Summary: A great basketball player knows where the goal is at and continually practices until his body instinctively know how to put the basket through the hoop. Knowing where the goal is important in any sport... and it’s important in Christianity as well.
OPEN: We opened with a youtube video that highlighted the basketball career of Bill Bradley. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_BJg4rhFNs (24 second begin… 3:25 end)
In 1964, Bill Bradley was captain of the Olympic Basketball team that won gold at Tokyo.
In 1965, his senior year at Princeton he led that University’s unremarkable team to place 3rd in the NCAA tournament behind UCLA and Michigan.
After college, Bradley went on to play professional basketball with the New York Knicks and earned a place in the professional Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bill Bradley was arguably one of the best basketball players of his day.
The story’s told that when Bradley was at Princeton, the basketball floor at the college was being refinished. So, he made arrangements to practice at a local high school gym. During his 1st practice at the high school gym, Bradley began shooting jump shots. To his amazement, his first 3 jump shots hit the back of the rim and bounced away.
A friend with Bradley said that Bill stopped for a moment. He looked up at the backboard and rim.
It appeared that Bradley made a mental adjustment. Then he picked up the basketball and began shooting again. After a few shots, he turned to his friend and told him “the rim is an inch and a half too low.”
A few days later his friend went back to the gym with a stepladder and a tape measure to find out if Bill was right. But he wasn’t. Bradley was wrong.
The rim was not an inch and a half too low.
It was an inch and a quarter too low.
APPLY: In the video we just watched, Corky Smith (a college basketball historian) said that “There were better athletes, better shooters, people with better technique.
Even Coach Bobbie Knight noted:
“He knew he had limited athletic ability, so he made himself into a tremendous basketball player.”
So, Bill Bradley was not the best athlete, best shooter and he had limited athletic ability BUT, he MADE himself into a basketball player???
How did he do that?
Well… he practiced.
He practiced everything.
And he practiced until he instinctively knew how to put that basketball thru that hoop.
Bradley was a perfectionist who had a set routine where he’d shoot a number of shots from one position, and then move on to another spot on the floor and shoot a series of shots from there.
And he kept at it over and over again until it became 2nd nature to him.
Bradley understood he couldn’t win a basketball game if he didn’t know where the basket was. So he repeatedly trained himself to know where the goal was from every point on the floor
APPLY: That’s true in basketball. In fact it’s true in any sport.
You can’t win a game if you don’t know where the basket is. Where goal is located.
And the same is true for us as Christians.
We can’t win for Jesus if we don’t know where the basket’s at.
So, what is our goal?
Where is the basket located?
ILLUS: I read about a denominational church sent the following report to their headquarters:
Number of members added by baptism 0
Number of members added by letter 0
Number of members dismissed by letter 5