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US Women’s National Team: champions once again

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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the United States kisses the trophy during the victory ceremony for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup after the United States claimed the title after defeating Japan 5-2 in Vancouver, Canada on July 5, 2015 (Credit: Imago/Icon Sportswire/Xinhua)

The U.S. Women’s national soccer team faced off against their Japanese counterparts in Sunday’s championship match for the 2015 World Cup. By now, you’ve probably heard about the outcome of the game and the United States’ dominating victory. You’ve also probably heard about the four goals in the first sixteen minutes, three of them coming from Carli Lloyd (Lloyd is only the second player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final and the fastest to do so). You’ve probably heard about those things because the team’s victory has been the lead story on most news outlets since it happened.

The country has rallied behind the women’s national team for much of this year’s World Cup, with interest only rising as the team moved on each round. The television ratings for Sunday evening’s match offer further support with an estimated 21-23.5 million viewers tuning in to watch. For comparison sake, that number is on par with game seven of last year’s World Series and the concluding game of last month’s NBA Finals. The country seemed to embrace this team in a way that hasn’t really been seen since 1999 when the USWNT won its second World Cup.

Perhaps part of the reason for that popularity, in addition to the women simply comprising a great team, is America’s growing interest in the sport. Soccer has been on the rise the last several years and Americans are beginning to catch up with the rest of the world in understanding all that the sport has to offer. While there are many reasons for that increased popularity, such as a steady growth in participation at the youth levels, one of the most important reasons is that networks like Fox and NBC have begun airing games from the European leagues in an effort to meet a growing demand. As a result, it’s now possible for the casual fan to easily watch the game played at its highest levels.

Essentially, soccer has become more than something we are only interested in every four years. The increased exposure, both at local fields on Saturday mornings and in front of the television throughout the week, have helped to sustain the sport’s popularity between international tournaments.

Our walk with Christ works in much the same way. For many people, their interest with God is centered on a few big events each year, often Christmas and Easter, and they don’t give him much thought beyond that. They may attend church or a Bible study on a few other occasions but, for the most part, they get geared up for God when the calendar tells them to.

However, that approach simply isn’t sufficient in order to have the kind of relationship with the Lord that he desires. God wants more than that and he created us to need more than that. And if you are reading this and feeling good about your walk with God because you go to church most weekends, the same principle applies for limiting your walk with him to worship each Sunday as well. A strong relationship with the Lord means investing in that relationship every day. We can try to limit it to something less than that but our walk with God will suffer as a result.

Ultimately, the question you have to ask yourself is just how interested are you in seeing that relationship thrive? If you want a close connection with the Father, then going Sunday to Sunday simply isn’t going to be sufficient. The good news is that God longs to be close with you and he’s ready whenever you are. You are only one prayer or one passage of scripture away from meeting with the God of the universe. What are you waiting for?