Pastor's Corner

What Christians can learn from the Super Bowl

by Daniel Ausbun, First Baptist Church, Moreland

Last year 108.4 million people watched the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched event in American history. Roughly one out of three Americans will watch the Seattle Seahawks play the Denver Broncos tomorrow night in East Rutherford, N.J.

In many ways the Super Bowl is a national holiday.

Tomorrow is known as, “Super Bowl Sunday” and is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption. A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl costs four million dollars. Tickets begin at $1,600 for an upper-deck seat.

The Department of Homeland Security has officially designated the Super Bowl “an event of national significance.”

The halftime show features two major bands: the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars. The Super Bowl is the most betted on sporting event. The Super Bowl has a 150 million dollar economic impact for the host city, the most of any single sporting event.

It’s also the longest regular-scheduled sporting event -- lasting four hours. Fifty percent of Americans believe God will influence the outcome of the Super Bowl.

I list all these facts to show the influence of Sunday’s game. The Super Bowl is more than a football game -- it’s an American experience. This American experience encompasses entertainment, money and a sports obsessed culture destroying the spiritual lives of Christians.

First, Christians are influenced by an entertainment-driven culture.

I remember taking introduction to theater in college and the professor sharing how the movie industry has destroyed theater arts. The entertainment industry today has the power to influence a little girl watching every Disney princess movie before first grade.

Almost every second grade boy owns a Nintendo 3DS. Every eighth grader now carries a smartphone. Culture is training children, students and adults that we must always be entertained.

The Super Bowl is much more than a football game. It’s about celebrity interviews, brand-new commercials and A-list performers at halftime.

In an entertainment-driven culture, Christians can easily begin to think of God and Scripture this way. The sermon is boring. The Bible is confusing. Church doesn’t meet my needs. Christ looks at the media that has enslaved numerous children, teenagers and adults and proclaims, “I’m better. I’m more. I never lose.” Christ rescues His people from social media, TV, movies, the Internet, video games and smartphones. Every believer must establish limits with their entertainment or otherwise their spiritual life with the Lord suffers.

Second, Christians are influenced by a consumerist-driven culture. The average American views 5,000 advertisements a day. Everyone with something to sell is trying to get your attention and your money. Advertising and marketing works. It influences how you make decisions and what you buy.

Advertisements also push the limits on morality. Christians are told to set an example in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). They must learn to avoid the constant bombardment of being told, “You must buy this in order to be happy.”

Third, Christians are influenced by a sports-driven culture. Eighty percent of Americans either participate or attend an organized sporting event every year. Whether you play church softball, watch your grandson play Upward Soccer or drive to Athens to watch a football game -- four out of five people associate with sports.

A Christian has to make sure he isn’t more passionate about his football team than His Savior.

Satan has blinded and deceived many people into thinking sports matter. God is not interested in who wins tomorrow’s game. He’s interested in His name being praised and proclaimed among all peoples. If God grants an athlete the professional opportunity to play, it’s for His name to receive credit and praise. Sports are fun, but must be guarded against becoming an idol and taking an importance over the Lord.

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