ApX Lead Singer to Be Featured on ESPN
Thu., Oct. 13. 2016 6:04pm EDT
J. Jackson from ApologetiX here again.
If you read our newsletters regularly or follow me on Facebook, you know I'm a sports fan. But you probably never expected to see me on ESPN. Neither did I. But it appears God may have other plans.
ESPN is producing a television feature about the relationship between football and religion which they plan to air on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2017. And somehow I got to be a part of it.
It's a long story, but one of my pastors was the chaplain for the Steelers in the 70's and 80's. He was also one of the six founders of the chapel program in the NFL. Consequently, ESPN thought he would be a good source for their feature, and he recommended me as an additional interview subject.
I was delighted, largely because it drives me crazy when people say God doesn't care about football or sports in general. God cares about everything humans do, including sports. Does He care about you and the people you affect in your job? Of course He does! Then why wouldn't He care about athletes and the people they affect in their jobs?
If not a sparrow falls without His permission and the very hairs of our heads are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31) … if the lot is cast into the lap but the outcome is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:33) … if God causes ALL things to work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28)… then how can we think that He shuts off the T.V. when sports comes on?
And if God says He will honor those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30), how can it be wrong for an athlete to give glory to God after a good game or a great play? Athletes endorse brands and products -- why can't they endorse Jesus? If they can use their platform to increase awareness of racism, sexual abuse, breast cancer and other issues, then why not use it to increase awareness of the One who has the answers to those issues?
Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying God roots for specific teams or that He only blesses players who acknowledge Him. That would be unbiblical. As Jesus said, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45).
Anyway, the producer contacted me three weeks ago and did a 45-minute phone interview. Then we continued communicating via email for the following two weeks. Then, last week, the television crews came.
ESPN filmed one-on-one interviews with our pastor, me, and another church member last Saturday. They asked tons of questions pertaining to faith, football, and our beloved Steelers. Then they came to our church's 9 a.m. service on Sunday and filmed the entire service. But if you thought that was surreal ...
Sunday after church, the producer and an ESPN crew came to my house and filmed my wife and me watching the entire first half of the Steelers-Jets game. They ordered pizzas from our local place, so we had pizza with an ESPN producer and film crew. How crazy is that?
My pastor and I are just a part of the story, and only God knows how much of the interviews or footage they'll wind up using. I just want them to get a good story. If I'm in it, that will be extra cool, but it's more important to me that the show accurately portrays the people of faith it features. Please join me in praying that God uses this faith and football feature for His glory.