Summary: This is about salvation being a part of God’s plan from the beginning.

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How many of you have March Madness? The middle of March into April is a great time of the year. Spring arrives. The coats, sweaters and all the winter clothes go in the closet or box. The college basketball tournament heats up with all the stories of upsets and everything. And the best part is that baseball season starts up again. I am looking forward to seeing my first minor league baseball game this year.

You will notice that the sportscasters talk to the coaches and managers about their game plan. At half time of a basketball game, the sideline reporter will pull the coach aside and say, “Coach, what is your game plan for the second half? Is there anything you plan to do different?” Managers of baseball teams are asked about their game plan for the upcoming season. Game plans are important in sports.

Twenty years ago, Jim Valvano, the coach of the underdog North Carolina State Wolfpack was asked about his game plan in the upcoming championship game against high-powered number one ranked Houston. He said, “We might not shot the ball till Thursday.” He was saying that his team would play a slow-down game against the high-octane offense of their opponents. But when the game started, NC State came out running up and down the court, which caught Houston off guard. Then in the second half, NC State slowed it down. They wound up winning because their coach had a great game plan, and the players bought into that plan. They were overmatched because their talent was nowhere near the level of Houston, but the players believed in Valvano’s game plan and they executed it and won

God has a plan for us. Turn with to the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, chapter 31.

Read Jeremiah 31:31-34.

God’s plan is not an afterthought.

This plan is not something that God came up with when the Israelites rebelled. This was not a time when God said, “Oh, now what am I going to do?” This was God’s plan from the beginning. In our thinking, it sure seems as though God was terribly slow in implementing his plan. In our thinking, we would have dealt with the issue immediately. When Adam and Eve messed up, we would have finished right then and there. We, as humans, had to realize that we could not save ourselves. We had to come to the understanding that we needed God. All of our knowledge and power were not enough to bring us fulfillment in a relationship with God.

Valvano had a plan in mind all along what he was going to do in the 1983 championship game. He knew exactly what his plan was. He told the media one thing, and he did another. All along, everyone thought that NC State would come out and hold the ball. Those were the days before the shot clock. All the while knowing he would come and run the ball up and down the court. Ultimately, Valvano’s plan was to hold the ball, but it was only after he caught the other team off guard.

That’s not to say that God played a trick on us. It’s just that God had a plan all along. He wasn’t looking to fool anybody or catch anybody off guard. The plan was the plan all the time, and God knew what was going to happen and when.

Similarly, God has a plan for our lives. A lot of times we want God to reveal his whole plan for our lives so we know exactly where we are going and what’s going to happen. We sometimes treat God like he’s a fortuneteller. We expect him to look into his crystal ball and let us now every detail of lives for the next eighty years. I admit that I have had those same types of thoughts. I am glad, however, that God doesn’t do that. Can you imagine if you had known five years ago where you would be today? I would have been scared out of my mind. Five years ago, I had a 1 ½ year old little girl. Joey wasn’t even a thought yet. I was working for a law firm. I had no intention of being a pastor. If God had told me then where I would be today, I would not have believed him. In fact, one year ago I wasn’t sure where I was headed. The pastor of the church where we were at asked if I would consider being his children’s pastor if he got called to a church in Florida. In July, we considered being volunteer missionaries to Haiti. In mid-July, I started sending out resumes. I got some courteous form letters thanking me for my application blah, blah, blah. I had no idea I would wind up in Greenville. God had this planned long before any of us were aware of it.

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