Sports are an integral part of my life, and if you are taking time to read this, the same is likely true for you as well.
There is not a day that goes by that I’m not checking on a score, talking sports with somebody, or at the very least thinking about it. I would have to admit that at one point my entire life centered around sports, especially during my 20s.
It’s been well documented in previous columns how I fell in love with sports at the age of 12 and went from not knowing anything about sports to as much about is as a boy could read.
I’ve been blessed to cover high school, college, and professional sports during my career, but things have changed these days. You are more likely to see me sitting in a chair at a youth league soccer match or softball game than you would be at a college or high school event. When you have grandchildren, that’s the way it goes.
With me being a sportswriter for 46 years and my wife being a former basketball coach at Meridian Community College, sports has helped pay the bills for us for many years.
We loved sports then, and we love them now. That hasn’t changed.
While I plan on going to games as long as my body will allow, I have learned over time that there are more important things.
Sports bring me joy, but it does not bring me peace.
Sports has provided for me on this Earth, but it won’t provide for me eternity.
The more I spend time learning more about the Word of God, instead of filing more statistics and scores into my ever-dwindling brain, the more satisfied I become.
Do you want peace in your life? How about hope, confidence, and assurance?
Those may seem like impossibilities, and in the flesh they often are. But alas, in reality, we are spirits wrapped in flesh as we walk this earth.
The key to even coming close to achieving the things mentioned two paragraphs ago is really simple: We must spend time in the Word of God.
Does it make bad things go away? Does it remove our turmoil? Does it pay our bills or resolve all our conflicts? On the surface, maybe not. But if you take what is written in the Bible as the truth that it is and rest your hopes in the savior it tells us about, you most certainly will be able to better navigate life.
Daily Bible and devotional reading is critical for both your perspective and your sanity.
For the past two or three years I have personally been sending out devotional notes each day. They first go out in the morning at either 8 or 9 a.m. and then the same notes go out at 4 p.m. This year I have been going through the New Testament 22 verses at a time and simply jotting down and texting out what the Holy Spirit drops into my soul.
Currently, there are 126 people receiving these short thoughts each day, including some that read the very newspaper you are holding. If you would like to be added to the list text your name to 601-938-2471 and write either “morning” or “afternoon” and I will add you to the appropriate list. There’s not a better way to spend time together than in the Word of God.
Austin Bishop, AKA The Old Sports Dude, has been covering high school, college, amateur, and professional sports since 1975. He is currently pastor of Great Commission Assembly of God in Philadelphia, Miss. He may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 601-938-2471.