Tag Archives: Green Bay Packers

Faith Lessons from the NFL.

With the NFL Conference Championships now concluded and the Super Bowl only a week away, what an appropriate time to explore what Christians can learn from the NFL, in particular the Seattle Seahawks historical comeback against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. While any comparison between sport and faith is tenuous, the dramatic outcome of that game represents an ideal metaphor for understanding several truths from Scripture. Here are three important spiritual lessons gleaned from that memorable game.

1] For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required. Jesus spoke these words about faithful stewards in a parable to His disciples (see Luke 12:48). In football, those players in whom the team invests the most resources (largest contract) ought to have the biggest impact on the game. In Sunday’s match-up Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay quarterback with the biggest team contract, was expected to be the playmaker who delivered a victory for his team. Instead, his lackluster performance contributed more to the team’s loss than any Packers player, evidenced by the abysmal six points off of five defensive turnovers.

Similarly, those believers whom God has given the most are expected to faithfully steward those resources for His Kingdom. Sadly, this truth has been lost on many of us – corporately as a church and individually as believers. Blessed with incredible wealth the church regularly chooses to direct a vast majority of God’s resources on beautiful buildings and programs that often have a tangential relationship to the gospel, all the while neglecting the biggest need of all: taking the gospel to the entire world. Most churches spend less than ten percent on global ministries and bringing the Good News to people who have never heard of Jesus’ forgiveness and mercy.

Not surprisingly, many churchgoers adopt this model in their own lives and with their own resources, refusing to tithe or giving very little as a percentage of their income. Like the church, they direct nearly all their income on themselves, acquiring more and nicer stuff, and pampering themselves with luxury and comfort. That mindset has infected the church so severely it is destroying it from within and is representative of the unwise and unfaithful steward. We would do well to reevaluate how we employ God’s resources and make sure we use them to proclaim His message of hope, love, and forgiveness locally and abroad.

2] Everyone plays a role, so be ready. The play that turned everything around for the Seahawks was a fake field goal in the fourth quarter. The placeholder scrambled to his left and floated a wobbly pass twenty yards downfield to a wide-open third-string tight end who had not caught a pass all year. The two players perhaps least likely to connect on a passing touchdown had a tremendous impact on the game. Without them executing that play the comeback never begins.

Similarly, God has a plan for each of us no matter how insignificant we seem. He wants us involved in His game plan not sitting on the sidelines offering excuses for why we are not impacting the world. Are you sitting on the bench with regards to your faith? Do you remain silent about your faith when talking with friends, family, and work colleagues? Are you disengaged from sharing God’s love with the marginalized, destitute, and haters in your community? It’s time to get in the game and make a difference. Paul tells us to be prepared at all times to share the gospel with others (2 Tim 4:2). Are you prepared? Do you act on that preparation? You need not be a pastor, eloquent speaker, admired author, or engaging extrovert to have a substantive impact for Christ and His Kingdom. You need only have a servant’s heart, a willing spirit, and an authentic love for the Lord. Ask Him to reveal opportunities to serve, love, and teach others in His name. He’ll answer your prayer and soon you’ll be making a real contribution.

3] Don’t presume the outcome. This is, perhaps, the most critical lesson of all. With less than three minutes to play in the game nearly every Packers fan believed their team was headed to the Super Bowl. They led by twelve points, which meant the Seahawks needed to score two touchdowns in a game in which it had only managed one touchdown over the first fifty-seven minutes. Fans were probably already booking flights and making hotel reservations so they could see the Super Bowl in person two weeks later. After all, what could go wrong? Well, as Packers fans soon learned, just about everything could, and did, go wrong. The Seahawks pulled off arguably the most impressive last-minute comeback in NFL playoff history and defeated the Packers in overtime. Green Bay fans were devastated. How could something so certain end in such misery? Fortunately, their emotional turmoil will subside as life goes on.

Jesus informed His followers of a similar scenario playing out on the day of His second coming. He explained that many who claim they are Christians and profess Him as Lord will not join Him in heaven (see Matthew 7:21-23). This will come as an unbelievable shock to them. They will protest vigorously and insist He reconsider, reminding Him of all they have done to deserve heaven. However, the absence of a personal, robust, and healthy relationship with Him prevents them from enjoying eternity in heaven. Like Packers fans from last weekend, these men and women are devastated. They, too, were certain of the outcome – that they would spend eternity in heaven. Like Packers fans, they were wrong. Unlike Packers fans, their turmoil does not subside and life does not go on.

Are you a Christian? Do you consider Jesus, Lord? If so, take time to study the Bible regularly and understand His expectations for those who follow Him. Learn who He was, and is, and live according to the pattern He established. Most of all, cultivate a love for Him. Consistently carve out time in your schedule to worship, praise, and serve Him. In the process you will learn what it means to make Him Lord and develop a relationship that precludes you from getting shocked when He returns.

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Top Five Plays in Packers Victory over the Cowboys.

Packers fans enjoyed a thrilling victory over the NFC East winning Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. The rollercoaster contest included no fewer than a dozen superlative plays from members of the Green and Gold, often by players less heralded during the regular season. Reasonable minds might have a different perspective but there is no denying the criticality of five plays in particular in Green Bay advancing to the NFC Championship game next Sunday in Seattle. Here are the top plays from Sunday as I see it. Not surprisingly, all occurred in the second half.

#5]  Davante Adams’ huge third down conversion on third and three with two and a half minutes left in the game. He ripped the ball from the cornerback who nearly intercepted the ball for a pick-six that would have put Dallas in the lead. The reception gave Green Bay a new set of downs and went for twenty-five yards and into Cowboys territory.

#4]  Randall Cobb’s incredible third down conversion with less than two minutes left to play after a Dallas defender deflected the ball into the air. The twelve yard completion came on a difficult down and distance of third and eleven, and sealed the win for the Pack.

#3]  Davante Adams’ juke of safety J.J. Wilcox on a forty-six yard touchdown reception that came on a third and fifteen play with two minutes left in the third quarter.

#2]  Julius Peppers stripping the ball from DeMarco Murray on the Cowboys forty-yard line in the 3rd quarter. Absent that forced fumble, Murray likely goes all the way to the Big House and generates significant momentum for the Cowboys.

#1]  Aaron Rodgers’ thirteen-yard touchdown strike to Richard Rodgers with nine minutes left in the game. The play not only provided the game winning score for the Packers but also required A. Rodgers to scramble out of the pocket on a bum leg and throw against his body. The resulting dart resembled a missile cruising at low altitude and came against tight double coverage on R. Rodgers.

Defensive Player of the Game: Julius Peppers. His sack set the tone early in the game and his forced fumble of Murray in the third quarter saved a touchdown and set up a field goal by Mason Crosby.

Offensive Player of the Game (not named Rodgers): Davante Adams. He had a huge game that compensated for the absence of Jordy Nelson, who was a non-factor due to tight coverage by the Dallas defense.

MVP of the game (and season): Aaron Rodgers. His courage in playing on his bum wheel, especially in the second half, was nothing less than spectacular. It was a performance for the ages and secures a memorable place in the annals of Packers history. He completed his last ten pass attempts of the second half and for the game threw for three hundred plus yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.