Good News and Better News… February 6th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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tom-brady

I thought I was going to watch a game–America’s annual gala event, the Super Bowl.

There were banners, bands, stars, announcers, hoopla, hot dogs, beer and two teams dressed up real special for the occasion.

At first, it appeared I was correct. The whole thing was playing out like a normal football game. Touchdowns. Turnovers. Terrible plays. Terrific catches.

And then, all at once, it changed.

Suddenly displayed before my eyes was the difference of participating and competing–and also the chasm between competing and striving.

First of all, every player on both teams showed up to participate. They knew their places. They were familiar with their assignments. They were in a position to perform very well, as long as nothing went horribly wrong.

A goodly portion of them were also pre-conditioned to compete. That means a fumbled ball would not send them into a depression, and they were ready to cash in on the trends of the game so as to gain an advantage.

But by the time the third quarter rolled around, it was obvious that there was only one player who showed up to strive.

He was not satisfied to have merely participated in seven Superbowls unless he could win the present one.

Although he initially had joined his team in having an “off day,” he removed the indignity of being the runner-up.

Yes, it is difficult to explain the difference between Tom Brady and everybody else on that football field. Quietly and with determination, he raised his game, increased his stats, and those around him who showed up to compete, joined him and defeated the participants.

I’m sorry–it made me think about the church.

We have exactly the same situation brewing in every sanctuary in America.

  • We have those who participate: “I believe in God.”
  • We have those who compete: “I believe in Jesus.”
  • And we’re looking for souls who will strive: “I am a follower of Jesus.”

Many people consider all three to be spiritual profiles, but there’s only one mindset that transforms humans from being participants and competitors into individuals who strive for excellence because they know the purity, the joy and the domination of such a maneuver.

Tom Brady is a follower of the mechanics, the psychology and the mission of football. He will not be overcome by mere participants and competitors.

In this day and age, believing in God and even trusting in Jesus does not position us to be more than conquerors.

The good news is that Jesus of Nazareth came to set an example–in word, deed and sacrifice–of what it means to win.

The better news is, if you’ll do more than participate and compete, you can strive and overcome.

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Untotaled: Stepping 16 (October 2nd, 1965) 64-0 … May 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2250)

(Transcript)

Catholic kids had all the advantages.

That’s why, when I looked on our football schedule for the year and saw that Barker Academy was on October 2nd, I was really pissed off.

Being raised in the Midwest, I was not really favorable to Catholics in the first place. I didn’t know why–just something I inherited and was infused in me during my training by my family and community.

I kind of think we hated them because they had money. (It’s ironic that we hate other people for having money as we desperately pursue getting money. Maybe it’s the classic case of self-hatred.)

Barker Academy didn’t have any more players than we did. Matter of fact, we out-weighed them and seemed to have even cuter uniforms.

So when the game started and I lined up in front of a 150-pound kid wearing wire-framed glasses covered with black tape, peeking at me through his battered helmet, I nearly giggled. I was almost double his size and certainly not wearing such ridiculous spectacles.

Yet when the ball was hiked on the first play and I found myself knocked on my backside as the running back dashed past me, forty-five yards for a touchdown, I realized that this little Catholic boy was going to have to die.

I tried everything–overpowering him, tricking him, even tried to trip him a couple of times–all to no avail.

At the end of the first quarter, when we were behind 28-0, fear crept into my bowels. Those ugly glasses that donned his face now seemed to posses the power to destroy.

So in a fit of desperation, on the next play I hurled my body over the line, knocking the kid over, grabbing onto the leg of the running back, only to procure his shoe in my hand as he ran fifty-two yards for another score.

In some desire to prove my value, I carried the boy’s shoe over to the bench to show my coach that I was making a valiant effort. He just stared at me as the referee retrieved the footwear and whistled for play to continue.

I played both ways. That means I was on offense, too. Did I happen to mention that we had none?

It was almost like Barker Academy not only knew what play we were going to run, and had figured out a way to foil it, but had also rehearsed dances and jigs to taunt us every time they threw us for a loss.

Shortly before the first half was over, I ran to the sideline and in deep exasperation, I screamed at the coach: “We need a better defense!”

He gave me that gaze you often see on the countenance of a serial killer, and then rethought his murderous ways, hearkening back to his training of a Bachelor of Education Degree from Ohio State University, and yelled back, “We don’t need a new defense! We just need you to defend!”

It was a good point, though it made me pout.

The second half was no better than the first half. It was the longest two hours of my life, as Barker beat us to a pulp, 64-0.

For the next two weeks, I woke up in a cold sweat almost every night, being chased by those ugly wire-frame, taped glasses.

I know it is appropriate, at this point in a story, to share what I learned from this experience, or to bring it to some sort of hopeful conclusion.

I have none.

The only thing I can tell you is, as I walked off the field, I swore to myself: never again.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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