Remember Why You Play (book review)

The subtitle of Remember Why You Play by David Thomas is a bit of an understatement: Faith, Football, and a Season to Believe. It is so much more than another football book.

I picked up this book because I had heard the story about the Faith Christian Lions playing against the Gainesville State Tornadoes in 2008. Gainesville State is a maximum-security juvenile detention facility, and Faith Christian is a squeaky-clean Christian high school. Yet the Faith team and fans handled this game in an unbelievable way. Kris Hogan, Faith’s head coach, asked the Faith parents to cheer for the Gainesville players… to cheer against their own sons. These incredible families responded in the most loving, Christ-honoring way, leaving an indelible impact on the 14 Tornado players dressed for that game.

But, as David Thomas said, you have to go back to look at the Lions’ 2007 season to truly understand why a team—a whole school—would respond this way.

Kris Hogan is a highly successful coach in the state of Texas where football is king. Because of his success on the field, he has been offered positions at other schools, making a lot more money than Faith Christian can pay him. But he continues to coach at Faith because he believes that is where God has placed him. And because he believe that, he is much more than an Xs and Os football coach.

Football is simply the backdrop to the life lessons Coach Hogan is trying to teach his players. He views it as his mission to prepare these young men for life after high school, so football games and practices just become the means by which he can apply the valuable lessons.

Sports fans will definitely enjoy this book, as will any current or former football players or coaches. But I also believe parents of teenagers and even youth pastors will find a lot of life lessons in Remember Why You Play to pass on to the young men in their lives.

I am a Tyndale book reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—Spiritual Overloading

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Spiritual Overloading

       One continually finds an encroachment of beliefs and of attachment to things which is so much spiritual overloading. Every now and again the Spirit of God calls us to take a spiritual stock-taking in order to see what beliefs we can do without. The things our Lord asks us to believe are remarkably few, and John 14:1 seems to sum them up—“Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” We have to keep ourselves alertly detached from everything that would encroach on that belief; we all have intellectual and affectionate affinities that keep us detached from Jesus Christ instead of attached to Him. We have to maintain an alert spiritual fighting trim.

From Facing Reality

Probably because I’m still studying and preparing for our Overloaded series, but I’ve been especially tuned into to the idea of all sorts of overload… even (especially) spiritual overloading. I never want to fall victim to the same trap the Pharisees were in:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Matthew 23:1-4)

I don’t want to overload myself; nor do I want to overload those I teach. So I’m taking a hard look in the mirror—and listening closely to the Holy Spirit—about those spiritual overloading things that may be crushing me.

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