August 3, 2022
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Summer Breeze to Fall Leaves

I felt the first touch of Fall here in Carrollton this week.  Hard to believe I know.  It certainly had nothing to do with the temperature or humidity, but it had everything to do with a sport that I believe is the signature of Fall - F O O T B A L L.  I asked a friend who is on the coaching staff at Carrollton High School if I could come and witness the first full pad football practice of the season.  He kindly said yes, so I got up at 5 a.m. on Monday morning so I could be in place at the high school stadium for the start of practice at 5:55 a.m.  What I was soon to witness was nothing short of amazing!

The energy of the coaches and players was palpable from the word go.  I don’t know how you motivate teenagers to give maximum effort at such an early hour, but it happened.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, ran everywhere they went.  It was as if there wasn’t a second to lose, and preparation was at a premium.  The drills the coaches used to simulate real game situations and drive home the details of the position were carried out in careful detail.  They always had something to say to help the player improve the next time the drill occurred.  When the player responded, he was praised.  When he didn’t, the coach began the instruction process anew…but not before making them do a few up - downs to ensure the person was listening this time!  

The whole scene made me anticipate the Friday night lights.  Under their glow, will be the cool of a Fall evening, the sounds of the band, the smell from the concession stand, and the anticipation of the opening kickoff.  It will be a great time of celebration for all.  Then it hit me.  I was getting so lost in anticipation of the celebration of the Fall season that I was missing what was making it all possible.  Here is something I scribbled down in that moment that I want to share with you.  I wrote, “Friday night lights will come but not before early morning sacrifice.”  In other words, a season of sacrifice will always precede a season of celebration.  

Sacrifice is a word we will readily talk about in faith circles, but I wonder if we emulate its implications with as much frequency.  The Apostle Paul said it like this in Romans 12:1 in the NIV, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship.”  The MSG translation says it like this, “Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life and place it before God as an offering.” Lastly, the lesser known David Hughes translation says, “Sacrificing for God isn’t for wimps. It takes guts and will cause some tears, but it sure does lead to some amazing things.”

You and I aren’t suiting up to play under the Friday night lights this Fall.  The lights will correctly shine on those who have made the sacrifice.  Let’s cheer them on, but let’s not miss the application for our own lives.  We are key players on another team who likewise, anticipate moments of great celebration under the leadership of an amazing coach.  Jesus Christ has brought us together as the family of God within His Church.  Here, lives are to be transformed by the power of God’s salvation.  It will be a great time of celebration, but let’s not forget dear friends, that a necessary ingredient will always be our sacrifice.  Your sacrifice doesn’t have to be so crazy.  It just has to be real and come from your heart.

Take these last moments of the summer breeze to jot down ways in which you can live your life as a living sacrifice for God. There are nine letters in the word “Sacrifice.”  Can you come up with nine things you can do for The One who sacrificed His all in all for you? I know you can, and I believe that your sacrifice for God will be key to the forthcoming celebrations at First Baptist Church in this next season. Go team!


Pastor David  

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