9/18/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –

In 1999 a movie was released called “For Love of the Game.” It was a movie based on a novel written by Michael Shaara’s with the same title. The narrative follows the life of an aging baseball pitcher, Billy Chapel. In the movie Billy is a famous, proficient pitcher, but this particular year, not so much; he has a losing record.

Recovering from a hand injury, Chapel goes to Yankee Stadium to make his last start of the season. During the game Billy becomes so consumed thinking about a relationship that went bad, that Billy is unaware that he is pitching a perfect game, until he looks at the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning.

After completing the perfect game, Billy sits alone in his hotel room and realizes that everything he has been and done for the past 19 years is over. Instead of being able to enjoy his amazing accomplishment, Billy weeps not only for the loss of baseball, but for the other love of his life, his girlfriend Jane.

Sometimes as we live our lives, we live like it is a game. We make the rules, we determine the choices for our life. We become so consumed with “the game” that we don’t realize until late in life, that the things we have accomplished, the things have worked so hard for, don’t really matter. Like Billy Chapel, we realize that while playing the game of life we have drifted from our first love. However, instead of a failed relationship with a significant other, we have drifted away from Jesus.

Yet, this doesn’t “just happen.” There is a game plan that has been put into place long ago. It started in the Garden of Eden with a whisper, that same lie Satan will whisper in our ear: “Did God really say…?” It continued in the desert with Jesus. Satan comes and distorts Scripture to make it seem like we should go after our life goals and our dreams. Satan will make the distortion sound so enjoyable that surely our earthly plans and ambitions must be God’s will.

Please understand that for the Christian, our life is not a game. We do not determine how our life is to be lived out; God does. Our life is strategically planned out; it is written and directed by God Himself… My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16

God doesn’t just throw a plan together haphazardly, nor does He react when different situations arise or circumstances change. There is no “oops” with God, and He has only one plan, the one that He planned for you long before you were the twinkle in your mother’s eye. That is why God can promise that if you make the commitment to live out His plan for your life, then it will work out for your good… And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

And when Satan comes and wants to convince you that God doesn’t care about you, or that God isn’t interested in the best for you, just remember, God is so committed to you, He is so excited about you that He has even tattooed your name on His hand… See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16

Know that God doesn’t come up with a blueprint for your life and then walk away. Actually, God is committed to see you through this for the long haul… The LORD will not turn back until He has performed and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart. Jeremiah 30:24

Your life is no game: it has been planned out, and it was planned out with you in mind… In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. Ephesians 1:11

If you are looking for a good movie to watch I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the movie “For Love of the Game.” Kevin Costner, who played Billy Chapel in this movie, was nominated for the “Golden Raspberry Award.” In other words, for the “Worst Actor Award” for his performance.

If you are looking for a meaningful, fulfilled life as a Christian, I would suggest that you don’t play ball with Satan either. Before it is too late, before you are at the end of your career, before you find yourself living with regret, I would recommend that you Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Remember: it is not how you start that matters, but how you finish!