A Pastor’s Ponderings: Friday Night Football

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By Pastor Dave Holland

Dave HollandJesus revolutionized my life in 1970, when I was age 16. The church youth group started a new Bible study on Friday nights as they were oblivious to the real world. Didn’t they realize that anybody who mattered went to high school football games every Friday night?
My school team was undefeated and scheduled to play the highest-ranked team in Los Angeles the night our youth Bible study was to begin. I struggled with my sense of priorities, and fortunately, I put Jesus first and went to the group. I revved up my Honda 90 motor scooter and rode five miles to the group.

Arriving late to the meeting, I discovered there were no seats left. So, I plopped on the floor next to the door. Our host was a single, middle-aged woman named Melba. She seemed almost as old as God. Her place felt overly warm, and for the first time, I got a good look at her. She had graying hair and thick eyeglasses. I recognized her as she played trombone in the church orchestra. Melba worked as an operator for the Ma-Bell Telephone Company back when live operators had to connect callers to their party. There just wasn’t anything cool about Melba–all the cool people were at the game.

She got the meeting underway with some over-the-top enthusiasm as I was fading into slumber. I drifted back into consciousness to hear Melba say, “Turn to Romans 12.” Somebody bumped my elbow and handed me a New Testament. As I fumbled with the pages I’m thinking, Matthew…Mark…Luke…Romans 12…Yep, found it! At that moment, a God-thing happened.

As I looked at the words on the Bible page, they swelled to about five inches tall, and the letters pulsated with life. Now THAT is cool! How does she do that?

The Word of God grew before my eyes, because a pure-hearted saint shared her life with me, a self-absorbed and egotistical teenager, and changed me forever. It was as if God were shouting at me through a bullhorn.

I thought I was the first confessing Christian in our family. I discovered the back-story later while I was in Bible College. During my mother’s pregnancy with me, she had been an active Christian. But a gulf of antagonism separated my Mom and Dad. The doctor told my mother that if she didn’t improve her emotional state, she could lose the baby.

Mom desperately cried out to the Lord, “Lord, if you spare this child, I will dedicate him to You and name him David.” After my birth, my parents eventually divorced. In the years following their breakup, my mother drifted away from God. Despite her shortcomings, the Lord was faithful in answering her prayer. God held her to her promise and later claimed me for Himself.

I answered God’s call because of the prayer that had gone before I was even born. I believe God is reaching out to you through the events of your life as well; God has woven His grace into the fabric of your history. Ask God to give you eyes to see His mercy working in your life.

Yes, the Lord is more important than football, politics, job, home or even family. When Jesus is Lord of the events of your life, He manages to align the rest in proper order.
The Lord yearns for us to respond to His love. Christ Jesus is calling your number right now! Will you pick up the phone and answer Him? Turn to God’s Word and allow Him to speak to you. Listen quietly for His gentle voice as He is only a whisper away. The joy of life resides in living beyond ourselves and dedicating our lives to God’s purpose.

Dave Holland pastored churches for more than 38 years before retiring in Destin. He recently released his new devotional-Bible study based on the Gospel of Luke called “Every Day Jesus: Experience the Jesus Who Ignites Your Soul.” You can get a copy of this book from his website, DaveHolland.org, or by contacting him at davidvholland54@gmail.com. Pastor Dave is available to preach and teach in churches and conferences.