To God be the glory

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

Three more high profile athletes used their platform in the Super Bowl to give God the glory for their accomplishments.  What a way to use a platform! Glory!
   Coach Don Pederson was coaching high school football nine years ago.  Nobody would have ever given him a chance then of being a head coach of a professional team – much less winning a Super Bowl.  When he held up the trophy in the post game ceremony, he was asked the question, “How did you do this?”  Coach Pederson’s first response was, “It’s all because of my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I give God all the glory!”  In my book, that’s a winning play – not a trick play – a solid fundamental understanding of life and why we’re here.
  Zach Ertz, who caught the winning touchdown pass, and is married to one of our U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer players, was asked what was going through his mind when his play was called at the most critical point of the game.   He said, “I just knew I had to make the play and give God the glory!”
   The most valuable player in the 52nd Super Bowl was Nick Foles.  He was the most unlikely.  He was a back-up quarterback until the franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, went down with a knee injury.  Wentz, who could be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, is a dynamic Christian leader.
   Foles was brilliant in the play offs and the Super Bowl!  He went up against Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.  He matched Brady play-for-play.  He was not intimidated.  He performed with excellence. When Foles was handed the Most Valuable Player trophy, his first comment was, “I want to give all the glory to God!”
    Foles is a devout Christian.  His Twitter bio reads, “Believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother.”  Glory!  He plans to enter the ministry when his pro football career ends – which I think will be delayed after his Super Bowl performance.
    A few weeks ago the Eagles wide receiver, Marcus Johnson, was baptized in a North Carolina swimming pool before the playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.  Foles, Ertz, Wentz, and many other team members attended.  Johnson tweeted, “First time being Baptized! Corporate Worship is a beautiful thing!!  Cleaned & Reborn in JESUS name!! #WholeHeartedly,”  Glory!  5 other teammates were baptized last year!  Glory!
   This was the Eagles first Super Bowl win in franchise history.   Somebody in the front office of the Eagles has done an unbelievable job of recruiting great athletes and coaches who stand for the highest form of performance and integrity.  They understand life.  God gets the glory.
   Man’s primary purpose in life is to glorify God.  Real winning in life is not about getting glory but giving God the glory.  “To you alone, O LORD, and not to us, must glory be given.”  (Ps.115:1)
Real strength needed to win in life comes from our relationship with God.  Strength is not an external display of muscle that is the result of exercise.  Real strength is an inner force that is the result of a Godly commitment, attitude, perspective and faith.  That inner force is built daily.  It grows by giving God the glory.
   The hymn says, “To God be the glory great things He hath done.”  Whatever you accomplish today and in this lifetime, don’t take an unhealthy credit for your skill and wisdom – give God the glory and use it as a platform for Him.
  You can win your super bowl! Glory!

Connect or disconnect

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

Relationships are essential to a productive, healthy life.  I believe that we humans are created to relate first to God and then to other people.  The quality of our relationship with God and others greatly determines the quality of life that we enjoy.
   In this 21st Century, we have made great strides with technology, but it raises the question whether they are impeding interpersonal relationships.  While advancements have tremendous advantages, they can also have a negative side effect.  One example is social media.  Instagram, Facebook and Twitter were designed to help people connect.  Recent studies have found that spending too much time on social media can actually disconnect people.
  The University of Pittsburgh recently surveyed 1,787 adults ages 19-32.  They found that people who use social media for over 2 hours a day were twice as likely to report high levels of loneliness.  Prime Minister Theresa May recently appointed a Minister for Loneliness, saying that loneliness is a “sad reality of modern life” for many English people.
   Silicon Valley has been looked upon as the forerunner in technology advancements.  But it has also produced the side effect of poorly relating to people.  This year, several companies have paid local modeling agencies to attend social functions to help people communicate with each other.  In fact, local modeling agencies have said tech companies have approached them in “record numbers” during the holiday season.  They pay from $50 to $200 an hour per model to chat with party attendees.
   One typical party featured 25 female and 5 male models paid to hang out with “pretty much every one there.”  The tech firms make the models sign non-disclosure agreements and give them names of employees to pretend they are friends with.  I think high tech needs to be translated into high capacity for relating meaningfully to people.
   I remember reading years ago about a little lady who every day came to the Post Office and stood in a long line just to buy postage stamps.  The Post Office employees came to know her well.  One day the man from whom she always bought the stamps suggested the Post Office now had a new stamp machine dispensary.  He explained she could simply come in and put money in the machine and not have to stand in line.
   The man noticed the little lady continued to stand in line each day and buy the stamps from him.  One day he asked her, “Why don’t you use the stamp machine?”  She looked at him and said, “Because, Mr. Brown, that machine never asked me how I’m feeling today.”
   People have feelings.  People are created to give and receive emotional touches.  We need that.
   A Chinese company, AvitarMind, has developed a 3-foot tall robot to relate to children whose parents are not around.  The robot can sing, dance, and play ‘rock, paper and scissors.’  It can talk with children and answer questions like, “Why is the sun hot?”  It can also provide surveillance and video chat for absent parents.  AvitarMind says its robot is not designed to provide companionship to children, but to keep them occupied for several hours after school until their parents get home.  We now have a robotic babysitter for latch-key kids!
   Meaningful relationships will never be replaced by robots, social media advancements, or high tech machines.
   It seems to me that a good, balanced life knows how to have a healthy attitude toward all the technological advancements that are available to us, but at the same time, relate to people just as we want them to relate to us and as God relates to them.  Developing better relationships is something I want to work on in 2018.
Proverbs 11:25 – “Those who will refresh others will be refreshed.”  Proverbs 18:24  – “A real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9 – “Two people are better off than one for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But one who falls alone is in real trouble.”
What is your use of technology producing?

