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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oh, It's Gone ...

It is June 5th, 1984. The Tigers have come out of the gate beginning with a 35-5 record to start their eventual World Series Championship season. On a Tuesday night ABC has picked up the game as the Toronto Blue Jays (who in 1984 were divisional opponents) are in town for a 4 game series in their (turns out) futile attempt to catch the Tigers in the standings. The game has gone into extra innings in a 3-3- tie. There are two men on and two out in the bottom of the tenth inning. Dave Bergman, a role player on the team, steps into the batter’s box. In the announcers’ booth Howard Cosell is continuing his game-long assault against the Tigers. He doesn’t think they are the ‘real thing’—just a fluke, their gaudy 35-5 start, he’s quite sure—and when you're on Cosell’s “Poop List” everyone listening knows it.

Bergman, a lefty, finds himself in a battle with the pitcher. With a full count, he hangs in there and fouls off pitch after pitch—a total of seven vicious tosses in a row. And now, with the crowd holding its collective breath, the next pitch flies, barreling down the strike zone …


He clocks it. With the solid smack of wood on horsehide the sold out crowd leaps to its feet. The play by play announcer is exclaiming with obvious excitement, “It’s hit hard, deep, it’s going up, up … still going, it looks like this one could—“
His elated recounting of the ball’s trajectory is interrupted by the sound of Cosell’s morose, disdainful droning, Oh, it’s gone.”


The Tigers never looked back that season—they were destined to be World Champions, with even the staunchly disbelieving Cosell himself singing their praises by the end of the season.

We all love champions. Many dream of the opportunity to be part of something special, something that goes down in history. What if I told you that little ol’ you could actually be part of something that would change the world?

“Who, me?” you ask

Yes you!

“Well, Pastor, I’m really no one special and, to be frank, I’m just not the ‘church type.’”

Well, if by “church type” you mean someone who judges others and keeps a Cosell-like ‘poopy list’ then you know what I say?

I say, “Great, neither am I!”

"Yeah, but Pastor, honestly—I’m pretty sure my name is on the list of bad things good church people are not supposed to do.”

“Oh really? Like that list of nasty sins in Romans 1:29-32?”

29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

“Yes, Pastor—I do some of those things on that list! Really—I’m not your type. I don’t want to be judged by your churchy folks, even if they are nice.”

“Now just hang on there, friend. While the Bible is divided up into books, chapters and verses, it is important to read entire thoughts to get the whole picture. Do you know what comes after that section of scripture? A very important word continues the thought in the next chapter … “therefore.”

1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 

You see, I know a simple truth: we all sin! In fact, sin is in our spiritual DNA.

I also know something very important. God sent His Son Jesus to us, to forever change our spiritual DNA. I know that once anyone discovers who they are in Jesus that they can live a life free from guilt, condemnation and judgment. Even the Cosells in your life will have to admit, “Oh, its gone,” when it comes to your sin, as here at Shiloh’s Lighthouse we teach and live in the freedom of the redemption from sin Jesus gave to us all freely by His death on the cross.

Come join a group of misfits—people who simply want to enjoy a personal relationship with God, provided through His Son Jesus, people who many look at not as stars, but at best “role players” in life, yet individuals that God knows are ready to step up to the plate and deliver an unexpected home run. The long ball of life that will forever make a difference in your playing field, and that of those who you encounter. We are a community of faith and love that reaches out to neighbors as together we work to make Saginaw a great place to live. There may be people who don’t think you are the real thing; maybe you don’t even think you are! Come join us any Sunday starting at 10:30 A.M. and find out what a loved, important winner you truly are.

There is only one “list” this Pastor is concerned with, it’s called the Lamb’s Book of Life. I want to make sure that you and everyone of your neighbors’ names are on that list. Along the way, I want to help you know who you were created to be and encourage you to fulfill your created purpose in life. Come on—time to get off the bench, pick up your bat, get in the game and get involved. I think you have a walk-off home run in you … just waiting to be hit.

Keep the faith …


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Tracy Halle said...

You never cease to amaze me with your insight into how people feel and what the issues a person has within. This is another excellent post! Very uplifting and motivating as always!!

Tony F said...

Well said! Just as hospitals are not made for well people, churches are for those sinners looking to repent and make themselves well again!

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