This past weekend was NBA All-Star Weekend. What a fantastic time to see the world’s best basketball players playing together in one arena. Aidan and I sat in front of our television with all the giddy adrenaline I remember having as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons. It’s an anxious tingling up my spine similar to what I get when waking up early in anticipation of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the New Year’s Day Rose Parade. It’s comparable to the feeling I get planning a watch party for The Oscars, The Tony Awards or the Super Bowl. I think getting a close look at a collection of super stars is something worth getting excited about.

Saturday night’s events were capped off by Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo winning the dunk contest! It was a lot of fun to watch as he became more and more creative applying his athleticism to the art of the dunk. My favorite part was watching the All Stars reacting in awe of the feats he was pulling off. None more so than his own Thunder teammates Russel Westbrook, Paul George and Raymond Felton. They crowded around him congratulating him and telling him how good he looked with his trophy. I loved that Diallo seemed as star struck as the fans that filled the arena around him and was just tickled to be included as a part of the weekend’s festivities. He was like a kid running to the playground for recess, his feet barely touching the ground!

  As the game got started you could tell that the players were having a great time. Getting to perform at such a high skill level with others of equal talents allowed them to have as much fun playing and complimenting each other’s game as I was watching them play it. There were highflying dunks and alley-oops, behind the back passes and a rain storm of shots from 3-point land! By the second half things got to be a lot more competitive.

Play time was over and it was time everyone turned up the intensity and actually tried to win. In the end we were disappointed to see the Westbrook and George’s team lose the game, but it was a great weekend for Oklahoma City. Our players carried themselves with joy and kindness and represented us well.  

Earlier on Sunday, following our worship service, I attended the Shawnee St. Paul’s Leadership Team meeting. It is always exciting to listen in to the passionate and visionary discussions that the team and staff are having about the state of the church and what is to come.

I am truly blessed to know we have a team in place that is motivated to serve God, this church and our community in big ways. I don’t take that for granted. God has assembled an incredible team here. Their collective heart for ministry is powerful! I feel like Diallo most of the time; awestruck by the gifts and passion of my teammates. I’m so humbled by the opportunity to be a part of this church and to get to use God’s call on my life that I’m certain my feet rarely touch the ground.

The beauty of what God has done for you, Shawnee St. Paul’s, is that He has provided this team to you not to play the game for you, but to serve with you as His coaching staff. You, body of Christ, are the ones who get to check in and play the game! You get to serve in alliance with the all-stars around you. In your Sunday morning small groups, mission teams, bible studies and the choir…God has assembled you with an awesome purpose. We’ve all been brought to this congregation to complement each other’s skills and we can have a great time doing so.

There will be times when things are challenging and you’ll need to turn up the intensity, because the world we are called to be in is gearing up to distract and turn people off from the love of God. However, I have fantastic news for you! The MVP has already been chosen, and His name is JESUS!!! He will always lead us to victory! It’s already His! All we have to do is claim it. Be courageous St. Paul’s. It will be so fun watching the community react in awe of the feats God will pull off through your faith and actions. None more so than the reactions of your own St. Paul’s teammates. Accept God’s blessings and pour them out on others. To get a close look at what God is doing through each of you is an All-Star performance worth getting excited about.

Photo by
Tate Monroe, Director of Discipleship and Development