Olympic Spiritual Champions

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

We approach seek the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds as we hear God’s Holy Word. Join me in a spirit of prayer.

God of all Generations, remind us that we carry on our lips the words of prophets, in our veins the blood of martyrs, in our eyes the mystics’ visions, and in our hands the strength of thousands. Surround us with the great a cloud of witnesses and strengthen us to run the race that lies before us through your written Word. Help us to keep the faith and the teaching that you have entrusted to us and pass it on faithfully to those in the next generation who can teach others also. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

 

SCRIPTURE READING                 Hebrews 12:1-11 (NKJV)​                           The Race of Faith

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

We pray that the Lord will bless us with these Holy Words.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN# “”

THE MESSAGE                    “Olympic Spiritual Champions”

As I shared in my PresPulse article, I love the Olympics. Since, I was a youngster. I’m not sure that I have ever had delusions that I could somehow achieve an Olympic gold medal, but I enjoy the success stories of athletes. Some achieved their Olympic goals even if they didn’t reach the gold medal stand.

I attended events in Montreal during the summer of 1976 and watched over the next four years as Lake Placid prepared for the winter in 1980. A good friend from high school played in the orchestra for the opening and closing ceremonies. I’ve met Olympic athletes. Bill Farley, a neighbor whom I babysat, showed promise at the Junior Level in kayaking, but did not make the Olympics.  A classmate of my sister’s was a driver in the four man bobsled until replaced at the last minute replacement. In riding down the bobsled, even at half way down the track, I found it pretty scary.

As we prepare to watch events from Rio over the next few weeks, I want to explore Spiritual Olympics. We entered into the Christian faith, not with visions of grandeur, but it’s a massive undertaking to follow the Lord Jesus Christ on a life long journey. I will tip my hat to Rev. David Main of Mainstay Ministries for the basic idea of this series over the next month.

The author of Hebrews calls us to prepare for the long race of faith. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Spiritual Olympians have gone before us, they’ve paved the way leading us on a journey of how to be successful in living for Jesus. It takes dedication, persistence, and discipline to follow the path of Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus also goes with us along the journey.  Along the way, we will experience obstacles and hurdles that we must overcome to reach our destination. Sin attempts to derail our vision so that we never achieve our goals.

So as we begin this series, I’d like to remind us of our vision and goals. Olympic athletes set goals of being first in their sport. A gold medal means they are the best in the world.

So God calls us to be FIRST at First Presbyterian:

 

God calls us…  

¨ We begin with God’s initiative.

¨ We respond because Christ calls

     us to come and follow as disciples.

¨ We identify ourselves as friendly, involved, resiliently serving and traditional.

¨ Friendly 

                We seek to be faithful to God and in fellowship with Christ.

¨ Involved

                The Lord inspires us to be involved servants interested in others.

¨ Resiliently

                  The congregation remains relevant after 160 years of ministry.

¨ Serving

The church serves God and neighbor through mission and ministry.

¨ Traditional

                 Scripture teaches Traditional Reformed Theology.

 

First Presbyterian Church will make a concerted effort to reengage the congregation and the community in mission and ministry.

~ Transform, Reenergize, and Move forward towards the goal of serving Christ with every fiber of our being. ~

Olympic athletes prepare for years for the moment in the spot light. They make being an Olympic athlete their primary purpose in life. They dedicate every ounce of energy and resource into their passion to achieve their goal.

SO! As we think about being arm chair Olympic observers, I ask you to think about how you will prepare to serve Christ in a concerted effort to engage our community for Jesus Christ. 

As we honor God with our worship we gather weekly to connect with God and our fellow Olympians sharing the journey of faith.

We engage in Education to strengthen us toward a more mature faith as Christian Disciples. 

As a faith community united in Christ we will strengthen the bonds of friendship with our faith community and welcome new

We share with others the transforming power and love of Jesus.

Following Jesus’ “Great Commission” we will reach out to our neighbors and spread the Good News through Evangelism.

As stewards of God’s resources, we will assist the congregation in fulfilling its Mission Statement.

We are called to be Olympic style Disciples who encourages us to be champions for Christ. We will achieve more than we ever thought possible if we train together with the sole purpose of living our faith as our first priority.  TGBTG. Amen.

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