I love the game of basketball. I haven't played much in the past months because I tend to always have something else going on. I decided the other night to head out to a local park here in Jax to play. I played for a couple hours. Not only was I out of shape, I was amazed at the anger and bitterness that these guys had in their lives. It took us 20 minutes just to start each game because of all the "smack talk" going on. It was great to play again, but it also brought back memories... I remember back a few years at junior college where I walked on in my sophomore year to play basketball. I remember the days of grueling practices, guys puking because of fatigue, and loads of language. The guys on my team were from all over the U.S. and many were good enough to play at top-notch Division 1 schools. Many were there because of grades, bad records, etc.
To put it mildly, these guys were radically un-churched. They laughed and joked about me being a Christian. They bragged about all the nightclubs and partying they experienced every weekend. Although it was tough, I learned to understand their thoughts on God and their frustration with their lives.
One guy on the team would continually cuss me out, throw elbows, and take any "cheap shot" he could of me during each practice. It was hard to "be Jesus" during that time! A few weeks later in the locker room I watched the team have an emotional breakdown. The coach was yelling at them to perform better, telling us we do not work together, etc...
I watched as grown men started crying and asking the coach that they needed him to be their Father. I watched as the team captain broke down and said he never had a Dad that gave him hope to improve and become successful. One after the other, guys started sharing their stories. The guy who continually hated my guts shared about how his dad would hold him down and beat him...
My heart broke at that point and I knew why God had me there.
Being out on the basketball court here in Jacksonville showed me that we are surrounded with radically un-churched people who have never known the love and truth of God.
It was good for me to step into their world. It reminded me of how important it is to move outside the church walls and hang out with people who don't know Christ. I'm going out there on a regular basis now and will keep praying for these guys to give their lives to Christ.
What un-churched people are you trying to reach for Christ? Are you only spending time with people inside the church?