Thursday, January 22, 2009

Holy Bowl--Worship at half-time.....Maybe

In the past few years the NFL has been in the news for cracking down hard and strong on churches across the country causing them to cancel big and small Super Bowl parties at their location. The NFL has relented from this aggressive approach recently but now a new development of sorts is emerging. This year it seems to be a bit backwards. The NFL is not cancelling Super Bowl parties at churches but instead a growing number of churches have decided to cancel Sunday evening Worship services to clear the way for members and staff to enjoy watching the Super Bowl.

New Spring Church in South Carolina created this video to announce to their congregation the Sunday evening Worship would not take place on Super Sunday. It makes the one person who shows up for church feel awkward and out of place.

The video actually has an evangelistic tone to it. Go spread the news… The news that there is No Evening Worship at Church on Super Sunday Feb 1. Other churches including Cornerstone in Chandler, AZ have also made the same decision. With more than a week till game time more may follow suit.

If only there was even half as much passion for living out and sharing the Gospel as there is for the Super Bowl, the commercials and the parties. I understand that at Super Bowl parties a lot of people enjoy the fellowship of other fans. I know it is not a sin to watch and enjoy a football game. I have no intention to be legalistic about the Super Bowl for it is God who knows the heart. Since He knows the heart it should be important to honestly consider “why” these things are so and seek after God’s heart in the matter.

I wonder what is at the heart of all this? Is God really at the heart of these kinds of decisions? I would like to think so. All the same I wonder why it is though that fans (which is short for fanatics) are not even more fanatical about the God who made them and laid down His life to save all who will come to Him in repentance and faith? I wonder how it is that for 51 weeks of the year a church can have corporate Sunday Evening Worship but on Super Bowl night close the doors?

Could it really be that the motive behind cancelling a regular and weekly time of worship is being done in order to give all glory to God? That somehow God will be esteemed even more by cancelling corporate worship in order to not miss kick-off? Is God that small and the game so big? Is it the Cross that you get Carried Away with or is it the game? Is it deny yourself and take up your cross or is it deny your cross and take up your remote?

Football is fine until it becomes an idol. How do you know if it is an idol? Ask God to search your heart and reveal the truth remembering that for the redeemed every day is Super. Not just Sunday. Not even “that” Sunday. So the question ultimately is not “where will you be” that night but “where will your heart be.” May He receive all glory forever. And of course He will.


Anonymous said...

Whew...I thought I was awfully alone, but the comments in this blog support things that have bothered me for a long time. As a Pittsburger, you can imagine how concerned I am about revealing my true feelings!!! One risks being assulted (at least verbally)in some way, if they are honest about the Steeler idol worship that goes on in this place. And it is incredibly worse this morning! One big defense people here have about their "football god" is how it has brought this city together and done so much for the spirit of this town. As the author of the blog states, having that same enthusiasm for God, and certainly His Son would make such a differnce in changing the world and "our town". But the fans lash back, saying that many people do not share that belief in God or Jesus, so it is too exclusive, whereas their "Steeler god" includes everyone Hmmmm. The Steeler god worshipers have been busy "celebrating" all night-getting drunk, damaging property, and recklessly endangering other people in some cases. They are a very selfish lot. Do you know that some schools and places of business actually either closed today or had several hours of delay to accommodate people that were so crazed with the Steeler victory. Oops, I'd better be careful-these are all "fighting words" for Steeler fans! How sad. They brag that God is a Steeler funny...the Cardinals probably think He's a Cardinal fan. Oh well. Here's my big question for organized sports players and owners. If they REALLY love the game like they contend, and see that it is just a sport, then why not play for a reasonable wage similar to the wages of their "fans" -more like $!5,000-$40,000 per year? No way, afterall, they are gods.

Robert Tewart said...

I would add to your comment, but I think you said it all!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the affirmation. There are not too many around here who share my concerns. In fact, I must hide them to avoid persecution! We recently did a Bible study on the sovereignty of
God and how the Israelites forgot this over and over again. It caused great trouble for them. I hate to clue fanatical fans into the fact that God is a fan of no one-nor does He bow to anything. How did they miss that idea?