Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June 1, 2011

This Sunday I will begin my "Summer In the Psalms" sermon series. I am really looking forward to it! What a better place to begin a series on the Psalms that Psalm 23. It is perhaps the most beloved chapter in the Bible.

In truth, I could preach an entire Summer series just on Psalm 23! I have before!

But, I will hit the highlights in this message entitled "The Future Is You Friend". I am sure you will understand why I say that by the time I am finished with this message. When the Lord is your shepherd the future is your friend because He is a personal shepherd, and He is a powerful shepherd and He is a promising shepherd.

Let me show you what I mean when I say He is a personal shepherd. A good shepherd developed a strong personal attachment to and affection for his sheep. That is borne out by the fact that there are 17 personal pronouns in these six verses. Count them:

"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."  Psalm 23

See what I mean?

Let me make it even more personal:

"The LORD is BRAD'S shepherd, BRAD will lack nothing. He makes BRAD to lie down in green pastures, he leads BRAD beside quiet waters, he refreshes BRAD'S soul. He guides BRAD along the right paths for his name’s sake  Even though Brad walks through the darkest valley, BRAD will fear no evil, for you are with BRAD; your rod and your staff, they comfort BRAD. You prepare a table before BRAD in the presence of BRAD'S enemies. You anoint BRAD'S head with oil; BRAD'S cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow BRAD all the days of BRAD'S life and BRAD will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

You can understand why I say God is a personal shepherd! Try plugging your name in those pronouns and see how that works for you.  I bet you will like it!
The future can be your friend if you know Jesus as your personal Savior. He is a GOOD shpherd! As the Apostle John affirmed:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10 \:11-15

We need a shepherd! We are hopeless and helpless without a shepherd. But, through the grace of God, you can have a wonderful a personal shepherd Who loves you and cares for you.

Are you unceratin about your future? Are you prone to wander off and become wolf food? There is a Shepherd Who knows your name! There is a shepherd Who laid down His life for your sins! He wants to be your Shepherd! Will you be his sheep? Will you join His flock? Will you follow Him?

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 31, 2011

"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing." Psalm 23:1 

When the Psalmist identifies God as a Shepherd He is, at the same time, implying that we are sheep. In fact, He is and we are.

You don't have to know much about sheep to know you wouldn't want to be one. Sheep are dumb, dirty, and defenseless. The fate of a sheep depends upon his shepherd. If he has a good shepherd the future is his friend. If  not, his future is not so bright.

The 23rd Psalm is an amazing Psalm. It is the favorite of many many people. This Psalm is a sheep bragging about his shepherd. And it begins with the words, "The Lord is my Shepherd." In the Hebrew it is "Jehovah-Rohi." The Eternal God is my shepherd.

He is our guide. He leads us. He feeds us. He comforts us. No other name of God carries the tenderness and intimacy of "Jehovah-Rohi".

When we need to be reminded that the Lord is taking care of us, we can come to the 23rd Psalm and praise Him as "Jehovah-Rohi".

The second part of that verse should be translated, "I shall not have needs." Actually, you're wants aren't even discussed here, except in the translators' choice of words. The whole point is that taking care of our needs is God's responsibility. That's His job. He's volunteering for it. He's good at it. We need to let God do His job without needless harassment.

Herein is the inspiring point of this Psalm. If you are a sheep, and you are. And if a sheep is only as good as its shepherd, and he is. And if the Lord is your shepherd, which He is. Then you are one blessed sheep! And as long as you keep following "Jehovah-Rohi", your future is your friend!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 30, 2011

"After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.  On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”  II Samuel 12:15-23

The Psalms have been a source of comfort and strength for countless believers for thousands of years and there is a good reason. In the Psalms you have the total gamut of emotions from unbearable pain to unbelievable pleasure. No matter what life circumstance you are experiencing you can find a Psalm or two that will identify with your pain and offer real comfort and wisdom. In otherwords, the Psalms are filled with hope!

King David was able to identify so well with all these emotions because had known everything that life can bring to a king with all its privilege and perks but also  the struggles of being a shepherd - and everything in between.

Here, though he has to bear the most unthinkable agony any parent can imagine. The loss of a child. In this case it is the loss of a newborn son just a week old. His reaction to the loss of his child is quite interesting and insightful. For nearly a week, King David fasted and poured out his heart to God interceeding for the life of his child. But, the child did not survive. The illness he had contracted proved to be fatal.

David's servants were afraid to bear the dreadful news to the King that his child had died. However, he surmised from their behavior that the news was bad. Once he realized his son was gone, he reacted in a curious manner. He ended his fast, ceased his praying, cleaned himself up and ate a good meal.

Why did David do this? What was he thinking?

Prior to the death of his child, David was hoping that his child would survive this illness and be restored to health. David was aware that the child had become ill because God had stricken the child to punish David for his grievous sins of adultery and murder. He had hoped the child would have to bear the judgment for his sins. But despite his desparate petitons to God, the child passed away. So, David shifted into a new mode. He went from hoping to having hope. His hope was in the Lord's grace and goodness. David knew the child was with the Lord and there was nothing more he could do. So, the prayers ceased and the praising began! He stopped hoping and clung to hope.

