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Doing Sports God’s Way, Not the Idol-Worshipping Way

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2019 8:00 pm

Doing Sports God’s Way, Not the Idol-Worshipping Way

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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May 31, 2019 8:00 pm

An idol is something or someone that is venerated above God. To identify the idols of a society, just ask, “What attracts people’s attention to the neglect of God?”

Wealth, influence, celebrity, material items, and even Ivy League education are just a few examples of the idols in our country. Sadly, too many worship these man-made gods rather than the one true God.

The idol list would not be complete without mentioning sports. There are television and radio stations devoted to discussing sports 24/7. The heroes of our society are those who get paid tens of millions of dollars to throw, run, jump, and hit...

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Doing sports God's way, not the idol worshiping way. That's the topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian worldview radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to share the good news that all people can be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. I'm David Wheaton, the host of the program, our website theChristianworldview.org. We're so glad you joined us today for another edition of the Christian worldview radio program. We were thinking this week that we are now in our 15th year of the Christian worldview. I started in radio about 17 years ago, but the format changed after the first couple years, which was a Christian sports show related to today's topic.

After two years in 2004, it changed format into really what it is today, focusing on current events, cultural issues, matters of faith from a biblical perspective. So we are thankful for the Lord's blessing to be able to broadcast this many years. And we're thankful to you for listening and supporting us and for all our volunteers and board members who really make this possible and of course to the Lord above all for just giving us His grace to have this opportunity. To be able to broadcast every week on the Christian worldview and of course to our networks affiliates and partners and stations around the country. We are extremely thankful to you as well.

We are just one link in the chain and so we're thankful to think back on all the years of airing this program. Well, today in the program, we're going to talk about doing sports God's way, not the idol worshiping way. And if you think about sports in our society today, if you look at the definition of an idol, it's something or someone that is venerated above God. So to identify the idols of a society, all you have to do is just ask what attracts people's attention to the neglect of God's word or of God himself, whether it's wealth or influence or celebrity or material items or even an Ivy League education are just a few examples of the idols of our country. And sadly, too many worship these man-made idols, man-made gods with a little G rather than the one and true God. Now the idol list I just mentioned would not be complete without mentioning sports. There are television and radio stations devoted to discussing sports 24-7.

The heroes of our society are those who get paid tens of millions of dollars to throw, run, jump and hit. So today in the program, Coach Ron Brown, who's the director of player development for the University of Nebraska football team and the co-founder of Kingdom Sports, joins us to talk about how we can do sports God's way, not the idol worshiping way. Let's get to the first segment of that interview. It's been a while since you've been on the program, so just reintroduce yourselves to our audience. Give us some background on yourself and most importantly, how you became a follower of Christ and what you're doing now. Well, actually I was an orphaned kid out of New York City. I became a foster child for a family in Massachusetts where they were old enough to be my grandparents and Arthur and Pearl Brown got me and then they went back and got another little girl from the Bronx who became my sister. And we grew up on a little island off the coast of Massachusetts where there were a bunch of other foster kids who were from inner cities and it was just kind of a strange deal and yet a fascinating demographic when you really think about it. And so we grew up, I grew up loving ball and sports and it wasn't until my probably junior year, sophomore year in high school when I was first introduced to what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

And I say introduced because I really just sat through a few of the Bible lessons, got inspired, got intrigued, but rejected it, walked away from it. And my whole thing was being a college football player, basketball player. And you were heavily involved in football and basketball at that point. Yeah, I was recruited to play both college football and basketball and I finally decided, I was playing college basketball recruiting with Dartmouth, Harvard football. I had committed to Rutgers and then I got recruited by Brown University in football and I really wanted to go to an Ivy League school. Chose football, ended up going to Brown. So you must have been doing really well in school at this point too, academically. Yeah, when you really think about it, that's intriguing because my parents, my new dad was never finished high school, my mom never finished seventh grade. Wow. So they didn't help us with homework.

So how did that happen? They were incredibly disciplined people. These two were really loving but hard working. We had very little money. My father worked five jobs at once, wouldn't go on welfare, decided to work and we're going to figure it out. And we always had enough.

We always had enough. I mean even though it was scarce, my dad budgeted and he taught me some great lessons about discipline, hard work, just keeping the bar high, don't lower the bar. For me to get an education like that, I was a straight A student through high school. You were going to public schools? Going to public school.

