Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Big Game...

Sometime this Sunday evening, someone at your household will probably roll her eyes and mutter the words, "it's only a game". But we know it's more than that. It's an event that will be watched by an estimated one billion people, on television and over the internet, worldwide. It's an opportunity to gather with friends and enjoy large quantities of chicken wings, nachos and other healthy snacks. And next Monday, we'll all be talking about it. But we won't just talk about the game, we'll be talking about the fun we had together...our favorite commercials... and the Springsteen show at halftime.

It's not just a game. It's also an incredible platform for Christian athletes to share their faith. From Tom Landry to Roger Staubach, Shawn Alexander, Tony Dungy and last year's Super Bowl hero, David Tyree...Christ-followers, who, in this moment in time, have the eyes and ears of the world have not been shy about proclaiming their devotion to something or Someone bigger than football.

This year, Kurt Warner, quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals and Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, lead their respective teams into the League Championship game. But they have something else in's faith in Jesus.

Who did Warner thank when the Cardinals defeated the Eagles in the NFC Championship game 2 weeks ago? God. In fact, Kurt Warner's faith is well documented as he has routinely expressed it throughout his career. Both He and his wife are known publicly as born-again Christians.

You may know less about Roethlisberger's faith. Or you may remember the "cleat controversy" of 2006. Big Ben has worn the initials PJF on his cleats since he was a high school sophomore in Findlay, Ohio. But in 2006, the NFL uniform police cracked down on Big Ben (who claims he's still wearing the message somewhere - "let's see if they can find it now" he's quoted as saying).

For me, it's always exciting to hear another believer boldly proclaim their faith in Jesus. And it's also a challenge. If the microphone were in my face (or yours), would we be so bold as to give God the glory for our successes? Would we be so bold in "naming the Name of Jesus"? I'd like to think so. But the truth is, if we shy away from boldly proclaiming our faith on the small stage that most of us live on - then we shouldn't imagine that a larger stage would make us more courageous in our witness for Him.

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