Sermon for Sunday February 5th, 2012

Its Super Bowl Sunday, "What’s Your Game Plan"? by Charlie Roberts

1 Corinthians 9:24-9:25

Its Super Bowl Sunday,
What’s your game Plan?

I don’t think that there’s anyone, who doesn’t like a good comeback story

You know when the underdog, pushes back through insurmountable odds and somehow comes out on top.

*for some it takes motivation to do it,
*for others it comes from within,
*some draw from experiences of life’s journey
*and for most, after exhausting every other opportunity, as a last resort, they rely on Jesus Grace and Mercy

1. Some have to be motivated

Ill. It was halftime of the 1928 Army vs. Notre Dame Game that legendary head coach Knute Rockne gave his "win one for the Gipper" speech to his beleaguered players.

Notre Dame was having one of its worst season’s on record and Rockne was trying to salvage what he could of the season.

He told his players about the tragic death of George Gipp, a great Notre Dame player.

Many historians doubt that Rockne’s version of Gipp’s last words was true. None the less, Notre Dame did win the game against Army that memorable day.

This speech became ingrained in popular culture after its recreation in the 1940 movie,

Knute Rockne- All American, which starred a then known B actor, Ronald Reagan.

The phrase "Win one for the Gipper" became a permanent fixture in American society. Here is the transcript of the dialogue from the movie...

Well, boys ... I haven’t a thing to say.
Played a great game...all of you. Great game, I guess we just can’t expect to win ‘em all.

I’m going to tell you something I’ve kept to myself for years -- None of you ever knew George Gipp.

It was long before your time, but you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame...

And the last thing he said to me -- "Rock," he said -

"sometime, when the team is up against it -- and the breaks are beating the boys --

tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper...

I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock", he said - "but I’ll know about it - and I’ll be happy."

(There was a hushed stillness as Rockne and the crowd of boys look at each other. and the midst of this tense silence, one of the boys loudly shouted!)

Well, what are we waiting for?

And with a single roar, the players throw off their blankets and rush through the doorway, went out and won the game!

That phrase the Gipper from the movie, followed a then, little known actor Ronald Reagan all of his life and went on to inspire a nation.

1st Cor. 9:24-25 MSG.
24-25. You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

2. For others it comes from within

Ill. In real life, for the sake of Super Bowl Sunday, that person was Joe Montana.

He possessed an almost mystical calmness in the midst of chaos, especially with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.

While others saw turmoil and danger after the snap, Montana saw order and opportunity.

He was Joe Cool, the unflappable king of the comeback.

Montana was neither exceptionally fast nor tall nor did he have a bazooka for an arm.

The man whom his high school quarterbacks coach said "was born to be a quarterback" won by wits and grace, style and reaction.

It was if he saw the game in slow motion. Whether it was with Notre Dame or the 49ers,
whether the game was played in an ice storm in Dallas or in the humidity of Miami,

Montana was The Man in the fourth quarter. In all, he had over 35- 4th quarter comebacks to his credit.

"There have been, and will be, much better arms and legs and much better bodies on quarterbacks in the NFL," said former 49er teammate Randy Cross,

"but if you have to win a game or score a touchdown or win a championship, the only guy to get is Joe Montana."

Sports Illustrated headlined a story on the fragile-looking quarterback as "The Ultimate Winner."

Montana won four Super Bowls in four appearances, a tremendous feat

"Joe was born to be a quarterback," said Jeff Petrucci, his high school quarterback coach.
"You saw it in the midget leagues, in high school -- the electricity in the huddle when he was in there.

How many people are there in the world, three billion? And how many guys are there who can do what he can do?

Him, and maybe (Dan) Marino on a good day. Perhaps God had a hand in this thing."

We sometimes like to think it all comes from within, but the truth of it is, no one knows us and what’s on the inside better than God.

Psalms 139:13-16 MSG.
13-16. Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

Just like that great quarterbacks amazing story, God still has great plans for you, yet to be completed in your life, your best days still lie ahead

They have been there all along, ask God to help you bring them to fruition and He will.

3. Some draw from life’s experiences, when they need to plan for a comeback

Sometimes there are things we do in our lives, things that are not so memorable and then again things that are amazing and almost beyond belief.

Events happen, things change, sometimes we don’t listen and our decisions ultimately affect the out come of our lives in the end,

And we think to ourselves about how it used to be and the good old days of past

And if we could just one more time revisit and draw strength to be victorious one more time over what were facing in the now and now,

We somehow imagine what an amazing comeback that, that would be and we think “oh Lord, just one more time for old times sake.”

I always love it, when your talking to someone and someone says, “Do you remember that one time, back in the day?

The Bible tells us of a story just like that in the book of Judges, it’s the story of Samson and what an amazing story it is.

Samson grew up strong in the Lord, he had many victories along the way,

One time, he killed a lion with his bare hands.

Another time, he slew a 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey,

Another time, he caught 300 foxes, tied their tales together, lit the knot on fire, let them go and burned the philistines out, lock, stock and barrel!

Samson was the strongest man ever recorded in the Bible, he was and he knew it to,

everyone feared him, he ruled the nation of Israel for 20 yrs.

Many times the Philistines, they had tried to overtake him, but were never able to do it until they found out the secret, as to what his strength was.

Even though Samson was so strong, he had a weakness.

He loved women and through his love for Delilah, he was ultimately betrayed and his secret was discovered,

His strength was in the length of his hair, eventually his hair was cut and he was rendered powerless,

his eyes were gouged out and that was finally the end of Samson, or so the philistines thought.

All the time he had really thought it was all about him and the many feats that “he did”

but it wasn’t about him, it was about Gods presence in him and with him, that made it everything he did possible.
Judges 16:25-27 MSG.

