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Jeremy Lin is the new Tim Tebow

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin smiles during warm-ups before their NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto February 14, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Mike Cassese)

“Linsanity” is sweeping the nation.  Jeremy Lin is the point guard for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association.  He has skyrocketed from obscurity to stardom, leading his team to six straight victories.  Last night he scored the final six points of the game, making the winning three-point shot with half a second to play.  He finished with 27 points and 11 assists, his sixth consecutive game with at least 20 points.  He scored 38 in a recent victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lin’s parents emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the mid-1970s.  Both are 5 feet 6 inches tall.  Lin somehow grew to 6 feet 3 inches tall and found basketball.  He was named player of the year in California as a senior.  He also graduated with a 4.2 average.

He received no scholarship offers, so he chose to attend Harvard University.  There he made the All-Ivy League First Team twice and graduated with a degree in economics.  No NBA team drafted him.  He was signed as a free agent and then released by two teams before signing with the Knicks.  There he rode the bench and was so unknown that stadium security guards mistook him for a team trainer.

The team was about to release him, but put him in a game after injuries to other players.  He promptly scored 25 points in leading his team to victory and has been in the starting lineup ever since.  As one of the very few Asian-Americans to reach the NBA, he will have millions following his story.  College campuses are buzzing with talk of his “Linderella story.”

Fans are snapping up his jersey, TV ratings of Knicks games have skyrocketed, and shares of the team reached an all-time high on Monday.  Lin’s response? “I’m just thankful to God for everything.  Like the Bible says, ‘God works in all things for the good of those who love him.'”

He is the son of godly parents who insisted that he attend worship each Sunday morning, even after late games on Saturday night.  His Twitter account description is, “to know Him is to want to know Him more.”  His Facebook page quotes Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Does our culture need more Tim Tebows and Jeremy Lins?  You and I may not make sports headlines today, but our character is on display within our own circles of influence.  Jesus said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).  Now that he is in heaven, we are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), called to reflect his light to our dark and fallen culture.

Have you prayed today about your influence?  Have you asked the Holy Spirit to empower you as you reflect Jesus to the people you meet?  Who will serve the King of Kings because of you?