Later today I will be holding a memorial service for a couple who just lost their newborn twin sons. The little guys were born late last at twenty-weeks into their development. They lived for about 20 minutes and died in their parent's arms. This had been a troubled pregnancy for the whole period leading up to their premature bithday. These precious young people, like David, had been hoping their babies would defy the odds and survive. But they did not. And now they have to switch from hoping to hope. I will hope to help them with that process. I am asking God to direct me to Scriptures and give me words that will help them grab ahold of hope again. They have the hope that David had that they will see their boys again.

In the meantime they can rejoice in the hope that their little boys will never know anything other than the face of Jesus! These tiny fellows will never behold anything other than the glory of God! The only home they will ever know is the mansion Jesus has prepared for them! They will know nothing of pain or pollution or political corruption or poverty or plagues - only peace and perfection in the presence of God!

Do you possess that hope that sustains you even when what you are hoping doesn't happen? Can you trust the heart of God even when you cannot trace His hand?

David did! You can! I pray these parents will.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 29, 2011

The Foundations of Freedom”

Psalms 11:3 -  "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

These are but three stories of the more than 2.5 millions who have died in wars. What motivates these brave men and women to put themselves in harms way? What is there about America that young people volunteer to go to foreign land to fight for their nation?


The American spirit is portrayed in Patrick Henry declaring, “Give me liberty or give me death!

It was resident in the hearts and minds of the Founding Fathers who pledged to one another “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in order to create a nation God could bless its inhabitants with freedom. And they won freedom but most of them lost their fortunes and died penniless – But Free!

True freedom never comes apart from God. Our Forefathers understood and acknowledged that vital truth. That is why when they establish this land they made sure that America was build on solid foundations from the Word of God.

As you read through these principles I want you to do a couple of things. First, try to capture the heart and mind of the Founding Fathers and ask yourself where we might be as a nation if we still had leaders like them. Second, compare this standard of excellence and prescription for greatness to the standards and expectations of our day.

John 8:32 - "And ye shall know the Truth, and the truth shall make you free."

It is important to know that we are living for the same principles that millions of brave Americans have and are – dying for. And what better day to do that than Memorial Day?

A clear understanding of the truths of life, morality, honesty and social order are best found in the Holy Bible. The teachings of no other document more plainly describe the principles upon which nations build a civilized society.

These Biblical principles have come to be known as the Judeo-Christian Ethic. And although they are numerous and found throughout the Bible, we will look at seven of the most basic ones that have undoubtedly served as foundations for our great nation.



Genesis 2:7 - “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Exodus 20:13 - "You shall not murder"

Matthew 22:39 - "...You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Our very Founding Document guarantees every person: "the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."


Genesis 2:23-24 - The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

God instituted the traditional family defined as one man and one woman. If this marriage is blessed with children, those children have the rights to a godly and secure home with a Dad and Mom.


2 Thessalonians 3:10 - “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “Anyone who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Meaning that people should work for their own livelihood and the welfare of others. We are not to be dependant upon the government for our livelihood.


Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Our forefathers knew this was right so they established institutions like Harvard...Princeton....Yale as religious schools of learning. This does not mean that all school should be Christian, but it does mean the recognition of the Creator God.


Genesis 12:1-3 – “The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Meaning that a Nation under God was a nation which was especially blessed above all the nations of the world. The Founders believed that God would bless the nation that would serve and obey Him.


Matthew 22:39 - "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Americans have been known as a people who do the decent thing. Our Statue of Liberty has upon it the Words of Emma Lazarus:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Hebrews 9:27 – “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment”

The Bible clearly teaches that people and nations are accountable to God! He Who blesses also judges!

It is said that the brilliant statesman Daniel Webster was once asked,

"Mr. Webster what greatest thought ever passed your mind?" To which he replied, "My personal accountability to God."

The Founding Fathers knew that these and other principles of Scripture are essential for the preservation of our national freedom. Ask yourself where we would be today as a nation if we still honored and observed these prinicples.


“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.” Leviticus 25:10

This phrase, “proclaim liberty throughout the land” is inscribed on the Liberty Bell at Freedom Hall in Philadelphia.

Upon our coinage is stamped these words: "E PLURIBUS UNUM" It is Latin meaning: "From Many -- One" America is nation of ones. For the Land to be free, the people must be free!

Our Constitution declares we were established:

"To secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and those who would follow."

Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address declared our nation to have been, "conceived in liberty".

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” Alexis de Tocqueville. He also said, “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good she will cease to be great.”

I would substitute the word “godly” for the word “good” and whole-heartedly agree.

When Francis Scott Key wrote the second verse to the Star-Spangled Banner, he knew what he was writing.

"Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand,

Between their loved homes and wars desolation;

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land,

Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when because it is just;

And this be our motto: "In God is our Trust."

And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave.

O’re the land of the free and the home of the brave."

That is the message of the Gospel. Jesus told us the reason He had come into the world to set men free. Certainly Christ is greatest Freedom Fighter this world has ever known!

Galatians 5:1 - "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free..."

Romans 8:2  - "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from law of sin and death."

Have you been set free by Christ? You can make your eternal proclamation of Freedom today. Give your heart to Jesus and let him become your Savior and Lord. Allow Him to Set You Free!


Have you been saved from your sins? Have you been sanctified and delivered from sin?


Live, love and lavish in the power and freedom of being Spriti-controlled.


