Friday, December 4, 2009

Hunting Tiger Woods


Here is a blog that Pastor CJ Mahaney wrote about the Tiger Woods story.

Tiger Woods wants his privacy back. He wants the media entourage to disappear from his life. He wants to be left alone so he can manage his personal problems in private. Not a chance.

The story began unfolding in the early hours of last Friday when he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a tree and a fire hydrant near his Florida home. He refused to speak with the police about the incident, raising curiosity about the circumstances. The story has now escalated into allegations of marital infidelity, and that generated a blog post from Tiger that stated, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.” This statement by Tiger has led most to believe that the allegations of infidelity are true.

For the rest of this story and a huddle lesson click here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jared Crick on Intensity

Recently, the Nebraska football team discussed the importance of playing with great intensity. Defensive lineman Jared Crick discusses the need here to fight through all circumstances on and off the field.
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Execution of the Son of God


John 18:1-19:37

The events of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution receive attention in chapters 18-19. Because John’s purpose was to present Jesus as the Messiah an Son of God, he produced evidence to substantiate this purpose throughout his accounting of Jesus’ passion. John’s account is very orderly and follows the logical flow of events” His rejection, His four trials, and his His crucifixion. As you read about Jesus’ final hours, give thanks for his sacrificial love.

You can download this week's lesson here. The study guide can be downloaded here.

John MacArthur: What role has athletics played in your ministry?

Dr. John MacArthur was recently asked question: What role has athletics played in your ministry? Here is the answer to that question along with amazing story of his old football coach becoming a Christian.

John MacArthur - Study Video from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do athletes violate the Tenth Commandment?



A reader of Phil Johnson's blog recently sent him this excellent question about the Tenth Commandment and how it applies to not only gambling but sports.

QUESTION: Do you think your principle ["if you merely participate in a gambling contest with a desire to win, you are guilty of coveting that which belongs to your neighbor"] applies exclusively to gambling, or does it apply to any and all forms of competitive activity? For example, if I enter a boxing match, or any other competitive activity, I am entering it to win. Does this mean that I am guilty of violating the tenth commandment by coveting my opponents title, belt, or even reputation? It seems to me that it does, but I'm not sure.

ANSWER: Possibly but not necessarily. There's nothing wrong with competing in a contest to win. The apostle Paul clearly commended that desire in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

There are undoubtedly times, however, when an athlete's motives might be tainted with sinful pride and even sinful ill-will toward the opponent. (I think that's been a pervasive problem in modern professional sports at least since the time of Cassius Clay.) But I don't think that's always necessarily a part of athletic competition, or Scripture would condemn athletics altogether.

What makes gambling different, and always wrong in my estimation, is that there's no way to win without actually hurting other competitors. Your victory costs them something real (not just their own pride or title), and what you win is something to which you have no legitimate entitlement. Therefore, I have suggested it's tantamount to stealing.

Winning someone else's title isn't nearly the same thing, because you are entitled (by definition) to compete for that. It isn't really the other person's personal and private possession—except for a stint between contests.

I made note of this obliquely in my description of why gambling is tantamount to stealing: "It is the taking of that which belongs to your neighbor and to which you have no right."

You couldn't say that about the title in a sporting contest. You have a right, if you have the ability, to be champion of the US Open. But if you win, that title is rightfully yours for only one year, unless you legitimately win it again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ron Brown on Isolation

Tight End Coach Ron Brown talked about biblical principal of "Isolation" following the Huskers 17-3 win over K-State. I will post a lesson here later in the week, but for now you can use the questions for study and discussion listed with Prince Amukamra's blog on isolation. video

Prince Amukamara on Isolation

Defensive back Prince Amukamara talked about biblical principal of "Isolation" following the Huskers 17-3 win over K-State. I will post a lesson here later in the week, but for now you could use these questions for study and discussion. You can also watch Coach Brown's post-game comments on "Isolation" as well.

Ice Breaker Questions
1. What is the biggest “turning point” you have experienced in sports?
Discussion Questions
1. How do you define a turning point in sports?
2. How can you completely forget an error or mistake during a competition?
3. Explain how turning points are usually mental and not physical.
Going Deeper Questions
1. Explain the concept of “isolation” and how you can apply to your workouts competitions.
2. Read Philippians 3:12-14. What does this verse mean by “reaching forward”? How can you “press on” with greater intensity?
3. How can you deliberately take positive action when things go badly?
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

With Christ in the Garden


John 15:1-17:26

Christ prayed, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (17:3-4 NKJV). Jesus glorified the Father by accomplishing His mission of providing eternal life to those who trust in Him, by reconciling lost men to the God they had forsaken. Jesus’ supreme purpose on earth was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). That is therefore also the supreme mission of Christ’s church.

