He is a former professional baseball player. Over his 11 year career, he played for the Texas Rangers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets as well as the Montreal Expos and the Baltimore Orioles. He currently holds the Major League record for RBIs in an inning, becoming the only player in MLB history to hit two gran slam home runs in one inning during a 1999 game. He played his last game in 2010 before officially retiring in 2014. In 2008, he received The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award for the National League and was named to the Dominican Republic national baseball team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
In an interview with CBN, he said of his faith, “In those difficult moments in my life, I pray. I pray and continue to pray. I know that God has the answer. Not in the moment that I want, but I know in His moment, because I know that His moment is going to be the right moment….I’m different, because I’m a Christian. Every Christian should be different. Faith is everything. If you put God in your heart and ask Him, ‘I want the real deal,’ God is going to answer you. He’s going to support you. It’s the best relationship ever. More than your wife, your mother, you father. Jesus is going to support you in every moment of your life.”
In our last message, Christian was in the house of the Interpreter who was giving him various demonstrations of what he could anticipate as he began his walk with Christ. After this time of teaching and explanation, Christian left the house and began his journey, still burdened down by sin, once again. He went on until he came to the very place that he had been seeking since he set out from the City of Destruction. He came to the cross.
Saint Augustine declared, ‘God made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless, until they find rest in Him.’ Every person who is not saved will at one time or another experience this restlessness of heart and soul. I know that I did when I was not saved. Even though I was raised in the church, I did not have a real relationship with God, and I knew deep down that something was missing in my life. Many people have felt the same way. They often try to fill this gap with wealth, success, relationships, sex, crime, education, and a variety of other things. But all of it eventually fails, and they have to admit that they are still not fulfilled, they are still not complete, they are still not whole.
One of the most successful and beloved comedians in history, Joan Rivers, died this week. Even though she was 81 years old, her mind was still sharp, and she was at the top of her game. She was booked with engagements all the way through this year and into next year. She seemed to have it all. Yet, many people like her, with similar success and status, often find that they are still not fulfilled — that something is still missing in their life.
Very briefly, today, I want to share with you the reason and the remedy for this condition, and how all of this centers around the cross.
1. The curse of sin. Our passage tells us that Jesus had to make “peace through the blood of his cross.” The opposite of peace is war, conflict, enmity, or discord. Jesus Christ had to make peace between man and God because man and God were on opposite sides of a conflict. This conflict came about because of sin.
2. Complete salvation. Our passage states, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.” God set about to bridge the divide between Himself and His Creation. He knew that because we were sinners, imperfect, unholy, and destined for eternal punishment in Hell, He would have to provide a way of salvation in totality.
3. Our current standing. Turning once more to our passage, we find these words: “you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” On the cross, Jesus Christ bridged the gap between man and God.
Ultimately, what is missing in the world today is more people who enjoy a relationship in which they have been reconciled to God. People pursue morality, happiness, pleasure, joy, doing good deeds, and so many other things thinking that they can find what is missing in their life. But, what is missing for them is the same thing that Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden — a relationship with God.
Yes, God is a judge and we are guilty before Him. But God is also a loving Creator, who does not like the separation that has come between Him and his children We need forgiveness and justification. We need reconciliation and restoration. All of this is provided at the cross where Jesus Christ bridged the gap between man and God.
MUSICAL SELECTION: “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker and “No Sweeter Name” by Kari Jobe
He is a professional basketball player who played college basketball at Texas A&M University. He played for the San Antonio Spurs in the Summer of 2010 before signing with a Polish team for the rest of the season. During this same year, he was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team as well as the All-Big 12 Third Team. In 2011, he signed with the GasTerra Flames of the Netherlands and was named a PLK All-Star. From 2012 to 2013, he played for teams in the Ukraine, China, and South Korea. In 2014, he signed with the Wellington Saints in New Zealand and was named a New Zealand National Basketball League champion.
He said of his faith, “There have been times in my life that I was told that I could not achieve something, and at those times I have looked to my favorite lifeline from the Bible: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ This promise from Philippians 4:13 has guided me and energized me. It reminds me that I can face any life challenge with Jesus Christ. Therefore, to have a relationship with Christ is to have enough. I attribute my success to my faith in God and our relationship, and my strong family values [from the Bible]. And I always hold close to this folk proverb: The smarter a man is, the more he needs God to protect him from thinking he knows everything.”
He is a professional baseball first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was picked first overall in the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins. Before the Dodgers, he played for the Texas Rangers from 2004-2005, the San Diego Padres from 2006-2010, and the Boston Red Sox from 2011-2012. He was named Most Valuable Player four times in 2008-2011. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011 and the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Together with his wife, they created a Foundation, which is focused on empowering underprivileged youth in areas of athletics, education and health.
In an interview with BeyondtheUltimate.org, he said of his faith, “I grew up going to church two to three times a month, but never really got to know the [Bible] or have a relationship with Christ. In 2003, just being around a bunch of guys who are [Christians] on the team, and going to baseball chapels and Bible studies off the field, I really started wanting that relationship and started trying to understand what it was about. My wife, Betsy, had a strong relationship [with Christ] at the time, so as a married couple we decided we should have our relationship with the Lord be the foundation of our marriage. Since [Betsy and I] have been in baseball, we put ourselves around people who will help us grow in our relationship with the Lord. It’s in the Bible that belief in Christ is what you are searching for and need. For us, Christ really has transformed our lives and we couldn’t be any happier, we are content with whatever happens. We look toward Christ to fulfill us.”
He went further to say, “[Christ has given me] a different perspective in life – in my marriage, in my attitude on the field, and in everything else, including [trying to be] the best husband to my wife as possible and striving to be the best person I can be. You see yourself in a different position. You don’t put yourself first, you put yourself last. That’s [something] I never thought I could do until I became a [Christian]. Now I try to live [as God would have me to live] every day and to let others see [that] so others can come to Christ. Anytime I can share in public, I try to take advantage of that as Christ would want me to do. I try to do what I can to lead others to Christ. I have success in baseball, but I know that is because of the Lord. I know my preparing and my hard work definitely play a part, but it would not be done without Christ.”