Category Archives: NFL
Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has the words, “BE YOU” printed on his play sheet.
While running errands, I passed a church where the banner, “Be Yourself” was prominently displayed out in front of the church.
Is “Be Yourself” good advice?
During one of the NFL games featuring the Chicago Bears, the sideline reporter made a point of explaining the “BE YOU” instruction. If I remember correctly, it was a reminder from the coach’s daughter (?) that he got the head coaching job by being himself rather than trying to be a different person. In that sense, “Be you” is probably good advice. An NFL coach needs to model authenticity and integrity.
However, “Be Yourself,” strikes me as inappropriate for a church slogan. If I understand Scripture correctly, I am called to “Be holy.” It is one of the foundational principles of the Old Testament law. Not only was it required of the priests (Leviticus 21:6, 8), it was also required of each member of the nation of Israel (Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; Numbers 15:40). Holiness was an essential characteristic of those who were devoted to God and took on the vow of a Nazirite (Numbers 6:5). Because God lived in their midst, the nation was to be holy (Deuteronomy 23:14).
Lest we think that holiness was only an Old Testament concept and is not binding today, the command is repeated several times in the New Testament (1 Peter 1:15-16). God has called Christ followers to be holy (Ephesians 1:4). Husbands should disciple their wives so as to present them as holy to the Lord (Ephesians 5:27).
Based on what the Bible says, the Christian life should be one of progress and growth towards greater holiness. If I am content to be myself, I will never rise above my own sinful nature. I will never strive to be more life Jesus Christ.
As a pastor, I should not encourage Christ followers to “be yourself.” I should encourage them to “be holy.” That is what Scripture calls us to be and to do.
If you have been married for any length of time, you know there comes a point when you and your spouse have an argument. You disagree over an issue, perception, event, or slight. As the argument continues, you begin to move away from the original topic and start piling on other matters. Pretty soon, you look at each other and wonder, what were we arguing about to begin with?
The NFL National Anthem protest feels like one of those arguments, especially now that the White House has weighed in on the matter.
Long ago in ancient times, or so it feels even though it was only last season, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem as a way of protesting inequality between the races. (That is perhaps an overly simplified summary of a very complex issue.) The conversation then shifted to whether kneeling was disrespectful to the flag and to the military. Then it moved to solidarity among teammates. A report came out last week that Colin Kaepernick has supposedly reversed course and said he will stand during the anthem if he can get his job back. Then Vice President Pence left yesterday’s Colts-49ers game because several 49ers knelt during the anthem. A 49ers official said it was a P.R. stunt and at least one sportswriter was bothered because it upstaged the Colts retiring Peyton Manning’s jersey. Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys said anyone who kneels will no long play for the Cowboys. People are up in arms over the loss of free speech.
It appears the argument subtly shifted from inequality or injustice to free speech and the right to protest. The original issue has been lost amidst the rhetoric. Since the various sides cannot agree on what they are arguing about, no wonder we can’t solve the problem.
What were we arguing about?
I recently discovered the “Above & Beyond” podcast hosted by Brock Huard of 710 ESPN Seattle. Brock played quarterback for the UW Huskies and several NFL teams. He is now a radio talk show host and ESPN college football analyst. His first podcast was a conversation with Matt Hasselbeck, former NFL quarterback.
On the first episode of Above & Beyond, Brock sits down with friend and former Seahawks teammate QB Matt Hasselbeck. From growing up with Christian parents to spending time at Green Bay with Reggie White to running away from baptism, Matt shares some of the most important moments from his faith and sports journey.
I appreciated the sports stories, but especially how each one shared how their faith impacts their careers and family life. Brock will be doing the podcast every other week. I look forward to the next one.
When the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in Super Bowl LI three weeks ago, Carol and I watched the game in a pub in Wanaka, New Zealand. Since New Zealand Daylight Time is 18 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, the game came on during lunch time on Monday, February 6.
