Billy Sunday is one of my favorite all-time Evangelists, perhaps because he was once a baseball player who finally discovered that unless you get the runners on base safely home, there isn’t much success on the diamond.
When he laid down his bat and ball, he began “hitting the sawdust trail.” His often-repeated formula for the Christian life was simply this: “Hit the sawdust trail, fall on your knees, and receive Jesus as your Savior. Then, walk out of the meeting tent, go out into the street, get hit by a big old truck, and go straight to heaven.” Get it right, but then get it done, as quickly as possible.
Too many times, I've endured the hard way that life is not so direct. You cannot fully have faith, express hope, grow in love, and follow after Jesus in a hurry. The reality of living life on the run is that it is not just trying to conquer a disordered schedule, but it instead leads to a disordered heart.
Christianity can't be done quickly. Followers can’t pray quickly or chow down Bible verses like they do McDonald's french fries. Indigestion is also a result of a stressed-out spirit.
Resurrection is not just what Jesus did, but what He has made possible for us. The grave we should conquer is not just the one at the journey's end, but the one that wants to rob you of living today.
Jesus didn’t just come to do a project. He longed to get people to rearrange their priorities. Jesus laid down His life, but in doing so, He modeled for us how to operate on earth until we reach the finish line.
Jesus lived 33 years. Have you ever wondered why 33 years?
It was the average life span for a Roman man in Bible times. Jesus was going to live and do what He did in the time frame that the everyday guy on the street had.
One of the coolest truths I love about Jesus is how the Lord relates to us in almost every area. He didn’t take special favors or get to use His super suit when He invaded our neighborhood. This is why the Bible says, "Whoever claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus walked."
The Jewish people have an old saying: "The word must become flesh," meaning God intends for people to be affected by His words when they see those words shown in believers' lives. The Word became flesh and healed, fed and taught the crowds. It showed love and grace to sinners without compromising truth.
The Word was a servant to all, and most of all, God's Word in flesh showed us how we, too, can become the Word in flesh. Jesus did not just understand and explain God's Word; He also became it.
Christianity consists of what happens between the moment we receive and fully realize and accept our identity as Christians and the time when we sit down to “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Easter is about the truth that when Jesus saves, He does the job thoroughly right the first time. A grave isn't to steal our brave anymore.
Easter is not about us trying to make something new out of our old life. It's about connecting with Jesus, whose life itself. Easter is all about making today the day to live life as it should be. Christ's resurrection provides freedom to hit the sawdust trail and blaze new paths to the great wide open.
All Gospel writers complete their narrations of Jesus with stories of His resurrection. The first people involved in Jesus’ resurrection were so overwhelmed dealing with his death that they hardly noticed He was alive.
Easter is about stopping funeral plots and preparing to reach new heights. When you open your heart totally to the Lord, He replaces worry with wonder and turns our whining into worship. When the enemy wants us to become overwhelmed by the present road we discover ourselves traveling, he tries to convince us that reaching our destination is solely upon our shoulders.
If we are trying to meet Jesus upon our own merit, we are going to come up miserably short. It would be like trying to get to Florida and getting stuck at some pit stop in Podunkville. If you want to spend forever with the Savior, you cannot wait until later to make your reservation.
Jesus invites us into a full-fledged relationship with Him, and when we admit we are unable to do it ourselves is the moment we are ready to become a Christian. Have you invited Jesus to be your Savior and Lord? Have you opened your empty heart and asked Him to move in?
This is one time you don’t want to mess with cheap knock-offs and sloppy shortcuts, for God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. The life part doesn’t begin when we die. It begins when we surrender ourselves to God.
Apathetic Christianity is a real disease infecting the Body of Christ. First, it is an oxymoron, and second, it is infecting us in several ways.
These days, Christianity is incomplete. Our faith has also often become too self-focused. Instead, it should excite us so much that we want to tell everyone from rooftops that we know about Jesus, who has rescued us from eternal quarters in the grave.
We should desire that everyone we know learns about Jesus' power and saving grace. We also should want everyone to turn in their coffin for a commitment to the only Coach that can lead us to taste a victory that lasts.
Let me close with these powerful words I have turned to when I need to be reminded that there is no more important relationship than the one I have with Jesus. These words leave no doubt in my mind that I am ready to meet Him. Are you?
“I am part of the 'Fellowship of the Unashamed.' The die has been cast.
"I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made.
"I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
"I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
"My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted or delayed.
"I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
"I must go until heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes, and when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.”
ED. NOTE: The author is the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church, 1248 Route 9 South, Court House.