Coach Dave Daubenmire
September 22, 2011
With the kickoff of the high school, college football and NFL seasons this is an exciting time for a football fanatic.
With all of the hype it becomes a great place for one to withdraw from the cares of the world. Most Americans feel so powerless over the regulation of their lives that a day on the couch watching football serves as a means of escape from the mundane life so many of them live. Painting one’s face and rooting for the Browns is a means of living vicariously through the players on the field.
It is even worse in youth sports. Sadly, for many parents, youth sports is treated as a life-and-death ordeal, and the treatment of “little Johnny” by the coach is one of the few things over which a parent becomes animated these days.
Athletics is a game…life is life-and-death…and many parents invest all of their energy in things that really are of little importance. “Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel” is how Jesus described much of our lives.
The more football one watches the more he tends to believe that he is an expert in strategy. These are the guys who are known as “armchair quarterbacks” because they love to make decisions from the safety of their living room. Most fans love to practice “20-20 hindsight”….describing to anyone who will listen how he would have done it…once the play is over. My coaching experience tells me that second-guessing is a lot easier than first-guessing. Believe me; after the play is over I know if the call had been a good one. The last thing I need is some guy with a Budweiser and pizza stains on his shirt explaining to me what I should have done.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier with do-overs? How many times in life have you wished you could use a mulligan? Usually the big decisions are just that…decisions. Only the second-guessers get to guess. The real decision-makers have to pass the test on the first try. The Coach only gets one chance at that 4th-and-goal call.
As I was taking a break from the football buffet to visit the gym and exercise I struck up a conversation with one of those armchair QB’s, (although he didn’t have pizza on his shirt) who railed on and on about the “prevent defense” that such and such had used against so and so.
“I hate that stinkin’ prevent defense” he said. “All it does is prevent you from winning” using a phrase I’m sure he had heard some other football expert expound. “They aren’t really trying to defend, they just want to be ahead when the clock runs out”
“That’s the church” I thought to myself. “Just trying to hang on until the clock runs out.”
Football is a lot like life. In fact, of all the sports one can play, I think that football best teaches the lessons of life.
You’re bound to get knocked down so you gotta learn to get up.
• You can’t do it alone so you better learn to work as a team.
• Someone is always out to stop you so you better learn to fight.
• The next play is more important than the one you just ran.
I’m sure you could ad some others. But there is something about the prevent defense that flies in the face of everything football, and life teaches. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that “hanging on” is a good way to live. The basic premise of the prevent defense is simple. “It doesn’t matter how much turf you surrender as long as you are ahead when the clock runs out.”
That’s why I hate the prevent defense and why I feel so frustrated with Christianity. Is it just me or does that seem to be the strategy of the American Church…hoping to hang on until the clock runs out? Can you think of one instance when your church actually tried to take back some turf? Or have most of us dropped deep in our defensive zones as the enemy aggressively claims turf that does not belong to them?
“I read the last chapter, Coach and we win,” I hear all of the time.
“Oh yeah? Better read it again,” I retort. “My Bible says HE wins. I don’t know where you get all of this ‘we win’ stuff.”
But see, that is the difference. We don’t fight because we think we have already won. That’s what makes the two-minute drill in football so excruciating. Victory lies in the balance. One team is aggressively trying to win while the other team passively gives ground. The outcome is uncertain. “Will the clock run out in time?”
Which team represents the church: The one trying to score or the one hanging on and watching the clock? I don’t know about you, but I want to go down fighting.
Let me ask you a question. If the life of this nation and the furtherance of the Gospel depended on you would you respond the same way you currently are? If the very real possibility that our nation would be over-run with those who hate us and, more importantly, hate the God we claim to serve, would you be as passive as you are today? If you hadn’t read the end of the book to find out that “we win” would you be nervous about where this nation was headed?
Have you looked around lately? Have you stopped to consider what kind of America you are leaving to your children?
Do you think I am wrong about the escapist mentality of the American Church? Look no farther than what today's “churches” look like as compared to those of our fore-fathers. Generations ago they built stone edifices that were planted in the community. Most of our cities are laced with the granite buildings with steeples towering over the other buildings. The message the building sent reflected the attitude of those who inhabited them. “We serve the Rock of Ages and we are here for the duration.”
Today’s modern church buildings look more like malls…or schools…and give no outward reflection of the “he that endures-to-the-end-overcoming-the-world” mentality that those who came before us exhibited. Many churches include coffee shops, so fitting for “the-rapture-bus-is-coming” mentality that leads to “don’t-worry-about-giving-up-turf-attitude” so prevalent in Christian circles today.
“What, me worry? Jesus is coming. Grab a cup of coffee. He will be here soon. Aren’t we lucky we know how the game ends?
Paul exhorted us to “stand fast in the Lord,” that “having done all, to stand.” Jesus charged us to “occupy until I return.” No where in the Scriptures are we commanded to “hang in there and run out the clock.”
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“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Full Armor of God.
The armor was supplied for offensive advancement. No part of it protects one in retreat. I say shame on us for hanging on to the Gospel by the skin of our teeth.
has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat,
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat,
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet,
Our God is marching on.” Battle Hymn of the Republic
It is time we played to win rather than not to lose.
I hate the prevent defense.
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