The worst sort of bondage is the self-inflicted bondage from our sinful deception and desires.

Do You Know Freedom From Sin?

Do You Know Freedon In the Spirit?

The Foundations of Freedom Are From God’s Word Because Freedom Is From God

Freedom Is Worth Dying For Because It Is Worth Living For

"If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

It is obvious by now that the timeless foundations upon which our beloved freedom has been built is now under direct attack by the very institutions that the Founding Fathers intended to protect them. Our rights and freedoms are eroding on nearly a daily basis. Is it too lake to stop the disintigration of these principles before the foundation crumbles under our feet?

There ARE some things that you can do to firm up the foundation of your freedoms, but they must soon and they must be done daily. Will you join me in the task of restoring our moral values that made us the greatest nations on the face of the earth!





Develop a Strong Faith  - Live these principles every day!

Develop a Strong Family - Instill these truths in your children.

Strengthen Your Finances - Work to get debt-free and save so you can be financially free - able to help others.

Strengthen Your Fellowship - Serve, pray, and support your local church so the Spirit has freedom there.

Freedom is fragile and it isn't free. It is rooted and grounded in divine truth! Love His truth! Live in His truth. Lobby for His truth. And, if necessary, die defending it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 28, 2011

"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.  If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly."  I Timothy 4:4-7

This Sunday I will be sharing the seven principles that formed the foundation for our freedom as Americans. In a later post I will be commenting on those "big seven". But this morning I am wanting to focus on the idea of principles. In my thinking, the words "foundation" and "principle" are pretty much synonymous. Principles are bedrock truths upon which you can build - a life, a family, a church, a nation, a business, or an eternity. Principles will translate into eternity because they ARE timeless and unchanging.

The greatness of America is directly attributable to the greatness of its principles. But those principles are only helpful when they are implemented. When they are disregarded they lose their impact.

If you love freedom you would do well to understand and appreciate the importance of principles because freedom is built on truth (Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free") and principles define those truths.

Several years ago when Rick Warren wrote his best-selling book (30 million copies) "The Purpose Driven Life" he illustrated the power of purpose in your life and no one can dispute how important it is to have a compelling purpose. But purpose will lose its power in short order if it is not paired with proper principles. Your purpose declares why you live but your principles will determine how you pursue that purpose. A purpose without principles becomes pragmatic.

Purpose is the "what" for your life while principles are the "why". Purpose is the force of your life while principles are the course for your life. Purpose is the reason for living and principles are the rules for life.

When someone asked Jesus about the purpose for life, He answered by linking a principle with the purpose when He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself."

According to Jesus, the purpose for life is pleasing God and the principle by which to fulfill it is love. So, if you are going to live a life that is pleasing to God you must make sure your principles match that purpose.

Here is the bottom line: When your principles match your purpose the result can be holiness but when your principles don't support your purpose you have hypocrisy.

Do you know the purpose for your life?

Can you articulate the principles you live by?

How well do they match up?

When they match two powerful things result: true faith and true freedom!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 27, 2011

Rarely do I post articles by other writers but I came across this today and was very impressed by it for three reasons: (1) It was written by a young pastor, (2) It was written by a young pastor from a non-holiness tradition, (3) His church is right across the street from Michigan State University so he is challenging college kids with this message. See what you think!

I have a growing concern that younger evangelicals do not take seriously the Bible’s call to personal holiness. We are too at peace with worldliness in our homes, too at ease with sin in our lives, too content with spiritual immaturity in our churches.

God’s mission in the world is to save a people and sanctify his people. Christ died “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor. 5:15) We were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph. 1:4) Christ “loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27) Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)

J.C. Ryle, the Bishop of Liverpool from the nineteenth century, was right: “We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world…Jesus is a complete Savior. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, He does more—He breaks its power (1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 12:10).” My fear is that as we rightly celebrate, and in some quarters rediscover, all that Christ saved us from, we will give little thought and make little effort concerning all that Christ saved us to.

The pursuit of holiness does not occupy the place in our hearts that it should. There are several reasons for the relative neglect of personal holiness.

1) It was too common in the past to equate holiness with abstaining from a few taboo practices like drinking, smoking, and dancing. In a previous generation, godliness meant you didn’t do these things. Younger generations have little patience for these sorts of rules. They either don’t agree with the rules, or they figure they’ve got those bases covered so there’s not much else to worry about.

2) Related to the first reason is the fear that a passion for holiness makes you some kind of weird holdover from a bygone era. As soon as you talk about swearing or movies or music or modesty or sexual purity or self-control or just plain godliness, people get nervous that others will call them legalistic, or worse, a fundamentalist.

3) We live in a culture of cool, and to be cool means you differentiate yourself from others. That has often meant pushing the boundaries with language, with entertainment, with alcohol, and with fashion. Of course, holiness is much more than these things, but in an effort to be hip, many Christians have figured holiness has nothing to do with these things. They’ve willingly embraced Christian freedom, but they’ve not earnestly pursued Christian virtue.

4) Among more liberal Christians, a radical pursuit of holiness is often suspect because any talk of right and wrong behaviors feels judgmental and intolerant. If we are to be “without spot or blemish,” it necessitates we distinguish between what sort of attitudes, actions, and habits are pure and what sort are impure. This sort of sorting gets you in trouble with the pluralism police.

