Getting In The Game Series
Contributed by Jeff Strite on Mar 5, 2012 (message contributor)
Summary: Are you sitting the bench, or are you on the floor playing for your master? (Features videos of Jeremy Lin and his faith). Consider the common Bible and Basketball themes in this sermon.
(We used the first 2:17 minutes of this online video. It’s a series of highlights of Jeremy Lin’s powerful game-winning performance against the New Jersey Nets February 4th, 2012)
What you just observed is called Lin-sanity.
Jeremy Lin is newest the sensation of the NBA season. In the few short weeks since the game you just saw highlights from, the sales of his jerseys have skyrocketed to the most top selling item on the NBA market. In addition, his name is being placed on basketballs, shoes, hats, toys, etc. He has become one of the most popular basketball players of this season.
Lin is a Harvard Graduate. And while at Harvard, he led that college’s basketball team to a record 21 wins. Because of his stellar performance, he was able to enter the NBA and begin to fulfil his dreams to be a professional basketball player.
The only problem was – the NBA if filled with some of the best basketball players in the nation. And he was only one of many. And most teams weren’t all that impressed with him.
The Dallas Mavericks had him for a time
As did the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
But he was eventually passed on to the NY Knicks (where he now plays).
But even Knicks Coach said: “I didn’t know he could play defense, I didn’t think he could shoot well enough and I didn’t think he could go up and finish. I’m going, ‘He can’t finish, can’t shoot, can’t play defense. I like his speed, but I don’t know.”
Because of those doubts, Knicks were planning to trade Lin for another player on Feb. 10th.
But then – just 6 days before that deadline - came February 4th. The Knicks faced the New Jersey Nets… and two of their best players were on the injured list. But even with those players, the Knicks were a terrible team – they’d lost far more games than they won that season.
When their point guard became injured, the Coach reluctantly put in Lin… and the world turned upside down. Lin led the Knicks to a 99-92 victory AND outplayed All-Star guard Deron Williams, scoring 25 points, and having five rebounds, and seven assists.
From that point on, Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to win the next 6 games, becoming an overnight sensation… and the press eagerly awaited interviews with him.
APPLY: But up until February 4, 2012 - nobody believed in Jeremy Lin.
3 teams had passed on him and the Knicks were just a week away from trading him
With excellent hindsight - Kobe Bryant said he would fire EVERYONE who underrated Jeremy Lin when he came out of Harvard
But NOBODY wanted Lin.
Nobody saw his true potential.
That is - until he got a chance to play in the game… and the rest is history.
Now, in our story this morning, we are introduced to 2 New Testament players in whom it would be hard to find true powerful potential.
One of those – was a man named Ananias
Acts 9 is the ONLY time that Ananias is EVER mentioned in Scripture
He might have been a decent Christian in his day but like Jeremy Lin - he hadn’t done much up to now this point that was impressive. Up until that point in his life, Ananias hadn’t DONE anything that merited getting attention. He was just an ‘ordinary’ Christian… just like you and me. He wasn’t “impressive”; he wasn’t inspiring.
But then – God gave him an opportunity to play in the game…and the rest is history..
God said to him: Ananias go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul (we know him as Paul), for he is praying.” Acts 9:11
Now Ananias’ job was simple.
All he had to do was:
· Lay hands on Paul in order to heal him of his blindness (Acts 9:12)
· Tell Paul that he was being selected by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles (9:15)
· And then he was challenge Paul to be baptized into Christ. (Acts 9:18/ 22:16)
It was a simple job.
You could have done it.
I could have done it.
But Ananias almost didn’t do it.
Ananias ALMOST didn’t go down to Straight Street to meet this man.
He almost didn’t heal Paul of his blindness.
He almost didn’t give Paul his marching orders.
He almost didn’t baptize Paul into Christ.
BUT ultimately did do all that.
Ananias decided to obey God - because God had called him to play for the team.
Now my question for you this morning is this:
What are you ALMOST doing for Jesus?
Ananias almost DIDN’T take an opportunity to play for God.
Are you NOT playing for God?