Wow. And my sister had a very bright mind and excelled in a number of areas and so it was just, it was mom and dad Brown, their demonstration of hard work, both of them had to work, that really kind of opened the door for just, hard work was not unfamiliar to us. But what happened after going to Brown University, I really began to see Christian people and I saw them living around me. One of our teammates, one of my college football teammates, Harry Walls, who you've had I believe on the show before, who's now at the Masters University in Southern California. He's John MacArthur's right hand guy there and Harry was a tremendous example of what it meant to live for Jesus Christ.

He was a wide receiver on the team. I played in the defensive backfield and we would work out together in the off season. God just kind of brought us together. I saw the reality of Christ. He left, he went on to seminary somewhere and I remained at Brown and finished out my junior and senior year.

The day of the National Football League draft, my senior year, is the day that I finally surrendered, walked away from this life, repented for my sin, trusted Jesus Christ as my saving Lord. I decided that I was going to follow him. Harry had a tremendous influence on that. And he didn't know it until years later too? 22 years later. That's amazing. I was looking for the guy for 22 years, couldn't find him.

Wow. He was a senior pastor at a church in Birmingham, Alabama when I found out where he was. The long story short is through an amazing set of circumstances, we discovered each other and we got in contact. And he invited me to come down and speak at his church.

My wife and I, I married a Christian lady from San Diego who was a Stanford graduate and we were met in graduate school. We went down together. It was just like heaven on earth. It was like a party. It was like one of those reunions that we're all going to have when we go to heaven one day.

So we just got a little piece of it on earth. Wow. That's an incredible story. So after Brown, you played in the NFL for a while? Very short stint, was signed with the Cowboys, the Patriots, the Jets, Bears for a minute, and a little bit of the USFL. And it was injuries and just me being a slightly better than average player that ended that whole thing. Was that really disappointing for you at that point or did you not think maybe that your future was in the NFL anyway? It was disappointing because I, you know, even though I was a new Christian, I still had a lot of the scars of idolatry.

You know, then you start to think that it's football, it's this dream of accomplishing this mission that you've had your whole life. You end up worshipping the creation and you leave the creator behind. And I did that for many years. When I became a Christian, I realized who the creator was. Through Christ, I was able to understand, obviously, a relationship with God the Father. The Bible began to really start to make sense to me. But I still had those old, you know, I still had some of that old stuff in me about what was really my identity. But the Lord just began to relieve me from that.

I think he used the injuries and the cuts and so forth to show me that. And I was going to be a hospital administrator. That's what I had studied to be.

Got my master's degree from Columbia University in hospital administration and was thinking about moving in that direction. When one day I got a call from one of my former coaches, a guy named Andy Talley, who was one of my assistant coaches, one of my position coaches at Brown when I played. He became the head coach at Villanova. He said, why don't you just coach? I thought, look, I don't think I want to be a coach.

That seems, ugh. Anyhow, as I began to pray about it and as I shared it with my new Bible study as I was growing in the Lord, people started to get excited. Long story short, I really started to ask the Lord and he began to place in me a desire to give it a shot. I got hired at Brown University as the head freshman football coach in 1983 and I've basically been doing that since then. I coached at Brown for four years and then I got hired by Tom Osborne, the head coach at the University of Nebraska in 1987 and spent the next 24, 25 years at the University of Nebraska.

Yeah, it's really an incredible story. You think about the impact a coach has on an athlete, it's maybe second only to the parent. And that's how influential a coaching role is.

Ron Brown with us today on the Christian Real View. Before we get into some of the principles of athletics that we can draw from the Bible, that's what we're going to talk about today, tell us what your role is like at University of Nebraska now and then your involvement in kingdom sports as well. Right now I'm the director of player development at the University of Nebraska. Love the role.

I could do this the rest of my life. It basically involves character development with the players, getting them involved in the community, career development and trajectory, help with the players' Bible studies and chapel services on game day, et cetera, et cetera, and a lot of personal discipleship. Two or three guys sometimes at a time with discipleship for those players who want to do that. Okay, so we're going to let you get into kingdom sports as we describe some of what kingdom sports does in light of the sports landscape. You know, you go into a restaurant today and you'll see ten screens of what's going on in the sports world.

