Who’s in Your Court?

Who’s in Your Court?

by Dale Reeves
Story Pastor

As I have watched a few NCAA basketball games this season, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon taking place. Due to COVID-19, and the ongoing desire to reduce the amount of people being exposed to this virus, very few fans are being allowed to attend the games in person. The “bench” now consists of players not sitting shoulder to shoulder as they do in a “normal” season, but rather each player sitting in his own chair six feet apart or so from his teammates.

It has happened in places where it would not normally happen, venues such as Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, and the Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, among many other basketball courts. What is happening? Because there are limited fans watching games in person the home team really doesn’t have the upper hand right now. There is no “home court advantage.” So blue bloods like the UK Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils, and the Kansas Jayhawks are losing games in their home arenas that they would not lose in a typical basketball season. In no other sport is home court advantage bigger than in college basketball, as the students sitting in close proximity to the court get their players amped up for home games.

Cheering Fans
This week I was talking about this lack of home court advantage with our student pastor, Cody Scroggins, who is a die-hard Kentucky Wildcat fan. Then I asked him the question: “Do you think people realize how critical it is for them to have fans cheering them on in their home court?” Now, I’m not just talking about the game of basketball, but about our spiritual journeys.

We’ve been teaching through the priority of community as it relates to the church and our personal lives the past few weeks at Christ’s Church. Yesterday Trevor DeVage spoke about how critical it is for us as believers to meet, both publicly and privately, as the early church did in Acts chapter two. Life is meaningful because of the people we share it with. Connection with others is so critical—it helps make the tough stuff of life bearable and the good stuff even more valuable.

Yesterday morning in our church’s gym, I got to hang out with our awesome fifth and sixth graders. I asked them the question, “Why do you guys come here every Sunday?” Besides the typical, “My parents make me” response, this is some of what I heard:

“It’s fun to learn more about Jesus and God.”
“Since I’ve been doing school online at home, I miss seeing my friends in person.”
“We gather together to build each other up and to grow as Christians.”
“I come because I can be myself with them.”
“I like getting together to share my feelings with my friends.”
“I like to get together with people my age who don’t judge me.”

Pretty solid reasons, don’t you think? In their small group time one of the girls said she likes to be a part of sharing hope with other people. Now, there’s a message many adults in our culture desperately need to be reminded of today. Thank you, God, for letting me hear this wisdom from some of our students yesterday!

Crowd of Witnesses
Can I challenge you today to ask yourself this question: “Who is in my court cheering me on as a believer?” The author of Hebrews instructs us in Hebrews 10:24, 25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (NIV).

The “Day” he is referring to is the day when Jesus Christ will return to this earth as the conquering King. That is a day all believers in God look forward to, as we anticipate going to live with him in his heavenly kingdom forever. But, until that time, we are to continue meeting together, encouraging one another, and stimulating one another to shine God’s light in a very dark time. We are stronger together, able to fight the battles of this world with others who are in the fight with us.

It’s very interesting that after these words, the writer goes on in chapter eleven of Hebrews to talk about the “Hall of Fame” characters in the Bible who exhibited incredible faith . . . people such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David, and others who were all commended for their dangerous exploits, and their willingness to suffer persecution. The author says about them, The world was not worthy of them” (Hebrews 11:38, NIV).

Then the author begins chapter twelve by saying that we should be motivated to endure whatever we need to because “we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT). These heroes of the faith through the centuries are sitting in the stands and cheering us on in our journey of faith. They are saying, “We endured until the end—and you can to!”

Number One Fan
Not only do you have heroes from the Bible cheering you on, you have mentors in your life who taught you right from wrong, they may have helped lead you to Jesus, or were very instrumental in your discipleship process. If they have passed on from this life, pause and thank God for them today, and for their influence on you. If you have current fans cheering you on in your spiritual walk, why not take a few minutes today to call them, e-mail, or better yet, write a letter thanking them for the positive impact they had on your spiritual growth in Christ.

Just this past Saturday night the Seattle Seahawks lost their wild card football game to the Los Angeles Rams. Due to COVID-19 and Washington state’s coronavirus restrictions, no fans were allowed in person at the game. For years Seattle has had a reputation of being very hard to beat at home due to their home crowd, whom they affectionally refer to as “12th Man.” But, with no fans in the stadium the other day, the team lost their first home playoff football game under coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson’s tenure. Think the lack of the 12th Man had anything to do with their unexpected loss?

On the other hand, just last week my daughter Courtney told me that her one-year-old son Liam is my “biggest fan.” So, on a day when Pop Pop might be having a challenging day, she told me I should remember that, and Facetime with Liam, knowing that I will see that big smile, hair sticking up all over, and hear him say, “Pop Pop!” and everything will be better instantly!

Who is it in your life that does that for you? Who is standing and applauding for you as you go about your daily routine, and as you use your gifts and talents for God’s glory? Similarly, who is it in your life that you are the biggest fan for? Letting them know that will do more for them than you could ever imagine. I’m so glad God called us to be part of a team where we can cheer for each other as God continues to use us for his purposes, aren’t you? Who can you encourage today?

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