5) Among conservative Christians, there is sometimes the mistaken notion that if we are truly gospel-centered, we won’t talk about rules or imperatives or exhort Christians to moral exertion. To be sure, there is a rash of moralistic teaching out there, but sometimes we go to the other extreme and act as if the Bible shouldn’t advise our morals at all. We are so eager not to confuse indicatives and imperatives (a point I’ve made many times) that if we’re not careful, we’ll drop the imperatives altogether. We’ve been afraid of words like diligence, effort, and obedience. We’ve downplayed verses that call us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) or command us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1) or warn against even a hint of immorality among the saints (Eph. 5:3).

I find it telling that you can find plenty of young Christians today who are really excited about justice and serving in their communities. You can find Christians fired up about evangelism. You can find lots of Generation XYZ believers passionate about precise theology. Yes and amen to all that. But where are the Christians known for their zeal for holiness? Where is the corresponding passion for honoring Christ with Christlike obedience? We need more Christian leaders on our campuses, in our cities, in our seminaries who will say with Paul, “Look carefully then how you walk.” (Eph. 5:15)
When is the last time we took a verse like Ephesians 5:4—“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”—when is the last time we took a verse like this and even began to try to apply this to our conversation, our joking, our movies, our YouTube clips, our TV and commercial intake? The fact of the matter is if you read through the New Testament epistles, you will find very few explicit commands that tell us to evangelize and very few explicit commands that tell us to take care of the poor in our communities, but there are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament that enjoin us, in one way or another, to be holy as God is holy (e.g., 1 Peter 1:13-16).
I do not wish to denigrate any of the other biblical emphases capturing the attention of younger evangelicals. But I believe God would have us be much more careful with our eyes, our ears, and our mouth. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 26, 2011

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" Matthew 25:23

One of the big myths of Christian growth and church growth result from spectacular manifestations or major breakthroughs. Many of us tend to overlook the importance and the impact of small things, especially small things done consistently over time.

Remember the Challenger disaster? The official conclusion on the cause of that tragedy was the failure of a few small and inexpensive "o" rings. Just a couple of little things but one big failure.

I'm sure you recall the Columbia space shuttle tragedy. It was caused by a few missing tiles from the heat shield designed to protect the craft from the intense heat during re-entry to the earth's atmosphere. Again, small tiles but huge impact.

It would be hard to completely assess the impact the automobile has had on the modern American lifestyle. But Henry Ford, to whom we owe a great deal, made one small mistake in the design of his first Model-T - he forgot to build reverse into it. Correcting that seemingly minor error launched the ever-expanding love affair between Americans and their cars.

Those are just three examples of small things that made huge, even historic differences. So, why would spiritual growth be different? Should you sit around waiting for big things to happen? It that how it happens? Is that what you should expect? Or should you run around to gospel concerts and attend charismatic conferences until you experience and amazing breakthrough? Is that how it happens?

Not usually. It almost always happens one small victory at a time. A new discipline like starting a prayer journal, or finding a prayer partner can make a big difference. A new commitment to a ministry or conquering a negative attitude show significant growth. When you replace a bad habit with a good behavior, that's real growth. And the result of winning those little daily battles is often that big breakthrough others are chasing!

What is the growth point in your life right now? What little victory could you win that would make the biggest difference? When will you stop wishing and start winning?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 25, 2011

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

I just finished watching the American Idol final two show. Both Scotty and Lauren did very well, especially under the pressure of the night and being in the much larger theater. They both sang three songs, both did all three like pros but Lauren got to go last and she finished well! How can you not like a country song that honors your mother? That is like slapping a big hunk of vanilla ice cream atop your fresh from the oven apple pie? Lauren may have put herself over the top with that song because people do tend to remember how you finished.

Finishing well is crucial to whatever you are doing. In Hebrews 12:1-2 we are reminded of the importance of finishing well in the spiritual race.

It is good to run fast. Running fast in a race is always a great idea! Running fast in the spiritual race is probably because you have rid yourself of all extra weight and hinderances. That is smart and more importantly, it is spiritually necessary. Those who run fact are the ones who normally win the race.

Just as running fast is an advantage, so is running far. The spiritual race is a marathon and not a sprint, so the farther you run the better. Running fast and running far gives you a definite edge in the race you are running. The most important thing though, is to run all the way to the end of the race.

That brings us to the most important truth about running a race - running fast, running far AND finishing the race! When you run a race plan to always finish well. Always run through the tape! Lunge toward the line! Running fast might get you some attention. Running far might get you and advantage, but finishing well - like Lauren Alaina - will get you remembered! And like her, it will get you into the winner's circle!

So, as you are running your spiritual race, run fast and run far, but make sure you run to the finish! Keep your focus fixed on Jesus at the finish line and run hard toward Him!

How are you running? Are you staying focused on Jesus? What are you doing to make sure you finish?

May 24, 2011

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."   Hebrews 12:1-2

As you know, Memorial Day week-end is a huge racing week-end.

In Charlotte, NC the entire week is designated "Speed Week" with a variety of race activities leading up to the Charlotte 600.

Several hundred miles north in Indianapolis, at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they will be running the Indy 500.

These highly skilled drivers will be running their finely tuned machines side by side and bumper to bumper at break-neck speeds for two or three hundred miles hoping to entertain thousands of fans looking on in person and watching on television - AND oh, hoping to win the races.