You can download this week's lesson here. Check back later for the downloadable Study Guide for this passage.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Helu’s Faith Kept Him Grounded Through Injury and Challenges



Big games bring out the best in Roy Helu Jr.

Helu cited his faith as the source of his strength, enabling him battle through injury and persevere through some tough mental roadblocks in recent weeks.

Check out the personal thoughts Helu shared with Huskers.com in a recent Quick Hits interview at this link. You can download a lesson here on how Roy's faith has helped keep him grounded.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

With Christ in the Upper Room


John 13:1-14:31

It is tempting to compromise our commitment when the cost becomes too high. But the fact that Christians are sometimes disobedient, does not alter the truth that the character of the true disciple is manifest in obedience. Although imperfect obedience is inevitable because of the unredeemed flesh, the basic desire and life-direction of the true Christian is obedience to the Lord.

Whether it’s the desire to scream at the referees for a bad call or give your coach the stink-eye look when you’re benched or corrected for the wrong behavior, it’s important to remember that we are called to “be like Christ.” While our imperfect obedience is never to serve as an excuse for our bad behavior, it’s important to remember that when we do sin we have Savior; a mediator that took the punishment for our sins and gave us His perfect obedience. We must never forget during competition that we need a mediator. There isn’t a moment when we don’t need Christ. In light of the Father’s holiness and my sinfulness, I cannot approach Him directly apart from Christ. You can download this week's lesson here. Check back later for the downloadable Study Guide for this passage.

Soccer Match Turns Ugly on the Field


By now, you have probably watched the video of the New Mexico women’s soccer player whose antics at the last Thursday’s game against BYU were shown throughout the internet and TV. Elizabeth Lambert's hair-pulling, punching, slapping, squeezing and anything else that would fall under the umbrella of dirty play have been discussed on most sports programs. Julie Foudy was even featured on “SportsCenter” as a soccer expert to tell us that this type of behavior is over the line. It’s a sad commentary on our culture when we need an expert to tell us that yanking someone down by their ponytail doesn’t qualify as good sportsmanship.

For the Christian athlete or coach, the chief end of every athletic practice or competition is "to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." This goal directs every aspect of our participation in sports. Although, as Christians, we should compete with intensity, we should never compete in a manner that brings dishonor to the name of Christ. We should use the opportunity of competition to draw the attention to the more important "crown that will last forever," the prize of competing in a manner that pleases our Heavenly Father. Sports activities are given by God as an opportunity to bring glory to him.

Check back later in the week for a downloadable lesson on sportsmanship.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roy Helu and Ron Brown on Setbacks

Husker running back Roy Helu and Tight End Coach Ron Brown talk about setbacks following the Nebraska victory over Oklahoma. You can download the lesson here. video

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The King Enters Jerusalem


John 11:55-12:50

Enthusiasm was demonstrated by Mary’s act of unmeasured love. By pouring the expensive perfume on Jesus, she demonstrated her enthusiasm and adoration for Him. She did not selfishly seek a visible and tangible result from her generosity but without hesitation offered her most expensive earthly possession to the Lord in an act of adoring worship. Enthusiasm can be defined as lively, absorbing interest in each task. This week's lesson is here. The Leader's Guide is here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Resurrection and the Life


John 11:1-54
It's been two days since Travis Slingsby's funeral (see earlier blog). This passage is a great reminder of the hope we have in Christ. While Travis' many friends and family no doubt continue to grieve his loss, they should also rejoice that the same power that raised Lazarus will resurrect Travis in the future. Although it was the climactic miraculous sign of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the raising of Lazarus “could be only a pale anticipation of what was yet to come” Because of Jesus' resurrection, all believers (including Lazarus) will one day receive glorified, incorruptible bodies. Then, Paul writes, “this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (1 Cor. 15:54) This week's lesson is here. You can download the Leader's Guide here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Travis Slingsby on the Gospel


Early on October 22nd, 15-year-old Travis Slingsby was killed in a car accident while driving to Ansley High School. The accident was caused by a snow-slickened highway that made Travis lose control of his car and collide with an oncoming truck. Travis had been very involved with FCA.

Clay and Erin Mankin were very close to Travis as Clay coached him last year in Ansley and also worked with the FCA huddle. This year, Clay is teaching and coaching at Nebraska Christian Schools and Erin continues to serve with FCA in Central Nebraska. Clay had the privilege of speaking at his funeral to a gym packed with hundreds of friends and family. Clay read a Bible verse that Travis put in his locker to prepare for the upcoming football game with Loomis on Friday night. The sign had Romans 8:38-39 on it. I’m confident that it’s no coincidence that this was the Bible verse he selected to place in his locker.

