Super Bowl Sunday

While we take a break from the action of Spirit-Driven Soccer to give our bodies a chance to rest, here’s an idea for the keeper of your soul.  Unless something radical occurs, the Patriots are likely to display their offensive arsenal and blow out the Seahawks.  Many people will be more excited by the halftime show than the football game.  The halftime entertainment won’t likely refuel your soul.  So why not plan ahead and prepare your own “sports talk” and turn off the TV during the Super Bowl halftime show and provide some soul food for your family and friends.  Perhaps our “soccer talks” will set in motion a pattern for you to follow at home when you and your loved ones gather to watch sporting games on television.  All you need to do is start with the language of the game and create a bridge into a spiritual conversation.  The more you do it the easier it becomes.  Don’t worry about how people might react.  No matter what you do in life, some will love it, and some won’t.  Be intentional about feeding your soul and caring for the souls of those around you.

Perspective

One of our beloved Spirit-Driven Sports board members is a die-hard Buckeye fan.  Hearing stories of first and second string quarterbacks getting injured may make Buckeye fans cry.  But what happens when you win a semifinal game with your third string quarterback?  Maybe you didn’t think the Buckeyes would win.  Is winning the big game too difficult for the Buckeyes?

One of my favorite Old Testament prophets, Jeremiah, also suffered great losses as God’s messenger.  He prayed, “O Sovereign LORD!  You have made the heavens and earth by your great power.  Nothing is too hard for you!”  (Jeremiah 32:17)   God later responded with, “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world.  Is anything too hard for me?”

As you consider the challenges and obstacles that you’re currently facing, have you considered asking God for help?  Nothing is too difficult for God.  He is our ever-present help in times of trouble.  (Psalm 46:1)

When I turn to God for help, my perspective changes.  When I was younger, winning was everything.  Now the most important perspective I seek is trying to discern “What is Jesus doing?” and “How can I join in?”  Have you stopped to consider why God is allowing you to be on a Spirit-Driven Soccer team?

Life is short

I recent had two dear friends who lost their loved ones around the Christmas season.  Journeying with friends through seasons that have become grief stricken has reminded me of how short life is.  Life is but a vapor; we’re here today and gone tomorrow.  Dealing with death helps us to put and keep life in perspective.  We are given a season to live and to make a difference in our world.  Jesus called us to make disciples of our people groups.   To keep it simple, we are to share the life of Christ that has been formed in us with those around us.

Once Christmas is over and everyone goes back home to start a new year, we frequently get absorbed in work, in sports and all the responsibilities filling up our lives.  Let me encourage you to set aside some time to prayerfully consider what is truly most important in life.  I wonder how much different this next year will be if we take time to listen to God, study the words of the Bible, listen more to each other, speak truthfully in love to one another and give in ways that make a difference in someone’s life.  It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life.  Giving someone time is the best way to show love.

Open the floodgates!

What an amazing response we had over the weekend as people and registration forms for Spirit-Driven Soccer poured into our home. The overflow continues to pour in through the mail and visits.  New teams are being formed and so many new players are being recruited.  But the best part of Spirit-Driven Sports is the missional outreach that has been occurring through our soccer teams.  Mark Wallace, coach of the Mansfield, Ohio green team told a follow up story from their $100 Kingdom Assignment from last year that impacted the lives of 90 at-risk youth.  Can’t wait to share the story and pictures from their outreach.  If your team has a story from your Kingdom Assignment, please email it to glenn@spiritdrivensports.org so we can share it with the Spirit-Driven community.

Dramatic Conversions

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t look like the team that scored 51 points against the Indianapolis Colts last week.  In fact, the Steelers couldn’t even convert a first down in their first three offensive possessions against their rivals the Baltimore Ravens.  Joe Flacco threw a long touchdown pass, and it looked like a long night for the Steelers.  The Steelers quarterback got sacked three plays in a row, and when it’s 3rd and 39, you know you’re in trouble.

Entering the scene:  One pumped up James Harrison.  Harrison had retired from the NFL after a short stay with the Cincinnati Bengals.  He was overweight and out of shape, but what a force behind him.  He played with so much intensity that he charged up the entire defense and turned the game into a nightmare for Joe Flacco.  Ramping up the defensive pressure also energized the Steeler’s offense, and Big Ben threw 6 more touchdowns setting an NFL record 12 touchdown passes in 2 weeks.

Being a lifelong Steelers fan, I was elated when they crushed their division rival Ravens sending them to last place and taking sole possession of first place.  But the best part of the Sunday Night Football was the postgame interview with James Harrison.  The broadcaster tried to figure out how in the world an old, retired, out-of-shape defensive lineman could regularly blast past one of the strongests offensive lines in the NFL and supercharge his entire team, Harrison said, “God”….”It was only God.”  Now if you remember some of the cheap shots he had following his amazing 103 yard interception return in his last Super Bowl, you may wonder, how can such a “bad dude” come to Christ?  I don’t know the whole story, but what I do know is that God uses the most unlikely grace recipients, like us, to change the world and to bring him glory.

In the middle of the Steelers vs Ravens game, we received a phone call with more stories of dramatic conversions.   Four unlikely grace recipients from the Ashland High School football team gave their hearts to Christ over the weekend.  Yes, God is still in the business of drawing rebels back to him and making them warriors for the kingdom of God.  If you think you’re beyond hope, take a close look in the mirror, you could be the next story of dramatic conversion in our sports world.  Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord.