Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baylor Stole My Coach

Well, it's official. The coach of my favorite football team, Art Briles, is leaving UH to become Baylor's coach. Reportedly, he will sign a contract promising him $1.8 million for seven years. I know it would be hard to turn that kind of money down. But I have to tell you, this hurts. Briles has just led my Cougars to their fourth bowl game in five years. It seemed like he was right on the verge of making Houston a really strong program. Plus, I've met him on several occasions, and he is a genuinely great guy. I'm more attached to him than I've ever been to a coach of any sport, ever. And now he's gone...just like that.

A couple of ironic things about this, for me personally:

1. I almost went to Baylor myself. My senior year of High School, I applied to two colleges: Baylor and UH. I prayed diligently that God would lead me to the right decision--it was really the first such big decision I had ever made on my own. I figured--as a good Baptist--God wanted me to go to Waco. To my surprise, the more I prayed about it, the more UH felt like the right place. Fifteen years later, it clearly was the right decision for me...for one thing, I met Carrie there.

2. Just this past Sunday, I used my support of UH sports as an illustration in my sermon "Spiritual Vision" (Here's the link for sermon audio or text: I made the point that it was silly to take football so seriously when there are much more important things in life. My wife, my children, my church, my health, my friends and my relationship with God are all such blessings, and they aren't impacted one bit by whether or not my favorite team wins a game. So win or lose, I shouldn't get all worked up either way...if I do, maybe I need to find a new hobby. I said all that...and then three days later, this happens.

So now I get to practice what I just got through preaching. Funny how that works, huh?


Anonymous said...

An awesome illustration (and lesson), Jeff.

I also want to thank you for A Christmas Challenge. I have already chosen "my" person. I pray that I will bring him one step closer to knowing Christ.


Jeff Berger said...

Thank you, Beryl. I hope many others will be doing the exact same thing.

Beryl's referring to my note in our last Westbury Word newsletter. Since it's not posted on our website yet, I'll just copy it here for you (it's short):

I’d like to offer you a challenge for this Christmas. I know, I can hear you thinking already: “A challenge? Jeff, I’ve got gifts to buy, cookies to bake, trees to decorate, choir presentations to rehearse, and parties to attend. Please don’t give me another job!” Yes, I know. But this is actually more important than all of that: Look for opportunities this Christmas to draw friends and neighbors to Christ. There may be no other time of the year when people are more open to spiritual discussions. Think about it: It’s the only time of year when songs about Jesus are heard on secular radio stations and in department stores. Front-yard nativity scenes abound. People become more naturally introspective (and in many cases, extremely discouraged) during this season. Pick someone, anyone who you can reach out to this month. Invite them over to your house for coffee. Drop by with a plate of Christmas cookies or a small, thoughtful gift. Invite them to church: If they like music, they’ll love our choir presentation on the 16th. Email them a link to a sermon on our website, or hand them a tape or CD of the message. Bring them to church on Christmas Eve. So there you have it: This Christmas, give Jesus His favorite kind of birthday present: Bring one person one step closer to knowing Him.

Randy (rtcoog) said...

Good blog Jeff. I am pretty down about the Art Briles loss as well, but thanks for the perspective. As a fellow Christian (even Baptist, lol), sometimes we all get a little too wrapped up in things that aren't really important. That said, I sure do love my Coogs. See ya on Coogfans, Jeff. God Bless and Go Coogs!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, as a u/h alumn it got wind of this because of the coogfan blog. Your message reaches far beyond what you might think...thanks

gardbarns said...

Rev, thank you for the kind words. Please join me in helping heal the wounds in Coog Village. Coach Briles does not deserve what has been heaped upon him. I pray that we will look forward instead of back.

Dane Isenhower said...

Jeff- you will be proud of me as I am working Art Briles into our Bible study lesson this Sunday!


Jeff Berger said...


I'll do my part.


I will be counseling someone during that time, or else I'd love to hear that. You'll have to recap it for me afterwards, because I am very intrigued to hear how you will use this.