(Alexandria, MN) With his thick Chicago accent and light-hearted demeanor, professional fisherman and television personality Al Lindner spoke a compelling message to a full Broadway Ballroom Friday. Lindner and his brother Ron Lindner have gained much notoriety from their many years of success in the fishing industry. At the Unity Foundation luncheon Al talked about growing up as a middle-class kid in Chicago to being at a point in his life where he wants to make a lasting impact on people who hear or see his message.
In a talk that lasted about 45 minutes he drew on memories of being so passionate about fishing that he lived and breathed it 24-7. He says his mother fueled that passion by making every Christmas or birthday present a gift that could help Al fish more and better. Now his passion has changed. He still loves fishing, but he loves the Lord even more. He described a number of moments in his life where he was forced to make some decisions about his faith. One of the most compelling was a moment when he was confronted by his 4 1/2 year old son Troy. At that point Al was only in his 30's, but as he told the story, it was as if he was transported back to that moment. Al says he did not understand faith, religion or any of that and so he was going through the motions for his wife and kid's sake. During nightly prayers he would join his wife and two sons as they prayed. When it came to his turn he would always deflect the offer by saying that "Dad talks to God when he's alone." The crucial blow in Al's faith took place when he and his youngest son were alone. The little boy whispered in his ear, "Dad, Mom isn't here, Shawn isn't here. It's just you and I. Can I hear you pray how you pray to God when you're alone with him?" Through tears, Al recounted how that moment broke him and caused him to evaluate where he was at, in terms of his faith.
Al weaved in between the ebb and flow of success in the fishing business and his walk with the Lord. He ended the talk with something that was on his heart. He felt his calling that day was to speak the word "BOLD" to people. He said the Lord put it on his heart to encourage people to be bold.
Below is both a quick interview with Al about how all aspects of his life come together, and Parts one and two of his talk (Not all of his talk was recorded, but much of it).
Al Lindner is a sportsman, television and radio personality, and fishing industry innovator who has invented, along with his older brother Ron Lindner, many fishing lures and rigs including the Lindy Rig which has been used by tens of millions of anglers to catch walleye. Lindner also co-owns Lindner Media Productions which specializes in producing educational fishing programs (such as “Angling Edge” and “Fishing Edge”), DVDs, videos, national TV commercials, and more. Lindner has been inducted into three fishing hall of fames and the Lindy Rig was featured in the Minnesota State Historical Society’s 2008 list of “Minnesota’s 150 – The people, places, and things that shape our state”.
With the help of his wife, family and a local preacher, Lindner gave his life to Jesus in 1982. Lindner says that while he and his brother have had the privilege of building successful careers in sport fishing, God has also allowed them to use this venue to share their faith in Christ. “When I first started to share my faith in Christ with others, I found myself naturally using fishing experiences to illustrate and explain God’s kingdom,” notes Lindner. “God has used the gift he has given Ron and me in this sport, and has taken the fishing-related experiences we’ve had through our years as professional anglers for His own purposes.”