Lessons from the GOAT

Super Bowl Sunday- Feb 7, 2021

In this year of football, I saw a lot of weird things. Players on the sidelines wearing masks, when there’s no one else around but their teammates, but not on the field with all the other players they have been around. OK weird.

Games on a Tuesday night played in a stadium with card board people and recorded noise pumped in. Even the “boos” were pumped in. TD dances in front of no one. The Cleveland Browns made it to the playoffs, when they were winless in 2017. They last made the playoffs in 2002. Same year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Superbowl, and are now returning. 

Players were allowed to Opt-Out-not every player has returned for the new NFL season. Several made the decision to sit out. After 77 years, the Redskins became the “Washington Football team”. Jim Kelly finally has a replacement, just 19 QB’s later. The Raiders are officially in Las Vegas, but their $2 million stadium cannot be used. The Jets shut down because they had two false positive test results. Cam Newton as the Patriots QB. Which leads me to the weirdest thing this year- Tom Brady in a Buccaneers uniform. I remember when Drew Bledsoe was the Pats QB, he got injured, Tom took over and never sat back down. He played 20 seasons with the Patriots- an NFL record for the longest playing QB for one franchise.

You may not like him, you may have harsh opinions about him, you may believe he is a cheater, or maybe you do not care one way or another- but Tom Brady is the GOAT. Tom Brady has a record 6 Super Bowl rings, more than any other NFL player, and equal to any franchise as a whole. Brady has been to the Super Bowl 9 times in his career and won it 6 times. What a LOSER! Compared to other great QB’s: Montana has been to the Super Bowl 4 times and won 4 times, a perfect record. Peyton Manning has been to the Super Bowl 4 times, winning twice. John Elway went to the Super Bowl 5 times and won twice. Drew Brees has only made it to the Super Bowl once, winning once.  Dan Marino only went to the Super Bowl once, losing to Joe Montana after throwing only one touchdown and two interceptions.

During the regular season, Brady wins 77.3% of games; the closest QB was Montana at 71.3%. In playoffs, he wins 73.1%and still the closest behind him is Montana at 69.5%. He has won 49 more games than Manning (and counting)

He’s back in this year’s Superbowl at the ripe old age of 43. He is the oldest active player in the NFL currently- this role typically goes to a kicker, but not in this crazy year. I am not a “Tom fanboy”, but I have mass respect for his work ethics and discipline. I do not know him personally, so I have no comment on who he is as a person- just as an NFL QB. Just like MJ, people love him and people hate him; at least he is who he is and we can still learn from his football career.

Lessons we can learn from the GOAT

You can go from nothing to a something: Brady was the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft. Drew Bledsoe said of him, “I really liked Tom. He was a great guy and fun to be around. But I never thought he would be a starter in the NFL. He would always be a back-up QB”. What if Tom believed these words??

At some point, you have to see yourself as a conqueror in Christ. We do not look at ourselves more highly than we ought, but we also do not think of ourselves more lowly than we ought.

Romans 12:3 English Standard Version (ESV)

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

This means that you are going to have to just take God at His Word. The victim mindset that is so prevalent, especially with this younger generation is an acquired mindset. This means it can unlearned. I have every reason to live as a victim, but I choose to believe God’s Word. This is the essence of faith- to believe God. Believe what He says. It is truth and we let those words sink down into our heart, mind and soul until His Word becomes a part of us.

When the Bible says, “You are more than a conqueror” believe it

The Bible says, “You are forgiven in Christ” believe it

The Bible says “He is your Deliverer” believe it

The Bible says, “He is your healer” believe it

The Bible says, “He is faithful” believe it

The Bible says, “The LORD is a stronghold in times of trouble” believe it

Acts 27:25 English Standard Version (ESV)

25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.

Some translations say, Take courage!! Have courage, do not be afraid, do not live as a victim! IT will be even as the Lord told me it will be!

How to be disciplined:  Brady’s commitment isn’t limited to the field. Just consider the way he (and his family) eats. “80 percent of what they eat is vegetables and whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans, the other 20 percent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, mostly wild salmon.”

The Patriots QB also does not eat white sugar, white flour, caffeine, dairy, or nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplants – they cause inflammation), He also eat avocado ice cream as a treat. He has a strict fitness and diet plan that he adheres to. What’s wrong with you?

