Friday, August 24, 2007
There's a bridge in a park not too far from here; they take carriage rides there. It's just a bridge to most folks, but not to our son and daughter-in-law. That will always be a very special spot to them. It's where he asked her to marry him. It's interesting how a plain old piece of geography becomes forever special when something special in your life happens there: the place you were born, or where you had your first date or your first kiss, or where you were married, or where some significant "first" in your life took place. When a certain place is where something important started, it will always be a special place.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Place Where Heaven Comes Down."
For many of us, there's been a place and there's been a time when everything changed, because it was there that we began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not long ago, on my way to an assignment in downtown Chicago, my wife and I decided at the last second to take a certain exit ramp off the expressway. The exit sign indicated the street where I spent the first six years of my life. I haven't been back there since. And, no, it is not a cave.
We drove a few blocks until we spotted the three-story brick apartment building where my Mom and Dad, my baby brother and I lived. I knew it as soon as I saw it. We turned the corner to see if the school was still there. That old brick fortress was still standing; still a school like it was when I went there for my first day of school. Then I had to drive those three blocks to the church on the corner. It was like I was four or five years old again. My baby brother had died suddenly, and my grief-stricken father decided to take his other son to church - a place none of us ever went. I could almost see my Dad now, sitting in his old car by a side door, smoking his cigarette, reading his Sunday paper waiting for his boy to come out.
There was a choir rehearsal that night my wife and I found the church, and a nice lady took me up the long stairs to the third floor room that I remembered at the top. That's where Junior Church met, and I choked up. I turned to my honey and I said, "This is it. This is where I asked Jesus into my heart." And there on the wall was the same image of Jesus I remembered most as a child - the Shepherd with a little lamb in His arms. Later, as I learned the Scriptures, I came to realize that in that room at the top of the stairs I had, in the Bible's words, "crossed over from death to life" ( John 5:24).
I pray that if there hasn't been a time and a place like that for you, there will be soon - maybe today. In Genesis 28:16, our word for today from the Word of God, Jacob talks about the spot where he'd camped for the night and God showed up to change his life. He said, "Surely the Lord is in this place ... how awesome is this place!" But after all is said and done, it's not the place that really matters. It's that there is a time when you open up your life to the Savior who died to pay for your sin. Jesus said it's like being born, and birth is a definite beginning. Has there ever been a time when you consciously gave yourself completely to Jesus as your only hope of being right with God? If you have, you know you have, whether or not you remember the exact time or place. If you don't know you have, you probably haven't.
Scripture says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near" ( Isaiah 55:7). For you, that time may be today. The place may be right where you are. God is moving in your heart and "surely the Lord is in this place." The Shepherd has come to you to pick you up and carry you from this moment on, all the way to heaven. But you have to say yes to Him, to tell Him with all your heart, "Jesus, I'm Yours." If that's what you want, then I would love to be an encouragement to you at this turning point moment in your life, like I had in that little room on the third floor so many years ago.
Let me invite you to our website. It's yoursforlife.net. I've explained there in simple non-religious terms how to be sure you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Or I'll send you my booklet Yours For Life if you'll call and ask for it. Just call 877-741-1200.
This day can become your birthday and this place can become your birthplace, because you are about to be born into God's family.