Tuesday, February 5, 2008

God's Super Bowl - Psalm 95:1-3


In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the innercom asking for a carry out at check register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) but he fell in love.

Later after his shift, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room smile and took her card, punched out, and left. He read her card, BRENDA. He walked out to see her walking away. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible. He pressed and she explained that she had two children and couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday.
That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, lets take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children. She had a daughter who was just as cute a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair, he was born a paraplegic with Down's syndrome. Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities. Just like her first husband and father of her children did.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to go to the rest room, he picked him up out of his chair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with. A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children and since then they had two more.

Does that sound like an interesting story? Well, Kurt Warner was a football player! His long road was filled with setbacks and bad breaks. After being passed over in the NFL draft and rejected by the Canadian football league, he was stocking shelves for Minimum wage at a Hy-Vee supermarket in Cedar Falls , Iowa . He kept working out and a year later was back in football, but in smalltime arena football-an indoor game using 8 players on each team playing on a 50-yard field. In 1997 he missed a tryout with the Chicago Bears when he was bitten on the elbow by a vicious spider, leaving him unable to throw. After 3 years he was signed by the Rams and sent to the Amsterdam ( Netherlands ) Admirals of NFL Europe. The Rams signed him for the 1998 season but he played in only 1 game.

The next year the Rams signed another superstar-prospect QB, and it looked like Warner would be overlooked again. But when Trent Green was injured in the preseason, Warner stepped up to have one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. He threw for 41 touchdowns, led the league in completion %, and took the Rams to the conference-best record of 13-3. In 5 months he had gone from being an anonymous bench-warmer to the NFL's most valuable player and Super Bowl champion. Warner became a Christian 4 years ago after tragedy touched his life.

So what happened to the stock boy and check out girl? His wife's (then his girlfriend) parents were killed when a tornado demolished their home in Mountain View , Arkansas . Kurt watched as Brenda, a Christian, responded to the tragedy with poise and grace rather than self-pity. He also knew how she had dealt with a crippling accident suffered by her son Zachary 8 years earlier when he was dropped on his head as a baby. Brenda sat in a rocking chair next to Zachary's hospital crib for 17 days, watching as he suffered seizures, quoting scripture, and asking God to perform a miracle. Although, legally blind and brain-damaged, Zachary is now a 5th-grader who can read, gets around fairly well, and takes mainstream and special ed. classes.

Three months after Brenda's parents' deaths he became a Christian. Two months later he proposed to her, and has adopted Zachary and her daughter Jesse. Kurt is now a celebrity but says he owes his success to Brenda and his faith.

Kurt Warner
went on, of course, to become the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, leading them to the Super Bowl two out of three years . . . and, of course, becoming the NFL's Most Valuable Player. Now, that would be enough for most people. But not for Kurt Warner. He's got a bigger goal - at least according to what he told Sports Illustrated he would like as what he called his "football epitaph" - "Used his football platform to work for Jesus."

Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner moved to St. Louis , where he played quarterback in Super Bowl XXXVI. Kurt Warner is known all over the sports world as a radiant Christian.

Warner told his story at a Billy Graham crusade of 40,000 in St. Louis : "Who am I? I am a devout Christian man. I am not a football player. That is what I do. When I throw a touchdown pass now, my thoughts are how can I use this success on the field as a platform to glorify and praise my Lord Jesus Christ. People often ask the secret of my success as a football player. It has nothing to do with how I work out in the off-season or my diet. The secret of my success is simply Jesus Christ."

In one of the greatest games ever, it was a game worthy of the title of SUPER.
After the Titans drove all the way down the field, the Rams held as the Titans fell 1 yard short of tying the game in the last 6 seconds. A heartbreaker for the Titans and their fans; a sigh of excited relief for the Rams and theirs.

The Rams quarterback Kurt Warner just finished setting a Super Bowl record - passing for 414 yards, including 2 touchdowns. In the last 2 minutes of a tensely tied game, he fulfilled every quarterback's dream of throwing a 73-yard winning TD pass to receiver Isaac Bruce.

That game had one of the best silent and powerful witnesses ever seen! One of the Titans was injured and laying on the field motionless for several minutes before being carefully taken out on a gurney. As the doctors huddled around Blaine Bishop, Kurt went to them and knelt down to pray. Even ABC's Leslie Visser mentioned on air how "touching" it was.

Kurt was the game's MVP and the NFL most valuable player for the year. This is what was really SUPER!
A reporter asked a question after the game, in front of millions around the world. "Kurt, first things first - the TD pass to Isaac Bruce - did you say anything before you guys went out for that play?"

Kurt said, "Well, first things first - I've got to give the praise and glory to my Lord & Savior up above. Thank You Jesuuuuuus!" as he held the Lombardi trophy high over his head. "And then about that play..."

The Super Bowl is watched by millions on television as the most watched show in on TV every year. Advertisers spend 2.2 million on 30 second commercials. Football fans celebrate and have friends over with lots of food. The minor food of avacoto served this Sunday could measure five feet deep from goal post to goal post. All is centered around a contest of competition and excitement. For a football fan this is the contest of all contests.

But consider a much greater contest: "God's Super Bowl"! All through the Bible we see the forces of God doing battle with the forces of evil. We read the contest of: God with Lucifer, Elijah with the prophets of Baal, Moses and Pharaoh, David and Goliath, Samson and the Philistines, of Esther and Haman, and many, many others.

And think of this, in God's Super Bowl we are the participants not the spectators. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us of the conflict: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." We are in a spiritual battle! And the enemy wants to defeat us by destroying our families, our nation, our churches, our marriages, and our morality. We are told to be alert and to stay in the game!

The last I heard, no NFL team to play a home game in a domed stadium ever won a Super Bowl. But it goes different with God's Super Bowl! We have the assurance of victory. We are more than conquerors through Him. (Rom. 8:37) The book of Revelation reveals that Jesus wins! Your favorite team may lose in the Super Bowl and perhaps did not even make the playoffs. But if you know Christ as Savior you will always be a part of the winning team. This is God's Super Bowl!

Stop and think of God’s Superbowl! Some people picture the whole universe up there watching us in the Big Game of life! As God’s people are ushered off the field, they get up there in the bleachers of Glory and cheer us on! It's like you playing on a team and then a great Olympic champion drops by to watch! Wouldn't that make you conscious of your performance level? You would give it your best!

I can’t say that people who died are looking down on us from Heaven. But they do say something to us by their testimonies and witnessing! Because their lives say we ought to run our races to win! We read about Abraham, Moses, Sarah, and others who testify that the race is worth running! Their convince us that the race of faith is worth finishing strong! Hebrews 11 is full of "testifiers" that God is faithful through painful and difficult circumstances. And the heroes who paid the price for what they did laid down an example for us. We need that encouragement when weariness and exhaustion sets in on the course that is still before us. Let us compare our situations with these held dear through the centuries.


Charlie Carle

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