You can download this week's lesson here. You can watch part of Clay Mankin's Eulogy here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reactions to the Son of God


John 7:1-10:42
The reading this week is very long so you may need to read just one of the chapters and focus on several of the questions in the lesson. The main point of this section of John’s Gospel can be summarized as high-intensity hatred, as the smoldering dislike of Christ erupts into a blazing inferno. Chapters 7 and 8 focus on Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Chapter 9 features the healing of the blind man. This is followed by Jesus’ discourse on being the Good Shepherd in chapter 10. The lesson is here. The leader's guide is here.

I Am Second Sam Bradford

Here is a recent interview with quarterback Sam Bradford (OU). You can find all three videos on our website which also includes Colt McCoy (Texas). The lesson is here.
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I Am Second Colt McCoy

Here is a recent interview with quarterback Colt McCoy (Texas). You can find all three videos on our website which also includes Sam Bradford (OU). The lesson is here.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

I Am Second (Both Colt and Sam)

Here is a recent interview with college quarterbacks Colt McCoy (Texas) and Sam Bradford (OU). You can find all three videos on our website. The lesson is here.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

A Narrow-Minded Pluralist Blitzes Tim Tebow


Erik Raymond (Omaha Bible Church) posted this article about Tim Tebow.

USA Today recently featured an article entitled, ‘And I’d Like to Thank God,’ by columnist and author Tom Krattenmaker that I found very interesting. Krattenmaker aimed to expose the unhealthy intolerance that is bred through the surge of evangelicalism within the big-time sports scene.

His issue really centers on the narrow beliefs of evangelicals and the overt effort by Christian leaders to baptize the sports scene in the waters of biblical exclusivity. The issue here for Krattenmaker is the resulting offense that fans feel when they find themselves on a different theological page then their favorite players.

Read the rest of the article here. Dr. Albert Mohler has also blogged on this USA Today article here. Pastor Kevin DeYoung wrote on this as well here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unheeded Miracles


John 5:1-6:71
Salvation is not through a creed, a church, a ritual, a pastor, a priest, or any other such human means—but through Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the bread of life,” Jesus declared; “He who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (6:35). There is a lot of Scripture to read this week so make sure you don't miss the main point which is salvation is through Jesus Christ only. You can download the Bible study here. You can download the Leader's Guide here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Curenski Gilleylen on Trust

Husker receiver Curenski Gilleylen talked about the character trait of trust. You can download the lesson here.
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The Gospel-Driven Life



Michael Horton’s new book, “The Gospel-driven Life” is helpful for any coach or athlete that wants to “Do Sports God’s Way.” The foundation for the Nebraska FCA is athletes and coaches being driven by God’s promises and directed by God’s purposes. Here is how Dr. Horton puts it in his book:

Are you driven by power, wealth, ambition, self-esteem, the acceptance of others? Or perhaps by nobler things, like making the world a better place, loving God and your neighbor, a sense of purpose and meaning? 

While affirming the importance of having clear goals and a worthy focus in life, I am urging us to put purposes in their place, as servants of promise. No longer under the law’s condemnation, the justified are free now to respond to God’s commands out of thanksgiving for the God whose character it displays and out of love our neighbors. The gospel saves us, giving us a reason to walk through the wilderness to the promised land, and the law guides us, giving us directions for that journey.

Christians are driven by God’s promises, and directed by God’s purposes

Read/Study Genesis 15 and Romans 4 for more on this point -- Gordon Thiessen

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10 Leadership Lessons Learned in 50 Years of Leadership



Pastor Chuck Swindoll, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award at Catalyst 09, offered the following lessons he has learned:
1. It’s lonely to lead. Leadership involves tough decisions. The tougher the decision, the lonelier it is.
2. It’s dangerous to succeed. I’m most concerned for those who aren’t even 30 and are very gifted and successful. Sometimes God uses someone right out of youth, but usually he uses leaders who have been crushed.
3. It’s hardest at home. No one ever told me this in Seminary.
4. It’s essential to be real. If there’s one realm where phoniness is common, it’s among leaders. Stay real.
5. It’s painful to obey. The Lord will direct you to do some things that won’t be your choice. Invariably you will give up what you want to do for the cross.
6. Brokenness and failure are necessary.
7. Attitude is more important than actions. Your family may not have told you: some of you are hard to be around. A bad attitude overshadows good actions.
8. Integrity eclipses image. Today we highlight image. But it’s what you’re doing behind the scenes.
9. God’s way is better than my way.
10. Christlikeness begins and ends with humility.