27. Then this: Everyone was feeling high and someone said, "Get Samson! Let him show us his stuff!" They got Samson from the prison and he put on a show for them.
They had him standing between the pillars. Samson said to the young man who was acting as his guide, "Put me where I can touch the pillars that hold up the temple so I can rest against them." The building was packed with men and women, including all the Philistine tyrants. And there were at least three thousand in the stands watching Samson’s performance.
28. And Samson cried out to God:
Master, God!
Oh, please, look on me again,
Oh, please, give strength yet once more.
With one avenging blow let me be avenged
On the Philistines for my two eyes!
29-30. Then Samson reached out to the two central pillars that held up the building and pushed against them, one with his right arm, the other with his left. Saying, "Let me die with the Philistines," Samson pushed hard with all his might. The building crashed on the tyrants and all the people in it. He killed more people in his death than he had killed in his life….

It didn’t matter how many times in his life he had been victorious, without Gods presence in his life, he was rendered powerless,

no matter how many times he relived those past victories and they were numerous.

God shares His Glory with no one,

for all of the victories we achieve in life, even though we like to sit back and say, look at what I have done,

the true credit and all of the credit, only belongs to God.

Mark 10:27 NKJ
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

And only through His Grace and goodness, is anything possible!

4. and some, after exhausting every other opportunity, as a last resort, rely on Jesus Grace

No one comes to mind, that fits this category better than the Apostle Paul,

If we were to talk about someone who had a 180’ turnaround and comeback, it would be him and what a story his was

At one time, he thought he knew everything there was to know about religion and he did,

What he didn’t know, was the one whom it was all about!

Acts 26:1-3. Agrippa spoke directly to Paul: "Go ahead—tell us about yourself." Paul took the stand and told his story. "I can’t think of anyone, King Agrippa, before whom I’d rather be answering all these Jewish accusations than you, knowing how well you are acquainted with Jewish ways and all our family quarrels.
4-8. "From the time of my youth, my life has been lived among my own people in Jerusalem. Practically every Jew in town who watched me grow up—and if they were willing to stick their necks out they’d tell you in person—knows that I lived as a strict Pharisee, the most demanding branch of our religion. It’s because I believed it and took it seriously, committed myself heart and soul to what God promised my ancestors—the identical hope, mind you, that the twelve tribes have lived for night and day all these centuries—it’s because I have held on to this tested and tried hope that I’m being called on the carpet by the Jews. They should be the ones standing trial here, not me! For the life of me, I can’t see why it’s a criminal offense to believe that God raises the dead.
9-11. "I admit that I didn’t always hold to this position. For a time I thought it was my duty to oppose this Jesus of Nazareth with all my might. Backed with the full authority of the high priests, I threw these believers—I had no idea they were God’s people!—into the Jerusalem jail right and left, and whenever it came to a vote, I voted for their execution. I stormed through their meeting places, bullying them into cursing Jesus, a one-man terror obsessed with obliterating these people. And then I started on the towns outside Jerusalem.
12-14."One day on my way to Damascus, armed as always with papers from the high priests authorizing my action, right in the middle of the day a blaze of light, light outshining the sun, poured out of the sky on me and my companions. Oh, King, it was so bright! We fell flat on our faces. Then I heard a voice in Hebrew: ’Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me? Why do you insist on going against the grain?’
15-16. "I said, ’Who are you, Master?’
"The voice answered, ’I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down like an animal. But now, up on your feet—I have a job for you. I’ve handpicked you to be a servant and witness to what’s happened today, and to what I am going to show you.
17-18. "I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.’

19-20. "What could I do, King Agrippa? I couldn’t just walk away from a vision like that! I became an obedient believer on the spot. I started preaching this life-change—this radical turn to God and everything it meant in everyday life—right there in Damascus, went on to Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside, and from there to the whole world.
Paul later said, that he was the chief of all sinners, he was so steeped in religion and his relationship to the dictates of it,

That it became a deadly weapon used against all who didn’t do exactly as it said,

It allowed the Pharisees, or so they thought, to become Gods judges and jury’s.

Sometimes we get so far away from where God wants us to be, like in Paul’s case.

That He has to go to some drastic measures to get our attention,

The good news is, we can never go farther than He is willing to rescue us from

and show us the purpose in our life that He has for us!

And Paul is a great example, that God looks on the possible, right past the circumstances we are in, no matter how impossible they are! Praise God,

Grace is always greater and stronger than sin.

Grace is Gods path to reconciliation, to whosoever will come and believe on the name of Jesus.

Grace has amazing power behind it, it not only changed Saul’s name to Paul, it completely changed his life,

When he surrendered to Jesus’ life changing message of grace and let it work in and through Him,

it not only changed Saul’s life, it changed the world and I’m so grateful that it did!

And Grace is still changing and transforming lives, for all who will step into it and surrender to it!

Step into the Amazing Grace, that God so willingly offers, let it change your life like it has changed millions of others lives,

So when all the Super Bowls of life come along and they surely will,

You can be assured, With Jesus as quarterback and His Grace, as the game plan

You will always be standing in the “winners circle” Praise God!!

Remember, Jesus made the Greatest Comeback in the history of the world,

Aren’t you glad He chose you to be on His team,

He doesn’t want you sit on the bench, He wants everyone on His team to participate in the game,

Learn the game plan, apply it to your life and you will be amazed by the results and all the points, Grace will put on the scoreboard in your life and everyone you come in contact with!!!

3 cheers for Team Jesus,
Do you receive it today, I trust you have
I’ll See you in the end zone!

Praise the Lord, lets pray!