Louisville, Kentucky contains one of the great monuments to the history of baseball. It is the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. One exhibit that has been posted there is called Safe at Home. It is an exhibit that showcases 32 historic baseball contracts signed by the game's greatest, including Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson. These contracts are between the players and the Louisville Slugger Company. Louisville Slugger, which is a 120-year-old company, was the first baseball bat company to have professional baseball players endorse their product – beginning with Honus Wagner in 1905. From there, players would sign contracts, have their names put on bats, and endorse the bats to others for Louisville Slugger.
Bill Williams, the museum’s director, says this about the contracts. “The contracts, were missing from Hillerich & Bradsby Co. for 15 years, and were discovered in 1999 with a noted East Coast baseball collector and historian. The documents are now safe at home in Louisville. Each of these documents is a piece of baseball history. Every page tells a story. And the stories behind each contract are as individual as the signatures themselves. "It's the real-life tale of an Oklahoma teen who was too young to sign his own contract, so his father, E.C. Mantle, signed on his behalf," explained Williams. "And, it's the story of a 27-year-old Negro League veteran, making an unprecedented leap to the all-white Major Leagues. Who would have thought that these players were making history when they signed these documents?"
The value of this exhibit was not so much the contracts themselves, but the famous, original signatures on the contracts. The original signatures of baseball’s best turned the contracts from legal docs into collectors’ items. The right signature can completely change an item, organization, or institution. It is true for the church of Jesus Christ. In the same way that a signature transformed those simple legal contracts into valuable collector’s items, the Holy Spirit’s signature on the church makes it unique to all other institutions in the world. When a local church is filled with the Holy Spirit, there is a clear signature of His power and presence.
In Acts 2, after God sent back His Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter and the other eleven disciples stood.
Peter preached, and at the end of his sermon over 3,000 people were saved. Once these were saved the church began. What did the church do and how did it look with all of these new converts and the signature of the Holy Spirit?
Consider Acts 2:42 & 46,
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Each piece of the first church that was part of glorifying God and discipling believers was done regularly. What may be the key that unlocked the rest of the spirit-filled components of that early church was the regularity with which each act was accomplished as Acts 2:42a recounts “And they continued steadfastly..” .
The effectiveness of the early church – and of any church today – is not what happens one day, one week, or one month but what takes place over a long, consistent period of time.
This is also true of each born-again believer. If you are depending on one Bible study, one week of church involvement, or one great, spiritual experience to grow you or keep you in intimacy with Christ, you will be sorely disappointed. Consistency, in a daily walk with Christ and in fellowship in a local body is the key