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Recently I gave a presentation at our district business meeting where I reported on the work of our 70 congregations. I shared a story that I heard from an interview, in fact, two interviews, one was with Kareem Jabaar and the other with Bill Walton. In their own unique ways, they described their first college basketball practice at UCLA, under legendary basketball coach John R. Wooden. This man led UCLA to 7 consecutive national championships, 10 national championships in 12 years! UCLA won 88 games in a row, 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games. No one in his day would have been more recognized as a winning basketball coach. Imagine how high the expectations were as these high school all-Americans came to their first practice. They no doubt had in mind that they were going to see and hear some very complex and intricate details on how they could be the best players and dominate the game of basketball.

The first thing that coach Wooden did was to have them sit on the basketball court in a circle. His first statement to these players was: “Today you are going to learn the proper way to put on your socks and shoes.” The players glance at each other, and were saying to themselves, “you have got to be kidding!” “We have been putting on socks and tying our shoes since Kindergarten.” Coach Wooden told them to put their socks on and pull them up and smooth out the sock and make sure there are no wrinkles or creases in the sock. You will get blisters if there are wrinkles in your socks, and if you get blisters you will have to sit on the bench with me and when we need you to make a shot or to make a key defensive play you will be sitting on the bench and we may lose the game all because you did not put your socks on properly. You must tie your shoes correctly the laces must be tight and give your ankle support. If not tied properly you could suffer an ankle injury and then be on the bench and unable to help us win the game. This great coaching legend understood one thing, excellence begins with doing the basics well.

In our lives, we must build on the foundation of the basics and making sure we are prepared? What are the basics we need to consider in our lives?

  • Our relationship with the Lord
  • Our relationship with our family
  • Living within our means
  • Being kind
  • Saying please and thank-you
  • Cleaning up after ourselves
  • Being grateful
  • Focusing on service to others
  • Being gracious
  • Seeking wisdom as well as knowledge
  • Loving God
  • Loving others
  • Forgiving
  • Working hard
  • Playing hard
  • laughing often
  • praying continually

These are just a few thoughts, feel free to add your own. The way to handle the complexity of the day is not to make our lives more complicated but to get back to the basics.

You are loved!

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