Reasons I Love Youth (FCA) Ministry


Here are some thoughts from Austin Duncan who serves as the High School Pastor at Grace Church. While he wrote these about high school ministry, I think they also apply to FCA ministry as well. I pray that you will be encouraged by them -- Gordon Thiessen

I love student ministry because:

1. I love evangelism (Matt 28:19). The wise youth minister is an evangelist at heart and desires to see young men and women give their lives to Christ. If we neglect to minister to students we lose an opportunity to preach the gospel.

2. Leadership is influence. It is a matter of fact that young people are easy to influence. Marketers use this for profit, schools further their agendas, and too often their influence over teenagers leads them away from the things of God and into worldliness.

3. I love the hope of their maturity. Colossians 1:28-29 encourages me to minister to students in such a way that spiritual progress will take place in their lives. I love seeing Christ’s maturing, sanctifying work in teenagers whose lives are devoted to Christ.

4. I love the thought of their potential. I look out at the young faces in our high school service on Sundays and see that ahead of them are life’s greatest blessings and challenges. Trials, temptations, battles, and joys await them. This is the outset of their walks with Christ. It is in these initial years they have the opportunity to learn spiritual disciplines they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ron Brown on Motivation after the Virginia Tech game

Following the Husker's loss to Virginia Tech, Tight End Coach Ron Brown talked about motivation. You can download a lesson on motivation here.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Living Water


John 4:1-54
If you're having trouble getting the group to talk, you might consider asking several opening questions like, "What one thing stood out to you in the encounter Jesus had with the woman at the well?" You can also go around the room and ask each person to answer the question. If the group is very large (more than 10 people) you might consider breaking into several smaller groups. You can download the lesson here. The study guide is here.

Roy Helu on the Gospel

Husker running back Roy Helu on the Gospel. You can download the lesson here. The Roy Helu player card can be downloaded here.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Must Be Born Again!


John 3:1-36
For those who attended the FCA Leadership Workshop, you might remember David Powlison's statement, “Don’t ever degenerate into giving advice unconnected to the good news of Jesus crucified, alive, present, at work, and returning.” This week's lesson is a good example of a group of religious leaders (Pharisees) that made this mistake. The Pharisees had made their religion ritualized and external. Having unchanged hearts, they replaced true religion with mere behavior modification and ritual. Remember that FCA is NOT just about providing “good advice.” Instead, we must always put first the “good news” before any good advice. Otherwise, our athletes will replace true religion with behavior modifcation and ritual like the Pharisees. Be sure to help your athletes understand the difference between true faith and religious behavior. You can download the lesson here. and the study guide here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Will Henry on Audience

Following the Huskers 55-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, Husker receiver Will Henry talked about the proper audience for a Christian athlete in sports. You can download the lesson here.
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Ron Brown on Audience

Following the Huskers 55-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, Husker Tight End Coach Ron Brown talked about the proper audience for a Christian athlete or coach in sports. You can download the lesson here.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sports in Focus Lesson Two


John 1:19-2:25

This week, you will be covering a lot of territory with plenty of important theological truths. Be sure to highlight the context of the passage and the keys to the text. Don't feel like you need to cover every single question. Because of time constraints, you might need to use only a few of the questions so you have enough time to cover the application point or the character quality of loyalty.

Here is the application point based upon Jesus' example during the wedding at Cana: When approaching your training or work schedule, be flexible when you need to change your plans to serve others without compromising your previous commitment. Jesus was able to remain loyal to his mother without compromising His public ministry.

You can download the entire lesson here. The leader's guide includes valuable commentary on the passage and can be downloaded here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Khiry Cooper on Consistency

Husker receiver Khiry Cooper talked about the character trait of consistency. You can download the lesson here.
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Ron Brown on Consistency

Husker Tight End Coach Ron Brown talked about the character trait of consistency. You can download here.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Be Like David...Not Like Mike

Voddie Baucham reflects on the two speeches given by David Robinson and Michael Jordan at this year's NBA Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Josh Reynolds
Central-Northeast Nebraska FCA

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sports in Focus Lesson One

This week's Sports in Focus study is John 1:1-18. You can download the lesson here and the leader guide here. I also recommend using an ESV Study Bible or MacArthur Study Bible. These are excellent resources that will provide extra insights into the Bible verses. The Apostle John's purpose for writing this gospel was evangelistic. He wrote, "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31). John wrote his gospel about 50 years after the death of Christ (80 to 90 AD). His book focused on Jesus being the Son of God. Today's Sports in Focus point is based upon John the Baptist serving as a forerunner for Jesus Christ. John's role was to prepare the way for Christ. Often players and assistant coaches find themselves in a similar support role. They might not be the starter but they need to pursue their role with all the heart (see Colossians 3:23).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Khiry Cooper on Winning God's Way

