Friday, January 6, 2012

40 Minutes of Hell

40 minutes of hell.’

That is how Head Coach Nolan Richardson’s Arkansas Razorback basketball teams were described. Their patented Full Court Press that lasted for the entirety of the game (all 40 minutes) was designed to force their opponents into making mistakes. I used to marvel at what kind of shape their athletes had to be in to keep this pace up for that length of time. This kind of play earned them a National Championship in 1994 when they beat the 
Duke Blue Devils.

Can you imagine playing basketball against a team that constantly has a hand in your face with someone always right in front of you? Just waiting for you to make a mistake so that they could pounce on the ball and score as many points against you as possible.

Federal Hill
(Baltimore, MD)
Sure. We can all imagine what that feels like.

From the time we wake up in the morning, until we lay our heads down on the pillow at night, we are at war. No matter who we are or what we have, we have an enemy (a thief) that is talked about in scripture whose sole purpose is: to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

For him, it’s full court press for every breathing moment of your existence. He desperately wants to steal your identity. He desires to kill every good thing in and around you. If he can somehow destroy your relationships, and the hopes that you can have a successful life, then he will wipe them out.

If you know your basketball history, Arkansas did win the National Title in 1994. The following year, they made it all the way back to the Championship Game again, only to have something different happen this time.
UCLA decided to show up. They did not care what Arkansas’s reputation was. It did not matter to them that they were going to have an obstacle in their way every time they inbounded the ball. UCLA said, ‘we are going to show up. We are not only going to show up, but we are going to attack your press. We are going to beat you at your own game.’

How could they do this? As with any team that achieves greatness, the game was won in their preparation. They prepared themselves for what they were about to face in their minds. They prepared themselves through practice, and they listened to their coach. Their hearts were united that they were going to look the ‘pressure’ of Arkansas in the face and give it right back to them. It seemed to work out, for UCLA defeated Arkansas 89-78.

LandMark Theaters
(Inner Harbor - Baltimore, MD)
Find yourself overwhelmed by the pressure life is throwing at you? Is it at times nauseating to know that the pressure you feel is not going away? Ever just want to throw your hands up and walk away? Because the road that you are traveling is littered with those who’ve done just that.

The thief is simply trying to steal your desire to keep you from showing up.
He knows that you have a future of everlasting life if you show up. He knows that you are going to win if you just keep showing up.

Your date with pressure is awaiting you if it hasn’t shown up already.
So prepare. Get ready. Make up your mind that you are going to show up. And then the thief can get ready…because you are going to show up the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.

Let’s get back on the offensive and take back our minds, our hearts, and our futures.

“…no weapon formed against you will succeed…” (Isaiah 54:17 - NLT)

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