When he walked in the doors, he knew he had his work cut out for him, literally and figuratively. The place was a mess and so was the recent performance of the team. He had seen it all before. In fact, he was brought in because of his expertise at turning programs around.

He got to work…cleaning, fixing, connecting, guiding, correcting, showing…all the things required to get things going in the right direction.

Ultimately, however, it wasn’t up to him. The players themselves had to decide to turn around and go a different way. They had to lay down their laziness, complacency, excuses, and cynicism. In many cases, they didn’t even know they needed to change. That’s where the word, example, and challenge of the coach came into play.

When it was time for Jesus to begin his public ministry, Matthew recorded his singular message: it’s time to turn around…the Kingdom of God has arrived.

Matthew 4:19 — “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

His message wasn’t about being a better person. It wasn’t about trying harder. It wasn’t about getting rid of a few negative habits. Instead, it was about letting people know what was required for entry into his kingdom: repentance.

Life with Jesus isn’t dependent upon how good we are, since we can’t be good enough. It isn’t about trying harder, since he’s already done all the work on the Cross. It has nothing to do with getting rid of bad habits, since we would still be sinful at our cores.

It’s dependent upon receiving his free offer of grace through repentance–turning from unbelief to belief in him as the risen Son of God.

We are each in need of a turnaround. Jesus specializes in just that. Repent, believe, and be made new.

Lord Jesus, I’m turning to you to turn me around. You and you alone. You plus nothing else. Amen.