Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Ballin' is a Habit

Ballin’ is a Habit

I have been blessed to follow Julian Wright through his college years at Kansas and now to talk to him via twitter and e-mail. Julian played for the Kansas Jayhawks from 2005-2007 and decided to enter the NBA draft in 2007 where he was drafted 13th overall by the New Orleans Hornets. Julian played for the Hornets, Raptors and the Toros of the D-League, He currently plays for the Maccabi Rishon LeZion professional basketball team in Israel.
The past few weeks he has really encouraged me by his quotes on twitter and his videos on you tube. I tweeted him and asked him if he would be willing to do an interview with me and he said, sure why not. I sent him an e-mail with the following questions and he was willing to answer them all. Hopefully after you read his answers you will be blessed to know that Julian is a god fearing man and let his answers encourage you to tell your story of how Christ has changed your life.

I loved to watch him play both in College and in the pros. He sent this e-mail to me via his i-phone which to me is pretty cool.

“I’m honored that you reached out to me. We all have a story and I just want to be bold and let my light shine as bright as it can, in the midst of this dark world. Times are rapidly changing and we have to be watchful and guard our hearts and conscious daily.”

Stay encouraged friend,
Julian Wright

Tell me a little about yourself-where u from?
My full name is Julian Emil-Jamaal Wright and I’m twenty five years old. I was born in Chicago and eventually lived in Chicago Heights, a south suburban city of Chicago.

What made you go to Kansas?
The reason I decided to play for Coach Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks is because of their storied program as well as his straightforwardness in assuring me that I’d have to work for my playing time. However, I knew with four seniors leaving, I’d have a legitimate shot at playing and hopefully continuing the legacy of dominance.

How did it feel to be a Jayhawk?
It felt great then, and it feels great to be a Jayhawk! It is a family atmosphere and it was as if it expedited me into becoming a well-rounded young man. I learned many life lessons while playing in Lawrence, Kansas, and I cherish all of my memories.

How does it feel to play basketball in Israel?
It’s been an exciting experience playing in Israel. I’m starting to get used to the playing style out here and I’m also learning Hebrew, which has been a lot of fun!

Do you miss the NBA? Do you want to play in the NBA again?
I miss the level of play, in terms of the NBA style of play, but as a professional I’m grateful to be playing a child’s game for paychecks. I wouldn’t mind returning to the NBA someday. I think I have the skill-set but I’ll just need the repetitions to match my once again, found confidence.

Game day ritual:
I am not a really superstitious person so I’d just say my game day ritual consists of praying that nobody gets hurt.

Can you tell be about your Spiritual Journey in life:
My spiritual journey has been filled with ups and downs, as almost everybody’s is, I’m sure. For many years, I’d been what you would call, a carnal minded saint. I had truly believed in Jesus but I wouldn’t allow Him to truly transform my life into a new creature in Him. I have no regrets though, because I’ve looked my experiences as a way to help others hopefully not make the same mistakes I have made.

When did you start your journey with Christ?
I can say I truly gave myself to Christ when I was seventeen years old. I grew up going to church services ever since I was born but I had to come to know Christ for myself and not feel pressured by man to go forth during an altar call, so to speak. I’m thankful God did not allow me to taste death without tasting His Salvation!

Who instilled your faith in you?
I’d say my mother (Gina Wright) has been my spiritual mentor, if you will. She kept encouraging me to have a relationship with God and Jesus. I trusted my mother’s advice because I saw how faithful she’s been to God and didn’t grow weary, even in tough times. Her faith strengthened me to make something of myself and not settle for being mediocre. That went for my athletic, academic, personal, and spiritual life.

Was there someone one in your life who influenced you spiritually?
My mother has great friends who I’ve looked up for encouragement (especially males) but I can’t place my finger on any one person in particular. I see it as a collective effort with all of those who are in Christ, contributing.

