Book Review: Game Day for the Glory of God

Altrogge, Stephen. Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, & Wannabes. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 119 pp. $9.99. Buy from Westminster Books

Introduction

Stephen Altrogge currently serves as a pastoral intern at Sovereign Grace Church in Indiana, PA. He is head of the college ministry as well as the worship leader. He is unfortunately a Pittsburg Steelers nut fan. He and his wife have one daughter.

His love for God and sports led to this book. After finding himself feeling guilty for his actions on the playing field, he found himself praying to God asking how he could still play sports and glorify God. That is when it dawned on him that there are in essence two ways to play sports: for the glory of God or for the glory of Self.

Summary of Game Day

Chapter one deals with living one’s life for the glory of God. The author assumes one has a relationship with Christ as he delves into how to play sports for God’s glory. He asks the question, “Does God really care” about sports? and then spends the rest of the book unpacking everything else that must be answered before this question can even be asked.

In chapters two through six, the author wrestles with one question after another as he seeks to answer the thesis of the book about whether or not God really cares about sports. For example, after answering what the ultimate purpose in our life is and the sin problem inherent in every human, he immediately dives into Who is the source of all of our talent in all that we do. He quickly deflates any head swelling that may take place with the fact that God is not impressed with any of our talents.

There is a certain joy in sports that is not found in very many other places. However, as the author talks of this joy, he makes it quite clear through the analogy of sports that our joy in sports can readily translate into joy in God. There are Christian characteristics that can keep our joy in sports from becoming sinful. These are found in chapter four, Game Day Priorities, and are humility, passion, self-control, trust, dependence, and eternal perspective.

Chapters five and six deal with the fact that there are winners and losers—a fact of life, especially in sports, that seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years for fear of hurting the child’s self-esteem—and how to deal with both in God-honoring way. Here the author deals with temptations inherent in winning and losing.

The final chapter ties it all together. Maybe that is why the name of the chapter is Tying it All Together. Anyway, the author concludes with two goals that all who enjoy sports—either by playing or watching—must strive to attain.

One of the nice features of the book is an appendix written by C.J. Mahaney explaining how he watches sports with his son. He also explains how he supports and teaches his son before, during and after every practice or game in which he participates. As always, Mahaney drives straight to the cross in everything.

Recommendation

This is a well-written book that will help every Christian sports fan enjoy sports for the glory of God. If you are not a sports fan, then this book is certainly not for you. You would be more pleased with shoving a stick in your eye than reading this book. However, if you are a sports fan or you know a sports fan, then this book is a great book to own and give away.

I believe this would be an excellent resource to give away to parents whose children are heavily involved in sports or for those who are in charge of various sports ministries in the local church. What better avenue to disciple a young (or old) believer through something as wonderful as sports?

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