I love and hate this week. It is the week of the Super Bowl. I love it because I like football. I hate the week because there will be no more football for six months after this week. Before you go to worked up, I don’t LOVE football. I like it. I don’t have TV in my house, so I don’t watch much of it.
One of the reasons why this week can be unpleasant is all the talk. Just mention the name “Richard Sherman” this week and you will get a load of divergent responses. Then there is the clever weaving of faith into just about every biographical story. I am thrilled to know that Peyton Manning claims to be a believer in Christ. Many other will as well. I like that. I like that these very well paid professional athletes are willing to speak of their trust in Jesus. Some don’t talk about it a lot (Manning), while others are much more open about it. Who can forget Tim Tebow? I can’t. In fact, I will be wearing my Broncos Tim Tebow jersey on Sunday. Or the gregarious Bible boastings of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis? As an OU fan I think back to this year’s Sugar Bowl and Trevor Knight’s mention of his faith in Christ. I love it.
I also know that to some, this kind of “Jesus talk” is meaningless. These are people on a screen. Over-paid people. Who live lives of luxury and fame. Sometimes it feels like “a little Jesus slapped on for good measure”. I hate that. I think these athletes are, for the most part, genuine. The testimony of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and some of his teammates with Pastor Mark Driscoll is awesome (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8U_ewtHZdw).
One of the reasons why I like this week is an event we do at FBC Ponca City. I admit it – We do a Super Bowl party! I know many churches don’t participate in such tawdry shenanigans. Here are a few reasons why we do a Super Bowl party (and why I love this week).
1. It is fun. I know – it seems so unChristlike to do something because it is fun. Jesus never laughed! Unless he was holding a small lamb while posing for a picture! OK. We do a party because it is fun. Because our church family has the opportunity to get together, sit in their lawn chairs in the assembly center, and have a good time together. How scandalous for Jesus to do his first miracle at a party!
2. It is family time. There will be kids running all over the place. During the game! In front and behind of those vigorously cheering their side to victory! Playing tag and catch and hide and go seek. AND…we will turn the screens off during the raunchy Super Bowl commercials. It is a family atmosphere. As a pastor, I love seeing families together…with other families…with MY family.
3. It is about faith. Not a guy on a screen. Oh, we will probably show the testimony of the Seahawks. But that is not it. Nope. We will have a real, live human being in the building who will give testimony. TESTIFY BROTHER! Last year we had Oklahoma Baptist University Head Football Coach Chris Jensen. Wow, did he bring it! That man can preach! We also heard from Jay Wilkinson, the son of legendary football coach Bud Wilkinson. What an inspirational story! This year we are in for a treat. Josh Norman, a wide receiver for the 2000 National Champion OU Sooner football team and former NFL player will be sharing his faith with us. Josh used to work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes with one of our own, Mr. Chuck Bowman. Josh is the real deal. Chuck told me “tell your people that they DO NOT want to miss hearing Josh.” I cant wait.
Fun, family, faith. 5:30 this Sunday is kickoff. Bring your lawn chair. And your face paint. I dare you! It will be better than the Super Bowl.