Any Given Sunday

Any Given Sunday

Superbowl Sunday is here once again and once again I have the honor of preaching a football type message and with that comes the difficulty of finding football messages that I have never preached before.

Today the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the Philadelphia Eagles for the ring. This is the culmination of the football season and we will find out today who the better team is. Who you got? Who doesn’t care? Who’s not watching?

This year I came up with some football idioms or phrases that many use in everyday language. Maybe some of these you know and have heard of and some might be completely new to you- especially if you never watch football. Are you ready?

Game Plan– The game plan is the strategy devised before the game to get past an opponent. In football this is traditionally shown in the form of diagrams of plays with X’s and O’s representing the players. The strategy each team puts together weekly. Some game plans were as thick as the Manhattan phone book — if you recall what phone books looked like before everyone, including NFL teams, went digital. Players are expected to memorize game plans well before kickoff, with QBs and defensive signal callers needing to master virtually every position’s responsibilities.

Do you have a game plan? If you want to experience victory, you need to have a game plan. People whose lives are in chaos rarely experience victory. 

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

The word for those who fall away from the Lord is termed a “reprobate”, in the Greek language means “an undisciplined, immoral person”. In fact the word “disciple” comes from the word “discipline”. The Christian walk is one of discipline. What are the things that we need to have a game plan? I am not talking about planning out your whole life. I believe that my life is in God’s hands and though I may make my plans, HE directs my steps. So I have to be flexible in my planning. But here are some things to plan:

Seek Him first every day. Give us this day. Plan your day around prayer and Scripture reading. Not the other way around. You will find that you will not take the sufficient time for prayer and study if you do not plan this first. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier. 

Plan on being in church every Sunday, and most Wednesdays. I met Jesus in the house of the Lord and was taught to be in church everytime the doors are open. This has always been a guiding principle in my life. My life is planned around these times, plus the Tuesday morning bible study I teach, I plan on two Monday prayer nights a month, plus other church gatherings as needed. Friday night was our women’s event- I used to beg people to come, but the older I get, the more I realize people make a way to do what they want to do. P Matt and I spend the bulk of our time together, we coordinate our schedules. Show me your calendar and your bank account and I will show you what is important to you. Serving the Lord and His people are the most important things in my life. One day, it will be to spend time with my grandkids

We only have a certain number of days on this earth- how will you spend them?

Psalm 90:12  So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

My game plan includes being victorious over my thought life and my flesh. Do you know why people fail in their Christian walk? Some of you here are not victorious over your thoughts and flesh because you refuse to discipline your flesh and your thought life. Your game plan should be to be actively engaged in your walk. If you walk with no aim, you will fail. It is not all dependent on you, neither is it all dependent on God. You cannot pray for rain and expect a harvest when you have not planted any seeds. Every morning, my game plan thoughts are fully engaged with my walk

I plan to be victorious, so I take every thought captive. I know there is a battle between my flesh and the Spirit and I have to be actively involved partnering with the Spirit in the process of overcoming my flesh. Why can people not overcome their sin, their shame, their past guilt? I will tell you.  They refuse to take thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ and appropriate His shed blood by faith.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

People tell me, “I do not feel forgiven, I feel sahemful”. Faith is not based on your feelings. It is based on the finished work of Christ. Appropriate His shed blood by faith. This is a daily battle. It should be part of your game plan.

Run interference– To run interference means to provide assistance by or as if by clearing a path through obstructions. In football, it describes the effort of the offensive players to block the defensive players from reaching the player in possession of the ball. The idiom came into use first in football, in the early 1890s. By the middle of the 20th century it had broadened to include non-sporting use.

It is not all about you. Help a brother out. You are your brother’s keeper. AND not just the ones you like.

Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When you are struggling with temptation, call up a friend to pray with you and for you. Get yourself an accountability partner that will be honest with you. When God wakes you up in the middle of the night, then pray and intercede for people. Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night and you do not know why? Pray- Gabby

Do you realize that it was men like Moses and Abraham who interceded for God’s people and stayed back His hand of judgment? It was women like the prophetess Deborah that went with the Israelites to defeat their enemies, because the captain asked her to go. Do not under- estimate the power of intercessory prayer and going with someone into battle. Praying my prayer list and Kathryn Duffy was heavy on my heart. I started praying for her and then texted her to let her know I was praying- I had no idea she was in the hospital. How much does that lift the brethren’s spirits when they know by the Spirit, you are intervening for them?

