The Million Dollar Shot

Your basketball coach walks into the gym as you and your 5th grade teammates are warming up for practice. He makes a very fascinating announcement…

“Team, a professional NBA player is coming to our practice today. He’s giving each of you an opportunity to win one million dollars. There are two ways to win. Each of you will now get a chance.”

Coach lines you and your teammates up, and explains, “Dunking that ball into our 10 foot high basket can earn you the money”.

The problem was that you and your team were a bunch of short elementary kids who could barely jump. But each of your teammates tries anyway.

You were the last one in line and realized that even the strongest player on the team didn’t even come close. So you sadly say, “Coach, there’s no way I can do this. Can I just have the NBA guy dunk it for me?”

In walks a 7 foot tall man that picks up the ball and easily does a loud, thunderous dunk! Then he hands you ONE MILLION DOLLARS and says, “Remember, there were two ways to win. The second way is simply admitting you can’t, then asking me to slam dunk for you”.

This story helps to understand what Jesus Christ did for us-
Being able to go to heaven when we die some day can’t be earned or deserved. The bible says; “It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it (Ephesians 2:8,9)”.

Admitting to God that you could never be good enough, then inviting Jesus into your heart will connect you with God for heaven, and connect you with His daily help.

You can pray the following in your own words;
“Lord Jesus, I need Your help. Please forgive me of all my wrongs, even though I definitely don’t deserve it. Thank You for dying for me so that I can tap into Your daily strength, and also go to heaven some day. Come into my heart. Amen.”  

“Christ died for our sins…to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).”
(also see Revelation 3:20, 1 John 5:11-13)

-The following are 7 ‘Action point‘ devotions

Powered by God- devotion #1

The Lord Jesus wants to be your friend and your teammate.

Exodus 33:11 (NKJV)- “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to a friend.” Think about it. The God of the universe wants to be talked to like a friend, because He likes you and wants to be your friend.

Sure you need to respect and worship Him, but Jesus also wants to hear your thoughts. He wants to know what you are feeling and thinking about your family, teammates, classmates, friends, enemies, coaches, teachers…

Genesis 6:9 (NASB)- “…Noah walked with God.

Action Point-

When you are on the basketball court and as you go through your day, remember that Jesus is walking right with you. Talk to Him with your thoughts, your voice, or your whispers.

We call this “breathing quick prayers” to Jesus.

Powered by God- devotion #2

Jesus wants to be your helper and your strength.

Philippians 4:6 (CEV)- “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts, offer up your prayers and requests to God.”

When you are going through your day, and even on the basketball court, Jesus is there to listen to your concerns. He also likes when you ask for things (requests) that you really want. This shows Him that you are depending on Him!

Isaiah 41:10 (HCSB)- Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”

 Especially those times when you are nervous or afraid. He assures you that He will hold your hand and give you strength. A great place to practice this is on the basketball court.

Even in those times when you aren’t fearful, He offers you the strength to help you be the best player you can be.

Action point

One of the most exciting things that Jesus offers you to ask for is strength! When you are in school, when you are with friends, or when you are in a basketball practice or game, Jesus loves when you breathe quick prayers to Him, asking for strength or help.

Powered by God- devotion #3

Jesus helps you have an alert mind.

Colossians 4:2 (NLT)- “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Having an alert mind means that you are like a detective, always looking around and noticing what is going on around you.

In basketball this is called “seeing the floor”. Great players pay attention to what the coach wants, where his teammates are, and what the opponent is trying to do. The best players are always looking around and “seeing the whole basketball floor” during to game so they can make the right plays, and good decisions on the court.

In daily life “seeing the whole basketball floor” is noticing what your teachers, parents, and others are saying to you. Also, looking and thinking about what you and your friends are doing. You can even watch yourself to see if you are doing the right things.

Action point-

As you go through your day, and as you play, remember to breath those quick prayers so that Jesus can help you make sense of everything going on around you.

Powered by God- devotion #4

Jesus helps you have a thankful heart.

