Pastor's Corner

9 Sep
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Mid-Week Challenge

Halloween is more than a month away but that has not stopped stores from flooding their shelves with bags of candy for those early shoppers.  Next to Christmas, this commercial holiday is probably one of the favorites among kids. What other day is it acceptable to take candy from strangers? Parents love it too because at the end of the night kids must pay the “parent tax” as we rummage through their treasure looking for memories of our youth.  One of my favorite memories is Jelly Belly!  With the proper know how one can mix any number of combinations to develop a flavor profile unmatched by any other confection.   

Who doesn’t love jelly beans?  The name brand ones of course!  Ronald Regan made them popular when I was a kid, as he always had a big jar sitting on his desk.  Recently I learned that the founder of Jelly Belly is about to retire, but before he goes out he is having a Willy Wonky inspired Golden Ticket hunt across the nation!  When I read that my interest peaked! Not only are there 50 golden tickets involved worth $5,000 each, but if you solve the final riddle you receive the keys to one of his actual candy factories!!! Sign me up I said!!  Well, that’s until I read the fine print.  To enter this “Golden Ticket” jelly bean adventure it will set you back fifty bucks! There is one golden ticket per state and to make it interesting there are only one thousand entries available per state. And the keys to the candy factory; well that is a separate contest that all paid entries get to compete in after all the golden tickets are discovered.  If I’m reading that correctly there are 1000 entries per state at $50 each at a single payout of $5000 for the golden ticket per state.  At the end of the contest, after all golden ticket winners are paid, the founder is set to clear $2.25 million from the entry money?  Wait, what?  Sounds like someone waited a little late to start planning for his retirement.

It’s fun to think about, but in reality there really are no “Golden Tickets” out there.  Everything comes with a cost.  Read the fine print, do the research, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  That’s why so many people find the invitation of Jesus so hard to believe.  Salvation costs me nothing? What’s the catch? It’s true; the ticket to the Streets of Gold doesn’t cost you a thing, but there is a cost involved.  The Bible makes it clear that the price has been paid by the only One who could afford the cost.  Jesus stepped down from Heaven and humbled Himself as a servant to die in our place.  All who believe, repent of their sin, and call upon His name will be saved.  Because of the way we relate to one another we expect this to be more complicated.  Unlike the promise of the keys to the Jelly Belly factory that comes with all the strings, salvation is a matter of trusting the One making the offer.  Very creative of Mr. Belly (David Klein) for going out in style with a twist, but there are no gotchas with Jesus.   The offer really is as “Golden Ticket” as it sounds.  

  “that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him." John 3:15

Serving the Savior,

Bro. Jonathan

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