Pastor’s Desk July22nd

Scripture Passage:  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”  II Timothy 4:7
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Midway through a basketball and football game the teams go to the locker room for halftime.  During this time they review the first half of the game.  They question, “What went right and what went wrong and how can we make adjustments to be able to finish the game strong?”  Sometimes the coach chews you out and sometimes he encourages and brags about how well you did.  Before you leave the locker room they remind you that “It’s not over till it’s over.”  Forget the first half and prepare to play the second.  If you do not work hard and play hard you can lose in the second half what you accomplished in the first.  Keep going until you hear the final buzzer.  From my perspective it does not matter how well you start the game but how well you finish that really matters.
 
     We have already passed the summer solstice which occurred on June 21st.  That means that 2019 is already half over.  It is hard to tell right now, but the amount of daylight per day has already begun to shorten.  The cicadas have already began to announce the coming of autumn at dusk each night.  The days are hot and steamy and night brings a temporary reprieve from the heat.  We are over the hump and heading down hill to the final buzzer.  The question is how will we finish?
 
     The first half of the year has been filled with many disappointments and tragedies.  It has also been filled with blessings and triumphs.  There are some things I wish I could go back and change.  The only possibility is for me to learn from my mistakes and move forward.  There are some moments I am extremely proud of.  I keep reminding myself not to live in the past but rather enjoy it, remember the blessings, but continue to strive for the finish line.  Some of our friends have already been promoted to the “Hall of Fame” in Heaven.  Others have simply dropped out and fallen by the wayside.  Disappointment and injury have them sidelined and reluctant to get back in the game.  I sure hope they do not miss the joy of celebration that comes with finishing well, because there will be no losers in Heaven.
 
     Wherever you are right now in your life, get your head in the game and get back on the court.  Disappointments become divine appointments when they are turned over to God.  You may have been hurt, sick, or injured by circumstances beyond your control.  It is going to take effort on your part to get well and start rehabilitating, so you might as well get started.  Ask the coach to put you back in the game and then play with all your heart without any fear of failure.  It is the coach’s job to manage the game and call the plays.  He never makes the wrong move and will always have your back.  So get back in there.  You still have another half year to go.
 
In Christ, Pastor Johnny