John 15:16, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” “I guess I’ll take him,” mumbled the best athlete in the Physical Education class. Under his breath, he sighed, and muttered, “If I have to . . .” The scene was frequently repeated throughout my grammar school and high school years. It was always the same drill. The athletic portion of the compulsory P.E. class each year brought the ultimate selection process where the two best athletes were chosen by the teacher (usually a coach), to pick other students in the class for their respective team. The sport was almost always basketball or baseball. I was the nerdy little kid with the plastic frame glasses, skinny physique and knobbyknees. I was the one they settled for as the last pick. To say I was poor at sports is an understatement. I always excelled in academics. But at the time no one wanted to pick a future summa cum laude graduate. While others were practicing their three-point shots, I was more content to read Julius Caesar. Did it bother me? Yes. But early on I came to terms with the process. Being a voracious reader, I fell in love with the ultimate Book—the Bible. One passage that resonated with me (and still does) was John 15:16, where Jesus said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” I remember the first time I read it. Wow! He chose me. Not as the “second-string” or the last one left, or because He had to—but He chose me because He wanted to. Did I have anything to warrant our Lord making the selection? No. But the beautiful truth about being chosen by Him was the fact that there was nothing good in me to provoke His choice. It was all because of His love for me. The good was in Him, not in me. His grace and mercy prevailed over my sin. Perhaps you have struggled, as I did, with your inabilities, your shortcomings, and yes, even your transgressions. If you have been excluded by everyone else in your life, the Good News today is Jesus Christ chooses YOU. That’s right—YOU! It is His choice, based on His love, mercy and grace. Once you begin walking in the revelation of how much our heavenly Father loves you, you will never again think of yourself as being relegated to some second-string position in life. Always remember, you were never settled for, but God chose you as His first pick.
To establish the people of Central Appalachia in the principles of the Kingdom of God, and thereby releasing them to rise above all cultural, historical, economic, and generational limitations so they may live abundantly within their privileges and covenant as sons and daughters of God.
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