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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Practice Makes Perfect

by Rob Stewart

They won’t play on God’s holy day—the Sabbath.

 In a lengthy interview with reporters, basketball star Allen Iverson asked the question, “What are we talkin’ ’bout, practice?” The purpose of his rhetorical question was to encourage the sports reporters to focus on his stats during games rather than his practice etiquette. Iverson’s response caused an uproar in the sports world because it demonstrated that for some superstar athletes, the game is more important than practice.

Allen Iverson is not the only person for whom the game is all important. For many teens in the Adventist church, playing their game, whatever it is, is more important than just about everything else. They struggle with participating in extracurricular activities that infringe on the day that God made holy and set aside for worship—the Sabbath. Within them a battle between conviction and compromise rages, since most public school and public league sports competitions occur on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings. Here’s how some Adventist teens are handling sports schedules that include the seventh day of the week.
When asked how difficult it is to keep the Sabbath and still participate in sports, Trina Galbraith, 15, a member of the Rebounders Gymnastics team in Baltimore, Maryland, answered, “Extremely.” 
“There are times when I feel like I’m not a part of the team. However, when I cannot go to the meets on Sabbath, I use the time at practice to minister to my peers. Gymnastics is fun, but God comes first.”
The feeling is the same for 16-year-old Ayanna Albertson, a basketball player for Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina. “It’s hard. I know I’m doing what Jesus would do, but I also feel like I’m missing out. I feel like it’s not fair to the other devoted players who attend the Saturday games. Nevertheless, I love God, and I want to do what He wants; He comes first.”
When the going gets tough for these young women, they obey the Lord. They understand that the game worth playing will always be the one that’s acceptable to God. We must believe that our efforts to stand up for God will not go unnoticed, and our reward in heaven will be much greater than any trophy or medal gained here on earth. God often makes a way to fulfill our hearts’ desires if we trust Him (see Psalm 37:4) and if those desires glorify Him.
Garry Dorsainvil, a 19-year-old student from Temple University, can testify to God’s goodness. A graduate of Cheltenham High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Garry completed a freshman and sophomore run on his high school’s football team before the Lord led him to lacrosse, a sport more favorable to keeping the Sabbath.
“I knew playing football during my junior and senior years was going to be an issue due to the game schedule, and I didn’t want to compromise my beliefs for a sport,” says Dorsainvil.
Lacrosse offers more recreation during the week than on the Sabbath. So for Dorsainvil, the switch to playing lacrosse opened the gate to an experience that has exceeded the gratification he received during his football career. He played lacrosse in his last two years of high school, and today he has no regrets.
Faithfulness and obedience to God will bring you more blessings than you can ever imagine. For the youth featured in this article, the “problem” of the Sabbath isn’t really a problem at all. The youth featured in this article and many others who are faithfully standing for God see the Sabbath as a delight, a joy, a covenant made with God. God has promised that all who delight in honoring His Sabbath will one day “ride upon the high places of the earth” (Isaiah 58:14, KJV). Whether you decide to stand, withdraw, or seek an alternative to sports, know that Sabbath observance is one of the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Like sports, the more you practice keeping God’s day holy, the better you’ll get at it. Practice makes perfect.
Rob Stewart is a youth leader and media writer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

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