I recently met Chad Gibbs through a mutual friend on Twitter. Since then I have had a few Twitter conversations with Chad and began reading his blog.
Most importantly for this post, I read his book God and Football: Faith and fanaticism In The SEC which was published in 2010. (To be fair, I should tell everyone that Chad was kind enough to send me a copy.)
I should start out by saying that I usually avoid these type of books. I may have even seen Chad’s book before and just kept on going. This seems weird,even to me, since I am a huge college football fan and write a blog that focuses primarily on faith.
What Chad did was go to every football stadium in the SEC during the 2009 season. If you have ever read Clay Travis’ Dixieland Delight, think of that with a spiritual twist. Chad would also go to church in the SEC town while he was there. He networked and tailgated with other Christian fans of those teams as he embarked on his quest.
I would say that the chapter for Week 4 was my favorite, but unfortunately I don’t deal with defeat very well. Add to the fact that Chad has bragging rights to the last four times our teams have played and bad memories begin to creep in and moods can be affected. Chad writes with a sense of humor, but I probably found that chapter to be the least funny of all.
God and Football is simply this: It explores the connection between those of us who follow Christ and football. Both become religion in our lives. Both evoke wild emotions. Chad shows how it becomes difficult for us to maintain any type of balance between the two in our lives.
My best recommendation is to say that if you love college football and the Lord, you should read this book. If you have some other passion that sometimes takes the place of your faith, read this book. In the end, we all have something that gets in the way of our relationship with Christ.
Have you ever read God and Football? Do you struggle with something that can replace your passion for God?
The picture above is of me wearing my latest Tennessee hat. As you can see I look pretty darn cool.
I get two or three of these every year. They always feel and look good when I am trying them on. The problem is that once I have them for a little bit, I find some flaw in them. Either it fits a bit too tight on the back of my head or the bill is too short, too long or I can’t get it bend just right.
Do you know what happens next?
I’m on the search for another hat.
I have perfectly good hats left behind in the dust of searching for a better hat.
In other words, I’m not content with my hat. I’m not satisfied.
That may be fine with hats, but it becomes a problem if it seeps into every other part of my life.
We can get to the point where we allow the minor imperfections in relationships become major. We search for better relationships. What we end up finding are other relationships that have other imperfections.
It could be a church. Something minor becomes major. You’re on the search for a new church.
I’m not saying that you may not have to end some relationships. I’m not saying that there aren’t times you may have to search for a new church.
I’m just saying that you don’t have to always be looking for better ones. You may have problems with the ones you have. The “better” ones will have their own issues, problems and imperfections.
The next hat won’t be perfect.
There’s no such thing.
What “hat” are you searching for?
A lot of Christians these days are cool. Not me. I am not a cool Christian. I may even be the king of uncool Christians.
What does that look like?
I don’t wear V-Necks.
My worship pastor is not a metrosexual.
I still don’t drink, even for missional purposes.
I don’t have a tattoo, even though I don’t care if you have one.
I don’t sing with my hands raised.
I don’t really try or care to be relevant.
I’ve never tasted Red Bull.
I’ve never said the Bible is my favorite book.
My kids never played Upward or Outward.
I’ve never been on a prayer walk.
I’m not crazy about Tim Tebow. I wish him well, just not wins.
I don’t take notes during sermons.
I don’t keep a spiritual journal.
I don’t have a goatee.
I’m not bald….well, not completely.
All of that is ok.
It’s ok if you have or do those things.
Those things do not define us as believers in Christ. If they do, we are a pretty sorry lot.
There is only one thing that defines us. Or I should say there is only One who defines us.
Are you a cool Christian? Or not? What defines you?
For the past seventeen Memorial Day weekends, I have been able to count on one certainty in my church services. At some point, all people who had served in the military would be recognized. The song of each branch of the military would be played and whoever served would stand up.
Now, I’m in a new church. Memorial Day was recognized differently. Some patriotic songs were sung. Some words were said.
Memorial Day is a great day to pause and remember those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country.
The thing that I thought, though, was this.
Each Sunday is a type of Memorial Day for us. We come together. We worship our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We remember together what He did for us.
Sunday worship is a memorial day. It is an opportunity to gather in community and have a weekly “holiday” to honor Christ.
I need that.
I need that day to stop, pause and worship Him.
I need that day to meet with my brothers and sisters that I have committed to live with and love.
I need that weekly Memorial Day.
How has your Memorial Day weekend been?
One of the things Jesus said that we all might remember is that we must be born again. I’ve always though that was his one and only birth analogy. Guess what?
I was wrong.
In John 16, Jesus finalizes the comparison.
Christ has been spending His time preparing the disciples for His departure.
They don’t get it. They’re confused. He tells them that He is going away and that they will face sorrow.
Then He says that birth brings labor and pain. Once it’s over, though, it’s forgotten because of the joy of the birth.
In other words, you disciples will forget all of the pain and sorrow of losing me when you see me again.