How many cable sports channels are there? I mean, it dominates the culture in America to a certain extent. The athletes make tons and tons, I mean, tens of millions of dollars in these gigantic contracts. And it's not just because of who they are, it's because people in America are willing to watch their games and advertisers know that, so they're willing to just pour money into these things so it's worth it to the sponsors and so forth because they know how many people are watching these sporting events. How would you just describe the sports landscape in our country and really around the world as well?

Well, it's consuming. There's no question, David, you know, and you're a world-class athlete yourself, you know how visible it is. I call it the watering hole.

You know, you look at where the animals like to go in the African plains or where have you, and it's a popular hangout for them. And I really believe that the sports world right now is the hangout for many youth, but it's also true of older people that just a good predominance of our nation are heavily involved in sports, have some level of interest in it. So without a doubt, I think with that kind of notoriety and that kind of attention, you get all sorts of demographics involved, you get a variety of opinions. But, you know, David, as we know, as we read through the scriptures, we understand that everything should be under the helm of Jesus Christ, including sports. And really when you think about it, people would say, well, there's a kingdom of sports, there's the kingdom of business, there's the kingdom of this or that. There's really only two kingdoms in the world.

There's the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Okay, much more coming up with Ron Brown on the Christian Real View as we discuss doing sports God's way, not the idol-worshipping way. Environmental scaremongering is the favored tactic of the left to gain massive government control. After all, if you can convince people that we are imperiling our very existence by human-caused climate change, there is no tax, law, or reordering of society that goes too far. Christians need to be fully informed of this nefarious climate change scheme. That is why we are offering two resources by Cal Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, who brings a truthful, biblical worldview to this issue. The Climate Change in the Christian is an 80-minute DVD message, and The Cosmic Consequences of Christ Crosswork is a 15-page booklet.

One or both are available for a donation of any amount to The Christian Worldview. To order, go to thechristianworldview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. The best way to stay connected to The Christian Worldview is to sign up for our free weekly email and annual print letter. The weekly email is delivered to your inbox each Friday and contains the preview for the weekend radio program along with links and resources associated with it. Upcoming events and the previous week's program are also included. The annual print letter is delivered to your mailbox in November and contains a column on a current topic and our catalog of resources. Both of these free resources will keep you up to date and sharpen your worldview. To receive the weekly email or the annual print letter, go to thechristianworldview.org or call us toll-free 1-888-646-2233.

Your email and mailing addresses will never be shared and you can unsubscribe at any time. Again, the number is 1-888-646-2233 or go to thechristianworldview.org. Thanks for joining us today in this first day of June on the Christian Worldview radio program. I'm David Wheaton, the host.

Our website is thechristianworldview.org. We're talking today with Coach Ron Brown. He is the director of player development for the University of Nebraska football team. That is a major, major football power.

You talk about idol worship. If you go to Nebraska, the Nebraska football team is the biggest thing going in that state. He's also the co-founder of Kingdom Sports and we'll talk more about that, but that's a ministry that uses sports to help athletes, coaches, and parents see the need for King Jesus and serve him within his kingdom. That's what Ron was talking about at the end of the last break is describing the sports landscape in America.

So let's get back to the second segment of the interview with Coach Ron Brown. As we know, as we read through the scriptures, we understand that everything should be under the helm of Jesus Christ, including sports. And really, when you think about it, people would say, well, there's a kingdom of sports, there's the kingdom of business, there's the kingdom of this or that. There's really only two kingdoms in the world. There's the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. And cosmos, the kingdom of man, that kind of governs the natural flow and the world view, the secular world view of our culture. But there is the biblical world view where it's God's kingdom and King Jesus is our king. And as I read through Romans chapter 3, the scripture keeps saying, all things pertain to Christ, all things are for him, all things consist of him. So my heart is really, and it has been for the last 30 or so years, David, resonating with the idea that the sports world should fall under the helm of King Jesus, especially and only really if you're a believer in Jesus Christ.

That's the only time you're going to get that and understand that. Ron Brown with us today on the Christian Rule of the Radio program. We're talking about integrating a biblical world view into sports. He's the director of player development for the University of Nebraska football team.

He's been a coach for decades. People are listening today who have children, whether they're preteens or teens or maybe even older, who are involved in sports, maybe not even on a high level. Maybe they're not Division 1 athletes or professional athletes. That's the rarity, but there's many parents who just have their kids in youth sports.