Run interference for the brethren

Monday-morning quarterback or Armchair QB– This term for one who second-guesses the decisions of another. It echoes the fan who dissects a team’s strategy during a weekend game on the following school day or workday. This dismissive football idiom came into use in the early 1930s.

What if I went to the fire dept. and started telling Jay how to do his job because I read a book and listened to a podcast. I watched a video. You know the type, “I would do this way”. OK. Like you know better than the ones that have made it their life’s work. Why are you here? If you are here to be a part of what we are doing, praise God. You are welcome to be a part of our fellowship. But if you are constantly questioning pastor Matt, what we do here, the teaching that comes forth here; and you criticize the sermons and tell others why we are wrong or what you or someone else could do better…then why are you here? We found out a few years later that before the Mugi’s took over Monday night prayer, there were people praying against Ps Matt’s leadership. It was subliminal, but it was there.

We do not need any Monday morning quarterbacks. Go plant your own church. Our blood sweat and tears are in the foundation of this church. Paul told the Corinthian church they listened to everybody else except to Paul:

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

Paul is telling the church he is their father in the faith. He has taught them and loved them in the truth. There is no reason why they should follow such teachers and forsake those who were their earliest guides in the faith. Those who taught you, loved you, walked with you, helped you when you fell, brought counseling and help to your marriages and family. How are you going to listen and follow others that will never have to look you in the face and will not give an account to God for your life? 

Back to the fire dept., they have general rules, but each dept, is run by its chief and they have different rules based on the people under their care and jurisdiction. Same for the church. The seven messages to the churches in Revelation were all different, based on what went on in that church. Paul’s message ot the Galatians was vastly different than his message to the church in Philippi.  If we were in the days of the kings, if you lived in Israel and heard the messages for Judah, you would be misled. The messages here are for those who are here.

Make no mistake those internet preachers you watch will give an account to God for their teachings, but if you are in this church, your pastor is the one that has to give an account for your life. If you think we are preaching false doctrine here, then you should leave. But if we are preaching the truth of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit is alive in this church, then stop playing Monday morning QB and instead report on the how the sermon convicted you and changed you.

Punting– punting in football means to kick the ball upward with the top of the foot after dropping it from the hands and before it hits the ground. The tactic is done in the hope of giving possession of the ball to the opposing team closer to its own goal line, because your own chance of advancing the ball any further is unlikely. Since punting means giving up on attempting to score points for your own team, the verb has started to develop a secondary meaning of “to delay or avoid addressing an issue”. Coffin Corner- punter aims to place the ball near the corner of the field and pin the opposing team inside their own five yard line. The name “coffin corner” actually comes from the coffin corner found in Victorian houses. If you were expecting a more exciting history of the name, then you will be let down. It comes from Victorian houses.

What are the things that you know you need to address in your life and you keep punting them away? Could be a bad habit, a pet sin like “white lies”, perfectionism, control, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment or envy? Do you need to mend a relationship and you keep punting it away? Sweeping the things you need to deal with under the rug produces NOTHING good. IT will come back to bite you. Plus, this is not only destruction to your spiritual walk, it is horrible communication. Do a heart check. Part of my daily prayer is asking the Lord to examine my heart

Psalm 139:23-24  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

God is always working in me. When He convicts you of something through the Word, preaching or a trusted friend; then deal with it immediately. The longer you punt something off, the harder it becomes to make it right. And if you are not careful, bitterness creeps in and hardens your heart.

Sidelined– The sideline isn’t just where injured players sit. It’s the home base for the coaches, trainers, inactive players, and anyone employed by the team who doesn’t happen to be in the game at the moment. Football players have been getting sidelined for well over a hundred years now. As a verb, sideline means to place someone out of action. That can be the result of illness or injury,  but can also be a consequence of another’s decision.

