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"Football is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that."

Bill Shankly, Liverpool Football manager

Abundant life

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Recently I read a book called Real Life Jesus*. Get hold of it and read it if you can. If you can’t, tell me and I will try to get you a copy. The book presents the real Jesus as opposed to the caricature that we sometimes believe in.

I think that this comes as something of a shock to us. As the author puts it: “We have picked up the idea that Jesus came to tie us up in ‘thou shalt’ knots that are going to restrict our freedom. The word on the street is that he is going to tell us to sit up straight and stop enjoying ourselves: stop thinking, stop feeling, stop laughing. Stop going to the cinema, or making music, or asking questions. We think that following Jesus will mean missing out on life. We think it will mean wearing cardigans and drinking lemon squash from polystyrene cups in the back of musty church halls”.

In reality Jesus wants us to have more fun than we can imagine both in this life and then for ever – and not a polystyrene cup of lemon squash in sight! I was recently at a Christian conference about sport. A Christian athlete spoke about how he played sport because it was good for developing character. I spoke to him privately and suggested that playing sport because we love it is OK! He agreed. I suspected that he had spoken about the extrinsic value of sport because he thought that was what people at the conference expected him to say!!

Jesus wants us to have life in all its fullness and that applies as much to sports competition and using the talents we have been given as it does to singing at church on Sunday morning.

*Real Life Jesus by Mike Cain, Published by Intervarsity in Nottingham, England. ISBN 978-1-84474-218-9].

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