Summary: An Easter Sunday message including a clear presentation of the plan of salvation. (Significant content for this message taken from Max Lucado’s "He Choose the Nails")
(Launched message with “God Has a Plan” Video)
We were down by 8 points. Just 3 minutes left to play. The other team had pretty much dominated us all night, but we still had a slim, small, slight chance. So I called a time out. And the boys ran over to me, got in a huddle, looked to me for those great words of wisdom and advice on how we were going to pull off this victory, and it was at that moment that I realized…
I had nothing.
I had stopped the clock. I had gotten the attention of eight 13 year-old boys, which is no small feat. I could see the parents looking over, wondering what profound coaching knowledge I was about to drop on their young men. And I had never even given a thought to what in the world I was going to tell them.
So I went with “Boys. It’s show time.” How’s that for a cheesy quote. The boys looked back at me with blank faces, apparently not familiar with the 1980s version of the Los Angeles Lakers. Possibly because they had not even been born yet. So I said it again, “It’s show time. Forget about the offense. Forget about getting the ball in the hands of the point guard. Forget about taking your time dribbling up. Forget about all the screens and cuts. When you get the ball, you just get to the basket and put up a shot.”
How is that for dynamic, world-class coaching? Take the ball and shoot it. I was like one of those dads out of “Hoosiers”. Remember them? “Just shoot the ball. Stop passing. Shoot the ball!” What can I say? I had no plan. And you know what? It almost worked. We cut the lead to 2 with less than a minute to play, but in the wonderful world of Upward and the always running clock, we just didn’t have enough time to pull it off.
One of the dads caught me in the locker room afterwards, and said, “What did you tell them at that last time out? It must have been genius because it almost worked!” Little did he know.
God, however, is never caught in a time out without a plan. Throughout all history, regardless of our circumstances or missteps, God has always had a plan.
There have been many times, when from a human perspective, it sure may have seemed like the plan was in doubt. Up in the air.
If King Herod had sent Mary and Joseph a baby gift when Jesus was born, the card would have read. “Congratulations. Now I am going to kill your son. There is only room for one king in this corner of the world.” But God had a plan.
If you were to gather all the church leaders who believed that a Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, and put them together in one room, it would have been a very lonely place. A very empty place. There were some believers, but they were of rather strange walks. A few stargazing wise men, some night-shift shepherds, and a teenage newlywed. So as a reward for being a part of bringing God into the world, Mary and Joseph were given a two year honeymoon in exile, learning Egyptian. But God had a plan.
The Christian movement had begun. Jesus would grow up, and the words on the streets in Jesus’ hometown when He claimed to be sent from God were probably words like, “Weird family. Boy claims to be from God. And have you seen his cousin? Roaming around in the wilderness, and eating bugs. Something is not right with that bunch.”
Jesus’ friendly neighborhood homeowners association wanted to stone him. His brothers thought he might need to be locked up. He was eventually able to recruit about 70 disciples. 12 that grew rather close to Him. A band of men recruited off the shipping docks and out of the red-light district. Unfortunately, of this fine band of merry men, not a single one of them defended Him to the authorities.
In fact, during His life, Jesus healed an unknown number of lepers, blind people, lame people, demon possessed people. Too many to count. And when push came to shove, and the courts cried out, “Can I get a witness?” Not a single healed, freed, or fed person stepped forward on Christ’ behalf. But God had a plan.
As the end of Jesus life neared, many were ready for Him to run for political office. Less than a week before His death they gave Him a royal ride down Pennsylvania Avenue. It was time for an inauguration ceremony. But when he cleansed the temple, the campaign seemed to be scandal ridden and dead.
So the Jewish council decided on three spikes and a spear. The talk of the town was that Jesus should have stayed in the furniture business. Three times Jesus prophesied that he would come back to life three days after his death. Three times. All of the apostles heard His predictions. And how many of them waited around the tomb to see if He would do what He said? None. Not a one.