Snapshot # 1 – Jesus Heals a Paralytic
May 31, 2009, 10:26 pm
Filed under: sportspastor | Tags: , , , ,

Matthew 9:1-8 (NIV)
1Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

Matthew focuses on things that Jesus does that point to his divine nature. First he sees the bold faith of the paralyzed man’s friends. He knows the thoughts of his critics. He shows God’s power to heal. The crowd who had witnessed the healing of the paralytic, praised God saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” The Greek word for filled with awe is the same word for fear. When they realized that Jesus had the power to forgive sins they were filled with terror. This was the first time that this crowd realized that Jesus was God and that they were in the presence of God. Some esteemed him as God – meaning that they believed. The teachers of the law called it blasphemy and left the scene to begin to devise a plan to kill him.

Think about it. They came face to face with the truth that Jesus was God, the one who could forgive their sins. They either accepted and believed in Jesus or rejected him. What if we lived our lives in such a way that people saw Jesus in us so undeniably that they came face to face with the truth of God’s love in Jesus Christ? What if our lives reflected the character and nature of our Savior? Then others would see “evidence that demands a verdict.” Maybe God could use our witness to cause in their hearts and minds a crisis of faith that begs for them to see and believe or explain it away.

Just like the friends of the paralytic, we have a tremendous opportunity to bring our friends to Jesus. If any one of us has a friend who does not know Christ, or who does not care for Christ, or who is even hostile to Christ, it our Christian duty not to let that friend go. We must bring our friends into Christ’s presence. We cannot force people against their will to accept Christ. We cannot make people Christians, but we can do everything possible to bring them into Christ’s presence.


JD Greear on Two Kinds of Churches
November 5, 2008, 7:28 am
Filed under: Life and Leadership, sportspastor | Tags: , , , ,

Pastor Greear notes that “there are two kinds of churches–the kind where the church is an audience gathered to share in the personal fruitfulness of the pastor, and the kind where members are equipped to be fruitful themselves.” I have seen so many well-meaning churches limit their ministry to one main thing in the name of “Good to Great” and not in the name of Christ Jesus. These churches make it all about Sunday morning and forget that ministry also happens in the life of the believer Monday – Saturday. It is not about a Sunday Morning show centered around one charismatic leader. It is not about observation, it is about multiplication. Church leaders should equip the saints for the work of ministry. Go and make disciples – be a fruitful church that glorifies the Father (John 15). Read Pastor Greear’s complete post here.

Produced a Video for Preach It, Teach It
November 4, 2008, 11:27 am
Filed under: Life and Leadership, sportspastor | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I spent the weekend working on a video for Preach It, Teach It. Take 5 minutes and visit the website and watch the featured video in the top right corner. It is a song of hope for those who are hurting. Have you recently lost a loved one? Is your marriage falling apart? Do you feel all alone? Does your heart break for the widow and the orphan? They are hurting and alone, too. Are you struggling with an addiction of some kind? Don’t miss this video. Consider giving this link to a friend that you know needs a word of encouragement. We all have challenging times in our lives when we desperately need to “Cry Out to Jesus”. Click here to visit Preach It, Teach It and see the video.

Primetime Passage – Philippians 4:8-9

What do the Olympic opening ceremony, a win for the home team in a baseball game, and your tax dollars at work on a July evening have in common? They are all reasons to have a fireworks show. This summer I watched the fireworks high above the city of Frisco, Texas, on a beautiful July 4th evening and they were amazing. The best part of every fireworks show is the grand finale. For a good while you watch the fireworks come and go in a variety of patterns and colors, but everyone knows when the grand finale arrives. The pattern goes from come and go to shock and awe!

When writing words of encouragement to the church in Philippi, the apostle Paul talks about the importance of maintaining Christian virtues, such as joy, gentleness, and peace. Paul’s words, as recorded in the New Testament book of Philippians, chapter 4, are nothing short of a fireworks show; in fact, they are the grand finale of his instruction:

Philippians 4:8-9
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Consider the impact of each of these words in the life of a Christ-follower and the light they can bring to those who don’t know Jesus. For example, think about the word noble. This word implies integrity, something worthy of respect. We must as the question, “Do our lives win the respect of outsiders?” Do they see in us something that is different? Do our lives make them consider their own lives and make them want to change?

