Thank you, Lord, for those you called to play football, for those who give you all the glory, for those who will come to know you because of them. Thank you for the respite. Please bless your sons as they compete. Keep them safe from all harm. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Some of us are drama kings and queens, and some of us definitely are not. During the pre-Super Bowl Media Day, the feeding frenzy of photographers, interviewers, sportscasters, and any number of media representatives from television, radio, and print forums gather in front of podiums and tables filled with football players and coaches stationed there for this mandatory event.
For some people I know, it would be a torturous time filled with trepidation and anxiety. I'd love it except for one thing: it would be the media. And sometimes the media are hostile, unfair, looking for incriminating soundbites/bytes, and anything to defame or humiliate those at the podiums and tables. Their prejudices and/or expectations rule over their journalistic capabilities, and they fail miserably to convey "real" and instead insert caricatures.
Even though I'm always up for an audience - in spite of rarely having one - I can certainly understand not wanting to attend such an event. If you're uncomfortable being exposed, anticipate questions that might get too personal, if you're not accustomed to speaking in front of a crowd, don't consider yourself articulate or desire to express feelings or opinions, being placed in this environment to be prodded and probed by members of the media absolutely would not be a welcome or understandable situation. And should not be forced upon you.
Seattle Seahawk premiere running back Marshawn Lynch was warned by the NFL Commissioner if he did not participate in this Media Day event, he would be fined $100,000. He seriously considered not attending but relented, attending, and for several minutes expressed his appreciation for the attention but concluded he just didn't understand it. Marshawn Lynch is not a talker, he's a doer. I don't know if the way some of the media has treated him in the past, focusing on mistakes he's made, has anything to do with his aversion to speaking with the media, but I wouldn't blame him if it did. He has consented to giving interviews to particular media members, probably those he felt he could trust to reveal who he truly is as a person who grew up in a hard way and who operates a foundation in his native Oakland to help kids just like he was get a headstart on a better life.
Marshawn Lynch at Super Bowl Media Day
For the most part, the members of the NFL network gave a favorable response to Marshawn's brief interviews, but one self-important local sports media figure, who is nationally revered as a football guru, insulted him and made it crystal clear why Marshawn Lynch shouldn't ever consent to speak to him. Few things in this media frenzy have infuriated me as much as this individual's reaction to Marshawn. I'm not even printing his name here because it would give him recognition he doesn't deserve.
Why is it the media, who is no more a participant in the sports' realm as it is in the political realm, should be able to dictate who and what can be said and done for their benefit? And how is it they can decide exactly how individuals must act in situations that are difficult and/or uncomfortable for them? The media, even in sports, thinks of itself much more highly than it ought.
Lord, justice, please. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Okay, I'm not talking about board games or card games or actual games. I'm talking about "the games people play". And let's face it, there are plenty of games played in publishing. Even Christian publishing. Gasp!
And I can't play them. I just can't. Some of the required steps to secure an agent, a contract, attention, I don't do well. I'm not speaking of synopses, or the three chapter submissions, or the practical aspects of sending a manuscript. I'm speaking of the "do's and don'ts" of expected conduct. If I've met someone, I'm not going to pretend I haven't.
Maybe it's that "I gotta be me" thing. Things must make sense to me. And some things just don't. Maybe a lot of things don't.
Just some thoughts on the publishing scene . . .
Father, help me to be the one you want me to be. Always. I'm desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Some of you might've read my post on Saturday. Or maybe you caught this one. Or perhaps here. Pictured below are three young professional football players who I respect and to whom I'm loyal. And since this is the time of year when hysteria strikes the sports media, I'm happy to contribute my own brand of attention to the game since my team finally gets to play.
Thank you, Lord, for these gifted young men who dedicate themselves to the craft you've given them. Help them at all times to do what you've called them to do, to be the ones you designed them to be. Please continue to bless their lives, their efforts to honor you, and their hopes and dreams as they follow you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Real loyalty comes from the heart, gravitates to the soul, and proceeds to words and deeds. Pseudo-loyalty can be bought for a season, but if it must be purchased, the price will continually escalate as others seek it for themselves.