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 English Standard Version (ESV)

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[a] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (explain)

You cannot out run a bad diet. You can physically discipline your flesh, but if you are not putting in the Word of God it’s futile. If I am anything, I am disciplined. The truth shall set you free- but if you will not unlearn your victimhood- you will not live free. You will remain in bondage. It takes discipline to undo faulty mindsets. God will do HIS part, but you have to do yours.

It takes discipline to fight your flesh, feelings and emotions- to not be controlled by these things. It takes discipline to read the Word of God and apply it to your life. It takes discipline to get up early and pray, seek God’s face first. It takes discipline to fast. It takes discipline to say in the face of adversity, “I will not be moved!”

How to compete: There are two types of competition: competition with others, and competition with yourself. Past teammates had described instances in which Brady had broken ping pong paddles and thrown backgammon boards across the room when he was losing. He also once gave his team a pep talk before a charity football game against a group of firefighters. Tom is a fierce competitor- but it is never at the expense of his team.

Some people do not know this about me, but I am highly competitive. I actually called Danielle Ledvina (I LOVE Dani) the “Bee” word during a board game at a women’s retreat. And if you know me, I do not cuss. I hate cursing. I think it is ignorant and unbecoming of a Saint. Competition got the best of me.    At the gym, if I am running next to someone on another treadmill, I will purposefully run faster than them and longer, just to compete. Here’s the thing, most people do not even know you are competing against them.

However, we are not in competition with anyone, accept ourselves. We need to view ourselves as all on the same team. I have a friend who competes in strong lady competitions and she always says, “It’s me against me” I am always striving to do better because it makes the church stronger.

Galatians 6:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

2 Corinthians 10:12 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

And is this not the way of the Christian walk? We are all in the same race, but we are not all in the same lane, or even on the same field of events. I am striving every day to be more and more like Christ. I am not competing with anyone, we all should have this same goal. To walk like He walked, to live like He lived, to overcome like He overcame. My fight is with the devil and my flesh- not others. Do you not have enough to take care of with your own flesh? Why compete with anyone else? It’s futile.

Philippians 2:3English Standard Version (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 

This selfish-ambition is translated in the Greek as “rivalry”, competition for superiority.

2 Timothy 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[a] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

When we work on ourselves, we strengthen the whole Body. Me against me becoming more and more like Him.

How to work (really) hard: At the University of Michigan- Tom was the 7th back up QB. He was slow and pudgy. For two years, he never saw the field. He began to put in 10,000 hours of practice. He did whatever he could to improve his quickness, agility and speed. The lesson for us all is to rebel against boredom, obstruction, and neglect. 

Labor is the law of God. ALL work is essential.

Genesis 3:22-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

Proverbs 14:23 English Standard Version (ESV)

23 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

I dated all sorts of bums when I was younger, they were all going to be Rock stars. Dream big young people! BUT you have to work. I will never allow my daughter to marry any young man that is unwilling to work because he thinks he deserves better, or he’s holding out for his dream. Young ladies- if you find a young man that will not work or cannot hold down a steady job because of a poor work ethic- run

For the Bible tells me:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Laziness is not a characteristic of a successful person.

How to be selfless: Individuals don’t win football games. Teams do. To be on a team, you must learn to be accountable to the people around you.  Brady has sacrificed something closer to $100 million in contract money for the bettering of his team. He sacrificed to put his team in a winning position.

The 2007 season may go down as Brady’s greatest individual season when he won his first MVP award and led the Patriots to a 16-0 regular-season record. So how did Brady reward those that kept him upright and enabled him to rewrite the NFL record books? Brady gave each of his five starting offensive linemen Audi Q7 SUVs as a token of appreciation following the season.

Guess what? It is not about you. Your marriage is not about you. Your family is not about you. Your job is not about you. AND most definitely, the church is not about you. Selfishness is not a characteristic of a Christian.

Hebrews 13:16 ESV Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

1 John 3:17 ESV But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

1 Corinthians 10:24 ESV Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

The value of preparation: Football requires practice. Brady has been known to be studying film at 3:30 am. “Other than playing football, the other thing I love to do is preparing to play football.”

WE prepare for the game by knowing our enemy’s strategies. I taught in this Friday night to the women- if you’re interested ask your wife.

