Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, and Bad Christian Examples

Lillard vs Westbrook

Lillard Drops 50

By now, like most basketball fans, you’ve seen Damian Lillard’s 37-foot game winner that sent Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder home for the season. And you also know it’s undeniable that as good as Lillard was last season, he’s made a big leap to an even higher level this season.

Recently I learned why.

Lillard And Curry

Lillard has a habit of studying the best point guards in the game. During the 2015 offseason Lillard studied the game of then league MVP Stephen Curry in particular, not just his current skillset, but he studied Curry’s dramatic improvement over the three years from 2012-2015. He studied what Curry improved on to achieve such mind boggling success in the NBA. And then he diligently practiced those skills during the offseason. In years past Lillard studied other great NBA guards, and in 2015 Curry was added to the list. (Lillard Brushes Up on Stephen Curry Skillset)

A Life Changing Point Of Focus

I share this observation to make a simple point, a point I’ve made before. If you really want to become great at something, focus on those who are best at that something. In the context of our faith, sometimes we can become discouraged or distracted by negative Christian examples. We know how the news works, so we can be sure that whenever a high profile Christian fails, or even when an entire Christian organization fails, we’ll hear about it. But if we really want to follow Jesus, if we really want to “strive to enter through the narrow door,” as Jesus instructed us to do, we’ll focus on the best possible Christian examples we can find: like Damian Lillard did, and does, in basketball.

Lillard committed his time and energy to finding and studying closely, those who were and are the best. For us as Christians, we’d do well to commit our time and energy to finding and studying closely those who were and are the best Christians, beginning with Jesus.

I hope and pray you will.

…someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)


References and Resources:


1106 Design Love Like Jesus Book Cover

Coming in January of 2020:

Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:

  • Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
  • How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
  • The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
  • How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
  • How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
  • How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
  • How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
  • How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.

With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.

A life of loving like Jesus.

(Kindle, hardcover, and paperback are scheduled to come out in 2020.)

6 Comments on “Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, and Bad Christian Examples

  1. Pingback: The Ten Most Read Blog Posts of 2019 | God Running

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Most Popular Posts Of 2016 On God Running | God Running

  3. I found this post to be so in-line with what our part of the Body of Christ has been emphasizing that I sent it to several of the youth in our congregation. The youth have read “Do Hard Things” by Brett and Alex Harris and are actually implementing hard things into their lives. I believe that what Kurt has to say here will spur them on in their good works and provide them with yet another tool to press harder after Jesus. Thanks Kurt for your inspiring words of exhortation!

  4. I agree with the prior comment. We indeed walk by faith and not by sight.
    In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out:
    It seems to me that these men were esteemed by the Master as THEY are THE Fathers of our Faith, and they alone–the examples of humankind to follow are fine so long as they follow the Savior.
    Yet, when these forefathers were alive Messiah had not yet died to set men free from sin to believe on Him. He either spoke to them or approached them, they listened, they obeyed and did what was commanded of them to do, and it went well for them. Yet as humans they had some hiccups in life and there were consequences, just as we also have consequences when we try to do things our way.
    But they followed God’s law/instructions; Messiah followed His Father’s instructions; His followers followed His example. I see that it is just so simple that if we do what our Savior did on this Earth by following His Father’s commands we will do well. And it works better when we study the Book He gave us and do His will.
    What is interesting is the verse before which says:
    Luke 13:27 And he will say to you, I do not know you where you come from; depart from me, O you workers of iniquity.
    Figuratively the word for workers is “teacher”. However, this is the teacher I truly want to follow and I know I’ll not be led astray:
    Mat 23:8 “But you are not to be called rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.
    Mat 23:9 And call no man on earth your father; for One is your Father, who is in heaven.
    Mat 23:10 Nor are you to be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Messiah.
    Mat 23:11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

  5. Great post! Why do we tend to gravitate and focus on the negative more than the positive? This is good counsel for our walk of faith but also in anything we do: sports, work, parenting, marriage, etc. We need to find the best and make that our bar to exceed. In Christianity, we have the best-Jesus. And all His tricks of the trade are written down. Lord, help me to follow your example consistently! The Spirit is willing but sometimes my flesh is so lazy! Thanks for the thoughtful post! Blessings.

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