I am writing some devotions for football players. Some of you who have known me for many years probably just fell over laughing. But I really am. I had several ideas for football player devotions last night and will be writing them over the next few days or weeks.
How does a totally non-sports person write devotions for football players? And why write them anyway. It seems that someone who knows about sports and about football players and the things that they do to get themselves ready to play or how they exercise or something should be the person that would write such things.
Hmmm. Well, perhaps I should begin with the story of how I ended up with my own football team.
Last summer (2013) I took a group of High School handbell players to Porto, Portugal. While there, my friend, Andy, told me about how they are coaching football as a means of developing relationships with Portuguese men and how many of them are responding to the Gospel and coming to Bible studies and many are now followers of Jesus.
My dad was a big football fan. Back in the old days of the 70s families only had one TV. I know that sounds rather remarkable today, but that’s just how it was. Monday night football was a big deal in most homes, I suppose, and it was in our house as well. My dad and my brother would watch every game. It wasn’t a time that you talked about school or church or how the roses were growing in the backyard. It was just football. I usually spent Monday evenings upstairs in my room. I just didn’t care who was playing or who won or if their running back did a fancy whatever and got the ball down to a certain place and then someone kicked the thing and it got them points because the other guys wouldn’t let them run the ball all the way into the end zone……
I did watch some football in my H.S. days. I played the baritone horn in the marching band. Violins didn’t really fit with the whole marching thing. Perhaps the bows are too scary for the woodwinds – thinking you will poke their eyes out as you march by sawing away with your bow. There were actually two football games each week – one just before the band show and one just after the band show. Ha!
|This would have been awesome!|
I remember the name Bart Star, but I usually wonder if he is Ringo's brother. Oh, and I remember Joe Namath wearing pantyhose but I don't know why he did and I don't know who he played football for.
|Please tell me those aren't Joe's legs!|
Fast forward to 2013. My interest in football is about the same as it has always been. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I just don’t care…. I do watch a tiny bit of the Broncos because my son, Andrew, LOVES the Broncos. We lived in Denver during some important formative years apparently. So I like to know a little about the Broncos because they are important to my son. But to be honest with you, I don’t even know who their quarterback is. I know John Elway still has something to do with them as an owner or something. When I lived in Denver I had lunch with someone that played for the Broncos. I don’t remember his name. Seems like he was a defensive something-or-the-other. Andrew probably still remembers who it was.
If I haven’t lost you with this little trip through my football background, here’s how I ended up with my own football team. (I thought you needed the background to see how this is a God thing.)
Our church has a men’s supper/worship time/Bible study one Tuesday night a month. We call it “Man Church.” We kill our own food, sit around a campfire cooking our wild boar with our shirts off and beat on drums. Hahaha. OK. We have burgers and sit around tables at our Family Life Center (gym). At our August “Man Church” I noticed two twenty-something guys sitting by themselves at a table so I invited myself to sit with them. OK. You’ve read my football bio. Don’t really have one. And about the first thing I heard coming out of my mouth was “Do you guys play football? Or did you?” Seriously?! I’m going to start a football conversation with two people I don’t even know! What if they started talking about last night’s game? (Oh, I guess there might not have been one in August.) But if they had, what would I say? “Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to bring up football since I’m a football idiot. You two just talk about the game and I’ll just nod my head.”
They said they did (or had played in HS or college) and I just kept going “Really? What position did you play?” and they said something about hiking and running and tackling… Then, without hardly skipping a beat I heard myself say, “Well, you know, while we were in Portugal we heard how football players from the States had gone there to do football things and share the Gospel and I’m thinking of taking some football players over there next year. Would you be interested in going?” Seriously?! I just said that?
I know God was at work that night because I had NOT thought of that before then. I would NOT plan a mission opportunity that included football. I have used vocal and instrumental music, art, ESL, Bible clubs and more, but football. HAhahaha!
The eyes of those two guys lit up. “You mean we could play football and tell people about Jesus? We could do that!” Then God grabbed my heart. I could just hear Him say, "Look at football missions through the eyes of these two." And long story short – they are the first two guys on my football team!
A few weeks later after our 9:45 service I walked over to the guy that sits right there on the second row every week and I heard myself say, “Can I ask you something? Did you football?” Boom! My third player.
I’m now up to 5 players – possibly 6 – and I haven’t even advertised for mission team members yet. If you’re at Hilldale this Sunday you’ll see this in the bulletin “Join Bro. Lyndel’s Football Team.” My dad would NEVER have believed this. I'm not sure either of my brothers will believe it either. They are both big football fans.
God is up to something with this. I can hardly wait to see what all will happen in the lives of these young men and in Portugal. He will have to do it because I keep slipping and saying “football rehearsals” and things like that.
Here's the end of the story for now.
I don’t really care much about football, but I care VERY much about missions and about investing in the lives of young men. If you care about missions and want to invest in the lives of some young men then God may lead you to help send them. Twenty-somethings don’t have money to send themselves on mission: they are at the beginning of their careers, they have young families, they have student loans... Call me and see how you can help.