More Than Just A Cool Football Pose - written by Alfred (a short story for kids)
Once upon a time, there lived a boy named Murphy. He was the Captain of his High School’s football team and he was just about the most influential student in the school.
He didn’t know God and his parents who didn’t know God either hadn’t even given him the privilege of learning even the smallest basic facts about the Bible.
One day, as Murphy arrived at school late as he usually did. He saw his friends looking at a picture on a tablet device and laughing. Murphy walked up to them, “Hi, Guys!”
“Did you see the game last night?” one of them asked.
“I was kinda busy”, Murphy said trying to avoid saying the real reason why he didn’t see the game last night.
His friends looked at him strangely like how could a football fan such as himself be too busy to watch a super bowl game.
“So what is it?”, Murphy quickly said taking their attention back to the picture as he leaned in to look at the picture in the arms of the guy holding the tablet device.
“Some silly quarter back did this funny football pose.”
“But you gotta admit it looks cool.” another said.
“Well, it does look kinda cool.”, Murphy said as he examined the picture thoroughly.Murphy didn’t know what it was about the picture that drew him but he just felt an attachment to the picture. Murphy asked them to send the picture to his phone and they did just that.
Later on in school, Murphy found out that the picture had gone spiral on the web and was on everybody’s lips in school.
After lunch break, Murphy overhears some girls talking about the picture when he passed by them. They were saying that it was a picture of the athlete praying.
Murphy had heard about prayer before but he wasn’t sure what prayer meant.
Murphy went home that day and started to research what prayer was. He found out that a lot of different belief systems had some sort of prayer or the other. But the one that the athlete in the picture was doing looked more like a Christian type of prayer.
Murphy started researching Christianity and he started seeing the most beautiful things that he had ever seen in his life.
When Murphy came across John 3: 16 that says; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It just totally blew him away. Murphy had never seen anything so beautiful. He had never heard anything so beautiful. He had never known that something so beautiful could even be.
The more Murphy learnt about God, the more he wished that he had found this stuff a long time ago. He hadn’t really heard about what Christians believed before. It was just that a few times he had heard teachers and friends say that Christians are just a bunch of uneducated weirdoes, but he had never researched the matter for himself. And as he didn’t research it or debate it, those thoughts just formed the basis of everything he believed about Christianity; which was still not much, and was obviously in the wrong direction.
However, now to see all this beautiful things about Christianity, it really got real deep into his heart.
Murphy decided to go to church the following Sunday. He had the best time of his life EVER.
However, when he got back home carrying a new bible he had bought, he face stern criticism from his family and for the first time ever his mother supported his father’s taking him upstairs to beat him black and blue.
Normally, she would cry and bang on the door outside the room when he beat up Murphy but today was a different day. Today, in her mind they had to beat some common sense into Murphy.
Murphy was closely observed from that day on to make sure that he was not turning into a Christian.
His father threw the bible that Murphy bought into a dumpster after trying to tear it up.Murphy simply downloaded a free Bible on his mobile device. He had finally found what he had been searching for all his life which he did not know that he has been searching for, and now nobody was going to take it away from him.
Since Murphy was not allowed to do anything that was Christian related, Murphy could not watch Christian TV channels that they had not because they subscribed to it but because it came with the cable.
So Murphy had to settle for downloading podcasts on his mobile device and reading good Christian blogs which are quite numerous online.
Murphy came across one blog one day that had a salvation prayer at the bottom along with a prayer to receive the Holy Ghost. Murphy prayed the prayer. He felt so different after he prayed that he knew something definitely had happened. A change had definitely taken place.
Murphy felt compelled to pray and soon pouring out of his mouth were words that weren’t English: words that he didn’t understand – words that freaked him out. That was Murphy’s first experience with speaking in tongues.
Murphy immediately shut up. He was scared. He was afraid to speak for the next 30 minutes.He was happy to later find out that he could still speak words in English.
Murphy decided that he would re-begin going to church whether anyone liked it or not. He just had to be sly about it – as sly as he could be.
Murphy figured that since his parents thought that church was only on Sunday Morning and they would be watching to make sure that they have accountability of where he is on Sunday Morning, he would go for only Midweek Service and Friday Evening service then skip Sunday Morning service.
His plan worked and his parents didn’t have a clue. Now that Murphy was a Christian he was now happier. His heart was now at rest even though he belonged to an abusive home where his father beat him, his mother, his brother and as well as his sister anytime they didn’t do something quite the way he wanted it done.
