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The Blazing Fastball That Gives Us Confidence

How to know God is at work in your life and congregation
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Harmony and Humility in the Church". See series.


On July 15, 1986, Roger Clemens came to bat in his first Major League Baseball All-Star game. Roger was the sizzling right-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and he had been named to the American League All-Star team as the starting pitcher. In the second inning, the time came when it was his turn to bat. But that was something Roger Clemens was not used to because the American League had the designated-hitter rule—someone else always batted for him. But here, in the All-Star game between the American League and the National League, they alternated each year between the rules of the two leagues. This particular year, they played by National League rules—pitchers had to bat for themselves. So Roger Clemens found himself coming to bat for the first time.

Clemens took a few uncertain practice swings in the on-deck circle, and then he stepped into the batter's box at home plate. Out on the mound was the best pitcher in the National League—Dwight Gooden. The year before, Dwight had won the Cy Young Award—the award given to the best pitcher in all of baseball. A pitcher who never batted was facing the best pitcher in all of baseball.

Dwight Gooden wound up and threw a white-hot, streaking fastball that blew by Roger Clemens. Roger stepped out of the box, blinked his eyes a few times, and turned to the catcher behind him, Gary Carter. "Gary, is that what my pitches look like?" Clemens asked. "You bet it is!" Gary said.

Roger Clemens stepped back into the box, and he quickly struck out. But when he went back onto the pitcher's mound to pitch for his team, he threw three perfect innings—nobody on the other team got a hit. He was voted the game's Most Valuable Player. And from that day on, ...

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Donald R. Sunukjian is professor of homiletics and chair of the Christian Ministry and Leadership Department at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Partnership in the gospel is evidence of God's work.

II. Hospitality is evidence of God's work.

III. Standing up for the truth is evidence of God's work.

IV. Generosity is evidence of God's work.