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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. 2 – Triple Threat

I. Introduction

Hello my name is Steve and I am a basketball fanatic. Like I told you last week, this is my favorite time of the year because March Madness means basketball everyday all day!

We started this series last week by dealing with Foul Truth. I want to remind you what we discussed.

1. You will be fouled and you will foul – expect contact.

2. How you react after a foul is absolutely crucial!

a. Deny it.

b. Get mad and then try to get even. (Alabama gunman had a list of

those who had done him wrong!)

c. The third reaction is to get fouled and quit.

d. The fourth reaction is that you can get fouled and you can finish

the play.

3. You can foul out! (Did you mark anyone this week? Maybe one day I will talk to you about how to identify wolves in sheep’s clothing so you will know who to mark!)

4. You will most likely need a ref!

Finally, I posed a question to you that I hope you have been chewing on and thinking about all week. Based out of 2 Corinthians 5, how will you regard people? After the flesh or after the spirit? What if your destiny is wrapped up in the person who fouled you, hurt your or repels you?

Today I want to talk to you about another aspect of basketball that has implications for us in life and in our Christian walk. I want to talk to you about fundamentals. Unfortunately, talking about fundamentals isn’t real glamorous or sexy. We feel like this about the fundamentals.

We view fundamentals as just practice. It is the boring day in day out stuff that doesn’t really matter.

One researcher by the name of Ericsson notes, "Elite performers in many diverse domains have been found to practice, on the average, roughly the same amount every day, including weekends."

Evidence crosses a remarkable range of fields. In a study of 20-year-old violinists by Ericsson and colleagues, the best group (judged by conservatory teachers) averaged 10,000 hours of deliberate practice over their lives; the next-best averaged 7,500 hours; and the next, 5,000.

Practice is crucial for us to perform. I want to remind you that any coach will tell you that the lack of attention to fundamentals may not show up or hurt you in the short term, but ultimately that lack of attention will be exposed and cause you to lose.

In other words, there are fundamentals that must be brushed up on constantly. It doesn’t matter how professional or skilled you become. You must constantly revisit the basics and stay proficient in them.

So let’s talk about one of the most fundamental things you ever learn in basketball. The triple threat position is basic basketball. It is in fact, one of the first things you ever learn in basketball. What is the triple threat position? (Have Tal demonstrate). It is called the triple threat position because from this position you can do three things. You can pass, you can dribble, or you can shoot.

It is when you master these three fundamentals that you are a formidable opponent on the court. It takes all three elements to be complete. If all you can do is shoot, then I will guard you and keep you from shooting. If all you can do is pass, I won’t worry about your shot and I will lay off of you and play the passing lanes. If all you can do is dribble, then you are stuck for sure and you will be ineffective. It is when someone has developed proficiency in all 3 areas (passing, dribbling, and shooting) that they are next to impossible to stop, contain, or guard.

Most of the time, when you begin to talk about the fundamentals of Christianity, we look to Jesus’ teachings that we call the Sermon on the Mount and rightfully so. In this masterpiece of a sermon, Jesus deals with basic kingdom principles. He is basically teaching us how we are to live now that we are a part of God’s kingdom. I want to review Matthew 6, but I want to examine it a little bit differently this morning. I want us to look at the triple threat position that is revealed in Jesus’ teaching!

Jesus, in Matthew 6, deals with 3 areas that if incorporated into our daily walk would make us tough to handle.

Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18

1"Be careful not to do your ’acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

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