This past Friday John Wooden passed away at 99 years of age. When I heard the news it brought tears to my eyes. I grew up loving basketball and Mr. Wooden was the greatest basketball coach who ever lived and, in my opinion, he was the greatest coach ever of any sport.
I use to love watching UCLA, which was the team he coached, when I was in grade school, junior high, senior high and my first few years of college. I remember fantasizing as a young boy to be playing basketball at UCLA and I am sure I was just one of millions of boys in America and beyond.
What made him great? Well, he was a very successful coach, winning more games and championships that any other coach ever. But if you look behind the wins what you see is a man of godly character. Where did he get that from? Well, he got it from his father who was a Christian and from following Jesus himself. You can tell by his words and actions that he and his father were men shaped by their love of God and the Bible.
Here is a quote John tells of advice he got from his father on how to have a successful life, "Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books — especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day." Wise advice which we would all do well to heed.
Fathers, it would be well worth your time to investigate how John was influenced by his father and to put to practice the things you learn. Another place to look is in Proverbs in the Old Testament. (I bet that is where John's father found the wisdom to live and to pass on to his son.)
Make it your life's goal to leave your children a legacy that will not only influence them in their lives but will touch the lives of all those they come into contact with as well. If you look at all the lives John Wooden touched in such a profound and good way doesn't that stir something in your heart for your own kids?
If you want to impact the lives of your own children then you need to let Jesus impact your own life. Jesus said he came to give us a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10) and that he did. Take a hold of His life so that he may impart this abundant life to you.
We live in a time when most people have turned their hearts from God and the influences of His Word to be ruled by their desires and passions. Where individualism, materialism, pragmatism, and love of self rule the hearts of people. We shouldn't be surprised by this because the Apostle Paul warned us about this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Do you call yourself a Christian but live by the values of this corrupt and dying world? If so, I urge you to repent. Don't make excuses for yourself, confess your sin then turn from it to Jesus and ask him to change your heart and empower you to live the life he wants for you and then get into the Word of God and start obeying it.
If you are not a Christian then I urge you to deal with your rebellious heart now before it is too late. Admit your sin to God and turn in your heart from your sin back to God and place your trust in Jesus and all that he did for you. Give him his rightful place as King in your heart and love and serve him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. If you are not sure yet about doing this then please read my previous post Why Should Seekers Consider the Gospel?
When you look on the news today you can't help but worry for your kids about the kind of world they are growing up in. I believe, from reading the Bible that we are probably getting close to the end of time. It seems like all the pieces are being put in place for that final seven years before Jesus returns. Time is short so don't put this off. Make the most of the time you have.
Follow Jesus with your whole heart and be a man of godly character. But be careful not to just live a moral life without Jesus. There are going to be a lot of good, religious people in hell. Don't be one of them.
I will end with two quotes from John Wooden to think about,:
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
"I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior."
Here are a few good blog posts and videos I have come across on John Wooden: