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Cor. 9:24-27; Philip. 3:12-14
Tonite’s festivities will
go on as usual, rain or shine. We’ll call it “God’s First Half,” and
we’ll make Him top priority tonite w/ Pastor Jeremy preaching. We’ll
have a 'ball' tonite and he will probably choose to run with it…hopefully it
won’t be offensive. I suggest you choose to receive tonite as he is
choosing to 'defend' the faith. We will meet in the youth chapel on
2nd floor, and I suggest you come down closer to the front by the heat vents
so you have the 1st “draft” choice. As you can see in your
bulletin, the 2nd half will be a “finger-food fellowship” with
games on 3rd floor and some of us watching the game in HD on the 7' wall
screen, free from the commercials we aren't interested in and free from any
Pastor Jeremy will be
officiating for the 1st half. His main points will be
audibles but there may be some cool visuals as well. Prior to the
offertory special, a full congregational “hand off” will take place using
offering baskets. Feel free to fumble thru your wallet as a simple
coin toss is not enough! Any young people found to be in illegal motion
will be assessed a five pew penalty or half the distance to the front.
Just camp out on your own end zone for the service.
Here’s our promise if you
We promise not to “go
long.” This will be a special service because, unlike most of his
sermons, tonite there will be no extra points.A sermon in excess of thirty minutes will be regarded as a flagrant
"Delay of Service." At that point the avid fans will look at their
watches in plain view…which will constitute the 2 minute warning.
This is your Sunday
Tonite a football game
will be played. Millions of people
who desperately need exercise will sit and watch a few guys who desperately
need rest.In each play these
large men will face off across a line of scrimmage. A call will be made,
leather will slap, and bodies will collide and crash. For four 15 minute
quarters men will expend enormous energy and Herculean efforts to move a
piece of pig skin up and down a field of grass. In the end one team will
What does it take to become a Super Bowl champion?
Can you tell me? Let me tell you who will win. The winner of
tonight’s game will be the team that exhibits 5 specific traits. The
team that has the greatest desire, The team that is the most disciplined,
The team that has the most determination, The team that is willing to
practice self-denial, The team that possesses the greatest distinction
and character. That team, whoever it may be, will win the Super Bowl!
In football, many people play the game. But there are only a few that
rise to the status of a Super Bowl Champion. Do you know where the rest of the NFL will be tonight?
At home watching the game along w/
most churchgoers. What separates a Super Bowl Championship team from the
team with the worst record? It is desire, discipline, determination, denial,
and distinction, applied day in and day out.
Vince Lombardi, former
coach of the Green Bay Packers, and the winning coach of Super Bowl I,
stated in a speech called "What it takes to be number 1": "Winning is not
a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while;
you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time.
Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Every time a football
player goes to play his trade he’s got to play from the ground up-from the
soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play."
I want you to know that another game is being played right now, and you
are a part of that game. But, unlike the Super Bowl, your game has eternal
And, like the NFL,
only a fewChristians
will rise to the level
of play exhibited by
a Super Bowl
Champion. So my
question for you is what does it take to be a Super Bowl
Christian? What separates a champion from a bush leaguer?
The five traits of a
Super Bowl Team are the same traits that define a
Christian: desire, discipline, determination,
denial, and distinction.
We find these traits in two passages of
1 Cor. -27
Know ye not that
they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that
ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate
in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an
incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not
as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring it
into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I
myself should be a castaway.
Not as though I
had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…I
count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting
those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which
are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus.
In the Corinthian passage
Paul is speaking of the Isthmian Games which were held every two years in Corinth. There, athletes
would compete for crowns made of leaves. However, Paul was encouraging Christians to compete for a prize with more lasting
1. THE FIRST TRAIT OF A SUPER BOWL CHRISTIAN IS DESIRE.
Paul says "Run to win!"
Desire is to want something.
Great desire is to want
something so badly that you can taste it.
As the hart
panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
That great Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee said that "the highest desire
that can possess any heart is a longing to see God."
Such a desire
for God should compel us and propel us to run with all that we have.
Unfortunately, instead of going for the gold, we too often settle for silver
or bronze. In fact I’m convinced that most believers never venture too far
past the starting line. Instead of straining and pressing on, we get
comfortable on the sidelines.
Lombardi said, "The difference
between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack
of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
Paul had such a desire. He
was the Bart Starr, the Vince Lombardi of early Christianity.
Until you are saved, you
have no desires of value.Once
saved, you receive worthwhile desires.Yet, desire alone is not sufficient. Desires only take shape when
they are accompanied by discipline! (A lot of us desire to get in shape;
but, without discipline it won’t happen.) James 4:2 Ye
lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain:
I may have the
’wanna’, But if I don’t have the ’gotta’, I’m never going to have the
2. THE SECOND TRAIT OF A SUPER BOWL CHRISTIAN IS DISCIPLINE.
Discipline is the fuel of success. You may be the prettiest car in the
show room, but without gasoline you’re going nowhere.
discipline in the Christian life
you will never grow. You will be forever doomed as a spiritual weakling,
easy prey for Satan and his team of evil minions. Worse, you may be so weak
that he decides that you’re not worth his efforts.
To attempt to live
the Christian life without
spiritual discipline would be like me climbing into the ring with Lennox
Lewis. Somebody’s going to get hurt - real bad!
Paul tells us that a
competitor goes into "strict training". He beat his body into
subjection. He strained and pressed on.
Like a body builder who
adds more weight and extra reps in order to increase his muscle mass, Paul
felt the burn and pushed on past it.
in Christ doesn’t just happen. It
takes hard work. 1 Tim. 4:7
rather unto godliness.
