As a youngster growing up in Austin, Texas, one of my favorite activities during the summer was playing a friendly game of pick-up baseball.
I'll never forget one of those games on a hot Sunday afternoon in August 1970. We had played for a couple of hours and were very thirsty. The water from the rusty faucet didn't interest us in the least, we broke into the ballpark's concession stand and grabbed a few soda pops.
We hadn't been drinking them very long when we herd a car drive up on the gravel parking lot. I peeked out the door and there was my mom in the car. She saw me peeking out and immediately took me home to my dad.
He escorted me to my bedroom, sat me down, and instead of giving me a spanking or lecture, he shared with me some truths from the bible:
First, God loves you and wants to know you in a personal way. The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) "And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3)
Next, he told me I didn't know God in this personal way because of my rebellion against Him, which the Bible calls sin. "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) " For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life." (Romans 6:23)
Then he said that Jesus is God's only provision for my sin. Jesus paid the penalty for my sin so I could have a relationship with God. "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Finally, he said that by faith I needed to ask God to forgive me for my sin and ask Him to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior. That's how I could begin that relationship with God. The Bible says, "To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God." (John 1:12). "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
My dad treated me much the same as God treats all of us. For the things we have done wrong, God will forgive us if we simply ask Him to. "If we confess our sins, He is fateful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) But if we continue to rebel and turn our backs, we run the risk of facing eternal consequences.
What my dad told me was what I needed to permanently satisfy my heart. So a short time later I prayed a simple prayer much like this one:
"Dear God, I admit that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, and that you raised Him from the dead. Please forgive me for my sin and come into my life to be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for forgiving me and coming into my life. I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen."
It's been more than 20 years since I began my relationship with God. I'm married to a wonderful wife, and we have two special children. I've played professional baseball for more than 10 years with four different teams.
I pitched in two World Series games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987, and although there have been numerous high points (and some low points) in my career, I can honestly say that the best day of my life was when I put my trust in God and started a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
What God has done for me, He can do for you, and you can begin a relationship with Him by admitting your wrongdoing and simply asking Him to come into your life.
If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.