Pre-Game Preparation

Tomorrow is Super Bowl XLIV (44).  The stadium will be packed with expectant fans eager to see their team win.  Some of them will be slightly less than rabid in their enthusiasm.  The players are in town, everything is taking shape for tomorrow’s game.

I’m not there this weekend. I have no responsibilities related to tomorrow’s game, not even one. But if I were on the coaching staff, a quarterback or one of the place kickers I can guarantee I’d insist on a few minutes alone in that empty stadium today.   I’d walk the field.  I’d walk our side of the field and pray for my teammates’ safety tomorrow, along with excellent performance, including no turnovers.   I’d stand on the empty playing field and look down the alley between the hash marks and imagine three or four plays in my head. Successful plays. Touchdown-types. I’d look up at the darkened scoreboard and imagine the final score.  My team would win, of course. I’d picture it all in my head.

After several minutes I’d take a deep breath in anticipation of tomorrow’s contest, let it out in a big hopeful sigh, and head into the rest of today’s activities, knowing I’m ready for tomorrow.

I won’t be in South Florida tomorrow. My responsibilities are here in Western Nebraska. I’m on our church’s coaching staff and tomorrow morning I get to teach one of our Life Groups, then quarterback the worship service.   That’s why I’m in the building a while on Saturday mornings — all by myself.

I walk the empty halls, praying as I go. I notice and adjust things that will make ministry a bit easier tomorrow.  I stand where tomorrow’s praise & worship team will sing and play, thank the Lord my team is healthy and ready, and pray for them by name.  I slowly walk the aisles, praying for people as God brings their names to mind. We may not be standing room only tomorrow but these empty seats will be pretty full tomorrow, and the Calvary Memorial family worships God and serves enthusiastically. I imagine it all in the pre-game silence — a GOOD day.

After several minutes I take a deep breath in anticipation of tomorrow morning and let it out all at once as I breathe

“…Looking forward to tomorrow, Lord. Help me do my best.”

Then I move into the rest of the day, knowing I’m ready for tomorrow.

Yes, there’s a big game in South Florida tomorrow. I’ll watch and cheer from Western Nebraska, and probably eat too many snacks. 😀   But I’ve something  important to do right here tomorrow, the results of which will outlast the outcome of tomorrow’s Super Bowl.  I get to lead God’s people in worship. I get to teach. Help people grow in the faith. Listen. Encourage. Motivate. Comfort.  I’m a coach in a very real sense and the results are eternal.  There’s no place I’d rather be.


2 Replies to “Pre-Game Preparation”

  1. Dave Locklin

    Well said, Phil! I spent time this morning lifting you up today, as you are lifting up others. What a privilege 🙂
    We serve a Lord who is Victorious! When the final whistle blows, I know that I am be on the winning side, and will be able to join in wholeheartedly in the long-lasting celebration.

    • Phil

      Thanks so much, Dave. God is very much at work here and it’s a privilege to be a part of it all. We miss Wisconsin (everything but the snow) 😀 but can sure see why the Lord has us here. It continues to amaze me that He puts US to work when He has a full complement of trained, experienced angels at His beck and call (beck is short for 14th century “beckon”, in case you wanted to know).

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