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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 Long Jump

Imagine that you're out jogging one day with Mike, a world record holder in the long jump at twenty-nine feet, four inches. While you're running along, you hear a low rumble, and your feet sense a steadily increasing tremor that alerts you to the start of an earthquake like no other you've ever experienced.

Suddenly, a mere stride ahead of you and Mike, the earth splits open. You both come to a full stop to discover that you are isolated on a small sliver of earth, separated from safety by a deep crevasse that is about thirty feet across. The little patch of earth you're standing on is crumbling in the continuing upheaval, and you see that it's a matter of moments before you both are cast into the crevasse where you'll be crushed by the lurching earth. Things look hopeless.

Your only hope is to jump across the canyon. Mike judges that the jump is about eight inches longer than his record-setting long jump, but he decides to try it anyway. He gets back as far as he can so that he can gather as much speed as possible. He crouches into a three-point stance, and you yell, "On your mark! Get set! GO!"

Mike runs as fast as he can. Right on the edge of the crevasse, he kicks off and launches himself into the air. It's a perfect jump. Sailing over the crevasse, he lands with the toes of both feet barely on the edge of the other side. His jump is an amazing twenty-nine feet, six inches — two inches farther than his world record! Unfortunately, the jump isn't far enough. His feet slip off the edge, and for a moment he scrambles to grab the edge with his hands. It's no good, though. As you watch he falls into the crevasse and dies. Poor Mike.

Now it's your turn. You crouch into a three-point stance as far from the take-off edge as possible. Mentally giving yourself the signal, you spring forward. Huffing and puffing, you pound up to the edge, kick off, and jump — straight down into the crevasse. You're dead too.

It made no difference that Mike nearly got to the other side with a perfect, world-record long jump. It simply wasn't far enough. Judged by its final outcome, Mike's jump was no better than yours. Both of you died.

Getting to the heaven side of eternal life works much the same way. It doesn't matter just how good you live, how many worship services you attend, or how much better you are than other people. You can't save yourself! The best people in the world can't save themselves, 'for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom.3 :23).

That's why Jesus came. He's the only one who ever lived a perfect life. When we put our faith and trust in Him and obey His word, His perfection becomes ours. He's the only way we can safely get to the other side!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward