Gatherings 2018-01-14T13:10:10+00:00

Everyone is running a race.

We may not realize it, but look around you. Look at the pace in which people live their lives, look at the emotion and energy that comes out of the things we do.

No doubt about it, we’re running a race. But here’s the problem, no one would begin an actual race without knowing the finish line. No one just starts running because they saw someone else running and figured they would finish when they didn’t feel like it. Yet we do that all the time.

We run races not knowing where they’re headed or why we’re running to begin with.
So when you hear the words, “On Your Mark”, the question is not are you running, it’s are you running the right race?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

Barkley’s Race

Barkley Race

Sins that trip us up will disqualify us from the race we’re running.

1 Corinthians 9:27

Weights that slow us down are things that aren’t necessarily wrong, but will keep us from running the race we’re called to.

Think nutrition, not diet.

Hebrews 11:1-6

Hebrews 11:32-38

Don’t Go Back- It’s Worth It

When asked about the secret to athletic achievement, Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas gave a surprising answer – practice is only part of what leads to Olympic level success. The sprinter shared that becoming an Olympic athlete requires living in a way that promotes athletic success off the track just as much as on. From your sleep schedule to the clothes you wear to the media you consume, Thomas stressed that it all matters when training for a big race.

For an Olympic athlete, training isn’t confined to the gym, but instead is integrated into all areas of life. This all-encompassing integration is the same that is required of us to take seriously the words of Hebrews 12:2. The invitation to fix our eyes on Jesus is not an easy one in our heavily compartmentalized society. For most of us, our life is lived in separate spheres – work and school happen somewhere other than home, where our daily lives are lived, play and relaxation is something we do on the weekends or while on vacation, and spirituality has followed suite, becoming something we do when we go to church on Sundays. We concern ourselves with finding balance between the areas rather than with integrating all areas of our life into our singular purpose.

Before we can begin running the race that has been set before us with endurance and perseverance, we must set our intention. Only then can we charge forward, eyes fixed on Jesus, toward the finish line.

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2

Questions for Reflection:

  • If someone were to observe your life (time, money, energy) what finish line would they say you are running towards?

  • In what ways have you compartmentalized your life?

  • How might you begin to integrate your life – living as a whole person of faith in every area?

  • What simple tools could you use to evaluate the end that you are living for (calendar, checkbook, social media, etc)?

Ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes has exhibited impossible feats of endurance. He has run a marathon on every continent, many in extreme weather, twice. He ran a marathon in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days. Once, he ran for three days straight without stopping to sleep. He has stated that his next goal is to run a marathon in every recognized country in the world in one year’s time. His secret to these extreme stunts? Fixing his focus on the task at hand. He says that rather than looking behind to see how far he has come, he focuses on just taking the next step to the best of his abilities. There are points – when his body fails him, or the weather turns, or he runs out of food – that he would rather give up, turn back, or just stop, but with his mind focused on the end goal he commits to taking the next step.

While none of our races will probably require that we physically run for three days straight without stopping, they will require the same level of endurance and commitment. We will stumble, there will be things that we need to cast off to keep going, but in the end, we are promised that it will be worth it.

Scripture: Hebrews 11; Hebrews 12:1

Questions for Reflection:

  • When have you fallen into the trap of using circumstance analysis to track your faith progress?

  • Identify one of your own personal faith heroes. What is it about that person that is inspiring to you?

  • What are some of the weights that you need to release to run with endurance?

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