August 29, 2016

Extreme Sports Athletes and the Gospel

Why do I seem to be learning more about the nature of the Gospel and God’s Kingdom from secular extreme sports athletes than I am from other Christians these days?  As I hear their stories and consider their accomplishments, I am inspired by a level of commitment, a single-minded focus and a fearlessness that almost seems to be speaking “prophetically” to me about what total devotion looks like.

In a day when it seems that the exodus from the Church is unprecedented, I wonder if maybe “the Church” that so many are walking away from hasn’t been honest with them about the faith they are abandoning.  I watch as many of the children of dear friends of ours are choosing the world over and against the Kingdom.  In response, all-too-often the church seems to water down its message, require less and the migration out of the church only seems to speed up.

I wonder if we’ve gotten it ALL WRONG!  I think that a generation of young people have NEVER seen nor heard the real Gospel.  They haven’t heard that it will cost them everything to follow Christ. They haven’t been challenged to abandon themselves to the most exciting life imaginable.  That is why I think the Extreme Sports phenomenon is so prophetically interesting.  I see a generation of young people who are willing to die to surf the biggest waves, ski the steepest mountains, jump off of the highest buildings.  I see a level of devotion to training that boggles the mind.  And all of it speaks to me that there is a “cry” in the heart of everyone that they long for something to give their lives to and for.  Don’t tell me this generation lacks commitment and discipline – the extreme rock climbers are training harder and enduring more pain than any Navy Seal has in his/her training.  They are risking their lives for their passions and the Church has to realize that we are truly the inventors of the original “X Games”, not today’s extreme sports culture!  

In the 1st century, Jesus came to earth to invited disciples to come and die so that He could live through them and establish God’s Kingdom on the earth.  He required everything.  He was unapologetic.  He knew that the ONLY WAY the Christian life would work would be on those terms. We die, He lives.  Simple.  I want to thank the extreme sports athletes that are inspiring us all today personally for reminding me about the true nature of the Gospel and challenging me to give myself entirely to something that will last forever, even as they are giving everything for sports that are but a passing fad.

For inspiration - check out the hardest rock climb every done