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“Remember this, the choices you make in life make you.” ~ John Wooden
I sure have loved basketball my whole life, ever since 4th grade. The picture on the right is of me and my best friend and teammate from Pius XI high school 1974-77, Kevin Reddy on the right, and Bill Greguska, enjoying a Bucks playoff game at the old Bradley Center. I went from being a basketball fanatic to a drug and alcohol abuser to a follower of Jesus Christ. It seemed like I had to hit bottom before the Lord could help me see the light! ~ Bill Greguska
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I have Loved NBA Basketball Since Jabbar And Oscar In 1971
The God Of Second Chances And Love For Basketball!
We all need something to aspire to do, and basketball was that to me! Bill Greguska
I still remember one cold fall day about 40 years ago, just before tryouts for varsity basketball. I seriously considered suicide, but I was just too afraid to do it, but the thoughts tormented me. My love for basketball kept me going.
I remember my mom wanting to buy new clothes for me that fall, but I did not want to waste her money because I thought I would not be around to wear them since death was on my mind day and night.
I distinctly remember that my mom told me to take my dog for a run because I was depressed for quite a while. What happened was that while I was running down the parkway in the snow, my dog started pulling me to go faster.
My Junior Year Despite My Summer of Drinking And Drugs…
I made the team because of how good I was when I was on junior varsity just the year before. I was glad I was on the team, but it was humbling to sit on the bench all year. But my love for basketball thankful kept me having hope to hold on to. I was alive, and God gave me another chance. It was not the last chance I got. God has been watching over me as far back as I can remember, the problems I did not have my eyes on Him and drifted in sin off and on for the next ten years.
The scripture below is a picture of how God loves you and me and wants to give us second and third chances to bow our knee to Him and humbly come to Him and follow him as Lord and Savior.
Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you.
Dreams Of Basketball Were Not Only In My Heart!
In my junior year at Pius XI, I made the team primarily because of my reputation. The coaches knew about me in the previous years. It was sad to see that I threw away my love for basketball. Unfortunately, in my sophomore summer, I got involved heavily with alcohol and drugs to the point they became my god and overtook my life the way I was hoping it would be.
My love for basketball was almost like a god to me, but now I enjoy just watching the game as a fan! God is now the center of my attention! Thankfully, I became very willing to get help when life seemed to be going nowhere fast. Because of my life situation, I became so grateful for those who loved me enough to help me start over.
When Times Get Difficult, My Love For Basketball Kept Me Going!
I thank God that I have learned that when life gets complicated, and you see no way out from the mess we make for ourselves, we need to call on to God, for He is our refuge and strength because He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. A daily walk with God before making a mess of our lives is the wise way to do it. My love for basketball helped me make it through some tough times I got myself into.
Although God loves us and will never leave us if we choose to follow him, I realized that I made some horrible mistakeswhile growing up. I put alcohol, drugs, and other harmful things, and even good things in my life ahead of belief in and my core love for God that I had since I was a kid. I found my meaning in life mostly from my love for basketball until I was almost 30 years old. When I realized that I was using basketball as an idol or small god, I reevaluated and put my basketball in the proper perspective. I learned not to attempt to handle what the devil and the storms of life deal out because I am not strong enough without God’s help!
Remember that it says in Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. Find your strength in God, not from yourself. If you rely on yourself, you are bound to fall flat on your face, but if you trust in the Lord, the Lord is there to pick you right back up even if you do fall. He will never leave you or forsake you! I have made some mistakes as well as I have done some things well. What is your story? ~ Bill Greguska
I first heard of Jesus Christ when I was a young boy of about seven years old. My parents took me to church every weekend and even put me in a church school to instruct me, which developed some of my faith fundamentals. My faith in God was very frustrating because I learned about what was right and acceptable, but it was hard for me to live it out in my life.
Then while growing up, the Lord allowed multiple difficulties such as drug and alcohol problems, homelessness, and problems with the law to ultimately understand how deep of a need that I had for God through these challenging times I got myself into.
Basketball Was My Carrot
There was a period in my life when I got very serious about my faith because God orchestrated that I would end up in long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation for two years, where I got the help I truly needed.
I got out of treatment in 1989 and shortly after that. I found Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, which caught my eye through their open basketball program. I had a genuine love for basketball. Basketball was the “carrot” that got me back in church again! Elmbrook took me in and helped me to grow as a Christian under the teaching of Stuart Briscoe and the rest of the staff.
I got a job at Elmbrook church as a custodian for almost 5 years right after I got out of long term alcohol and drug treatment. The seeds of faith were planted. My roots were getting deeper into the things I was learning in God’s word over the years. I also attended both NA and AA for about ten years during that time. NA and AA helped me to some degree, but Elmbrook helped me more because it was there that the seeds of faith were planted, and my roots were getting more established by the things I was learning in God’s word over the years. I had a love for basketball for about the last 50 years! I attended AA and NA for about ten years, yet even though it helped me, I found Elmbrook church which caught my eye through their open basketball program.
Basketball got me into the church again in 1989, shortly after I got out of long-term treatment. The church took me in and helped me grow as a Christian under Stuart Briscoe and the rest of the staff.
I even got a job at Elmbrook as a custodian for four years. The seeds of faith were planted. My roots were getting deeper into the things I was learning in God’s word over the years. The experiences that God allowed in my life, both good and bad, gave me the awareness of my urgent need for God in my life! The rest of my story is a series of ups and downs.
Thank God they have evened out considerably, but because this time, God was in my life directing me. God was teaching me how to love Him, love others, and love myself.