Monday, December 3, 2018

December 3, 2018 - Bragging On My Favorite Player!

Everyone loves to brag about his team winning (or the rival team losing.) You hear things like, “My favorite team is (insert favorite team’s name); and my second favorite team is anyone playing against (insert rival team’s name)!”

Or maybe it is not a favorite team, but instead a favorite player that is bragged about… spouting off his or her stat line from the night before…

Although we may love it and gloat when a rival loses, it is not near as rewarding as celebrating when we win!

Simple reminder this week as we head into the CHRISTmas season… once the shepherds had met Jesus, we are told that they celebrated by telling everyone about it… I guarantee they would have lit up social media with the news!

The Scripture says, “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the child.” (Luke 2:17) It was a message of “great joy to all people.” (2:10)

What was that saying? That there is now “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (2:11)

My point is simple: We need to be bragging about Jesus and what He has done for us as individuals and as a team/family! (Not spending so much time talking down about the rival…)

Make December a brag about Jesus month!

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 26, 2018 - Make Contact with the Opponent

I recently got to watch a great college basketball game between Duke and Gonzaga… the number 1 team in the country vs the number 3 team. (And this week those rankings are still true… just reversed on which team they go with.)

Entering the game Duke was considered the team to beat, not only that night but for the year… with many already thinking they are a shoe in for the national championship next spring. I am not a Duke fan per say, but I must admit I too expect them to be there in the championship at the end of the year… in spite of the fact that in the game I watched they lost to Gonzaga… and honestly for most the game Gonzaga was fully in control.

Duke ended up losing by just two points as they climbed back into the game late as a result of their incredible athleticism and skills. They were able to spread the floor and get some separation, allowing them to find lanes to drive to the basket (using their speed and jumping ability), without Gonzaga putting a body on them. Quick players love to play when the defenders give them space to move. (And coaches hate to see their defense allowing unimpeded lanes to the hole!)

I watched the game due to my intrigue in watching Zion Williamson. This kid is a “monster”, weighing over 280lbs, yet fast… nimble… and can jump out of the gym. He is explosive and is fun to watch. But in spite of the size and strength, I noticed that young Zion is still in need of unobstructed lanes to use his speed, as he has not learned yet to create space in the low post; (nor has he learned to defend the post…)

My favorite player in that particular game was a young man named Rui Hachimura. He is a player for Gonzaga that is greatly skilled and athletic, but more impressively knows how to use his body. Weighing in at around 50lbs less than Williamson, I watched Hachimura run a clinic on how to get low in the post and create offense. Williamson is used to using his incredible jumping ability and quickness to block shots, make steals, etc. and thus plays defense straight up and down and not seeming interested in putting his body on the opponent. Rui would run to the low post spots he wanted with no resistance… so even though he may not have always had an initial lane to the goal, he did have lanes to his spot and once there, he would drop step and “sit down” on his defender. That simply means he would get his behind low and into the defender so the defender couldn’t use jumping ability or quickness to stop him. It was a beautiful display of sealing off the defender and creating space.

Well I am starting to write as a basketball junkie, and would love to talk hoops, but there is a spiritual point to my observations. In our game plan called the Great Commission, we will find that we do not always have a “clear lane” in sharing the Gospel. There are typically obstacles, or hindrances to getting others to listen… as well as an enemy that wants to block our lanes…

So, if we want to be successful at getting to the goal of evangelism and discipleship (the Great Commission) we have to get to our spots and “sit down” making contact… how do we do that? The Great Commandment tells us to not only love God but to love others… In Jesus’ great sermon on the mount, He told us how to make contact with the opponent…

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you…

As a coach, I often was heard yelling at players to put a body on others… to make contact… I AM SCREAMING TO US AS THE CHURCH TO MAKE CONTACT THROUGH LOVING… EVEN OUR ENEMIES! Can you imagine FaceBook filled with blessings toward our opponents? Or the workplace or schools with doing good to our opponents? Or what if we actually prayed for, instead of ranted against, our opponents? That happens to be how Jesus said we should make contact...