Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Go..Go..Go Team Go"

College football is here again! I hope your favorite team won this weekend. I am an Alabama fan and was glad to see it defeat one of the top teams in the country. I was hosting my radio show during the game and only got to see bits and pieces of it between songs. Luckily there was a TV in the production room at the station. But something major happened during the course of the game that changed it forever for me. I have always enjoyed college football, but I think I lost a great deal of passion for the game tonight. The Georgia Dome was jam-packed with thousands of screaming fans, some of which have been waiting in the parking lot since Wednesday. Sometime during the game, my mind switched from football to Jesus. What happened at that moment is very hard to explain. I don't know if I am right or if I am wrong for feeling the way that I all of a sudden felt. But I do know that something in me changed forever.

Why do we tend to get so fired-up for a college football game but not as fired-up for Jesus? Think about it for just a second. We plan months in advance to go see a big game. We spend our very hard-earned money for over-priced tickets. We take off work and head to the game many hours, and sometimes even days before kickoff. We walk into the stadium along with tens of thousands of other die-hard fans. We cheer our heads off when our team scores a touchdown, and almost cry when the other team scores. We experience so much emotion from this game. But why don't we also experience the same amount of emotion for Jesus? When was the last time we arrived at church hours before the service started and "tail-gated" in the parking lot with other die-hard Jesus fans? When was the last time we placed our hard-earned money in the offering plate? When was the last time we stood up and cheered our heads off when another person accepted Christ? Please don't get me wrong. I am not judging anyone, nor am I saying there is anything wrong with having so much passion for college football. But for me personally, tonight I felt guilty that I don't have the same amount of passion for Jesus. It hurts me to know I can sit 3 or 4 hours in front of a college football game, but after just 15 minutes at church, I begin starring a hole in my watch. Oh Lord, please forgive me.

I Peter 2:2 says, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation."

My dear heavenly father, thank you so much for college football. Please forgive me, though, for being more excited about some games than I am about You. It is so hard to admit that. But You already know what is in my heart, and I beg You to please get me more fired-up for Christ. I can not do that alone. I need You for every single thing in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.


  1. Hi Al,

    I heard a similar thing in church recently, and I'm still not sure it's a valid comparison. I can see at least three ways in which it is not.

    1. The Takeaway. Contrary to the name "supporters", many fans part with their money in order to be thrilled and entertained by a spectacle. It's comparable to a movie or a concert. They are there for what they can get out of it - not what they can put into it. Is that a desirable attitude towards church?

    2. Game Day. Nobody 'tailgates' at tuesday lunchtime. It happens on gameday, because that's the only time the team is active. Is that a desirable attitude towards God?

    3. Off-field action. The junk-food at games, the XXXL clothing merchandise, and (to be frank) the shape of many sports fans, prompts me to think this is the nearest they get to actual sport. I wonder how many football fans have even touched a football in the past year. In a worst-case scenario watching the activity can even become a substitue for doing activity. It was once said that football was a scenario of "22 people desperately in need of a rest, being watched by 50,000 people desperately in need of exercise". Is this a desirable attitude towards discipleship?

    In summary, if we are to take inspiration from sport, I suggest we aim to be more like the players than the fans. Players eat, sleep and breathe the game. It is a part of their lives every day of the year. Their life is centred around improving their game, such that they be more effective. Every now and again they come together to do something so great that thousands are attracted to it. (Matthew 5:16)

    ps. regarding your boredom after 15-minutes in church. There is no base for guilt about this. I can heartily recommend "Why Men Hate Going to Church" by David Murrow.

  2. Allen, I'm not sure I am onboard with this one. I wonder if you're being unduly harsh on yourself?

    You have every bit as much passion for Christ as you have for college football. As a matter of fact, I'd argue that you have MORE passion for Christ. Much, much more. It's an altogether different disposition of passion, though.

    In your devotions, your zeal for the Lord radiates. You actually remind me a bit of Martin Luther, in that you are open about your ups and your downs with God (as Luther was).

    Few of us attain that level of atonement and kinship with Him; most of us tend to seek Him when we are at the end of our proverbial ropes or when something super-extraordinary befalls us. You, though, seek Him in every channel and facet. That is the epitome of commitment and passion.

    And, in my humble opinion, your being less than enthused at church is a byproduct of the delivery of the message and the somber environment ... not an indication that you're anything less than fully and enthusiastically engaged in your rapport with Christ.

    My unsolicited two cents' ...