Colossians 4:2 (NLT)- “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Being thankful means that you look for the good in a person, in yourself, in what you have, or in what happens to you. Then you breath a quick prayer thanking Jesus for whatever comes your way. Also, it’s very powerful to thank adults, family, and friends any chance you get.

Remember that the more ‘thanking’ that you do strengthens your heart and makes you a better person and a better friend to be around!

Even many adults have a very hard time doing this. That is why the bible says you will shine like a star. Because not many are good ‘thankers’. They usually are better complainers, arguers, or blamers.

Philippians 2:14 (ICB)- Do everything without complaining and arguing. …but you are living with crooked and mean people all around. Among them you shine like stars in a dark world.”

Action point-

As you listen to people this week, notice how often they are complaining, compared to how often they speak from a thankful heart. Let that be your reminder to breathe those quick prayers for them and yourself.

Powered by God- devotion #5

Jesus helps you to be strong in tough times.

Isaiah 40:30-31 (NCV)- “Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall. But the people who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky…”

Eagles, hawks, and falcons need to soar way up in the air for two basic reasons:

-First, to be high enough to use their amazing eyesight to find food (mice, chipmunks, lizards…)

-Second, to be high enough to generate the speed to swoop down on their prey (up to 180 miles per hour).

When you look up in the sky, it appears as if eagles or hawks are standing still in one place. That’s because their wings are created by God to raise them high, like a kite, when the winds are blowing against them.

That eagle has a choice to make with his wings. With that heavy wind against him, he can angle his wings down. That would cause him to go down and possibly crash. Or use his mighty strength to angle his wings up. That is what makes him rise above!

Think of those winds blowing against you as hard times you go through in life. Those tough times can hurt. Things people do sometimes can really hurt. They can make you really sad, helpless, and alone.

Action points-

Next time you face a tough time, a sad day, or a hurtful experience, make sure you remember this verse about the eagle. Breathe quick prayers to Jesus. He truly cares about you and promises to make you strong again!

And every time you walk onto a basketball court, breathe those quick prayers for the strength to make you the hardest worker and best player you can be.

Powered by God- devotion #6

Jesus helps you be rich in living by giving.

Proverbs 11:24-25 (NCV)- “Some people give much but get back even more. Others don’t give what they should and end up poor. Whoever gives to others will get richer; those who help others will themselves be helped.

This verse seems to be upside down. You lose it if you keep it, but you get more if you give it!

When you help others, somehow that opens the door for Jesus to step in and thoroughly take care of you.

A basketball player can open that door to God’s help by:

saying compliments to his teammates, trying to pass more than shot, helping others with their equipment, and giving away things to those in need.

On the other hand, nobody likes playing with a selfish player.

Action point-

Many times you might not feel like helping and giving to others, but breathing quick prayers to Jesus can enable you to do it in basketball, and in your daily life. The more you give, help, and encourage others, the more He can do amazing things for you and inside of you.

Powered by God- devotion #7

Jesus helps you to be forgiven and to forgive.

In basketball, it is so important to have certain skills like dribbling and shooting. And in daily life, two of the most important skills you need to develop are to be forgiven and to forgive.

1 John 1:9 (GW)- God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.

 When you do something wrong, it can bother you until you confess or admit it to Jesus. The longer you go without confessing to Jesus is like storing up rocks in a winter coat while you are trying to play basketball. It weighs down your heart, and daily living gets heavy.

Action point-

Breathe a quick prayer to Jesus, apologizing and admitting to Him what you did wrong.

And in Lamentations 3 it promises that you can completely start over every time, because He has an unfailing love for you! You are free from guilt or bad feelings, because it is erased!

Colossians 3:13 (ERV)- Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you.

For some reason when you stay angry with someone, it can even ruin how you physically feel on your insides when you see or think about that person. So, not only did they do something against you, now they continue to get you.

(See Matthew 18:21-35)

There’s an old saying that goes: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick from it”.

Action point-

You can stop this irritation by breathing quick prayers to Jesus for the strength to forgive others. (This could even include those you love most)

It also helps to think about how much He has forgiven you, and the fact that He gave you heaven when you didn’t deserve it