Putting the brakes on

This past week I had a really cool opportunity. I was able to work as a counselor/coach at Josh Howard's basketball camp in Winston-Salem. For the past few summers Josh has held a free camp for kids in the community and each year it gets bigger and bigger. What used to be a one-day clinic is now a week-long event, and Josh provides jerseys, meals, and other gear to each kid that wants to come. To my knowledge, no one is turned away.

Josh's generosity to his community is obvious and he has established a foundation that allows him to pour some of his wealth (he recently signed a new $40 million contract) into the lives of those who have financial needs. When I met Josh, he didn't spend a lot of time talking to me but he didn't have to for me to see that he was a genuine guy who cared about people and his home community.

Then, it seems like the bottom dropped out. Earlier this year Josh admitted on a radio interview that he smoked pot in the off-season and blew it off as no big deal. He later apologized for his comments but they continue to follow him. Then, late on Thursday night July 31 he decided to drag race another car on a highway in Winston-Salem and was clocked at 94 mph in a 55 mph zone. The timing was ironic because the last day of his camp was the next day and none of us who were involved with his camp knew that he was arrested the night before (and if any of his good friends knew, they said nothing).

I am a huge Josh Howard fan and I write this because I want to see him succeed beyond basketball. It seems that Josh has been plagued by some poor decisions and everyone wants to point a finger of blame somewhere. As for me, I have no idea what's going on in his mind and in his heart, but I do know that Josh has professed to be a follower of Christ.

There is not one believer who has lived a life of perfection after his/her salvation. Yet we know that with the Holy Spirit in us, a life of moral purity is not only possible but expected. I know that Josh's mother is a woman who loves the Lord and that Josh's father checked out on him early in life. Maybe it was this lack of a father figure that plays into his poor decisions - was anyone there to teach him how to be a man? Regardless, my hope and prayer for Josh Howard is that he will seek after the Lord with all his heart.

Josh probably wouldn't remember me if he saw me tomorrow and I'm pretty sure he doesn't read this blog. But if he did, I would hope that it would serve to remind him of the awesome responsibility that he has. And no, I'm not talking about the burden of being a celebrity, I'm talking about the responsibility that all believers have as they model the life and mind of Christ.

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