And I’m bringing the New Birth with me.
The cross brought plenty of sorrow, pain, weeping and lament.
But it also brought us the New Birth.
We must be born again.
Praise Jesus, He makes that possible.
Have you been born again?
For the past several weeks I have been sharing other people’s blogs on Saturdays. I’ve enjoyed passing along other bloggers to you guys. This week is different.
I don’t have anyone to share.
I have been on vacation this week and have not spent much time on-line.
I power washed my deck.
I mowed my yard.
I spent time with my wife and kids.
I wasn’t totally off-line, but I had queued up my posts and didn’t read as many blogs this week.
It was kind of nice.
I needed that break.
I suggest that we all take that kind of break every so often.
Do you take breaks from blogging and being on-line? What do you usually do?
I don’t know when they first started popping up. I have seen them all of my life and that goes all the way back into the 1970′s.
It’s those God Is My Co-Pilot bumper stickers and license plates.
It seems like a nice sentiment, doesn’t it? God is riding right there beside you while you fly the plane.
So, why don’t I like it?
I guess I would ask that with a couple of questions. What does it say about how you view God?
Does it say that you think you are captain of your own life, with God sitting in the seat beside you ready to take over if you falter?
Is that a Biblical view of God?
It makes me think that many people think that God is a grandfatherly type of god who is just sitting in a rocking chair smiling and happy for you to come see him.
No, that isn’t the kind of God I want.
I want one who is the Pilot of my life. I want Him flying the plane. I’ll sit in the seat beside Him. I’ll push the buttons He wants me to push. I’ll be the flight attendant. I’ll take whatever role He wants me to take.
I just don’t expect it to be the Pilot.
How about you? Is God your co-pilot? Or is He the pilot?
More than likely, if you are a follower of Christ, you know the story that Jesus told of the man who discovered a treasure in a field. The man hid it again in the field. Then he sold everything he had and bought the field so he could have the treasure.
The kingdom of heaven is valuable, isn’t it? Based on what Jesus is saying, it is supremely valuable. So valuable that you will give everything else up to have it. Nothing else compares to it.
The question we have to ask ourselves is this: Is Christ our supreme treasure?
That is the heart of much of what Jesus talks about in the Gospels.
A man wants to follow him. He tells the man to sell everything and follow him.
The bottom line is Christ is so valuable that nothing else compares to Him.
Israel faced a similar decision. Moses was up on the mountain getting the Law. He was up there for forty days. The Israelites got antsy. They hadn’t heard from God or Moses in a while. So, what did they do? They told Aaron to make them a golden calf. They began to worship it. They declared that it was the god who had led them out of Egypt.
Here is how Psalm 106 describes the scene: Thus they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox that eats grass.
Do you see what they did? They did the exact opposite of the story Jesus told and what He demanded of the rich young man.
Jesus says give everything up for me.
Israel gave up their glory, GOD, for something else.
How about you and me?
Do we give up everything for Christ? Or do we give up Christ for everything else?
Do you ever wonder what you should do as a follower of Christ?
I know that some people will tell you that you need to be at church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Maybe you should, but I don’t think those are the primary things you should do.
Here is what I think you should do if you are a Christian.
You should not retreat into some holy, Christian ghetto. You should go. Where to? Wherever. You cannot make disciples if you aren’t going about your business. Go out into the world. Meet people. Build relationships. Share the Gospel. Live it.
Yes, we should love everyone. Specifically here I am talking about other believers and followers. Jesus said that the world would know that we are His disciples if we have love for one another. That means brothers and sisters in Christ. That means you are going to have to meet with them regularly. So do it. And love each other.
John writes in his Gospel that he wrote it so that we would believe and have life. He wanted us to live. Christ came so that we could not just have eternal life, but abundant life. That isn’t something that is in the future. It’s now. So live. Enjoy your orange juice and drink it to the glory of God. Why? Because you can. Live!!!
How about you? Are you going, loving and living?
Do you like your name?
Unless you want to pay a few hundred dollars to have it legally changed, it is what it is. You are kind of stuck with it. This may be why I see parents from time to time struggling with what to name their upcoming child. They want to give that child a name that they can, literally, live with.
God seems to care a lot about names.
John tells us in Revelation 13:8 that those of us who follow Christ have had our names written in the book of life since the foundation of the world. He cares about our names, doesn’t He?
I read recently in Isaiah 40 that He even names the stars. Everything has a name.
God is even in the name changing business.
He changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Which one do you think was in the book of life from the foundation of the world?
He changed Jacob’s name to Israel.
Christ changed Simon’s name to Peter.
Barnabas wasn’t even Barnabas’ given name. He was called by his characteristic, which was encouragement. How about that? How would you like to be such an encouragement in Christ that it becomes your name?
Basically it boils down to this. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come.
I think this includes our names.
Our names in Christ.
Have you ever thought that you might have another name that God has given you? One that you don’t know yet?