Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Beginnings: NFL

The NFL season kicked off last night with those Dallas Cowboys rocking the defending champs, the Giants of New York. College football began last week. Chi has returned to the world.

One great part of living with a foot in each hemisphere is following different sports. Last week MY Carlton Blues who at the start of the season guaranteed a top 4 finish bombed out without making the finals at all!!  So this Sunday MY Indianapolis Colts start their season. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL!!

At the start of a new season anything is possible. Every team, or at least the fans, believes they can end the season holding the championship trophy.  This year in the NFL there are 5 teams starting rookie quarterbacks: Indy; Washington; Miami; Seattle; and Cleveland. In addition another 5 teams are starting quarterbacks just in their second season in the league: Arizona; Carolina; Cincinnati; Minnesota; and Jacksonville.

Each of these teams hopes that their guy will turn out to be a legend. They hope that their guy will lead them to the Promised Land, if not this year, then at least in the next two or three. But regardless of the age of the quarterback everyone gets a new start, a fresh beginning. Success or failure: what happened last year is in the past. This year provides a fresh slate an opportunity to confirm or disprove the impressions fans formed based on previous performances.

Last night we saw that. I kept seeing stats for Eli Manning 4th quarter comebacks in 2011 (7) compared to Tony Romo giving up 2nd half leads in 2011. First game of 2012, none of those stats mattered. Eli couldn't mount a comeback, Romo didn't crumble. New year. New opportunities. This year, a legacy can be made.

It amazes me how many people fail to understand that Christianity is all about this same fresh start. Because of Jesus we can leave our past performances behind us and move on with a clean slate. Our opportunity is even better than professional sports. Two or three bad seasons will see you off the team and maybe even out of the league for good. But God keeps giving us new opportunities each time we mess up.

Many people want to present Christianity as a worldview fueled by hate, or the Bible as a legal code that's impossible to keep. In reality God gives us a vision of hope. He gives us excitement that our new season will be a Championship season. We'll encounter some losses along the way. We may even go stretches when people give up on us (2011 Giants??), but God will never give up on us and will present us with the eternal crown He's saving for all his champions.

In sports, only one team can win. The hopes of 31 NFL teams will prove futile this year. But with God, once we join his team we don't just hope, we know, we're going to win.

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