Eagles Basketball Club: Devotional

Tuesday, May 18
Dirty Paws

Dirty Paws
Monday, May 17th, 2010

"'Son,' he said to him, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
-Luke 15:31-32

I once overheard of a group of coaches discussing what they were going to do with a certain player who had problems following the team rules. He’d had plenty of issues, but the final straw came when they found out he was caught up in drugs. Some of the coaches wanted to kick the young man off the team, but the head coach did not. He justified keeping the young man on the team by telling this story…

“I once had a new puppy,” the head coach said. “It would come into the house and track mud all over the place. My wife was very upset, to say the least. One day, I’d had enough. The dog had to go. But then I started thinking. I realized that I’d really not worked with or taught that puppy much of anything. The reason he was tracking mud in the house was because I had failed to do my job.”

The rest of the coaches listened as he told this story. And as the head coach finished, he related to puppy back to this young player. “Before we turn our backs on this young man, I want us to ask ourselves if we can honestly say that we’ve done everything we can to help him learn how to be a quality young man.”

In Luke 15:11-32, we read “The Parable of the Lost Son.” The lost son is just like the coach’s troubled player and his muddy dog. They all had dirty paws. But even with our filth and sin, Jesus chooses not to give up on us. He continues to love us no matter what we do or how far we fall. And, in life, we have the opportunity to extend the same enduring love to those around us. We don’t have to give up on people when they fall short. Christ will give us the strength and wisdom to know how to keep loving others just as He keeps loving us.

Today, when we see someone who is struggling—maybe a teammate of ours—may we not turn our backs on them just because they have dirty paws.

Tuesday, October 21
"Service before Self"

"The servant hurried to meet her and said, 'Please give me a little water from your jar.' 'Drink, my lord,' she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, 'I'll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.'" -Genesis 24:17-19

Becky was the best player on her team. Every one wanted to play like Becky. She was a hard worker, but there was more to her than what people could see. On a road trip, the last freshman selected for the team that year broke her foot during a practice before a game. When they arrived at the hotel that night, Becky carried her teammate's bags to her room and asked her to stay with her. For the rest of the trip, Becky helped this little freshman with everything she needed.

 Abraham was looking for the right woman for his son, Isaac. He sent a servant back to his homeland to find such a person. The servant prayed to find just the right woman and along came Rebekah. Not only did Rebekah give him a drink, but also she took care of his camels. Ten camels that could drink about 20 gallons apiece (about the average amount of Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper most students drink in a day) would take about two hours to satisfy. This was the answer to the servant's prayer. Rebekah was the right one. Rebekah went the extra mile for this servant out of kindness, not duty. The "Rebekah Principle" is simple: go the extra mile for someone today. Help someone who could use a hand.

 Becky continued to care for her young teammate all throughout the trip. Her other teammates could not understand why the top player would serve a freshman, but Becky did not mind. She understood that God calls us to serve, not to be served. Becky did not care what her teammates thought about what she was doing. She lived to serve God and knew that God would want her to help this teammate in need.

 Are you applying the Rebekah Principle in your life today? Or are you applying minimal effort for a maximum return? God wants our ALL for nothing in return. If you apply the Rebekah Principle in your life, the return for your investment will have an eternal

Tuesday, October 21
"For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart." - Matthew 12:34b

In 1998, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat Northwestern 36-10, but personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct tainted the win. OSU's coach at the time, John Cooper, made a point to his number-one ranked team, emphasizing that there is no place in football for trash talking and taunting and that it can be a distraction more than a help. Guard Rob Murphy said, "He got his point across."


Discussing the numerous flags that were thrown during the game, Cooper demanded that the trash-talk behavior stop. Again Murphy said, "I agree. We need to play more and talk less."


"You can have a good, tough, hard-nosed football game without all that stuff," Cooper continued. "I think college football would want to do more to prevent trash talking. It seems like we're more worried about a guy celebrating in the end zone after a touchdown than with what else is going on during the game."


Is there a place in sports for trash talking? I don't think so, and I agree with coach Cooper that it is a distraction.


Jesus said, "For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart" (Matt. 12:34). As Rob Murphy said, "Play more and talk less." Play with the character that's reflective of a heart surrendered to the Lord. It is not our accomplishments that influence others, but our character. Trash talking means we must belittle our opponents in order to build ourselves up as greater and better than them. That type of behavior is both unsportsmanlike and unworthy of a follower of Christ.

