Category Archives: Chaplain Stories

Invitation to Super Bowl Breakfast

SB Breakfast Invite PhotoBy George McGovern, Chaplain, NY Giants & NY Yankees

With the Super Bowl coming to NYC, I’m involved with the planning of the AIA Super Bowl Breakfast. This is an NFL-sanctioned event scheduled for Friday, January 31 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

This outreach, in its 27th year, features the presentation of the Bart Starr Award to a current NFL player, voted on by his peers, for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Bart Starr, who hasn’t missed a SB Breakfast in 27 years, will again be at the event to personally present the award. Past winners include Jason Witten, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson and Mike Singletary.

Please join me along with Bart Starr, Justin Tuck, Brent Jones and other NFL greats for an inspiring morning. Eric Metaxas, NY Times Best Selling Author of Bonhoeffer and George Martin, NY Giants 1975-1988 and member of Giants Ring of Honor, will co-emcee.

The program will highlight the character and faith that exist among many of the NFL coaches and players. It is not designed to be a “prayer breakfast

Partners in Ministry

Notes from Roger Lipe, Southern Illinois, Sport Chaplain / Sport Mentor / Character Coach

Across these twenty seasons of college football I’ve written and delivered a lot of pre-game chapel talks. I thought I’d share the chapel I conducted last Saturday prior to the Football Salukis’ game at Western Illinois University. Our game with the Leathernecks had a 1:00 pm start time and our chapel was at 8:45 am, just prior to the team meal. 100% of the coaching staff and team were in attendance. I was pleased to speak on one of my favorite scripture passages. Below is the outline of my talk. I hope it is of some value to you.

Saluki Football – “Common Cause”

Introduction – This is game one of our four game sprint to the playoffs. Let’s be great today.

Opening prayer by a Junior Running Back.

Common Cause – Thousands of years ago, a man named Moses led two million people from slavery in Egypt to their home in Palestine. Two million people is the equivalent of 20,000 football teams like ours. Their common cause is detailed in the first five books of the Bible and in Psalm 90. Read Psalm 90:12-17. This is the Prayer of Moses, the Man of God.

v. 12 – Understand the brevity of life and of opportunity, live wisely.

v. 13 – God, please visit us with compassion, life is hard.

vv. 14-15 – Please provide food for us again tomorrow and allow us some good days to match

these hard days.

v. 16 – Show us what to do as men. Let our kids experience a great life.

v. 17 – Please show us favor with our friends and even with our enemies. Establish our work, make

it of lasting impact.

Saluki Football’s Common Cause and my prayer for this team today is this.

·        I pray that we understand how brief the remaining season is and that we will wisely seize this opportunity.

·        I pray that we sense God’s presence on the field today and seek the best of the college football experience.

·        I pray that our coaching staff sees clearly what to do in every moment and that our players find great joy in the game.

·        I pray that we have the favor of God upon us and that the work of our hands; countless hours of study, practice, and training are confirmed, established,

and have a lasting impact.

That’s my prayer for Saluki Football today, our common cause, step one of four to a playoff berth.

Closing prayer by our injured, fifth year quarterback.

Submitted by: Ken Cross, Vice President of Sports Chaplains Network

 

 

Partners In Ministry

FootballNotes from Roger Lipe, Southern Illinois, Sport Chaplain / Sport Mentor / Character Coach  

Across these twenty seasons of college football I’ve written and delivered a lot of pre-game chapel talks. I thought I’d share the chapel I conducted last Saturday prior to the Football Salukis’ game at Western Illinois University. Our game with the Leathernecks had a 1:00 pm start time and our chapel was at 8:45 am, just prior to the team meal. 100% of the coaching staff and team were in attendance. I was pleased to speak on one of my favorite scripture passages. Below is the outline of my talk. I hope it is of some value to you.

Saluki Football – “Common Cause

ONE MINUTE GUN:“Accomplishes Much!”

In any community a few people are known to really get things done.  No matter how much they do, these are the “go to” people when you need help from someone.

I don’t know why this is the case.  You’d think we shouldn’t bother the “busy” people; but they seem to thrive on getting a  lot done. You can count on them to get it done!

The Bible has an interesting verse.  Basically it says that by praying we accomplish a lot.  What?  That’s right.  Wherever we are, whatever we are doing (even resting!), we can pray and have impact.  When we talk to the Right Person (God) our “askings” fall on the right ears, the One who has power to meet those requests.

