Religion

The greatest home run of all

I believe there is a great spiritual lesson to learn about the, “home run.”    As a young boy growing up and playing my share of baseball, I can honestly say that there is not a greater sensation than how you feel after hitting a home run.  It is the ultimate high! One day the great home run king was asked this question.  “Babe, what do you think about after you strike out?”  He replied, “I think about knocking home runs.”   

 Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ picked up a piece of wood called the cross of Calvary and went to bat for the souls of the whole world.  

While Jesus stepped into the batter’s box at the site of Golgotha stadium (called the “place of the skull), He had the lost souls of this world on His mind.    

That also included you and me.  His uniform on that day was a little tattered and you could not see the number on His Jersey because of the 39 stripes on His back.  His baseball cap was having trouble keeping the sun out of His eyes because it was fashioned to look like a crown of thorns.   

 For certain, Jesus wore His baseball spikes for the double header that went into overtime that dark Friday.  For some reason He chose to wear spikes on His hands, too.  Even though the day had turned into night, Jesus hung in there and kept swinging away for all His future teammates called the Church.  The crowd had slimmed down to practically nothing but a handful of people, including his mother standing in the dug-out nearby.  Oh yes, the soldier or security guard was still there only because he was still on duty.  Everyone else went home. 

There were two thieves hanging around Jesus that day and they were both trying to steal home.  One was called out, but the other made it home safely to paradise with Jesus.   

Jesus went into a slump, but suddenly bounced back with a final swinging blow, crying out to His father, a cry that had left Him breathless. He was then carried off the field and was laid in the dugout tomb. 

First base, or day one passed. Then day two, or second base passed. And then day three, or third base, passed.  Then, like a well-hit grand slam home run, at the crack of dawn an angel rolled away the stone. The enemy, God’s opposition, was knocked out of the ball park!  Jesus rounded the bases, and made it safely home after hitting the greatest home run of all.

Believe in Jesus, He is the greatest home-run king of all.  As you accept Jesus as Lord of your life, your name is written on heaven’s roster, the Lamb’s book of life.  You will then become a part of the greatest team, the family of God.   

— Tommy Meekins

Don’s Daily Parable: Headed for home

One evening, my wife Pat and I went to Barbers Hill baseball park to watch our youngest grandson, Xander play T-ball. That was the first time I had watched him play. He did really well and scored (they don’t keep score in T-ball) at least three runs, I believe. 

You see, right now, Xander’s focus, as I’m pretty sure his coach has told him, is to hit the ball and run the bases. Now that may be oversimplified, but that’s what it boils down to at his age. Hit ball, go home. And that’s what he is doing. In the near future, he will be taught to try to steal a base, tag out runners, and other duties.

When I got my first job as a sacker at the old Henke & Pillot (now Kroger), when it was located at the traffic circle on Texas Avenue, it was explained to me that my job was to take the groceries after they had been checked out, and place them in the paper sacks (barrel bags, as they were called then), then offer to take them to the customer’s car if they wanted. After several months, I was allowed to run the cash register, and other duties.

If you are a Christian, your life is similar to the two examples above. Hopefully, when someone led you to the Lord, they told you the steps necessary to be saved. So, when you prayed the prayer of salvation with the person, you knew for sure in your heart that when you died, you would go to heaven. Does that sum it up for most of you?

It did for me, unfortunately for many years. Probably around 1977 or so, I began to be interested in letting the Lord use me. It started when someone asked me to assist them in teaching an Royal Ambassador class (boys’ discipleship class). I was scared to death but did it and I learned a lot. After that, I began to sing, and the more I tried to be available, the more He would use me. He then laid upon my heart, the hunger to see lost people come to Christ, so He gave me boldness to witness to others. 

You see, the first step is to get the sin problem dealt with. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We must learn that without Jesus’ death on the cross, and resurrection, we will spend an eternity (that’s a long time, by the way) in a place called hell. Once we accept that gift He gave us, we are guaranteed that we will go to heaven when die.

