed in our city and around the world. Join with me in praying for God to continue to enlarge Drew's territory and testimony for His glory.