Contend Earnestly: Game Day for the Glory of God

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Game Day for the Glory of God

This book is a very compact book (95 pages), but is packed with godly wisdom in our understanding of sports. The author, Stephen Altrogge, conveys a deeper understanding of why we have sports and how a Christian should represent Christ through them, not apart from them. He successfully shows the impact we can have as we play and watch sports for the glory of God, and what impact we can have if we do it for the glory of ourselves.

Sports provide us with opportunities to grow in godliness. Few things allow us to grow in humility, conquer our anger, discipline our bodies, persevere in the face of adversity, and pursue excellence, all in the span of an hour or two. Sports expose our sinful pride and desire for personal glory. They reveal our sinful self-sufficiency, self-worship, and self-centeredness. They also present unique opportunities to grow in humility, a character trait that deeply pleases God. Sports also expose our anger, impatience, and sinful cravings, thus enabling us to grow in God-honoring self-control.
Stephen Altrogge, p. 103


He not only draws attention to the person actually playing the sport, but also to the parent that is to be training the child in glorifying God in all things. This is very helpful as I am a dad, past his prime in playing sports, but can have a lasting impact on my two sons who are now getting into watching and playing feverishly.

Don't simply drop them off and pick them up from practices and games. Don't think that your responsibility ends with attending games. Rather, before each practice or game take a few moments to help your children prepare their hearts. Remind them of the need for humility, self-control, passion, encouragement, and trust. Help them see how sports fit into the bigger picture of life, eternity and God's glory. If time permits, pray with your children before each practice or game. In doing so you will help your children grow in godliness while playing sports. Hebrews 12:14 tells us to "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." Sports provide us with an opportunity to strive for holiness. Let us take full advantage of that opportunity.
Steven Altrogge, p. 105


The chapters in this book break down like this:

1. A Life for the Glory of God
2. The Source of All Talent
3. The Joy of Sports
4. Game Day Priorities
5. Winners and Losers
6. Parents, Children, and the Glory of God
7. Tying it All Together

Appendix by C.J. Mahaney

The appendix, only 4 pages long, is very helpful as Pastor Mahaney puts forth a quick list of things he goes over with his son before every sporting event or practice:

- Humbly receive correction from your coach, and ask your coach how you can grow in character as well as athletic skill.


- Thank your coaches for the way they have served you. And thank the referees after each game.

- Encourage your teammates for their display of godly character and athletic skill-in that order of priority.

- Encourage your opponents during and after the game. If you knock someone over, extend your hand to help him up.

- Play the game passionately and unselfishly. Serve your team by playing aggressive defense (his father never did this) and passing the ball on offense (again, his father never did this).

- Humbly respond when the referee calls a foul on you. Do not complain or disagree in word or by facial expression (unfortunately, his father always did this).

- No inappropriate celebrating after you score; instead recognize that others played a role (his father never did this).

- Thank the team manager for the way he served, and recognize the humility and servanthood he is displaying at each game. Remember that true greatness is sitting on the end of the bench.

The whole of the book is filled with information like this and draws on stories of major events in sports history, great quotes from some Christian athletes and of course the personal stories from Altrogge that makes you cringe and laugh (especially when you can see yourself in his stories).

Overall it is a very practical book that points to the glory of God. When a book can look to sports in this way and point us to the Creator of sports, it is already starting in the right direction. I would very much recommend this to any parent or teen that is involved in any kind of sport in any way. As a father I am excited to take these truths and apply them to my family as I train my boys to be glorifying God in all things, especially sports. Highly Recommended. Link to Buy




4 comments:

Different Steven said...

This is quite possibly the lamest cover in the history of publishing.

Boaly said...

I can't wait to get a copy of this book, on order with amazon.
Stephen was kind enough to let me ask him a few questions about it on my own blog.
http://garyboalnireland.blogspot.com/2008/09/interview-with-stephen-altrogge-on-game.html

Though I'd recommend C.J. Mahaney's interview with him much more.
http://sovereigngraceministries.com/Blog/post/Interview-with-Stephen-Altrogge.aspx

Stephen Altrogge said...

Hey Seth! Thanks for your kind review!

Seth McBee said...

Stephen.
No problem. I thought you handled the topic well without over straining the subject, which many have with other subjects in the past.

I like how you got to the point and made it very practical. I already am using the applications with my sons, and will be presenting it to our parents in our church and the youth.

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