But, what about all the years between being ‘born again’ (accepted Christ), and the time that we die? That is where all the spiritual growth comes in. You see, God has a purpose for every human being. Each of us has a special ability or gift that no one else has and He wants us to use it for Him. 

There is so much more to being a Christian than to just know that you will go to heaven when you die. It’s like the difference between going on a trip where there is no scenery, just flat open highway, and driving through a mountain pass, filled with beautiful vistas and wooded forests. God has so much more than that for those who belong to Him. 

Headed for home? Take the scenic route. God bless you.

— Don Cunningham

Faith News: March ...  

This Saturday students and their supporters will be participating in what has come to be called the “March For Our Lives.” It is designed to be a march against violence.  

This Sunday in churches around the world churches will remember another march.  It was a march into Jerusalem, the city whose name in Hebrew means the City of Peace.  It was designed to be a march against violence.  Some though, thought it to be a call to violence.

It started small, featuring one person, Jesus riding on a donkey. 

As the march grew people came and lay their cloaks and palm branches in the road.  Remembering lines from Psalm 118 they began to quote part of it in shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David.” As the march continued it grew. They were a people oppressed by a cruel government. They wanted revolution. They wanted freedom from oppression. They wanted to be back in charge. 

Jesus was laying siege to the City of Peace. His siege accomplished its purpose not by the taking up of arms, but by the opening of arms — his arms on the cross.  The violence done was done to him. Jesus laid down his life so that others might live, not only under the continued rule of others, but beyond it in a life eternal.  He counteracted violence with a call to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to share an extra cloak to die to ourselves and what we want in favor of what God wants.

Jesus knew that fighting fire with fire only burns down both houses.  He knew that an eye for an eye may have been a call for commensurate restitution, but it was producing a half blind world.  Jesus fought violence by taking it on himself to the death.    

Last Sunday my sermon was based on something Jesus said to his disciples after his march into Jerusalem was over. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains a single grain.  But if it dies it bears much fruit.” 

You and I are the result of Jesus’ sacrifice. We are the fruit of his offering of himself in our stead. As such we are to carry on his legacy marching so that love can conquer hate, so that schools can be made safe, so that the darkness of abuse can be brought into the light of day and dispelled, by continuing to ... march.  

— Jim Gill

Victory in Jesus

The poisonous effect of the Tree of Knowledge is negated by two things: omniscience and humility. God, the Omniscient One, judges righteously given a perfect understanding of all mitigating circumstances. Jesus demonstrated how to handle the knowledge of good and evil as human beings- direct that knowledge to personal introspection and humbly forsake judgment of others Thus we see two results from the forbidden knowledge, one good and the other ruinous. The positive result is personal guidance for one’s daily life. The other is judgment against one’s fellowman, the basis for eternal conflict and anxiety.

The Tree of Knowledge is reflected in adherence to all law systems, including the Law of Moses. All such systems are administered by flawed human beings who are incapable of judging righteously, generally lacking, as I noted, both omniscience and humility. Omniscience provides the only context for proper judgment. Humility provides the only way for a flawed human to operate with the Knowledge of Good and Evil and avoid using it to his or her own destruction. 

We can partake of the Tree of Life or the Tree of Death at any moment, vacillating back and forth at will. When we try the Tree of Knowledge we die, as did the first Adam. When we turn to the Tree of Life/Love we are born again, resurrected to a new opportunity to live fully by emulating the second Adam.

 Our physical existence is a one long feast of one fruit or the other. We can nourish ourselves on hate, fear, pride, and anger, all fruits of the Tree of Knowledge, or we can try a more healthful diet of the fruits of the spirit, the produce of the Tree of Life. The former is nothing but Old Covenant failure while the latter is victory in Jesus, mirroring as it does both his instruction and his demonstrated mode of living. Please visit us at www.sjolanderroadfellowship.com.

— Rick Crotts

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