Bottom of the 9th - Follow Jesus
by Keith Wahl
(This week's Bottom of the Ninth is the second in a series walking readers through basics of the Christian faith integrated in the game of baseball through Francis Chan's BASIC video series)
â€œI came that they may have life and have it abundantly.â€ (John 10:10)
A simple definition of a â€œcoachâ€ is someone who inspires others to do that which is beyond what they could have done by themselves. Our culture has made that simple definition far more complex than it needs to be, and weâ€™ve done the same with following Jesus as well.In 2007, things were going well for me as a coach and as a person. Our team had been to the state finals the year before, and we were ranked #1 in the preseason. My wife and I had celebrated the birth of our daughter Mia, and our family would grow with our son, Brady, early the following year. I was happy, I was comfortable, and Jesus decided to challenge that by calling me to â€œfollow Him.â€
Having accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in 2001 at the age of 27, my life had changed dramatically already. My walk with the Lord had changed my life and all was for the better. He had certainly made it easy to believe that â€œfollowing Himâ€ was the right thing to do.
I first heard about Valor Christian High School in the spring of 2006. Because of my former schoolâ€™s position on a hill, I could see the Valor construction site easily from my classroom. There are many interesting elements to the whole story, but I had a simple choice to make in the spring of 2007 - â€œfollow Jesus.â€ Go where He was working. It was my call to partner with Jesus and the people at Valor in their mission and vision as a school. I had an opportunity to â€œfollow Jesusâ€ in my professional life, and I leapt at the chance.
Francis Chanâ€™s video (click the image above to view his message - â€œFollow Jesusâ€) mentions difficulty when you choose to â€œfollow Jesus.â€ I experienced that as well. There were accusations of recruiting athletes. Coaches and teachers who I had considered friends turned their back on me. I was caught in a whirlwind of rivalry between public schools and private schools - a storm of which I had no knowledge before making this choice. In the midst of all of the trial, I was left like Peter standing in front of Jesus in John 6 - â€œWhere would we go? You have the words of eternal life.â€
Because of a choice to follow Jesus at the age of 27, because of a choice to go where Jesus was working in 2007, and because of countless choices since then to grow closer to Him by applying His teachings to my life, I get to experience the abundant life Jesus promises.
Jesus is my head coach. Iâ€™d encourage each of you to make Him yours as well. He will inspire you to do far more with your life than you could have ever done by yourself.
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