Paul Baloche and the band sing “Today Is the Day.”
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
— 1 Corinthians 4:8-10
It seems this summer has just been one of those – especially on the running front. Everywhere I turn I run into obstacles to my training. This has been an extremely busy summer. Challenges have abounded. Yesterday while I was out on my run, I developed a bad cramp in my lower left calf. I think it happened because I was favoring my right ankle. This meant I had to abandon my plans for a 7 mile run and run just over three. I did walk an additional 2 miles. As I thought about this post, it could be discouraging. Especially as I think about how blessed I have been – running relatively injury free for these almost four years.
I’ll have to admit, I was/am getting concerned that training for the marathon isn’t going the way I had planned. I was hoping to be getting in 13 miles on a regular basis by now, but the heat and the busyness of the summer have been a bit of a distraction.
Just today, however I found a marathon training plan in Runner’s World Magazine and it looks like I am not as far off in my training as I thought. If I can complete a week of 7 mile runs, I should be right on track to start the longer runs – by then the weather may have cooled a little and the longer runs will be more bearable.
In other running news, this coming Saturday is the Sweet Dreams 5K. This will mark my 4th running of this race put on by the Augusta County Parks and Recreation Department. It is usually one of the hottest days of the year. The early forecast actually calls for a cooler start than the last couple of years, so I hope that happens. Last year’s time was a swift 25:32 (my second fastest 5K time). Like last year, I’d like to finish somewhere between 24 minutes and 27 minutes. I’m pretty sure I can pull off a 9 minute mile pace and a 24 minute 5K would be under an 8 minute mile – that would require an incredible run. I’d like to be faster than last year, which means I need to pull of an 8:14 mile.
So even though I’ve been knocked down a bit this summer I am still Pressing On!
July 21, 2013
9th Sunday after Pentecost
Sing to the King
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship and Invocation
Songs of Worship
Joy to the World
My Soul Magnifies The Lord
Worship Through Prayer
Worship through Giving
The Love of God
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Commitment
Take My Life and Let It Be
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Yesterday as I was driving around, I was listening to a Christian radio station. As I listened they started to talk about a survey that was taken at secular colleges. The question that was asked was “why are you not a Christian?”
The number one answer would surprise many Christians. We might think it would be various answers, but I find it interesting is that most who are not Christians are not Christians because Christians don’t live lives that “look” Christian. To them, the lives of many Christians look just like the world around them – there is no difference between the Christians and those who do not claim Christianity.
It’s also interesting that these same people believe that Christians should be working to change the world around them – instead of just sitting in church complaining about the world around them. I don’t think this survey would surprise many pastors. Pastors that I know feel like they are banging their heads against the wall trying to get his message across.
Romans 12:1-2 reads: 12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
If one says they are a Christian, that person should look and act differently. Some would call this radical. Interestingly enough, those who believe that a Christian should look and at differently are also called legalistic. Unfortunately the Bible and Jesus calls us to live a life of radical faith. So is a person who is not living the Christian life biblically really a believer? I know only God knows who are the real Christians and the ones who are pretending to be one. The Bible tells us that in the day the Lord returns that there will be many who will cry out Lord, Lord and Jesus will say I do not know you. Are you living a life that is different from the world? Are you making a difference in the world you live in?
Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?
2 All day long you plot destruction.
Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
you’re an expert at telling lies.
3 You love evil more than good
and lies more than truth. Interlude
4 You love to destroy others with your words,
5 But God will strike you down once and for all.
He will pull you from your home
and uproot you from the land of the living. Interlude
6 The righteous will see it and be amazed.
They will laugh and say,
7 “Look what happens to mighty warriors
who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
8 But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
9 I will praise you forever, O God,
for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
in the presence of your faithful people.
Samuel Clarkson wrote a book called The Church at Home: A Plea for Family Religion (available for free @ Google Books) circa 1860. I wrote a post called Do As I Say, Not As I Do a couple of days ago with a quote from the author of this book.
Clarkson has some great things to say about what he called “family religion” or what we would refer to as the spiritual formation of our families today.
Clarkson lays out a plea for wise interaction with the Sunday morning sermon at church:
“It is the duty of Christian parents to take their children at an early age to the house of God, and to train them to take part intelligenty, earnestly, and sincerely in the worship; and if they wish them to profit by what they hear, they will do all they can to deepen the impressions made in the sanctuary.
They may do much in this direction by referring to what they have heard – by questions as to the subject of the preacher’s discourse – by explanations on some points which at the time might not be understood – and, more than all, by affectionate appeals to them at once to obey the truth.
Instead of acting thus, too many parents are in the habit either of criticising or censuring the preacher on their return home, in the presence of their children, or of wasting the time by talk on subjects as far away as conceivable from gospel doctrine and duty.
Every wise and holy parent, who sincerely desires the spiritual well-being of his children, will train them to receive the words of their minister as a message from God, to be attentively heard, candidly examined, seriously pondered, and honestly obeyed.
Instead of sitting in judgment in their presence on sermons and preachers, he will try to produce in them a conviction of their responsibility for the priceless privileges they enjoy; will not fail to remind them that they must give an account to Him for every sermon, precept, and appeal; and will urge them, by all motives of duty and delight, to yield themselves to their Maker and Redeemer.
So what about you… How do you engage with the Sunday morning sermon with your family afterwards? Earlier in the book, the author said that parents need to “second” at home what they learned at church so as to ingrain and instill the message of God into the very fabric of their lives.