From his vantage point at the front of the stage, Michigan State junior Dan Seguin dared to dream out loud.
“It would be sweet to create a movement that would fill this place for our meetings,” he said wistfully, gesturing at the school’s 3,800-seat auditorium already abuzz with a growing crowd of students and others gathered to find out what “I Agree With Kirk” was all about.
Seguin and other members of Cru and Athletes in Action at MSU turned out to support Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins as he shared the story of his personal faith in Jesus Christ in a much-advertised event held Thursday, Nov. 3, at the MSU Auditorium.
Approximately 2,500 students and others packed into the facility to hear the Spartans’ gridiron hero share his views on Christianity.
The event was simple: a Cru member made a few introductory comments before turning over the microphone to Cousins. The senior quickly pulled the audience into his speech by asking who had seen a great movie or been to a good restaurant lately.
Hoots joined the raised hands when Cousins asked who had seen a thrilling football game recently. His point segued into the meat of his talk.
“Did you tell anyone about your experience when you went to that movie or that restaurant or that game? You share great news when you have it. That’s what tonight is about. When we receive great news, we want to tell people about it,” Cousins said. “I’m not here to twist your arm, I certainly don’t consider myself better than you or more important than you.
I just want to share with you what I believe to be really good news.”
Cousins then presented three reasons to explain why he chooses to follow Christ: Jesus provides a foundation for his life, Jesus is his leader and Jesus is his savior. For his first point, Cousins references the parable of the two builders from Matthew 7 where one man builds his house upon a rock and one upon the sand. Storms come for both homes, and those with the sand foundation see their house destroyed.
“Everyone in this room has built their life on something. You can’t deny that fact. I’m here tonight to say I’ve built my life on Jesus and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” Cousins said.
Cousins admitted that just two months from college graduation, he was unsure what the future held in terms of future school, continued football play at the next level or a job search. But he said he leans on his “foundational verses” in Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
In explaining Jesus’ role as savior in his life, Cousins walked audience members through Bible passages from the book of Romans, explaining sin, the need for forgiveness and Jesus’ death and sacrifice to cover the sins of mankind. But past simple salvation, Cousins said his relationship with God draws him to a greater humility.
“The closer we get to God, the more we realize His holiness and our sin,” he said.
Cousins wrapped up his talk with a passage from James Francis’ “One Solitary Life” about the resume of Jesus – simple yet with a profound impact on the world. He asked those present to consider if they agree with his own assessment that Jesus is the most important part of his life.
After a 25-minute talk, Cousins fielded texted questions from audience members, answering queries about his times of need, his biggest struggles and his feelings on those with differing faith views.
He explained how to receive salvation from God with a simple prayer and invited others to join him if they felt called to do so. Cru members gathered comment cards from those present, gauging reponses to the presentation.
Reaction was positive from many present. Senior Jasmine Young, a native of Detroit, said she came in support of a fellow believer in Cousins.
“I think it was very humble and truthful. He made it simple for everyone to accept,” she said.
Tom Woodward, a resident of Lansing with no real ties to the university, came out to hear Cousins after his daughter emailed a newspaper article. He brought along a 13-year-old nephew he said always needs good role models to follow. A believer since age 16, Woodward said the star quarterback inspired him.
Derek Bycraft drove from Angola, Ind., to attend the event on invitation from a friend at MSU and after seeing all the buzz online about Cousins’ speech. It made an impression on the junior who attends Trine University.
“I think I have a better understanding of what faith is. You’re allowed to think and hear what people have to say,” he said. “I really agreed with the approach he took. He wanted to share but wasn’t forcing his beliefs on anyone.
“You can tell he knew what he was saying and really wanted to get his message across.”
Kirk’s fellow students agreed.
“It was cool to see how he applied the gospel to his own life, how God is active. He is a college student just like us and he was very real and authentic,” added Anthony, an accounting major from Shelby Township, Mich.
“There was a lot of mystery early in the week about what this was about,” said Valerie, a pre-med major from Grand Rapids. “But I think he did a good job and he was very clear; he wasn’t cocky at all. I think that is going to lead to a lot of people having real discussions about what he said.”