Whatever you face today, large or small, for you or someone else, PRAY! You’ll get a lot accomplished!

“The prayer of a person right with God is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

Father, thank you that as I come to you with my requests much will be accomplished.  I love being a part of what you are doing. Amen

Blog from: LEGACY MINISTRY INTERNATIONAL, LLC

Submitted by Ken Cross Vice President, Sports Chaplains Network

 

 

 

Was There Competition in the Garden?

Please read this very important blog from Bob, it has ramifications on all we do as Sports Chaplains.  Bob Schindler is the executive director of the Church Sports Outreach. Both CSO and the Sports Chaplains Network make up the Sports Outreach Group.

This is a very important question for every sports minister and athlete to ask.

If competition only came after the Fall in Genesis 3, then as followers of Christ we should move people out of competition and sports rather than into them.  Jesus Christ came to overcome all of the corruption from the Fall.  If competition is a part of this corruption, then, in our work as fellow laborers with Christ to build the kingdom of God, we should work to eliminate, not encourage competition.  However, if there was competition in the Garden, then the Fall didn’t bring competition into existence, it only corrupted it.   Our work would then be to overcome the corruption and restore competition to the original design, not to eliminate it.

To answer the question, we need first to define what we are looking for in the Garden.  The word competition comes from the Latin word competere, which means to seek or strive together.  In our culture, we typically think of competition as striving against.  In our search, we will look for the first idea – striving together.

I find at least two places in Genesis 1 & 2 where this striving together, this competition takes place.  The first comes in Genesis 1:28 where God says to Adam & Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  These verses have been referred to as the Cultural or Dominion Mandate.

Have you ever asked, “What was to subdue if the world was perfect?”  While there was no sin, that doesn’t mean the world was complete.  It was raw, wild and chaotic outside the Garden.  Not music, no art, no inventions yet.  Just raw material.  Adam and Eve were to subdue this rawness, this chaos.  To exercise dominion meant that they were to “manage whatever facets of creation God places before them….The Great King has summoned us (them and) each of us into his throne room.  ‘Take this portion of my kingdom,’ he says.  ‘Put your heart into mastering this part of the world.  Get it in order, unearth its treasures; do all you can with it.’”[1] From the Garden and into the chaotic world around it, Adam & Eve were to bring order from chaos, a non-conforming world to conformity to God’s purposes, and treasures from the raw material in creation – including themselves.

Notice, this command was given to both of them.  They were to unearth treasures together just as they were to multiply together.  This required cooperation, a striving together toward this end.  Here we see competition.  As they strived together, each one brought out more of the image of God in them.

I can imagine one day Adam says, “Eve, would you toss me an orange.”  Now Eve had never tossed before but she picks up the orange, reflects for a moment and throws it.  It is a little high and Adam has to jump up from his seat to catch it.  He has never jumped but reflexively does so.  “Hey that was fun.  Do it again only higher,” Adam says.  Eve picks up another oranges, thinks for a moment and throws it higher.  Adam has to really jump but stretches out and catches it.  On and on it goes with lots of laughter.

Do you see what is happening there?  More of the “treasure” within them is being unearthed.  Adam’s ability to jump and Eve’s ability to calculate angle, velocity, distance for a perfect throw are coming out.  Can you sense the joy?  The fun?  Can you taste this original game?  And in the process, God is glorified.  His image, Adam & Eve, are showing off more and more of the “glory” given them.

You may respond, “But that isn’t there in Genesis.  There is no tossing, no “original corn-hole game”.  It doesn’t say there is but I can’t help but think this happened because of the second place I find competition in Genesis 1 & 2.

Genesis 1:26, 27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him; male and female he created them.”  God is speaking to someone here.  Who is it?  Whoever it is shares creative power (us make) and image (our image). It doesn’t say, “Let us make man in my image.” or “Let me make man in our image.” There is an “US”.  But then it says, “So God created.”  Not “they created”.  A ONE.  An US and a ONE.  Seems confusing.

Most of us, because of our background, immediately explain, “Well that is the Trinity.  One but three.  The Father is talking to the Son and the Spirit.”  We need to remember that this idea of the Trinity or the Godhead was veiled in the Old Testament.  It is there but hard to see.  The coming of the Son lifted the veil.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:1,2, 14)

Yet much of the wrestling with Christianity has come over this issue of the deity of Christ and understanding of the Godhead, this Trinity.  How can one be three?  Without a hierarchy?  Equal but distinct?  How do they relate to each other?  We wrestle with this great mystery to this day.

