Today is Super Bowl Sunday, the most ballyhooed and widely watched pro football game of all. Someone defined a football game as 75,000 people sitting in a stadium, although they desperately need exercise, watching twenty-two people on the field who desperately need rest.
Pastor Bob Schmidgall said of Super Bowl Sunday, "That’s a pastor’s nightmare. What do you do on Super Bowl Sunday night? Go watch the game? I’m not worried about watching it. I’m worried about all those people don’t come to church." Then he quoted this, written by a minister:
"As a minister I’m available twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. Naturally that includes the Sunday afternoon of the Super Bowl. All I ask that the call contain some small element of crisis, such as an all-out nuclear attack, or a world-wide epidemic of leprosy. Anything of lesser consequences can wait.
"My interest in the game is matched by my admiration for fellow sports fans. Not only are their numbers legion, but their attitude could turn the world upside-down. It did once, remember?
"The original saints didn’t play in New Orleans; they prayed in Jerusalem. Their zeal for Christ made them known as fanatics, from which we get our word fan.
Our word enthusiasm comes from their extreme devotion to the church and originally meant God within.
"Their great champion, Paul, often figuratively used the word arena and compared the Christian life to a great athletic endeavor. However, centuries of distortion and tradition have corrupted worship into an event so staid and stately that only the stuffiest of souls find much satisfaction in some modern day
services. Give me fans any day.
"Every Sunday is a Super Bowl for saints, as they stand up to battle Satan with all the zeal of Christ and the first-century church. If we’re ever going to defeat the Devil, we’ve got to pray, ’Lord, make me a fan.’
"Fans arrive early. They seldom wander in during the third inning or the second quarter. In church, some seem to straggle in and straggle out. ’Lord, give us fans.’
"Fans don’t care when they get home. They love extra innings and sudden death overtimes They’re not pew warmers worried about pot roast and beating the Baptists to Bonanza. ’Lord, bring on the fans.’
"Fans are vocal. They don’t sit and spectate. They
participate. After the third resounding ’Amen’ the deacon asked the visitor if something were wrong. ’Nothing,’ he replied; ’I have the Holy Spirit.’ ’Well,’ the deacon countered, ’you didn’t
get Him here, so be quiet.’ ’Lord, we need fans.’
"Fans can endure anything. Football at 40 below, basketball when it’s hot enough to boil a bat’s brains. Some spectators at Sunday services are too much like the farmer’s pump--frozen up in the winter and dried up in the summer. We could use some more
"Fans want the best seat in the house. The closer to the action, the better. Dead disciples bargain for the back seat and ought to be drop kicked from the church. ’Fans, Lord.’
"Fans never miss a game. They’ll see it in person, watch a replay on T.V., and then read about it in the newspaper. They can’t wait to get to work to talk about it again. Sunday saints arrive grudgingly, listen sparingly, and leave hurriedly. God knows they’re not fans.
"Fans know trivia statistics about hundreds of ball players. Some of God’s most loyal onlookers can’t name three of the twelve apostles. Everybody knows they’re not fans.
"Seriously, something is bad out of whack if you get more excited about a white spheroid sailing over a fence, but wish you could find an excuse to miss worship.
"The world can be reached for Christ and the church can be victorious, but it will never happen until some long-standing members of the church convert into real fans. That’s precisely what He called us to be. ’Lord, make us fans.’"
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