Give us some advice for parents as far as what sports can do, both positively for them, but also what are some threats or dangers that parents need to watch out for with themselves and with their son or daughter? Well, let me talk to Christian parents here for a minute because really it's you I'm most concerned about. You and I, as Christians, are charged with the goal of being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, which is only a work that's done through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian who trusts Christ as saving the Lord, I believe, gets the full dose of the Holy Spirit. And one of the Holy Spirit's roles is to form Jesus Christ throughout us, so the reality of Christ living through us, and so that we begin to take on the character and the attitude of Christ Jesus. And with that, David, means that we now have the mind of Christ, and we are able to look at something like sports, and we're able to use sports as a means of, one, discipleship. This is an opportunity to disciple my kids in Christ.

Two, it is also an opportunity to expose their need for Jesus Christ. And so when sports is viewed that way instead of celebrity sweepstakes, now we're talking about something. The problem, I think, with many of us Christian parents is that we've used sports as a means of how we compare to somebody else, how we can gain an advantage in this world. We've turned sports into such an idol because we've excluded Christ from the equation so much that I think we don't quite know what to do with sports. So I go back, and you and I have talked about this before, 1 Corinthians 9, the Bible says to run that you may win. And a lot of Christians stop right there and say, see, God wants winners, we'll run and we should be running so that we can win every meet. You should be running as hard as you can, yes, so that you can maximize your performance, but you need to be doing your work heartily as unto the Lord, not unto men.

In that same passage, David, in 1 Corinthians 9, it says, now they do it for corruptible crowns, they meaning the non-Christian world, but we for an incorruptible crown. So David, I really believe that sports should be a tool that's well thought out by parents as to the length of time, what emphasis, what they should miss, what they should be involved in. It should be selected by the parents, I believe, when those youngsters are young in the sports world so that they can disciple their children and expose their children for their need of Jesus Christ. And that's what you guys do at Kingdom Sports, that's the world view, your perspective, you're trying to get across both the parents and coaches and athletes. So let's dig in a little more on that because that is not the perspective of the non-believing sports world. It's about winning, it's about getting college scholarships, it's about everything else but doing it for the glory of God.

That's way, way down the list if it's on the list at all. So how do Christian parents block out or not get distracted by that worldly perspective because it's difficult to do, or for athletes as well because all the players on their team are playing for different reasons. How does an athlete or parent make sure that whatever they do, do your work heartily for the Lord and they're playing for the audience of one, Jesus Christ. How do you do that when everything around you is telling you something differently? The Christian parent cannot do that without really becoming mature in Christ through intense study of God's Word.

It can't be done. If you and I or anyone of us out there who are Christians are not passionately, fervently studying, knowing and meditating on God's Word on a regular basis as if we were eating food and that was our nutrition, we are never going to get it. We're going to be overcome by the idolatry of this world. I'm talking about Christians. I'm not talking about non-Christians right now. I'm talking about believers who are continually forfeiting eternal rewards because they're choosing a piece of this earth to kind of hunker down on and to gain their own glory and then wanting to put a stamp of God's approval on top as if God endorses that and the Lord just does not endorse that. The Bible says in James 1-8, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

You can't chase both kingdoms at the same time. Jesus made it really clear that you must choose one kingdom or the other. And if you've already joined the kingdom through Christ, then really if you're really going to maximize your opportunities and times, you've got to be Christ-centered in every realm. So David, I would say that the parent needs to be studying the Word of God and reminding their children, as it says in Deuteronomy 6, while they rise up, while they go to bed, as they are walking and as they're sitting, you're reminding them of the principles of how God released his people from Egypt out of slavery and into the new life in the Promised Land. And I think today that is also the gospel message and it's got to be activated even in the sports world.

What you're saying is if you don't have it inside yourself, you can't teach it to the next generation, your kids. You've got to have that vibrant, growing faith in Christ and growing closer to Him within yourself. We did a camp together for Fellowship of Christian Athletes last summer and I noticed how you were working with some of the athletes and coaching them how to integrate some of these biblical perspectives, principles into the way they pursue their sports. And we'd love to get a kingdom sports camp up in Minnesota sometime where we broadcast the Christian Real View. But tell us some of the things that when you're working with athletes and how to do sports God's way.

