True believers back the Mavs at Grand Prairie church

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on June 12, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 13 at 2:47 PM

GRAND PRAIRIE — According to a Grand Prairie preacher, the Dallas Mavericks will have an extra player for Sunday night's critical Game 6 against the Miami Heat.

Pastor Jeff Magruder of Abundant Life Assembly of God believes the big guy upstairs is rooting for the Mavs, and he says that heavenly assist will help Dallas win its first-ever NBA title.

Those words certainly strike a chord in Mavs fans who thought they had seen it all.

Jamie Lane who was sporting a Jason Terry jersey on Sunday morning, came to church saying she is ready to worship in unconventional clothing. "Well, I’m working in the nursery," she explained.

There's no doubt about it — God reigns at Abundant Life church, but Pastor Magruder isn't afraid to thank the almighty Blue.

"We want to back them up; we want to show our support," he said. "We're very proud of what it is that our Mavs have done, and we're also aware that the Bible has a lot to say about using athletics as a metaphor for the game of life."

Inside the sanctuary, there was a sea of team colors. On one side, the jerseys are for Dirk Nowitzki; others displayed support for Jason Kidd.

Even the "praise team" was Mav'd out.

Only a few members of the congregation wore "regular" clothes on Sunday. James Johnson felt it necessary to offer an excuse.

"I got big faith," he said. "I know that they're going to come out and win tonight, and everything... it just caught me last minute."

Johnson's honesty reflects the message that Pastor Magruder is preaching: It's sin to bear false witness.

So we put another congregant, Samuel Velez, to the test. What was he really thinking during the sermon?

"I'm really thinking about the Mavs," he admitted. He said he is convinced somewhere there's a scripture for "Thou shalt win."

And while Velez is certain that God loves the Heat, he just thinks He loves the Mavs just a little bit more.

"I think God likes sports, so God is a sports fan," Velez said, adding: "Go Mavs!"

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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