— Film Transcription Below —
Todd: Thirty-two guys in the world kicked a ball for a living. At the peak of my career, I was the top ten guys on the planet that did what I did. I felt like God kept asking me this question, it would just rise up in my spirit. And the question was: “Was I going to kick the ball for his glory or for my glory?”
Todd: I’m Todd Peterson.
Susan: I’m Susan Peterson.
Todd: And we met at the University of Georgia in a corporate finance class, Finance 430 if I remember correctly.
Susan: But we really were not friends then. We were not friends
Todd: I wanted to be friends.
Susan: We were not friends
Todd: But she blew me off as I walked down the sidewalk. I was not getting the answer that I was hoping for. I figured she would say, “Oh I did really well, and I would say…”
Susan: No, his opening line was, “How did you do on the test?” That was his opening line. To which I said, “Fine.” And I kept walking.
Todd: Kept walking. Just kept walking down the sidewalk. And I thought, “This isn’t going where I was thinking.”
College Football Disaster
Todd: My college football experience was a disaster really. I mean I was a very average player at best for my freshman, sophomore, junior years. I got benched my junior year because I missed a 24-yard field goal to beat Alabama at night in Tuscaloosa on ESPN. No bigger game in college football. We’re the number one offence in the SEC. They’re the number one defense in the SEC. And I miss a chip shot field goal 0-0 late in the third quarter. It’s probably going to be the winning kick.
1st Announcer: Ray Goff does not even hesitate. He sends in Todd Peterson to attempt a field goal.
2nd Announcer: Yea see, here’s the major difference. Ray Goff knows he’s got a guy who can bang it through. Of course last year this game was decided on a last second field goal.
1st Announcer: Peterson is only 3 for 7 though. He’s struggled, but he’s got a pretty good leg.
2nd Announcer: This one will come from 24 yards out. Can you believe this?
1st Announcer: No, I don’t. He missed.
Todd: I’d spent my whole life trying to perform. And my life was wrapped up in a performance trap. I missed that kick and I honestly thought that who I was, was how I played or how I played was who I was. My identity was totally tied up or wrapped up in my performance.
Todd: So I had a college teammate and as he’s inviting me to Bible study and as he’s speaking truth into my life the Word accomplishes its purpose in our life. It doesn’t return void. And so even though I was resistant to his invitation the reality was God was doing a work in my life that was transforming my heart.
I was starting to have vision for life I never had. I’d been completely self-serving. How could I get ahead in life? How could I look out for number one? And now I’m thinking about, “The Kingdom of God? I’m supposed to serve Jesus?” Been in the church my whole life, but I had no clue who Jesus was in my heart.
Second Chance Success
God had a plan. Scripture says, “His ways aren’t our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” For whatever reason his plan for me was to get my job back. Not because I earned it. The guy who ended up getting it had mono the next summer. He lost the job because he was sick. They put another guy in there ahead of me. That’s how much confidence they had in me. He missed a 34-yard field goal to beat Tennessee. They had no choice but to go back to the guy who failed the year before.
And that really for me was a great picture of grace. It was unmerited favor. It was undeserved. I didn’t earn it.
Got my job back. I went on a streak. Didn’t miss a kick. Made twelve kicks in a row. And it was like God started to give me a vision for this platform of football. And I just started to think, “Man, this maybe is something.” And I didn’t dream of playing in the NFL. But in the back of my mind it was kinda like, “Could I actually have a chance at this?”
So senior season wound down. We ended up beating Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl, finishing 6th in the country. And I had people saying, “You know you really need to think about trying to kick in the NFL.” To which I laughed. I mean how do you kick in the NFL when you can barely keep a college job. And God had a plan.
Influence For God’s Kingdom
As I came out of college I got drafted. Kickers don’t get drafted. That was a great indication to me that there’s a God. That was a miracle. And so I have this storybook start to an NFL career that ends up being basically a nightmare. I get cut. I get picked up. I get cut. I get picked up. And finally I reach this point where I just cry out to God, “If you’re plan is for me to play then open a door and let me get through it.”
It was right there in that surrender moment that everything changed. And I went to Seattle quickly thereafter. And God just opened up a spigot the next six years.
Everything I kicked went through. I rewrote the record books for the Seahawks.
I started asking God, “Bless me so that I can use the influence you give me to advance your Kingdom.”
Louie: When I met Todd and Susan I realized right away these guys are extraordinary human beings. And I loved Todd’s heart right away. Todd was more than a pro-football player. He was an inspiring individual. And I knew right then and there that he wanted to impact the generations.
