The beginning of this month brought about the first Middle School Power Camp that we have ever done in the Scottsbluff/Gering Area.  I was the one who was to teach the kids about Doing Sports God’s Way for the camp.  Hod Boltjes – Pastor at the E-Free Church in Kimball, NE came up to start off our camp right by sharing the Gospel with the kids.  Hod actually went to school in the same facility in which we held the camp which was something we didn’t know before the camp started.  He shared stories about some of the sinful things he did while going to school there and talked about the wrath of God that he deserved for those things.  Hod also talked about his favorite word in the Bible – “but”.  He was referring to Romans 6:23 which states “For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  As I listened to Hod present this most important truth, it struck me as to how grateful we should be for this gift.  It also struck me how distracted we are by the things in this world.  Our flesh is drawn to these things like a magnet and it comes in the form of the applause of man, making ourselves look great, championships, trophies, times, stats…the list goes on and on.  We make these things our ultimate goal all the time…especially in sports.

As it came time for me to present on Doing Sports God’s Way later in the day, God had led my heart to the book of Philippians.  The idea of a team stands out in this book from the beginning as the penmen Paul thanks God for the Philippians because of the history of their “partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now”.  You get the idea that Paul TOGETHER with the Philippians was doing battle for the “defense and establishment of the Gospel”.  Then in the context of doing battle as partners in the Gospel you have a prayer for the Philippians that they would be able to “determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

As our camp was taking place the end of the NCAA Tournament was near.  It is always a gripping picture to see how teams respond at the end of a tight game by linking arms on the bench.  As I thought about this in light of what we were studying from Philippians it struck me that this was a great picture of how we need to pursue this goal of righteousness in the middle of sports.  As Christian Competitors we need to lock arms around the Gospel and do battle TOGETHER in a desire to become like Jesus as we compete.  We need one another to remind us, encourage us, and push us towards the only Goal that really matters…the righteousness that is found in Christ-like character.  None of us are there yet as Paul continues to talk about in Chapter 3 but TOGETHER we can make every effort to take hold of it because WE have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus and the Grace we have found in Him.  TOGETHER lets lock arms and pursue as OUR Goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus as we compete in sports.  Don’t be distracted by the many enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction…they are focused on earthly things!  Don’t be distracted and don’t be fooled.  Worldly goals in sports are in opposition to God when they are the most important thing to us as we compete.   TOGETHER let’s lock arms and pursue Jesus as our ultimate Goal…becoming more like Him through every circumstance AND encouraging others to do the same.

Nate Lewis – Western Nebraska

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