Have you been sidelined? I want you to know that this is not permanent! Sometimes the Lord sits you down to rest. You might be in a season of waiting. You might be in a season of discipline. It is OK. Sit and learn what you need to learn in order to get back in the game. I want you to know God is not done with you. If you are still here, God is not finished. He still has a plan. Wait for your season to play. Those who sit on the sideline do not just do nothing. They are still members of the team. They still practice and help make their team better. If one person on your team wins, we all win. 

Psalm 27:14  Wait[a] on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

During the waiting, do not compare yourself to others. You might look at me and think something of me. Well it has taken me 30 years to get where I am. Do not compare yourself to anyone. Keep your eyes on your own race. Stay in your own lane and stop getting into everyone’s business. Deal with whatever it is you need to deal with while you are waiting. Otherwise, you could be sidelined a lot longer than you want.

John 21:21-22  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I [a]will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Mind your own business, do not complain, and keep your head in the game

Hail Mary– The most dramatic play in football, the Hail Mary is a long forward pass thrown by a quarterback in the last seconds of a game, usually with low odds that it will be caught. It became popular after the Cowboys’ Roger Staubach claimed to have said the words while throwing a winning touchdown in a game in 1975. After the Dallas Cowboys quarterback completed a late 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson to win a playoff game at Minnesota, Staubach said: “I guess you could call it a Hail Mary. You throw it up and pray.” Now Hail Mary can describe any kind of long-shot attempt taken when other attempts have failed.

What long shot attempts have you stepped out in faith to achieve? It doesn’t matter that others have said it is impossible or that it cannot be done- God says differently. He is the God of the impossible.

Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing will be impossible”

The most recent long shot was our building campaign, many said it could not be done and many left our fellowship. Ps Kevin shared how he started a business at the worst time possible in America, during the lockdowns, but He listened to what the Lord was telling him to do and now he is flourishing. If I could tell you all the people that told ps matt and I to not plant a church- you’d be shocked. 70-80% of church plants fail. This is a real statistic. Who are you going to believe? God or the odds?

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

The main design of the prophet in all this portion of his prophecy is to state the fact that the Redeemer would be greatly exalted.  But it was necessary also to exhibit the depth of his humiliation, and the intensity of his sorrows, and also the fact that he would be rejected by those to whom he was sent. The prophet exclaims that what he had said, and what he was about to say, would be scarcely credited by anyone. And we know Israel rejected their Messiah. Will you be counted among those who stepped out against all odds or those who grumbled and complained, saying to yourself “God cannot provide a table for me in the desert place.”

Who’s report will you believe? You lose 100% of the shots you never take. Do not be jealous when another succeeds in their Hail Mary attempts when you do not even have the faith to step out and trust God. I will say this, you only fail if you quit. No word from God will ever fail- keep going. As long as you keep working as unto the Lord, you will succeed. 

Blitz- Ah, the blitz. A term so popular it has spawned it’s own video game series. Surely you can guess the origins of this defensive term…It comes from the war moniker “blitzkrieg,” which means “lightning war” in English. When the defense sends more than three or four rushers at the quarterback to disrupt or stop the offense. One of the most widely used is the zone blitz, popularized by longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Bull Rush- The term bull rush literally brings to mind images of the running of the bulls in Spain. The term describes a defensive lineman attempting to run right through an offensive player rather than trying to make some fancy move to get around him.  Icing the Kicker- No, opponents aren’t throwing snowballs in winter or Slushies in warmer weather. This is the “art” of making a kicker wait before he attempts a field goal by calling a timeout, usually late in games. The belief is that calling a timeout before the kicker attempts a field goal forces the kicker to sit on it and think a little bit longer, thus having a greater chance of missing the field goal. Over the last four NFL seasons, icing the kicker has proven to be an effective strategy in clutch situations.

There is a spiritual battle raging against us. I am not sure you recognize that we have three enemies: the world and its culture/ways, our stinking flesh and the devil. It is not always the devil, sometimes it is your flesh and/or the world. You cannot magnify one enemy, and neglect the others. We are in a real spiritual battle. 