Murphy’s home could have been called a classically dysfunctional and ‘hell on earth’ home.
His father was abusive. He beat up Murphy’s Mum regularly. They were always fighting and he was always drinking.
Murphy’s elder brother couldn’t get into college and he was happy and satisfied with listening to secular music all day and selling drugs on street corners every other hour. And then calling himself a made man and saying that the system is against him that it’s not his fault, yet he is still fighting back and making his own paper.
Murphy’s sister’s case was more classic and sad. Her life was just a never ending tale of a college girl who had one heart break after the other at the average rate of two heart breaks per week. One would think that she went to college to meet guys.
Murphy began to pray for the salvation of his family members. He even set aside a day of the week to fast about it.
Murphy soon makes friends at church. He explains to them all that he is going through and he tells them that anytime they visit him at home, they shouldn’t do anything that would give away the fact that they are Christians. They should just march straight to his room.
His new friends helped him out with his Christian walk a lot. They helped explain what speaking in tongues is to him. They helped answer questions that he had. They even prayed for the salvation of his family daily like he did.
Murphy had learnt that God hears prayers so he knew that for certain,God would answer his prayers and save his family. However, things got worse and his Mum files divorce papers.Murphy wonders why.
His new friends tell him that now is the time when they cannot lose faith and that they had to pray now even more than ever.
One day, while praying in one of his friend’s house, they get a word from God that Murphy should go home right that instant and have an honest conversation with his Mum.
Murphy ran home immediately. When he got home he found his Mum in the living room, alone. She was crying on the sofa.
Murphy sat down beside his Mum and started talking to his Mum. She was totally downcast. She was hurting big time, on the inside and on the outside.
2 hours after Murphy finished talking to his Mum, she gave her heart to Christ.
Murphy called his brother and sister for a family meeting like if he was the Boss of the house. The Spirit of God was with him and all those times of prayers had set things up for the best to occur at a moment like this.
His brother and sister where surprised to see that Murphy and Mum where now Christians. But what was more predominant in their minds and hearts was the message they shared with them.They gave their hearts to Christ too.
They prayed for their Dad and decided that they would all talk to him about Jesus when he got back home from work.
When he got home, they welcomed him like if nothing had happened. He wondered why his wife was smiling at him. She had not smiled at him like that in years.
After they’d given him his favorite meal to eat they began to talk to him about Jesus. So that was it, he thought. They’ve all gone crazy and religious.
Dad stood up from the table and started beating up their Mum.
For the first time in history, his kids stepped in to stop him. He was shocked. They were no more afraid of him. It didn’t really do them any good because he was stronger than all of them put together. However, something about what his wife was saying. Something about his wife trying to lay her hands on his forehead and saying “I command you demon to get out of him”, while he beat her made him stop. He didn’t know why he stopped but he just didn’t feel like continuing. He couldn’t explain why.
From that day on, Dad started given them all some distance. It was like he hated them and was angry with them for becoming Christians. But interestingly, since then all the beatings had stopped and no one had said anything about the divorce papers. It was a forgotten matter, just like if it never existed in the first place. Months past by but the rest of the family just kept praying for Dad. Murphy’s brother had now left his bad friends and his drug selling goals alone. He was now reading to take some exams that if he passes he would finally get into college.
Murphy’s sister was now for the first time in her life boyfriend-less. The even bigger miracle was that she was happy even though she was boyfriend-less. She was enjoying being single and whole. She was happy waiting for the right guy to come alone instead of jumping upon any train that passes her by.
Murphy’s mother was now nicer, neater, more loving. She was even so nice to Dad that Dad liked being around her more than drinking, even though he wouldn’t admit it.
However, one day as the rest of the family was going to church; Dad decided that he would drive them. After dropping them off, because of packing lot difficultly and because he couldn’t wait to be around his wife again; he decided that he would just wait in the car. So he adjusted the car sit and lay back to fall asleep, when the service is over and his family comes out of the church he would drive them back home; and return to the peace he now felt in his wife’s company.
However, as Dad tried to sleep in his car in the church parking lot; the parking lot was still in the range of the church speakers so Dad could still hear the sermon.
The sermon was about love and God and it also had stories of the most awesome testimonies Dad had ever heard.
By the time the altar call was given, Dad ran out of the car and ran into the church. He headed straight for the altar. There; he knelt down, lifted up his hands, and received Christ into his heart.
His family saw him and they were all pouring down tears.
Dad joined a men’s group in church and he also apologized over and over again to his wife and kids about how he treated them through the years.
