Kickball and the gospel

Last week I had an opportunity to play kickball with the children’s ministry at the church that I lead. What a catastrophy! It was evident very quickly that our kids did not know how to play kickball. They did not understand the fundamentals of this simple game. They understood that you kick a ball, but beyond that they were clueless. They did not understand the principals of working together as a team. It was a mess, an exercise in futility, I was beyond overwhelmed, and realized that someone has to teach these kids how to play kickball! So I have enlisted some help, and this Wednesday night, hopefully, if the weather allows, we are going to be able to get a game.

I have thought about how our kids do not understand the basics in a timeless backyard game that children have been playing for over a century. I could not help but think about the church that I lead. Many of our members are just like those youngsters that do not understand the simple game of kickball.

The Church in many ways is just like the game. We schedule a time to get together, we gather, and people show up, and no one knows what to do. At the kickball game, we had expectations for our kids; we thought they would arrive on time and ready to play. Isn’t this what we sometimes do on Sunday? We wait for people to arrive on time and expect them to know what it is that they are supposed to do. I believe that many believers love Jesus, but they are not aware of the fundamentals of the faith. Weak discipleship has given way to superficial believers and when the going gets tough, the unprepared cut and run.

So today I want to take a few moments and cover some of the basics. I want people to understand what walking with Jesus entails. I want your relationship with Him to be two-way. So let’s get started with basic principle number 1

#1. Acknowledge Him (Jesus)

The Bible teaches “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” (Ephesians 2:8) God’s love (Grace) is what saves you. We have to acknowledge that we bring nothing to the table. Jesus settled everything by coming and living, and then by dying on Calvary’s cruel cross. God’s ultimate plan for redemption launched before the foundations of the world. The verse says “For by Grace you have been saved.” A fundamental principle for everyone who believes is that God loves you! The Bible teaches us ” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). The seeker is rescued because of God’s love. We are redeemed the moment we believe which leads us to principle number two!

#2. Believe in Him (Jesus)

The next part of Ephesians 2:8 says “…through faith;” We’re saved by God’s amazing grace the moment that we in faith believe. It takes faith. Faith is fundamental. It is belief! We acknowledge Him because we believe. Belief for the seeker usher’s in eternal life. God sent Jesus, His only perfect Son to pay the penalty for the sins of those who would in faith believe. Jesus is a game changer. The revelation comes through our belief in Him. The Holy Spirit begins to stir the moment one believes. Everything changes. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1). To have assurance, one would have to believe. The word hoped in this verse is a confident expectation. We expect God to move and work in our lives. This bedrock belief is necessary. The Conviction that the writer of Hebrews is talking about is what we expect. We do not have to see to believe; we believe because God is active in our life, our desire and passion changes. This belief leads us to principle number three.

#3. Commit to Him (Jesus)

We acknowledge Jesus by believing that He is who the Word of God says He is. At this point in the walk of a believer, a commitment is made, and a plan of action goes into practice. If I want to be good at golf, I have to practice golf. If I want to be good at exercise, I have to go to the gym. If I want to be a gourmet cook, I have to get into the kitchen. Committing to Christ is getting into the work of Christ, it is getting into the Word. It takes commitment, following Jesus can be challenging. Making a commitment to be obedient in whatever He calls you to do takes work. It may mean getting up earlier; it will require some study, accountability, and action. Committing is selling out and plugging into the work of the body. Committing is understanding your spiritual gifts and using them to build up the body of Christ. Committing is relinquishing control of your life to the Father and gladly serving those who do not know Him.

Are you ready for this? Do you understand the fundamentals? Has there been a time when you trusted Christ to save you? I hope that you have, but if not, you have hope. I would love to share with you or refer you to someone in your area how to make all of this happen. Plug In! Do it today! Acknowledge, Believe and Commit to Jesus.

I love you all!

Pastor J<><