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

James 4:4[a]Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1 Peter 5:8 Be [a]sober, be [b]vigilant; [c]because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

We are not to be ignorant of his devices. Know yourself well enough to know where you are weak and keep those areas covered. Me? I know I am weak in the area of rejection. I had a deeper understanding of the cross- it does not just come with suffering, but also the rejection of men. I have to fight my flesh, the world and the enemy in this area. This means when I feel rejected, whether it is real rejection from the world, or perceived rejection from the enemy; I take those thoughts captive and cast them out and replace those thoughts with the Word of God and what He says about me. I forgive the offender and I do not hold a grudge. I do not give the devil any place, neither do I give myself over to my flesh to be depressed and throw myself a  pity party. Keep your heart clean and your motives pure. You may not always be able to stop the blitz, but you can sure as heck not give him any opportunity to wreak havoc in your life.

Any Given Sunday- The adage refers to the idea that any team can beat any other in a given week, regardless of record. It rarely applies to opponents of the New England Patriots in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Also the title of a 1999 football movie starring Al Pacino.

What does this mean for you? Any given day, you can experience victory in Christ regardless of your past record. This is the phenomenal and amazing power of the Lord that He does not hold our past sins and failures against us. It does not matter that your record is zero for 25. I do not care what your stats say about you. I don’t care that your opponent looks like Goliath and has more recorded wins. Your failures do not mean that today cannot be your day of victory. If you asked anyone from High School what do you think became of Crystal- they would tell you I would be married and divorced several times with multiple children from multiple men, high on drugs and alcohol, or dead in a ditch murdered by a pimp. My life was marked my failures and the stats of any success in life was slim to none. But God

Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

Micah 7:8  Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be a light to me.

Miracle on Ice- Feb 22 1980  The Soviets had won each of the previous four Olympic gold medals in hockey and 12 gold medals in the 16 world championships they played in between 1961 and 1979.

The USSR also won all 12 matchups with the United States between the 1960 and 1980 Olympics, outscoring the Americans 117-26. Even when the U.S. had NHL players playing for it in the 1976 Canada Cup, it lost to the Soviets twice (outscored 9-2). Oh, and that doesn’t even include the Soviets’ infamous 10-3 blowout exhibition win to close out the 1980 U.S. team’s pre-Olympic tour at Madison Square Garden, just one week before the Olympic Games began.

The idea of competing with the Soviets was absurd on paper. But the victory becomes even more miraculous when you see how badly the U.S. was out matched that day by the older, more experienced Soviets. Here’s a look at possession-based numbers from the game

 Consider: In all situations, the USSR had 52 shot attempts, while the U.S. recorded just 25.

When taking that same statistic and looking at only 5-on-5 situations (normal play, no penalties), the USSR held a 46-21 shot attempt advantage (68.7% shot share).

When looking at shots that hit their target, the official box score credited the USSR with 39 total shots The United States? Try 16. A ridiculous 71% of shots on goal in the game came from the Soviets, and that number jumped to 81.6% at 5-on-5.

Running a possession deficit that substantial is not usually going to lead to success, and it’s somewhat rare to see. Over the past three NHL postseasons, only five playoff games out of 258 have had a possession disparity as large or larger than what we saw in the Miracle on Ice. 

Perhaps the more alarming metric is the number of scoring chances the U.S. allowed. According to data, the Soviets accounted for 20 scoring chances. The U.S.? Seven. That’s it.

That means the Soviets owned 74.1% of the scoring chances in the game but scored on only two of them. The U.S., meanwhile, converted on three of its seven. That’s some serious opportunism.

The U.S. had scored in the final second of the first period to even the score at two, leading to the unthinkable to begin the second: legendary goalie Vladislav Tretiak being benched in favor of Vladimir Myshkin. But then US mustered only two shots on net in the second frame and trailed 3-2 heading into the third period. Twenty minutes to score two goals, all while holding off the Soviet offensive attack? After a period like that? It seemed impossible against a juggernaut like the Soviets. Until it wasn’t

Any given Sunday.

Lamentations 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Today can be your Sunday of hope, restoration, deliverance, forgiveness, healing

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

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