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The Game Has Changed

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The Game Has Changed: What The NFL Can Teach Us About A Changing World

In this video/podcast episode Lucas discusses how the NFL has changed over the last 100 years, and how that is a lesson for Christians who are trying to make sense of a changing world. 

#NFL #Superbowl #DJReader  #TreyHill  #MaxScharping #JoeNoteboom #football #americanfootball #AFC #AShawnRobinson #RobHavenstein 

The NFL began in September of 1920. In the 1920s an offensive lineman would usually be between 5’10” and 6’2”. They generally weighed between 185 and 220 pounds. The NFL paid players $150 per game and most games maxed out at about 15,000 spectators.

There was a football player from the 20s, who I came across recently, Sam Tucker (I’ve changed his name for the sake of the story). He was 6’ and 190 lbs. He played for the New York Giants. He was on offense and defense, and occasionally played as a receiver. He was great, proven by the fact that he was inducted into pro football’s hall of fame. 

Imagine that we have a time machine and we go back to the 1920s.

Let’s take Sam Tucker put him in our time machine and plop him down at the 2022 super bowl. Los Angeles Rams (home team) vs. Cincinnati Bengals. Sam watches, as The Bengals come out on the field.  He’s blow away. He sees mountainous men, mythical creatures, powerful players like DJ Reader, Trey Hill, and Max Scharping their all as tall s trees, and as thick as the Mississippi, each weighing in at around 330 pounds. 

Now, remember, Sam comes from the era where he was big at 190 pounds.

Sam knows, even though he is a pro Hall of Fame inductee, he would be crushed by these guys.

He thinks, How could anyone play against these giants. Football is over. There’s no way to win. It’s a lost cause when the opposition is like that. He knows there’s no hope for the home team. 

Now, let’s put a pause on the story. 

I’ve heard many people from my and older generations say things like this: 

This world is so much more broken than it used to be, I don’t know how kids are going to make it in such darkness.

Society is so immoral there’s no hope for the next generation.

I can’t imagine how young people today will stand up to the challenges and temptations in the world. 

And just like Sam Tucker, people who say these things are falling into a misunderstanding of the changing game. The reason why they say these things is because They recognize that they themselves were not equipped for the world that is on its way. But just because you are not equipped, for what’s to come, does that mean that no one is?

Now, let’s go back to the stands at the LA Rams stadium, Super Bowl 2022. Sam Tucker is looking at the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s thinking, “There’s no hope for whoever has to play these guys,” When it’s time for the home team to take the field. 

The Rams come out, and Sam is stunned!  They’ve got guys like Joe Noteboom, A’Shawn Robinson, and Rob Havenstein who himself is 6’8” 330, along with six others who are 300+. Their QB has 9 solid years of experience. He’s sharp, good on his feet, and can fire the ball from LA to New York, and hit a receiver under tight coverage. They are absolutely matched to the challenge. 

Sam realizes an important lesson. The opponents have changed since 1920, yes, but they’re not the only ones. The opposition has increased, but the home team has improved to meet the challenge. 

They’ve been equipped and they are ready for the fight. 

He watches as The rams take the game at a 23-20 win over the Bengals. 

His lesson is the same lesson we need today. Just because pro hall of famer, Sam Tucker wouldn’t be equipped to play against the 2022 Bengals doesn’t mean that there is no one who can.

And just because I am not equipped to face the challenges of the coming generation, doesn’t mean that there will be no one, who can rise to the challenge.

The opposition in our world is tough, but our children are being equipped to face the temptations and challenges that the world has ready. Yes, it’s dark, and immoral, and frightening, but God is committed to His kingdom-coming plan, and he won’t let the light go out in the world. 

Our grandparents were not equipped for the generations that followed their time, they were equipped for their own only. It’s no surprise then that when they saw the dark clouds gathering over the next generation that they imagined that the young people who would face those clouds were like them, unequipted for what was to come. But they weren’t. They were equipped for the storm. 

But then when our parents saw the looming dusk arching darkly over the horizon. It’s no surprise that they assumed their children were like them, unequipped for the coming twilight. But we weren’t, were we. Our parents were equipped to face the challenges of their generation, but not ours. We were equipped for this one. 

And now, as we watch the dark of night approaching, it’s easy to believe that our children won’t be prepared for the darkness, but don’t make that mistake. The opposition is strong, but so too are God’s forward marching children, who face the darkness they were equipped to challenge. They will face the opposition in ways that we do not yet understand.

There once was a time much more bleak than ours, for God’s people the Jews. However, he didn’t leave his people without a plan of rescue. He allowed a Jewish girl to be placed in a royal position, to be trained in the ways of the royal court, and to be equipped for the times her people faced. When the genocide of the Jews looked certain, this is what was spoken to her:

…You have been chosen to be the queen for such a time as this. (Esther 4:14 ERV) 

The opposition that our children face is powerful, but they were chosen for such a Time as this. God prepares powerful challengers to battle the darkness with his light. 

My goal is not to protect my children from the darkness in the world. My goal is to prepare them to bring light to that darkness. 

Millions of people are being dragged into the darkness through the portal of the internet. The opposition is great, but remember, the game has changed. a single young person can share the gospel with millions with a cell phone camera and a little courage. The game has changed, and God’s children are rising to the challenge. 

Although we have not been equipped to face the generations that will follow, we have been equipped to prepare those who will. Don’t hide your children from the darkness, teach them to bring light into the pitch black they face. Don’t doubt the next generation, invest in them. Equip them. Show them what it means to bring light to this present dark world, and they will go forward and make us proud when we no longer walk among the shadows of this broken place.




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