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Summary: The games are on every day. Basketball now takes center stage. March Madness and the game it features teaches us kingdom principles that can help us win in the game of life!

“March Madness”

Pt. 3 – Timeouts

I. Introduction

March Madness is in full swing. Many of you have begun to fill out your brackets. Who is going to win it this year?

We started this series a couple of weeks ago and we have dealt with the truth that fouls are part of the game. I hope you have accepted the challenge to do you very best to regard people after their spirit rather than their flesh. I also hope that after last week’s message you have been working on the Triple Threat position. What are the three fundamental elements of our Christian walk that Jesus expected us to be involved in on a regular basis? Giving, praying, and fasting!

Today I want to look at another aspect of the game of basketball that has implications for us spiritually.

In 1993, North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith, squared off against Coach Steve Fisher whose Michigan team featured 5 freshmen sensations who called themselves the Fab Five. The most memorable play in the championship game and perhaps one of the most infamous moments in the history of March Madness came in the last seconds of this championship game. Down by only two points and now with an opportunity to either tie up the game or take the lead Michigan’s Chris Webber tried to call a timeout when double-teamed by North Carolina. Michigan had already used all of its timeouts, so Webber’s gaffe resulted in a technical foul. Michigan had no time left to recover and North Carolina ultimately won the national title with a 77–71 victory.

Chris Webber’s panicked mistake brought to glaring light an important truth about basketball . . . Timeouts can play a key role in the winning or losing of a game.

This morning I want to give you some basic information about timeouts and then I want to make some very clear practical application for us. I am going to reference a lot of Scripture today. However, if you need a text then perhaps the best place for me to draw your attention is the beginning. The very beginning of our world and our history is marked by the first recorded called timeout. It is found in Genesis 2:2-3:

2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Thus instituting what He later uses as the foundation for a command to keep the Sabbath holy.

Let me tell you some things about timeouts.

1. Everyone needs timeouts.

It doesn’t matter how in shape you are or even if you think you are Super Man on the court. Everyone needs to take a time out occasionally. That is the message of Genesis chapter 2. Even God… the One who created the Universe and who we have been told never grows tired, never sleeps, never slumbers and is never out of power takes a day off.

God’s message is plain: “If creation didn’t crash when I rested, it won’t crash when you do.”

God’s own Son took time outs on a regular basis. He would go into a private place. He would separate himself from others for a period of time. He took timeouts. Perhaps Francis Chan said it best when he said:

“We think He’s a great Savior, but not a great role model. The American church has abandoned the most simple and obvious truth of what it means to follow Jesus: You actually follow His pattern of life.”

Jesus knew that timeouts were necessary to provide rest for our soul and our body.

Is it just me, or are we a busy people? For all of our new inventions, all our time-saving tools and toys, for all our shortcuts and overnight deliveries and quick fix solutions and microwave ovens and fast food restaurants we are always in a hurry and almost always running out of time!

We live in a 24/7 culture. We wear cell phones to stay accessible 24/7 (and if you are like me I even wear them on my PJs until I go to bed), we do business over the Internet so we can shop, and organize our lives and make decisions 24/7. We hit the drive-thru window at Wendy’s at midnight and then go to Supermarket at three in the morning.

We push ourselves literally to ragged edge squeezing in every bit of work and effort possible. Somehow, we think by driving ourselves constantly we will wring more out life.

“Warp speed can warp the soul.”

One man asked this question, “How thin can I spread myself before I’m no longer there?”

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