The Ticket is Still Good


There is only one mass transit rail line in Houston. It runs just a block from the front door of the church where I work. The line goes from the heart of the business district, downtown to the medical center. Along the way are many stops, some not so interesting unless you have business there; however, others have a broader appeal. There is always the green and manicured Herman Park with its Zoo, walking paths, pools and outdoor theater. There are also stops for the museum district with some world-class collections. Occasionally, I meet with someone downtown for a lunch meeting, but I usually go to the hospital to visit a member. The ticket I purchase is good for either direction. I have to know on which pavilion to stand so that the train is going the correct way to get me to my destination. The course does not waver. The train follows the track always, but I am the one who has to let the train take me to my destination by getting on board, not getting “sidetracked” at a museum. The train will take me there.

Some have started the First Place journey, but for a variety of reasons have gotten off track. Some say they can’t stay with it. Others say it just doesn’t work for them, but the truth is that the program is like a train on a track that will lead to the desired destination – one of wholeness and health in all areas of life. The commitments will bring accountability that when they are kept, will bring improvement.  It is easy to get back to doing the familiar things and this will produce the familiar pains. It takes turning back to the plan God has designed to produce godly living. This is not just for our own good, but for all who are placed in our sphere of influence – family, friends, non-believers, co-workers and others. This is not about how we look, but how we are.

This is an ancient struggle to keep on the right track. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me… (Jeremiah 15:19)

Repent means to recognize we are going the wrong way and to get back on the right track.

Back On Board

  • Remember why you got started. What was the goal? Why was that important at the time and is it still?
  • Where did you get off? That is a good place to get back. Was it gaining instead of losing weight? Missed too many meetings or did not stay with the Bible study? Get back in a group and keep an eye on those tempting stops that may get you off track.
  • Build on past success. See how far you got the last trip and use that as a marker of progress. Did you do well when you started the day with prayer, or was it encouraging phone calls to others that helped you stay focused?
  • Don’t let a little detour keep you from your destination. The train is still on track.

If you feel sidetracked, get back on board.
The First Place train will get you there.
No matter what stop you took when you got off,
the ticket is still good.

Dr. Bill Heston

Bill Heston is Sr. Associate Pastor – Equipping & Sending at First Presbyterian Church of Houston