Wednesday, June 7, 2017
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It was a 2004 American League Championship Series. I remember it because my Yankees were in it. One big reason the Boston Red Sox triumphed over my New York Yankees (Boo!) was a veteran pitcher named Curt Schilling. He was selected to pitch the opening game in the New York series, and although he had torn an ankle tendon in his previous start, he thought he could gut it out. He was wrong. Losing that game actually started the Red Sox into a 3-0 deficit in the best of seven series. They started to come back, and amazingly, Curt Schilling had a chance to try again. Later he would tell the press that the first game showed what he could do. He said the second outing showed what God can do. Although Curt had been named "Good Guy of the Year" by Sporting News, he had never talked publicly about the commitment to Jesus Christ that he'd made several years before.
This time, while he was praying with his pastor before the game, he expressed his willingness to speak up about his Lord if he was given the opportunity. Well, he pitched an incredible four-hit victory that gave him that chance. He clearly glorified God in that post game interview. Later, when he pitched a winning game in Game 2 of the World Series, Curt Schilling told reporters, "If you haven't checked it out, read Philippians 4:13. That's 'I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.' I can't do anything these days without having that reverberate in my head." Those public declarations of his dependency on Christ - that might have been his greatest victories. He said later, "I've learned that you should never hide your faith. I had wasted seven years. People didn't know."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Biggest Way to Fail the People You Love."
And what is that? Remaining silent about your Savior to the people in your personal world. First, because Jesus died publicly on a cross for you. He was not ashamed of us. How can we be ashamed of Him? Secondly, because the eternity of the people you care about depends on them understanding what Jesus did on that cross for them. You know what He did. They probably don't. That makes you responsible.
"Never hide." That was Curt Schilling's conclusion looking back on what he called the "wasted years" of his spiritual silence. Sure, everyone knew he was a "good guy." But people "didn't know it was all about his Jesus." If you belong to Jesus, He laid out very plainly your role in the world in Matthew 5:14-16, our word for today from the Word of God. "You are the light of the world...People do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl! Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." So Jesus says, "Show them the difference I make by the way you live, and then tell them I'm the One who's making the difference."
Helping people you care about be in heaven with you begins with repenting of the silence that has left them in the dark spiritually. Then you start praying daily for natural opportunities to bring up your personal relationship with Jesus and to tell them about the difference He's making when you're winning, when you're struggling, when you're there for them, when they're in a crisis or when you are in a crisis. Open doors to talk about Jesus, because He's the great Difference-Maker.
Out of all the Christians on this planet, God has placed you in their life as His chosen messenger to introduce them to His Son. How are you doing? You're the Jesus-light where you work, where you play, where you go to school, and where you live. In olden days, if the lighthouse went out, ships were lost - lives were lost.
If your light isn't shining where you are, lives will be lost – forever; people you care about, people who need a rescuer, people who desperately need for you to tell them about your Jesus.