In the second and third century, the early Church Fathers looked to explain this mystery.  They came up with the word perichoresis to describe the dynamic between the Godhead.  Perichoresis means to dance around.  “”Each of the divine persons centers on the others.  None demands that the others revolve around him.  Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight and adoration into them.  Each person of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others.  That creates a dynamic, pulsating dance of joy and love.” [2]

The Godhead dancing.  Ever thought about that?  C.S Lewis adds, “In Christianity God is not an impersonal thing nor a static thing – not even just a person – but a dynamic pulsating activity, a life, a kind of drama, almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”  [3]

For us dance is choreographed movement typically to music.  Play is choreographed movement without music.   Could we even think of this as THE ORIGINAL TEAM, the Godhead, playing?  Creation was the result of the Godhead dancing, may we say even playing!

If Adam and Eve were made in this image, would play have been a part of their lives?  Absolutely!!!!

Lewis asks, “And, now, what does it all matter?  It matters more than anything else in the world.  The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way around) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in the dance.”[4]

Look around us and, without a doubt we are a long way from that original dance, that original play.  But if we don’t have this picture clear in our mind, if we don’t taste of this joy and fun, and the glory it gives to God, then when we attempt to take our place in the dance and ask,  “What does Christian competition look like?”, we find that it is like trying to restore a pile of metal into a ’57 Chevy , but we have never seen one!  We would be lost and confused.

To clear up the confusion, we need that picture.  We need to study it, to think about it, to envision it, to feel something of what it was like.  We need to “get back to the Garden.”

To hear a recently recorded message of Bob Schindler further talking about these ideas, click here.

[1] Richard Pratt, Designed for Dignity, p. 34, 35. [2] Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (Penguin Group, 2008), p 215.

[3] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Simon & Schuster, 1980), p. 152. [4] Ibid

Submitted by Ken Cross Vice President, Sports Chaplains Network

 

 

Was There Competition in the Garden?

SOGPlease read this very important blog from Bob, it has ramifications on all we do as Sports Chaplains.  Bob Schindler is the executive director of the Church Sports Outreach. Both CSO and the Sports Chaplains Network make up the Sports Outreach Group.

This is a very important question for every sports minister and athlete to ask.

If competition only came after the Fall in Genesis 3, then as followers of Christ we should move people out of competition and sports rather than into them.  Jesus Christ came to overcome all of the corruption from the Fall.  If competition is a part of this corruption, then, in our work as fellow laborers with Christ to build the kingdom of God, we should work to eliminate, not encourage competition.  However, if there was competition in the Garden, then the Fall didn’t bring competition into existence, it only corrupted it.   Our work would then be to overcome the corruption and restore competition to the original design, not to eliminate it.

To answer the question, we need first to define what we are looking for in the Garden.  The word competition comes from the Latin word competere, which means to seek or strive together.  In our culture, we typically think of competition as striving against.  In our search, we will look for the first idea – striving together.

I find at least two places in Genesis 1 & 2 where this striving together, this competition takes place.  The first comes in Genesis 1:28 where God says to Adam & Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

Opponent ≠ Enemy

By Roger Lipe, Sports Chaplain Sports Mentor, Southern Illinois

From my earliest days in sport I can recall the attitude, held by many, that opponent = enemy.  When competitors are stating the score, I have heard and said, “Good guys up 10-7.”  I remember a long-time college and professional football coach saying in very explicit language and without any pang of conscience, “They are the enemy!!”  Many of us would join him in such statements.  Most of us would have to confess to a less than charitable attitude toward our opponents.  Let’s investigate this a little further.

Practically speaking, a competition without a worthy opponent is just a practice.  Without an opponent one cannot fully compete.  In a very profound sense, we need our opponents just to have real competition.  The opponent is a necessary component to the whole process.  An opponent is needed and should therefore be respected, whereas an enemy is hated and life is better without them.

An opponent makes a competitor better and the more competent the opponent, the greater the improvement for all concerned.  Enemies aim to destroy each other and that only results in harm to both.

A worthy, respectful opponent helps bring out the best in sport for those who play their hearts out.  A contentious, ruthless, enemy-oriented attitude only serves to bring out the worst in everyone involved.

Play your heart out with a wise attitude that displays respect for your opponent and you will find such character reflected toward you.  Compete foolishly as if opponent = enemy and you will devalue the beauty of sport for yourself, your teammates, your opponents, the officials and the spectators.

Submitted by: Ken Cross