Life Beyond the Scoreboard – Chaplain Eric Simpson
By: The Increase
January 25, 2016
This year, as our team studied the book of Acts, we learned a lot about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we walk with God and follow the Spirit’s leading, there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty. That doesn’t mean that God’s not with us. Instead, it means that God has us right where He wants us to be. Faith flourishes in the soil of uncertainty. When we’re not sure how we’re going to get through what’s happening, that’s when God can really grow our trust and faith in Him.
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had..And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” —Acts 4:31-33
There was one particular day of our Acts study when there were about eight or nine players who were attending for the first time. After the study, one of those players came up to me and said, “Do you guys do this every week? This is amazing, you can actually open God’s Word, read it, and then apply it to how you live each week—is that how this works?” He had never heard about the Holy Spirit’s power or experienced anything like that in his 24 years of life. He went out that day and bought a Bible to study on his own. I hope it started him on a path that maybe he had never thought about. It was a fruitful moment in the season. And it’s those ministry moments—families coming together, lives being brought to Christ, individuals choosing to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading—that make it all worth it.
At the beginning of the year, I was asked by the coach to stand in front of the whole team during training camp and give a spiritual direction for the year. It’s the one time all season when everyone is in the room, the whole football organization. This year, God put on my heart to share Habakkuk 1.5.
“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
We were utterly amazed in a very different way than we expected.
We began the season poised for another Super Bowl year. Instead, God’s definition of “utterly amazed” was, “I’m going to have your starting quarterback sit on the bench for nine games, your 40-year-old quarterback will start seven games while being injured for most of the year, you will narrowly miss the playoffs, your whole coaching staff will be on the brink of getting fired and you will see so much spiritual formation come about as a result of it all that you wouldn’t believe it if I told you on the front end.”
As we look back, God did amaze us with His faithfulness, His goodness, and His provision. Many things came out of this year that will last for eternity. It just didn’t look like what we thought it would look like.
After 20 seasons as the Colts Chaplain, I believe I’ve been able to build what I call “cascading trust.” From one year to the next I’ve been called to just stay faithful. There’s a level of trust, faithfulness, and consistency that is built throughout the years with the players and coaching staff. We’re all going through the same life issues. These are just normal everyday guys, living a very abnormal life right now. My goal is to help these guys—and the organization—know Christ, walk with Him and live a life that honors Him. It’s about life beyond the scoreboard.
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