Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Own Superbowl

It is only three weeks away! On Sunday February 6th, 2011, 98% of us will most assuredly be sitting in front of the television; chips and dip, barbeque wings, soda and friends, watching the Super Bowl. As I was sitting here at the kitchen table this night trying to figure out a topic which would be beneficial to write about, I was once again surprised at the method God sometimes will use to send us inspiration. I am currently watching the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers play and began thinking about the game of football. I will begin by stating that I don’t believe there is a better sport out there. Such dynamics, such passion, such dedication in the sport as I have never seen before. And as I thought more and more about it, the more I thought about how comparable it is to our lives here on Earth…

Our Offensive Strategy:

If you have an expectation of winning in any sport, you must score. This is the importance of our offense in life. We are up against Satan and his followers, a very tough and determined enemy. Their one and only goal and desire is to beat us in this game we are playing. They are prepared and have the necessary tools and plays to accomplish this if we are not prepared to put up a good fight. Satan is all about trying to prevent us to reach our end zone of Heaven. However, just as any good team, we have all the tools needed to win the game (quarterback, running back, wide receivers, and a decent coach). We have everything we need to win if we only choose to use them in the right ways. 

1: God Himself (Our Coach):

While we may have Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan, Jason Garrett, and Lovie Smith; there is one coach who trumps them all. God has always been and will always be the best coach we could ever ask for. Imagine having a coach who knew the other teams plays before they were called. Imagine a coach who knew exactly which way the offense was planning on running before the quarterback ever said “Hike!”. If your team had a coach such as this, do you think you would ever loose a game? I highly doubt it! Well, whether you believe it or not, we DO have a coach that knows the opposing team’s game plan. In Psalms 139: 1-6 it says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged my behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I cannot attain it.”

If you believe that God knows what we are feeling and thinking on the inside, then you can rest assured that God knows the plans of Satan as well. God is all knowing. From the beginning of time God has known what Satan has had in mind. He has known what his plans and desires were. Friends, if you were on any sports team and your coach knew what the other team was planning, wouldn’t you trust what he wanted you to do to counteract that? You would if you had any brains at all. I will tell you now, GOD KNOWS THE PLANS OF SATAN!! HE KNOWS EACH MOVE HE WILL MAKE! So…. why don’t you trust in Him? Just as stupid as it would be for a player not to trust a coach who knows the opposing teams play, it is equally stupid that we don’t trust God! He knows how to best coach us and He will never lead us wrong!

2: The Holy Bible (Our Playbook)

In most sports, a playbook is crucial. We need to have a plan of attack. Teams will spend several weeks or months before the season begins studying and practicing what is in the playbook. A typical sporting event last no more than 1 to 2 hours, maybe a little bit more. Our life is sure a lot longer and a lot more complicated. Yet we have a for sure playbook. No matter what we are up against in our lives, the Bible is here for us to use and grow from. It will help us fight the battle against Satan and earn our reward in Heaven. I promise you that no matter what you may be up against in life… you can and will find the answer in the Holy Word. But just as you must with any playbook, you must study and follow the Bible. It doesn’t matter if you have a 100% guaranteed playbook if you don’t follow what it says. It doesn’t matter if you go into the game not knowing what the plays are. You must know what is expected of you. Back when I was in High School I played on the football team. It always surprise me to see the difference between those players who knew the playbook like the back of their hands, and those who didn’t. But as surprising as it was, the difference was simple; those who knew the playbook played, those who didn’t sat on the sidelines. The reason behind it is obvious. The coach knows that if his team doesn’t know the plays inside and out, they will for sure fail. I personally don’t know all things regarding God or our salvation, but I can tell you this without a shadow of doubt: If you study, learn, and follow the Bible, you will win the game every time! Take advantage of what has been given to you. Don’t let it collect dust on your shelf. Use it. After all, it is a free bit of knowledge and insight.

