This week, Heaven to the Yeah grace ambassador, Jordan Gray, was joined by Reza Zadeh, Chaplain for the Denver Broncos, as he discussed his journey with faith and what it means, to him, to live with Heaven in view.
The lover of golf and the outdoors, but holding all passion for his wife and children, lives with Heaven in view each day as he lives for victory beyond competition, striving to surrender his own kingdom for God’s Kingdom. However, living for God as a Christian was not always the path Zadeh walked, for his faith journey, as most are, was (and continues to be) a little more compact. Throughout his childhood, Zadeh grew up Muslim, not Christian. As a Muslim, he knew of Jesus, but did not feel he knew Jesus. While playing football in Junior College, Zadeh had a teammate who sparked his interest as he was always happy and living life. Finally, Zadeh began talking to this teammate and found that he was involved in FCA, Fellowship for Christian Athletes, about which Zadeh did not know. A little while later, Zadeh was walking around Junior College and this same teammate threw a Bible across the way at him. At first, Zadeh was confused, for he felt he had no need of a Bible, but he held onto it anyway. One summer, Zadeh was living with friends in an apartment complex, when the complex began to fill with Christians, staff members for the summer Athletes in Action camp.
“They were not perfect people, but something attracted me to the way these people lived their lives.” As the summer progressed and Zadeh and his friends grew closer to these people, he felt God changing his life. “The night before they left, they invited us over for dinner and told us they were going to explain to us why they do what they do.” That night, as Zadeh was walked through the Christian lifestyle, and explained to about who Jesus was, he felt pulled to be a part of it. After he had gone back to his room, he found himself talking to God and said that “if everything they had told him about Jesus was true, then he wanted Jesus in his life.” Looking over, he saw that same Bible given to him a few years earlier, picked it up, and has been following Jesus ever since. Now Zadeh has grown in his walk with the Lord and has found many different ways to view his role, especially in his current position, with fulfilling moments each day. “God gives us our passions. I love working with athletes and watching them get introduced to, or reminded of, the Gospel.” Zadeh also sees that this platform of sport is great for spreading the Gospel while creating environments where people can turn around and share the Gospel with others. As Zadeh sees his role in this time and helps spread the Gospel, he finds fulfillment each day, watching transformations take place, knowing he helped create that. “We are called to make disciples and train others to make disciples.” Zadeh recounted a story from his first year as a Chaplain with the Broncos after conducting his second Bible Study of the season. After the session, Zadeh was speaking with a player who had claimed to not know why he was there, at that Bible Study, as he had never been to any others before. However, as this player continued to talk with Zadeh, he revealed that his whole dream was to be drafted, and now that he had been, he felt empty, so he was pulled to walk into the Bible Study group and find himself again. This story, along with being able to see how the players interact with their families and how their actions change as they come to know Christ more, are just a few of the fulfilling moments Zadeh gains within his role as a disciple of God. “God gives us our worth. There is nothing like watching someone come in as a freshman, meet Jesus, be discipled, then graduate ready to live out the great commission no matter where the Lord takes them in their vocation.” In helping others and being part of many different platforms, Zadeh then finds himself needing to balance humility with pride.
“I know how jacked up I am with my sin in front of me all the time. I know my perspective and I know my pride.” For Zadeh, pride shows him why daily confession and daily surrender are so important—as a reminder that we are not all that. “It is by the Grace of God that I am where I’m at. God opened doors for me and everything can be taken away in a heartbeat. So, I stay humble by looking at those sinful receipts I put before God on a daily basis.” God’s Grace grants many gifts and opportunities for humility and blessings. For Zadeh, “God’s Grace is what fuels the opportunities I have. It is getting something you don’t deserve.” God’s Grace grants the opportunity to have eternal life with Him. “I not only get to experience it, but it is like a song on the radio that you want everyone to experience. I am a living testimony of not deserving where I am at, but I can help people see that there is something for which God created each of us.” God’s Grace also provides the faith needed to navigate difficult times as “all we have to do is ask the Lord for help because we cannot make it on our own.” Before Zadeh’s time with Gray ended, he provided the readers, listeners, and viewers with final food for thought—…"God is not looking for our performance or for us to impress him. We must recognize our worth comes from Him and from what He has already deemed true within us. God is with us and already chose us, accepted us, and invited us to be with Him.” The Heaven to the Yeah team thanks Zadeh for taking the time to speak with Gray and pray for happiness and good health for him and his family.