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Training Table — Pro Quotes (Week 4)

Monday

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

“I felt like the Lord gave me (Psalm 91:1-2) my junior year in high school. I used to write it on my shoes. And now, years later, every time I get injured, or am scared, or have a bad day, I go back to that passage.” “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback, Sports Spectrum Winter 2009 issue

Aaron Rodgers: Turning to the Word

Lately, I’ve been swimming laps at my gym. I used to run on the treadmill, but I have bad knees, and then I learned that running on a treadmill only makes your knees worse. So I stopped. It’s rare that I ever feel like swimming laps, except during the Olympics, because during the Olympics I wanted to act like I was Michael Phelps.

My goal is to always swim 20 of them, but the water feels like an ice bath, and I’m usually panting by the fifth lap because, well, I’m not a swimmer. Whenever I get in the pool, those thoughts of exhaustion come to my mind. I suddenly remember how painful each swim is and how stupid I am for doing it. It’d be a lot easier to just go home and watch Call of the Wildman.

But surprisingly, I usually complete the 20 laps. And I always feel better afterwards, even though I didn’t feel like swimming when I first entered the pool.

Someone once told me that when you don’t feel like praying is when you need to pray the most, and when you don’t feel like reading your Bible is when you should be reading the most. In Aaron Rodgers’ quote, he talks about turning to the Word whenever he has a bad day. He goes back to Psalm 91. The problem is that it’s tough to do.

I’ve never regretted swimming the laps because it benefits my physical health in the same way I’ve never regretted prayer or opening my Bible because it benefits my spiritual health.

— Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum

Tuesday

“But now that you know God—or rather are known by God —how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” Galatians 4:9

“I basically grew up in the church and my parents had to force it on me when I was young, like I’m sure most parents do, but once I started having a personal relationship with Christ it became easy from there. Here I am today, I’m married with kids…and trying to raise them to love God and really I haven’t looked back.” Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders quarterback, Sports Spectrum September/October 2003 issue

Carson Palmer: No Looking Back

When a quarterback makes his throw, there’s no taking it back. It’s either a completion or it’s not. He either made the right decision or the wrong one. There is no rewind button.

That’s one reason why I can’t ever imagine playing quarterback. Behind every throw, every play, there’s a consequence—a consequence that affects the media’s perception of you come Monday and thousands of fans’ opinions of you.

A quarterback, I feel, has to be so confident and committed for every throw he makes. There is a certain gravity behind every decision. Once the throw is made, there’s no turning back.

I wish every Christian treated his or her faith like a quarterback’s approach to the game. When we accept Christ, there is a certain gravity and weight behind that decision. There is no rewind button. There’s no turning back. It’s a decision God intended for the rest of our lives. It’s only the beginning of a process of lifelong growth in Him.

And once you understand the intensity of the decision, like a quarterback, it’s difficult to treat following Christ lightly.

—Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum

Wednesday

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:9-10

“God puts us in positions for a reason…you have to understand that it’s happening for a reason, and God is doing it to strengthen you.” Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, Sports Spectrum Winter 2010 issue

Drew Brees: Enhancing Your Story

I was on a plane the other day reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Blue Like Jazz author Donald Miller, my favorite writer. He talks about the elements of story, one of them being conflict.

The coolest thing about conflict is that it makes a better story. Whenever there’s a mountain to climb, a struggle to overcome, a battle to win, it makes the story that much greater. That really changed the way I approach things.

I thought about Drew Brees—how he breathed life into the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and led them to a Super Bowl, how he has another opportunity to lead the Saints after an embarrassing off-season bounty scandal. Brees has a tough challenge this year, but he also has an opportunity to enhance his story.

That’s how I want to approach trials, whether it’s a daunting task or mental struggle. I want to view it as an opportunity. Not a burden. Not a curse. An opportunity. An opportunity to become a better person, lean on God, grow in my faith, and enhance my story.

—Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum

Thursday

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” Matthew 25:26-27

“That’s one of the huge responsibilities that we’ve been given: Am I going to work hard and do something with the talent God gave me? Every single one of us is given a talent. Are we going to go bury that talent? Or are we going to do something good with it? We all have an opportunity to do something with what God has given us.” Tim Tebow, New York Jets quarterback, Sports Spectrum Vol. 26, No. 4

Tim Tebow: Don’t Bury Your Talent

For some unknown reason, I received the Mental Attitude Award for my team during my junior season of high school golf. I remember wondering why I got it. One practice, our coach, a bird lover who would bring his binoculars to practice every day, caught me hurling a club from three holes away…all because of those dang binoculars. It still shocks me that I received that plaque.

When I received the award, I was humbled that he saw something in me that perhaps I didn’t even see in myself. With the award, however, I also felt a great amount of responsibility. I felt a responsibility to live up to the award. My senior season I was determined to never throw a club or curse. Halfway through my senior season, I decided that a more realistic goal was to do it less.

I do the same thing with God. There are days when I’m humbled to the point of tears out of gratitude for what God has given me. But with that overwhelming thankfulness, I also sense a great deal of responsibility. If you’re a Christian, you were given more than you could ever ask for, beginning with the cross; and with it comes an exciting, challenging, and rewarding responsibility.

— Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum

Friday

“‘Go,’” said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.“ Mark 10:52

“What I try to show them is that Christianity is real and that it works for those who believe it. And I also try to show them that all this stuff that they see around them and in the NFL is just so temporary. All the material possessions, all the fame. None of that is really going to last and what we want to do is to try to show them that the only thing that lasts is a relationship with Jesus Christ.” Stephen McGee, Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Sports Spectrum Vol. 26, No. 3

Stephen McGee: Making it Real

Every once in a while, I grasp the reality of the Christian faith. A lot of times, I think I just live it because I know it’s the right thing to do, but sometimes, like when I’m singing with hundreds of people at church on Sunday, I can see it, as if the heavens suddenly open up above me.

I think one reason I feel it at church is because I see how real everyone else treats it. I see hands raised. I see passion. I hear terrible singers belting unashamed worship. In Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, he talks about how, sometimes, you need to see someone else love something before you can love it yourself.

I like what Dallas Cowboys quarterback Stephen McGee says in the quote to the right—that he tries to show that Christianity is real. I think that starts with making it real to yourself in your personal walk and then allowing that authenticity to bleed over into other aspects of your life. Sometimes I’ve idolized Christians I look up to—mentors, athletes, friends—wanting my faith to be like theirs. But I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t work that way. It’s not an act. It’s real. And if I want to come across as real to others, I need to make it real to myself.

— Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum

Weekender

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Going Long

Read Matthew 5:6 and meditate on what it says about those people who long for and chase after righteousness. What is the promise? What does that say about what is important to God?

Uncommon Challenge