Excerpt from Final Score! In the Huddle

Luke 3:21-22, Ephesians 4:30

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him…
—Luke 3:22

Invariably, the winning head football coach receives the traditional Gatorade bath at the end of the game. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Gatorade bath originated when New York Giants OG Jim Burt doused Head Coach Bill Parcells after a game. Apparently, Burt teased Parcells all week at practice that he would soak him if the Giants won. Now, I’m a cold-natured person, and I don’t like cold showers at all. I won’t take a cold shower unless there is no alternative. My first thank-you of the day to God is sometime in the first five seconds of that soothing hot water hitting my back. So when I see two burly linemen carrying the bucket of ice-laden colored liquid to dump it on an unsuspecting coach, I cringe, especially when the temperature on the field is colder than the water. Dumping an icy torrent of Gatorade seems appropriate for a young coach on an eighty-degree day, but when you dump it on an old coach on a cold day, that’s insane. The winning coach gets the icy bath. Why not dump the Gatorade bucket on the loser? It’s also dangerous. My wife, Becca, recalled that Long Beach State Head Coach George Allen, seventy-two, formerly of the Washington Redskins, received an ice-cold water dousing in 1990 from his overzealous Long Beach State football team. Unfortunately Coach Allen came down with pneumonia and died six weeks later, and the dousing may have been a contributing factor to his decline. Maybe Gatorade baths are one reason that head coaches make the big bucks.

So we see these coaches being baptized with Gatorade. The effect on their nervous systems must literally take their breath away. The Holy Spirit comes upon you in a different way when you receive Christ. The same Holy Spirit that you and I received also descended bodily upon Jesus just after he was baptized in the River Jordan. I wonder how cold that water was. You are changed forever when you are bathed in the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t feel like the Gatorade bath, thank goodness. When you are bathed in the Holy Spirit, you are sealed for eternity. What is God going to do if you sin, because you will still sin? He’s not going to reach down and yank the Holy Spirit out of your body like you’ve got on a cheap shirt because you have been sealed for eternity with the Holy Spirit. God says to Satan, “This one is mine! You can never take this one away from me.” Soon, you will observe that the worldly things that drove you to distraction no longer have the same hold on you because that is Living Water flowing through your body.

Envision the Gatorade bath after an upset of your archrival washing away the frustration of a losing season. In a similar fashion, the baptism of the Holy Spirit washes away the frustrations of trying do it all by yourself your whole life. Now you will learn to allow God to lead you and direct your life. Being cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ is imperative for salvation, and the Holy Spirit is God’s way of putting the icing on the cake. It’s a gift that only God can pour on you and into you.

Prayer: Most gracious and loving God, please pour out your mercies, blessings, and grace upon me. I am grateful for every single gift you give me. And I’m especially appreciative of the Holy Spirit, the gift that seals me for eternity in you and with you. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Excerpt from Final Score! In the Huddle


The one who lives and believes in Me will never die ever. Do you believe this?
—John 11:26 (HCS)

At our summer basketball camps and league play, some nights, the A/C doesn’t work very well. The temperature in the gym can be eighty degrees, which means plenty of sweaty bodies. We use reversible jerseys to move kids between teams so that the games remain competitive. Those sweaty jerseys become stinky jerseys after a couple of nights, especially if the jerseys are thrown into a pile. The next day, if you pick one up and take a good sniff, you might need smelling salts to revive you. By hanging up the jersey and letting it air out, it’s not so bad, but the stench is still there. The only way to get a fresh, clean-smelling jersey is to wash it in soapy water. The clean smell returns, and that jersey is worth wearing again. You exchange a stinky, smelly, foul-smelling jersey for a fresh, clean, sweet-smelling jersey.

Before we knew Christ, our life’s odor to God was always like that stinky, smelly jersey in the pile for three days. The odor came from the buildup of sin in our lives because we consistently disobeyed his law, which angers God. Don’t believe we stink before we are saved? It’s true. The only way to get rid of our putrid odor is to be washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. We don’t change our lives so much as we exchange our old lives for new lives in Christ. Paul made it clear in 2 Corinthians that when someone becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a new person. The old person is out; in with the new.

I heard Paige, a former missionary to the Russian republic of Kazakhstan, share this story that helps illustrate the point. One afternoon, she was on a bus in Kazakhstan, sitting across the aisle from a man whose odor she described as simply repulsive. He had open sores, his hair was dirty, his clothes were filthy, and his odor reeked across the aisle. As she looked at him, she sensed God speaking to her. What? You don’t think your sin is smelly, stinky, and repulsive to me?

Just as we exchange a filthy jersey for a clean one, we exchange our filthy, sinful nature for one that is pure in Christ. When you turn from sin and place your trust in Christ, immediately you are cleansed by the blood of our precious Savior and given the Holy Spirit. As Jesus works within you, the difference in your new life versus your old life should become as striking as the difference between the putrid jersey and the clean jersey.

You will constantly get ugly stains (sin) on your new jersey. But the way to get rid of them is to spot clean your jersey. Tell God exactly what caused the spot and where the spot is, and together, Jesus and God will cleanse you. First John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

You will stain your new jersey, but you should not retain the stench of your old jersey. If you do, you might be a false convert, having never actually received the Holy Spirit. A false convert hears the Word and gets excited for a while but falls by the wayside when trials and temptations come.

Go ahead and sniff your jersey. Need a fresh one? Jesus is holding a clean number 1 jersey just for you. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Jesus is the only way to God and to heaven.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for spot-cleaning me when I confess what I have messed up and for making me as pure as snow again. In Jesus’s name, amen.