Story of the day: A Slam Dunk
We love basketball. We love to see our oldest play the game. He truly is a natural. And yes, I know he is my son and all parent’s probably think this of their child, but he truly is gifted with this sport. It comes naturally to him and with more practice, his natural abilities, and some great coaching, he will be well underway. As I thought about basketball and how we can all probably pick up a book and learn the fundamentals about the game, which is important, sometimes just letting it flow naturally will get more natural results. I remembered a story that came out of Fresh Power a wonderful book written by Jim Cymbala.
He writes, “When I was only ten years old, my brother, Bob, gave me a paperback book on how to play basketball. Written by Red Auerbach, the legendary coach, general manager, and owner of the Boston Celtics, it was an excellent treatment of the fundamentals: footwork, defense, shooting, how to dribble the ball, how to pass, how to box out, how to fake. Soon I was trying out what I had learned in a little church gymnasium. Every Saturday morning Bob and I would get on the city bus, change to a second bus, and finally arrive at Quincy Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, where for up to three hours we would shoot baskets until my little arms were drooping.
Then it was back home to the bedroom we shared, where I would pull out the book once again to study the instructions, imagine the moves, and linger over the pictures of great Celtic players such as Bob Cousy and Tommy Heinsohn. In my boyhood eagerness I would practice in front of a mirror: Fake left, go right, just as Red Auerbach said.
The book was good….but as I grew older and started playing on my high school team, I found out what every athlete knows: Although it’s important to learn the fundamentals, they will never by themselves make you a champion. When you get into a game, you have to go with an inner sense of what will work instant by instant. I have seen players who have all the basics down packed but are still stiff and mechanical. They don’t seem to have that special sense that expresses itself in a smooth flow. That is why they will never get near the rhythm of Magic Johnson, a Larry Bird, or a Michael Jordon.
God intended His work–everything from teaching a Sunday School class to pioneering a brand-new missionary effort–to be marked by a similar flow of a spiritual kind. The Bible calls it being “led by the Spirit” (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18). Yes, there are important doctrinal principles to learn and Biblical facts to nail down, but at the same time, only God the Holy Spirit can weave them all together in a seamless, almost unconscious way so we can touch people with God’s message of love. What we need is that unique merger of divine truth, human personality, and Holy Spirit gifting that produces effective ministry for Christ.”
Quote of the day: Corrie ten Bloom
“I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled.”
Bible verse of the day: Ephesians 5:25
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You that You lead us by the Spirit. God, I pray for that “unique merger of divine truth, human personality, and the Holy Spirit gifting” so that in me You will produce a ministry that is effective for You. We all have special giftings and when used with the Holy Spirit leading the way, we will be able to express love to others in a smoother flow. Thank You for Your Son and for the countless times that You continue to forgive me, love me, and are there for me even when others aren’t. Thank You for just wanting to be my friend. I am so very humbled by Your Mercy, Grace, and Love that makes up probably just a smidge of all that You are. There are not enough words to describe You, and sometimes I just stand in Awe of all that You are. I thank You for my family, my friends, and people I have yet to meet. I pray a hedge of protection around them. I pray a special prayer of thankfulness for each of them and ask that You bless them in this day and continue to watch over them. I pray that they are given courage to speak Your name to others and that deep within them is planted a longing to know You even better than they already do. I Thank You for this day.
In Jesus Name I pray,