Monday, April 5, 2010

Is Little Butler's big moment NCAA history in the making?

The image of the late North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano frantically scrambling for someone to hug after his sixth-seeded men's basketball team upset Houston to win the NCAA championship in 1983 is one of the greatest moments in tournament history. In 1985, Villanova played in a classic. As a No. 8 seed, the Wildcats knocked off a Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown team to win the tournament. Twenty-five years later, Butler is on the brink of giving America a story for the ages.

"We're on a big stage now playing against the best teams in the country," Butler reserve Zach Hahn says. "That's something we've always wanted our whole lives. I think we're prepared for it."

Butler is the smallest school to reach the men's final in 40 years, yet it looms large here with the backing of the city's fans. Lucas Oil Stadium is 6 miles from Butler's north-side campus.

While Butler's big moment makes NCAA history, the biggest moment in history was the resurrection which Christians celebrated this past weekend. This week's Sports in Focus study wraps up with the Servant that conquered sin and and death. It can be downloaded here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

“Outdo one another in showing honor.”

This past basketball season, I coached the Nebraska Christian Girls' basketball team. Following the season, the Golden Rod Conference awarded both our boys and girls teams with the "Sportsmanship Award." The award considers player, coach and fan conduct along with team management. Before I committed my life to Christ, this type of award would have meant very little to me. However, after repenting of my sins and receiving Christ into my life in college, this type of award has become very important. Every believer in Christ is called to be a witness for Him -- no exceptions! Both our message and our actions are important witnesses for Christ. A philosopher once said, “Show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your redeemer.” We should also have holy competition among believers. Below is a blog written by Stephen Altrogge that makes this point. -- Gordon

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
(Romans 12:10)

There should be a holy competition among God’s people. A competition of showing honor to one another.

We’re called to outdo one another in showing honor. Half-hearted, irregular attempts don’t cut it. I’m supposed to outdo you in showing honor, and you’re supposed to outdo me. What a wonderful competition.

Kings are honored. People respect them, serve them, and consider their interests as most important.

I’m called to treat you like a king. To go over the top in honoring you. To honor you far more than I honor myself. It’s a holy competition.

What would it look like if I made a concerted effort to outdo my wife Jen in showing honor? How would that change the things I say about her, do for her, and care for her? What would happen if I outdid the members of my small group in showing honor? What if I tried to beat my friends in showing honor to them? What would change?

It would be glorious. Let the games begin.

Written by Stephen Altrogge

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baylor coach ready for Sweet 16 & a chance to share his faith

Scott Drew, Baylor University’s arm-waving, ever-smiling, ever-positive head basketball coach, has led his Bears to heights unimaginable, but he says he isn’t able to do the miraculous or the mundane without his faith in Jesus Christ.

Drew was interviewed just before Baylor would play in its first-ever Sweet 16 game. “I wouldn’t be in this spot without the Lord. With all the attention this week and last, I know I need to stay in the Scripture and stay humble. I just want to deflect the light on myself or individual players to Whom it belongs, that is God.” His pastor had this to say about Drew’s perspective on sports. “I will always remember when we lost to Texas two years ago by a single point at home, just a devastating loss, and the next morning I’m walking past the nursery at church and there was Scott, on his knees, playing with the kids as a volunteer worker. Name me one other coach in America who would do that after a gut-wrenching loss.”

Genuine worship is the supreme service a Christian can offer to Christ. This week's Sports In Focus that can be downloaded here, focuses on the importance of true worship, without which everything else we might do in His name is empty and powerless.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tiger Woods will return at The Masters

Tiger Woods will end his self-imposed “indefinite break” from golf April 8 by making his long-awaited return to the game on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters. One sportscaster compared Tiger’s return to Muhammad Ali’s return to boxing after being banned for several years because he evaded the draft. While many golf fans and broadcasters look forward with eagerness to Tiger’s return, how much more should believers look forward to Christ’s return? You can download this week's Sports In Focus lesson about the second coming of Christ here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Importance of a Good Example

During the Boys' State Basketball Tournament, I was reminded of the importance of a good example that each coach sets for their team. Whether it was Coach Paul Beranek and his team's repeat championship or the teams that didn't win a championship, each coach was likely a good example to his players during the season or it's doubtful these teams would have qualified for the tournament. This past weekend, I came across a recent blog by Dr. John MacArthur on being a good example. You can download the entire lesson here. This is part of the lesson...

I was profoundly impressed by an item I saw buried inside the sports pages recently. A high school basketball team from Rockville County, Georgia, had easily won the state championship, rolling over all their opponents. A few weeks after the championship game, the coach, studying the team’s grades, noticed for the first time that one of his third-string players had failed some courses. The youngster was academically ineligible for the basketball team. For the rest of the story and the lesson you can download it here.