Summary: Christianity is a contact sport. The true joy and satisfaction in the journey of faith comes when we get out of the stands and onto the court. God wants all believers to get in the game and play to win!



“11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ… 15 … becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

• The pastor is like the coach of the team – to train believers to do God’s work.

• Everyone has a job to do – if we want the church to be healthy, growing, and full of love.

SPORTS QUOTE: The Christian Church is “a whole lot like an NFL football game—22 people on a field in desperate need of rest, 70,000 in the stands in desperate need of exercise.”

FAN DEFINED: an enthusiastic follower or admirer of a sport, pastime or celebrity

• As Christians, we should all be enthusiasts – en-theos = with or in God.

• ILLUSTRATE: enthusiast – our kids love going to soccer practices & games. Why? Because they are involved – they get to play!

THE BIG IDEA: Christianity is a contact sport. The true joy and satisfaction in the journey of faith comes when we get out of the stands and onto the court. God wants all believers to get in the game and play to win!

QUOTE: "Getting involved in your church by using your gifts will accelerate your spiritual growth immensely. God designed us that way. Don’t head for the grandstands when you enter the kingdom of God. Head for the playing field. That’s where the excitement is. That’s where the action is.” (Wayne Cordeiro, Doing Church as a Team).

• Jesus never called anyone to ‘go to church’ – He called them to follow Him.

• You will never find a bored ‘follower of Jesus.’ Bored church-attenders? Yes.

• It’s fun being saved!

SONG QUOTE: “Oh, put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today; put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today; Look at me, I can be Centerfield.” (Centerfield, John Fogerty).

• Let’s let this song’s chorus be our prayer, “Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play!”

PERSONAL STORIES: Things I’ve done for the Lord – lives I’ve seen changed.

• Praying for healing & miracles – God moving in our youth group in Surrey, BC

• Missions trips – stories of seeing lives touched by God in Mexico

• Street ministry – in Vancouver @ the Street Church on Hastings. Not boring!

KEY TEXT: “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

1. God wants us to play to win – but to do this, we must first of all get in the game!

• No one ever won a game from the sidelines – get on the court and in the action!

• MICHAEL JORDAN QUOTE: “I play to win. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.”

• He led his team to 6 NBA championships (named our son Caleb after him), was named the finals’ MVP every time, in 2001 a panel of sports experts named him the greatest athlete of the 20th century. But… he was cut from his high school basketball team? How did he ever get past that? He shot 300 baskets a day.

2. God compares us to athletes. To play to win, we must practice self-control and discipline.

• We must have the right diet (feeding on the Word) and exercise (prayer).

• We must not neglect to get together with the team for training sessions (church on Sunday mornings and home groups).

• QUOTE: “A mistake proves someone stopped talking long enough to do something.”

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