Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 25, 2008 - Penetrate the Zone

As I watched the USA men’s basketball team in the gold medal game I noticed some great life lessons. I was thrilled that we ended up back on the podium getting “gold.” I also thought the team from Spain showed incredible heart throughout the game. It truly was a fun game to watch, in spite of being up until 4:30AM with church that morning.

The lesson I want to discuss this week involves some of the philosophy during the game. Late in the game Spain chose to go to a zone defense against the USA. The reason is that the American team is so athletic it is hard to guard them man-to-man; and the American teams of late haven’t exactly been known for their shooting ability.

This defensive strategy paid some great dividends and actually helped Spain close the gap on the scoreboard and put a scare in the US. As I was watching it unfold I told my son to look at the openings in the seams of the zone. I mentioned that normally LeBron James gets in those gaps and penetrates the zone. (Yet LeBron was on the bench at the time.) Shortly after I told my son this, Doug Collins said the same thing from his broadcaster’s seat. It was glaringly evident that the American team was settling for passing the ball around the perimeter and was not getting good scoring opportunities.

Well you probably know by now that LeBron came back in and the American’s righted the ship. The open three pointers they were able to get came as a result of penetrating the zone and then dishing out.

Ok, so now that I have been talking coaching strategy concerning the hardwood, let me shift gears a bit and discuss strategy in the life of the church. We spend way too much time “passing around the perimeter”! We tend to stay comfortably outside the walls of the “defense” and will hope to get off a “clean shot” every once in a while. Those can appear to be “desperate shots.” We need to “penetrate the defense of the opponent”

Let me be very clear. We spend way too much time trying to look good and be appealing in our church buildings and far too little time following Christ’s commands to “GO!” granted we are “not of this world” but we are reminded that we are “in the world”!

The religious people were angry with Christ because He mingled with the commoners, the sinners. He went where the people were that needed Him! The Apostles all lived by commands to go and be among the people. Study the life of Christ and the Apostles – and be reminded of the active Christianity of the Bible.

We need to stop “playing” passively! We need to penetrate into the heart of our opponent’s “zone!”

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