Living Like Champions
This afternoon four teams will play in the NFL Conference Championship games. Each team is made up of fifty-three players who have spent every day since the end of July preparing for today. There have been countless hours of training on the track, in the weightroom and on the practice field as well as a dizzying amount of time learning their team’s strategy and the strengths and weaknesses of opponents. All of it has led to today. The really good news is that all 200+ of these players are winners. They have won in the regular season, and in the postseason they have defeated their biggest rivals. The bad news is that when they get up in the morning half of them will be losers, too. There are no participation trophies in the NFL, so they are all going to go out to day and lay everything they can on the line. Why? Because if they can win one more game, they will have that experience every one of them has dreamed about since the first time they picked up a football: walking out onto the field to play in the Super Bowl – and maybe even holding the Lombardi Trophy over their heads with their teammates.
One of my favorite things about sports is how athletes’ stories and struggles can inspire us to make more of our lives. This past Thursday night I got to be part of a new small group. This one happens to be full of young men. I happened to be the oldest (which seems to happen a lot more often these days). We spent some time reading and discussing Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3. We also got to talk about where we are in life and how we would like to see faith impact us. In the words of these men I heard the same thing I hear from interviews with great athletes. As each man spoke, I heard him say these three things: Life has been tough. I’m grateful for where I am. Now, with God’s help I want to be a better man. This is the heart that, when we share it together, will turn us into people who live like champions. And as we serve Christ together, this kind of heart just might change the world.
This morning I’m going to continue to share our strategy to touch lives outside of CrossRoads with our small groups. Next week we will spend Sunday morning experiencing our small groups together during our regular worship time. While I can’t promise you the kind of experience I shared with these guys Thursday night, you will get a little taste of what it’s like to share life in one of our small groups. I pray that in one of our small groups you might find a place where you can be part of living like a champion.