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Almost (published in The North Weld Herald 7/15/10)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:15 PM by Fccea Webmaster
October 14, 1965. Our family of 14, including Grandma, was moving from Kansas to Orange County, California. I was 17, driving my 4-year-old Falcon, and riding shotgun was 12-year-old brother, Phil. Within 100 miles of home we got separated from the rest of the caravan. We were on our own for the 25-hour drive -- the $29 in my pocket didn't allow for such luxuries as food or lodging. Big adventure!

To top it off -- it was the 7th game of the 1965 World Series. My favorite team, the Dodgers, were playing the Minnesota Twins and my favorite player, Sandy Koufax, was pitching. Phil and I listened with growing excitement all the way across New Mexico as the Dodgers won 2-0. A great day indeed!

Providentially, our new home was within 30 miles of Dodger Stadium and I was greatly anticipating not only seeing major league baseball for the first time, but also seeing Sandy Koufax in action.

So, one night the next summer, I loaded two cousins and a friend into the old Falcon and off we went -- only to find that with Koufax pitching, the game was sold out. Nothing deterred -- we sent one cousin and the friend off to find some scalped tickets while the other two of us parked.

Well, they found tickets! But only two of them -- and apparently they were the last two as we could find no more. So -- Stan and I sat in the car listening on the radio within 100 yards of Koufax pitching while the other two were inside enjoying hot dogs, cokes and the game. So close, and yet, so far.

Not to worry -- there would be other games. But there were no other games. Sandy Koufax unexpectedly retired at the age of 31 after that season, still at the top of his game but with arm problems that were potentially crippling. That was as close as I would ever get to seeing Sandy Koufax in action.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. I learned you never have tomorrow -- only today. I was reminded of this early one morning in June of this year when I found myself standing in the very theater in Caesarea in Israel, staring at the very place where the Apostle Paul, who had been arrested under false pretenses, made his defense before the Roman puppet King Agrippa. Paul's defense was really a presentation of the gospel after which he says to the King, "You believe the prophets, don't you? I know you believe."

But Agrippa replies with the most chilling words, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Almost. Paul responds, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains." Think of the eternity of difference between those words almost and altogether. Agrippa was so close -- and yet, so far.

I think to stand before God one day having been in this life "almost persuaded" to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be the most agonizing of fates. Almost -- but not quite. The eternal question will be, "Why didnt I?" Better to have been an out and out atheist than to have been "almost". Hidden away right around the bend from "Almost" is "Too Late".

But there is good news. Straight ahead is "Altogether"! Altogether persuaded. I missed Koufax, but we don't have to miss eternal life. Altogether persuaded is right there for the taking by faith. "Almost", "Altogether", "Too Late" -- your choice.

By His Grace, Pastor Dave
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