The 43 drivers in Charlotte and the 33 racers in Indy remember why they are racing. They are driving to win!

In this 12th chapter of Hebrews we are reminded that we are also running a race. Here are several important things he wants us to remember about our race during this Memorial week:
Remember Who's Running

You are running the race of faith and faithfulness. The Christian life is compared to a race several times in Scripture and with good reason - a Christian progresses one step at a time. As a Christian you must learn to pace yourself and run with purpose and determination.

Remember Who's Watching
This race you are running is a relay race. You have been handed the baton in order to advance the Faith through another generation. Those who handed it to you are cheering you on! Some are rooting from along the sidelines while many others, including all those heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11, are looking on from the celestial bleachers. They set the example of how to run well and they set the pace and now it is up to you not to disappoint them. Will they have run in vain or will you sprint to the finish? What will you say to Moses if you drop the baton? How will you explain to Noah if you stumble and fall? Will you have an answer for Abraham if your faith fails short of the finish line? Run well because someone else is waiting to receive your baton.
Remember What Slows You Down

When an Indy car pulls out onto the speedway to compete in the most famous race of all, does he pull a camper behind him? Does a stock car fill the trunk with luggage as he leaves pit row at the beginning of the race? Of course not? Does a world class marathoner run wearing combat boots? Niether should you compete in this most important race carrying any extra weight. Sin is what weighs you down and slows you down and saps your strength. Run to win! Run without sin!
Remember Where You Are Running
Every champion racer knows that he is racing to win and he knows where the finish line is. It is that coveted destination that he is intent upon. His focus is upon finishing by crossing that line as quickly as he can. You don't win a 600 mile race by completing 590 miles. The Indy 495 means nothing! Get rid of all that weighs you down and run hard for the finish. Then you can hand off the baton to a new generation of runners! That is what champions do! It is was Christians do!
Remember you are in a race!
Remember who is rooting for you to win!
Remember to run well, without sin!
Remember you must cross the finish line to get the prize!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 23, 2011

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:1-2

Holiness happens through sanctification. After you consecrate yourself unto God, repent of your sin, and renounce your sinfulness, God cleanses away your sin nature by the blood of Jesus. Once you have been made clean you can receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. When that happens, as Romans 12:1-2 tells you, a fundamental tranformation takes place.

God is in the tranformation business. You and I may settle for reformation but He doesn't. Perhaps that is because reformation is the best we can do - sometimes, for brief periods. But He transforms because He can and because we need it and because we can't.

Consider some of the transformational work He does in you:


"this is true worship"   At the heart of your sin problem is your heart - corrupted and degenerate. It is "deceitful above all things and desparately wicked, who can know it?"  The heart of the deceit is the desire to be God and that desire makes it tough to worship the true One. That is a problem. A big problem that needs to be changed. Not reformation change but transformation change. Sanctification does that fundamental transformation of your nature.


"tranformed by the renewing of your mind"  It is hard to do right when you are thinking wrong. It is hard to honor God when your thoughts are ungodly. Trying to reform what you think about only causes you to think about it more. What you need is a renewed mind, a mind transformed by the power of God - a sanctified mind.


"do not conform to the pattern of this world" When your heart is transformed and how you think is transformed it positively affects your habits. Behavior is the product of desires and decisions so when both of those are fundamentally changed by the power of God's Spirit, old habits are replaced by new disciplines. Those unproductive and counterproductive behaviors no longer control you. You are sanctified.

In your own strength with a sinful heart, corrupted mind, and harmful habits what is there to hope for? Reformation? Maybe. But that is more hoping than hope. However, if you were to allow God to sanctify you wholly, heart, head and habits then you would have true hope for the future! And your future can be filled with hope not hoping!

Holiness is wholeness! It transforms you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and behaviorally! As St. Paul declares, "the old is passed away and all things became new".

So, how about you? Will you settle for trying to make yourself into a more tolerable sinner or will you consecrate yourself to God for His sanctification? In view of God's mercies, it is your reasonable service!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 22, 2011

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:1-2

The word "holiness" means different things to different people. Most of those connotations are not especially positive.

Some people think pentecostal when they hear the word holiness.

Holiness might conjure up thoughts of saints such as St. Peter or St. Paul or St. John.

Often holiness is measured in terms of what you cannot do or a long list of things that you must do. Sometimes it is both. If you want to be holy you must not do this or that or the other thing. If you want to be holy you must dress in such a manner like wearing long sleeves and long dresses for ladies. Both men and women must wear their hair at a certain lengh. If you do not do those deeds or if you conform to the style you will not be considered holy.

Jesus came with a redically different style of holiness that wasn't dependent on what you can or cannot do. It wasn't about doing at all! It was about accepting what Christ had already done for you on the cross!

That is the good news I bring you today! Holiness is not about doing it is about dying - His death and yours!

No, you don't have to die physically as He did on the cross, but your selfish will must die. Your pride must die. Your spiritual independence must die. You must become a "living sacrifice" that is holy and acceptable to Him.

Holiness is less about how you live and mostly about how you love! You must love God and demonstrate it by surrendering to His will for your life. He must be the passionate love of your life!

