The deja vu moment came from the realization that it was during this very March madness women's basketball tournament that I got the inspiration for what would become my extremely modestly selling book, "Bring'em Back Alive". Here is an excerpt from the introduction.
My spiritual insights generally aren't revealed during television broadcasts of women's basketball. I suspect that hardly makes me unique. But inspiration came clearly and forcefully during a telecast of an NCAA Women's basketball tournament game from Boulder, Colorado.
Let me set the stage for you. I am a television sports director. I call the camera shots that dictate what you see on your screen at home. Yes, I am the faceless guy you yell at to see this shot or that reaction. On this night an undermanned (or should I say underpersoned?) Louisiana State University women's team was battling Colorado. And battling was the right word since LSU was down to only seven players who were dressed to play in the game. Five key players sat injured on the bench in civilian clothes. That was the background for my spiritual revelation.
I selected some shots of the tired players on the court. "LSU has fought gamely", the announcers reported. "With only seven players on the active roster." I took a shot of the five players in street clothes. "But when these five talented contributors are nursed back to health and you add a group of skilled recruits…LSU is going to be a powerful force next year." Then it hit me. We don't follow that simple principle in the church. When we have injured and wounded players it is often too easy to ignore them and simply concentrate on recruiting new ones. I have watched dear friends walk away from my church "team" and I realized that my life and the body life of my church would never be quite the same. We lose the value of experience and depth that healing those wounded Christians would bring. I have wondered if we throw the term "church family" around a bit too loosely because I surely would pursue and attempt to heal a member of my genetic family that wanders away.
Do the math on my basketball example. If LSU returns seven players plus heals the five injured and brings in five recruits they have seventeen to choose from. If they discard the wounded they have only twelve players to enter the battle. How much talent and ability have we removed from the church by not aggressively seeking to find and heal our wounded lambs? And we must not ignore the uncomfortable fact that many injured lambs sit near us every Sunday. They have not wandered off physically but they have left us emotionally and are therefore rendered ineffective for the Kingdom.
That was written about four years ago. The volume of emails and notes that I get tells me we still have an enormous problem with our "injured" saints. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give us the heart to seek them and help restore wounded saints to the team. We need them. The body of Christ needs every single family member to be fully healthy.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. I John 4
Am I suffering from March "madness" to dream and believe this can really happen?