Following the Huskers 38-9 win over Arkansas State, Husker receiver Khiry Cooper talked about God's way of winning for the Christian athlete. You can download the lesson here. video

Ron Brown on Winning God's Way

Following the Huskers 38-9 win over Arkansas State, Husker receivers coach Ron Brown talked about God's way of winning for the Christian coach and athlete. You can download the lesson here.
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Ron Brown on God's Goal

Following the Huskers 49-3 win over Florida Atlantic, Husker receivers coach Ron Brown talked about God's goal for the Christian coach and athlete. You can download the lesson here.
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Matt May on God's Goal

Following the Huskers 49-3 win over Florida Atlantic, linebacker Matt May talked about God's goal for the Christian athlete. Prior to the game, 5,000 Matt May player cards which included his faith and football facts were distributed by FCA. You can download the lesson here.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Husker Matt May

This week FCA will be distributing 5,000 Matt May football cards at the Nebraska home opener. Here is a pregame interview with linebacker Matt May. Catch the postgame interview next Monday morning on this blog!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fall Conditioning

Ready:
Psalm 40:16 "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "The Lord be exalted!"

Set:
The fall sports season is here again and along with it comes a word that all athletes love to hear "conditioning"! You, along with every other athlete on your team are probably hopping at the chance to run and lift your tails off in preparation for your season...right? In all reality, this is probably not the case but allow me to provide some biblical perspective.

Psalm 40:16 makes an interesting statement when it says "May those who love your salvation always say, "The Lord be exalted!" When considering fall conditioning, it may seem impossible to say "The Lord be exalted!" After all, you are going through a significant amount of physical pain trying to make yourself physically stronger. But instead of focusing on the end result as we so often do, lets focus on the process and analyze our desires before God and His Word. According to this verse, loving your salvation apparently has something to do with you always doing what God desires in your life and saying in your heart "The Lord be exalted!" even during fall conditioning.

Go:
1. What does it mean to exalt something?

2. Do you understand what it is that you need to be saved from?

3. How is it possible to be saved? (www.morethanwinning.org)

4. How does Jesus' work on the cross change our perspective on fall conditioning?

5. Read James 1:2-4 and Romans 8:28-29. What is God trying to do in our lives through the tough things we go through like fall conditioning?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NFL Draft humbles Copper

From Jon Copper’s blog we read, “My agent called this morning, and I received an invitation to the Packers minicamp this weekend. Best-case scenario would be if things go well and they like me, then they’ll offer me a free agent contract while I’m up there. . . . C.J. Mahaney in his wonderful little book ‘Humility: True Greatness’ wrote, ‘Humility is our greatest friend.’ I must say that the past 12 or so hours have been humbling, knowing things are out of my hands at this point, and knowing that all my other friends on the team that have come out either got signed or drafted. It’s not so much that I care about what the outcomes are; it’s just the not knowing what is next that can unsettle me.” Click here for this week's lesson.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hall passes test at Boston Marathon

America’s newest marathon sensation, Ryan Hall, is a religious, introspective 26-year-old who hopes someday to leave a legacy by bringing peace to the world and help to the less fortunate according to the Boston Herold. Yesterday, Hall did his best to leave an imprint on the 113th Boston Marathon by finishing in third place in 2:09:40. He is the only American man to finish in the top three in the race since 1985. “I’m not disappointed at all,” said Hall, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. “I ran the very best I could, especially coming off the Olympics (where he placed 10th in 2:12:53). I thought this was a step in the right direction for me. I’m 26 years old and I feel like I’m learning so much all the time. Click here for the rest of today's lesson.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Death of top pitching prospect


Los Angeles Angels rookie Nick Adenhart, just hours after fulfilling his dream of being a full-time big-league starter, was killed by a suspected drunk driver.

Most of us avoid making eye-contact with death. Though we might avoid the obituary section in the newspaper, eventually each one of us will face it. C.H. Spurgeon said, “We know that we will die. But we tend to imagine that it will be far off somewhere in the distance. But death will not spare us because we avoid him.” This week's lesson here teaches the purpose of death and importance of the resurrection of Christ.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Griffin leaves mark on NCAA













Even in defeat, Blake Griffin had few doubters that he is the best basketball player in college. After Oklahoma’s loss to North Carolina in the South Regional NCAA tournament, many fans and reporters wondered if they had seen the last of him. His sophomore season ended with a 23-point, 16 rebound game leading to speculation that he will likely turn pro next year after making his mark on the NCAA this year. When his coach was asked if his 6-foot-10 star player’s college career was over, Sooner coach Jeff Chapel said, “It probably is, but we’ll see.”

