Categories
Cricket-Wrapped-Bible-Devotions

2nd Chance Giving Captain Dhoni, 2nd Chance Giving….

Duke Jeyaraj connects a Bible Truth with an event in AirTel Champions League T20 2010

It went to a spine-tingling Super Over finish, this particular T20 game. The Chennai Super Kings Vs Victoria Bushrangers AirTel Champions League Game 2010 went to the Super Over after the scores were level after 40 Overs of nerve-wracking, top-quality cricket on 18 September 2010. As Chennai Super Kings captain Dhoni looked around for volunteers to bowl it, Ravichandran Ashwin, the gangling Tamil Nadu off-spinner put up his hand. He volunteered. And Dhoni gave the ball to him choosing him over his Australian teammate Doug Bollinger. What followed was an absolute disaster. He was ‘looted’ for 23 runs. He forgot his clever bowling variations in those tense moments. He forgot his ‘carrom ball’ – the ball he bowled to get the wicket of Aaron Finch who scored 41 off 17 balls, earlier in the game. He bowled flat and full or flat and short. He was carted for three sixes by David Hussey. The last ball he bowled disappeared over long on for a huge six. In reply, Chennai could only 13 runs off the 6 balls they faced. Ashwin’s pathetic bowling had cost Chennai the match. As he collapsed in the ground in agony and disappointment Captain Dhoni had words of consolation for Ashwin. Not only that, he reposed his faith in Ashwin by giving him the opening over in Chennai Super Kings’ very next game, a do-or-die game against, the Warriors.

“Yes, you let me down in the Super Over in the last game. But I trust you. Here is your second chance,” so seemed to say captain Dhoni, by this baffling gesture. In the hindsight, it was a brilliant gesture. And Ashwin lived up to his captain’s faith by claiming three crucial wickets in his four overs giving away just 24 runs, one run more than what he given in one single over in the previous game! After he dismissed Ashwell Prince in the third over of the innings, He removed Mark Boucher and Justin Kreusch (who both had stitched-up a brave 44-run fortunes-reviving partnership) when the game hung in the balance in the 18th Over.  Chennai could defend a not-so-impressive 136 in a must-win T20 game because of his brainy bowling. What a comeback it was, for Ashwin! It was comeback motivated by a captain who gave a second chance.

In the Finals, the Warriors had gotten to a ‘violent’ start, thanks to Davy Jacobs stunning batting, first-up. But the man who turned the game on the head for Chennai was Ashwin, again. In the very first ball he bowled to Warriors’ captain and player-in-form Jacobs, he beat his reverse sweep attempt by bowling quickly through the air and trapping him right in the front for stumps. He was given out LBW. That reverse sweep reminded me of the similarly disastrous reverse sweep that Mike Gatting played when England was cruising to a win against Australia in the first ball that part time bowler Allan Border bowled in the World Cup ODI Final in Eden Gardens 1987, only to edge a simple catch to the wicket-keeper. England never recovered after that wicket. And Warriors too did not recover after that ruinous reverse sweep by Jacobs. Chennai were back in the game from then on. Ashwin just gave away a miserly 16 runs from his four Overs and finished the tourney with 13 wickets – the highest wickets tally. And what was more, he was awarded the Man of the Series! And to think he could have been dropped from the squad after the flopped Super Over show, but for Dhoni’s great faith in him!

How captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni dealt with Ashwin in Airtel Champions League T20 Series 2010 is how your Creator deals with you. Like how Dhoni gave to Ashwin a second chance, God wants gives you a second chance. He gave a second chance to Jonah, the reluctant, disobedient prophet. The Scripture records: Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1-2 ESV). He had let down his God in a big way the first time. He went in the direction, opposite to the direction God wanted him to go. He disobeyed God deliberately. But God gave him a ‘second chance’ after the fish that swallowed him vomited him on the shore.

The God of the Bible can be called ‘the God of second chance.’ I am saying that because I have read how he dealt with Peter. He God gave a second chance to Peter. After Peter denied Jesus three times, He found him out and gave him a second chance by telling him, “Feed my sheep!” (John 21:15-19). Peter never looked back after that second chance he was offered. He firmed followed Christ till his death. He was crucified upside down as a martyr for Jesus, history tells us.

Paul, one of Jesus’ greatest followers, gave Mark, a second chance. Mark had deserted him during one of his missionary journeys. Paul refused to take him along in the next missionary journey he undertook after this event which greatly damaged Mark’s image. But at the end of his life, Paul, inspired by the Spirit, writes to Timothy requesting him to bring Mark, as he languished in prison staring at the face of death, because, as Paul put it,  “he is useful to me!” (2 Tim 4:11). Yes, he wanted to give Mark a second chance. Mark grabbed this second chance with both hands. God used him to give us the Gospel according to Mark – a swift-moving account of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. We wouldn’t have had that book, but for Paul’s God-inspired gesture to give Mark, a second chance.

Yes, God wants to give you a second chance. You may have failed Him the first time. You may have embarrassed Him when you got the initial opportunity. But He still wants to give you yet another opportunity. Yet another chance. Would you grab it from God, the way Ashwin grabbed it from captain Dhoni in Airtel Champions League T20 series 2010? Would you seize it, the way Peter seized it from Jesus or the way Mark seized it from Paul? Or would you let even your second chance slip by and count for nothing like Jonah eventually did, by getting angry with God for being merciful to Nineveh? The choice is yours.

[This article was written by Duke Jeyaraj in 2010 and is part of Duke’s 2012 book, The Goodnews for the Google Generation (now out of print). Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org]

Categories
Cricket-Wrapped-Bible-Devotions Goodnews Wrapped Around Cricket Magic Moments

Inches Short

Duke Jeyaraj writes about Dhoni’s dismissal in the India-New Zealand World Cup Semifinal when India needed 25 off 10 and brings out a spiritual lesson from it!

