Thursday, February 28, 2008

Everybody Is Doing It

It's an exciting time of year --- major league players have reported to spring training camp. It's a time when all 30 major league teams still have hopes of a World Series Championship. Talk of major trades and off-season signings have been over-shadowed by the steroids/HGH controversy involving many high profile major-league ballplayers.
So how should we as Christians view this subject? Isn't it something everyone is doing? If you want to succeed in high-level competition isn't this acceptable? I know it's illegal, but everyone is doing it, so I NEED to do it to stay competitive, right?

Jim Armstrong, sports columnist for the Denver Post writes --- "Steroids and HGH have turned up the volume and amped up the wattage in baseball. They've made the game bigger and bolder. They've made it more intrinsically interesting, more TV-friendly, more mass appealing.
It's more than that, though. There's another reason so many fans rationalize the use of performance-enhancing drugs. It's because they cheat, too. They cheat so much, it has become a culture in America.

Why wouldn't a ballplayer cheat? It's the new national pastime. No? Then when is the last ime you actually drove 55 mph when the sign told you to? Americans cheat so much, they've come up with catch phrases to avoid using the word.

We don't cheat on our taxes. We exaggerate on them.
We don't cheat on our expense reports. We fudge on them.
Contractors don't cheat home buyers. They cut corners.

Seems like everywhere you look these days, somebody is cheating or being cheated. Why should the ballpark be any different?"

Some people would probably agree --- did they really cheat? It's what everybody is doing.

*But what does God's Word say about who we should listen to? Psalms 1:1-2 "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked ... but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."

*Does God really care? Ecclesiastes 12:14 "For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil."

*How then should we live? Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Or in one Bible translation is says, "Do not let the world squeeze you into it's mold."

*Is it really that important? I John 3:16 "No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him."

Thank You LORD for giving us a "playbook" to live by!
Sondra Herold
Omaha FCA Field Rep

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Can You Handle This?

This past weekend one of Omaha’s premier boys’ basketball teams had their quest for a State Championship end with great disappointment.

They went into the game very evenly matched with their opponent, but were thrown off course when two of their key players came down with a flu bug before the game. The result was a narrow loss and an abrupt ending to a terrific season.

Like this team, many others will have their seasons and careers ended as the boys and girls’ state basketball tournaments are on the brink. Sadly, when most of these teams bow out of the tournament you will witness athletes with all their hope in life come crashing down before the eyes of the spectators. Athletes often fall into the pit of putting their hope in sports, rather than in that which is lasting and worthwhile; the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Disappointments in sports are nothing new. In fact, I would venture to say that a surprising number of people in the sports world live a life of depression due to their lack of worldly success. This weekend alone you will see basketball players turn the ball over, miss shots, get beat on defense, get yelled at by a Coach, get hurt, or come up short on the scoreboard just to name a few. The test: how will they respond?

In reality, there are only two ways to respond. Athletes, coaches, and fans will either respond with anger or sadness (man’s way), or they will respond as the apostle Paul did during his imprisonment as written in Colossians 1:24 when he says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings.” Realizing that God is sovereign should remind us that God is in control of every situation- including the outcome of the State Basketball Tournament this weekend. The audience in which the athlete is playing for will be revealed. Each of us should ask for the same revelation. Is Christ truly the hope of your life? 1 John 1:4, says, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” Does the reality of the gospel make your joy complete? How can’t it? We are sinners, deserving the wrath of God but through the blood of Christ we are made clean and allowed to have fellowship with God. That alone is enough to give us joy no matter the circumstance.

So can you handle this? Can you handle the disappointments that life WILL hand you? The answer is no if you are acting on your own accord. However, if you are operating in light of the gospel, then Christ has already handled this. The reason for pure, unending, eternal joy has already been accomplished! Will you make it a point today (and everyday) to live with this joy as a reality in your life?

Brian Conklin
Omaha-Metro FCA Director

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Unthinkable

"For nothing is impossible with God." - Luke 1:37

Last night I had the privilege of watching a great finish to an intense basketball game in the semi-finals of the Class B, District 6 basketball tournament between Gering and Alliance.

The game was actually quite boring for the 1st 3 and 1/2 quarters of the game as Gering's pressure packed defense held Alliance to a mere 9 points through this point in the game. At this point in time, Gering had all of the momentum it could have hoped to muster and it looked like a sure thing that Scottsbluff and Gering would be going head to head in the finals for a trip to the State Tournament (Scottsbluff had won the other semi-final in the previous game in overtime against Sidney).

But then as we have seen so many times in sports, the unthinkable happened as Alliance came roaring back in this defensive battle. It seemed as though all of a sudden Gering couldn't score at all and one of the region's top players, Alliance's 6'6" senior Zach Boness decided to drop 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead Alliance to what many people at the time thought was going to be an impossible victory with the final score being 39-35. Alliance with the win.

In the local newspaper the next day, Zach Boness was quoted as saying "I just thank God because without Him none of this would have been possible." Whether Zach knows it or not, he is actually refering to a Bible verse found in the book of Luke chapter 1, verse 37 when an angel of the Lord came to Mary to report to her that as a virgin, she would give birth to the Son of God, Jesus himself. As many of us would do, Mary wonders how this would be possible and the angel then says, "Nothing is impossible with God."

It is very possible that Zach's quote in the paper was intended to give Glory to God for Alliance's great comeback win, but let's look at this quote from Gering's perspective. I am quite sure that Gering would have liked to win that game pretty badly, so for them was the opposite true? Did God fail them during a time when they felt as though they should be winning this game and not Alliance? Absolutely not. God's purposes and desires are completely different than man's purposes and desires a lot of the time. You bet God cared who won and who lost that game last night and it was all for the purpose of bringing himself glory. From our perspective, we can't see what all God wanted to do with the lives of those involved in the game last night. But God sees each individual heart of each athlete and coach that competed and his desire is that He would have a relationship every one of them both on and off the court. So what does that mean for Gering? Well, I guess God wants to use Gering losing a basketball game they should have won to teach them each something. Maybe it is that without Him, at the end of the day, it really didn't matter if you won or lost, you still don't have Him. Or maybe He wanted to teach the Gering Bulldogs about how to handle losing for His Glory because believe it or not, we don't win every game we play.

So is it really true that "Nothing is impossible with God"? Absolutely, especially when our desires are the same as God's.

Nate Lewis
Area Representative
Western Nebraska

Monday, February 25, 2008


Sports done for the glory of God?

"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Welcome to the Nebraska FCA team blog where we want to meet for the purpose of discussing what doing sports to the glory of God looks like.

There are two ways of doing sports; man's way and God's way. Doing sports man's way is an attempt to bring glory to man; it's the effort to exalt self. The sportsworld overflows with this way; it's the natural, normal way of doing things. On the other hand, doing sports God's way is God-exalting. This is not normal and because it is not normal, it requires an intentional thinking and planning and training on the part of the athlete, the coach, even the fan in order to bring glory to God.

So what does sports look like when it's done God's way? We're glad you asked! Join us as we hear from our learned FCA staff and current coaches and athletes who are all on the journey to live it out. We pray that this would become a place for other coaches and athletes to come and hear from God through His Word as we search the Scriptures and work to live them out in the sportsworld.

Chris Bubak
FCA-Nebraska State Director