Stay in the game. No matter what.

Monday night was epic. At least in my world. You see, I play co-ed softball for my church. In fact, I have been playing for 10 years and coaching for the last 8 of those. Our team is 8-0 this year. I don’t think that I have ever been 8-0 in a season before, ever. This year has been different. We keep winning. This last win was an epic come-from-behind win on Monday night. Not only did we come back to win, we did it in a crazy, abnormal kind of way. Let me explain.

softball glove and ball

We were the home team. The other team bats first and they score 5 runs in the first inning. Not good. I was starting to think this could be a long night. We only scored 1 run that inning. Second inning saw no score for either team. After the third inning, there was a small ray of hope as we edged closer. The score was 6-4 but we were still losing. The next three innings came and went. We scored nothing and they added 4 more runs. After 6 innings, they had 10 and we had 4. This does not look good at all.

So here we go. The 7th and final inning. They are up to bat. In the first six innings, we have made some major errors. If I think about it, we committed more errors in these 6 innings than we have all year-long. But being the optimist that I am, I still think there is a chance. And kudos to my team, they never gave up. So, we get the three outs before they score any runs. Now we get to bat. Down by 6 and only three outs before the game is over.

We are at the top of our lineup. I hit a double to lead off the inning. The next two batters both get on base and I score. 1 run. Our #4 hitter hits a long fly ball and both our runners tag up and score. 2 runs. Batters 5 and 6 get on base and batter number 7 hits a shot to right center. He is fast. At this point, I am coaching first base. As soon as he hits, I start waving my arms yelling at him to score. Like he needs any encouragement. =-) So his hit scores 3 more runs.

You doing the math? Game is tied! And, we only have 1 out! Batter #8 hits a blooper which is caught. Now there are 2 outs and our #9 batter steps up to the plate. Here is the funny part. He has almost no experience in playing softball. He does not even own a glove! What’s more is that he is a soccer dude. As a player and referee, he knows the game of soccer. He has only batted up 8 or 9 times this year. This is it. It comes down to him. He may not be a softball expert but he has heart. And the heart matters. He hits a routine fly ball to the right fielder. Now all he has to do is run. Run Forest Run! And boy can he run. He plays soccer! Of course he can run! He proceeded to run around the bases so fast that they didn’t even bother making a play on him at home. 1 more run.

And we win! 11-10! I am not really sure if my words are doing it justice but it was absolutely one of my favorite softball moments. It will stick in my mind for a long time.

funny softball pic

 


Switching gears. We live in an evil world. Sin is blatant and rampant. I don’t really watch the news because it seems that everything is bad. Why just tonight, my wife told me that Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy broke up! What!??! What is this world coming to? Death and destruction, without putting too fine a point on it. Hell. That is what this world is coming to. And doesn’t it seem like God isn’t really doing anything? Do you ever feel like the evil is so much and the good is so little? How can I, one out of 8 billion, make a difference? 

I think our world is in the 7th inning. We have one last at bat. There have been lots of mistakes but the game isn’t over yet. There is one more batter to go. He may not appear to be everything we would hope for but he has heart. And the heart matters. Here are some verses from Matthew 24

1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

 

Note verse 13. You see, it is not about being the best or having all the talent. It is about staying in the game. I am glad that I stayed in Monday night’s game.

No matter what, you need to stay in the game.

You screwed up?

Your sin comes out?

You feel like throwing in the towel?

Your friends are leaving you?

Divorce?

Addictions?

Jesus says to you, “Stay in the game. I love you. I will come for you. Keep playing and stay in the game.”

So be encouraged. Stay in the game friend!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

Play ball!

I have played tee-ball, baseball, and softball for almost my entire life. I missed a couple of summers when I was in my twenties but I am still swinging the bat and running the bases on my church softball team. See a previous post:

Again…and again…yet again.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of performing a wedding ceremony on a baseball field. We were in left field and not on the actual dirt part though. This post was inspired by the sermon I gave at that wedding.

In baseball, you need a glove, a bat, and a ball to play the game. These are essential.

baseball-pic

These items represent different parts of the game.

The glove represents defense. The glove I use is over 20 years old. If it could speak, it might tell of the countless times that it saved me from certain disaster. =-)

The bat represents offense. Bats are as different and varied as the players who use them. The common denominator is that we all need a bat if we are going to hit the ball.

The ball represents the game. It is the game. Everything revolves around the ball. Without it, you cannot play baseball.


As a follower of Christ, the glove, bat, and ball can represent three aspects of following Jesus.

The glove represents defense. 2 Samuel 22 starts out with these verses, “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior from violent people you save me.”

God is the ultimate defense when are faced with troubles and trials.

The bat represents offense. 2 Corinthians 10 explains the offense, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

God gives us what we need to be victorious as we follow Him.

And finally, the ball. The ball is everything. Nothing can or will happen without it. The ball represents Jesus.

Here is what Colossians 1 says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Jesus is everything. No point in living unless life is lived in Jesus.

So whether you are watching some Major League Baseball, playing co-ed softball on a church team, following Christ or living for yourself, let me remind you of one thing:

Keep your eye on the ball!