Roy Riegels was a football player at the University of California who played a close game against Georgia Tech in the 1929 Rose Bowl. Playing defense, Roy Riegels tried to tackle a Georgia Tech player and was shoved against another player and got turned around and he started running down the sideline, probably thinking, “This is great! We’re going to win the game!” As Riegels raced down the sideline one of his teammates realized that Roy had no clue that he was running in the wrong direction! So he chases after Roy, running as fast as he can and just as Roy is about to score a touchdown for the opposing team, his teammate tackles him on the one yard line. California has 99 yards to go. There are just a few minutes left in the first half of the game. California doesn’t get the first down, and they’re forced to punt. The punt is blocked. The other team gets two points. California winds up later losing the game by one point, but this isn’t the point of the story, but rather what happened next…
At half time, everyone is wondering about the fate of Roy Riegels. What is Coach Price going to do? How badly is he going to tear him up and spit him out? Roy sits in the corner and weeps during half-time and when it’s time to go back onto the field, Coach Price stands up and says, “The same team that started the first half will start the second half.” The players just look at the coach, and you can tell what they are thinking, and then all the players except Roy Riegels file out to the field. Roy musters up the courage to say, “No way, Coach. I have embarrassed the school, the team, and myself.” Coach Price looks him straight in the eye and says, “The game is only half over.” The game is not over. You are redeemed! Get up, and I’ll allow you to get back in the race.” Two thousand years ago, Jesus went to the cross for us!We all have run the wrong direction, but God has picked us up! Click To Tweet
Roy Riegels then played what historians have called one of the best halves of football in Rose Bowl history. As you hear this story, you have to say to yourself, “What a coach to know exactly what to say to motivate Roy.” But if you’re a Christian as you hear this story, you also have to say, “What a God, because we all have fumbled the ball! We all have run the wrong direction, but God has picked us up!” If you’ve fumbled, He’s saying, “Get up! The game is not over. You are redeemed! Get up, and I’ll allow you to get back in the race.” Two thousand years ago, Jesus went to the cross for us!
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John 3:3 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NKJV)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.