Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010 - Another Level

I had the privilege this past weekend of hosting the most insanely intense basketball clinician I have ever witnessed. This guy was an incredible teacher and motivator. He was able to teach not only things that will help the players in basketball but also incredible life skills. (His name is Jason Otter. I highly recommend booking his organization for basketball camps. See

A few of the things he emphasized really jumped out at me. They reminded me that all of the truths that make one successful in life can ultimately be traced back to God’s Word. Let me give you 3 quick examples:

1. As a player Jason emphasized having balance and a solid core. He spent a lot of time working on how to physically not be moved. I believe that is the same message that Paul spiritually gave the Corinthians when he told them to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

2. As a player Jason emphasized the importance of “living low.” He was emphasizing how much more acceleration one gets and how much more ground gets covered by doing this. The Scriptures give the same command of “living low.” Paul tells the Philippians in chapter 2 to “in lowliness of mind” to consider others as “more important than self”; he reminds us that our example is Christ Himself.

3. Jason also emphasized efficiency of movement. He very clearly broke down the physical movements required to maximize one’s speed and ground coverage. This to is a great spiritual principle. Paul tells the Ephesians to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” In the same chapter it compares not walking in wisdom with being drunk and tells us that being unwise is “dissipation” or in other words “wasted movement” in life.

Jason’s dedication to his craft reminded me how important our “spiritual training” is in life. Jason’s desire for these basketball players is to take them to another level. My desire through the sharing of God’s Word with you is the same: help you take it to another level!

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 - RETRO

“Been there; done that!” There is something to be said for those with experience. Like the old saying goes, “experience is the best teacher.”

We live in a world that is always looking for new cutting edge ideas and approaches to things. Often times I hear things called “old-fashioned” just because it is the way it was done by our parents or grandparents.

I admit I am “retro” as a coach. I believe in the fundamentals of the game. I believe in hard work and selfless passion. I believe in (as John Wooden would say) the name on the front of the jersey being more important than the name on the back. I admit that I think the “old days” gave us a better picture of teamwork and commitment. (Although the retro game shorts that were worn I can do without - not the picture I like to remember.)

I remember coaches being so frustrated if a player dribbled between his legs or behind his back. There would often be a scream that we were there to play basketball, not dance! I understand that philosophy and yet I teach dribbling between the legs and behind the back; but as part of the fundamentals to get the job done – not to dance!

In other words new things are fine as long as they don’t distort the principles of old. I think styles are fine as long as they don’t replace substance. We do not need to throw out the past but should learn from it. The past is our foundational or fundamental principles to live by.

The Bible is not old-fashioned! It is absolutely relevant for today! I am all for contemporary things yet often find an absence of good “old-fashioned” truth.

I am reminded of the song the group 4Him did many years ago. It said “we need to get back to the basics of life…”

Does God’s Word play an important part in your day? Are you allowing it to transform your mind?

Psalm 119:31 gives you a simple thought on the importance of God’s Word: I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!

I am “retro” in that I go back to the basics of God’s Word!

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010 - Strong Enough To Lose

For those of you that are athletes I have some questions: Are you a player that often questions calls from the ref? Do you second-guess your coach? When on the playground do you end up in a lot of disputes over calls?

What about off the court (for athletes, former athletes, non-athletes)? Is your life characterized by arguments to get your way? Maybe this takes place on the job, at school, or at home - you find yourself in altercations.

Why do you end up in disputes? Maybe you feel you have to stand up for your rights (no self-respecting American would get walked on.) Maybe you justify by saying you simply want the truth to be known – you want justice! Maybe you just can’t help pointing out that you are right and somebody else blew it.

When it all comes down to it there is one singular cause to arguing – PRIDE! Even when you are right, pride can rear its ugly head in demanding that others see it. And most of the time the argument is just a smoke screen to cover that you were wrong – you messed up!

We each need to determine if we are more concerned with our American approach of “Don’t tread on me!” or in the Christian response of willfully considering others as more important than self. Will we demand our rights or will we walk an extra mile when 1 mile is demanded of us. Will we get what we deserve or give the shirts off of our backs? (See Philippians 2 and Matthew 5)

Are you strong enough to humble yourself? Are you strong enough to let others get the spotlight? Are you strong enough to be seen as weak? Are you strong enough to lose the argument? What Christ called us to is not the norm!

Proverbs 13:10 By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord, but wise men and women listen to each other's counsel. (The Message)

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010 - Visualization - Perspiration = Frustration

Happy Labor Day - what a great time to be reminded about the value of hard work! Over and over I am reminded that anything worth having is worth working for. I am reminded that dreams and visions are fulfilled by blood, sweat, and tears.

Last night my son was watching some basketball videos on YouTube and came up stairs telling me about one where the coach encouraged his players to sit with a ball in hand every night before going to sleep; then close their eyes and mentally think through their free throw routine, envisioning 10 straight swishes. This is called visualization.

Although I see some merit with that, I also know that visualization without perspiration leads to frustration. Dreaming (visualization) doesn’t fill a hungry belly. Proverbs 16:26 says it this way: “Appetite is an incentive to work; hunger makes you work all the harder.” (The Message)

Liberty and freedom are direct results of hard work and sacrifice. Our salvation is the result of Christ’s sacrifice. Anything that we strive to accomplish in life is a result of our hard work and sacrifice.

Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table. (Proverbs 14:23)

“Without labor nothing prospers.”
- Sophocles

“The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work, stretch out in the sun, and scratch himself.” ~H.L. Mencken

What are you hungry for? What do you dream about? It is time to put in some hard work!