I write this week’s Direct at the risk of totally boring those of you non-sports fans, but I will take
the risk. Stay with me!
It’s bowl season for college football which basically consumes TV and conversation for football
driven people. The National Championship Football game between Alabama and Texas is
tomorrow night. The defending National Champions are Florida (who recently beat up on our UC
The Florida football team is led by a quarterback by the name of Tebow. Tim Tebow. While I’m not
a Florida fan, I am a Tim Tebow fan. He’s a young man who has made unselfish cool. His coach
Urban Meyer paid him an interesting compliment. “I’ve never seen anything like it … He’s made
unselfish kind of a cool thing.” Isn’t that a great way to be described?
Tebow is an incredible athlete who has won two national championships and a Heisman Trophy,
yet Tebow spends his spring breaks and summers ministering to orphans in the Philippines. He
has actually helped change the culture of the University of Florida. According to Sports Illustrated,
“Since Tebow’s arrival on campus, and in large part because of him, the University has launched
a series of community-service initiatives.” Even coach Urban Meyer has taken his family on a
“Tebow-inspired mission trip to the Dominican Republic.”
Tebow’s “eye black” patches that players wear to prevent glare, always has a scripture and I often
look it up. He recently wore “Heb. 12:1, 2.” That verse says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so
easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes
on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Don’t you love that? Compare Tebow with another sports icon who’s been getting a lot of press
these days. A guy by the name of Tiger. My guess is that Tim Tebow has just as many
temptations and pressure thrown his way but as far as we know, has run his race with faithfulness
and perseverance. I say don’t be like Tiger. Be like Tebow.
My good friend John Hampton recently had some great words about Tiger on his blog.
“Tiger Woods was recently named “Athlete of the Decade” by the Associated Press. And it wasn’t
even close. Over the last ten years, he’s won 64 golf tournaments and 12 major championships on
the PGA Tour. No one has ever dominated a decade in the world of sports quite like that.
You’ll get no argument from me that Tiger’s play on the golf course rightfully earned him this
award. In my opinion, he’s the best to ever play his sport and maybe the best to play any sport.
And yet, today, it is Tiger’s play off the course that simply will not go away. Since the bizarre
chain of events that began unfolding on November 27 at his Orlando, FL residence, Tiger is
everywhere …and at the same time he is nowhere to be found. Outside of his website, no one
has seen or heard from him since his world shockingly imploded in the wee hours of ‘Black
You would think that if someone were to win a decade achievement award for anything, it would
be the thrill of a lifetime; it would be an incredibly fulfilling event that would be savored and
celebrated with family and friends for a long time. But the “Athlete of the Decade” remains hidden
away, a silent hostage of his own admitted “transgressions” and unfaithfulness.
Do you think Jesus had something like this in mind when He said, “What good is it for a man to
gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) I do.
I’m not trying to pile on Tiger. I really hope he can humble himself and open his heart to people
who truly love him and can help him. I hope his marriage and family can somehow be saved. It
doesn’t look like that it’s going to be, but I still hope so. I hope he returns to professional golf
sometime in the future and I hope he is able to return to his dominant game on the course.
But above all, I hope he opens his heart to the incredible love of God in Jesus Christ, whose grace
is greater than his disgrace. Tiger needs that more than ever right now. ‘The Athlete of the
Decade’ desperately needs ‘The Prince of Peace,’ as we all do. That’s why we celebrate
Christmas in the first place. That’s why Jesus came. The kings of astronomy humbled themselves
before the King of Kings. The king of golf would be wise to follow their example.”
This weekend we launch our LOVE REVOLUTION at Whitewater Crossing. It’s our attempt to
make unselfish cool. I think Tim Tebow would feel right at home!
P.S. Based on the vision and direction the elders/staff want to take in 2010, the elders have
approved a General Fund budget of $1,124,498 for this year. This ambitious new budget is 7%
more than our General Fund donations for 2009 which were $1,048,586. This new budget reflects
the exciting growth of the church this past year in additional programming, as well as increased
usage of our facility. The General Fund budget includes personnel, facility, and ministry
programming expenses, with increased money for missions, additional staff, and security. (Debt
service is NOT in this budget. It is a part of the Bridges capital campaign budget.)
Your continued generosity and support are greatly appreciated. If you have specific questions
regarding the 2010 budget, please contact Gary Smith, Chair of Finance Ministry at 513.367.9285
or email GSmith6@cinci.rr.com.
P.P.S. 2009 was indeed a fantastic year we don’t want to forget. We have listed all the Truth
Takeaways from the sermons last year for you to review and remember. Let’s go out this year
and love in action AND truth!