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For Glory--- For God

If you are an Eagles’ fan, this season had a painful end leaving many of us a bit disheartened. But if you love the game, there is still much excitement to enjoy as teams vie for football glory. Last weekend offered us two blow-outs and two fierce battles. While you may have nodded off while the Ravens trounced the Texans, and again when the Lions showed the Buccaneers the door, the Packers-49ers game on Saturday night and the Chiefs-Bills game on Sunday night were both nailbiters until the final seconds. With the Super Bowl just weeks away, we have three more games to enjoy, each promising to be a battle worth watching. Yet, perhaps the most important story in football these days is happening not just on the field but off. How exciting to watch the talented slate of quarterbacks use their position and success as an opportunity to bear witness to a great and gracious God.

In a recent article, six of the eight quarterbacks from last weekend’s playoff games were featured for the Christian witness they share on and off the field.

Consider C.J. Stroud, the rookie quarterback for the Texans. He is the youngest in the bunch, only 22 years old, yet he is bold in his declaration of his faith.
A lot of people don’t get to live the life I do… so I thank God for all of this…
it comes by His grace and mercy. But this is bigger than ball..
I want to use football to spread the Gospel about Jesus Christ,
how He gave His life on the cross for us.
Consider Josh Allan, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Josh didn’t always think of himself as particularly religious but having a front-row seat to a modern miracle proved life-changing for the Buffalo Bills’ superstar. Last January, Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin experienced an on-field cardiac arrest with the world watching. Players and fans bowed in prayer as medics worked against all odds to save Hamlin’s life. For months, the story in Buffalo was not just about Hamlin’s miraculous recovery, but about the deep faith of the city who believed that the victory belonged to God. Josh said,
It was a spiritual awakening for me…I’ll be the first to admit,
I haven’t been the most devoted Christ follower in my life.
I’ve had my different beliefs and thoughts and ideas over the years,
but something got ahold of me there and it was extremely powerful.
I couldn’t deny it. I know God is alive!
Consider Baker Mayfield, the quarterback who followed Tom Brady in Tampa with the Buccaneers. Imagine how hard it would be to fill those shoes. Baker’s NFL career has been far from the dream. Once a No. 1 overall draft pick, he was chased out of Cleveland, cut from Carolina, and let go from Los Angeles. Last spring, he signed a low-cost, “prove it” deal with Tampa Bay last spring. Imagine the challenge of playing for his eighth head coach in six years. Unfortunately for Eagles’ fans, Baker posted his finest performance to date in his playoff game against the Birds, to upset our defending conference champions. Through all the ups and downs of his career, Baker has found peace in a simple faith, saying: “God has a plan.”

Consider Brock Purdy, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who began his career in the NFL as ‘Mr. Irrelevant’- the last player picked in the NFL draft that year. On Sunday, Brock and the 49ers are favored to win against the Lions. But for Brock, Sunday will be about more than football.  
Every time I play- no matter what happens- I want others to see God through my actions.
When I step on the field, I want to bring Him glory.
Even when we lose, I point to God and thank Him for the opportunity.
Consider Lamar Jackson, the quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and current frontrunner for MVP for this season. In 2019, when Lamar won his first MVP, he was asked how he stayed to humble despite his record-breaking achievements. His answer, “The Lord, the Lord, I give Him all the praise, the glory and the honor.” Lamar often uses Twitter to talk about his faith with the hashtag- #Cantthankhimenough.
I keep God first because without Him, there is no Lamar Jackson…
I know when we defy the world’s standards
and refuse to fit in with the surrounding culture, we may pay a price…
I always want to thank God first and foremost because He’s the reason I’m here.
Consider Patrick Mahomes, the dynamic quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs may be the underdogs when they battle the Ravens on Sunday, but I will be cheering on Andy Reid’s protégé Patrick Mahomes. This seventh-year quarterback has led his team to five consecutive AFC championship games, three Super Bowl appearances with two victories. He has won the NFL-MVP twice and the Super Bowl MVC twice. Patrick’s response to all this success:
Obviously I want to win every game, but I’m glorifying God every time I’m out there…
My Christian faith plays a role in everything I do…
I always ask God to lead me in the right direction and let me be who I am for His glory.
Off the field, Patrick Mahomes and his family have created a foundation- 15 and the Mahomes- to offer support and opportunity to underserved youth. Already over 4 million dollars have been poured into programs to support youth in Kansas City and Texas.

These quarterbacks are just a few of the Christian athletes who use their fame and fortune to bring the good news of Jesus Christ into the lives of their fans. They are like modern Esthers, who have been raised “to a royal position for such a time as this,” and once in that position they have answered the call. I am wondering if we make similar use of our platform. Granted, most of us will never be rich or famous, but we still have a sphere of influence… our family members, our friends, the checker at the grocery store, the nurse at our doctor’s office, our tax accountant. Each connection is an opportunity to share God’s grace, to tell of His goodness, to invite someone to meet Jesus.

With you on that mission field,
PS… You, too, can play for the glory of God on February 11th . Join us after worship
for the Super Bowl of Mission as we pack 20,000 meals to help end childhood hunger.
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