A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. – Proverbs 17:17 One of my favorite relationships in the Bible is Paul and Timothy’s. When coming to the end of his ministry, Paul writes letters to Timothy encouraging him in the faith and basically preparing Timothy to take over his ministry. You can only imagine the amount of pressure Timothy felt with such big shoes to fill like Paul’s, but also how valuable those letters from Paul were to Timothy. Do you have a relationship like this on your team? Some of you may be the younger player on your team, but at the very least we all know what it feels like to be the new kid on the squad. What kind of impact would it make if there were relationships like Paul and Timothy’s on your team? For [...]
So, my dear family, be firmly fixed, unshakeable, always full to overflowing with the Lord’s work. In the Lord, as you know, the work you’re doing will not be worthless. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (Translated by N.T. Wright) Looking back, I would not define myself as “firmly fixed” and “unshakable” during my athletic career. After every game, I immediately checked my stats, using these numbers to define my worth. Although I longed to be unshakeable, this proved to be an impossible task because my identity was based on my inconsistent performance and not in our consistent God. Paul reveals to us the great importance in living and abiding in the Lord. Not only are we able to remain firm when we are in Christ, but the value of what we are doing changes. Here’s the honest truth: all the time and energy you are [...]
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:6 Whose opinion do you trust the most? Is it your parents or friends? Your coaches or teammates? Maybe your own opinion matters to you the most? Well, Abram (later to be named Abraham) teaches us that God’s opinion is the only one that can truly define us. Too often I would let the opinions of other people define what I thought about myself as a player, and even as a person. It didn’t matter how hard or how well I played, if someone didn’t seem to approve of me then I was filled with doubt and disappointment. This can also happen with our faith. We try performing and doing good works hoping to be approved of by God when the truth is God loves us before we do anything [...]
He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30 Every day, game day or not, we face the challenge of either making our day about ourselves or about Jesus. The way our culture idolizes the individual and sports makes this particularly difficult for athletes. We read a verse like the one above and question its relevance in our lives, especially when it comes to our sport. The call to decrease doesn’t seem to be possible when it comes to our desire to win, start, or play at the next level. Let me clarify that the call to decrease does not look like a lack of care or effort. It is not about the outward acts or appearance, but it’s about our inward attitude toward what we do. One of my best friends, Chase Wommack, put it this way, “Striving for excellence with an [...]
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. – 1 John 3:19-20 We talked about this a few weeks ago, but our real opponent is not the other team, but the lies and self-doubt that you battle in your head before, during, and after your games. I truly believe that you will be able to play in freedom at the highest level with the most fun when you believe the truth instead of the lies of the opponent. One of the truths that can combat the real opponent is found here in 1 John: Our God is greater than our heart. In scripture, anytime the word “heart” is used it can usually [...]
Every Friday, game day, you will receive a link to read a short devotional. My goal for the devotional is that it will realign your heart to the right motivation before you play.
About the Author
For those of you I haven’t met, my name is Case Smith. I was born in Starkville, MS, in August 1994, but my dad’s new baseball coaching job moved us to Waco two months later. Being a coach’s kid, sports have been a part of my life since I can remember. My dad has coached collegiate baseball for over 28 years and that means that I was pretty much raised on the field. Growing up, I played most sports before I decided to only play baseball when I got to high school. I achieved one of my greatest dreams when I graduated high school and had the opportunity to play for my dad at the next level. I also can’t talk about my childhood without mentioning my favorite teammate and brother, Ryan. We had our differences growing up, but watching him play quarterback as well as playing baseball alongside him at Midway and Baylor was one of the biggest blessings of my life. Simply put, sports are in my DNA.
The best part about my life growing up was not having a dad who was a coach or my brother being a teammate, but having parents who followed Jesus. I remember them sharing stories of the Bible and praying with me before I went to sleep. I remember going to church and watching them worship God. Finally, I remember jumping into my dad’s arms in our living room and telling him I want to follow Jesus. Without their influence, I would not be who I am today (a sinner saved by grace).
Today, I am married to my sweet wife, Danelle, and serve as the Director of Recreation at First Woodway. For some time now, God has been stirring up a passion to help athletes follow Jesus and my hope is that CrossRoads can be an outlet for that passion.