Thursday, February 12


Taken from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes 

"Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment."
-John 7:24

Do you remember the first impression you had of your coach? What about the first time you met your teammates? Now that you know them, are they what they appeared to be at first glance?

In John 7:24, Jesus said, "Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment." First glances seldom produce an accurate assessment of the truth. Your first impressions of your teammates were probably proven wrong after you interacted with them and competed with them for a few weeks.
That's why Jesus said to not judge by appearances, which only address the surface. Jesus wants us to focus on the heart using righteous judgment.

Righteous judgment can see past the appearances and facades and can penetrate to the heart of the matter. Righteous judgment sees the motivations, desires and heart-felt qualities such as compassion and love.

As athletes and coaches, let's not be ruled by what we see on the surface. Let's look deeper--to the issues of the heart--and strive to call out the best in each other. Today, exercise righteous judgment and watch your team soar!

Monday, March 23
It's All About Heart, Baby!

READY:  “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)

SET:  It’s time for March Madness again, as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins today. It certainly is an exciting time of year.

Last year, in the first three rounds of the tournament, Davidson’s Stephen Curry absolutely torched teams, averaging 34.3 points per game and leading his team to their first Regional Championship since 1969. Though Kansas defeated Curry and the tenacious Davidson team in the Elite Eight, the Wildcats will still go down as the Cinderella team of 2008.

As a high school senior, Curry was overlooked by several big-time schools whose seasons ended long before Davidson’s in 2008. Curry was a scrawny, 6-1, 155-pound senior, considered too small and frail to handle the physical play of the AAC and SEC. Many major Division-I coaches could not get past his physique. But one coach, Bob McKillop, looked beneath the physical appearance and saw the heart of a champion.

After one of their tourney wins last season, Curry was asked if he was motivated to show all the coaches who turned him down that he could play at this level. Curry quietly replied, “I am self-motivated. I am motivated to play for my teammates and for God.” What a good lesson for us all. We need to understand that what is impossible for man is not impossible for God.

Curry’s story reminds me of another young man who was overlooked years ago. In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel was commissioned by God to go and anoint the second king of Israel. He was led to the home of Jesse the Bethlehemite, where God said he would find the one whom God Himself had chosen. When Samuel looked upon Eliab, he thought he’d found his man, based on Eliab’s appearance. But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his physical nature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV).

Eventually, the youngest son was brought before him, and the Lord instructed Samuel to anoint him. And sometime later, as David stood over the defeated body of Goliath, I can imagine Samuel must have felt the same confirmation in his heart that Coach McKillop felt seeing Curry lead Davidson deep into last year’s tournament.

Today, let’s remember that God has chosen the “weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). As David said before he slew Goliath, “All…shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 17:47).

Thursday, July 16
The Road Less Traveled

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” - Acts 20:24 (NIV) 

When I run, I really like to run through the woods as opposed to on the streets. I just like being with nature and running over and around tree roots instead of flat pavement. There was a 3.5-mile route I had learned that went around my school. I usually ran the same loop, sometimes backwards to mix it up. Every time I would run, though, I would pass another path I’d never tried that branched off into the woods. For a long time I would just run the same route, over and over again, always feeling an inner tug toward the other trail. I would always think to myself, “I like where I’m at. I know where I’m going; I’m comfortable with it. If I take that path, I could get lost. That other trail could be longer or more difficult.”

One day, I finally worked up enough courage to explore it—to take the different route and see where it led me. The trail took me through the best part of the woods and was both challenging and exhilarating. I’ve never regretted it, and I now love running it. Sure, it may be a little longer and more challenging, but it makes me a stronger and a better runner.

In life, we often feel that same tug from God. Maybe God is calling us to follow Him in some way that makes us uncomfortable. We have become so complacent with where we are that we don’t like the idea of changing our routine or scheduled plans. It may be tougher to follow God and the unknown road He’s asking us to take. That path might lead us to a college, team or career that we don’t understand or don’t initially want to pursue.

Read Acts 20:24 above. Paul’s statement illustrates a very extreme commitment to a God-ordained path. He was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of completing the task that Christ had given him. All too often we are trapped by our complacency. We like where we are, and we are too scared to break from our routine and follow the route that Christ has made for us, even though it is infinitely better than the one we are currently on. It may be tougher than what we’re used to, but, in the end, it will shape us spiritually and help us face future challenges.

Today, will you continue to run your comfortable route and pass by the path God has paved for you? Or, will you finally step up to the challenge for Him? The choice is yours.