Wow! Talk about so near and yet so far - poor Desmond Bishop. He missed what could have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the White House and meet the President of the United States!
Desmond was a linebacker for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers that year, and his team met the President. Meanwhile, Desmond took a nap on the team bus. Why? All because he inadvertently left his I.D. on the
plane, and the Secret Service wasn't about to make any exceptions on letting someone close to the President. No I.D., no White House, no President.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Stopped at the Gate." Well, it could be worse. I mean, I can't think of anything more tragic than getting to the gates of heaven, expecting to get in with others who are going and being turned away. And that is not an imaginary scenario.
Actually, it's in our word for today from the Word of God, Luke 13. I'll begin reading in verse 24. Jesus said, "Many will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door,
you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you.' Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets.' But he will reply, 'I don't know you. Depart from me.'" That's disturbing. The folks who are shut out of heaven are apparently church folks, people who've been around Jesus, who know a lot about Jesus. They have Christianity, but they don't have Christ. Jesus made it really clear when He said, "I am the way...no man comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). The way. Because you can't get into heaven with your sin, and our sin can only be forgiven by the One who paid the sin penalty that we deserve. The Bible says, "He carried our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). No religion can die for your sins; no spirituality can die for your sins. Only God's sinless Son could do that. So He's the only "I.D." that will get us into God's heaven.
I got a picture of that a while back. I was speaking at a large youth event in Canada, and the music was provided by one of North America's most popular Christian bands. And I had a small group of young people who really wanted to meet them. (You know, meeting a speaker - who cares? Meet the band? Freak out!) Well they kept getting stopped by security, until I showed up. I pointed to the first one, and eventually to each of them, and
I said the magic words that got them in. I just said, "He's with me. She's with me."
You know, that's the only way you and I are going to get into heaven? It takes Jesus saying, "He's with Me. She's with Me." And 2 Timothy 2:19 says, "The Lord knows those who are His." That would be those who have
pinned all their hopes on Him and put their life in His hands. Question: "Are you one of them?" I mean, can you remember that there was a time when you said to Jesus, "Jesus, I believe that some of those sins you died for
on the cross were mine, and I want to make it personal. I want to pin all my hopes on You. I'm not driving my life any more; You're going to drive from here on." And you actually put your life, and your eternity, and your
future, and your soul in the hands of Jesus.
If you don't know you've done that, you probably haven't, but today you could. Today could be your Jesus day, so that He will say, "She's with me. He's with me" when you get to the gate of heaven. It's the only way you're
going to get in. If you're not sure you're with Him; if you're not sure you belong to Him, get it settled today, "Jesus, I'm Yours." Our whole website is there to help you find Him. And you can go there, and
I've put as simply as I can in a way you can either read, or watch, or listen to - the way to know that you belong to Jesus Christ for sure. It's Yours For Life.net. Please go there today.
Because without Jesus...without Him saying, "He's with Me. She's with Me," there's just no getting in.
It was the biggest night of the year in a little town called Cornwall. It was the night of the annual Christmas pageant. It's an especially big deal for the children in town -- they get to try out for the roles in the Christmas story. Everybody wants a part.
Which leads us to the problem of Harold. Harold really wanted to be in the play, too, but he was - well, he was kind of a slow and simple kid. The directors were ambivalent - I mean, they knew Harold would be crushed if he didn't have a part, but they were afraid he might mess up the town's magic moment. Finally, they decided to cast Harold as the innkeeper - the one who turns Mary and Joseph away the night Jesus is to be born. He had only one line - "I'm sorry, we have no room." Well, no one could imagine what that one line was going to do to everyone's Christmas.
The night of the pageant the church was packed, as usual. The Christmas story unfolded according to plan - angels singing, Joseph's dream, and the trip to Bethlehem. Finally, Joseph and Mary arrived at the door of the Bethlehem inn, looking appropriately tired. Joseph knocked on the inn door and Harold was there to open the door.
Joseph asked his question on cue - "Do you have a room for the night?" Harold froze. After a long pause, Harold mumbled his line, "I'm sorry - we have no room." And, with a little coaching, he shut the door. The directors heaved a sigh of relief - prematurely. As Mary and Joseph disappeared into the night, the set suddenly started shaking again - and the door opened. Harold was back! And then, in an unrehearsed moment that folks would not soon forget, Harold went running after the young couple, shouting as loud as he could -- "Wait! Don't go Joseph. Bring Mary back! You can have MY room!"
I think little Harold may have understood the real issue of Christmas better than anyone else there that night. How can you leave Jesus outside? You have to make room for Jesus. And that may be the issue for you this Christmas. What will you do with this Son of God who came to earth to find you?
Jesus is the One who trades a throne room for a stable, and the praise of angels for human mockery. This is the Creator who gives Himself on a cross! The Bible gives us the only appropriate response: "The life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) You look at what Jesus did to pay for your sin on that cross, and you say those life-changing words - "For me."
Jesus is at YOUR door this Christmas. Maybe He's been knocking for a long time. Maybe He won't keep knocking much longer. All your life - even the events of the last few months - have been to prepare you for this crossroads moment with Jesus your Savior. Don't leave Him outside any longer. Open the door this Christmas Day. "Jesus, I cannot keep You out any longer. Come on in. You can have my room... my life."
I'm and I want to have A Word With You today about "Man's Forest and Woman's Trees. Now, our word for today from the Word of God goes back to the very creation of man and woman, Genesis 2:15. Notice what man's assignment was.
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Adam, run the garden! That's no small job; he's got a big challenge. God has set him up to deal with the big picture. Now notice the creation of woman only a few verses later. It says, "The man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the air, the beasts of the field." Okay, he's busy running the big operation. "But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman..." I personally am very glad He did. And it says, "He made her from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man." Notice, He's created Eve now; not to run the garden, but with a focused concern. In this case, her concern is to be Adam's. He would care about the big picture; she would care about the details. He would see the forest (or the garden); she would see the trees. And, you know, it's still that way today and we really need each other's perspective!
See, if a man doesn't have a woman's perspective, he tends to trample over people without even knowing it while pursuing his conquest, his big deal. And the man without a woman, he misses the journey because all he can see is the destination. He doesn't see the problems until they are crisis; maybe too late to deal with. A woman tends to see them sooner and soon
enough to solve them. But see, if a woman doesn't have a man's perspective, she could be overwhelmed with worry over the details. She could tend to overreact to a bad situation because she's so close to it. To panic, maybe even make short-sighted decisions. But, man, it's dynamite when you put the two perspectives together. A man has this objective distance, and he's able to say, "Honey, come over here and let's look at the whole forest and we'll probably make a better decision and better choices." Created by God for that big picture, and there's nothing wrong with that. But then you put that with a woman's sensitive closeness, where she says, "Honey, come over here. Did you notice that there are trees dying and falling down in the forest? You've got to come and look at the smaller picture with me, because if more of these trees die there isn't going to
be a forest anymore." See, put us together; we've got the whole story.
Let's celebrate the fact that we're different. She needs to see his forest, and he needs to see her trees.