Heaven & Home by Jeff Pettinga

Several months ago a long time friend of mine asked me if I would be willing to prepare a devotional about Heaven. I have been collecting my thoughts regarding the subject and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are many analogies between heaven, home, and baseball.

Heaven is home to the Christian! Notice they both begin with the letter “H”. The beginning of your life begins at home. Notice the shape of the home plate – it looks like a home. Extending from the bottom of the home plate upward is an upside down “V” which separates the fair from the foul in life. When you stand at home place in baseball as in life you want to direct everything in your life into fair territory and stay out of foul territory.

Your goal standing at home plate is to return to home plate (reach heaven). You want God to call you safe at home plate. Before doing that, you must begin at first base which in my thinking is represented by accepting salvation. This means knowing that Jesus Christ is your Savior and His life, death, and resurrection has personally saved you. You need to believe and trust in that!

It is hard to get to first base. In baseball, there are nine defensive players who are trying to prevent you from reaching first base. In your life, it may mean a variety of situations. Each person can relate to what those obstacles are in their life. It may be the friends you pick or it may be an addiction you have. It could be that you think you need all the answers before you can believe. However, you have to accept his salvation gift to have an opportunity to reach home.

After first base comes second base, and if you think about it, it is the base that is farthest away from home; 127 feet and 3 3/8 inches to be exact. Because it is so far away, and because it is a base where there is no coach directly able to help you, you need a community of support. It may be a Bible study that you are a part of. It may be a body of other believers who have experienced salvation. You need their involvement in your life to prepare you to continue around the bases and reach home plate. You need them because there are many different pickoffs that can happen at second base. At first and third, the pick usually involves only the pitcher and the first or third baseman. At second base, it could the pitcher and the shortstop, or the pitcher and the second baseman, or even the pitcher and the center fielder. The distance that you lead off is greater, but you do that because you have involved your self with others who are there to help you in your life.

After second base comes third base and now you a short distance to home and you should be ready to score. After reaching third base, it is time to make use of your salvation and your community of support by being ready to help others who may be on the other bases or better yet want to get on a base. Think about who is better prepared than you to let others know what you have experienced by running to first base (receiving salvation) or second base (finding a community support). You have been prepared through a multitude of ways to speak to the world and let others know what you have! On the surface you may be saying “I don’t want to go home yet. I have so many things I want to do with my life”. But, where else do you want to finish? I know in my life, I want the umpire to say “Safe!” at home in heaven rather than out in Hell. I want to touch that five sided piece of rubber and be engulfed by those who have already scored.

In conclusion, you need to make sure that you have tagged all the bases. It is not a matter of who you are, but whose you are. Someday everyone of us will approach home plate and each of us should be prepared to answer by what right we have to score. Your answer should be that you have tagged all the bases and have given your life to Christ. Have you done that? If so, you are home in heaven.

Holy Week – April Spiritual Care Blog Post

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have Eternal life.”

We are beginning the time of Holy Week for most Christians starting April 2; the time from Palm Sunday through Easter. It is the time we re-live the events of Jesus going into Jerusalem with people celebrating his arrival, and then his arrest and trial, his death, and ultimately his resurrection. It is a week in which Jesus, through his words and actions, reminds us of God’s great love for us and all creation. That God wants to be connected with us, in relationship with us now and always. That God saves not only our souls but our daily life as well.

Recently I spent some time with followers of Jesus who begin every worship with: “O God, come to my assistance; O Lord make haste to save me!” And yesterday a friend and I read Psalm 18 that is all about times of struggle and fighting, war and violence. Then in verses 16 through 19, that all changes as God brings his beloved out of all that chaos. My friend’s version was the Message.

So, this week, as we head into Easter, I invite you to do the following. Simply read, several times each day, these words from Psalm 18. Listen to how God is speaking to you about you, your relationship with God, and how God desires to be present in our life.

Psalm 18: 16-19; The Message “But me he (God) caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field I stood there saved – surprised to be loved!”

May you experience God’s love for you this month in new and restoring ways.

Chaplain Karen