Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sports Anonymous

"Hello, my name is America, and I am addicted to sports."
Now before I begin writing, let me make it is not a sin to play sports. Matter fact, it is a good thing to play sports and be active. Paul repeatedly used sports to illustrate the Christian life (racing, wrestling, etc). I enjoy baseball, I love watching a college basketball game (especially Kentucky), and hardly watch-but keep up with our beloved Cincinnati Bungles. I played one year of football in jr. high and 6 years of basketball while in school. I enjoy playing a game of non-serious softball with our church family, and I am enjoying teaching my son to throw and hit a baseball, catch a football, and take down the other boy he is wrestling. Having said all that, I try to enjoy these things in perspective. There are far more important things I want my son to learn than catching a football.
In the words of Voddie Vaucham (don't agree with alot...but the man can "BRING IT."),
'Our culture defines a man by the three B's: Ball field, Billfold, and Bedroom, but our culture is wrong. That is not how God defines a man.'

We are looking at Bro. Vaucham's first point...the ball field. America is obsessed with sports. Our children are being reared by foul-mouthed coaches more than their parents. "Coach" has the heart of too many of our young people.
Most who would play our school basketball team today would laugh, but there was a day-only a few years ago-when our boy's basketball team was 20-0 and champions of our league. I know, because I was an assistant coach. We had a very good basketball team.
Their week went like this: Monday & Wednesday: school 8:30-3:00; Practice 5:30-8:00
Thursdays: School and practice 8:30-4:30. Fridays and Tuesdays: school and games till late evenings. And in between times, most had a job, friends, and the occasional studying. See a problem here? Where is the family time. Where is the father getting the heart of the child? Sports are not evil and can be done correctly-but in America they have become a god.
In our local school district, they begin high school at 7:15 a.m. Why? To get in 3-4 hours of football practice a day after school. The typical class period last around an hour. The typical football/basketball practice last around 3 hours. When the school levy was voted down, what was it that was cut because of a lack of funds? Sports? Oh no! It was bus transportation and class room supplies.
I laugh at the before mentioned University of Kentucky. The president of the university, in charge of the care, administration, and education of America's future earned an amazing $550,000 in 2008. The university's basketball coach will make $5,000,000 this year. America has a problem.
Beyond the practice time, there is the pressure for success that leads to drug abuse and performance enhancers, and the destruction of America's schools and overall education.
America's sports addiction has led to radio stations designated only to sports, multiples of television stations dedicated only to sports, and our headlines of newspapers are covered with sports news. Congress, amidst a recession and war, meets to discuss baseball and steroids, BCS bowl games, and Roger Clemens.
We, as the Romans, are addicted.
Besides all this, every pastor would agree with me that the amount of church services missed because parents are at games or practices is destroying our young people's spiritual lives; and parents take off work and miss visitation to cheer them on! To what? A lack of reverence for the Lord's house and work, a lack of faithfulness to the ministry and services, and a loss of fellowship with God's people; but they do get a stronger relationship with the cursing coach, foul-mouthed spectating parents, and lost teammates with their dirty jokes and mouths.
So why do we insist they keep playing? According to our teens and this question from our questionnaire:
Why do you play sports?
A. To Win 26%
B. To get in Better shape 40%
C. Possibly go Pro 8%
D. Get My Stats Up 4%
E. Get Character 22%

For the most part, you could define the purpose of our young people playing as: Pride. Not only does sports separate our families a great while, but it also directly contradicts Scripture:
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Romans 12:10
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Phillipians 2:3

Having played for a Christian School for 6 years, and coached a Christian school for 7 years...not really the attitude I have seen on courts and fields.
I am NOT one of those that don't believe in keeping score....learning to handle defeat is necessary for life; but playing with a Biblical spirit is hardly evident today.
Sports are not a sin; but they can become one easily. America has become addicted to sports, and our IFB young people are not far behind. May we seek to allow Christ to have the Preeminence in our lives and families!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I did it my way

As I sit down to write this post, my heart is heavy. Reason being that, while its easy to look at the results of a poll and think how sad it is that there is such an inconsistency of believing the Bible and yet not following it, as I look back on my life and decisions I've made, I must admit its not as easy as it seems. Simple, yes; easy, no. One would think for a young person growing up in Christian circles that it would be second nature for that one to follow the principles and teachings of God's Word. That, however, is not the case. The question then follows, Why not? Many explanations could be given, but the simplest and most logical is that that young person, while perhaps told what to do and how to live, was not often enough shown. In other words, I've heard a lot of sermons on revival, but I've never actually seen anyone in a revival. We tell our youth to live according to God's Word, but are we showing them how to live accordingly?
Going back to my opening statement - looking back at decisions I have made not in accordance to God's Word, I must confess there are some things I wish I had done differently. I thank God for the wife that He gave me and wouldn't trade her for the world; but I think how much better of a husband I would be and how much better a relationship we would have had I listened to the Lord instead of my peers when it came to dating. I think how much money I wasted on purchases that I made without giving God a second thought on the matter. How many decisions could have been made for the glory and honor of the Lord that instead I now regret because I did it my way. And this is the hardest thing to live with - I knew exactly what I was doing. I cannot plead ignorance. This is never a viable excuse for a child of God, because if you have the Holy Spirit in you He will tell you exactly what you ought to do. Parents, we must teach our children to obey, to listen for that still small voice and then to heed it. We, then must set the example; we must be listening for His voice first. God forgive us for the many times we have ignored His Spirit; the times we knew He was telling us one thing and we went and did another. Let us humble ourselves, confess our sin of disobedience to God, receive the forgiveness He has waiting for us, and then we may teach others also.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
- Proverbs 14:12