The Super Bowl is Sunday.  One of the big stories that you’ve been hearing about is Ray Lewis, the pro bowl linebacker.  He’s one of the greats of the game and this is his last year.  It’s a great story that the Super Bowl will be his last game as a pro.  It’s been great career.

Now picture this:  It’s Super Bowl Sunday.  All the hype is in the past.  The stadium is electric with energy.  The teams are lining up for kickoff and the television camera pans through the crowd and you suddenly see something unexpected.  Ray Lewis, in full gear except for his helmet, is sitting in the stands.  You see him yelling “Go Ravens” with a beer in one hand and popcorn in the other.  That would be stupid!

Ray Lewis is part of the team.  He’s supposed to be on the field.  He has a job to do.  Why would he be in the stands watching?

Some people I know are like that.  They claim to be part of the church but they have never really gotten involved.  They never serve.  They never give.  They just come and sit for an hour if there is nothing better to do that day.

“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him-and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by.”  -Frances Chan

Think about that for a moment.  Let it sink in.

If that’s you, I just want to say that the Church NEEDS YOU.   YOU need God and you also need the church.  It all goes together.  1 Corinthians 12 talks about how we’re all given “gifts” by God to use for His purposes.  If you aren’t there for your purpose, the Church isn’t all that it’s supposed to be.  Just like the Ravens would miss Ray Lewis, the Church misses you if you’re sitting in the stands watching.

Besides the Church missing you, you can’t grow into all that God has for you if you aren’t on the “field”, playing with the team.  You need God and walking with Him means serving Him and being part of a local church.  He said that in the Bible.  I didn’t make it up.  If you want a life that will count towards something that will last forever, get on the field.  It’s time for the game NOW.

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Super Bowl XLV Is right around the corner and I was thinking about the two starting quarterbacks.  They have a common thread.  Guess how many major football colleges offered Aaron Rogers and Ben Roethlisberger scholarships coming out of high school?  They received the same amount of major scholarship offers that I did.  ZERO.

Coming out of high school, neither were highly sought after or recruited by major colleges.  They weren’t really at the top of anyone’s lists to play quarterback.  Who would have guessed that they both would have made it to the top of the league, playing for the NFL Championship?

Aaron Rogers, the Green Bay quarterback, got little interest from Division 1 schools.  His only offer was to come to Illinois as a walk on. He declined that “impressive” offer of walking on and attended Butte Community College.  After a year of playing at Butte, he caught the eye of California head coach, Jeff Tedford, who came to a Butte came to look at recruiting their tight end, Garret Cross.  He played the next three years at California.

Ben Roethlisberger, the Steeler’s quarterback, only played one year of quarterback in high school.  Even though he had a good senior season and received some interest to play other positions, Miami of Ohio was the only school that wanted him to come as a quarterback.  Besides his experience of only playing one year of quarterback in high school, Roethlisberger had yet to fill out to his “Big Ben” frame.  Consequently, he agreed to go to Miami of Ohio and play for the Redhawks.

Jesus’ disciples weren’t highly sought after either.  They were far from heroes.  Some were uneducated fishermen.  Matthew was a hated tax collector.  They weren’t in consideration as disciples for any of the other rabbis of the day.  They were passed over as others were chosen for those positions.  They were not the kind of material that I would have picked either to put in the “changing the world” category.  I would have looked more at the educated and experienced leaders of the day.  Jesus had other ideas.

That’s actually good news.  If you were always the person that everyone wanted to have around and considered a “hero” by those around, cheer up and stay positive.  Jesus can probably use you too, but he has a history of choosing those that are underachievers and doing great things through them.

God chose David to serve as King and he wasn’t the star quarterback of the local Jerusalem High football team either.  He wasn’t a likely hero either.  David was a young guy that kept stinkin’ sheep all day.  He was “ruddy,” and “comely in appearance.”  (I Samuel 17)  God didn’t see what others saw.  He saw a young guy that loved God and had potential that others didn’t see.  David’s family didn’t see the potential in him and David probably didn’t know the extent to what God had in store for him either.  David eventually became King of Israel and is remembered as a “man after God’s own heart.”  Truth is, with God on your side, anyone can have potential.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what others have said, or what your background is.  If you will truly seek God and give EVERYTHING in your life to Him, he can do great things THROUGH you.  God just might surprise you at what He will do through you as you are totally surrendered to His will and leadership. Did you think that you’re an unlikely person that would be used for greatness by God.? Good!  You may just be God’s chosen person!

Have you ever been used by God in a way that surprised you?  What’s keeps most people from letting God use them in ways that are surprising?