Is there someone now that helps you in your spiritual walk?
Even though my mother has been a great help in my spiritual walk, I know I can read the Word of the Most High God and pray to Him in the name of Jesus and He’ll see about little ‘ol me.

Where do you attend church at?
I’m currently keeping my eyes, ears, and spirit, open for a place to assemble in Israel.. It’s quite scarce compared to the United States, but I love to get on message boards and Facebook pages, for instance, and assemble there with like-minded saints.

Did you ever have to choose between faith and sports growing up and today?
I don’t feel I have consciously chosen sports over faith. I’ve backslidden at times due to many worldly distractions and peer pressure but now that I’m coming into my own, as a confident man, I’m trying my best to not compromise my faith for anything or anybody.

Is it hard to be a Christian and play professional basketball?
I don’t feel it’s hard to be a saint while playing professional basketball. I look at my profession as a means to provide for myself and my family but my faith in Christ, hopefully glorifying Him and for people not to see me but see Christ’s Spirit dwelling inside of me.

Does your teammates know you’re a Christian?
I am sure some of my teammates know about my faith in Christ. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ so I have told some people in the flow of conversations, but I’d rather let my actions be the testimony.

Has sports challenged your faith?
Sports has definitely challenged my faith due to the various backgrounds in which many players come from, and now we are around each other closely, for months and even years. Sometimes it can feel like living for the Lord can come off as being better than a non-believer but I know that I, am not worthy of eternal life, by myself alone.

What does it mean to be a role model?
I think being a role model requires humility and having a high moral standard. I also think a role model should encourage others to persevere if a given situation seems rough and to have a mind of their own and think critically.

Is it hard as a Christian athlete w temptations that are all around you?
There are many temptations that come along with playing professional basketball; to live luxurious, to party and live for the moment, as they say, so I try to stay prayerful and ask for strength to get through my days.

Before a game do you spend time in prayer?
I try to spend time praying every day so naturally, I try to pray to God daily and thank Him for this opportunity to make a living and be a blessing to others as well.

Does the team pray?
My current team doesn’t pray together but in America, almost every team I’ve been, did pray before games and even practices.

Is there other teammates who share your faith?
I haven’t gotten into deep discussions with any of my teammates but with me being in the Holy Land, at least there isn’t a famine with God being talked about.

Fav scripture?
I can’t pick one favorite scripture but I’d say two of my favorites are John 4:24 and John 14:6.

What verse has been the most powerful to you with your walk with Christ and how has it?
I’d say a powerful verse that has stuck with me on my walk with Christ is Matthew 10:16. In paraphrasing, Christ has charged those who truly believe in Him, to be wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. Christ was full of wisdom and He used the Word (the Law and the Prophets) to perfectly navigate through this world filled with deception and temptation. He repeatedly preached against the Pharisees and Sadducees, who claimed to be the wisest and “holier-than-thou.” I feel that I’m charged to proclaim the gospel to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, yet stand for truth and continuously seek it in God’s Word.

I have a 11 yr old son who plays basketball, what advice would you give him?
My advice for your eleven-year old son and any adolescences who want to play basketball is try to have fun and work on fundamentals. It’s cool to watch professional players make fancy plays but they’ve gotten to that level by hard work, and mastering the basics first.

How do you think the Jayhawks will do this year?
I’m trying to keep up with my Jayhawks as much as I can! I think the Jayhawks have a solid team, with a combination of youth and experience, ripe for a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Any other comments you might like to say.
In closing, I believe we are in the Last Days and it’s imperative that we all strive to improve our spiritual journey with Christ. According to Romans 11, God has not forgotten His people (Israel) regardless of what man’s thought’s and suggestions have been. There is still a bloodline (not a religion) of people among us who come from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, scattered all over the world. However, regardless of a person’s lineage (Israelite or a Gentile) I believe our duty is to be bold and share the gospel when we are led to. We should pray for godly wisdom and discernment to withstand the daily temptations throughout our human experience.