In this great portion of Scripture Paul promises that if you will die and become as a living sacrifice, God will transform you by renewing your mind! He promises you that with this transformed mind and obedient heart, you will be able to discern and discover His perfect will for your life!

From now on, when you think of holiness or when you hear someone speak of it, don't think of holiness as doing, think of holiness in terms of dying!

Are you tired of doing all the stuff you were told you have to do to get holy? Are you weary of trying to live by the lists?  Are you burdened by hectic demands of how to dress, how to style your hair, how to think and how to worship?

 If so, will you do one last thing - will you die to Christ?

May 21, 2011

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."   Matthew 24:36-42

There has been much media attention given this week to the prediction of today, May 21, 2011 will the the last day on planet earth. The Rev. Harold Camping has calculated this day using Biblical dates and chronology. He and his followers are extremely confident of his prediction and have spent several years preparing for this fateful day.

Jesus taught that no one, including Him, will know the exact day that the Second Coming will happen. We do know that we are closer to that great event than we have ever been! Certainly, there are political, spiritual, and economic scenarios developing world-wide that look a like what the prophets foretold for the last days. Jesus made it clear that we should be able to recognize that the end is near - but He also emphasized that no one will know when the last day will come.

We will know in a few hours whether his calculations are correct or not. But rather than ridicule the good Reverend or question his calculations, let's do something more beneficial. Let's say he is right. Let's say these are your last hours on earth. How should you then live? What habits need to be ended? What relationships need to be mended? How would your priorities change? How would your practices change?
While there is reason to doubt Brother Camping's calculations, you should not dismiss the concept. Jesus IS coming back. Many of the prophecies have been fulfilled, most of the conditions are right, and many signs are poiniting to His soon return. With the return of the Lord imminent, today would be a good day to begin acting like it. Though it is not likely to happen today, it could happen tomorrow. The question is not as much about when it will happen but will you be ready?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 20, 2011

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."   Hebrews 12:14

Holiness matters. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago shared this sobering fact:

Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, "We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously...The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkable similar in both groups. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith."   
You don't have to have a strong understanding of holiness to know that isn't it. Obviously, there is a "holiness gap" among those who populate the churches of America.

So, what is holiness and what difference does it make?
In one word, holiness is "love". In two words, holiness is "perfect love". Holiness is "wholly" loving God and loving others in the same way you love yourself. Holiness is finding peace with God and earnestly seeking to be a peacemaker in your world. The best way to make peace is to connect people with Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Holiness promotes peace by responding to evil with goodness and by responding to hatred with love.
Holiness is difficult. It results from sanctification. Sanctification means "being set apart" and it can mean "made pure". There are two definitions because one denotes your responsibility - to set yourself apart unto God - and His part - to make you morally pure and spiritually holy.

To be made pure and holy is bound to make a difference! And it does! Consider some of the important difference:

1) You see God more clearly.

Holiness brings the fullness of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of Truth" Who Jesus promised would "lead you into all truth"! Being made pure and filled by His Spirit enables you to see God with more clarity. Not only will you see Him more clearly but you will see His will with greater clarity. And, you will see the world around you more clearly. Holiness connects you to a new reality - spiritual reality - an eternal reality. That is the essence of faith - "the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen." God gives you spiritual eyes with the vision to see spiritual realities in the midst of a dark and fallen world. Coming into a knowledge of what is real radically changes how you live in this world and that can cause you to change the world in which you live.

Have you been filled with His Spirit?

2) You see God eternally.

Holy people get to go to Heaven where they will get to see God not just by faith - but face to face forever! Have you been made holy?

3) God is seen in you more clearly.

Jesus said, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself". A loving Jesus demonstrated throught the life of a holy person makes God almost irresistable. Think about it, every one who claims to be a Christian either makes it easier to believe in God OR makes it more difficult to believe just by the witness of their life. Holy people make Christianity contagious.

What about your witness? Are people seeing Jesus in your attitudes and actions?

With holiness you shall see God! With holiness God will be seen in you!

Holiness is hard, but it is even harder trying to be a victorious Christian without it! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 19, 2011

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.' But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don't know God are nice to their friends.  So you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."  Matthew 5:43-48
Does being holy mean being perfect?
Yes, and no.

Based on my own experience working with people over many years I have discovered one of the main things that keep people from being holy is the belief that they have to be perfect to be holy.  Their efforts to be perfect prevent them from becoming holy.
Perfectly confused?
Let me clarify. Holiness requires a perfection of desire but not a perfection of doing. Holiness comes as a result of perfect dependence upon the great work Christ did FOR US on the cross.  His shed blood and the infilling of the Holy Spirit applies His perfect work to our hearts. Then it becomes incumbent upon us to walk in fellowship and obedience to God in the Spirit.
As Jesus taught in this portion of Scripture, holiness results from being filled with and motivated by the love of God and relating to others based on that love. So, you can unintentionally hurt or offend someone while trying to respond to them in loving ways, and be yet be perfect in your motive while imperfect in your execution of your faith.
God is most concerned with the desires and motives of your heart and mind. He is less concerned than with your execution or expression of those desires and motives.

