Summary: This sermon attempts to motivate Christians to get out of the pew and get involved in the ministry of the church.
Introduction: Every now and then I come across something that is so good I need to share it with you. This is the opening week of the College football season. Tennessee won their game with California yesterday, and UK plays Louisville tonight in their opener. So this is for those of you who are football fans. The following football terms that have been applied to the church:
A Benchwarmer- is someone who does not sing, pray, work, or apparently do
anything but sit in the pew.
A Draw Play – is what many children do with the bulletin during worship.
Half-time – is the period between Sunday School and worship when a few people
choose to leave.
Staying in the pocket – What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the
The two Minute Warning – The point at which you realize that the sermon is
almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.
Instant replay – When the preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week’s
Sudden Death – What happens to the attention span of the congregation when the
preacher goes into ‘overtime.’ (which of course is after 12:00 noon).
An End Run – is when you get out of church quickly, without speaking to anyone.
A Flex Defense –is the ability to allow absolutely nothing that was said during the
sermon to affect your life.
The Halfback Option – The decision of 50 percent or more of the congregation not
to return for the evening service.
Finally, A Blitz: is the rush that takes place following the closing prayer to beat
the crowd to the local restaurants.
Follow along as I read our text, which is found in Mark 2:1-5
Introduction: In 1976 Vince Papale was a 30 year old Substitute teacher and bartender in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He and his buddies spent most Sunday afternoons in the Fall either playing football at the park or watching the Philadelphia Eagles play on tv. Week after week they had high hopes, but week after week they got beat. (Those of us who are Titans fans can relate to that can’t we.) Then a New Head coach was hired a man by the name of Dick Vermeil, who had led UCLA to a Rose Bowl win the previous year. Vermeil convinced the owner of the Eagles to hold public tryouts, mostly as a publicity stunt to stir up excitement among the fans, who hadn’t had much to cheer about in recent years.
About the same time Vince Papale lost his substitute teaching job and subsequently lost his wife. Vince went to talk to his father and see what he though about Vince trying out for the Eagles. His father advised him not to because as he put it “a man can only take so much failure.” On the other hand all of his football buddies and a few of his co-workers encouraged him to try out for the team.
Most of the people who tried out were out of shape has been’s or wantabees. At the end of the day the only one to be selected was Vince. At the age of 30 he became the oldest rookie in the NFL.
But even though he may have convinced Coach Vermeil that he could play, he still had to prove himself to the rest of his teammates, which he eventually did out of sure determination and hard work. He is named the captain of the special teams unit and became a local hero and fan favorite. Eagles fans were crazy about the idea of a regular working class guy coming down out of the stands and getting into the game.
Well, I think there are a lot of Christians today who need to do what Vince Papale did. They need to get out of the stands and into the game. Some of you here this morning need to stop being ‘benchwarmers’ and get involved in the life and the ministry of this church.
There was a man in a community that had the reputation for always being able to catch fish. Regardless of the time of the year it was, or whether anybody else was catching fish, this man was always managed to come back with a boat load of fish. His brother-in-law, who happened to be a Game Warden had always been amazed at the man’s success. So, one morning the man agreed to take his brother in law fishing with him. They went to a lake that was known for its poor fishing. The game warden watched his brother-in-law take the boat out to the middle of the lake and cut the motor off. The game warden was confused as he noticed that his brother-in-law didn’t worry about finding a ledge or brush-pile, or anything like that. Then instead of getting his rod and reel out, the game warden’s brother-in-law pulled a stick of dynamite out of a sack, lit it, and threw it overboard. A few seconds later, there was a big boom, and almost immediately the surface of the lake was covered with stunned fish. The Game warden couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. He immediately began reciting the fishing laws and regulations to his brother-in-law. But this didn’t seem to bother his brother in law in the least. He simply reached into the bag for another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it to the game warden and said, "You gonna talk, or you gonna fish?" The game warden noticed the fuse was almost to the end and He quickly decided to fish.