The growth process wasn’t instantaneous for Dad, but he was growing everyday and surprising his family with his goodness and kindness everyday.
He was finally knowing what it feels like to grow into a man. And as every wise person knows: Real Men Love Jesus.
Murphy was deeply grateful to God. God had answer his prayers and had saved his family.God had turned his ‘Hell On Earth Home’ into a ‘Home Sweet Home’.
All this while, Murphy had not been very open and vocal about his faith in school. He knew what it could cost him.
He still lived for Christ but the fact that he kept it on the low made it a thing that only a few people knew but didn’t take serious because they taught he didn’t take it serious.But one day, Murphy decides to start being loud and more out spoken about his beliefs like the athlete from the picture who kinda started it all.
He starts by wearing a T – Shirt written, “I BELONG TO CHRIST.”
People laughed at him and even his football buddies who had never really made fun of him before because he was just too cool; made fun of him for the first time, on that day.
Murphy went hard and soon got popular around the school for wearing a “JESUS LOVES YOU” jacket.
Soon it looked like the whole school had started making fun of him. People even started calling him the name of the guy from the picture.
The persecution got so bad that at a point Murphy got deeply discouraged about being open about his faith. Perhaps he would just keep his faith low key like he always had.
The next day, Murphy walked into the school premises without so much as a hand band that had the name “JESUS” on it.
Nobody criticized him that day.
However, some people were disappointed. They liked his brave show of his faith.
A specific group of Christians in school were greatly disappointed about it and so they reached out to him to encourage him and to stand by him because iron sharpeneth iron. They soon became close friends with him and he joined their Bible fellowship in school. Murphy started wearing the Jesus shirts again and the persecution and the criticism re-began.
The teachers hated Murphy’s Jesus shirts and the Principal hated it most.
One day, after a game with another school which his school won; Murphy pulled off his jersey in the middle of the field with everyone watching him and under his jersey was another shirt. On it was written, “JESUS LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU LOVE YOURSELF.”
Then, Murphy ran round the football field over and over again gathering attention with everybody watching him.
Murphy’s family clapped for him.
A few Christians in the crowd loved it, some people didn’t know what to make of it, some where pissed about it and some people somehow told themselves that the message on Murphy’s shirt was offensive. (How somebody loving you is offensive is something I would never know).
After that display the principal got angry and he called together an emergency assembly.He didn’t mention Murphy’s name but it was clear that his speech was targeted at Murphy. The long speech boiled down to; he, the principal would suspend anyone who publicly displays their personal faith on school premises again. The principal also rambled a lot about honoring the separation of Church and State.
Murphy wasn’t moved. He had an idea. An idea that would blow the principal’s socks off and make him blow his top if he wants to; and sat the same time.
Now, the school was in financial trouble. It had been for months; but nobody but the principal and the school board knew that they were in need of funding without which the school would close down. All thanks to some poor decisions make by the board.
The next day, at the game; Murphy’s plan was set in motion. After the game, he and all the members of the football team took off their shirts and under it was written: “JESUS IS LORD.”
Now, every member of the football team wasn’t a Christian but wearing Jesus shirts and stirring up controversy had suddenly become a cool thing to do. Murphy knew that, so he used that to convince them to do it with him whether they won the game or not. Murphy and the rest of the football team started doing funny dance moves in middle of the football fields with their “JESUS IS LORD” T – Shirts on.
Half the crowd was angry and the other half was happy. Interestingly, the display of faith pleased a huge sponsor of education in the country who was at the game. He was someone the principal had been trying to please for months so that he would donate enough money to save the school.
The sponsor told the principal that he was glad that there was still a good school that teaches good Christian principles in America. The principal was so excited that he called together an emergency assembly.
The whole school was thinking that their star football player was going to get chewed out and then suspended if not expelled. They knew that he wouldn’t suspend the whole football team, but who knows; maybe Murphy had succeeded in getting him that angry.
As the principal stood in front of the school he said, “From now on Christianity is to be practiced freely in this school. As a matter of fact, it is hereby encouraged you do so from now on. Any intolerance of Christianity would be unfair and unaccepted. The so – called separation of church and state which was clearly written by men who felt free to express their faith is hypocritical and UN – AMERICAN if it bans people from expressing their faith; especially if it stands against those from the Christian faith.”
Then the Principal turned to look at the teachers who like the students where looking at him with their mouths wide open. “…And F.Y.I (For Your Information); I am now a Christian. I just asked my star student; Murphy to lead me to Christ some minutes ago.”