By Pastor Mike Rodgers
In October of 1989 a thought came to me I could not easily dismiss: What would it be like to meet a man of history, someone who had impacted the world stage and changed the lives of millions? It did not take long for one name to come to mind: Former President Ronald Reagan.
I knew nothing of how to reach him, so I decided the best way was to just simply write him a letter. I explained to Mr. Reagan who we were, assuring him we were not looking for anything except a brief meeting. I addressed the envelope:
President Ronald Reagan
Washington or Los Angeles
It was in the mail and almost forgotten, until…
In January of 1990 we received a letter from Joanne Hildebrand, the President’s scheduling director. She thanked us for extending this invitation to the President, but, and I paraphrase: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
I was so excited! Not only had I received a reply, I had a contact person and an address! So I wrote Ms. Hildebrand a response, sending with the letter a picture of our family. I told her, in short, “You name the time and the place, and we will be there.”
Three weeks later the phone rang. It was President Reagan’s office located in Los Angeles. “The President,” the gentleman calling said, “will be in San Francisco on March 30, and you’re on.”
I was stunned! We were actually going to meet the former President! Sleep was long in coming that night. I called my parents and told them the news, and my mother, being a professional artist, knew exactly what to do. She went to work and drew a beautiful double portrait of the Reagans for us to present to him. It is in the Reagan library today.
Our family will never forget that day. We kept our three children out of school. We did our best to look our best. We drove an hour early to Butler Aviation at the San Francisco airport where his chartered plane was waiting (and he was an hour late).
Just moments before his arrival we were escorted to the plane, and told we would have just enough time for one photo and then present him the portrait. Suddenly an SFPD car pulled up followed by two Secret Service cars with the distinctive lights flashing through the grill.
They stopped near the airplane and immediately every door flew open. Out came what seemed like a dozen Secret Service agents surrounding the aircraft and us. One of the agents stepped smartly to the middle vehicle, opened the back door, and out stepped the man who for eight years had been the leader of the free world….and he was heading our way.
As he approached, my wife and I looked at each other, and I could feel the blood going to my feet. It was really happening. He shook my wife’s hand, then mine, and we introduced our three children. And then, for what seemed to be forever but was really only about 10-15 minutes, we were, to me, the only show in town.
Instead of one picture we got nineteen. He signed a book of his speeches I had purchased. We presented him with the portrait, for which he was very thankful. And yes, he gave us in return a jar of Jelly Bellies with the Presidential seal. After some time Mr. Reagan grabbed my son and said, “Let’s get a family shot.” The next to the last picture shows my wife and me staring at the president. He was so gracious. Soon, we shook hands again and he was gone. What a time we had!
Friend, you’ve read this far; please read on. You see, meeting the former President that day was a great experience and, again, one I will never forget. But there is another meeting coming. While meeting President Reagan was a thrill, there is no greater or more important meeting than when humanity stands before, not a President or an earthly monarch, but the King of kings and Lord of lords. Preparing for that meeting ought to be the highest priority of us all.
Your eternal destiny, heaven or hell, lies in the balance with what you do with the Son of God. The Bible tells us there are only two ways we will see the Lord Jesus Christ: either as our Savior, or as our Judge. What makes the difference is the decision you make here on earth.
John 3:16 has been called the gospel in miniature, and for good reason. When Christ spoke it, He had you in mind:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Did you hear that? God loves you, and that is why He sent His son:
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
You have sinned. We are all sinners. We don’t need the Bible to tell us that, but it does:
Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The fact is, you were born in sin:
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
With sin comes a serious consequence:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;…[But with Christ comes a wonderful promise]…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Believing in Jesus Christ is not just mental assent. Believing means placing your trust in someone who has promised they can do something for which you have great need and which you have asked them to do. You and I have need of a Savior, Someone Who can deliver us from sin and its consequences. Christ comes proclaiming Himself as that Savior of mankind:
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
We cannot save ourselves nor work our way to heaven:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
You can, indeed, trust Him to do exactly what He said He would do:
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Jesus died on the Cross for you, and rose again the third day in victory over death and the grave. He was seen by hundreds who were soon testifying of His gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit.
To meet the man who for eight years was leader of the free world was unforgettable, but your eternal destiny hangs in the balance determined by how you meet Christ. You can come to Christ right now, believing He is Who He says He is and trusting in what He says He can do for you: save you from your sins and make you a child of God. He will keep His Word.
The Apostle John said:
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Trust Him today. Call on Him. He is ready to hear your prayer. We are here to help you know Him. The world is moving headlong into the last days. What you do with Christ is more important than you can imagine. Heaven or hell. Your choice.
Please trust Him today. We are praying for you. Please contact us if you need any help.