We were in Wanaka for our youngest daughter’s wedding. On that Monday, the guys went one direction for a bachelor party; the girls another direction for a bachelorette party; and the parents went on a safari of the region. Since our tour ended by 1PM, Carol and I found a pub to watch the Super Bowl.
We learned later that the bachelor party started out at a pub watching the game. Thinking the game would only last 3.5 hours, the host scheduled several adventure activities like jetboating and off-road racing. As it turned out, it meant that the guys left the Super Bowl with five minutes remaining in regulation. Consequently, they missed the Patriots tying the game in regulation and winning in overtime.
Some people view a relationship with God in the same fashion. It is simply one of many good activities and options in their life. As long as heaven is secure, how important is fellowship with God on a daily basis?
That is a question the apostle John addresses in 1 John 2:28-3:3. Using one of his favorite terms, John encourages his readers to abide in Christ. He explains that abiding demonstrates one is part of God’s family and will prepare a person for Christ’s return. Those who abide in Christ will be prepared to meet him when he returns.
Q: Why should I abide in Christ? (2:28a). A professor in grad school was fond of saying, “Until you answer the why question, the price is always too high.” John seems to anticipate that question. After telling his readers, “abide in him,” John goes on to give several reasons after the phrase, “… so that …”
A1: You will be prepared for Christ’s return (2:28b). The return of Jesus Christ will be more than a Sunday School awards banquet. We will stand before God and answer for how we lived our lives. No one wants to be embarrassed because they are unprepared. We want to be able to enter his presence boldly rather than cower in shame in a corner.
A2: Abiding reveals whose family you belong to (2:29). In the same way that a child has their parents’ eyes or nose, so righteous living is the family trait of those who are part of God’s family.
A3: Abiding reveals your attitude about God’s grace (3:1). Rather than view God’s love in a “ho, hum” manner, John expresses a sense of amazement. “Look at that! We are called God’s children. Unbelievable!” Our sense of security comes from recognizing what God has done for us.
A4: Abiding allows God to transform you (3:2). John explains that God is in the process of transforming us from “then” to “now” to “not yet.” One day, we will be like Christ. As great as our experience with Christ is right now, it is only the tip of the iceberg compared to what it will be later.
A5: You will stay prepared for Christ’s return (3:3). John comes full circle when he explains that the hope of heaven produces purity on earth. We are to engage in a continual process of moral purification.
When I became an instructor with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries some 30 years ago, I had to promise not to teach a WTB event with sin in my life. Each time the faculty gathers, there is a ceremony where we are asked to recommit to that promise. Next week, I will be in Georgia where Phil Tuttle, the president of Walk Thru, will ask me if my life is pure. I want to make certain of my answer so that I am not ashamed when the question comes.
In the same way, the one who abides in Christ will be prepared to meet him when he returns. Abide in Christ. Be prepared when he comes back.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on February 26, 2017. It is part of a series of sermons on The Letters of John. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.
Book Review: Brady vs Manning: The untold story of the rivalry that transformed the NFL, by Gary Myers
If you compiled a list of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, it would not be complete without Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The two of them have set and held many of the records for quarterbacks in the NFL. In addition to their individual accomplishments, they have gone head-to-head in many crucial games throughout their respective careers. Many of these contests resulted in their respective team going on to the AFC Championship Game and/or Super Bowl.
This is the story told by Gary Myers in his book, Brady vs Manning: The untold story of the rivalry that transformed the NFL. Not only does he describe the games in which these two quarterbacks competed against each other, Myers also describes their upbringing, college environments, relationships in the locker room, and family life outside of football. In short, Myers provides insight into the people and events that shaped the lives and careers of these two successful men. The epilogue brings the story up to date with Peyton Manning winning Super Bowl 50 and Tom Brady being investigated for Deflategate.
The book is well-written, insightful, and entertaining. If you are a fan of these two quarterbacks or just enjoy the NFL in general, you will enjoy reading this book.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.