We would do well to take the enemy seriously. He is not playing around. The minute you repented and were born again, you made yourself a target of Satan. He lost territory when you became a child of God. He is out to steal, kill and destroy everything you hold dear and we are not supposed to be ignorant of his devices.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Be sober, be vigilant.—Single words in the Greek, and in the tense which bespeaks immediate attention. The best text omits the following “because.” These are the sudden cries of warning of a shepherd who spies the lion prowling round the flock in the darkness, while the guardians of the flock lie drowsy and secure.

As a roaring lion.—The epithet is not only added to lend terror to the description, but the roaring implies hunger and determination.

Walketh about-  Peter, however, is not calling attention to the fact that Satan is always prowling about, but he warns the sleeping shepherds that he is especially doing so now. This season of persecution was just his time for picking off one here and another there.

Seeking whom he may devour.—Perhaps still more expressive to say, “seeking which he may devour.” Satan is eyeing all the Christians in turn to see which he has the best chance of, not merely stalking forth vaguely to look for prey.

The Bible gives us a lot of Scripture that tells us what Satan is up to- especially in the latter days. Some of you are unaware because you do not study Scripture. So much Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled right now. There is one thing I want you to be aware of- the last days will be marked by apostasy. Apostasy is a departing from Biblical, Scriptural truths. It is a departing from the gospel that was preached in the Book of Acts, a departing from the very Word of God and a departing from the Biblical account of Jesus. Paul told the Corinthian and the Galatian church they were receiving “another gospel” and “another Jesus”. Now, if you listen to me and are following any other Jesus than the Jesus that calls us to lay down our lives for His sake, to take up our cross and follow Him, to die daily to our flesh and walk in the Spirit, the Jesus that tells me I can do nothing, I am nothing, I have nothing apart from HIM; then you will call me a heretic. But if the Jesus you follow is the Jesus of the Word of God made flesh, fully man and fully God, the Jesus that wants followers and not fans, obedience and not sacrifice, true love and not worldly lust;  then you will receive my words. IF you are ignorant of God’s Word, you will surely be led astray.

It is the little things that trip us up- we don’t trip over cars

Deflategate: This perhaps might be the greatest mar on Tom’s career. I have studied it inside and out- there’s numerous articles and even a Wikipedia page on this. There’s a ton of evidence that says he is guilty but there’s a ton that says he is not guilty. You can form your own opinion. What did I learn from this? 

Take your punishment and keep going. Do not let a failure, even a moral failure, define you.

Hebrews 12:7-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

If[a] you endure chastening, (God’s discipline)  God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

I have gotten away with something that I did do and I have been accused falsely of doing things I did not do. Keep going. WE must endure being disciplined by the LORD. It never feels good, but His discipline is always warranted. He loves you, therefore a good Father must discipline you. Take your licks and keep going. EX: I can remember one story where I got what I deserved- Walking back from the store, licks with a switch 

God is not a progressive, let kids do what they want, parent.

Maybe you are innocent. Let yourself be falsely accused. WHO CARES. Does God not know the truth and will HE not vindicate you in His time? Do you trust Him to take care of the situation? Handle it yourself and you will get nothing but trouble.

Matthew 5:11 ESV “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

1 Peter 3:9 ESV Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Proverbs 19:9 ESV A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.

Jeremiah 20:11 ESV But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.

How to endure:  “Football to me is more than just a sport,” Brady said in 2017. “It has become my life.” And this is the reason why he is the greatest QB ever. I do not know how he is as a husband, father or friend—but in the field of football, he endures because football is his life. AND this is the key to his success- football it is his life.

You will not endure any kind of persecution, suffering, affliction, trial or test in this life if you are not all consumed with loving, serving and obeying the Lord. If your heart is divided in any way, you will not endure. If Jesus is not the love of your life- your first love- you will not endure.

Mark 4:19-but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

This is the seed sown among the thorns. The trials that are coming will prove where your treasure is. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. 

Matthew 24:12-13  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved

Endurance- the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Denoting or relating to a race or other sporting event that takes place over a long distance or otherwise demands great physical stamina.

The Christian race is a marathon, not a sprint. Endurance requires a passion to see His face one day, and a persistent effort to keep going, press on toward the mark no matter what the cost.

Oswald Chambers

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