For the last several years I have been speaking, writing, and challenging others to consider sport as a form of worship for the Christian sportsperson. I believe that kicking a ball, swinging a bat, running a race, diving from a board, or any other sporting activity can be an equally valid a form of worship as singing a song, playing a guitar, performing a ceremony, or other, more religious activities.
For a few months I incubated some thought and selected some Bible texts that could help us embrace these ideas and reshape our thinking to view ways that we may worship on the field of competition. A week ago, I wrote a series of discussions that attempt to do just that. One example of the studies is below and the entire series is available to you. Simply email me at RLipe@fca.org for a copy. You are free to use it, to criticize it, or to trash it. I simply want to push the dialogue along and to broaden our thoughts and experiences re: sport and worship. Thanks.
Eight Ways to Worship On the Field of Competition
Roger D. Lipe (RLipe@fca.org)
Worship by Competing Sacrificially
· Tell us about some of the things you sacrifice for your life in sport.
· For what or for whom do you make these sacrifices?
· What do you think you learn or gain from the process of competing sacrificially?
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly they way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
· To what and to who do you give your bodies in training and in competition?
· Is that similar to or different from giving them to God as mentioned here? Why?
· What about training and competition is sacrificial? How so?
· When does that sacrifice feel like it is the very stuff of life, a living sacrifice?
· When do you get a sense that your sacrificial lifestyle sets you apart from most other people around you?
· Why would God find such sacrifice to be acceptable and an act of true worship?
· What are some of the world’s behaviors and customs that are out of step with God’s way?
· By contrast, how would a new and transformed person compete and thereby worship on the field of competition?
· How would worshiping in our sporting lives help us learn God’s will?
· What would be good, pleasing, and perfect about knowing God’s will for you?
· Let’s list some direct results from competing sacrificially, thus worshiping God in the activity of sport:
o God accepts our ________________, which is living and holy.
o We truly ______________ God as we compete.
o God transforms us into _______ ________.
o God changes the way we ______________.
o We learn God’s _______, which is _________ and _________ and ________.
· Summary - Worship by competing sacrificially and you can expect that you will be transformed in your thinking and will discover God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.