Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Matthew Slater, Matt Hasselbeck, Gigi Marvin join Huddle Up to discuss identity, Scripture

Aiming to encourage and challenge athletes, coaches and fans around the world who are searching for connection and sports-related content, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Sports Spectrum teamed up again Wednesday to provide an inside look into the lives of Christ-following pros during this unprecedented time. The second weekly global sports gathering, called Huddle Up, served to continue FCA’s and Sports Spectrum’s partnership in sports ministry.

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“Nearly every coach and athlete on every level has experienced disappointment, from cancelled tournaments, ended seasons and the loss of camaraderie with their teams,” says FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “It is comforting to know that professional athletes at the highest level share these struggles as well and that they rely on Jesus for peace and guidance.”

Recently retired NFL tight end Benjamin Watson once again served as host, and he was joined Wednesday by New England Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck, and U.S. women’s hockey player Gigi Marvin.

One of the topics discussed was identity and how to find it in Jesus, not a sport.

“Very difficult to live it, I think especially in this time we all have — can’t go to the rink, can’t play with your teammates, can’t do the gift and excel in the gift that God has given,” Marvin said. “So being in a world and culture that is so performance-driven and earning [driven], it’s a stretch on my heart, and God is really teaching us that again, reminding us in a deeper way. Like Gigi, and all these kids and everyone on this call, ‘You aren’t what you do. You’re so much more than that. And it’s not even about what you do, whether good or bad, it’s literally not about what you do. It’s about what I did on the cross.’ That’s such a simple yet profound thing that I think constantly needs to come up in my heart.”

Hasselbeck brought up some Scripture passages that have been impacting him lately, specifically mentioning Psalm 119 and Isaiah 55. And he said a recent conversation with his wife, Sarah, reminded him of the importance of staying in God’s Word.

“We were talking and she said, ‘You know, it’s amazing how many times in Scripture when someone would ask Jesus a question, what would He do? Boom — He would answer with Scripture.’ And that’s Jesus, so if Jesus is immersed in the Word like that, we’re trying to be like Him, there you go, there’s your answer. Get in the playbook, so to speak,” he said.

Slater said the verse he’s been looking to is one that he prays every day — Psalms 51:10 (KJV) — where David was in a posture of repentance: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

“As athletes, the world can offer you so much and sometimes you believe what the world tells you you are, or tells you what you need,” Slater said. “But at the end of the day, you need God’s Holy Spirit to come into your life — to restore you, renew you, refocus you and put you back on the right path. So I literally have to pray that prayer every day when I get up; I’ve been praying it a lot more here lately as I spend more time with my three kids daily. But certainly it’s something that I lean on and am so thankful for God’s faithfulness in that area of my life.”

Watson closed the chat by presenting the Gospel message, encouraging those watching to repent and put their faith in Christ if they have not done so already.

These Huddle Up gatherings will continue on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. ET, and can be seen on FCA’s YouTube channel.

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