Basketball: 3 Tall Men, 2 Kings, 1 God

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Growing up, I realized that I was growing taller than my mates and was always made to stand at the back of the class during morning assembly. Occasionally the height advantage felt good as a child but more often than not, towering over my peers brought with it unnecessary attention from teachers who were always looking for a scapegoat? My height was an enemy.

Then I got older and I grew taller and taller and taller. Currently standing at 6ft 4in tall, I have stopped growing now (I think) and apart from getting those “I don’t want to stand next to him” stares I get when group photographs were being taken, nothing annoyed me more about my height than being constantly asked “why don’t you play basketball?”

As a kid I was never interested in the sports called basketball. Soccer was my cup of tea. I dream soccer. I eat soccer. I lived soccer. I even played soccer once with a broken hand. Soccer was my all. But that didn’t stop the “why don’t you play basketball?” questions from coming. Of course I am tall and it was expected.

I thought about developing an interest in “the beautiful game” as basketball is often referred to and maybe “not waste my height” as people kept saying.

Then the unexpected happened.

I should have been maybe 14 years old or so when the boys in my hostel were invited to play basketball at a court close to school. I had never played the game before but my height got me the “lead role” and I flunked. Badly. That wasn’t even sad part, to rub salt into the wound, a senior in school disappointed with my display said and I quote “bush boy, you can’t even play basketball”.

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So being the youngest goalkeeper to make the Senior team and also being one of the fastest track and field athletes in my age bracket wasn’t enough but since I couldn’t play America’s game, I was a bush/local boy?

I never step foot in a basketball court again. The hate for the sports had reached a climax and there was nothing that was gonna change that.

Then came a hero!!!!!

A King in his own right.

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He came, swept me off my feet and made me fall in love with a sports I should have played (height wise).

The King was LeBron James.

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It’s being over half a decade since my hatred for the sports was diluted by this one human being.

Just when I was getting a little comfortable with the idea of liking basketball, Steph Curry came along and blew me out of the water.

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He made me love the game if not for anything but for his love for God. Being a devout Christian, a Jesus loving husband and father, Curry has my favorite scripture Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” —and Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ that strenghtens you”—on his game shoes.

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Steph once explained how his faith has been his driving force. He said “I’ve always been a believer that the Lord has put whatever talent in you, [and] whatever gift He has put in you, He wants you to get the most out of that. He wants you to succeed; He wants you to pursue and work and be passionate about it,” Curry says. “It’s not about getting any of the glory for yourself; it’s all for His [glory]. That’s where you have to keep perspective. Work at it and do all you can so you get the most out of yourself, but do it for His will.”

What a man!!!!

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Soccer still has my heart but basketball is gaining a large stride but God will always reign supreme.

Stand tall, give God pre-eminence in everything you do, always study the Bible (King James) and watch God sprinkle curry into your life (no pun intended).

Remember, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

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Did I use sports to talk to you about Jesus? Yes I just did. God bless you.

 

 

 

Day 7: The Grace Obtaining Divinity (GOD)

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It is Day 7 of the 21 day Prayer and Fasting…. (Click HERE to read about it)

This is the second week of the Prayer and Fasting program. Click HERE for previous messages for the first week.

For today, we would be looking at the grace manufacturing factory.

Whenever I look back at my life, where I was and where I am. To the life that I live and lived. To the sins I committed and the ones I continue to commit both knowingly and unknowingly. To the little money I have made. To the small qualifications that I have garnered. To the friends that I loved and lost (including an ex girlfriend who the cold hands of sickle cell anemia took) a couple of years back. To the people that I have touched and those that have touched my life.  To all the times I traveled in planes, cars, buses, bikes and even trains. To the days I drove and was driven. To the times I was sick and even admitted in the hospital. To the times that I had unprotected sex. To the times I did things that could have make God give up on me. To the tears that I have cried and the joys I have experienced. To the good, bad, worrisome, joyful, enlightening, happy and sad times.

When I look back at my life in retrospect, it keeps dawning on me that if it were by my power or might I would have been dead a long time ago.
If it were my power, I would have at least had a fatal accident one of the over a thousand times I have traveled.
If it were my might, I would have been stricken and killed by one of the hundred sicknesses I have endured in my life.
If it were my knowledge, I would have run mad or lost my senses by the regular and intense studying and reading during my time in school.
If it were by my parent’s resources and money, I wouldn’t have been able to finish school or even complete my Masters.
If it were by my senses, I would have been afflicted by a sexually transmitted disease or gotten a girl pregnant our of wedlock as punishment for fornication.
If it were my educational qualifications, I wouldn’t have the job that I have with many more qualified people than I am currently jobless.
If it were for my spirituality, I would have been smitten and killed by the numerous blood craving witches and wizards in the underworld.

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In all, I have seen that it’s not by my power or my might but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).

In all, I am what I am, I am who I am, I do what I do, I am alive today, I have the family that I have, I have the little money that I have not by my power or might but by the grace of God that is with me (1 Corinthians 15:10).

In all, what I will become, places I will go, people I will meet, money that I will make, impact that I will have and the life that I will live will be made available because His grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In all, the battles that I will conquer, the enemies that will trample upon, the possessions I will acquire, the children I will have, the beautiful family and wife that I have, the plenty money I will make, the impact that I will make will be made possible because “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Finally, in all, learn to never ever take credit for who you are or what you are or even what you give. Make it a habit to give credit to who credit is due for its by His grace you are even alive.

Stay grateful to remain graceful.

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See you tomorrow.

Message preached by Pastor John Olumuyiwa at Winner’s Chapel, Oghara, Delta State.
Written by Kurtis Smith