There are all kinds of loyalties generated by families, friends, teammates, soldiers, countries, and gods or traditions of men. What can be done to prove or sustain these loyalties stretches the imagination from the sublime to the absurd to the perverse.
Within the scope of true loyalty, assessments are made to determine the strength, durability, and deservedness of such loyalty. Real loyalty isn't blind to faults but, because of immeasurable worth, a loyal person decides to invest their support, sometimes their allegiance, often their trust, and a certain kind of devotion to the one who merits this loyalty.
There is also the child-like acceptance, that innate submission mostly prompted by a fluid and immature recognition of love. A child's loyalty is true and innocent, lofty in its purity.
Adults graduate to favorite brands of vehicles, restaurants, computers or smart phones, only breaking their allegiances when a perceived "better" one is produced or appears. A fickle pursuit of "the best" defeats most loyalties to objects.
But, we've all seen that variance in conduct with human beings. Marriages fail as "better" opportunities seduce individuals. Loyalties erode with greater temptations.
Loyalty is reduced to a current favorite item, philosophy, individual, or feeling. And it implodes under scrutiny becoming no more than what holds an individual's attention for any given time.
Real loyalty is not a frivolous action, a mere attachment. Real loyalty persists through tough engagments because the investment isn't an idle directive. Time and examination have taken place, the resulting commitment a heart's treasure. Important. Vital. Meaningful. Trustworthy. Valuable.
Besides our Almighty God, where do you place your loyalties?
Father, please help me to be a loyal friend, devoted to those you've put in my life to remain loyal to. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
If you watched the NFC Championship game, where the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the last few seconds by a spectacular game-saving tip of a Colin Kaepernick pass to Michael Crabtree by Richard Sherman resulting in an interception in the end zone by Malcolm Smith, you know at the very end of the game Richard Sherman was approached by reporter Erin Andrews and gave an emotional outburst regarding his relationship with wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
This immediately caused a furor on every sports network, general networks, Twitter, Facebook, and comments all over the internet. Fans of football demonstrated their own passionate responses to this unfiltered answer to Ms. Andrews' question, and many of them weren't pretty.
You've heard the president of the United States use his race as a political trump card to garner sympathy and favor, but I'd be willing to bet he's never experienced the kind of crude racism that was leveled at Richard Sherman for his brief comments after the heat of battle.
Richard Sherman is a Stanford graduate from Compton, California, which Richard cleverly referred to as an oxymoron. He and his brother managed to live through their gangster neighborhood with their two wonderful, hard-working parents who took unfortunate kids into their home to rescue them from an area that chewed up and spit out youngsters or converted them to addicts, pushers, or killers.
In Seattle, Richard Sherman operates a foundation to help under-privileged kids and families called Blanket Coverage. He uses his own money and raises money to provide school supplies, clothes, Christmas gifts, and inspiration for children of all ages who need to hear they're worth something and have no limits on what they can accomplish in life if they'll dig in and try.
Richard Sherman had an off the field conflict with Michael Crabtree that spilled out after the game. Since that response which caused seismic activity in ugly, racist, classless commentary from opposing fans, Richard Sherman's apology has gone mostly unnoticed or ignored.
Erin Andrews later remarked favorably about Richard Sherman, acknowledging she'd met him before and knew he was a decent and good guy. Richard also apologized to Erin before the evening was over.
If you're one of those folks who choose to judge Richard by one outburst or his fiery play on the field, it's your choice, but around here in Seattle we know what kind of young man this guy is, and I have nothing but respect for Richard Sherman.
Father, please continue to encourage those athletes who follow you. It's a viscious world, and we all need you desperately. Thank you for all the wondrous and diverse talents you pour into your people. Apart from you, we can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
He [Jesus] said to them . . . ,"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Are you a witness for Jesus? Empowered by the Spirit of God to tell about and show Jesus to your world?
In countries where Christians are persecuted, imprisoned, and murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ, people have invented covert ways to meet, signal each other, and keep snippets of scripture to encourage them. So far in the USA we can still discuss Christianity, but the current government is cracking down on where and how much we can say and do. Who would've thought that in the One Nation Under God this could happen?
Platforms exist in all kinds of arenas. Some celebrities frequently express their opinions on all kinds of things including their religious preferences. Some are conspicuously silent.