Paul’s instructions are not only intended to direct my steps as a Christian, but he also recognized that when we live according to these virtues that other people will see the light of God in us. In other words, Paul is saying that believers should focus on what is morally and spiritually excellent. But he doesn’t end there. In addition to setting our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, Paul encourages believers to remember everything they have seen in his life, and to put them into practice. We too must move this truth off of the pages of Scripture and into our lives in order to gain a credible witness from which to share the gospel.

Too often Christians today repeat everything that they have heard from Paul’s epistles (letters) and fail to actually put anything into practice. This only affirms the skeptical excuses of those that claim Christian hypocrisy is what keeps them from faith. One pastor has said that the greatest hindrance to the movement of Christ on the earth today is Christians. Another has said that the greatest cause of atheism is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, but deny him with their lifestyle.

So here is the bottom line. I believe that the only way that our words are going to have any impact is if they are accompanied by action. We have the amazing word of God, the fireworks, and we fail to put these dynamite words into practice. If we are going to change the world, we must start with our own hearts and lives. Maybe then, will outsiders respond in shock and awe.

Extreme Makeover: Sports Edition

One of my favorite TV shows is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It is rare you will find me watching television that is not sports related, but this reality series has grabbed my heart and attention. Why? Because they provide not only a new home, but a custom home based upon the specific needs of a deserving family. The best part is that the entire community comes together to show love in a tangible way that will make a lasting impact on a family in need.

Last night’s episode hit close to home for me. A blended family of seven were living in a house that was only 600 square feet, because they could not afford anything bigger. The father had grown up on the streets and made costly mistakes that he was determined his children would not make. The part that was special to me is that this family loved sports and both the mom and dad were youth sports coaches who serve the families in their community. They even run the concession stand at the local sports complex. Now the families in their community had a chance to serve them.

So the family goes on vacation to Disney World for 7 days while the builders and volunteers from the community build them a brand new home. When they arrive home to see their new place they are informed that an anonymous donor paid off their mortgage. Wait. It gets better. West Virginia University also committed to cover tuition for all five children when they are ready to attend college.

This is true community. If your church sports program is inward focused you are missing the point. You are missing a opportunity to share the love of Christ in word and deed. Our words alone are not going to change the world. It is when they are accompanied by loving acts of service that the world will stop in their tracks and wonder what motivated such compassion. And I know that for many on Extreme Makeover, they are giving back to their community as a means to reflect the love of Jesus to the world He came to save.

Turning a Sports Conversation to Spiritual Things
June 15, 2008, 10:49 am
Filed under: evangelism, sports outreach, sportspastor | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Did you see Paul Pierce go down with what looked like a season ending injury in Game One of the NBA Finals? By the tears in his eyes and the expression on the faces of the trainers you just knew that his season was over – right when it mattered most. He was the lone ranger on a team that won only 24 games last season and now when it was his turn to enjoy being a part of a team that has a great chance of winning the NBA Championship – it looked like he would have to watch from the sidelines. But that is not what happened!

Three minutes go by in the third quarter and Boston begins to fade without Pierce, and then it happened – out of the tunnel emerges Pierce. The same guy that was carried off of the court, grimacing in pain, had returned from the locker room with the resilience of Rocky and the flair of a soon to be hero. What happened next was nothing short of amazing. Pierce immediately entered the game and hit back to back three-pointers as the Celtics never looked back on their way to winning one of the most dramatic games in NBA history.

Speaking of history, over 2,000 years ago, there was a man who walked this earth for 33 years. Many of his followers thought that his death on the cross marked the end of his ministry on earth. Without Christ, many begin to doubt, you could say they began to fade. They had seen their leader die an agonizing death and be buried in a tomb guarded by soldiers. 

They did not realize that only three days later there would be the greatest comeback in the history of the world, a miraculous return, and victory over death. Christ died, he was buried, and he rose from the dead. That is the gospel! God sent His only Son to die on the cross for your sins and mine. That is Good News!

This post is an example of how you can turn a conversation to spiritual things with anyone who follows sports. What a privilege to share the clear and simple gospel with them and ask them if there is anything that is keeping them from trusting Christ and following Him?