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That Changes Everything

My favorite sport is football and the time for the first kick-off of this season is at hand.  Teams are practicing in triple digit heat to be in shape.  Every coach wants his players ready to go the full four quarters to beat an opposing team.   Victory does not come easily.  All of the running creates a lot of huffing and puffing to get one’s lungs enlarged for the capacity of air needed. Every muscle in a player’s body has to be conditioned to the max.  Pain becomes a daily reality from the sore muscles, bruises, and cuts from scrimmaging.

All of that is done for 22 men to seek to move one inflated oblong pigskin across the goal more times than the other team.  Every game is good but those that go right down to the last minute keep all of the fans in the stadium.  Over the course of the years, I have seen my team win big with a final play and I have been on the other side when we lost by one moment when the defense allowed the opposition to score.  That changed everything!

That is the way that life can be. We think that things are going along very well.  Then “out of the blue” during a typical workday, or work week, or as we are traveling a frequent route, one moment in time can change our lives for a long time.  A car accident, heart attack, spouse’s illness, doctor’s appointment, job loss, or one of any number of things can change one’s future for the rest of their life.

It’s never too late to trust Jesus. Oops, I need to qualify that. There IS a time when it’s too late to trust Jesus. If you die without putting your faith in Jesus, then it’s too late. Someone observed about the thief on the cross that there is one deathbed conversion in the Bible so nobody should despair, but there is only one, so nobody should presume.

Jeff Stratton is a pastor in Evansville, Indiana. Some years ago he was called to visit a 93 year-old man who had terminal cancer. His name was Adolph Allen and he had been a hard-living, hard-drinking, union ironworker for most of his life. Two minutes into their first conversation, Adolph looked at Jeff and asked, “Is it fair for someone to live their whole life one way and then at the end of their life to ask God to take them to heaven?” 

After thinking for a minute, Jeff said, “No, Adolph it’s not fair. But luckily for you and me, God is not fair.” 

Jeff shared the plan of salvation with him and this 93-year-old man bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his heart. 

Four weeks later Jeff preached Adolph’s funeral and he talked about how some football games come down to a final play. The team that’s behind might have been outplayed the whole game, but on this last play the quarterback fades back and heaves a Hail-Mary pass into the end zone as time expires. The ball might be batted around but if an offensive receiver catches it, the game is over, and they win. Jeff said, “That’s what happened with Adolph. The devil was in the lead for most of his life, but the final score was Jesus 1 and the devil 0!” (Copied).