Posts Tagged ‘Sports’


Does God Care Whether Tim Tebow Wins?

Writing in the Atlantic, Owen Strachan writes the column lot of us wanted to write, but couldn’t. A great, great piece answering the question, “Does God want Tebow to win?” A key paragraph:

But what happens when Tebow loses? What happens if my New England Patriots, a team I have loved since Dave Meggett was getting stuffed on every punt return and Drew Bledsoe was completing cannon-like passes to more sideline coaches than receivers, steamroll the Broncos, as they did earlier in the season? Has God capriciously retracted his blessing on this All-American golden-boy, who runs like a lion yet speaks like a Sunday-school teacher?

Do yourself a favor and read the whole piece: Does God Care Whether Tim Tebow Wins on Saturday?


Friday Five- Brian Goins

Brian Goins is a pastor and author. He developed numerous study guides, workbooks, and Bible for ministries such as Insight for Living (Chuck Swindoll) and Walk Through the Bible. He’s also a speak for Family Life Today’s Marriage to Remember Conferences. He’s the lead pastor at Renaissance Bible Church in Concord, North Carolina.

Recently, Brian released a terrific new book on marriage for men entitled, Playing Hurt. He stopped by today to answer five questions with today’s Friday Five.

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Why Hobbies are Better When They are Not Idols

John Calvin famous said our hearts are great “idol-making factories.” A good, wholesome, beneficial pursuit can quickly become an idol. For me, I find that my pleasurable hobbies can often lead to idolatry. Sports is perhaps the biggest threat. I’m a big time fan of team sports. I love the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball (when our Chicago teams are competitive.). Sports is a terrific way to enjoy leisure time, great way to occupy creative and emotional parts of our minds and to find common ground with others. But it can also become an obsessive pursuit. Let me explain.

There are seasons when I’m so completely locked in on sports. For instance, last NBA offseason and the season were terrific, perhaps one of the best in many years in the League. During that season I was checking Twitter constantly to see where LeBron might be signing. I watched many regular season games and most playoff games. And I was constantly listening to sports radio in the car. None of those are wrong, but they began to consume my time. In increasing amounts.

And do you know what was interesting about this newfound idol? It didn’t satisfy. When I began to look to my sports addiction as something that can fill me when I’m discouraged or distract when I’m convicted by the Spirit, it became a lousy friend. The reason for this is simple. Sports was never created to satisfy me. It can only bring temporary pleasure or enjoyment and provide a prism thru which I may appreciate and glorify God more.

I’ve found something else interesting. When I unplug from sports (or whatever my idol is that season) and dive deeper into the Word through prayer, preaching, and good reading, I find I still have an affinity for sports like the NBA, but I tend to enjoy my limited exposure to it. Do you understand what I’m saying? Too much of a pursuit/hobby I love not only becomes a bad thing, it becomes a terribly object of worship. But when sports is in its rightful place in my life, I find my limited moments indulging become true enjoyment. The expectations for satisfaction are way lower. Sports becomes what it was supposed to be for me: a time to rest, relax, reflect, unwind. But not my Master and my source of delight.

Only God gives this. And our hearts are wired only to find pleasure in Him. So the answer, I guess, is not to completely abandon all good things that can be turned into great, but it is to keep them in their place. When our pursuits begin to look like worship, we should scale back, dive back into the Word, and then realize we only find life in Jesus.


Big Ben and The Sporting Culture

I am a huge sports fan. Every day I try to sneak in at least a few minutes of Sportscenter every day to get my daily fix. I regularly read and tune into sports radio in the car on occasion. I played basketball (not very well) in high-school and twice a week play pick-up games at a local church. My favorite sport is the NFL. I love football on Sundays after church.

So you have to know that I’ve been following the Ben Rothlisberger story with interest. Ben is one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, but apparently off the field, his morality is very loose. It has the proud Steeler’s organization thinking trade and the NFL talking suspension. But something struck me in the statement Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner made yesterday in a memo to all the NFL teams. He urged them to act and not cover up criminal offenses. That’s good. He urged them to remind the players who they play for, etc. That’s also good.

But this little nugget struck me:

We must conduct ourselves in a way that “is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.”

The Commissioner wants players to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the “values upon which the league is based.” What are those values? This got me to thinking. Maybe Big Ben was conducting himself in a manner consistent with league values. And maybe that’s the problem.

All you have to do is watch an NFL game and you get a good education on league values: drinking, sex, and violence. Now I’m a huge football fan, but as a Christian, you must have your finger on the fast-forward button and your eyes ready to look away during an average football game. The league makes billions on beer sponsorships. Sure, they give the obligatory “be responsible” tag at the end, but honestly every commercial portrays “the good life.” They use scantily clad women and sexual innuendo to sell beer. The message is clear: all the cool people are drinking and messing around. Then you have the Super Bowl, which is less about the game and more about the big giant party. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and other sports media giants make millions of off swimsuit editions. And I’m not even thinking about the huge link between sports and gambling. Do you see where I’m going?

You pay guys like Ben Rothlisberger millions of dollars. You send the message consistently that drinking and sex are what the cool people do. And you wonder why guys like him actually act on on the values you project.

Now, I’m not condoning Ben’s reprehensible behavior toward women. He will stand before His maker one day. I pray that Ben uses this time of brokenness and humility to see His need for a Savior. At the end of the day, Ben’s sin is a choice. He can’t blame the devil or the worldly system. Adam and Even lived in Eden and still fell. Sin lurks at the door of the human heart.

Yet the sports media, which engages the locker-room, frat-house lifestyle, is hypocritical in suddenly acting self-righteous about Big Ben. The Commissioner’s concern about “the values of the league” ring hollow. And sports franchises getting all religious is somewhat hypocritical. Because all of these entities promote the worldly, undisciplined lifestyle that Big Ben is living to excess.

It powerfully proves a Biblical point. Sin always has a wonderful, alluring package, but while it may offer a season of pleasure, it always leads to death. If the sporting culture really, really wanted to solve the problem rather than covering it up, it would abandon its greedy partnership with the baser instincts of our society, such as drinking and illicit sexual activity.

It’s foolish for us as a society to wonder why we get stories like Big Ben’s when we so eagerly push the behaviors that lead to it.