That's a phrase you all use quite often. What are some of the things that you're challenging athletes to do? Maybe give some examples of that. Well one thing, the scripture says this in Ephesians 5-11. It says, do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. So one way of doing that, David, and really extracting what is Christ from that which is not, is I want to expose fear, for example, in a young athlete. Why do we want to expose fear? Because the Bible says fear is torment. It also says in that same verse, the perfect love, perfect love, which is talking about the perfect love of Christ, cast out fear. And it also says for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but rather power, love, and a sound mind.

That's 2 Timothy 1 verse 7. So in these camps, we're going to try to extract and try to expose sins like fear, greed, pride, idolatry of all different sorts. We're going to try to show through athletic competition and intense training that these things are, if they're alive and kicking in your life, that they're going to be readily seen. And now you gently can help lead a kid into, here's how we conquer that. So we're not just trying to get the kid to be better athletes, better sports, don't swear, don't do this, don't do that.

All that happens, but the idea is to get right to the source of the matter. You're listening to an interview with coach Ron Brown, the director of player development for the University of Nebraska football team, one of the preeminent programs in the entire country. And listening to them, I was just thinking, how would you like this man to be helping, coaching, mentoring your son or daughter? He just love this guy, Ron Brown. He is authentic. He is passionate. He is zealous for the Lord. He's a man of the word. And I hope you're really enjoying some of the things he's gaining from some of the things he's saying, whether you are involved in sports, your children are, whether you're involved in some other area of life and business or whatever, the things he is saying and keep on thinking, these are just applicable to everything you may be involved in to not put whatever you're doing, whether it's sports or otherwise, into an idol, into the idol factory of life.

But to do it for the glory of God. We have another partial segment coming up with him. Then we have much more interesting story out of Australia. We have some follow up comments. We have much more to get to today on the Christian Real View radio program. Again, Ron Brown with us of Kingdom Sports. By the way, that website be very important to connect with.

It's kingdomsports.online. More coming up on the Christian Real View next. I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically, delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things.

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Normal retail is $49 plus shipping. Go to thechristianrealview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. The mission of the Christian World View is to sharpen the biblical world view of Christians and to share the good news that all people can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

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Thank you for your support. To think biblically and live accordingly, that is the motto of the Christian World View radio program as we pursue the mission to sharpen the biblical world view of Christians and to share the good news, the gospel, that all people can be right with God, reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ through every topic we do. That's what we're trying to get at as we discussed today, doing sports God's way, how to think of sports in a God-glorifying manner, how do we do it for God's glory rather than our own glory and not get caught up in the idol worshiping that takes place in our society with regards to sports. Sometimes we hear about the salaries of athletes, that they make tens of millions of dollars, but don't blame them for their disproportionately high paychecks. It's the millions of idol worshippers, it's us watching in the stands and living rooms who the owners and the advertisers and the media know will pay vast sums of money to buy tickets, to buy merchandise, to buy the products of advertisers and cable subscriptions and otherwise to watch these athletic, these sporting idols. And it's not just pro and college sports where the idol worshipping is taking place, as Ron Brown is talking about today.

Many parents make incredible sacrifices, whether financial, familial or spiritual, as they worship at the altar of their child's success in sports. And yet at the same rate, set that aside, and sports aren't sinful in and of themselves. The Bible frequently uses sports metaphors for spiritual lessons.

We'll get into some of those today. And God uses the character qualities learned through sports, whether it's discipline, training, endurance, dealing with success, dealing with setbacks to shape one's character. So it's not all bad. It just needs to be pursued the right way, doing sports God's way, not the idol worshipping way. And that's why we asked Ron Brown to come on the program this week. This interview was done about a month ago, actually when I was in Nebraska.

He's the director of player development for the University of Nebraska football team. It was not done in studio. That's why the audio sounds a little bit different, but really enjoyed the conversation. And we're going to continue with one more segment with Ron Brown right now. We're going to try to show through athletic competition and intense training that these things are, if they're alive and kicking in your life, that they're going to be readily seen. And now you gently can help lead a kid into here's how we conquer that. So we're not just trying to get the kids to be better athletes, better sports, don't swear, don't do this, don't do that.

Yeah, hopefully all that happens. But the idea is to get right to the source of the matter. Is there sin in your life?

Let's repent from it. How do we know there's sin? How do we know there's fear there? Well, I saw you standing at the free throw line, I saw you looking around at everybody else and you were thinking, are they thinking about me? If I make this shot, I'm a hero. If I miss a shot, I'm the GOAT.