Shalom
Julian

I truly believe he is right about how we all need to strive to improve our spiritual life. The question is how are you improving your walk with Christ? I hope his story can encourage  you to share your faith with others around you.  Thanks Julian for sharing your heart, passion and love for Christ with us. May God bless you in your walk with him and may one day we have a chance to pray together.

The Miami Heat: A Lesson In Humility

Posted: June 23, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in NBA, Sports Devotionals

Photo Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)

The whole sports world is buzzing over the coronation of the “king”. On Thursday night, the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. More importantly, it was the first NBA Championship ring for Lebron James. The man who had the infamous “Decision” two years ago now finally got his time in the limelight for the right reasons. He told ESPN that it was about time and he was right.

After nine years of high expectations that were Jordanesque, playoff failures, and comments about telling the media to live our lives, LeBron finally got that title. Two years ago, I was a Lebron James fan. Then, when he announced his decision to join Dwyane Wade in South Beach, I became a person that rooted against him. I was so happy last year when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks showed that you could still win the championship as a team and not just because you have two superstars.

However, in these playoffs, we saw a different Miami Heat team. They went through so much adversity whether it was the series deficits to Indiana and Boston, the injury to Chris Bosh, a Game 1 2nd half collapse against OKC or cramps to James in Game 4, Miami always had an answer. They fed off the tough Finals’ loss from a year ago and realized that we couldn’t just win the championship by showing up. There had to be hard work put in and teamwork that was shown with James and Wade getting guys like Bosh, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers involved in the offense.

I always thought after last year, especially with the big party the Big Three threw after the Decision, that this team was too focused on their egos and that greatness was just going to come in a matter of seconds. You can just flashback to the not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 titles comments by James at that party as an example.

Thursday night, I heard a different LeBron James and one that I could get back to not disliking him again because I think he finally felt humble and realized he needed to win this not for the haters, but for himself and his teammates. Take a look at some quotes I took from the Game 5 postgame news conference.

“It took me to go all the way to the top and then hit rock bottom to realize what I needed to do as a professional athlete and as a person,” he said. “I was just happy I was able to get back to this position. I was happy I was able to do it the right way, and do it for myself and not for anyone else.”

“The best thing that happened to me was losing the Finals, and me playing the way I played,” he revealed, “because basically, I got back to the basics. I knew I was going to have to change as a basketball player and as a person to get what I wanted. It just happened one year later.” (NBA.com)

As Christians, we can all learn a lesson from LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It is all about being humble. We can have good success at our jobs or with our friends and feel good about it, but the danger comes when we think we are the greatest. It becomes a trap of falling in love with wordly things rather than focusing on God above who gives us the gifts to achieve that success and His unfailing love that brings us encouragement to succeed.

The perfect example of that humility is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul talks about Jesus’ loving example in his epistle to the Philippians. He talks about us taking on the interests of others rather than ourselves, but more importantly, imitating the mindset of Jesus. God’s Son was of high esteem in Heaven, but because God loved us so much, He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins so that by faith in who He is and what He did we could be forgiven. Talk about going from the top of the mountain to being mocked on the cross as a criminal. This is what Paul writes:

“but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:7-10)

Now LeBron is not Jesus, but looking at “king James” helps to remind me of the true KING! Jesus is the King of Kings and He is great and Holy! Today, I exhort you to trust in the Lord in all things and continue to remain humble. Always put the Lord first in everything that you do because without Him, none of it would be possible. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew: 

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”(Matthew 23:12)

I pray that I, as well as all of you, continue to remember that the Lord gives us our platforms to spread the Gospel, and, even though some might praise us for our efforts, remember that all the praise and the glory does not go to us, it goes to the Lord! We do it ALL FOR HIM!

