Get in the Game!
Main Point: Christians must be prepared to share their faith at any moment, because there’s not a moment to lose.
Discussion Starter: Be in Season…Especially During Football Season
NOTE: This story and video clip is based on a real event from a college football game in the 2011 season. While it will work well with all young believers, it will probably be even more impacting on young Christian athletes. Here is the description, followed by the video link:
On November 5, 2011, Derrick Brodus went through his regular Saturday afternoon routine in preparation for watching his beloved Tennessee Volunteers play football. But Brodus wouldn’t watch this game from his living room.
He’d end up watching this one in person. In pads. In the game!
At 6:10 pm that afternoon, the freshman’s phone rang. Upon answering it, Brodus heard the frantic voice of a member of UT’s coaching staff. Brodus – the team’s walk-on, freshman, third-string kicker – was quickly informed that he was needed at the stadium…pronto! In fact, he was told that a police escort was already en route to the frat house to get him!
Brodus’ head was swirling. Why him? Why were they sending a police escort for a third string kicker? Brodus knew that the Volunteers’ starting kicker, Michael Palardy, had injured himself at practice on Thursday, but there was still Chip Rhome, the team’s back up kicker. What happened to him?
Brodus was told that Rhome pulled a muscle during pregame warm ups. That meant the Volunteers had a decision to make: a third string, walk-on, freshmen kicker…or no kicker. For head coach Derek Dooley, the decision was a no-brainer. Without knowing where Brodus was, or what condition he was in, the coach gave clear orders: “Let’s get an APB (All-Points Bulletin) out on Brodus.”
Knowing how college guys can get on game day, some wondered if Brodus would even be sober. Fortunately for his teammates – and thousands of Volunteers fans – Brodus was not only sober, but in rare form. During the game, he made all three PATs (point after touchdown) and even nailed a 21-yard long field goal that put the Vols up 24-0 at the half (which wound up being the game’s final score).
Prior to Saturday’s game, Derrick Brodus had never worked with the first or second string and wasn’t even listed on the team’s depth chart. But for his last-second effort, Coach Dooley rewarded Brodus with the game ball.
Here’s an interview (by phone) conducted with Brodus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ0a5lp3Xf0
Pretty cool story, huh? I bet that’s a Saturday night Derrick Brodus will never forget! He got a desperate phone call from his coach asking him to kick, and because he was prepared to do so, he helped his team win the game against an in-state rival. You know, there’s a really powerful lesson in this story for Christians. Like Derrick, we need to be prepared at any moment to share our faith in Jesus. We never know when God will call on us to talk about His Son, Jesus, so we must be ready at a moment’s notice, because often, there’s not a moment to lose.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite football team.
- ASK A FEW: How happy do you think Derrick was that he answered that phone call?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think he was nervous at all?
- ASK A FEW: How do you know that Derrick was “prepared” to join the game when his coach called? What evidence do you have? (Leaders – He not only made it to the game on time, he made every kick he attempted. That tells us that he was continually practicing…just in case.)
- ASK A FEW: How important is it for Christians to be prepared to share their faith in a “spur of the moment” situation?
- ASK A FEW: Coach Dooley issued an “emergency” call to Derrick Brodus. Do you think God sometimes issues His followers an “emergency” call to share our faith? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever had to share your faith on a moment’s notice? If so, how did you do?
Read the following passage:
Acts 8:26-39 (NIV)
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road– the desert road– that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 37 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
I’ve always loved this passage of Scripture because it shows a guy who is fearless in sharing his faith. Philip is told by God, “Go south to the road…” so Philip immediately sets out. Then when he gets there, God says, “Go to that chariot…” so Philip does. What happens in the next few verses is overwhelming: a man hears the Good News of Jesus Christ, is baptized, and continues to his home continent rejoicing!
All because Philip didn’t waste a single moment in sharing his faith!
You and I need to get to that point. Like Philip, we need to be ready to respond to God and share our faith on a moment’s notice, because sometimes, like in Philip’s case, there isn’t a moment to lose. Think about that reality for a second. That means that God is depending on us to be ready at any time!
Yeah, we should always be looking for opportunities to share our faith, but there are going to be a few times when God is going to put in the emergency call, like Derrick Brodus’ coach did, and we’ll have to respond immediately. When his coach called him, Brodus didn’t say, “Sorry coach, I’m not ready. I haven’t kicked any balls today. I didn’t practice all week. You’ll just have to find someone else.”
Philip didn’t offer God any excuses, either. He didn’t say, “Yeah God, I’ll get around to it after I finish breakfast. Sure God, I’m on it, just as soon as this game is over.”
Nope. Neither one of those guys did that. They knew how important THAT moment was…and they seized it.
Chances are pretty good that you’ve already been called on to share your faith in the past. I hope that you followed God’s promptings like Philip did, but if you didn’t, you need to ask God’s forgiveness and promise to do better in the future, because chances are also good that God will call on you again.
Will you be ready in that moment?
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.