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Faith & soccer

News | October 11, 2018

During confirmation faith stories on Sunday, three students talked about their faith, using soccer as a way to illustrate how they’ve moved through their relationship with God over the years. The last Sunday of faith stories for this year is this weekend, 10:20-11:05 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.

Jordan and Aron Stewart, ninth-graders at Davenport North High School

Jordan: For most of our lives, we’ve played soccer. In fact, we don’t remember it, but our first trip to the soccer field came when we were just two weeks old.

Aron: Our faith is found in community. Our teams have been communities for us, but they also serve as metaphors for our faith life.

Jordan: On our teams, players have roles. Some players defend, others attack, and roles can shift depending on how the game goes.

Aron: Teams involve other people as well. There are coaches who help us understand the big picture. They teach, but they can’t play for us.

Jordan: There are also referees. They help us understand the rules and play fairly. They enforce the rules that we agree to play by when we begin the game.

Aron: In life our community is like a team. Some people are with us only for a season. Since we were born, both of our great-grandfathers have died. But we learned important lessons from them.

Jordan: Our birth mother gave us the opportunity to be adopted by our parents. Our confirmation leaders spent the last season with us.

Aron: Others are with us for longer periods. Our parents, my sister, our grandparents, and our uncles have supported us our whole lives.

Jordan: In addition to those who have supported us, my brother and I have helped to coach and teach others. Sharing the things we have learned is an important part of building community. Among others, especially important to us are Charlene, Chantal, Deborah, Jerome, Rebecca, and Rehema.

Aron: Our team will continue to change, develop, and grow over time. My dad always says that the games we have played so far are to prepare us for more important games later. There will be important things to happen later in life, but we have faith that our community can help us meet the challenges.

Justin Ancelet, ninth-grader at Pleasant Valley High School

I will be sharing my faith story through different periods of time in a soccer match.

It all starts in warm-ups, at my baptism in my church in Cedar Falls where I was born.

As the beginning whistle is blown, my faith has turned completely as I am now in Sunday school, with all of my buddies that are also in my kindergarten class at school. This gave me a chance to meet new people, and to build stronger relationships with all of my friends I would also see at school.

As we approach the 22-minute mark, by now I have broken a good sweat and my faith life has taken an interesting twist because my family I have now moved to Brazil. All of my relationships have been crushed and now I am very sad that I have to leave some of my friends that I used to hang out with all of the time. I am way too scared and nervous to go to a church where I don’t understand the language, so I focus on my family and getting to know others in my new international school, and how they would connect with God.

As my life completely changes in Brazil, we are about to go into halftime, when my parents decide three years later that we are now heading back to the United States. I enter halftime barely able to breathe, and felt both bad and good because I was happy to go back to join my old friends in the U.S., but a little sad to leave some of my new relationships behind.

Now as I head back onto the field, we switch sides, and also switch Lutheran churches. I am now at St. Paul and I am just starting confirmation with my friends, and also people I might not know.

I am approaching the 71-minute mark, and I am starting to cramp up, but I am brought back up by my three small group leaders – Amy, Chris, and Stephanie. All three of these people played a major role in helping me personally grow, whether it was encouraging me in sports, helping me with problems I had, or helping me connect deeper with God.

As the ref looks at his watch, I see all of my teammates in need of someone to lead them through the last seconds of this game, which tells me that I need to step up and push through. Each soccer game ends with a result we like or don’t like, but the journey through life is about making mistakes, trying our best, and trusting in God to be the best we can be.

2 Comments on “Faith & soccer”

  • Tim Frechette

    October 25, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • Georgeann Kreiter

    October 11, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I love the soccer analogies all three of these young people have made to describe their faith journeys. They seem to understand so well that their faith is a growing process that still continues.

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”