NFL Veteran Robert Miller Urges Men Toward Victory in Jesus

(Courtesy Steve Rees)

A pastor and six-year veteran of the National Football League, Robert Miller encourages men to worship the God who created them in love and with purpose for their lives. Unlike America's idolatry of football players whose glory or defeat is tied to winning numbers on stadium scoreboards, God is always victor.

After losing his mother when he was only 6 and later his father, Miller knew little about winning early in life. The losses, while painful, exacted a greater toll as the years wore on. Despite dreams from God reassuring him, Miller doubted the Lord's promise to care for him and his three brothers orphaned by their parents' premature deaths.

Angry, frustrated and hopeless that God cared about devastating losses of parents who adored him and his siblings, Miller attempted suicide as a teenager. Growing up an orphan and feeling defeated in a Houston neighborhood, Miller's interest in high school football saved his life from total ruin, while God worked behind the scenes to demonstrate his love.

Much like his godly mother and military father who nurtured, instructed and provided for Miller during their short lives—encouraging their son to pursue God above everything— heavenly messengers followed the promising high school football player from Houston to the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

There, Miller experienced three encounters with angels that led to the biggest win of his life: Giving his heart to Lord Jesus Christ while studying and playing football at KU. Following his college career, he became a successful NFL running back through the 1980s.

Now serving as a co-pastor at a mostly white church, Miller, who is Black, shares preaching and teaching responsibilities with other leaders there. He draws on his college and NFL football experiences to inspire both men and women to pursue the only God who loves them. As a co-host on the program God's View, Miller flows in Holy Spirit power.

Miller powerfully weaves winning football strategies from his days as a Kansas Jayhawk and Minnesota Viking with stories about the most important, eternally-significant competition of all: God's battle for men's hearts.

Aligned with a revival-driven church that jumped in with revivalist Sean Feucht's #Let Us Worship in Colorado, Miller's call to ministry and the glory of professional football is overshadowed by the heavenly Father's faithfulness and love for men.

"These men don't want to hear from me; they want to hear from You," Miller prayed before sharing his testimony and biblical truths at a sports-themed church breakfast.

Hungry for spiritual truth and a homemade country breakfast—combined with fellowship around football—men filled up and tuned their ears to God and Miller, who with his wife, Lennie, co-leads a Spirit-filled church, The Wellington Filling Station.

"So I bow before you this morning. I say Your kingdom come, Your will be done. I say yes to You," Miller prayed, standing beneath a picture of himself in Viking-uniform glory. Wearing the No. 35 purple and gold jersey, Miller's image filled a wall above the baptism tank at Offspring Church close to the Wyoming-Colorado border.

Offspring Pastor Calvin Pettigrew calls Miller "a man of God, a man after his heart and a man God has deposited much into. Many people worship professional athletes. His experience—not just in the NFL— is so much more greater. He is a man of God with a father's heart," Pettigrew said.

Drawing from his NFL experiences, Miller described how honoring God became real during a quiet time in August 1975 while playing for the Vikings franchise.

Miller believed the Lord was asking the question, "Do you want to honor Me?"

"Yes," Miller replied. He sensed the Lord telling him that his performance—even at a preseason practice in the heat of summer—mattered to him and to the fans watching him.

A crowd of 5,000 or so had gathered, cheering as Miller and his teammates soiled their practice uniforms with dirt and sweat. Thinking about a better way to honor God, Miller told the Lord he preferred to be in church.

"He humbled me," Miller said. "He said, 'You are the church. You will honor Me by your performance out here today.' Just like Jesus glorified Him when He came to earth, I was out there playing, honoring my Father with the gift He gave me. I honored Him like Jesus honored Him as 5,000 people watched me get hit and then hit somebody.

"And he told me, 'Robert, this is how you worship Me,'" Miller said.

As a pastor, Miller encourages men to seek the truth, which is how Jesus described himself in John 14:6.

"There will come a time in each one of your lives when you will stand before Him as a king, as a priest and as His son. What Father is not going to grab his son and embrace him and tell him, 'I love you for your heart?'" Miller said.

The enemy's assignment is to keep men from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, Miller warned. "It's better to choose worship and to honor Him than to choose the opposite," he says.

Fathered by God, Miller carries his heart for all those who are searching for love and truth as he was early in life. He discovered all his heart's desires fulfilled in Jesus, the way, the truth and the life.

Steve Rees is a former general assignment reporter who, with one other journalist, first wrote about the national men's movement Promise Keepers from his home in Colorado. Rees and Promise Keepers Founder Bill McCartney attended the Boulder Vineyard. Today Rees writes in his free time.

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