We began to link more and more with the work of Passion. And then the planting of Passion City Church. Todd and Susan are original pillars of the planting of our church.
Todd: And from day one we were intentional with the idea that we were going to disciple people in Biblical generosity.
Louie: And so they have sort of incubated in all of our thinking this idea that we want to be not the average, which is, “We gave ten percent. We all patted ourselves on the back.” But we want to be as Todd says, “People who are apart of radical generosity.” Stunning generosity is Todd’s phrase. He always says that. He works that into every conversation. We want to see stunning generosity. What is that? It’s just a reflection of the stunning grace of God.
A Trip To Tanzania
Susan: So I went to Tanzania.
And on this trip we were to visit a village.
So it turns out the village chief had nine wives and each boma was her individual mud hut where she lived with her children. That particular morning they asked us could we honor this man’s youngest wife by visiting her inside her boma because she wasn’t allowed to come out.
And she had just had a baby and in that culture she’s required to stay inside for three months with her child. They believed that that protected the child. So of course, as women, that’s the first thing we wanted to do was visit with her.
I Lost Hope
And the second I got inside I started to think about what her life really looked like as I sat there and watched her. And I realized boy, she must be a lot younger than I thought. And later that afternoon as we left her hut I asked the missionary that we were with how old she is. And she told me she was thirteen.
So here’s what I know about that culture. I know that she’s the ninth wife of a chief that looks like he could be her grandfather. I know she’s been physically mutilated because in that culture when she’s married that’s required of her. And I know she’s about thirteen and she has a baby. And I also know that the best thing that could happen to her is that she would get outside in the fresh air, but she is not allowed.
So there was this massive moment where I realized how trapped she really is as a young woman. She’s trapped in so many ways. And I was thinking about my own daughter at home who was also thirteen.
I just couldn’t imagine those two girls at that same age on this planet. It was more than I could bear.
Only God’s Word
And I remember sitting around the campfire that night and the missionary friend of mine, her name was Tammy, noticed that I had withdrawn a little bit. So she came up to me, sat down next to me and said, “What’s wrong? I can tell today was a hard day for you. Can you tell me what is on your mind?”
And I told her. I said, “Tammy, I cannot look into that child’s world and see the hope of the gospel. Where is Jesus? I am so overwhelmed at how trapped she is. And I don’t see a way out for her.”
And Tammy without thinking turned to me and looked me right in the eye and she said, “Susan, often times what I have found is that a culture will become trapped in a lie and out of that lie comes another lie, and another lie, and another lie until an entire people group is trapped in a web of the lies of the enemy.”
And then she said this. She said, “Only God’s Word unlocks the lie.” “Only God’s Word unlocks the lie.”
And I just wept because I knew that was Jesus in the moment. The only freedom she would ever know is if she could know God’s Word. And that was true for her husband and for every woman in that village. The only answer was God’s Word.
The Scriptures Change Everything
Todd: There are thousands of people groups on the planet that don’t have the Bible. 1800 that don’t have one word of Scripture in their heart language.
Which means there are 1800 people groups, hundreds of millions of people on earth who are caught in lies.
Think about that! They’re trapped in lies because they don’t have the truth.
What can we do about that?
$1 Million Is Not Enough
I’ll never forget laying in bed after my last year of playing one night and just saying to Susan, “I guess I’ll play another year.” And with doing nothing at all it was going to be a substantial income and what else did I have to do?
Then it was kind of like, there’s that Scripture that says, “Don’t trade away what is eternal for what is temporal.”
And I thought, “You know what? There’s gotta be more.”
God gave me a vision for hosting a major gathering for the work of Bible Translation, which ended up being a really significant thing. If we’d of played and made another million bucks or whatever and we could have given it all away that would have been awesome.
And we were convicted that if we were gonna play, we were gonna give it all away. And what God intended was for us not to play and for us to give our lives to this process of building out this event and this gathering of people and it ended up being like five million bucks for Bible translation.
18 Todd and Susans
Roy: I don’t believe anybody has advocated for Bible translation like Todd & Susan.
Todd and Susan represent a generosity that encompasses all of life. Their level of generosity is giving of themselves.
They have mobilized and given and networked and connected and prayed at a level…You know it wouldn’t take but a few dozen of them. There’s only 1800 languages left. Eighteen Todd and Susans and it would be done.
Todd and Susan have gone to champion an additional $125 Million given for Bible Translation.
Because of this giving, the gospel is in 1,000 more languages touching more than 1 Billion people.