Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Touchdown Dances

I think it all started with a player from the old Houston Oilers named Billy “White Shoes” Johnson. After that came the “Icky Shuffle” named after a running back with the Cincinnati Bengals. Now, it’s not just touchdown dances, it’s amazing, and sometimes absurd, antics. For example:

In Green Bay they have what’s called the Lambeau Leap. Whenever a Packer scores a touchdown, they leap into the stands where they are temporarily mobbed by the fans.

When Randy Moss played for the Vikings he turned his back to the fans at Green Bay and mimicked as if he were mooning them.

After scoring a touchdown for the New Orleans Saints, Joe Horn grabbed a cell phone which he had hidden in the padding of the goal post and preceded to call his mom.

Terrell Owens, as a 49er, took out a Sharpie marker after scoring a touchdown, autographed the ball, and then gave the ball to a man in the front row. The man happened to be his agent.

I like what legendary coach, Paul Brown, said when these elaborate end zone celebrations started. He told his team, “If you get in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

My favorite story comes from the Oakland Raiders who going into November had scored the fewest touchdowns in the NFL. That week in practice they actually practiced their end zone celebrations. Then on Sunday they hosted the Atlanta Falcons. The final score was 24-0 in favor of Atlanta. Imagine that! Maybe if they had spent less time practicing how to celebrate in the end zone and spent more practice time on getting into the end zone, there may have been a different outcome.

But isn’t that how it is with many church-goers today? They are simply practicing Christianity. They are simply going through the motions of religion but they have never truly put their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus alone for their forgiveness of sin and their eternal life. So where are you? Are you practicing Christianity or have you truly put your faith in Jesus and are now following Him, evidenced by spiritual fruit and a changed life.

Now in football, end zone antics following touchdowns have resulted in penalties and even some hefty fines. But when it comes to God’s end zone there are no penalties for excessive celebration. In fact, Jesus taught that every time someone truly puts their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus alone for their salvation, there is celebration in the presence of the angels in heaven (I guess we could call that the ultimate sky box). After all, coming to faith in Christ, knowing you are forgiven, and receiving God’s free gift of eternal life is a score worth celebrating for all of eternity.

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