The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Max Ingalls
Seward City Church 

Paper Pulpit



Through the most interesting set of circumstances... I found myself at a Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball game, sitting court-side, right next to the team. Really, I was sitting at the end of the scorer’s table, right next to the Clippers team manager, who was sitting right next to the coach, who was sitting right next to the players (!!!). It was incredible! How I got those tickets is another story... :)

The game was televised by ESPN, and my parents and brothers knew I was going to be there, so they watched and laughed from their living-rooms every time they saw my big head on TV. I was telling the people next to me “It doesn’t get any better than this!” and they agreed.

But, once the game started, and the players took center stage... it quickly dawned on me, the only thing better than sitting front row at an NBA Clippers basketball game is actually... BEING IN THE GAME. To actually experience the action first hand, running, sweating, throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin... To be a player and not just a fan or spectator, that would be far better.

Jesus tells his disciples in Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” - Personally, I feel this is Jesus’ invitation for us to “get in the game.”

When it comes to life, and my relationship with Jesus... I don’t want to be a spectator, I want to follow Him, I want to be active. But this is easier said than done. It seems that the more and more I try to deny myself... I just end up with more and more of, “myself.” And “taking up my cross” doesn’t seem like “living” life to me. But I like that Jesus bookends these instructions with “come after me/follow me.” Not only is Jesus our savior, He is our example. The key to denying myself is to actually be SO consumed and pre-occupied with Jesus that I become less and less consumed with me and my efforts. My best intentions are no better than a New Year’s resolution... they won’t last. But when I am focused on Jesus, on His amazing love, on His call and purpose for my life - and when I identify with Him (picking up my cross, i.e. not being ashamed), I find myself “in the game” and “it doesn’t get better than that.”


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