What else could Jesus mean when He demands you to "be perfect as God is perfect"? God never sins or makes a mistake. You or I can never be perfect like that! So, if holiness is just about what we do we will never be perfect, and then Jesus is demanding something of us that is impossible for us. Why would He do that?
He wouldn't and He doesn't. He invites us to receive what He has provided through Jesus - the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing of the sin nature, and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Then He urges us to walk in obedience and in the power of His Spirit.
That is the perfection that is possible.
However, if you believe you have to "perfect" yourself in order to come to God for perfection, that effort to be perfect will prevent you from becoming holy.
You can never be perfect but you CAN be holy. But you can never become holy by trying to be perfect!

May 18, 2011

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."   Hebrews 12:14

So, who wants to see God?

Wouldn't that be nice? Those of us who are people of faith, make a total commitment to surrender to and serve Someone we have never seen. He is as real to us as people we know and see and visit with every day.

But, no one has ever seen Him. Adam did until he disobeyed, Moses came close, but no one can say they have seen God with their physical eyes. Many people of faith have seen the work of His hands through miracles and transformed live, but they have not seen God with their eyes.

Through and regular and disciplined study of His Word you can get a good mental picture of Who He is, but it is not like seeing Him with our eyes.

So, given how real He has become to us, and how intimately we have come to know Him and how we visualize Him in our minds, wouldn't it be nice to lay eyes on Him?

The writer of Hebrews firmly states that unless a person is holy that person will not see God. It requires a holy heart to be able to lay eyes on Him.

You may be thinking, "Brad, that verse is referring to seeing God when we get to Heaven."

Certainly, that IS true. But I don't think it is complete. I think it means more because I don't think we can clearly see God in this life until we are made holy. Anyone who is holding on to sin and who is tolerating sinfulness will not be able to have a clear vision of what God is really like. Jesus came to show the love and power of God and the Holy Spirit leads us to His truth and into His presence. So, in our mind and spirit, we are able to get a glimpse of what God is like. In our holy mind and spirit we will see God more clearly. Paul wrote to the Corinthians "now we see through a glass darkly but then face to face".

So, if you aspire to see Him face-to-face some day, you better make sure you are walking in holiness! Holiness allows you to see Him as he is.

Are you living in holiness?

Are you loving in Holiness?

Have you repented of your sins?

Have you renounced sin in your life?

Are you walking in righteousness?


Monday, May 16, 2011

May 17, 2011

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14

"Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14 (Amplified)

Holiness is hard!

Look at the two main verbs in this verse "strive" and "pursue". Those are extra effort type words. They require energy and determination - and desire.

What is holiness and why is it so hard?

Well, the "what it is" is "why it is" so hard.

Holiness is consecrating yourself to God, as the Amplified renders it. Consecrate means that I set myself apart from my selfish desires, my selfish ambitions, my sinful past and give myself completely to God for the purpose of being made holy by Him. You or I cannot make ourselves holy, we can only repent of our sins and renounce sin to give ourselves unreservedly to God so He can make us holy by the cleansing of His blood and the indwelling of His Spirit.

Holiness refers to the condition of your heart in relationship to God. Holy people love God with all their heart and all of their mind. Holiness allows the Holy Spirit to take up residence in your heart empowering you to overcome temptation and sin.

Holiness purifies your motives so that whatever you do is fueled by love (for God and for others). Holiness is being able to fulfill the Great Commandment by loving God and loving others as yourself.

In this verse holiness is equated with peace. You cannot be holy with God while you live in turmoil with others.

So, holiness is difficult because it requires being reconciled on two levels of relationship - holy with God and at peace with men. That doesn't happen automatically. It doesn't happen accidentally. You have to "strive" against your selfish nature and you must "pursue" God's nature.

But holiness is necessary and required of those who desire to see God - Who also happens to be holy.

Holiness really matters! Does it matter to you?

Are you pursuing holiness?

Are you making every effort to live peaceably?

Are you prepared to see God?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 16, 2011

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."   Hebrews 11:6

Did you ever have someone in your life who was hard to please? No matter how hard you tried or what you did you found you could never please them? That is pretty miserable isn't it?

God doesn't want you miserable and He is not hard to please. In fact, He makes it clear what it takes to please Him. When you come to Him believing that "He is" or "He exists" He is pleased.

When you think about it, why would you come to someone who doesn't exist or whose existence you doubt? What is the point in that?

God does, indeed, exist! He always has! He always will. There will never be a time He doesn't exist. He exists at all times in all places with all power and forever!

God can be fully present here in Fredericksburg, VA and be fully present with you at the same time!

In fact, when God identified Himself to Moses He named Himself as "I am". Or, you could also say "I exist".

So, when you come to God and you believe that He exists as the "I am" - the fully present, fully powerful, and fully perfectly personal eternal Being - He is perfectly pleased!

Are you fully persuaded that "He is" when you seek Him? If so, He is fully pleased!

May 15, 2011

For well over a century baseball has been recognized as our “national past time”. It has become part of the fiber of our culture. I think there are good reasons why that is true:

1) Camaraderie:

Team mates or Fans enjoy being part of a team and working together to get wins.

2) Competition:

Individuals, pitcher vs batter, etc. Team pulling together for victory.

3) Continuity:

Dad’s Play And Want Sons to Play

4) Cards & Computers:

Baseball Cards & Fantasy Baseball

5) Coverage:

Newspapers, Magazines, Internet, TV and Radio

If Jesus was around today doing His teaching and preaching, He would likely refer to baseball in a parable or a story since it is such a touch point in our culture.

