The NCAA Tournament reminds me each year of the importance of zone defense. Articles in NBC Sports and The Wall Street Journal highlight findings of sports researchers indicating that zone defense is being used more and more. Kentucky, for example, uses zone defense as much as 50%, collegiate teams use it an average of about 22%, and in the last year it is up 6% overall.
As a pastor why should I care? I care because I have always believed that there are nuanced ways of winning by playing a good zone defense in basketball, but also we need good “zone-defense-thinking” in the church.
Zone Defense in the church? Yes, Zone Defense in church. Imagine yourself going to church. I’ll bet you sit in the same area, if not the same seat, each week, right? Now imagine that as everyone is taking their seats you look around before and after the service starts for someone you don’t know. Instead of just looking for the people you know, try to look for and greet someone you don’t know each week. You may meet someone who is a longtime member or you may meet a visitor. Either way you have an opportunity to share the love of Christ, and you will play a special part in building each other up. In this way you play “zone defense” and find the people who need to be greeted, cared for, and connected spiritually to you and your community.
So this basketball season, look to see good zone defense increase not just in the NCAA Basketball Tournament but also in your church.
Imagine the power it would take to resurrect a man. God excercised”…the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…” Ephesians 1:19-20 ESV
Think about it: Resurrection is not resuscitation but a new domain of human experience. Resurrection is not like an ER team shocking your dead body back to life after being technically dead for a period of minutes. Resurrection is not even like Lazarus or the widow’s son who were, though dead for long periods, brought back to life. These are examples of what might be called resuscitation from dead. Resurrection is an entirely different thing altogether.
When God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, Jesus wasn’t resuscitated but given a new dimension of experience such that Christ-Jesus-the-man could never die, could be seated at the right hand of God the Father, and could share this new dimension’s power with us in the spiritual realm. Lazarus, oh how unfortunate he was, had to die two times! His return from the grave was but an illustration of what God was going to do permanently in the initiation of the resurrection of humanity in Jesus Christ. Resurrection is permanent and powerful. The power it takes to not simply raise the dead but to resurrect the dead is beyond magical forces or atomic fusion.
We are told that this new reality is our hope (Eph.1:18). If you cannot die because you are resurrected, imagine the access to unlimited power you hold in your soul, and what good you can accomplish because you are no longer limited by the power of death or the chaotic domain of earthly life.
It is time to be reminded of the power of our resurrection in Christ and how that power is now permanently applied to us. It is time to begin to live out the fullness of him whom we are united to in his resurrection (Eph. 1:23).
If you have this much power, and thus inestimable hope, your life ought to be something… really something…