What’s true in sports, is also true spiritually. There are certain characteristics or fruit as described in the “fruits of the Spirit” that mark a person’s spiritual life (Galatians 5:22-23). Click here for this week's Doing Sports God's Way lesson on the "Marks of a Committed Christian."

Blake Griffin's involvement with FCA...
"I first started going to FCA when I was a freshman (in high school) at Oklahoma Christian School. I was actually one of the class officers as a freshman, and that’s really when I first started going. Throughout high school and throughout college I've gone. I haven’t gone as much since I’ve been here just because my schedule hasn’t really allowed it sometimes, but I’ve been a Christian my whole life, been in the church my whole life. I was saved when I was 6, and I go to Life Church now."

Gordon Thiessen

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Christ-Centered Passion in a Sports-Centered Culture

Let the madness begin! As conference tournaments come to an end we are seeing teams enter into the magical journey of the Big Dance. Basketball fans across the country are strategizing the best ways to see as many games as possible and are going to extreme lengths to make it happen. Every office in the country is itching to start their bracket pool. People are planning their “sick days” for opening weekend. To sum it up, passion is running rampant.

What a person is passionate about is a great test of the heart. With that in mind we all need to check where our passion lies. It is a fact that we all live in a very sports centered culture. If you are reading this blog then there is a good possibility that you are one of those crazies who will be watching game after game.

Let me take a moment to clarify. Passion is not bad. In fact, God is the one who created us to be passionate people. When it becomes sinful—idolatry—is when our passion for March Madness (or any other athletic venues) outweighs our passion for Christ. So enjoy athletics and be entertained. I know I am! But remember where your true source of joy comes from.

So, as March Madness comes storming in, where will your passion lie? Is the Gospel something that gets your blood pumping? We need to immerse ourselves in the truth of the Gospel and God’s Word so that passion just pours out of us at the thought of Christ. If not, maybe this March marks the time that we all need to prioritize what drives us in life.

Brian Conklin
Omaha FCA Area Director

Friday, March 6, 2009

Coach Spotlight with Mark Leonard


I recently sat down with Mark Leonard to ask him questions about his faith, family, and coaching. Mark is the head boy's basketball coach at Leigh High School in Nebraska and he and his wife, Deana, serve as the huddle coaches for the Leigh FCA huddle.



Describe how you felt called to coach?

When I was in college, I really didn’t know what I wanted to be only that I had a love for sports and I wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. I tried several different majors in college such as Pre-Med and Accounting, but none of these areas seemed right for me. The Lord led me to try some education classes and I fell in love with the many positives that I could have in one’s life through education and with coaching. The coaching profession is difficult, but I know that by staying consistent with my philosophies, I am making a positive difference with the athletes and students I get to work with on a daily basis.

What is your favorite part about coaching sports?


My favorite part of coaching is when I see my players living up to their God-given potential both on and off the playing fields. I love to teach my players about the details that go along with each sport and help instill positive character traits that will benefit them throughout their lifetimes.

What is the biggest struggle you have as a coach?

The biggest struggle I have as a coach is keeping my priorities always in order during the sport seasons. Due to the pressures and the time commitments it takes to be a good coach, one’s priorities can easily get out of order. To overcome this struggle, I start each morning out by reading the Bible to get into the correct frame of mind for the day. My family understands how important coaching is to me and they are very supportive. As a family, we always try to eat our night meal together whenever possible. Sports are a major part of my life, but I always have to keep it into perspective that they are not the most important part of my life. My relationship with God and my family must always take priority.

How do you connect your faith in Jesus Christ with your job as a coach?


As a coach, my faith in Jesus Christ has allowed me to get through some difficult times during my coaching career where at the same time, it has always reminded me to stay humble with my coaching achievements. Through my faith in Jesus Christ, I am better able to deal with disappointments and to better put these setbacks into perspective. What Jesus Christ went through on the cross for us cannot even compare to any failures or defeats one experiences as a coach. As a Christian, I know that not all circumstances with coaching are going to be pleasant, but by keeping my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, I am able to keep a positive outlook on each season.

How do you balance family time with your coaching?

It is all about keeping your priorities in focus. My wife and I have three young children and we have made it a priority to raise our children in a Christian home. I know it is important that I make time for my family, which means coaching must be put on hold sometimes. It is important for me to be a positive role model to my family and that means making the time to be both a good husband and good father. When the balancing act of coaching starts to outweigh my relationship with God and my family, I know it is time to refocus and better prioritize what is most important to me.


Josh Reynolds
Area Director
Central-Northeast Nebraska FCA

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Legacy



Long time NC State Head Women's Basketball Coach Kay Yow knows what it means to leave a legacy. Not only did she impact the NCAA record books and pour into countless lives throughout the years, she desired to max out all the way to the end, even through making the address at her own funeral through video. As you watch this video, think of what kind of legacy you are leaving. Is it for the world, you, or the Lord?

Robbie Trent
Lincoln-Southeast Nebraska FCA

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sportsmanlike Conduct?

One of my favorite things to watch in sports is when there is an amazing display of sportsmanship. I believe God desires each athlete and coach to display sportsmanship every time they step out into their athletic competition. We are commanded in scripture in Romans 8:29, “To be conformed to the image of Christ” which really is the absolute model for sportsmanship in athletics.

However, I do believe there is great caution that we need to take in our view of sportsmanship. It is crucial to look deeper into the heart of the sportsmanlike act to see if it truly is pleasing to God. What does that mean? It all goes back to the motivation of the person engaging in the sportsmanlike act. Why are they doing it? For whose Glory is it being done?

Countless times in my life I have sinned because I tried to do things because I knew it would look good to those onlookers. From a bystanders point of view it may look selfless and loving. Inwardly I did it because I knew they would think that. So when does sportsmanship become pleasing to God? Simple, it is pleasing to God when the sportsmanlike act is completed for the Glory of God and not for anything else. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

So next time you pat someone on the back or help them up when you knock them down, evaluate your reasoning for doing it. To God be the Glory!

Brian Conklin
Omaha FCA Director

Friday, February 27, 2009

FCA Endurance Competitor Spotlight


Lige Reed of Minden, NE recently sat down with me to answer some questions about his participation in the FCA Endurance Ministry. Lige is on the Central Nebraska FCA Leadership Team and is an active volunteer with the FCA ministry.

How and why did you get involved with endurance races and the FCA Endurance Ministry?

I really felt called by God to do a Triathlon. Not because he was going
to make me a champion but because I needed to stretch myself and do
something that I knew I would have to rely completely on him if I was going
to finish the race. I have never been a competitive swimmer, bicyclist, or
runner so doing any one of these things would have been a challenge but to
do all three in the same race was a huge challenge that only God could pull
me through. Also as Huddle coach it gave me more opportunities with the
students to talk about training, why I train, why I started competing and
then it grew into helping them to understand why they are competing and for
whose glory.

Team FCA Endurance was relatively new when I started racing and their big
outreach question is "Why do you race". I thought this was an awesome
opportunity to give myself some accountability while I competed and trained,
that my focus would have to be completely on Christ. It was also an
opportunity to learn about the endurance world from believers who were also
competing for Christ. FCA in general is a huge part of my life with working
with students on a weekly basis to working with or at some of the state
events. Sports are a huge platform in our world today and what FCA is doing
by working with and teaching athletes and coaches is something that needs to
be done and something I wanted to stand behind, support, and make more
awareness of.

Why do you compete?

There are many reasons why I have kept on competing. After my first event
I fell in love with the triathlon world. I have played other sports
throughout my life, all team sports. But I have never seen such
encouragement and building up of people as I have seen while competing in a
triathlon, from the overall winner to the person that finishes last everyone
supports each other. Being in a small town most of my training time is just
me and God. To go out for a long ride or run is a great time to lose the
world around you and just spend time with God. It has also been a way for me
to stay healthy for my family, and be a good example for my family to lead a
healthier lifestyle. My oldest daughter at 5yrs old was able to run in her
first kids fun run last year wearing and representing Christ with her FCA
Endurance gear. One of the biggest motivators is the opportunity to run
alongside people who don't know Jesus. You can be an encouragement to them
and build them up during a hard time in the race, and you also basically
have a captive audience to start a discussion about Christ.

How do you discipline yourself to focus on the Lord while competing?

During competition and training I will recite to myself parts of the
Competitors Creed, and will try and memorize verses to get me through the
hard times. During easy training times or times during races that I am
feeling pretty good I will take those opportunities to be in prayer to God
and in Praise of God. The First verse I memorized for competing was Psalm
73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
and My portion forever.

What races have you competed in and what are your plans for this next year?

This last year I was able to compete in the Papillion Mayor's Triathlon,
and the Dallas Running Club's 1/2 Marathon. This next year I am hoping to
add a few more races into the year that I have not done before and are a
little longer in distance.