3: Jesus Christ  (Our Quarterback)

In the game of football, the quarterback is considered the backbone of the team. Without him the team would be worthless, for he is the one calling the shots and making the plays happen. In life, we have been given a #1 draft pick of a quarterback as the world has never seen before. Not only does our quarterback know the best play to call in EVERY situation, but he has been though every situation. If you were the coach of a team, what would be your reaction to a quarterback who had played every position, succeeded in every position, and in every aspect of the game, was 100% accurate? Of course you would do everything in your power to get him playing for you.

Our Lord and Savior is each of our quarterbacks. He knows what He is doing! Let Him guide you each and every play. Even in those times of doubt when you think the game is over and you don’t stand a chance, your Savior will come forth for you to make the game winning play. Just as each of you have probably heard in regards to football, trust in your quarterback, no matter what. Friends, TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST!!! He is fighting the same fight as you! He has been there and knows what to do to lead you to victory!

Our Defensive Strategy:

Just as important as it is for us to play an offensive game, we must play on the defensive side as well. First an foremost, what is the purpose of the defensive in any sport? It is to prevent the offense from progressing. No matter how hard we try or what we do, Satan will always be playing an offensive game. He is going to try and convince us to do that which is wrong and against God. So what can we do as a team to help prevent us from being defeated by this very strong offensive drive? 

1: Pray

Friends, I cannot stress this one enough. We must talk and ask of God in every aspect of our lives! If you watch an NFL football game you will notice on both offense and defense, there will be one player who has a little green sticker on the back of their helmet. For any of you who have never known what this sticker is for, it is to indicate the two players who have a headset built into their helmet to listen to the coach on the sidelines. No matter if we are playing the offensive side or the defensive, we have a direct link to our coach to see what he wants us to do. Listen and pay attention! Unlike any sport, if we follow what our coach says, we will never fail.

2: Read Your Bible

This is just as important to do on as it is on offense. The defense also has a playbook to follow. This is full of different ways of preventing the offence from progressing forward. I have always been irritated with former commentator John Madden. The reason is he always had a tendency to state that which was completely obvious, to those who both knew the sport, and who didn’t. One of my favorite quotes he made was this, “You know Al, that‘s the purpose of the defense. To come up with a technique and strategy to stop the offense from scoring!” No duh!! As ridiculous as this sounds though, we can still learn from it. Satan is on the move and we need to know how to best stop him. Our Bible is just as good as an offensive guide as a defensive guide. 

We will all make mistakes throughout the course of our live. We will give up that big play and lose a lot of yards. Does this mean the team has a reason to quit? No! We need to learn from it and make the stop next time. I guarantee that whatever problems we will face in life, we can find a way to put a stop to it if we will only study and trust in the Bible, our playbook.

3: Learn From Our Experiences:

Only one team in the NFL has ever had a perfect season, that is to never loose a game throughout the entire year. This was the Miami Dolphins in 1972. Unlike the Dolphins this year, we will all make mistakes and not of us are perfect. But the trick is to learn from what we do wrong. After each week, teams will spend hours watching the videos of the game and pointing out each and every mistake made. They will make note of these problems and throughout the week practice on correcting them. 

We cannot let our mistakes ruin the season for us! We have to learn from them and move on. Each night as we are laying in bed waiting to fall asleep, dedicate this time to review our previous plays. Look back on all we did right as well as the mistakes we made. But just as importantly, let each and every one of us practice and learn from them so that in the future we can play a more perfect game. 

Friends, I pray for each of you that you can play the best game you can. Do all you can in life to learn and grow. Be prepared for an extremely difficult opponent who is just as ready to face you as you are to face him. He knows a lot and has lots of experience. But we are lucky enough to have a coach who has been through even more. God knows what He is doing. He has picked a star quarterback to guide us and lead us to victory. And He has a foolproof playbook which has the answer to any situation we may encounter. Trust in your Lord and your God and I can promise you we will win the game 100% of the time.

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