And we saw the fear in your heart. You know, even moms and dads, maybe you don't know anything about a three technique in football, mom or dad. Maybe you don't know anything about taking a free throw, the technique of it.

Maybe that's the coach's job. But maybe you do know, guess, my son is scared to death standing at that free throw line. And how now can you as a parent, being that you've seen it when he was 8 years old, maybe at the youth sports level, how now can you go home and have a really good conversation with him about the Bible and what the Bible says about fear and how to have peace in very trying times. These are things that kids can really learn at an early age and sports can be that constant in their life that continually brings that out.

Yeah, I think that that's so key. You know, as a parent sometimes, a parent might think, well, I just don't know very much about sports. I didn't grow up playing sports. I don't play the sport my son or daughter is playing.

But really the most important thing I hear you're saying is that parent needs to be growing and have a deep faith themselves because the perspective, the mental side of it, the spiritual side of it, is so much more important than being able to coach the physical side of it. Yes, and David, you know, part of the problem is we're asking the wrong questions. So, let's say that if your question time is, son, how many points did you score? Little Susie, how much playing time did you have?

Did you guys win? Are those wrong questions in themselves? I don't think they are wrong.

But if those are your front end questions all the time and if that's really kind of the gist of your questioning period and you're expecting answers from that, guess what little Susie and little Johnny are thinking? They're thinking what's important to mom and dad are self-centered things. So, now you're going to try to talk to them about the Bible later that night before they go to bed and all you're doing is creating confusion because every time they go to the Bible they go, oh yeah, this I'm supposed to live. But every time I swing a baseball bat or shoot a basketball, it's about me. And the Bible clearly teaches, no, it's not. It's never about you. It's always about Christ.

And that's where we're having the fallout. We're compartmentalizing our faith. And for some reason in the world of athletics, among us Christians, we're giving permission to do that. We're thinking, well, if you win, if you play with being a good sport and you don't get technical fouls and all that, you're a good Christian guy.

No, no. You are to do your work heartily as unto the Lord, not unto men. Your motivation should be as a holy offering to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So what kind of camps can we do? What kind of interaction can we have with parents and children in the world of sports to help teach those principles so parents can take their children and ask right questions, get biblically centered answers because they're asking biblically centered questions. That's great. Well, we so appreciate you, Ron, and all you're doing to take the message of the gospel and the principles of sanctification drawing near to Christ and being able to influence our children and to help them think and compete in a whole different way than the world is doing it. So all of God's best and grace to you. Thanks for coming on the Christian Real View. Thanks for having me, David.

Always a pleasure. OK, that was Coach Ron Brown, everyone. Hope you enjoyed that interview. He really, truly is a man after God's heart. And when you're around him, he is a contagious Christian and just a fantastic coach and privileged to call him a friend. You know, we did a camp, as I mentioned, last summer together for fellowship of Christian athletes in Nebraska. And I would say it was probably the best camp or youth event that I've ever been a part of.

Just from a standpoint of the content that was being taught to the a lot of them are middle middle schoolers who are coming, high schoolers who came to this camp in the middle of Nebraska. And you had Ron Brown teaching them about doing sports God's way. He was out in the field with them and teaching them how to think as he was just talking about in this last answer. Also, Greg Gilbert was there.

Remember, Greg? He comes on the program every spring around Easter time to talk about an element of Christ's death and resurrection. He's the pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the author of What is the Gospel and Who is Jesus? Harry Walls was there. Remember, you mentioned Harry Walls earlier in the program today, who is the believe he's the chaplain or the master's university.

He was the one who led or was the example that led Ron to becoming a follower of Christ. I spoke on developing a Christian real view at the camp, but just really a great experience. And they started Kingdom Sports, this sports ministry after this where they do camps and they have videos and all different kinds of things. So if you're remotely involved in sports and you're a Christian, this is a ministry that will definitely help you navigate that and keep the right mindset in a world that easily turns into idol worship. The website is kingdomsports.online.

kingdomsports.online is the website. So just to summarize a couple things from today in that interview, we're going to get into an interesting story out of Australia in the final segment, but just to summarize some of the things that Ron talked about today. I was reading in 1 John, the letter of 1 John in the New Testament, and have you ever noticed what the final verse is? After he talks about the importance of sound doctrine, the importance of obedience, and the importance of love for fellow believers in that book, the very last verse, chapter 5 of the whole book, he said, little children, this is the way the book ends, little children, guard yourselves from idols.

