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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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The Hopeless  Baseball Game

I can remember the very first Major League Baseball game I ever attended. It was the Cincinnati Reds against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I had looked forward to this game for several weeks. As a nine-year-old boy I was extremely excited. I couldn't wait to get to the game because I was expecting to have a great time.

Well, the day of the game finally came. We made the long trip to Cincinnati, gave our tickets to the man at the gate, purchased a program, bought a hot dog, peanuts, popcorn and a drink, and then made our way to our seats on the first base side. We were all set to watch an exciting game.

In the top of the first inning, though, the Reds pitcher walked the first batter of the game. He followed that by walking the next batter as well. He hit the third batter and loaded the bases. The next batter hit a grand slam home run. Unfortunately (as we soon discovered), the manager left the pitcher in, and he proceeded to walk the next two batters. Finally, the manager took the pitcher out and put in a reliever, and bingo! The next batter hit a triple, scoring 2 more runs. A sacrifice fly and three outs later, the Dodgers were ahead seven to nothing. The Reds went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the second inning things went from bad to worse for the home team Reds. To make a long story short, by the time the second inning was over, the Dodgers were ahead fourteen to nothing. The game was virtually over. We hadn't even had a chance to eat our hot dogs. Some spectators hadn't even arrived at the game yet. But the game was all but over. There was no way the Reds could come back from a score of fourteen to nothing. The players looked discouraged. Angry fans were booing and shouting discouraging remarks. People started to leave the stadium.

Chomping down on my hot dog, I set out on a crazy line of thought What if by some magic I could return the game back to the very first inning with the score zero to zero? With that kind of score the players would have hope again. Their optimism would motivate them to play with intensity and focus. The fan's interest would again reach that of interest and excitement. Everything would be restored.

Starting all over again is the way forgiveness works. Forgiveness restores our hope. Many times people are baptized and receive forgiveness but over time things drag them down and before long it feels like the score is fourteen to nothing in the second inning. But, with Jesus, we have the opportunity to start all over again Check out Acts 2:38 and I John 1:7-8!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward