THE Complete Game

The Complete Game

  • August 14-Brothers

    August 14: Brothers

    Scripture Lesson: Luke 15:25-32

    Today is the birthday of Paul “Daffy” Dean, a pitcher for the “Gas House Gang” Cardinals of the 1930’s. He is the brother of Jerome Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, also a pitcher for the Cardinals and the Cubs. Paul was a great pitcher for the Cardinals in 1934-35, but after hurting his arm in 1936, he was never the same again. Quiet and reserved, unlike his loud and boisterous brother, Paul retired back to Arkansas where he lived on his farm until he died of a heart attack on March 17, 1981. There was no better one-two punch in baseball in 1934-35 than Dizzy and Daffy Dean.

    Today’s Scripture lesson is also about two brothers. After the prodigal son returned home, his older brother – who had remained home carrying out his father’s wishes – became angry at the younger brother. He did not think it was fair for the younger brother who had wasted his inheritance to be welcomed back with a big party. The father was quick to point out that it was a cause for celebration because the lost son was now found and back where he belonged with the family. It must have been very difficult for the older brother to forgive his younger brother and to accept him back into the family.

    1. Would you have reacted differently than the older brother? Why or why not?

    2. Why is it sometimes hard for us to forgive?

    3. How much joy have we missed by being unforgiving?

    When we neglect to forgive and forget we only hurt ourselves!

  • August 13-Endurance

    August 13: Endurance

    Scripture Lesson: Romans 15:4

    On this date in 1950, in the bottom of the 22nd inning, with both starting pitchers still in the game, Don Richmond singled down the right field line, plating Dick Cole to give the Rochester Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Jersey City Giants. Ptcher Tom Poholsky, after yielding two unearned runs in the top of the second, went on to pitch 20 consecutive scoreless innings for the complete game victory. Meanwhile, Giant pitcher Andy Tomasic also went the distance, giving up single runs in the first and second innings before losing the game in the bottom of the 22nd inning.

    In today’s text, Paul was wrapping up his letter to the Romans and was showing them how to have hope. Paul said to have hope, we must have endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures. Endurance means to keep on keeping on, no matter what happens. The Christian life is not easy to live. It takes effort each and every day to withstand all that Satan throws at us. Nothing pleases Satan more than to cause us to fail and sin. It takes effort each day to beat him. We always have the hope and guidance that comes through the Bible to help us withstand what Satan throws at us. for us to live the Christian life to the fullest, we must have endurance to keep on keep on keeping on no matter what happens!

    1. Why is it important to have endurance in the Christian life?

    2. Where can we go to draw the strength and guidance we need to endure?

    3. Where does our hope come from to live for Him?

    The Christian life is not a sprint, it is a marathon that takes endurance to complete as we live for Christ each day!

  • August 12-Fighting

    August 12: Fighting

    Scripture Lesson: Nehemiah 4:16-20

    On this date in 1984, the first pitch of the game – thrown by Braves pitcher Pascual Perez – hit Padres leadoff man Alan Wiggins, and the stage is set for a literal slugfest. Benches emptied and fights broke out in the second, fifth, eighth, and ninth innings, with San Diego pitchers throwing at Perez each time he came to the plate.

    Nehemiah had been given the task of rebuilding the city wall of Jerusalem. A great organizer, Nehemiah divided his workforce to get the job done. However, there were enemies of Israel who did not want to see the wall rebuilt, and were poised to attack the workers. Nehemiah told the people that God would fight for them. He took part of the work force and armed them to watch over the workers, while others worked with one hand while holding a weapon in the other hand. All knew that if the trumpet sounded, everyone was to come and fight. Nehemiah was assured that God would fight for them. Whatever we face in life, whatever battle we must fight, we can be assured today that as believers God will be there for us!

    1. When has God helped you through a tough time?

    2. What does it take to trust God even in the tough times?

    3. What battle are you in right now in living for God? Can you feel His presence?

    No matter what we go through in life, God will be there for us! Thank you Father for that reassurance today!

  • August 11-Perfect

    August 11: Perfect

    Scripture Lesson: Matthew 5:48

    On this date in 1981, Ray Searage pitched two-plus innings of hitless relief to be credited with the win in New York’s 4-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. With his an eighth-inning single, Searage gained the distinction of being the only Met player to have compiled a 1.000 batting average (1 for 1) and a 1.000 winning percentage (1-0) while playing with the team. Searage is the current pitching coach for the Pirates.

    Today’s verse, from the Sermon on the Mount, seems impossible at first reading. Jesus told his followers that they should be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect. None of us, any more than the disciples, have reached perfection. The only perfect person to have ever walked on the earth is Jesus. So why does He call us to be perfect? When we set goals in life, the higher the goals the higher we will be able to reach. If we strive to reach the goal of perfection in the way we live for Jesus, we are more likely to get closer to that goal. We will never reach the goal of perfection, but we can make the effort instead of saying it is impossible and not even trying!

    1. How do we strive to be perfect in the game of baseball?

    2. How can we use the same tactic in striving for perfection with Christ?

    3. In our lives with Christ, what should be our goal?

    Hard works helps us improve in the game. Hard work helps us improve in our living for Jesus!

  • August 10-Time

    August 10: Time

    Scripture Lesson: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    On this date in 1944 at Crosley Field, Braves pitcher Charles “Red” Barrett threw only 58 pitches in beating the Reds 2-0. The nine-inning game took only 75 minutes to complete.

    The familiar verses of today’s text, found in Ecclesiastes, are often quoted with relationship to time. The author, known as a “wise man” or sage in Israel, said there is a time for everything. Our time is something we take for granted, and oftentimes we waste. Part of what God desires from each of us is a portion of our time, gladly spent by serving others and expanding His Kingdom. We are good at making excuses as to why we don’t have the time to serve God and others. “I am so busy.” I just don’t have the time.” “My schedule is full, I don’t have a free minute.” Doesn’t it always seem we have time for the things we want to do, like play the game or watch sports on TV? God deserves a portion of our time spent serving Him and serving others.

    1. How much time do we devote to God in a day, week, or month?

    2. Do you agree or disagree? It is not about having the time to serve God; it is about having the desire to serve Him. Why?

    3. When is the last time we served God and our fellow man?

    May Jesus not only be the Master of our lives, but also the Master of our calendars.

  • August 9-The Main Thing

    August 9: The Main Thing

    Scripture Lesson: Philippians 1:18

    Today is the birthday of Deion Sanders. Sanders starred in both the NFL and Major League Baseball. Sanders’ most notable games in baseball were played for the Braves and Reds. His nickname, “Prime Time,” suggested that when the game was on the line, he would come through for the win.

    In today’s text, Paul was encouraging the church at Philippi to keep the main thing the main thing. All that really matters when life is on the line is to be sure that Jesus Christ is being preached. There is no other way for mankind to come to God than through his Son, Jesus Christ. In our daily living, the most important thing we can do is to share Jesus with others. Not all of us are called to be preachers, but all of us are called to be sharers of Jesus Christ. To preach is simply to proclaim God’s word, and each of us have the responsibility to do just that. For Paul, it did not matter how it was done: all that mattered to him was that it was done and Jesus was proclaimed. Whenever Jesus was proclaimed, Paul was overjoyed! Nothing should make Christians happier than sharing what Jesus has done for them.

    1. How can we proclaim Jesus in our daily lives?

    2. Why do you think Paul had great joy when Jesus was proclaimed?

    3. How can we get that same joy?

    It is indeed prime time to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those we see every day -- both by the way we live and what we say.

  • August 8-Relocate

    August 8: Relocate

    Scripture Lesson: Acts 8:26-40

    On this date in 1957, Brooklyn Dodgers president Walter O’Malley made it official, announcing that the Dodgers would move to Los Angeles beginning with the next season.

