Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cross Training with Eric Hagg

For the Doing Sports God's Way lesson on Eric Hagg, click here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

It Doesn't Make Sense!

"But all who knew Him, including the women who had followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things." - Luke 23:49

If any of you are like me, when you read something like this you automatically wonder what must have been going through these people's minds. The scene was set right after Jesus had taken his last breath on the cross and His mother Mary along with several others had just witnessed the most brutal death in the history of all humanity. If I had been in their shoes, I think I would have made the statement "It doesn't make sense!" After all, Jesus was sinless. He didn't do anything deserving such a death. To add to the drama, in Luke 1 the angel Gabriel appreared to Jesus' mother Mary and told her "Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you." If I were the one observing Jesus dead on the cross, I think I would have asked the question "Lord, how is this favor? How are you with this?"

One of the things I love about sports is how God uses it to teach us about life. Maybe it is a bad call by a referee that many of us have reacted to and made comments like: "Are you serious?! That is a horrible call! That doesn't make any sense!" Or maybe it is a serious injury that you don't believe that the athlete being injured deserves to go through. I talked with a Mom last night who had her son go through a knee injury at their football game last Friday night. She was frustrated by the timing of the situation especially considering her son was playing on the varsity team with his brother and they were supposed to have a successful season together. "That doesn't make sense!" she said. But apparently God has another plan.

Three days later Jesus rose from the dead. According to Romans 4:25 He was raised for our justification. Amazing love! Amazing grace! All of a sudden it all makes sense! We can trust God with His plans for our lives both on and off the field. He has never broken a promise and He has always been faithful. He can be trusted and He has proven it time and time again. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:4-7

Nate Lewis
FCA - Area Representative
Western Nebraska

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vince Young deals with Depression

Questions about the Titans’ star quarterback have surfaced after he was booed heavily by fans upset at his second interception. It appeared that he didn’t want to return to the game. Finally, after his coach visited with him on the sidelines, he returned to the offense. Four plays later, he sprained his knee when Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith crashed into it.

Following the game, Young didn’t go to the Titan’s headquarters on Monday which led his coach to pay him a visit at home. The team eventually sent a psychologist and another team official to talk with him. He was described as being emotionally down. While many Titan fans may believe Vince Young is “Superman” on a football field, he is every bit as human as the rest of us when faced with a serious setback on or off the field.

I wonder what Young was thinking or telling himself as he was booed by fans. It’s not uncommon to see an athlete talking to themselves. While many of us might not be caught in public talking to ourselves, most of us are greatly influenced by listening or talking to ourselves — especially when we are discouraged or depressed. Find out how to move your attitude from troubled to hopeful with this week's
"Doing Sports God's Way" lesson

Friday, September 19, 2008

Do You Need A Spiritual X-Ray?

Idolatry in the world of sports is prevalent and can take on many different forms. I have never met an athlete, coach, or fan who has never struggled with idolatry. According to author Ken Sande, in his book The Peacemaker “An idol is anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure. In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on (Luke 12:29; 1 Cor. 10:19), that motivates us (1 Cor. 4:5), that masters and rules us (Ps. 119:133; Eph. 5:5), or that we trust, fear, or serve (Isa. 42:17; Matt. 6:24). In short, it is something we love and pursue more than God.” Sound familiar?

I love what Martin Luther wrote about idolatry in saying,

To whatever we look for any good thing and for refuge in every need, that is what is meant by ‘god.’ To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in him from the heart…To whatever you give your heart and entrust your being, that, I say, is really your god.

For the athlete, coach, and fan, it is important to understand what lies at the root of this idolatry. James 4:1-3 addresses this clearly:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Unmet desires in our hearts (good or bad) results in a demand that controls us and becomes an idol. This is common in sports. Sports provide us with happiness, fulfillment, and security. They motivate, master, and rule us. We trust, fear, and serve the god of sports all too often! So, how do we deal with this idolatry? I would suggest we take Ken Sande’s approach of asking ourselves some key X-ray questions that can reveal the true condition of our hearts. Once we see the sin in our hearts, we can then repent and renew our focus and worship of Jesus Christ while competing.

Ask yourself the following X-ray questions (apply to your sport):

1. What am I preoccupied with? What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night?
2. How would I answer the question: “If only _______, then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure”?
3. What do I want to preserve or to avoid at all costs?
4. Where do I put my trust?
5. What do I fear?
6. When a certain desire is not met, do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger, or depression?
7. Is there something I desire so much that I am willing to disappoint or hurt others in order to have it?

Before you take the field, it might be important to give yourself a spiritual X-ray examination and then repent and pursue the Lord!

Josh Reynolds
Central-Northeast Nebraska FCA

Tuesday, September 2, 2008