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A New Start for the New Year, part 5
So my friends, as we walk in these early days of this New Year, ask yourself, “What can I do this year that will help me bring glory and honor to the Lord?”
And then, finally, not only should we forget those things that are behind and focus on the things that are before, we should also press in to fulfill those things that are beyond us.
On May 6, 1954 that which was previously thought physically impossible happened. It was at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England. The event? The mile run. The person? Roger Bannister. For years, mile runners had pushed the times downward in their pursuit of the elusive 4-minute mile. So many had come so close. So many believed for it, trained for it, hoped for it and all fell short by a few seconds and some only tenths of a second.
So when six runners lined up at Iffley Track that spring day, it was another time of expectancy. These were some of the best runners in Europe, potential Olympians in the mix. The British medical student who would someday be a renowned neurologist, Roger Bannister had trained like all the others. He came prepared like the others.
As the gun sounded, however, he was not prepared for the pace front-runner, Chris Brasher, set for this group of milers. “It was too slow. I even yelled, ‘faster,’” Bannister noted. But in hindsight Brasher was doing Bannister the greatest of all favors. Bannister noted during part of the race that his mind felt detached from his body. To him there was an element of surrealism to the race.
Then heading into the fourth and final lap, the third place Chris Chataway took the lead with Bannister in second. They went into and around the first turn, at the end of which Bannister made his move.
With little doubt of his intent, he burst around Chataway heading into the backstretch. He had heard the third lap split at 3 minutes and realized he needed to run this final lap at 59 seconds. He BELIEVED he could do it. Rounding the final turn he saw the faint line of the finishing tape. It was a mixture of agony and joy. It might just happen. He threw himself at the tape and nearly collapsed into the arms of race officials.
He knew he had done it. Even before the announcer came on, he knew he had done it. Then to the crowd’s delight, when the announcer said, “And the time was … three….” The roar took over, completely drowning out the results. After the roaring crowd quieted a little the announcer again, said, “And the time was three minutes, 59.4 seconds! Unbelievable! An impossibility became possible, the 4-minute mile had been broken.
Listen again to Paul,'s words in vs 12: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.” Commenting on this passage, one Theologian and Bible Commentator said, “Self-satisfaction is the death of progress. Dissatisfaction with past accomplishments is the mother of invention – pity the person who is content with their own progress and feels they have arrived. This is all the more true in the Christian life.” He went on to say… “Nothing is as deadly as self-satisfaction. The most boring people I have ever met are those who take up my time telling me what they have done – when they ought to be doing something NOW.”
No one would have found fault with Paul had he reached this place in his life and said, “You know I think I’m going to retire: I’ve worked hard, I’ve served the Lord faithfully all these years, I’ve put myself out there. It’s time to do a little something for me.” But he didn’t say that – instead, he said, “I haven’t attained what I want to attain – I have not reached the place I want to be. I am not finished yet.”
Paul would not be satisfied until he took his last breath giving his all to Jesus. Paul did a work that was BEYOND him. Working by day, making tents, and preaching by night. He suffered just about every hardship a person could endure: starvation… rejection… and controversy. He was stoned… beaten… and left for dead a couple of times. The demands on his life and ministry were many and the earthly rewards, very honestly, were few. The average person would have folded under the weight of the obligation. But Paul was empowered by God to do a work that was beyond him: establishing churches all over the Middle East and portions of Europe and Asia. Paul was… Sold out – he was ALL IN, utterly committed.
Listen friends, the Christian life in all truthfulness, it is beyond us. Serving the Lord with perseverance and power, is beyond us. As we look at the call of God upon our church: to help people change their Proximity to God, to reach souls for Christ, to help family and friends find the life and love of Christ, to see lives changed lives and eternal destinies discovered. THAT work… well… it is beyond us. But God is able to do great things through those who are not satisfied. He is able to achieve great things through ordinary people… people who are completely surrendered to His Will.
Looking back, we are certainly thankful for all the Lord has done. But listen… I refuse to focus on that – I believe with all my heart God is going to take us places we have not yet been. He is well able… to do exceedingly… abundantly… above all that we could ask or imagine… Will you embrace the challenge of a work that is beyond us… with me… in 2018? Will you give more of yourself this year… than you ever have in the past? Please understand this is not a plea for 20% tithe… The Lord can do mighty things… through a people unwilling to settle for less.
Do YOU need a fresh start as we enter into 2018? IF so… here are 3 things you need to do: Forget the things that are behind you… Focus on the things that are before you…and then… Fulfill the things that are beyond you. END
Medication: A Merry Heart: HUMOROUS SIGNS
~ Billboard on the side of the road: Keep your eyes on the road and stop reading these signs.
~ Car Lot: The best way to get on your feet.... Miss a car payment.
~ Church sign: To remove worry wrinkles, get your faith lifted.
~ Door of a plastic surgeon’s office: Hello. May we pick your nose?
~ English sign in German cafe: Mothers, Please Wash Your Hands Before Eating.
~ Entrance of the large machinery plant: Warning to young ladies: If you wear loose clothes, beware of the machinery. If you wear tight clothes, beware of the machinist.
~ Gym: Merry Fitness and a Happy New Rear!
~ In a beauty shop: Dye now!
~ In a cafeteria: Shoes are required to eat in the cafeteria. Socks can eat any place they want.
~ In a dentist office: Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.
~ In a department store: Bargain Basement Upstairs.
~ In a dry cleaner's emporium: Drop your pants here.
~ In a dry cleaner's window: Anyone leaving their garments here for more than 30 days will be disposed of.
~ In a farmer's field: The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but be aware that the bull charges.
~ In a health food shop window: Closed due to illness.
~ In a Los Angeles clothing store: Wonderful bargains for men with 16 and 17 necks.
~ In a Los Angeles dance hall: Good clean dancing every night but Sunday.
~ In a Maine restaurant: Open seven days a week and weekends.
~ In a New York medical building: Mental Health Prevention Center
~ In a New York restaurant: Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.
~ Maternity clothes shop: We are open on Labor Day.
~ On a butcher's window: Let me meat your needs.
God Bless, Have a Great Weekend,
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
Today’s readings: Job 6 – 9
Saturday: Job 10 – 13
Sunday: Job 14 – 16