Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Go Browns! Go Church!

Dear Readers,

I’m glad you stopped by. My blog today is about what I learned from a Cleveland Browns preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Browns played their first preseason game of 2016 last Friday night at Lambeau Field versus the Packers. It was what I expected. There were some exciting moments, and some letdowns.

I had the same feelings often during the Cavaliers NBA championship run. With a win came excitement, and with a loss came disappointment. After a win I listened to each postgame interview, and got every tidbit of info from sports radio shows the next day. After a loss, however, I avoided all postgame interviews, and turned the radio off the next day.

Browns coach Hue Jackson was like the Cavs in stating that he is more concerned about the process in how the team got to a win or a loss than he was the win or loss itself. He makes it clear that he wants to win. But he uses the loss as a learning tool to find out what the team can do better.

I was so excited when Robert Griffin III (RG III) threw the first pass down the sideline to the newly transformed quarterback to wideout Terrelle Pryor from Ohio State. But then reality set in a few plays later when RG III threw an interception. Same old Browns…they get you excited then they let you down!

Then I started looking more at the process. I started looking at glimpses of improvement over past years. I jumped with excitement when 6’7” rookie Carl Nassib from Penn State tracked down a much smaller, quicker runner from behind. Rookie Emmanuel Ogbah from Oklahoma State played like a beast. Jamie Meder from little Ashland University, located in the city where I work, broke through to drop the runner for a safety.

Late in the game rookie QB Cody Kessler threw an outside fade route to Hollywood Higgins for a touchdown. He and his teammates jumped for joy! But a few plays later Cody ran back out of the end zone for a safety. He was clearly upset at the bonehead play, but his teammates and coaches came and patted Cody on the helmet and said an encouraging word to the heartbroken QB.

What I like most about games like this was the process of finding out what makes guys tick. It is emphasized time and time again by the coaching staff that they are evaluating the strengths and weaknesses that each player has. They try to accentuate the strengths and minimize the areas of weakness.

What would it be like if in the church we truly thought of ourselves as teammates on a quest to win a championship? We would jump for joy with each other’s successes, and give pats on the back to encourage us when we make bonehead plays.

And what if our pastors and leaders got to know each part of what makes us tick, if they tried to accentuate the positive parts of our personalities to reach people for Christ, and to minimize the parts of us that are not so positive, and if they used us in the most effective way possible?

I would very much welcome such an approach. It follows many themes of the Bible. One is in Paul’s first letter to Timothy: “Instead, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1Timothy 4:7-8

Go Browns! Go Church!

See you next time,

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