Summary: This was designed to get people back Sunday night, and with enthusiasm. Powerpoint at website.

God’s First Half

1 Cor. 9:24-27; Philip. 3:12-14

Powerpoint for this and hundreds more free sermons at our website, at bottom.

[Promo at end of AM Service, referring to this PM Sermon]:

Tonite’s festivities will go on as usual, rain or shine. We’ll call it “God’s First Half,” and we’ll make Him top priority tonite. I’ll have a ball tonite and will probably choose to run with it…hopefully it won’t be offensive. I suggest you choose to receive tonite as I am choosing to defend the faith. You may decide to sit near the exit, but I suggest you come down closer to the heat vents as you have the 1st “draft” choice. As you can see in your bulletin, the 2nd half will be a “finger-food fellowship” on 2nd floor while we watch the last half of the game on the screens.

I will be officiating for the 1st half. The main points will be audibles but there will be some cool visuals as well. Prior to the offertory special, a full congregational “hand off” will take place using offering baskets. This is a time to be serious…feel free to fumble thru your wallet as a simple coin toss is not enough! Any young people found to be in illegal motion will be assessed a five pew penalty or half the distance to the front. Just camp out on your own end zone and wait. Anyone leaving before the closing prayer will be in illegal motion.

I want no wardrobe malfunctions tonite in the service, please!

Here’s my promise if you come back:

I promise not to “go long.” A sermon in excess of thirty minutes will be regarded as "Delay of Service." Mrs. Kimberly, an avid Eagle fan, will at some point look at her watch in my plain view…this will constitute the 2 minute warning. This will be a special service because, unlike most of my sermons, tonite there will be no extra points.


At this very minute a game of is being played. In each play large men will face off across a line of scrimmage. A call will be made, leather will slap, and bodies will collide and crash. A battle has begun. For four 15 minute quarters men will expend enormous energy and Herculean efforts to move a piece of pig skin up and down a field of grass. In the end one team will emerge victorious.

What does it take to become a Super Bowl champion?

Can you tell me?

Let me tell you who will win. The winner of tonight’s game will be the team that exhibits 5 specific traits.

The team that has the greatest desire,

The team that is the most disciplined,

The team that has the most determination,

The team that is willing to practice self-denial,

The team that possesses the greatest distinction and character.

That team, whoever it may be, will win the Super Bowl!

In football, many people play the game. But there are only a few that rise to the status of a Super Bowl Champion. Do you know where the rest of the NFL is tonight? At home watching the game along w/ most churchgoers. What separates a Super Bowl Championship team from the team with the worst record? It is desire, discipline, determination, denial, and distinction, applied day in and day out.

Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers, and the winning coach of Super Bowl I, stated in a speech called "What it takes to be number 1":

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Every time a football player goes to play his trade he’s got to play from the ground up-from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play."

I want you to know that another game is being played tonight, and you are a part of that game. But, unlike the Super Bowl, your game has eternal consequences.

And, like the NFL, only a few Christians will rise to the level of play exhibited by a Super Bowl Champion. So my question for you this evening is what does it take to be a Super Bowl Christian? What separates a champion from a bush leaguer?

The five traits of a Super Bowl Team are the same traits that define a Super Bowl Christian: desire, discipline, determination, denial, and distinction.

We find these traits in two passages of scripture. Please take your Bibles and turn to…

1 Cor. 9:24-27

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. [25] And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. [26] I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: [27] But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

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Chad Buffington

commented on Feb 2, 2007

Great Message.

Jerry Dodson

commented on Feb 1, 2014

Glad he acknowledged Mark Land's outline. I offer the same advice here I did for Mark: there was plenty of law here but I wanted to hear more gospel. In other words, there was plenty of what we are to do, but not much of what Christ has done for us. The imperatives of the New Testament have to be balanced by the indicatives of the finished work of Christ on our behalf. The active obedience of Christ is the grounds of the justification of all Christians. I need to hear more of this in every sermon; it is the fuel of my desire and ability to obey God.

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