And that is just amazing. After all I've said and done here, just do this one thing, guard yourselves from idols. And sports so easily becomes an idol. I was involved in sports almost my entire life, and I know how easy it is because you're in this culture where sports gets a lot of acclaim, success, there's lots of rewards, scholarships as a professional, making money, popularity, influence. It's a multi-billion, billion-dollar industry in our country and around the world.

It's not just in America, it's everywhere. And so it easily becomes an idol. So the first point I think to keep in mind is, as Ron was saying, parents and coaches will only be able to convey playing sports for God's glory and not their own glory, and not making an idol if that is how they are thinking and living themselves. In other words, they must be thinking biblically and living accordingly. They must be saved. You must be in a relationship, have entered into a relationship with God through Christ. In other words, you must be saved. You must repent and believe in who Christ is and what he did for you because then you have a new nature, you're a new creation. And the Spirit will be inside of you. You will have discernment to know, boy, is this becoming an idol in our family?

What's it doing to us? You'll be thinking about what you're thinking about. So you must have it first. And then he said second, parents, coaches, and athletes must be regularly renewing their minds to put off these things, put off primarily thinking about winning and rankings and playing time and scholarships and comparisons with other athletes and making the awards at the end of the season. In other words, don't be double-minded.

You're unstable in all your ways. If you're motivated by those things, you're making sports an idol in your life. And instead, put off those things, but put on, as he said, Colossians 3.23, whatever you do, that's including sports.

Do your work or sports heartily. That's from the heart with your full heart as the Lord, as for the Lord rather than for men. Knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the reward. You want to get a reward? You get it from the Lord.

It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. And he also mentioned that passage in 1 Corinthians 9, which I will read after this next break, which is how the Bible uses sports metaphors to teach spiritual lessons. Finally, the third point is this. Parents must be rock solid in their family priorities and not sacrifice the spiritual for sports. For example, practices on Sunday mornings, the loss of meal times, family times, need to be very, very circumspect about that and guard those important things over the idol of sports.

We'll be back after this. founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, who brings a truthful, biblical worldview to this issue. Climate Change in the Christian is an 80-minute DVD message, and The Cosmic Consequences of Christ Crosswork is a 15-page booklet.

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The world does sports. That is the topic we've been discussing today here on the Christian Worldview radio program. I'm David Wheaton, the host. Our website is thechristianworldview.org. If you missed any of the interview with Coach Ron Brown, the director of player development for the University of Nebraska football team, really highly encourage you to go back and hear it. If you have a son or daughter in sports, if you have a son or daughter in really any endeavor, maybe if it's even non-sports, maybe it's in music or whatever that's consuming to you and your family, to them, really go back and hear what he had to say. It'll be linked at our website, thechristianworldview.org. You can always sign up, by the way, for our free weekly email at thechristianworldview.org. You also get the short takes when you do that, the highlights of the show, and that's something that people really enjoy.

You can hear the full interview kind of in a shorter format. So what you should not be taking away from the interview today with Ron Brown is this. Sports is bad, and so therefore, let's avoid it. That's what you should not be taking away.

Let me be very, very clear. Sports is not bad. But what you should be taking away is what Ron was saying, that this sports is an opportunity for you to disciple your son or daughter. It's an opportunity for you to lead your son or daughter to Christ. That's how sports should be viewed, as an opportunity to disciple your son or daughter. Instead of being an opportunity to put pressure on them, to compare them to others, to try to gain something, scholarships, now those things may come, and that's great if they do. But you have to have your priorities rock solid on what the purpose of sports is, just like the purpose of anything is, is to do everything you do for the glory of God.

You're playing for the audience of one, Jesus Christ, not for any other audience at all. And that's hard to do, by the way. I get it.

I was in sports. It's hard for family to watch your kids play sports and not want them to win. You should want them to win. Winning's a good thing. Ron talked about that.

1 Corinthians 9. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Now, he's not talking about sports races.

He's using it as an analogy. He's talking about that in the Christian life. Run in such a way that you can be victorious, you can overcome. Yes, you should strive to win.