If ye endure
chastening [hardship], God dealeth with you as with sons;
As there are no short
cuts to peak physical condition, there are no short cuts to peak
Tom Landry, late coach of the Dallas Cowboys
said, "The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want
to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be."
us want to win, we just don’t want to be disciplined.And until you're saved, not only do you not have good desire, you
don't have the discipline to accomplish anything of value.
puts feet to a Christian’s desire
to become a Super Bowl Christian.
Yet, to perform at the highest level, a Christian
has to be determined.
3. THE THIRD TRAIT OF A SUPER BOWL CHRISTIAN
Focus and commitment…in other words, determination, will determine
whether or not you view Christianity
as a recreational sport or a serious full time competition.
Unfortunately, commitment is a dying quality in American life. It is a
quality known to prior generations; yet, woefully lacking in the Baby
Boomers and the younger generations. (the younger generations learned well
from their Baby Boomer parents/g'parents)
When life gets tough, they
check out other options and alternatives. We see this trend in every area of
life. Determination and “stick-to-it-iveness”, have become passé. Yet, a
super bowl quality performance cannot be achieved without determination.
All life activities have their ups and downs.
Only those who are
committed to ridingout the crests and the troughs will
In Phil. 3 Paul said that he pressed on toward the
goal. He was focused and committed to completing his own Super Bowl. He
didn’t give up on "4th and long". He kept the end game in mind.
1998 Quarterback Tony Rice led Notre Dame’s football team to a national
championship. Before the season, sportswriters wondered whether Notre Dame
could beat the tough teams with a quarterback like Rice, whose passing often
was inaccurate. They didn’t know that coach Lou Holtz had bought Rice a dart
board and told him to practice throwing darts an hour a day. Rice didn’t see
how that would help his passing, but he did as his coach said. He was
committed and focused. Soon he began to throw passes with more accuracy and
confidence--both of which were evidenced in a banner season.
step is crucial. Without laser point focus and determination we fracture off
into too many areas. We become double minded. The book of James tells us
that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
saved, we can have desire, discipline, and determined commitment. The next
trait to becoming a Super Bowl Christian
is a natural out-growth of the first three.
4. THE FOURTH TRAIT OF A
SUPER BOWL CHRISTIAN IS DENIAL.[go into denial...self-denial!]
The key to success in
any venue is a willingness to sacrifice self.
Like Tim Tebow, when we
are told we aren't good enough and we can't measure up, we should agree,
saying, "No, I can't, but God can!""And I can do all things thru Him!"And like Tebow, once God gives us success, we should again remember
how we got there, and give Him the glory, denying ourselves.
Tebow could make a lot
more endorsement money if he would compromise his convictions.He could have any girl he wanted, if he would drop his standards.And he could earn respect from his many 'haters' if he would take
their hint and stop taking his stand...a stand he can only take by self
we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us
run with patience the race that is set before us,
To sacrifice is to
give up something for a specific purpose. To sacrifice you pay a price.
Lombardi said, "Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You
have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the
point where success is possible. Most importantly, you must pay the price to
stay there." "Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that
work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect
for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve
any goal that is worthwhile."
A Super Bowl
Christian will sacrifice. There are things that they
will give up, and things that they will take up. They will give up pet
sins, They will take up burdensome crosses. They will give up freedoms,
They will take up submission In doing so their time, their thinking, and
their actions will be radically changed.
The beauty of sacrifice and
the burden of sacrifice, is that it’s not just a one time event. The Super
Bowl Christian, like the Super
Bowl athlete, continually trains and sacrifices. There is no off season, and
no retirement. Paul did not rest on his laurels, not even when he was old.
He continued to press on. He knew that the goal line was still a few yards
ahead. He wouldn’t reach it until he closed his eyes in death.
final trait is an element that ties the previous four together and gives
5. THE FIFTH TRAIT OF A SUPER BOWL CHRISTIAN IS DISTINCTION.
Tebow's sideline prayers
are what make him a champion on the field, but they are obviously rooted off
the field.That prayer is
distinctive...it stands out.
But it is rooted in character.
Charles Reade, English
novelist and dramatist, wrote, "Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a
habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny."
Without exception every successful super bowl team has a game plan that
integrates all the elements of their training into a winning strategy.
For the Super Bowl Christian
character is the element that integrates desire, discipline, determination,
and self-denial together. This will
make you a Christian of
Distinction…making a distinctive difference!
Christian can be defined as Christ-likeness.
To look more and more like the Savior was why Paul trained so hard.
That I may know
him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his
sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Paul acknowledged that he
was not yet there. But he was moving in that direction. Each day he drew
closer because He had the desire, He was disciplined, He was determined,
dedicated, committed and focused, He was willing to deny himself, And he
was developing godly character distinction.
Paul lost his life to a
Roman sword. With the drawing of his last breath he crossed the goal line
of glory. The time clock sounded and he had won the game. Paul was a Super
Bowl Christian. Waiting for him on the other side was a
prize…A prize greater than any super bowl ring.
For Paul there would be crowns that
will last for eternity. And it can
be that way for us!
In a little while the game will be over.
In the end one team will emerge
victorious.A trophy will be
rewarded, Rings will be presented, Cash will be given, Glory will be
bestowed, Advertising contracts will be awarded, And one team will have
bragging rights for a year.
Yet today a greater game of importance is
being played, and you are a key player on the field. You have the
opportunity to play for eternal rewards. You can win a prize that will never
dim. The outcome is up to you.
Will you choose to be a bush league
Christian, or will you choose to become a Super Bowl
[Outline mine, some content by Mark Land,