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Seizing Life for the Glory of God

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Webb Simpson’s Interview Before The Masters

I am often edified when I read articles about Christians who are professional athletes by vocation. Often when I discover an athlete that I didn’t know professed Christ, I will pray for them by name and the team or sport they represent (which is their mission field).

Webb Simpson, who is a golfer on the PGA, has one of the more solid understandings of Scripture than any other athlete I have read.

Image result for webb simpson

Recently, he was interviewed by Sean Martin of The Gospel Coalition right before golf’s first major – The Masters.

He was asked his vocation as a golfer and how that influences terms like “gifting” and “calling.” He answered it this way –

“I don’t see my gifting as unique. My gift happens to be golf, but another guy’s might be preaching and another’s teaching. The Lord spreads us out for his purposes and for our enjoyment of him. My calling isn’t to be a golfer. Like every other Christian, I’m called to participate in the Great Commission—to go and make disciples of all nations. My vocational context for fulfilling that calling happens to be golf.

“I wasn’t born to be a golfer. I was born to be a child of God. There’s a big difference in perspective when I start with that. Focusing on being a child of God, beloved by the King, makes me more focused on being effective where I am.

“I may have a bigger audience than someone else, but some of the most effective, faithful men I know are in a small area in terms of reach. They’re discipling a couple of guys, doing a great job in their home, and being faithful where they are. I think a danger for me and other people in my position is if we’re trying to reach a ton of people and rejecting the Great Commission of making disciples of a few.”

Read the rest of this interview here.

Should a Worshipper of God Be As Enthusiastic As a Sports Fan?

Sports fans are sometimes as entertaining as the sporting event itself.

Tune into a sporting event on T.V. and you may see a middle-aged man with his entire body painted in his favorite team’s colors. You may see a group of young people with matching T-shirts and individual letters on each shirt spelling a word that relates to an athlete or team. You may see a woman in the stands shouting profanities at the referees, the opposing team or other fans. You may see a little boy or little girl getting so emotional about their team’s loss that they are shedding tears uncontrollably.

Sports fans react in so many ways to sporting events. And many, if not most of them, only behave in these certain ways for their sports teams. They don’t behave in the same way at a wedding or family dinner.

I enjoy the creative loyalty that sports fan express, as long as it is not displeasing to the Lord in some ways (e.g., crude language on a sign, shouting vulgarities, etc.).

Image result for sports fanBut I would not expect or desire the same kind of loyalty to be expressed in a worship service.

Every now and then, someone will criticize the enthusiasm of sports fans (especially that are Christians) and say something like this: “If only people would get as excited about the Lord Jesus Christ as they do their favorite sports team.”

I get that sports can become an idol and we can give far too much attention to man than we do God. I get that we can invest crazy amounts of money in watching sports and give very little to the Lord’s work. I get the analogy that is being used.

But frankly, when it comes to the gathering of a local church, I don’t want that same kind of sports fan loyalty and enthusiasm in the building, and I don’t believe God would either.

I don’t believe God wants church attendees heckling people on stage to try to get in the mind of someone and force them to behave in a certain manner (I Corinthians 13:5).

I don’t believe God wants church attendees to be divisive when they disagree with something said or done like a sports fan who doesn’t like the way a referee is calling a game (Titus 3:10-11).

I don’t believe God wants people attending a worship service to be dressed inappropriately for a worship service and becoming a distraction so others cannot focus on the real reason they are there (I Peter 3:3-4).

Frankly, a sports fan’s enthusiasm is not a good barometer for a worshipper of God.

 

Another Book on Sports from a Christian Perspective

I have the book In the Arena: The Promise of Sports for Christian Discipleship by David Prince on my “Most Wanted List.” Being an avid sports fan, I am always looking to encourage my soul to enjoy sports as a gracious gift of God and not an idol. This book, reviewed by Gavin Peacock of The Gospel Coalition, looks helpful.

 

A Good Reminder for Football Fans

Has Sports Become an Idol? 9 Questions to Determine That Reality

  1. When you watch sports, are Christlike regardless of the outcome? (I John 2:6).
  2. When your mind has nothing else to think about, does it gravitate towards athletics? (Phil 4:7-8).
  3. Do you “break fellowship” with others who don’t cheer for your sports team? (I Cor 1:10).
  4. Do you choose to watch or attend sporting events on a regular basis instead of assembling with believers? (Heb 10:24-25).
  5. Do you identify or define yourself as a fan of a sports team or do you feel you are valuable because you are a fan of a sports team? (I Pet 2:9).
  6. Do you observe or watch sports at the expense of leaving important tasks unfinished? (Col 3:23-24).
  7. When your team loses, do you forget that sports is a gracious gift from God? (Ps 145:9).
  8. Are your emotions uncontrollable during sporting events or activities? (Prov 25:28).
  9. Are your heroes for life non-Christian athletes? (I Cor 11:1).

sportsidolatry

 

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