 

Marquis Daniels and Psalm 91

Posted: June 15, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews, NBA

Photo Credit: Matthew West

In our next interview series, I talked with Boston Celtics’ guard Marquis Daniels. Daniels graduated from Auburn University as a shooting guard where he was second team all-SEC in 2003. He was undrafted, but signed by the Dallas Mavericks and made NBA all-rookie 2nd team in his first year. Currently, Daniels is a reserve for the Boston Celtics.

Even though the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals fell a bit short when they lost a seven game series to the Miami Heat, Boston still had a great season. He played in an average of twelve minutes per game and averaged three points per game for Doc Rivers’ club.

When I talked with him, his faith really stood out to me. As you read this interview, keep in mind the influence his grandparents had on his faith as well as his favorite Bible chapter always being a constant reminder to him. Enjoy the Interview and God Bless!

1. First off, Marquis, how did you come to know the Lord?

M: My grandfather and grandmother were the pastor and mother of our church, so I was in church every Wednesday and Sunday.  I had no options but to get to know the LORD!!
2. Who have been your Christian role models both off the court and on the court? How?

M: My role models off the court has been my bigma who I was speaking about earlier, she has been the glue to my family and she’s never lost her faith and continues to serve the lord to this day, as far as on the court I haven’t really had any sit downs with anyone to really get into there spiritual world!

3. If you can name your favorite verse or a verse that exemplifies your walk with Christ, what would it be and why?

M: My favorite verse is Psalms 91. I have the whole verse tatted on my side word for word. I used to have to read to my grandparents frequently due to their eye problems and my grandfather was blind.

4. Do you think religion and sports can co-exist in the locker room today? Why or Why not?

M: I think it can co-exist, you see players praying in there lockers before they take the court, but everyone has different views on religion, so I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem!

5. If a teammate came up to you asking about your faith, what would you say to them?

M: I’m not afraid to acknowledge my LORD and savior and I’m open to discuss with anyone to see how they view things.  I may  learn something from them as I hope they can gain knowledge from me!!
After Marquis mentioned Psalm 91 to me, I gave it a read and it was a very encouraging chapter. One verse stuck out to me in particular because it shows that in any situation, the Lord is there to protect us in any situation. As Christians, we need to remember that in spite of our circumstances sometime, we can look to God for strength.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your waysOn their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)

We thank Marquis for taking the time out of his day to interview with us about his faith!

A 100% Chance With God

Posted: June 2, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in NBA

Photo Credit: Getty Images

One of the more controversial topics surrounding sports lately has been the NBA Draft Lottery. People today have been skeptical of the process and especially about who wins the number one pick in the NBA Draft coming up at the end of the month. The Charlotte Bobcats had a 25% chance to win the lottery after posting the worst winning percentage ever in a single season.

With that record, you get the most ping pong balls and a better chance of that ball being picked to make that selection. This year’s selection was going to be valuable with the possible pick of an impact big man in center Anthony Davis. Unfortunately, they did not get their ball picked. The New Orleans Hornets won the lottery with a 13% chance.

People think that a fix is in especially since the NBA owned the Hornets this year, nixed their trade with the Lakers involving star point guard Chris Paul and the possibility of commissioner Stern promising Saints’ owner Tom Benson the number one pick if he bought the team. First off, there is no fix because why would someone risk a federal crime to do something like that? Second, New Orleans definitely needs Anthony Davis, but it does not take them from doormat to title contender right now? Probably not!

When it comes to the Lord, He always wants to draw our proverbial ping pong ball and choose us to be with Him! We also know that only the Lord controls what happens to us. One of those lessons comes from the book of Proverbs, which reads “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)

Once we make the decision to follow the path that the Lord decides for us, we get a gift that God will always choose for us. That is salvation! God allows us to win that lottery every time because He is the only one that can grant us this holy gift. Just look at what the apostle Peter tells the Sanhedrin in the book of Acts!

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Is the fix in for this gift? No, we do not need to rely on anything else. For its by God’s grace that we are saved and not by our own merits. We are all God’s children and no one is looked at any different than any other person. Once Christ suffered and died for us, we are no longer under the curse of the Law.

