7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read for Athletes and Parents of Athletes,
This review is from: Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, and Wannabes (Paperback)
As a Christian who is also a Dad and a sports fan I often think about how to baptize my passion for sports so that it abounds in my greatest passion, the glory of Christ. I often find myself preaching mini sermons to myself as well as my kids about how these `little' things truly are opportunities to make much of Christ. Therefore, I am truly excited about my friend Stephen Altrogge's project to serve people like me by providing a comprehensive handbook guiding folks to think and act biblically with regard to sports.
Stephen is qualified to write this book not just because he has been involved in playing and watching athletics his entire life, but because he is now consumed with making much of Christ with his entire life.
It is often the trend in books like this to take verses or concepts from Scripture and repackage them with a sports look. In this, authors unwittingly twist verses from their context and intended meaning. Their points are often clever and motivating, but I fear not biblically faithful. In this book Altrogge avoids this type of thing by focusing on the priority of a comprehensive worldview that exalts Christ in and through the gospel.
The book is intentionally broad but helpfully simple. It applies to both the 11 year old playing little league, the college football player, or the retiree on the golf course. The principles in the book are applicable as long as athletic competition is occurring and Christ is to be worshiped.
One prevailing theme in this book that makes it very helpful is the emphasis upon the glory of God. Altrogge is determined that folks are motivated to recognize the greatness of God when we witness athletic talent. Stephen recognizes that the sports world is a hotbed for idolatry. However, he exhorts us to see gifts in light of glory. He asks if God is impressed with Michael Jordan knocking down the winning shot, or Tiger woods crushing a drive. The point is that we should see such things as times not to ultimately marvel at these amazing physical abilities but find ourselves, as a result of these amazing abilities, marveling at the glorious God who makes and sustains such people. In other words, we are to worship.
In the context of the thrill of athletics, Altrogge transparently writes,
"Unfortunately, I rarely find myself uttering even a word of thanks to God for these pleasures. I have done nothing to deserve them. My sins merit eternal punishment in hell. Instead, God plucked me out of the darkness, made me his son, and heaped blessing after extravagant blessing upon me, including sports. As I loaf on my couch and watch basketball, I'm experiencing the goodness and kindness of God towards me. Because of his love for me he allows me to experience great pleasure and joy as I watch sports. My heart should be overflowing with gratitude to God for his incredible mercy."
After establishing a God-centered view of sports Altrogge helps set some Game Day priorities.
Here is a list from this chapter, which should be shared with every athlete:
The Priority of Humility (specifically, God is the source of athletic ability, encourage other players, be team oriented, and refuse to argue with officials)
The Priority of Passion (this is great, he argues that it is a stewardship issue!)
The Priority of Self-Control (even in light of `tough' circumstances)
The Priority of Trust (trusting the sovereign God)
Finally Altrogge exhorts readers to remember that every moment of every day, including sports, has eternal ramifications. God is concerned with receiving glory in all things (including sports!) We should likewise act like it!
"Unfortunately, sin is still with us and taints even our most godly moments. Like a vile parasite, it clings to us in both victory and defeat. Specific temptations accompany both winning an losing, and we must be aware of how our sinful hearts work in both circumstances. We must learn how to enjoy the sweet pleasures of victory and how to endure the bitterness of defeat in ways that please God."
CJ Maheney also adds a helpful and appropriate appendix.
I plan to have my kids read this book. I encourage parents of kids who play sports on any level, or those of you who enjoy watching or competing in sports yourselves, to read this book and pass it on. It is truly an area of our lives that is too often fraught with idolatry but should be an instigator for worship.