Why do we like the teams we do in sports? I am a Tennessee fan by birth. My dad was a Tennessee fan, my grandfathers were Tennessee fans, and thank heaven, my sons are Tennessee fans. It's not always easy to be a Tennessee fan in the last few years, especially in football. But now our basketball team is #1 in the polls (for at least one more week). My dad and my grandfathers never lived to see that happen. I am savoring every day of the experience!
The reality is that I don't know a single player on the team. I have had the pleasure of meeting Coach Rick Barnes, who is a committed Christian and the father of a foreign missionary to a troubled part of the world. But I have never met any of the Vols, though I would like to meet them. But I was thrilled to read of the baptisms of two of our players over the Christmas break. I love to hear of the good works they do in the Knoxville community. It is a good time to be a UT basketball fan.
But why am I a fan? Because my dad took me to Neyland Stadium as a boy. He took me to the old Stokely Center to swelter in the heat of that place on cold winter nights. He taught me the history of his era, of his admiration for Doug Atkins and Johnny Majors. I can still remember him talk of his friendship with some of the players of his day.
Why am I writing about my favorite team? Because I think it helps us know how our kids learn to love what we teach them to love. My sons love the Vols, in part because I escorted them (or dragged them) to Neyland Stadium or Thompson-Boling Arena. Maybe it is because I taught them the stories my dad told me. The point is this: We, as parents, will teach our children by our examples and our stories. How do our children know of our love for God and His church? Most likely it will be because we have taught them by word and deed.
I hope you will be here on Sunday as we consider "Overcoming Weakness." Bring your family and tell them the stories of why you love God. It will be a gift to them that hopefully will last forever.