However, it is not just about saying that we belong to God, we also have to follow His plan for us once we are selected. We have a role to serve God with our abilities and follow His will. Jesus tells the people that in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

Today, I exhort you to look at yourself and realize that with Christ, you have won the lottery! You have the gift of salvation that can only be received through calling on the name of our Lord and Savior. However, there are many times where we take the gift for granted. In those situations, we need to use the abilities God gave us and do what He wants, not what we want!

Mother’s Day

Posted: May 12, 2012 by John D. Hayden in NBA, Sports Devotionals

I have been watching the NBA playoffs this year mostly because my favorite teams: The Thunder and the Celtics are still in it. Something I have noticed lately is how many times the camera focuses on a players mother and then the commentators make a comment about her. I have seen Kevin Durant’s mom on the screen several times this year smiling, clapping and at times jumping up and down and cheering for her son.
I even had the opportunity to visit with a mother who’ son plays basketball for the Jayhawks. Even during the Championship game this year, the camera focused on her face for a quick second. It is great to have the support of your mom while you pursue your dreams. It is great to watch these Mom’s on the camera cheering and even at times crying for their sons.

God tells us in Ephesians 6:1-3:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Growing up I always dreamed about being the next John Elway and John Stockton. My Grandpa told me that I had a great arm and should play quarterback. I played neighborhood football and even flag football but when it was time to play tackle my dream was crushed. My mom wouldn’t let me play because she was afraid I would get injured and break my neck. So instead of playing football my parents bought me a moped and on the first day to drive it, I wrecked it and broke my collarbone. So basketball was my next dream to fufill but again my dream was crushed because Im not a great basketball player. I played in Junior High and my mom was at every game cheering me on even when I was on the bench.
When I got into High School, I decided to go out for track cause I thought I could be in the Olympics one day. (very funny) So I signed up to run distance and throw the Javelin. Well I never made it to the Olympics but I did get to run the 800 at the Ulysses Invitational track meet in front of hundreds of people. To be completely honest I cheated at track by not practicing like I should havs. Our coach would drop us off at in the countrt and we would need to run back to the track. Well I had a friend pick me up and drop me off a block from the track and I would get some water to wet myself down to look like I was sweating. So on the day of our invitational track meet I get to show everyone that Im not in shape at all. So we line up for our race, the gun goes off and Im in first place for awhile until I totally run out of gas and everyone passes me and I end up in last place. I keep running and get passed again by half of the runners. Everyone makes it to the finish line except for me and before I even get there they are starting up another race. I decide to just quit until I hear this voice saying, you can do it John David. That voice was my sweet mother who has always been there for me during this race called life.
I finished that race and my mom just a few months ago finished her race. This year has been really tough for me, losing my job and losing my mom. My mom is my hero, my spiritual mentor, my support and who I dearly miss. I regret not being able to see her as much as I would have like too. Tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day and this will be the first year I wont be able to call my mom or send her a card in the mail.
Just as Timothy had his mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice, pass their faith to him, my mom did the same for my sister and me.
She would pray for me, she would read the bible to me, she took me to worship right after I was born and taught me about what Jesus did for me. My mom, Sandra Hayden, never had a camera focused on her, never had the tv commentators talk about her but my mom is the greatest mom that a son could ever have.
Today I want to shine the spotlight on her and let the world know how blessed I am to have her in my life. When football, basketball and track didnt work out, Tennis was my next choice and at every tennis match there was my mom cheering me on even when she didnt know the rules of the game. Every dream I has my mom supported me in it even when some of those dreams never were fulfilled. It is because of the values, principles, morals that she lived by and passed on to me is the reason Im the man who I am today.
She taught me how to love, laugh, dream, live for Jesus, be a servant, care for others, smile and make others wonder what you are up to and she taught me to be myself. I remember my Junior year of high school when I got into a fight with Greg Oxford. I pushed him because he made fun of my mom and when I turn back around he punched me in the nose and I bled everywhere. My mom was 4′ 8″ and I was teased about her in junior high and high school. This particular day my mom had to come and pick me up from school. When the principal told her the story of what happened and the reason I got into this fight, she started to cry because I stood up for her.
There are so many stories about her but I want to leave you with one. When she was in the hospital in Wichita, KS dealing with bleeding and her liver I wanted to go see her but I didnt have the money to go. I called her a few times and the last time I talked to her was when she was in the ICU because of a sweet nurse letting my mom use her phone. During our phone conversation everytime I wanted to ask how she was she ended up turning it around asking about how I was and how my family was. She knew we were struggling and cared so much about our pain and forgot about her own. She told me on the phone to be strong, trust God, love my family, tell my family she loved them and to never give up on my dreams. That was the last time I talked to her and two days later my wife shows up to work to tell me my mom died. I miss you mom so much but I know you are in Heaven cheering me on like you always did and from the crowd yelling at me, John David, you can do it and keep running the race and never give up.
So this Mother’s Day, wrap your mothers with love and show them how much you admire them and appreciate them because you never know how much longer you will have them in your life.
Happy Mother’s Day to the greatest mom who ever lived and who taught me so much. I love you
mom !!