Rick Warren's popular book The Purpose Driven Life uses the simple illustration of a baseball diamond to capture the idea that spiritual progress is a journey. Thousands of churches have adopted and adapted this "Life Development Process." It looks like this:

First base or Class 101: Committed to membership - knowing Christ

Second base or Class 201: Committed to maturity - growing in Christ

Third base or Class 301: Committed to ministry - serving Christ

Home plate or Class 401: Committed to missions - sharing Christ

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” II Timothy 4:7-8

If you were going to pose these verses in baseball terms, you could say the Great Apostle had rounded third and was headed for home. He is about to score and he is saying, “I have touched all the bases!”

Comparing Baseball to Faith – what are the bases we need to touch in order to get home to Heaven?

I. First Base - Salvation

Jesus replied, "I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God's kingdom!" John 3:3

The object in baseball, like all competitive sports, is to score – and to score more than the other team. A score in baseball is called a “run”. There is a progression that must happen in order to score a run in baseball. You MUST go through that progression every time for the run to count – 1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base and then Home. You can reserve than progression nor can you shortcut it.

The chance to score a run begins when a batter reaches first base. You do that by getting a walk, a hit or on an error. You cannot get home if you don’t get to first

A major league baseball player can become a multi-millionaire if he can bat .300. To do that he must get on base just three times in ten at-bats. Now, granted, against major league pitching with major leaguers in playing defense that is no small feat.

But 100% of the players who score a run have to get to first base. You can’t score at first base but neither can you score without it!

The bad news in the Christian life is, you can’t get to first base on your own. You will strike out in sin.

The good news is you can have a pinch hitter, Jesus Christ. He got you a hit at the cross, when He died for your sins. You get a hit when you step out of the batters box and hand the bat to HIM.
You can’t get to home and score unless you get on first base. You can’t get on first base unless you get a hit. You can’t get a hit unless you let Jesus pinch-hit for you!

II. Second Base – Spiritual Growth - Romans 6:4 & II Peter 3:18

“When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.” Romans 6:4

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” Amen. II Peter 3:18

In real baseball it is possible to get a two base hit or a double and go from the batter’s box around first base and end on second base.

However, in the Christian faith there is a process that begins at first and requires you to move to second. In the faith, second base represents spiritual growth.

As II Peter 3:18 tells us, spiritual growth results from increasing in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since Christianity is a relationship, growth results from learning to obey God, learning to study the Bible, learning to pray, learning to live in fellowship and learning to worship.

When you know that you want to get from first to second it is important to get a lead off of first base. In this context, the way to get a lead off first base is baptism. Baptism is commanded of every believer and is a public witness of a personal spiritual decision to follow Christ. Baptism symbolizes and signifies the great doctrines of the Church – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Also, if you want to get to second base another important thing needs to happen along the base path from first to second – church membership. In some traditions baptism IS the entry into membership of that local church. It is very important to affiliate yourself with a local church. That is where ministry and worship and spiritual growth happen.

You can’t score from first base. You have to round second to get to home. And second base represents spiritual growth as evidenced in baptism and church membership.

Perhaps you are thinking, “Brad, it sounds like you are saying that being saved is not enough to get you to Heaven. Is that right? It sounds like you are saying that baptism and church membership are equally as important as salvation.”

Baptism and church membership are no substitute for salvation. But they are evidence that you have been saved. Or, if you are unwilling to submit to baptism or church membership, maybe you haven’t have a real spiritual transformation.

III. Third Base - Serving - Eph. 2:8-9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God Created Adam to Serve

God Called Disciples to Serve

God Commissioned Church to Serve

Imagine the most important organization in the world - the Church - is to be run by volunteers servants!

 IV. Home Plate – Scoring – II Timothy 4:7-8

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

To get home you must keep running! You can run from first to third all day long but you don’t score until you cross home plate.

None of us should make it home without helping others get there!

In 1924 the World Series between the New York Giants and the Washington Senators was tied after six games. Griffith stadium in Washington was packed for the final game on October 10, 1924. They came to the ninth inning with the game score tied at three runs each.

New York was put down in order and Washington came to bat. The home team fans screamed for one lone run, which would win the series and the world championship. The first two men made outs and it looked like extra innings. Then a player named Leon “Goose” Goslin came to the plate. Two strikes were called and then two balls. The crowd was watching every pitch. On the fifth pitch, Goslin stepped into the ball and slammed it to left center field. The crowd became delirious; it looked like a home run, but it hit inches below the top of the wall and fell back into the field of play.
Goslin was slowing down for a triple when the third base coach waved him on to try for an in-park home run. The short stop took the peg from left center, and fired the ball to the catcher. Goslin slid into home in a cloud of dust, seemingly a split second before the tag. The catcher followed the routine of throwing the ball around the bases, just in case, while waiting for the umpire to make the call. The umpire made a delayed call, consulting the other umpires, and then cried, “You’re out!”

Washington player/manager, Bucky Harris, along with his team and fans, rushed onto the field, protesting the call. The umpire secured order, and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the batter is out because he didn’t touch first base!”

If you want to make it home and score you have to touch 'em all! And if you want to get home to Heaven and bring some others along with you - you've got to touch all the bases! Make sure you touch 'em all!