7 Tips to Prepare Your Kids (and Yourself) for the Bluegrass Battle!

UncategorizedJared Kennedy1 Comment

For the first time in 50 years, two teams from the same state will play one another in the NCAA Final Four! In 1962, Cincy defeated Ohio State. 50 years later, the drama moves south from the Buckeye State to the Bluegrass State. For our state and city, this is glorious. On Saturday, the entire state along with a lot of the country will pause to watch what is perhaps the biggest ever Battle of the Bluegrass basketball game. How are we to think about glorious sports events like this as Christians? How can we help our kids (particularly young boys who are talking about this with their friends all week at school) think about the Bluegrass Battle in light of the gospel?

I sent these questions to two friends who are also Sojourn members and high school coaches. Andrew Coverdale is a member at Sojourn Midtown, and he is the offensive coordinator for the  Trinity Rocks football team. Clay Moody is a member at Sojourn East. He is head coach of the  J-town High Chargers boys' basketball team. Here are their tips:

1. God gives us moments like this to enjoy, so enjoy! Anything in the world that we get excited about or take delight in originated with him, so let's celebrate the competition, and, in doing so, celebrate him (James 1:17).

2. Point out examples of strength and courage. An athletic contest provides tons of opportunities to talk with our kids about courage and strength in the midst of adversity. We can have courage because we have a strong God who goes with us into the most difficult moments (Joshua 1:9).

3. Point out examples of unselfish play. When stars like Peyton Siva or Anthony Davis look for the dish instead of being a ball hog and taking it themselves, point this out to your kids. Unselfish play provides an opportunity to talk about working for God rather than men and putting others ahead of ourselves (Philippians 2).

4. God wants us to enjoy the game, but he wants our happiness to be anchored in him. Basketball fortunes change with the bounce of a ball or the choices of an 18-year-old or the randomness of a whistle. If you've chosen sides, there is (at least) a 50/50 chance that your team's winning ways will change. But God never changes (1 Timothy 6:17).

5. Ask the question, "How devastated will you feel if the game doesn't go your way?" If it will ruin your whole week, it's a good indication you're turning a good thing into an ultimate thing. Ask a gracious God to help you with this. Allow him to engage you in a wrestling match with your heart. Ask him to become a bigger delight to you than he presently is.

6. Love Your Enemies. Sojourn East Worship Pastor, Jamie Barnes, joked on Twitter this week that the UK vs U of L basketball game might be an evil plot by the Joker to divide the Commonwealth of Kentucky against itself. As Jesus said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. This is just a game. If the game cripples your ability to relate to others (particularly others rooting for the other team), that's another good indication you're turning a good thing into an ultimate thing.

7. Finally, use the game as an excuse to show gospel hospitality by inviting in and getting to know your neighbors. Throw a Red/Blue party at your house. If you haven't noticed, this is a major cultural event, and it's a great opportunity to show some neighborly love to friends who don't know Christ (1 Corinthians 9:20).

Photo courtesy of Julie Gross


Making "March Madness" quality Father-Son time.

UncategorizedAdministrator1 Comment

It's that time of the year where dads everywhere are glued to the television watching every dramatic basketball moment unfold.  It's also a time where many dads zone off into TV land, not to return to real life for hours.  But for those lucky dads who have the privilege of having boys old enough to enjoy sports - this can be some great quality time.  The Scripture tells us to "let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Just spending time with your kids while watching basketball is great, but it's also a great time to have some Spiritual conversations.  Here's a couple examples of conversations that you could have in order to make the most out of your time with your son:

Ask questions such as, "Who's the fastest kid in your class?"  "Who's the best at basketball?"   "Is there anyone on your team who guarantees your victory?"  Then explain how in life we would never win if left alone against sin.  But when we have Jesus on our team, he does all the work and we always win against sin!  It's like we ride the bench while he's the star player, but we still get the championship ring because of how great he is!

Another example is to talk about how we identify with the team that we're rooting for.  If UofL wins the national title this year, I'm going to tell all my friends that "we won" even though I didn't have anything to do with it.  This is how it works with our spiritual lives too.  When Christ wins, we win!

These are just a few examples, but hopefully it will point you in the right direction!