Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
The 1924 baseball World Series between the Washington Senators and the New York Yankees remains legendary. It persists in the memories of a few fans and in the sands of time as one of the most exciting baseball championships in the history of the game.
It was the seventh game of the series. The Senators and the Yankees were tied, three games apiece. It was the bottom of the ninth inning. The first two batters struck out. As a pregnant pause reverberated throughout the stadium, the third and final batter approaches the plate. His team was down by one run. The pitcher released a fiery curve ball. Strike one! He repeated the pitch. Strike two! The pregnant pause became a deadening silence. Many in the crowd suspected that all has been lost. Then, the third pitch barreled toward the plate. Amazingly, the batter eyed it perfectly. His forceful swing sent the ball well on its way. The crowd erupted into pandemonium as they thought that he had hit a homerun.
But, the ball hits a pole and bounced backward into fair territory. Rather than a homerun, he had to settle for a triple. As the runner approaches third base, the outfielder threw the ball to the shortstop who in turn prepared to hurl it to home plate. Then, the third base coach directed the runner to steal home. So, the runner, hoping to win the game and series, ran and sled toward home with all of his might. In what seemed an eternity, the runner made it to home.
As the crowd exploded into sheer exuberance, the home plate umpire surprisingly called the runner out. Utter mayhem resulted as the crowd protested the call! Fearing a riot, the umpire convened a conference of all of the field umpires and himself. Finally, they reach a decision. The home plate umpire went to the mike to announce the determination. “The runner at home is called out because he failed to touch first base.”
Imagine that! The entire season and the World Series are lost due to a technicality. The runner in his excitement failed to touch first. Countless hours of practice, travel, and games were summarily nullified by a small yet very significant omission. However, that is also the case with the life of faith.
Jesus told Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he is born again. It did not matter that Nicodemus was one of the teachers of the law. His knowledge of the law was not synonymous with a relationship with God. Even though Nicodemus, as a member of the Sanhedrin, was a keeper of the history, literature, and religion of Israel, he had missed first base because he failed to seek a vibrant and growing relationship with Almighty God.
In the Church we fool ourselves if we think we can rely upon ritual, tradition and sacraments alone. We, too, must ensure that we touch first base by being born again.
Do you just go to church or have you been born again?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
For those who do not know the ABCs, they are as follows:
A – Admit you are a sinner and understand that we can never be “good enough” to please the Father.
B – Believe in your heart that Jesus died in our place to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins and have faith that God raised Jesus from the dead to conquer sin and death for all who will accept Him. This is the only sacrifice the Father could ever accept.
C – Call on Jesus to be your Savior, and confess you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Romans 10:13 is God’s absolute guarantee for all who will receive and accept His Son; “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
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Many today live solely to serve their own pleasure.
People haven’t changed. Living for the moment, they have become slaves to the passions of their flesh. If these people only knew where their chosen path would lead, I believe they’d choose another path. When Jesus called us to follow Him, He said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” That cannot be said concerning the yoke that comes upon the person who has chosen to live after his own flesh. Dan Shock
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A man once asked Isidor Isaac Rabi, a Nobel prize winner in science, how he became a scientist. The Rabi replied that every day after school his mother would talk to him about his school day. She wasn’t so much interested in what he had learned that day, but she always inquired, “Did you ask a good question today?” Asking good questions, The Rabi said, “made me become a scientist.”
Asking good questions is important in life generally speaking, and even more important, spiritually speaking. The Bible raises many very important questions worthy of our consideration.
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. Roald Dahl
God doesn’t require that I do the very best, only my very best. Dan Shock
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Decision making, like coffee, needs a cooling process. George Washington
You cannot change the circumstances, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. Jim Rohn
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain
Half-hearted commitment will never result in total victory. Dan Shock
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. Maya Angelou
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” Og Mandino
Fill your life with stories to tell, not stuff to show. The minimalist.
Never let go of what you do know, because of something you don’t know. Dan Shock
Always remember that the future comes one day at a time. DEAN ACHESON