A bastion of grit, sacrifice and honor and mecca for thousands of fans, I fell in love with Football Friday Night Lights as a boy. I would go with my friends and watch my brothers play, winning almost every game. I fell in love with the sounds, smell and beauty of the crowd cheering on the home team.
The lights would attract fans, friends and foes like mosquitos and roars, sighs and screams would echo through the night at the highs and lows of the shifting tides of the game.
This beauty attracted me as a boy and drew me closer in as a teenager until I could not get enough. The beauty turned into a passion for the goodness of the game. I began to play it, saw the friendships formed out of the work to become the next great team from our home town. In ten years from 1990 to 2000, our small town in Ohio lifted four state titles, two state runners up and dozens of division I athletes from the farm fields of St. Henry to heights reaching so far as Super Bowl Champions and Pro Bowl athletes.
That rise created in me a desire to study, learn and lean into every nook of this game to understand the truth of how you win. I wanted to learn everything I could from defensive coverages, linebacker blitz packages, offensive formations, pass routes, audibles – west coast offense, wing T and classic Power I offensive packages.
No truth about the game was left off limits in my study of the game. I fell in love with Football.
The Beauty of the Friday Night Lights led to an experience of the Goodness of the sport in it’s camaraderie and fellowship in triumph over opponents – ultimately creating a deep desire to learn, study and know the Truth about every facet of the game.
Why have I just told you so much about football?
I think we ask the wrong question what’s happening in culture today. Jesus Christ has been pushed to the sideline. We ask why? It’s so TRUE. The Truth of the Gospel is so real, how are people missing it? We decided to hammer more and more truth into peoples minds, only to see them fall further and further away developing deep cynical scars for Christian living. And yet we still ask, why don’t they see the TRUTH?!?
I think we have it all wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, the Truth is the Truth. Jesus is who he says he is. But we hammer with the Truth without first living the Beauty and representing the Goodness of the Gospel Message.
I fell in love with the Beauty of Friday Night Lights. Then I fell in love with the Goodness of my teammates. And ultimately studied more Truth in the playbooks, formations and doctrines of football that I could get my hands on.
If someone would have handed my 10 year old self a stack of Playbooks and formations and said, “Hey, you see this. This game, Football, it could change your life. Read these and trust me. Read it now, Go listen to me you little boy…”
How do you think I would have reacted? Think I would have read and studied those playbooks?
I think not. And in fact, I think I may have run from the game that is now one of my joys in life.
So with Jesus. Do we lead with the Beauty of the life of Christ in our own homes, hearts and actions? Do we display like the Friday Night Lights the Light of Christ attracting mosquitos of life in search of meaning? And does the Goodness of Christian living exude throughout our church communities? Is there camaraderie, fellowship and joy?
Or do we breathe Truth and Truth alone?
I believe people aren’t drawn to Truth of the Gospel. They are first Drawn to the Beauty of it. Then see the Goodness lived in life, your life and mine. And ultimately they fall in love with it and in this love desire so deeply to understand the Truth of the life of Jesus that there is no going back, it goes deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper.
Of course there may be an anomaly here or there. The one who studies first because that’s how God desired it. But most men and women I know are attracted to simplicity of beautiful – a sunset, a white sandy beach, an old couple holding hands, a child’s first wobbly steps…you get the story.
Let’s stop today trying to convince anyone of anything. Let’s stop with the Truth telling, mashing one another in various forms of scandal and division. Let’s stop pushing around Truth like it’s going to attract anyone to change. My Truth is better than your Truth strategy simply does not work.
And rather let’s start living Beauty and Goodness. Let’s live as a fellowship of brothers and sisters. Inviting in those who are in need. Attracting those who see your light. Opening our hearts and homes to others in greatest need. Getting into a church community that desires authentic, deep, life long fellowship and servant leadership. Bringing others to see the Goodness of Christian Living.
Then let the Truth be what it is. Let Truth be found in the Beauty and Goodness of your walk.
It’s the same Truth we all know – Jesus Christ alive, living today. In you. And me.
Let’s stop trying to convince anyone of it and start to live the Gospel present on earth today.