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Everyone could go home happy!

The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders ... stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

Acts 13:49-50

As Gretel said on Sunday, "at Church for the City we do love a sports analogy!"

One of my favourite stories in recent times was when 2 brothers, Travis and Jason Kelce, lined up to play against each other in Super Bowl LVII earlier this week. It was the first time in NFL history where a pair of brothers both played in the same Super Bowl, Travis for the Kansas City Chiefs (coming away with the chocolates), while Jason played for Philadelphia Eagles.

Their mother, Donna Kelce had divided loyalties — and she made a jersey to prove it (see image above). The first mother to have two sons play against each other at the Super Bowl said "Obviously, there's going to be somebody that's going to go home heartbroken. They won't have the bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table, but this is going to be an awesome event....”

At the end of the day half the crowd are happy and the other half are disappointed. Only one team walks away with the Vince Lombardi trophy and their Super Bowl rings, whilst the other teams return home forlorn and heartbroken.

In Acts 13:42-52 we read of tremendous gospel progress, in the face of tremendous opposition.

Almost the whole city had gathered on the Sabbath, not for a game, but to heard the word of the Lord (Acts 14:44)…there was much excitement, buildup, anticipation. But different to the Super Bowl, the Good News that Jesus brought didn’t exclude half the crowd, but gave hope and grace to anyone who would received it. Everyone could go home happy!

Sadly though, in spite of the beautiful invitation of Jesus, not everyone wants to be on His team. For some it may be hurt or trauma that keeps them out, or a false version of Christianity they imagine or have experienced, or their love of sin, or pressure to conform (John 12:43), or even demonic attack (Luke 22:31-33). But the good news of the gospel is that wherever you were born, whatever team you support, whatever jersey you’re wearing, if you’re ‘in Christ’ then ‘you will also appear with him in glory’ on that final day (Col 3:1-4).

I feel for Donna...part of her will rejoice with one son, whilst the other part will mourn with the other…that’s the nature of sport. But with Jesus, everyone can be a winner…Jesus tasted defeat for us so that we didn’t have to, we don’t have to live with anxious uncertainty of what will happen when the final whistle blows. We’re on His team, draped in robes of victory, adorned with rings of triumph, and there’s plenty of space on the winner’s bus.

This Sunday we’ll have a guest with us to share her heart, and the heart of the organisation she represents. Narelle Hand is the Manager of a Women’s Shelter, a role which she took up in large part as a response to God’s call, and what she read of Jesus’ ministry on earth. You’ll be inspired as you hear her share, so don’t miss out!



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