Monday, February 16, 2015

February 17, 2015

"I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

I was seven years old when I trusted Christ as my Savior.

I was eight years old when I first began to play organized baseball.

These two seemingly different pursuits became two of the great loves of my life. Each, in its own way has played a significant part in shaping my life.

One of these two came rather easily to me. The other has been a life-long challenge.

Hitting a baseball and catching a baseball and throwing a baseball just seemed to come naturally to me. Being a faithful follower of Christ was not nearly as natural. It has required energy, focus and effort for nearly six decades.

In baseball, if you get one hit in three times at bat during a game you will have a .333 batting average and that will get you labeled as a great hitter. There are a number of baseball players in the Hall of Fame who didn't have a .333 batting average for their career. If you live for Christ just one day out of three, you will be a poor Christian.

In baseball, if I made an error or struck out or grounded into a double play, when that game was over I could start with a fresh stat line in the next game! As a Christian, my sins and failures seemed to trouble me and haunt me despite God's grace.

Although I have often made analogies between baseball and faith, I never realized how closely they correlated until I discovered the book "Home Run" by Kevin Myers. Kevin is the Lead Pastor at 12Stone Church, a Wesleyan Church in the Atlanta area, which happens to be the fastest growing church in America. In his book, Kevin described spiritual development in the paradigm of the game of baseball. Being a follower of Christ and a fan of baseball I found many helpful applications from the comparisons.

I hope you will, too, as we study it together over the next forty days.

February 16, 2015

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited." Romans 12:16

You don't have to be an expert in music to appreciate the importance of harmony. Even an untrained ear can hear when the music doesn't mesh!

First of all, you wouldn't want to listen to an orchestra consisting entirely of one type of instruments. One violin is beautiful when played properly. Even several of them when played harmoniously. But an entire orchestra made up of violins would grow tedious rather quickly.

Even worse, would be an orchestra made up entirely of violins and everyone of them playing out of tune.

When you listen to an orchestra or a choral group you expect to hear instruments or voices lifted in harmony. All the instruments or all the voices meld into one glorious sound, full and rich. It is a thing of beauty! It touches the soul!

But when you go to a concert prepared to be inspired by the music you notice right away if one of the voices or one of the instruments is out of tune or off key. The fine music of the many is spoiled by the lack of harmony by one.

Harmony is many blending their talents together into one beautiful result. It is what a local church is supposed to be. When each member plays his part so as to blend with the parts of the others in harmony, you have an example of what God wants His Church to be like. When that happens those people make beautiful music that is like a masterpiece in God's ears.

Harmony is preserved and protected by humility.

How so?

Each member of the orchestra must agree to play his part and only his part, nothing more or less. Perhaps there is a brief solo piece somewhere in the score for the concert, but a the beautiful music is realized when each member plays his music in a way that blends with the other instruments.

That is how God designed His church. It is not a place for solos or for stars to perform. It is a fellowship of God-lovers presenting a concert of love in unity with His Spirit and one another. At the heart of the harmony is humility.

The Church of Jesus Christ is better when each of us blend with all of us! When I humbly honor you and merge my talents with yours we hit all the right notes for God and He is glorified!