Practicing the fundamentals everyday


By Timothy Johnson

Preacher’s Point

I love baseball.

In my youth, baseball was the primary connection between my dad and me. Every Saturday during the summer was the game of the week. I still vividly remember a catch that Willie Mays made. Mays, the baseball, right fielder Barry Bonds Sr., and the right field wall met simultaneously. After the crash, Mays lay conscience on the warning track. Bonds was frantically looking around for the ball. He found it in May’s glove.

For all you young folk out there, in the 60s, we only had three television stations, and few games were available to watch on TV. There was the Saturday game of the week, and our local team, the Cleveland Indians, showed eight to ten games a year on the local station.

Julie accepted my proposal of marriage at an Indians game.

I played a lot of ball. I tell people I got a hit off Roger Clemens. What people don’t know is that my hit came off a pitching machine with a video of Clemens throwing a pitch and a hole in the screen where the ball came out. Regardless, I still believe I could have hit major league pitching, but alas, I never got the chance; God had other plans.

Moving on, they are playing baseball in Arizona and Florida. Exhibition games have started, and spring training is in full swing. The best players in the world are going through drills, fielding ground balls, and catching flies.

“Keep your eye on the ball.” “Field that grounder, keep your glove on the ground.” “With two outs, run and anything that’s hit!” These statements are heard on ball diamonds from T-ball to the majors. These things and others are the fundamentals of the game.

At this point in the column, you might expect me to give my projections for the upcoming season. Well, I am not a sportswriter. I am a preacher that writes about God. So why all the baseball talk? Because the best players in the world are going through the fundamentals, and if we want to be the best Christians we can be, we must go through the fundamentals every day.

First, I must explain that being a Christian is not what we do but what we are. For example – going to church does not make one a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes one a car.

A person becomes a Christian by faith, placing their trust in the blood of Christ as the sacrifice for their sins. This fact leads to the first fundamental.

Faith. Salvation comes by faith, and four times we are to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38). The Bible also tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrew 11:6).

However, many Christians practice living faith like an infielder trying to field a ground ball between their legs with their back to the batter. When a problem arises, most Christians will figure out how they want to solve the situation and then ask God for help in accomplishing their solution. That is not living faith. Yes, the individual has faith that God will help, but the problem is how do we know that our solution is the same as God’s answer? Our prayers should come before we figure out the solution, and then we go into action once we know what God wants us to do. Living faith is this: allowing God to lead in every circumstance. Christians should pray often the way Jehoshaphat prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:12 – we do not have the might, nor do we know what to do. Instead, we tell God what we will do and how we expect Him to help.

Another thing about the fundamental of faith is that we must have faith in His Word. Knowing what God wants us to do is much quicker and easier when we know what His Word says. After Jehoshaphat’s prayer mentioned above, God sent His Word with the answer through a prophet. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pray, then ten minutes later, a prophet knocks on the door with an answer? It would, but we have an advantage over Jehoshaphat; we have the Word of God at our fingertips. God doesn’t do anything unnecessary, so since He has put all the answers we need in the Bible, no prophets come knocking.

All the above leads us to Christian fundamentals, two and three – prayer and Bible study.

1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” and 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” are key verses here.

Maintaining an attitude of prayer and learning to pray about every situation keeps problems at bay.

Knowing the Scripture can give us answers instantly, guiding us through life with little question about God’s desires. But what if someone has only been a Christian for a short time or knows little about the Bible?

The answer to that question is fundamental number four – going to church.

Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

All of us should experience exhorting at church. In other words, we find those complicated answers that avoid us because of our immaturity or lack of knowledge. Yet many Christians rarely attend church and wonder why they have so many problems. God has prepared a message for them through a sermon or someone else’s words that they never hear because they are not in attendance.

The last fundamental is that we tell people the gospel.

Mark 16:15 tells us to “…preach the gospel to every creature.” Dozens of verses throughout the New Testament tell us to take the gospel to others.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17. Salvation comes from hearing the Scripture, and God left the job of getting the Word out to those that believe the Word – the Christians.

We have come full circle; we are back at faith.

In summary, the five fundamentals of the Christian life are faith, prayer, Bible study, church attendance, and witnessing.

Keep your eyes on the ball.

Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County. Indiana. Website:; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: All Scripture KJV.

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