    Phillip was in the midst of a great awakening for the Lord in Samaria. Ministry was going great, and people were being reached for the Lord. Surprisingly, God told Phillip through an angel to go to a distant desert road. Phillip did not complain or remind God of the success he was seeing in Samaria: he just obeyed and went. On that road, he met an important man in the government of Ethiopia. Phillip witnessed to the man, who soon gave his heart to Jesus. Some scholars believe this event opened the door for the Gospel to be spread into Africa, all because Phillip was willing to go where God wanted him to go. Sometimes God may want to relocate us when we are most comfortable and enjoying success. God’s plans are perfect plans for our lives!

    1. What happens when we follow God’s call?

    2. What does it take for us to follow God’s call?

    3. Would you be willing to follow God’s call even if it meant relocating?

    May we all listen for the call of God in our lives and be willing to follow Him in faith wherever He may lead us!

  • August 7-Tell the Story

    August 7: Tell the Story

    Scripture Lesson: Psalm 105:1-5

    On this date in 1978, Mel Allen and Red Barber become the first men to receive the Ford Frick Broadcasting Award. Hall of Fame voters were unable to choose one of the two legendary Yankee broadcasters over the other, so both announcers were selected to receive the honor, which recognizes excellence among baseball broadcasters. The honor enshrined them in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Both announcers were excellent in sharing the story of the games, first by radio and then by television.

    We are called today to make known what God has done. We are to tell the story of what God has done for us. People need to know all the things God has done, not only in the Bible, but also in our personal lives. As we thank God, we need to help make God known by telling the story of what God has done. We need to do so with joy as we tell the story. Part of telling the story of God is to live the story daily with our lives. The greatest telling of the story of God is in how we live each day!

    1. How can we tell what God has done?

    2. Why is it important to tell the story?

    3. Why should we live the story of God?

    God has done so much for each of us. He needs us to tell the story and more importantly to live the story each day!

  • August 6-Wow

    August 6: Wow

    Scripture Lesson: Psalm 8:1-9

    On this date in 1930, during the Waco Cubs’ 18-run eighth inning, Gene Rye hit three home runs. The Texas League outfielder hit a solo shot, a two-run homer, and a grand slam, driving in 7 runs in a single inning. Wow, what an inning to have as a player!

    Psalm 8 is a “Wow” psalm, a psalm of praise and adoration for all God has done and who God is. The psalm begins and ends with the exclamation: “How majestic is your name in all the earth!” In the verses between, the psalmist praised God’s awesome power, excited that God had taken an interest in man and had given him dominion over creation. David said “Wow” because the Creator of the heavens and earth still loves and has time for humankind. Wow, indeed!

    1. As you think about God’s creation, what is a “wow” for you?

    2. What does it mean to you that God has an interest in you?

    3. Why should it be important in light of this psalm to spend time daily with God?

    God’s awesomeness is all around us each day. Take some time today to reflect on the Holy Wow!

  • August 5-Husband and Wife

    August 5: Husband and Wife

    Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 5:25

    On this date in 2011 Darla Harlow, a big fan of the Mississippi Braves (AA), was given the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Trust Mark Park in Pearl, MS. After tossing the ball to home plate, the military wife was totally surprised when the catcher took off his mask and she recognized her husband Michael, an Army major serving in Afghanistan who had been away from home for the past nine months. It was indeed a joyful reunion!

    In today’s Scripture passage, Paul was writing to the Ephesians about the responsibilities a husband has concerning his wife. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her. If you are married, God expects that kind of selfless love to be given to your wife. What an honor it is to love your wife as Christ loves the church! For any marriage to reach its potential under God, that kind of love must be shown by a husband to his wife. Young men, as you someday look for a wife, remember to love her with that kind of love. Men, today make sure your wife knows just how special she is and how much you love her!

    1. How did Jesus show His love for the Church?

    2. Why should you love your wife with that kind of love?

    3. How can you show your spouse today just how much you love them?

    When God has blessed you with a wonderful life partner, love and cherish that person each and every day!

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