UPDATED: Tebow sermon no joke, but hometown hero recalls humorous beginnings
Feb 6, 2014
By JONI B. HANNIGAN

PREACHING Tim Tebow, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, returned to his home church Jan. 26 to preach. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Tim Tebow, Jacksonville’s hometown hero and University of Florida Heisman Trophy winner, was in the spotlight last weekend with his appearance in two T-Mobile Super Bowl XLVIII ads.

The ads featured the former NFL quarterback expressing the same kind of humor he displayed Jan. 26 when he preached the closing sermon at the Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference.

Tebow, a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, returned to his home church to deliver the final sermon at its 28th annual conference which gathers thousands of pastors and other Christian leaders—and their wives—for preaching, teaching and music.

In the T-Mobile ads that aired on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, Tebow, a one-time Denver Bronco and former quarterback for the New York Jets, made light of the fact he is without an NFL contract and jokingly takes on roles such as a bull rider, a rock star, and a fire-fighter.

At the Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference, Tebow lightheartedly engaged the preachers—and hundreds of teens—while poking fun at memories of his childhood performances at First Baptist when he was Superman, Goliath, and the butt of a camel.

What he didn’t joke around about was his invitation, as the son of a missionary, and a Christian leader in his own right, to speak in one of the most influential pulpits in America.

Thanking Senior Pastor Mac Brunson, and the others who have influenced his life throughout the years—and pointing to the aisle he walked as a child in making a decision to live for God, and to the baptistery where his father baptized him, Tebow said he is often stopped and told by fathers how much their sons look up to him.

“That’s a huge responsibility, that’s a huge obligation,” Tebow said, clutching a well-worn Bible and notes, while standing firm at the podium for a few minutes. Uncapping a bottle of water to take a sip, he continued, “I’m not really that big of a role model.

“The role models and the heroes are you pastors who are out here tonight,” Tebow smiled. “You’re the heroes and you’re the role models. … I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you’re doing, what you’ve done, and what you’re going to do because you are making a difference.”

Glancing around at the huge auditorium where the 15,000-member historic church represents just one of Florida Baptist’s 3,000 affiliated churches, Tebow, who has played football for record crowds and has drawn millions of televisions viewers, noted: “And it might be in a big church like this or it might be in a church where there’s only 30 people in your congregation, that doesn’t matter. What matters is your heart. What matters is that God can use you. I pray that I will be an encouragement to you tonight.”

Preaching from Luke 10:38-42, Tebow referenced the biblical account of sisters Mary and Martha and said like Martha, who was distracted by Jesus’ visit to their home, many get “stuck in the hustle and bustle” of life, but forget “it’s all about Jesus.”

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU

“It’s not about you. A life that’s all about Jesus is not about you,” Tebow said in the first point of a four-part sermon that continued with “your identity is in Christ,” “you’re a servant,” and “finish strong,” the characteristics he said that reflect a God-pleasing life.

The 26-year-old free agent, who recently joined the ESPN network as a TV commentator, said the point of the Christian life is to be like Christ.

“So many times we want to make it about us. So many times I want to make it about me, about a game, or about a trophy, or about a win, and it’s become about me. But it can’t be about us,” Tebow said. “But it’s got to be about loving God and loving people and that’s what we are called to do. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.”

Jackson_Furst (2/8/2014)
Love Tim and everything he stands for. I pray every day that he finds his way back into the NFL - Jackson Furst, Scottsdale, AZ

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