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LEFT: Ilgesia Hispana Bautista Church of Hays celebrated Three Kings Day the first Sunday of January with a bilingual activity celebrating Jesus’ birth. RIGHT: From left are Roger Herrick, Alex Enriquez and Hector Esquilin. COURTESY PHOTO

Bible is playbook to super life, not Super Bowl, victory

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As we approach the Super Bowl this Sunday, I am reminded the Christian life is like a football game. In biblical times, they might not have had American football games, but they did have athletic competitions. The Bible does use sports to teach about spiritual truths.

"Straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

"Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules." 2 Timothy 2:5

The sports might be different, but you'll find some things in common with American football if you read the verses carefully. You'll find running, a prize, winning and losing, competition, training, goals, fighting or struggle, opposition, spectators, obstacles and hindrances. There are many lessons we can learn from football.

Football is a team sport. When the team is working in harmony under the direction of the coach, good things will happen. There are star players, but the star players cannot function without the core team. They need blockers, linemen to open up opportunities in the defenses. There is an offensive team, a kickoff team, a team of receivers and a defensive team, and each are critical to a win for the team. There is no individual victory, only the victory of the team. Only when all players, from the starting quarterback, the receivers, the linemen and the person playing their parts working together, does the team run a successful play. Likewise, every believer has a unique role and a part to play in the Kingdom of God.

Just as a coach knows his players and their talents, God is aware of every single one of your talents and skills. The question is this: Are you aware of your talents, and are you using them to benefit the team (your church and the Kingdom of God)? In sports, focus is placed on the outcome, the excitement and often on a "player of the game" -- a hero. The joy the athletes and fans feel as they focus on these things is temporary, lasting only until the next challenge, the next big game.

In the Christian life, focus is also placed on the outcome, which is life everlasting; it is on the excitement of the purposes God has given us; it is on our hero, our coach, our savior Jesus Christ. True joy is not based on our circumstances; it is based on our acknowledgment of what Jesus has done for us. It is different than the temporary joy of winning a game (try to remember who won the Super Bowl two years ago). The Christian life reaps everlasting benefits.

Preparation, perseverance, using our talents and focusing on God are all important pages in our Christian playbook. If you can, come to Celebration Community Church this Sunday and see what God's playbook, the Bible, has to say about His game plan for making us champions in the game of life and life everlasting. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Kyle Ermoian is the founding and senior pastor of Celebration Community Church.

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