Many people believe actions speak louder than words, but without words to point to the reason for one's inspiration, talents, and skills, others just assume the gifting is self-induced or acquired. Christians know apart from God, they can do nothing. It figures when they do something noteworthy, they will give recognition to the One who made it possible. This won't mean they subtract the value of their hard work to achieve their goal(s), but it will mean they won't ignore the Source of their abilities.
Christians are instructed to welcome the Holy Spirit's guidance to share Jesus with the various people in their lives, to be directed at the right times to speak of their faith. If the Lord gives them a platform, it figures Jesus will be mentioned. When given that kind of exposure, individuals realize the spotlight will illuminate their faith and how they live it out in their lives.
A real witness points to the truth as they've experienced it. They answer questions about that truth. They demonstrate that truth, not flawlessly, but with conviction. Platforms are used to give glory to God, to be witnesses of His amazing gifts and generous grace. Does it mean they won't falter? No. It means they've seen what it means to belong to the One who created them, who died for them and rose from the grave to provide forgiveness for their wayward lives, the One who they serve with what He's given them, and who they hope they will showcase over themselves.
They have learned Jesus is the real deal. They have become His witnesses. Have you?
Father, thank you for each one who gives you all the credit for their achievements. We're all desperate for you. Apart from you, we can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Some people are outraged at the comments of Seattle Seahawk defensive back Richard Sherman yesterday (January 19th, 2014) after the San Francisco/Seattle Seahawks NFC Championship game. A hard fought battle by the top two teams in the NFC conference, Seattle managed to hold onto a victory with the final interception of a Colin Kaepernick pass to his favorite receiver Michael Crabtree in the end zone tipped by cornerback Richard Sherman into the waiting hands of Malcolm Smith.
Female reporter Erin Andrews caught Richard immediately after the game ended and asked about the play. Sherman shouted his disdain for Crabtree and his assessment of his status as the number one cornerback in the league. Emotional, passionate, and what others in the media and fandom describe as way over the top, Sherman has been the focus of almost every recounting of yesterday's championship game.
The anger and disgust at Richard's comments are shared by opposing fans, some coaches and players, and a few of the hometown fans yearning for their versions of "class" and "civility", "respect" and "orderly conduct" in their football living rooms or stadiums. Demanding that players show their stuff on the field exclusively to prove or disprove their value, they react with shocked criticism at the outburst. Referring to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as classy dudes, they forget they're talking about quarterbacks and not the men assigned to stopping them.
Although I understand how opposing teams, players, and fans would be "offended" by trash talking and by someone like Richard Sherman, the young man himself is a value to his team, to his community, and to his fans. On the field he gives it all. Off the field he gives his time, energy, money, and hope to youth, to struggling families, and to others who need help. He's a solid individual, but he plays the game with intense in-your-face actions and words. Nothing is done half-way.
What happened between Crabtree and Sherman last summer stuck with Richard and apparently hit a nerve along with recent disrespect. In the heat of the moment after the game, he let it be known how he felt about some of the words apparently said to him and about him by the now-playing-innocent Michael Crabtree.
Erin Andrews was taken aback by his response and he later apologized to her. I say, be careful what you wish for. If you want to do the big time interviews with big time players, don't act surprised when the unexpected happens. If you're offended by what is said, then get another job because talking directly to adrenaline pumping, testosterone-amped athletes after a huge battle just might not be the composed, clinical response you expect.
In this politically correct society we now want sports to be prettied up and metrosexual like everything else. Men can't be competitive or express their hardcore opinions when caught in emotional moments. They must conform to what the media and some fans demand. Because, after all, football has now become such a "sensitive" game. Right? I'm tired of the current climate of media sensationalists in sports. It's no different than the lamestream media in that regard. And no more accurate.
If you ask me, "classless" applies equally to the media and many of the fans who personally criticize players, coaches, and teams without knowing anything about who they really are.
Father, I pray your continued blessing over Richard Sherman. I pray you would direct his actions and words and that he would get ever closer to your heart. Please protect him and watch over him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Sports occupy a unique place in the hum of life experiences. It seems many people have a favorite ranging from professional football to synchronized swimming. No secret where my interest lies.
