For 24 minutes, it looked like we were going to game 7. For 24 minutes, it looked like San Antonio Spur’s point guard Tony Parker was going to score 50 points in the game. For 24 minutes, it looked like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s plans to close out the series on their home floor and make preparations for a date in the NBA Finals was a bit premature. For 24 minutes, the Thunder got their tails kicked by the veteran Spurs. Last night for 24 minutes, the energy was getting sucked out of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. For the 24 minutes of basketball that made up the first half of last night’s Western Conference Finals Game against the San Antonio Spurs, the OKC Thunder looked like they were headed for sure defeat. Many teams would have been demoralized by that start, started to point fingers at themselves, their coaches, or the referees, or blamed the crowd for their lack of pizazz. Many teams would have quit.
However . . . the Thunder are not many teams.
In the midst of their first half beat down, the home team kept their composure and kept their hope alive. They believed they could beat the Spurs, and their confidence about the next two quarters, powered them to stay in the game when the situation looked dire.
Minutes 25-48 played out quite differently for the Thunder, as they outscored the Spurs by 23 points in the second half to fly to an 8 point victory. Their sustained hope and confidence in the first half paid off big time in the second as the Thunder are headed to a place they have longed for all year . . . the NBA Finals.
I was thinking about this game today (probably too much if you must know the truth) as I was preparing for Sunday’s sermon at Wildwood. This Sunday, we will be looking at Hebrews 6:11-20. In these 9 verses, the author talks extensively about “hope” and the assurance hope brings for the Christian who perseveres.
It seems that the original audience of the book of Hebrews was in the midst of what appeared to be a “losing game.” After years of walking with God, the Hebrew Christians were experiencing some real crises of their faith. The fact that Christ had not yet returned was a surprise to the early church, causing some to wonder about the integrity of God’s promises. The fact that the Roman Empire had begun a systematic persecution of Christians, caused some to wonder if it was worth it to persist. Seeing the difficulty around them, many people would be demoralized, start to bicker among themselves, or blame their leadership for lack of vision. Many people would quit.
However . . . the author of the book of Hebrews does not think that the Bride of Jesus Christ is just “many people”.
In Hebrews 6:11-20 the hope that we have that gives us the confidence (in Christ) to persevere to the end is outlined. Join us Sunday as we see how we can enter the second half of our Christian lives prepared to win the game. We’ll see you at 9:30 or 10:50 Sunday morning.