First Day Of Training Camp & Off To Prison!
Many of us had just known each other for two days and we wound up a busy training camp by going to Lansing (Kansas) Correctional Facility to play against their team. One of our leaders, Brad Mann, who heads up the ministry known as “Livin-the-Dream” had played with his teams there before. Eight check points later and we are in the LCF gymnasium with 20 players on the prison team and 80 to 100 inmates who were watching in the stands. Our team started slowly and we were tied at halftime. One of our players, Alden, had missed training camp as he was taking four courses and was close to completing his degree requirements. All of our players assured me that Alden had game and I should not worry. In the first half however, Al looked lost out there but he assured me also that he would get his bearings.
In the second half we started to pull away on the scoreboard and Al returned to the lineup. He looked better but when he got the ball on our next possession, he started dribbling from the side of the court deep down the baseline behind the basket. He then started to jump into the air and I thought he was in no man’s land and would have to throw a desperation pass to avoid a turnover. As I was wondering what Al would do, his elevation kept rising like the sun coming up in the morning. Somehow, he kept going higher and higher until being more than a foot above the rim, he slammed home a dunk that is still ringing in my ear. The entire gymnasium stood in awe and cheered one of the best plays I have seen in years. I knew our team had talent by this time!
That was not the greatest thing that happened that night. After the game, we were allowed to share our faith and one of our players asked if he could take that honor. As Michael started to talk, it was clear that the inmates were all listening. When he told them that he could just as easily be the one sitting in their chairs, they listened intently. When he told them that his brother in fact had sat in those very chairs for several years they listened even more intently. When he told them that knowing Jesus Christ in his life had made all the difference, they also received an even greater gift than seeing Al’s dunk. The truth of the Gospel will always bring perspective. How thrilled we were to shake the hands of all of those men, many of whom came from the maximum security portion of the facility, and tell them that Jesus has a plan for their lives. Now I knew that our team also had some courageous Christian men who were willing to stand up for the Lord!
God also has a plan for your life! Are you seeking his will in all you do to find and follow that plan?
John 10:10 (RSV) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Monday Morning Message Sent 10/4/09
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