Shootin' the rock

I’d like to introduce you to a friend, fellow minister and brother blogger. Dave Rutler is a church planter at The Crossing Wichita.

I asked him for permission to republish one of his posts and he obliged, so, please enjoy this gift to our crosseyedlife.com community.

I follow his blog regularly (and you should too), but this particular post was really exceptional and I loved the basketball analogy. Dave’s take on the fundamentals is exceptional. Take a few moments to read and a lifetime to apply.

Thanks Dave for your friendship, the many games of b-ball we shared, the incalculable cups of coffee consumed and the gift of your ministry.

Shootin’ the Rock
Posted on November 2, 2010 by Dave

I had a great time watching my kiddo practice basketball yesterday. She is pretty new tothe competitive style of play and is learning at a pretty rapid clip. Yesterday was a skills workout, where they were focusing on fundamentals.

It was pretty cool watching the coach start and stop the drills to get them to pay particular attention to their footwork, ball placement and body position. She explained the reason for being picky. She pointed out the benefit of doing it right and the drawback of doing it improperly, or sloppily. As expected, some kids focused hard, slowed down and tried to get it right. Others continued to run through the motions thinking they already knew what they were doing and their play was sufficient.

It made me think about how we, as Jesus followers, live out Christianity. I think we spend a lot of time free-styling, doing the moves we are comfortable with. It is sad to think that many “so-called” mature believers think they are no longer students; that they have nothing to learn. The outcome is a bunch of sloppy play that ends up in losses.

Basketball is a team sport with individual contribution. A good team requires not only individual dedication and talent but also a team mentality. I wonder how effective we have been at fostering this mentality in the church? There are too many people that have lost sight of the basics. They consider them rudimentary and no longer of value. So, instead of paying attention to where their hands are and the placement of their feet and how they handle the Gospel, they are just shooting the rock from downtown.

One drill had the coach putting the kids in position to square up and take a shot. They were positioned to take a bank shot. She explained that it is not the prettiest shot and certainly not the most glamorous shot; but it is the most high percentage shot. She asked the question, “Do you want to look pretty or do you want to score points?”

I wonder if we have gotten caught up in making our lives look pretty or if we are more concerned with taking the high percentage shot. The high percentage shot for a believer deals with being in the right place and doing that which is effective for the kingdom. It means being less concerned with what the crowd thinks about the shot and whether we make the ESPN highlights.

It means focusing on fundamental basics and doing what Jesus called us to do. He was pretty critical of those who added to his message, to those who made it into some kind of show. He was not very happy about the way the Pharisees prayed in public for all to hear when they weren’t praying with a heart to hear God. He wasn’t very happy about the fact that they bragged about keeping the Sabbath but wouldn’t help a desperate and hurting person on that day. They were more concerned with strapping on the Nikes and lofting one from three point land when they had an easy lay up under the basket.

The point is simply that we spend too much time adding frills and thrills to a pretty simple Message. We are playing a pretty sloppy game because we think the basics are for beginners. If we would spend more time concentrating on the basics of loving God and loving people we would score more points, so to speak.

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