My hometown, West Plains, Missouri, is in the center of south central Missouri. My family moved there when I was 10 years old and I graduated from West Plains High School. I was fortunate enough to play basketball for my high school in my sophomore year and I learned quickly that basketball wasn’t going to be in my future much longer. I hustled real good, but the talent to compete at the level of varsity high school basketball wasn’t a part of my skill set. I do remember how it felt to play for a team that had the name of Zizzer as our competition name and I also remember that I needed to know what a Zizzer was if I was going to represent the name of our sports team. This all came into focus quickly one night during warm ups before the JV game. As I finished a lay up and came back up to half court to get back in line for the next drill a player from the other team walked by and said, “That’s stupid. What’s a Zizzer?” To which I replied, “I don’t know.” It embarrassed me. Not the name, but not knowing what it was. I thought, “What is a Zizzer anyway?” As I sat on the bench I turned to one of my teammates and said, “Hey, what is a Zizzer?” To which he replied, “The other team’s worst nightmare.” He was really saying what the effect of a Zizzer team was, but not the meaning of the name. It turns out that in the Dr. Seuss world there is a character called Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz and that only confused the issue because I couldn’t see me representing a goofy looking Dr. Seuss dragon-like creature. Not much motivation there. Everything I ever saw at our high school showed a lightning bolt attached to the Zizzer name, so I thought it might be “we are the lightning bolts.” That brought a little more respect to the name, but I was still searching. Finally, I settled in on the fact that a Zizzer is a powerful force that splits through the sky or the athletic competition and brings the team to victory!! That made me feel better, but it is still a little foggy to this day. When I lived in North Carolina, I was driving through our town and I noticed a car with a Missouri license plate. As we both pulled up to the stoplight and I yelled over to him. “Where are you from in Missouri?” He said, “Waynesville.” I said back to him, “I”m from West Plains, to which he yelled out as the light changed and he sped away, “Go Zizzers!” I guess the name stuck with him. I laughed and thought to myself. “I wonder what people think when a person says “I’m a Christian.”
If someone were to come up to you and say, “What is a Christian?” What would you say?
A person who attends a Southern Baptist Church or insert another denomination in here.
Or what would be your reply? The truth of the matter is a Christian is a person who has realized they are a sinner, repented of their sin, and by faith has asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart and save them. That’s it. They are a regenerated human being that has been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and is a co heir of eternity with Jesus. I live in the south, so everybody thinks they are a Christian, but they aren’t! Only those who have experienced life change in Jesus can be known by the name Christian. Jesus himself said in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Pretty plain language so we should all be able to understand it clearly. Without Jesus you have NO HOPE!!! In the early church, those who were on the Jesus team were called followers of The Way. They preached that Jesus was the only way to heaven and that any who wanted to go there needed to receive Jesus as Savior. When they took a strong stand for the name of Jesus, some were persecuted and some killed. When my senior high school class had our twenty year reunion, one of my classmates asked me what I did for a living and I replied. “I am a minister of the gospel.” He looked at me kind of funny and said “Well, that’s a good thing.” He didn’t quite know how to deal with the information I had given him and his image of me probably changed into “Bible thumping preacher.” And that is good. I know who I am and I am a follower of The Way, just like the disciples of the new testament. I have taken that step of faith to give my life to Jesus and I gladly proclaim Him as king of my life and Savior of the world. I will have to say it made some of my classmates look at me a little different than they had when I was in high school. Some didn’t think me approachable, but found out I was. Some looked guilty when drinking alcohol in my presence, even though they shouldn’t have worried about drinking in front of me. Mainly, the Zizzer who didn’t know what his school mascot meant, did know what his faith meant. No question about it. David Warren is the same guy, but a different person from the inside out and for that I say, “Thank you Jesus.” Now think about this very seriously. If someone comes up to you and asks you what a Christian is, what will you say? Will you say, ME! I hope you can say that and that you gladly have given your life to Christ, because that is the only life that means anything. I remember one of my friends at the reunion say, “Once a Zizzer, always a Zizzer!” I can change that for my life and say, “Once a believer, always a believer.” Thank you Jesus for your life-changing forgiveness and grace. Thank you Jesus for giving me a new look on life. Thank you Jesus for giving me a name in the Lambs book of life. Thank you Jesus!! I know who I am. A follower of Jesus Christ, my hope, my all in all.
The Pilgrimage continues….