Monday, November 19, 2018

November 19, 2018 - Unkind Rims and Soft Shots

This past week I have been able to spend a good amount of time on a basketball court in Lake Worth FL; one where I spent many hours with my son Clay… one where I spent many hours on our ROCK’em Road Trips that we brought guys on… It is a beautiful setting that almost always has available rims to shoot on.

Yet as with most parks, the rims are very stiff… something often referred to as being “unkind”; and playing in FL also brings the challenge of constant wind. On top of all of that, the ball we have is a cheap rubber ball that is VERY BOUNCY…

“Unkind” rims + wind + bouncy ball = shooters nightmare! Not the best place to be getting in a shooting workout where one is keeping up with percentages…

Yet, that is where we found ourselves… not only getting up the daily requirement that Faith’s coach had given the team but having to catch up for some travel days where we couldn’t make it to a court. So, I have my 13-yr-old daughter needing to take and record hundreds of shots in these conditions. (Let’s just say the shot chart has not been impressive.) [And remember, the days she missed on the court = missed shots… “you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”]

These conditions can be quite demoralizing… therefore, I have had to not just be the rebounder/counter/trainer, but also the sports psychologist. I’ve had to remind her of something I have coached for over 30 years… that good and bad shots are not determined by makes and misses… that it is possible to have a “good miss” or a “bad make.” The trainer in me has concentrated on alignment, follow through, hand position, shooting “soft” shots that give the ball a chance, etc. The psychologist in me has given praise for many, many repetitions that did not go in… reminding her that there is not such thing as a shooter’s roll on the unkind rims… that we are more concerned with shooting right than we are with the shot chart. (In fact, sometimes the shots went in even though the execution was wrong… just getting the ball up there at least gave it a chance to go in.)

I’ve taken pictures to show her errors in her delivery, but have over and over blurted out, “That one looked great! That was a good shot! That’s what we are looking for! What matters is we’re getting up shots!” I’ve reminded her that in a controlled environment like a gym, with a better ball, the percentages will look better. And we’ve had those streaks where she didn’t need to worry about the rims or the ball, as it would all come together, and she would string together some swishes…

I could go on and on with how basketball training has been going, but there is a devotional point to this… in our carrying out of the great commission these truths need to be heard.

1.       I mentioned that Faith was days behind because we couldn’t get to a court… although there is an element of truth to that, the reality is that if we prioritized it we could have made it to a rim somewhere… MOST of us go through most days without “getting up any shots” – without even making an attempt to “score” with the Gospel…
2.       When we do try to share the Gospel, we will often face difficult circumstances and we have to remember that we just need to focus on the execution of “shooting right” – we need to be self-aware of our delivery…
3.       Ultimately what matters is getting shots up - the Gospel is powerful and as long as it is being proclaimed it has a chance to “go in”!

In Philippians chapter 1, Paul is talking about some folks that are taking good shots and some that are taking bad shots… some preaching Christ (the Gospel) out of love… some preaching out of selfish gain… and here is what Paul the spiritual psychologist says: 18 So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! (The Message)

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Bottom Line: The Gospel needs to be shared! We need to be aware of how we share it so we deliver “soft” shots… We need to consistently Gracefully Share Grace!

Monday, November 12, 2018

November 12, 2018 - Who Are You Running With?

Recently I have had many conversations about who my favorite teams are… to which I always respond that I have none… I don’t have any team that I am fanatical over… I am a player-fan! I love to keep up with certain players no matter what team they happen to be on.

In the basketball world there always seems to be disparaging talk when players choose to go to a different team; yes, sometimes in professional sports this is because of a bigger paycheck somewhere, but often it is players admitting that they simply want a better chance of winning. (This doesn’t just take place at the pro level, as it obviously takes place at the collegiate level, the travel team level, and even the high school level… all with players looking for the best situation to insure success.)

This week the discussion is centered around the mega-move of Jimmy Butler being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler has been very disgruntled where he was at in Minnesota and has openly stated he just wants to win… And now the talking heads are debating if this makes the 76ers a title contender… if he will mesh well with their team.

But I am simply bringing it up because all that is happening is that Butler had expressed a desire, and was granted the opportunity, to run with a different set of teammates…

I’m not writing for us to debate how he went about it; but instead to state that I understand wanting to run with different guys… and think we all need to consider our teammates.

I was looking at Proverbs 12:26 on… when I clicked on parallel versions, I found quite a difference in the translation of the verse… so I went to and checked the interlinear version…

And then I settled on what I believe the verse is actually saying… and it states that we need to choose our running mates wisely.

This is the verse from the Youngs Literal Translation: 26 The righteous searcheth his companion, And the way of the wicked causeth them to err.

NKJV: 26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Find teammates to run with that will help you succeed!!!