Illinois Baptist 11 14 2016 E Edition Page 2

irst let me say I how much I appreciate my many friends who are St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox fans, even those who seemed to suddenly become Cleveland Indians fans just prior to the 2016 World Series. I try not to be an annoying or gloating Cubs fan, though some might say that simply writing about the Cubs here makes me so. But its not really the now-world-champion Cubs team or organization that I want to draw on for inspiration with these thoughts. Rather, its the persevering, always hopeful, and now victorious Cubs fans. Though I grew up a Cardinals fan like many in southern Illinois, five things have always drawn me to Cubs fans, and made me one of them. Worldwide The WGN cable network is probably most responsible for giving the Cubs a more than regional fan base. When wearing a Cubs logo, I have found other fans all around the country, and even around the world. Wrigley - You just cant deny the old world charm of the historic yet modernized stadium that the Cubs call their friendly confines. For true baseball fans, its one of the most inviting places in the world. Waiters As almost everyone now knows, Cubs fans had not seen a World Series cham- pionship since 1908. As the Series approached, numerous writers listed things that are more current than a Cubs champi- onship, including the toaster and sliced bread itself. True, faithful Cubs fans are by definition those who patiently wait. Winsome - While Im sure we all know an abrasive Cubs fan or two, the overwhelming majority of Cubs fans Ive known are friendly, hopeful, optimistic, and deeply loyal. Even though lovable losers is a label thats practically become part of the official Cubs brand, you can't get a rise out of a Cubs fan with that kind of insult. After all, until this year, what defense was there to that label? Cubs fans just smile, and winsomely recite their equally well-known mantra: Wait til next year. Winners And finally, this year, we can add a new capital W that could only have been used in small case a few times over the past 108 years. This year, Cubs fans are winners. Their perseverance finally paid off. Next year has finally come. And in a demonstration of support and celebration that has now been labeled the largest gath- ering in American history, and seventh largest in world history, more than five million fans flooded the streets and parks of Chicago to relabel their lov- able losers beloved winners. Now, how do I rationalize writ- ing about baseball here? Well, almost any time I am moved or inspired by something in secular culture, I find it's because I see in that event a reflection of something larger in Gods Kingdom, or Gods character, or Gods people. In this case, I think I find Cubs fans so inspiring (admittedly, some Cubs players are not) because I see in them a faint reflection of the same qualities I see in faithful Christians, and churches. Throughout much of the world, including our own nation and state, faith- ful Christians are not seen as current winners. But, at least when were at our best, we are seen as winsome people who are patiently waiting for our victorious Lord Jesus to return. We are seeking to take our love and loyalty and gospel message worldwide. And yet we seek to make each local gather- ing place as inviting and friendly as the confines of Wrigley Field. There will be a day when the five million that gathered to celebrate in Chi- cago will be a pale comparison to the tribes, tongues, and nations that will gather at the feet of Jesus, to worship him forever. But for now, a longsuf- fering group known as Cubs fans have reminded me of a more important group of people whose patient, faithful, hopeful perseverance will eventu- ally be rewarded by victory. Go Church Go. Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org. Go Church Go! NATE ADAMS 2 IBSA.org Illinois Baptist Snapshots from the world of Illinois Baptists the cooperative program Giving by IBSA churches as of 11/04/16 $5,009,028 Budget Goal: $5,330,769 Received to date in 2015: $5,094,201 2016 Goal: $6.3 Million For questions about subscriptions, articles, or upcoming events, contact the Illinois Baptist at (217) 391-3119 or IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org . The Illinois Baptist is seeking news from IBSA churches. E-mail us at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org to tell us about special events and new ministry staff. POSTMASTER: The Illinois Baptist is owned and published every three weeks by the Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-4440. Subscriptions are free to Illinois Baptists. Subscribe online at IBSA.org . CONVENTIONAL WISDOM In a post-religious, scientifically-driven culture, these high levels of belief in the miraculous may come as a surprise to many. But being sick personally, or having someone you love face a serious illness, is one of the most vulnerable and devastating experiences of a person's life. It's a moment that drives many-even those who do not believe in God-to their knees in desperation. Roxanne Stone, Barna Group Most people believe in healing A smaller percentage - 27% - of Americans say they have experienced a physical healing that could only be explained as miraculous. Still, a majority of people have prayed for someone to be physically healed by God: Can people be physically healed supernaturally by God? The Illinois Baptist staff Editor - Eric Reed Graphic Designer - Kris Kell Contributing Editor - Lisa Sergent Editorial Contributor - Meredith Flynn - Barna.org, Sept. 2016 6+4 66% Agree, strongly or somewhat Those who wait eventually win. Fewer have seen it happen 34% Disagree, strongly or somewhat 8 +2 68% Yes No 32% F

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