Josh Reynolds
Central-Northeast Nebraska FCA

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is It In You?

This quote has become synonymous with the thirst quencher, Gatorade. It's unbelievable how a sports drink has infiltrated and dominated the sports world. Since the Gatorade corporation has changed their marketing approach to "G," they have put undercover operatives on campuses around the country to pass out all kinds of free "G" gear and to celebrate "G" moments, just to spread the "G" name to all that might see or hear.

This got me thinking. "G" has become extremely important to those individuals. If they are going to such great lengths to tell people about something that temporarily replenishes, why don't we do the same for God and His Gospel, which eternally replenishes. Paul informs the church at Corinth that the Gospel has become the most important thing in his entire life.

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

The only way we can follow Paul's example is to first make sure the Gospel is in us. We do this by acknowledging the fact that we are a sinner, which means we say, do, and think things that don't please God, who is holy and perfect. Then, we must realize that because of our sins, there is a debt that must be paid to God. We often try to repay this on our own, but the truth is that only One can fully pay off this debt. Jesus Christ, God's one and only perfect Son, died on the cross "according to the Scriptures" on our behalf. On the third day, Christ rose from the dead and overcame the grips of sin. He Himself says in Revelation 3:4, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Once we confess with our mouth that Jesus is the only source of refreshment we need and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, He will be in us forever.

Is He In You?

Robbie Trent
Lincoln-Southeast Nebraska FCA

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hope in Defeat

Tonight I just watched one of the most heartbreaking losses I have ever seen. Nebraska was playing in their home arena against Big 12 foe Texas A&M. Coming into this game both teams were still considered infamous bubble teams for the NCAA Tournament.

Throughout the night Nebraska controlled the tempo and seemingly had a clutch win at their fingertips. As time went on Texas A&M slowly chipped away at the Nebraska lead. By the last minute everyone in the building knew it would come down to the last possession. With 15 seconds to go, an A&M player drove the lane and missed an open layup which was tipped out by Ade Dagunduro to the other end of the court. A Nebraska player rushed down with great effort in an attempt to save the ball, but was unsuccessful as A&M was awarded the ball with about 5 seconds to play. A&M ended up with an in bounds play at mid court with about two seconds left on the clock and managed to execute a three point shot with a hand in the face to perfection.

For A&M it was a narrow escape. For Nebraska it was a complete heartbreaker. As a Christian athlete, how do you handle this feeling of defeat? To answer this question, I believe that you have to go back to God’s goal. Romans 8:29 makes it clear that God’s goal is “to be conformed to the image of Christ.” If this goal is understood by the Christian athlete, then there is a sense of wonderful hope. Though disappointment is expected and okay, the wonderful hope that we have in Christ reminds us that God wants to “Conform us to His image” no matter if we win or lose. What does that look like? Since a believer is promised fruit of the Spirit when Christ indwells them, then it should be expected that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5) will be evident in the locker room, at home, in practice the next days and all else that the Christian athlete might be doing.

Brian Conklin
Omaha FCA Director

Friday, February 13, 2009

Always Be Prepared



"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always Be Prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

As athletes, we are sometimes asked to give an account of a performance, team, or situation. We must realize Peter's words are in the command form. We are first called to acknowledge our need for Christ and to set Him at the core of our being to reign over our lives, because of the ultimate sacrifice He made on the cross to pay the debt we owe to God for our sins. Then, we are charged to take each and every one of those opportunities and maximize it for the "hope that we have" in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Opportunities take many different forms. It's not only when a microphone is stuck in your face. It's also an opportunity anytime when your response is asked of a family member, friend, teammate, or coach. This isn't an automatic response. That's where the, "Always be prepared," comes in. We must train ourselves in preparation for these moments before they even happen. This may be what seems like a daunting task. So, here's an example of how one athlete, Husker Basketball player Ade Dagunduro, had trained himself to point to Christ and was able to "give the reason for the hope that he had."

"Ade Dagunduro pointed his index finger into the air at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, and a swarm of Cornhusker fans surrounded him at midcourt after Nebraska's 58-55 win against NO. 16 Texas on Saturday.

'That was big.' the senior said of the moment. 'I said a little prayer. I said,'No matter what happens. I'm going to give you the glory.' talking to my heavenly father. And that's what I did, give him all the glory." -Kris Knowlton, Daily Nebraskan

(To see the interview, click here. Scroll through the sports highlights and then click on "Dagunduro Too Big For Texas")

Robbie Trent
Lincoln-Southeast Nebraska