If you're a participant in a sport, chances are you want to excel. If you graduate to a professional level, you're all about being the best athlete you can possibly be.
For some, professional football in America conjures up images of $$ signs and PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs), concussions and brutality, and the politically correct notion that it must be regulated by more government interference and sanctions. Those individuals and groups who choose to view the sport in this manner fail to realize the heart of the game. Having said that, I do not deny there is greed, some occasional illegal drug use, and a few players and coaches who have no character or integrity.
But let me tell you why football is more than just a game. Families watch football together, celebrate their teams, select favorite players, and young athletes hopefully emulate those professionals who demonstrate good character. And those particular professionals give back to their fans, do charitable work, start youth foundations, bring joy to seriously afflicted children in hospitals, and set solid examples for future athletes.
I remember learning the basic game of football as a little girl when visiting my older brother's home. He had an electric football game with plays drawn for offense and defense on plastic sheets which laid over a backlit box. After playing the game with him, I understood why football was an interesting sport. I selected the then Baltimore Colts as "my" team because they galloped a beautiful horse around the field before the start of the game. After all, horses were the big loves of my life. After growing up and having my hometown acquire a professional football team, my allegiance immediately transferred to the Seattle Seahawks and hasn't changed.
The first quarterback of my team was a young left-handed Cal-Poly graduate by the name of Jim Zorn. The city embraced him, and he appeared frequently on local stations. Jim Zorn never failed to mention his faith in Jesus Christ. And God used the young QB's testimony to help me see exactly who I needed. The game of football and a Christian athlete unafraid and unashamed to share his faith led me to the Cross and insured my salvation.
My love for the game of football and my devotion to the Seattle Seahawks hasn't waned. My team is one victory away from the Super Bowl, and it's been an amazing season thus far. Several of the athletes on this Seahawks team follow Christ, and my hope is their examples will inspire others who are lost and in need of a Savior to search for Truth because of them.
The bottom line is God places His people in all kinds of places and uses them to tell others of His love for them. Football is as much a calling as a position in the church. Playing in the NFL can be a ministry. And that's why it's more than just a game . . .
God, thank you for those athletes who are devoted to you and want to share Jesus. Thank you for using an athlete to help me find you. Thank you for the talent and gifts given to athletes who know every good and perfect gift comes down from you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
I'm always up for good TV. The new series Intelligence plays on CBS at 10 PM Mondays, starring Marg Helgenberger, Josh Holloway, and Meghan Ory. So far, so good. Interesting premise, not too far down the technological road - maybe even indicative of current secret intelligence assets. Intense, clever, action-oriented. I like it.
Father, thank you again for those who use the creativity you've given them. May they know it's you who's given them their abilities. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
"You can't handle the truth!" Famous Jack Nicholson line delivered with malevolent intensity in the film A Few Good Men.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Jesus Christ
Other "truth-full" quotes:
Truth is stranger than fiction.
Blinded by the truth.
The truth hurts.
The truth can be intimidating, enlightening, refreshing, or annoying. It can transform, incense, convict, or anger. People either embrace it, argue with it, or refuse to believe it. It can be hard to discover, easy to find, or hidden to those who don't want to see it.
The above line from A Few Good Men is indeed indicative of many. Truth eludes them because admitting it would mean they've lived a lie, believed a lie, or wanted a lie to be true. Many will argue against absolute truth(s), citing different "opinions" in the scientific, moral, intellectual, and/or spiritual communities.
Christians don't just believe the bible is true, they know it is. Their introduction to Jesus Christ is nothing short of supernatural, and they can no longer entertain alternative belief systems. Their relationship has become personal, their knowledge of the spiritual realm explanatory of much of the evil in this world and the workings and influences of a fallen humanity.
Truth is a precious, pervasive, and life-changing commodity. Available. Discernible. Incredible.
Truth is exceptional and ordinary. Spectacular and simple. Beautiful and terrifying. Amazing and obvious.
Few seek it. There's something about . . . the Truth.
Father, we are dead without the Truth. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of turth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory.
Please take a few moments and appreciate the beauty and genius of these magnificent animals and the creative minds who train and care for them. They're worth every tear that falls. (Special thanks to BK Jackson for the inspiration.)