How do you use your platform?

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

I don’t have to tell you that I love sports.  I’ve always been involved.  I especially love athletes who use sports as a platform to make a witness.  That’s why I spend so much time with athletes, teams, coaches and organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
   Just recently there have been so many important, high profile athletic events that had strong Christians as heroes.  In the recent NFC championship game, the Minnesota Vikings had the game in hand until Drew Breeves led the Saints with a wild come back.  With 25 seconds left in the game Will Lutz hit a long 43 yard field goal.  It looked like New Orleans would win.
   But with 25 seconds remaining on the clock, the Vikings had a slim chance.  With only 10 seconds left and the ball on their own 39 yard line Case Keenum had to create a miracle.  He needed to complete a pass at least 35 yards down the field and have the receiver go out of bounds in order to save one second and try a field goal.  Keenum did better.  He threw a 40 yard pass to Stefon Diggs who went up and caught the ball.  The defensive back, Marcus Williams, awkwardly missed the tackle and Diggs didn’t go out of bounds but ran into the in zone for a 29-24 victory.
   When Keenum was interviewed about that being the greatest moment of his life he quickly said, “I can tell you about the three greatest moments of my life.  The first was when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  The second was when I married my wife.  The third is when I completed that pass and scored with no time left on the clock.”
   Alabama played Georgia in the National Championship game in Atlanta.  Alabama was totally outplayed in the first half of the game.  In the second half Nick Saban put in the backup quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa – a true freshman.  He threw 3 touchdown passes and turned the game around.
   Alabama was trailing 20-10 late in the fourth quarter.  The Tide came back, tied the score, and sent the game into overtime.  In the second overtime Tua made a big mistake by taking a 17 yard sack.  But the next play, this young quarterback threw a pass to another young freshman, DeVonta Davis, who scored the winning touchdown for the national championship.  Both young men are very committed Christians.
   In the first interview, Tua was asked how he did it.  He immediately said, “First I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I want to give all the glory to God.”  A few minutes later he was interviewed by another national T.V. reporter and began the interview with the same witness.  During the trophy presentation when he was given the most valuable offensive player award, he began again by thanking his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and giving God the glory!
   What a witness!  Some of the major news networks were able to edit that witness out of their reports when they came out the next day, but everybody heard them that night.
   Jose Altuve, smallest player in major league baseball, was selected as the 2017 Most Valuable Player in the American League.  He again won the batting title.  He was also Most Valuable Player in the World Series.  When interviewed about that, he said, “The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to.”
   Steph Curry was the most valuable player in the NBA.  Many people place him as being one of the top three NBA players of all time.  I used to shoot a basketball just like he does – accept his go in the basket!  He said, “Whether it is winning games, losing games, making shots, missing shots – it all about giving glory to God.”
   I love it when athletes use their talents as a platform for making a witness.  You have a platform.  How are you using it?  Are you willing to use your profession, your reputation, your status as an athlete or student – do you use this as a platform for a witness?  You don’t have to win the National Championship, or the Super Bowl, or the NBA, or the World Series – everybody has a sphere of influence – a platform.
Are you using your platform for God’s glory?