And he goes down in verse 25. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. There's a lesson learned from sports, self-control, discipline. They then do it. Athletes do it to receive a perishable wreath or crown. But we, us who are pursuing the narrow road, running down the race spiritually in life, we do it to receive an imperishable crown.

In other words, eternal life with God in heaven. And therefore, he says, therefore, I run in such a way in this spiritual life as not without aim. Another sports analogy of archery, shooting, whatever. I box. Another sports analogy in such a way as not beating the air.

I just flail around. But I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. So Paul is using the sports analogies of his day because you know what? Sports were big in his day as well too. You know, the Isthmian games, I think the Olympic games were maybe starting around that time.

I don't exactly remember. But sports were huge back in that day too. So he's not saying sports are bad. He's saying, look how athletes do this and how they discipline themselves and they run.

They try to win and that's fine. But we have a much more important race than the running race. We are running to please God in all things so that we won't be disqualified. You know, make sure of your salvation. Be obedient, be sanctified.

Run after, draw near to Christ. That is Paul's point there and it's applied to sports as well. Now, just in the remaining minutes today, I wanted to bring out a very interesting, I think very sad actually, story from Australia. It's an athlete down there named Israel Folau. And I'm just going to read a couple of paragraphs from this story coming out of the Daily Mail in the UK. It says, Australia fires Christian national rugby star after he said gays were going to hell. And by the way, just to tell you the future and tell you what's coming, he didn't say gays were going to hell. He quoted the Bible as saying gays and those who are unrepentant are going to hell. He quoted the Bible verse basically. Now they're going to ban him from Australian rugby.

Australian rugby star Israel Folau, that name's spelled F-O-L-A-U, you should look this up, it's a very interesting story, is facing a ban from the national team after claiming that gay people would go to hell. Again, he didn't claim that, he was quoting the Bible. The 30-year-old fullback, now listen to this, who is Australia's best paid rugby player and rugby is huge in Australia, posted on Instagram last week to say that, quote, hell awaits for, quote, drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters. What it was is he put on Instagram a picture that said, warning, drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, liars, idolaters, hell awaits you, repent, only Jesus saves. Now of course that's a very strong and direct message to put on Instagram or Twitter, but that's exactly what the Bible says. He was quoting, I believe, either 1 Corinthians 6 or Galatians 5, 19, he actually quoted Galatians 5, 19. It says, now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, I'm reading this fast, envying drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

And then he goes on to say, repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2, 38, in the New Testament. If you read his Twitter account, this man is not only a giant of a man, he's like six, five, 240 pounds of muscle, but he's also a sold-out follower of Jesus Christ, and he expresses that on his Twitter account. But that's not okay anymore in the world of sports, because it's an idol-worshipping factory, and they don't want any of their idols of diversity, whatever else they believe in, taken down. They have no sense of the irony here that they're discriminating against this man's freedom of speech and his freedom of religion to express his religious beliefs. Instead, they're protecting only a particular other group of people, the homosexual and transgender community. This is so typical and indicative of the worldview that's taking place all around the world at this point that this is one of their top rugby players who's a Christian, who is now being marginalized, and now is out of a job.

Okay, rugby bosses have said, ruled out a possible return for Folau to the form of the sport where he began his career. So he's out of a job because he is an outspoken Bible-quoting follower of Christ. Consider that. But he also has an amazing platform that sports has given him, and he's using that platform to actually not hate people, to love people, and tell people, hey, don't practice sin, don't go down that road, because hell awaits. Jesus, God is offering to save you through Christ.

It seems to me that this isn't a hater. This is someone who loves people enough to tell them that you're going the wrong way in turn before you face the consequences of your sin. I can't imagine anything more loving than that, than to stay silent and watch people go to an eternity without God. Thank you for listening today to the Christian World of Your Radio program. We do live in a changing and challenging, well, sports world, an idol-worshipping sports world, but there is one person and one thing we can always count on and trust in. Jesus Christ and His Word.

They are the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is the only one-hour radio program that is furnished by the Overcomer Foundation and is supported by listeners and sponsors. Request one of our current resources with your donation of any amount. Go to thechristianworldview.org or call us toll-free at 1-888-646-2233 or write to us at Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian World View. Until next time, think biblically and live accordingly.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-21 15:52:02 / 2024-03-21 16:12:53 / 21

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