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Home Field Advantage

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans at the beginning of the NFL season, it didn't just affect the residents of New Orleans , Lousiana and the other gulf states . It also affected where the New Orleans Saints would play their home games for the rest of this season. First, the New Orleans Superdome was a shelter from those seeking refuge from the storm. Then as the flood waters rose, the Superdome was evacuated and was eventually declared uninhabitable. The NFL scrambled to find a suitable place for Saints to play their home games, leaving them with home fields that are temporary at best.

This is week 9 in the NFL. The Saints have played their 8 games in 7 different stadiums so far. In week one they played the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte . Week 2 took them to East Rutherford, New Jersey to face the New York Giants. In Week 3 they were away again at Minnesota . In Week 4 the Saints enjoyed their first ‘home' game in San Antonio, Texas of all places. In Week 5, they traveled to play the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin. In Week 6 they were back in ‘home' in San Antonio only to travel again the next week to play against the Rams in St Louis. Last week the Saints lost to Miami while playing another home game, only this time ‘home' was in Baton Rouge at the LSU Tiger Stadium. Tomorrow they play again at the LSU stadium in Baton Rouge against the Chicago Bears.

Home field provides a lot of advantages. At Denver's Stadium, the 5,280 feet Rocky Mountain high altitude takes the wind right out of opponents, and they have the one of the best home records of any team in the NFL history. In Cleveland, the rowdy fans who sit in the ‘Dog Pound' section intimidate opponents, giving a huge advantage to the Browns while playing at home. In Green Bay, the ‘Frozen Tundra' of Lambeau field provides help to the Packers at home because many teams simply don't play well in the cold. At Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, the closed end of the stadium is so loud that opposing quarterbacks often have a difficult time changing the play at the last minute prior to the snap, which gives the Chiefs a big advantage at home.

A favorable crowd, your own equipment and lockers, and just that feeling of knowing your surroundings helps make home an easier place to win. Playing at home is worth up to extra 10 points to the home team. And so this year, the Saints have completely lost that advantage as they wander across the country on their trek, never quite at home and never quite at rest. Is it any wonder that the Saints have a record of 2-8 so far? They've completely lost their home field advantage.

Have you ever felt like in this life that you didn't have a true home? We move from place to place, from apartment to apartment or house to house. Deep inside each one of us, we feel that we are missing something. We search for it, and we try to fill it with things like our career, success, money, relationships, power, achievement, a perfect family, material things or new places. You name it and we try to fill that void in our hearts, and we are always searching. We move from place to place. We are looking a home and with it fulfillment. Like the Song from the Cheers Television show, we long for a place where “Everybody knows your name.” But instead, we say things like, if I only had “________” I would be happy, but when we get it we aren't happy because it doesn't truly fill us.

The Bible says that God puts that discontentment into you because He knows that He is the only thing that can truly fill that void inside our hearts, and He wants us to invite Him into our hearts. But even more, the Bible makes it clear that this time on earth is just a temporary place for us. Our true home is in heaven and God longs to bring us there with Him.

Today, whatever you are struggling with. Whatever discontentment you may have in your life, remember that you are struggling because you aren't home yet. God longs to come into your life and fill that void, and one day when your life is all worn out, God promises to give you a new body and a new life and bring you to your true home with him in Heaven. As we play the second half, consider this promise from John Chapter 14.

1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.."

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