Fresh Start by Jerry Bader

God Has Given Me a Fresh Start

One of my favorite expressions is, “God is sometimes early, but He is never late.” I used to wonder why it took 55 years on this earth for me to discover His saving grace and forgiveness and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I no longer do. I’ve come to accept that long before I was born, God knew the precise moment, on that day in August 2016, when I would come to Him. After decades of sitting in church and pretending to be listening, believing and accepting, He set in motion a series of events that would remove the illusion that I was in control of my life or ever could be.

The moment I truly believed, I felt the power of God’s grace and forgiveness and how it immediately transformed me and impacted those around me. Who the old me was and all he had done no longer mattered. God has given me a fresh start. And He instilled in me almost immediately the burning desire to use the gifts of the written and spoken word He has blessed me with to share with others the joy and peace of accepting Him. I am so thankful for the blessing of sharing Him with others here at Fresh Start.

No Chance Meetings
May 20, 2018

My wife and I were returning from our Bahaman honeymoon in December 1991 when my bride had a brief brush with fame. We were collecting our luggage at the Milwaukee airport when Ramona spotted someone she was sure was actor Tom Selleck (she’s a big fan). She decided to go shake his hand. As she approached she confirmed the man was Selleck and he was obviously trying to go unnoticed; he was in an area away from most people and, as I recall, had dark glasses on. As Ramona approached, his body language made clear he wasn’t comfortable with being recognized. Ramona said “hi,” shook his hand, told him she admired his work and was on her way.

Many people get excited when they get the chance to meet a celebrity, even though the experience will last only a moment and the famous person they meet will never remember them. As a result, many celebrities work, as Selleck did in Milwaukee, to keep as low a profile as possible. As I recalled the experience recently it got me thinking; what if we got as excited about a chance meeting with Jesus as we do actors, athletes and rock stars? Unlike modern human celebrities, Jesus, from the very beginning of his time on earth, was accessible to anyone who would seek him:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them… “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” Luke 14:8,9,16 

Yes, lowly shepherds were the first invited to come and greet the Savior. And unlike today’s rich and famous, Jesus didn’t avoid the masses and sought out those considered the least desirable: adulterers, lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the blind, the demonically possessed and others. And regardless of how brief the encounter, you can be sure Jesus never forgot any of them. As Christ followers, we are asked to remember that He’s as approachable to us today as he was to people then. And we needn’t run into Him by chance. Jesus is approachable so come. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior He takes up residence in our heart by His Spirit. We can spend as much time with Him as we want, every day. In fact, He’s waiting there for us 24/7/365. Yes, He’s at the airport. And the office. And the factory. And the baseball game. He’s anywhere you are. And whether you have an hour or just a few minutes, He takes great joy in being approached. In fact, He anxiously awaits our approach. All it takes is quiet meditation or time with His Word. Or perhaps He will approach you by working a small miracle in your life. Those can be the most exciting meetings of all! Be sure to notice them!

Some people wait their entire life for a brief brush with fame. How often do we remember to have “chance meetings” with Jesus? If you look for them, you will find they happen many times each day. And if you’re looking for Him, Jesus is easier to pick out of a crowd than even the most famous celebrity. Don’t miss your chance today to meet with the One who gave His life for your salvation!



Fresh Start Archive

One Body, One Direction - May 13

The Reflection That Counts - May 6

Godspeed, Dr. Bannister - April 29

Is It God or Your Gut - April 19