Tim Tebow

Denver Broncos Tim Tebow is seen backstage during the inaugural NFL Honors show Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Newman Lowrance)

Newman Lowrance

It's hard (and hurts) to think that we have to wait another seven months for football to be back in full effect.

This past season was a memorable one though - on both the college AND professional gridiron. Yet, after a grueling 130-day NFL lockout, we sat through a rematch of the game that was played right in our backyard four years ago (I called the Patriots, by the way, 34-27).

And after all is said and done, what will stand out from most this past season will be, "Tebowing."

After taking over the Bronco's starting quarterback job, Tim Tebow shocked us all and took the football world by storm. Attention turned towards Denver as he led streaks of unlikely comebacks and miraculous game winning drives. Tebow mania officially took over. And the way we view an athlete's prayer posture will never be the same.

And if you weren't riding the Tebow bandwagon on the football field, it was hard to ignore the reputation he was building off it. His outspoken faith and likeable character matched up pretty well with the rugged good looks and positive attitude.

All of a sudden, single Christian guys had a new standard to live up to (Thanks, Tim).

But Tebow still had his critics. And ESPN's most popular athlete as of January quickly became a polarizing discussion piece.

Suddenly, the criticism wasn't all about unconventional throwing mechanics - but his public display of prayer and how to him, God was bigger than football. And while most of the Christian community was falling in love with their new golden boy, it appeared that others were becoming tired of the hype.

One of his critics even suggested in an interview that he tone down the verbal proclamation of his faith, and focus more on the actions.

Surprisingly, that advice came from fellow believer, Kurt Warner.

Ironically, the day after catching Warner's quote, I read an article about Tebow's tradition of giving people who are sick or terminally ill the game day experience of a lifetime. He flies them and their family to the game, pays for their seats, books a hotel, buys them dinner, visits with them before and after the game (win or lose), and has them walk him to his car as he sends them off with a basket full of gifts - every week.

Clearly, we're growing to know Tebow not just as a man of faith on the field, but off it as well.

But Warner's advice does make me wonder - did Tebow cross any verbal lines? And is the "walk" really separate from the "talk?"

Verses like 1 John 2:6 are pretty clear on defending the importance of following up your words with actions. But is there such a thing as being overly verbal when it comes to faith?

The Apostle Paul writes about love as if it's the end-all and be-all of all that we do. We can talk all we want - but in the end if we don't show love through action, we're simply making noise. But if we're only people of love and action with no verbal proclamation of Jesus in our lives, what separates us as believers from just being "really nice people?"

Let me be clear - I love Kurt Warner. And I haven't come to my own conclusions on his comments. But his advice should make us think.

Where do YOU stand? Is there such a thing as a healthy balance between sharing your faith verbally and through action? And is one more important than the other?

• Colin Noonan is director of youth ministries at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee. He follows Tebow and the NFL with his head, but college football with his heart. Keep the discussion going with him at cnoonan@mvlutheran.org.

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