Forgiving Others Who Do Wrong

Posted: March 31, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in NBA

(Photo Credit: UPI/NY Post)

Throughout the course of the Linsanity stage in New York City, one story exemplified how the whole backstory of Knicks’ point guard Jeremy Lin was seen in New York City. Over a month ago, after New York’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets, ESPN.com posted an article that got the whole nation stirred up.

The writer’s name was Anthony Federico. The editor posted “Chink In The Armor” to refer to New York’s loss and was later suspended by ESPN. Federico apologized after the comment and said he had no racial intention in mind. Federico was later re-hired by ESPN. You would think Lin and his family would be furious after that. Well, if that was your mindset, then you are sadly mistaken.

I was reading an article on Yahoo Sports this week and found something very amazing. Lin took time out of his busy schedule with the Knicks and emailed him asking to have lunch with him. Below is the excerpt from the article that Federico gave about the get together:

“The fact that he reached out to me,” Federico said. “The fact that he took the time to meet with me in his insanely busy schedule … He’s just a wonderful, humble person. He didn’t have to do that, especially after everything had kind of died down for the most part.

“We talked more about matters of faith [and] reconciliation. We talked about our shared Christian values and what we’re both trying do with this situation . We didn’t talk about the headline for more than three minutes.”

Sometimes, it is not easy for us to forgive other people. We may feel totally offended about what someone says about us or hold a grudge over being bullied, harassed, etc. Revenge could be on an individual’s mindset when that happens. However, as Christians, we need to take a look at what our Lord and Savior would do in this situation.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus shows us this scenario. He tells one of His famous parables to His disciple Peter. In this passage, the Lord wants us to settle disputes with our brothers and sisters and not to hold grudges. Take a look at the passage:

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. (Matthew 18:21-23)

Today, I exhort you to follow the example of our Lord, who even while on the cross, asked God to forgive the people who crucified Him because they had no idea they were actually fulfilling the plan for our SALVATION! (Luke 23). I know, personally, it is tough for me to forgive others who do wrong to me because my feelings can be severely hurt. But, that is where prayer and the strength from the Holy Spirit can lead us into saying these three simple words:  “I Forgive You”

It is so hard for us to do sometimes, but, for me, it is so awe-inspiring to imagine how easy it is for the Lord to forgive our constant wrongdoings.  Sometimes, we have to make that sacrifice just as Jesus did for us when He sacrified His life on the cross. Jesus paid that penalty so that you and I can come to the cross in faith and have mercy freely given to us by the Father!

