I work really hard to keep sport analogies and illustrations out of my sermons because they are so overused. However, my friend Joe Chambers (@josephochambers and Field Notes on the Jesus Way) posted some thoughts on his Facebook page that got me thinking. If one wanted to, it would be fairly easy to preach a series of sermons based on the four football games of the NFL Wildcard Weekend.

  1. Laces Out–This sermon is from the Vikings perspective. Sometimes you do almost everything right, but things fall apart at the end. Things like character, determination, and community are what get you through the hard times.
  2. Keep Your Cool, Don’t Bungal it–The Steelers/Bengals game is the picture perfect example of losing control of your life.
  3. Wide Left–When you get what you don’t deserve, it is called grace. The real life story of the 2015 Seattle Seahawks.
  4. That Awkward Moment When . . . Racism–Sometimes culture lulls you to sleep and you find yourself forgetting to be transformed. This is what happens when we root for the team from Washington and yell out racial epithets that we don’t even think about.
  5. Frozen–The flames of hell can be frightening, but it is hard to move around when your relationships are frozen because the temperature (of the heart?) is below zero. Another possible sermon here is “Mission Trips to Minnesota in January Might Not Be A Good Idea.”
  6. Houston, We Have A Problem–The sermon, of course, is about being a poser. Some people/institutions/churches look like the real deal, but when it comes crunch time, they produce a goose egg, at home.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Steel–The Steelers may have won, but everyone saw their soul (and yes, I Remember Super Bowl XL )
  8. It’s Just A Game–Some people get too wrapped up in sports, and really need to go for a walk or read a book. Never feel sorry for people who make a living playing a game. Remember, most of those athletes on the field are people who picked on and bullied you in high school.


There you–those are free of charge to anyone who wants to use them.


Super Bowl 2015Super Bowls need nicknames, because the number attached just isn’t memorable enough.  I had a great amount of fun last year making fun of Seattle versus Denver with my suggestions.  This year is even better.  Here are some possible nicknames.

1.  The Chowder Bowl I didn’t learn to love clam chowder until I moved to the northwest in 1999.  Before that, I had never tasted chowder, and boy was I missing out.  Even as I set here and write, I think that clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl would be just about perfect. Of course, Boston is famous for its ‘chowda’ too so, there you go!  Finally we’d have a real “Souper-Bowl”, but we’d have to find a bread bowl big enough to play it in.

2.  The Ball Bowl Most all the world is aware that the Patriots have been cheating by deflating the balls, and it has created such a controversy that it has its own nickname, ‘Deflategate.’  I don’t want this to be called the Deflatebowl.  However, given Tom Brady’s ball problems combined with Marshawn Lynch’s famous (and crass) crotch grab when he scores touchdowns, I see no reason not to call it The Ball Bowl.

Not deflated
Not deflated

3.  Portland Bowl Both Boston and Seattle are a short drive away (2-3 hrs) from a city named Portland.

4.  Mirror, Mirror Bowl The Patriots are known for their offensive prowess, led by male model Tom Brady.  Seattle, on the other hand, is known for its smothering defense, personified by Richard Sherman.  The two teams are, in many ways, exact opposites of each other.  It is as if they were from two similar, but different worlds, like the Mirror Universe in Star Trek.

Evil Belichick
Evil Belichick
Really Evil Belichick
Really Evil Belichick

5.  Ex-lax Bowl This might be my favorite.  This is Super Bowl XLIX, or as most of us would write, Super Bowl 49.  But the Roman numerals are so close to the name of that disgusting chocolate laxative that it must be considered. Ex-Lax-Stimulant-Laxative-Regular-Strength-Chocolate-300670005481

6.  500 Bowl Early in the season both the Patriots (2-2) and the Seahawks (3-3) were considered ‘done’ by many people who make a living speculating about football.  Both teams rallied from their .500 record and became the number one seed in their conference.

I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas, because I just made these up in the past five minutes, so I bet you could come up with some good ones.

images from,,, and


2015 crystal ball

Here it goes, some predictions for the coming year.  Everyone else is doing it, so why doesn’t old Greenbean give it a shot?  Disclaimer:  I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet.  I have no crystal ball.  Clairvoyance is not a gift I possess or desire to possess.2015 crystal ball  These are only guesses based on my understanding of things.  For comparison, click here to see how I did with my 2014 predictions.

1. There will be major social and political upheaval in China.  The Communist Party may fall.

2. By the end of the year, Elizabeth Warren will displace Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner for the Democratic nominee for President, and will be the eventual nominee.

3. U2 will release an album and not give any of the music away for free.

4. Apple stock will plummet this year as people realize that the most innovative company on the planet is suddenly just another gadget maker.

5. The price of oil will begin to climb in the spring and will again be around $100 a barrel by December. Consequently, gas prices will also rise back to somewhere around $4.00 a gallon.

6. The NFC Championship game will be The Seattle Seahawks versus the Dallas Cowboys.

7. The San Francisco Giants will not win the World Series in 2015, because it is their year off.

8. ISIS will carry out a major 9-11ish style attack in Europe. Probably somewhere along the Mediterranean.  I so hope I’m wrong on this one.

9. Comprehensive immigration reform will finally be passed in the U.S. Congress.

10. The Supreme Court of the United States will hear and decide the status of same-sex marriages, ending the odd state-by-state situation.

11. CNN will, for all intent and purposes, collapse, and Wolf Blitzer will be donated to the Smithsonian.

12.  Russia will invade and annex the whole of Ukraine while the United States and Europe protest, but do nothing.

13.  Sadly, and I so very much hope this doesn’t happen, I predict Miley Cyrus will die of a drug overdose or some other dangerous behavior.  Sad.  Very sad.  She needs help–so many of them do.

I would love to know what you are predicting for 2015–be it good or ill.

crystal ball image from


I’m curious, what did you think of the halftime show for the Super Bowl yesterday?

RED HOT MARS image from
image from


Yesterday Mrs. Greenbean and I watched the Super Bowl with some new friends from our new church small group.  We had a great time and the food was delish, but we were the only people cheering for the Seahawks.  Of course, I predicted a Seahawk victory in the Super Bowl weeks ago.  The game itself was never in any contest as Seattle literally led from the first play from scrimmage and never looked back.  However, the halftime show was very interesting.  I kind of liked it even though I had never heard of Bruno Mars.  The ode to James Brown and such was fun and of course the Chili Peppers was a throwback to my adolescence so I was digging that.  Not everyone in the room I was in had the same opinion, though.  So I thought today I would conduct a little opinion poll.  Remember, you have to click the “Vote” button on the bottom right corner to record your opinion.  Feel free to leave comments in the comment threads as well and share with your friends so they can vote too and then check back for results.

Go Seahawks.