“Banged in short and wide outside off, Dhoni leaps off his feet, goes airborne and scythes a six over backward point. Bam. The hands are still fast. Can the great finisher do it once again?” That was the commentary typed by the ESPN Cricinfo team for ball number 49.1 bowled by Lockie Ferguson in the World Cup Semifinal 2019 on 10 July 2019 at Manchester, England. When M. S. Dhoni sent the first ball of the 49th Over over the off-side field for a six, the kite of Indian hopes soared. Some of us got goosebumps! We got off our sofas and did fist pumps! The next ball was a dot ball. The third ball, as Dhoni tried to steal a couple by awkwardly directing a rising ball to the legside, he was caught inches short by a Martin Guptill’s direct hit! As the replays – the most heart-stopping replays in modern live Cricket broadcast history – confirmed India’s worst fears that Dhoni was run-out, tears were running down from the die-hard cricket fan’s cheeks. Rohit Sharma, who had carried India to the semifinal stage with five fabulous centuries in the group state, was also on the verge of tears. Dhoni waked back after scoring 50 off 72 balls (his second straight fifty in the World Cup Semifinal stage).

What if, Dhoni had not got run out at that stage? India would have needed 23 runs off 9 balls. The Dhoni we have known would have hit a six off one of next two balls. With 1 ball to go, in that over, the equation then would have been this: 17 off 7. Dhoni, predictably, would have taken a single, to retain strike for the last over. That would have meant, that India would have needed 16 runs off the last over of the World Cup Semifinals 2019 to make it to the Finals with the World’s best finisher on strike! In Chennai Super Kings must-win game versus Kings XI Punjab, Dhoni was batting in the final over of the match in IPL of 2010 with the equation being exactly the same: 16 off 6! And Dhoni finished that match with two balls to spare! The over bowled by Irfan Pathan went this way: 4, 2, 6, 6. He could have possibly done the same, in the World Cup Semifinals 2019, too! Who knows? What a finish, it would have been!

Are you ‘inches short’ of your salvation? Are you ‘inches short’ of the Kingdom of God? There was a religion scholar was inches short of the Kingdom of God – Jesus pointed out in the Gospels (Mark 12:34). He heard the narration of what was the greatest commandment from the mouth of Jesus himself! And Jesus said that he was not far from the Kingdom of God! He was inches close to the Kingdom, but not in the Kingdom! Why? Even following the greatest command will not give you salvation or give you entry into the Kingdom of God! Placing your trust in Jesus with a repentant heart will give you salvation, – this is what the Bible teaches (Luke 13:1-5; Acts 16:31). And having been saved, out of gratitude we follow the moral laws of God, the summary of which is to love God and love people as New Testament believers!

Are you religious? Your religious faith cannot save you! Religion can point to the fact that we need need salvation! But Religion itself cannot save us! Apostle Paul pointed this out in his speech in Athens (Acts 17:22, The Bible). He also pointed that people of all religions need to repent and come to Jesus, if they want to escape hell punishment on the final day of judgment in the same speech he gave in Athens, inspired by the Holy Spirit (Acts 17:30-31, The Bible). You are near salvation, when you are religious! Religious is an expression of your desperateness for God and Salvation! But religion itself cannot save you! You need a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3; Gen. 4:1)! Then you can have eternal life! Then you can enter God’s Kingdom! Then you can be saved! So come to Jesus, now!

(Read more presentations like this by Duke at http://www.PurposeSpot.blogspot.com. Duke Jeyaraj is founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).

Categories
Cricket-Wrapped-Bible-Devotions

WHEN ROHIT BATS TILL THE LAST BALL, INDIA(OR HIS TEAM) HAS ALWAYS WON!

Duke Jeyaraj brings a Spiritual Lesson From the India-New Zealand 3rd T20I on 29 Jan 2020


The last time I saw someone hit the last two balls for a six to win a game for his side was in this IPL Game of 2016 when Dhoni did it (https://www.iplt20.com/video/5351/m53-rps-vs-kxip-thrilling-last-over-finish). But it was only the IPL (not an international match, mind you) and that too in an inconsequential match (Dhoni’s team RPS was already knocked out of that year’s IPL). But what Rohit Sharma did vs New Zealand in the T20I No. 3 on 29 Jan 2020 (hit the last balls for a six in an international game to win it for India) gave me goose-bumps like no other cricket moment in my entire life of being a cricket fan!!! I go Rohit Shar-MUAH (kisses)! Coming up with the big shots when your country needs it the most – wow, Rohit no one can do it like you can! He also scored 21 off the last over to win the game for Deccan Chargers in one of early IPLs (I remember that and I wrote a poem about that last over wrapping it around the Gospel)!!! I do not remember a single game in which Rohit batted till the last ball and the game was lost (I remember seeing Kohli/Dhoni bat till the last ball – and the game being lost!). “When I am still around, my team should not lose!” – that is Rohit’s mantra! I know, there will be an odd game eventually in which this too-good-to-be-true record of Rohit will be broken, but the fact is, in Rohit we have the batsman with the fiercest will to win the game for the side with his God-given talent doing what it takes to make his will a reality! When it comes to winning temptation lets be passionate Rohit! Let us not say with a weak-will: ‘it is okay if I win or lose, let me just compete well!’ (when it comes to temptation) for it is God’s Will that we live a holy life (I Thess 4:3). Let us show similiar passion when it comes to winning souls as it is God’s will that all should be saved and come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Is our will steely as Rohit and do we put our God’s given talents to use to fulfill the clearly-revealed will of God – holy living and salvation of the lost?
(Find out more about Duke’s ministry at http://www.dukewords.com)