Even when we violate simple commandments the Lord has given us, God is right there ready for us to turn to Him and welcome us back home. So, why can’t we be like that and welcome our brothers and sisters back into our life?

The Apostle Paul gives us that exhortation in his epistle to the people of Colosse:

“And, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13)

In fact, one of the more important evidences of salvation is forgiveness. When we recite the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He tells them “but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”(Matthew 6:15). It is a difficult task sometimes, but I also exhort you to make that sacrifice and forgive others who have treated you wrong. Show them the way to salvation and help them to walk in the ways of the Lord rather than hold a grudge against them!

Two Weeks of Linsanity: Give It All To The Lord

Posted: February 25, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in NBA

(Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II / AP)

Being a New Yorker and a writer on this blog, people have asked me as of late to give my take on the recent events of Linsanity. New York Knicks’ point guard Jeremy Lin has taken the basketball world by storm on and off the court.

On the court, Lin has been the answer the Knicks have been looking for. In 11 starts this season, the former Harvard guard has averaged 22 points and about nine assists per game. He has been able to flourish in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane system. The pick-and-roll has been thriving at Madison Square Garden. New York has turned from a team searching for answers to a team with a fan base thinking about the possible potential of this team to make a playoff run come May and maybe even June.

Off-the-court, Lin has been living for Christ with his play and giving it all up to the Lord. For example, the Linsanity hit a bump in the road Thursday night after New York lost to the top team in the East, the Miami Heat, 102-88. Lin played the worst game of his NBA career with just eight points and three assists. He also made just one shot from the floor in eleven attempts and turned the ball over seven times. Miami made him frustrated with their quick defensive schemes and the stealing ability of Mario Chalmers in the back court.

After the game, Lin met the media and one question he answered made me say Praise God! It was towards the end of the press conference when two reporters asked him, Is there anything you would say about all of this that is too much or too heavy for you?

Lin replied “No, in my mind, it’s very clear what I want to do. I’m okay without the headlines. I try to focus on my team, playing for God”

Then another reporter replied “How are you able to hold it together?”

Lin:“ I don’t hold on to it. I surrender it to God and give it up to Him! Let everything outside of my control be what it may be.”

When thinking back about the past six months and the two prominent athletes in the media, Lin and Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow, I stop and just want to praise the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for putting these people here to spark conversation not just about sports, but about faith in general. We see these athletes go through adversity and people saying they can’t succeed, but they don’t let any of it go to their heart because they know with the Lord, nothing is impossible! (Matthew 19:26)

In an interview that Lin did with a Taiwanese Evangelical Christian channel, GoodTV, Lin talks about his favorite Bible verse and how it reflects the struggles he has gone through in his life, whether it was being cut by two NBA teams or getting no athletic scholarships in college. The verse he shares that is his favorite is Romans 5:3-5.

In this chapter, Paul writes “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

(Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

This verse speaks out to me because I take a look at my life and realize that everyone goes through struggles. Whether it is finding a job, getting through school, an addiction, or even struggling with faith, the Lord puts us in these positions so that we may find hope in Him! If you put your faith in the Lord, He will guide your steps and in time, His will for your life will come into fruition.

It is easy for our faith to be weakened in the Lord because we may not get the results from our prayers and petitions right away or there is a temptation that we feel we cannot overcome.

Today, however, I exhort you to look into the first book to the Corinthians, which is one of my favorite books of the Bible and take a look at Chapter 10. In this chapter, the apostle Paul takes a look at the power of the Lord and how He would not put us in a position to fail.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

This verse has made me think that even though the weight of the world is on our shoulders and we have too many hats in different places, so to speak, the Lord will provide us a way and an opening to get out of it and return to Him! I pray today that in times of struggle, you will continue to look to the Lord and realize that whatever problem you may face, God is with you ALWAYS. Keeping the faith strong is the most important part to overcoming temptation, so keep that trust that Jesus knows what’s best for you and continue to stay patient and pray for His will to enter into your life.