Training for the Race
Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable garland, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified. - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Over the last week, I have been amazed by the performances coming out of the Olympic Games in Rio. As with so many of us, I find myself watching sports that I have not watched since the last Olympics or even ever at all. Even when I know little about the sport or normally do not take much interest in it, there is something about watching the greatness of a world-class athlete doing what they do so well. In the case of a dominant athlete who leaves the competition far behind and the result is almost a foregone conclusion, there is still much to admire in the sheer greatness of the individual performance against the clock or simply themselves.
While the Olympics last just a few days and will become a distant memory for the next four years, we know that for these athletes it is an everyday thought as they train for the race. It takes years and years of training day in and day out for an athlete to compete for the opportunity of competing at the Olympics. What motivates them? To hear their own interviews, the thought of a medal, the push to improve bit by bit, and the desire to meet the next goal along the journey keep them going.
Do we take the race of faith seriously? Do we have goals for how we want to grow in faith? Do we want to become more Christ-like in our lives? Do we keep our focus on the prize of faith? Do we train ourselves so that we can win the race of faith?
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Lazy Days of Summer
Sunday's Sermon Snippet: Jubilee
The Sabbath is about resting in God and renewing life, but there is more to it than that. In the law, God told the people not only to observe the weekly sabbath for themselves but also to let the earth rest every seventh year. No crops were to be planted or tended, and the people could only eat what the earth provided of itself. Furthermore, every seventh of these Sabbath years marked he beginning of something incredible - the fiftieth year was to be the year of Jubilee, the Sabbath of Sabbaths. The Jubilee began with the blowing of the ram's horn and marked the beginning of a fresh start for everyone. In the Jubilee, all people were to return to their home property; even if it had been sold to another person, it was to be returned to its original family of owners. In this way, the Jubilee provided a fresh start for the whole nation of people. If someone had fallen into poverty and was forced to sell their property to survive, it would have been hard for them to work their way back to prosperity without their land as an asset. With the Jubilee, they once again had land with which to hopefully prosper. Through these Sabbath years and the year of Jubilee alongside the weekly Sabbath, God established rest, renewal, and restart as a pattern of our lives. For us, each new Sabbath is a mini-Jubilee and brings us a fresh start. What has happened in the last week - with its failures, sins, disappointments, and stresses - is past, and we look forward to a new week of possibilities. It is up to us what we will make of our fresh start. Will we try to grow in faith? Will we try to avoid the mistakes we made last week? Will we try to take the next step forward in our lives? This week, I challenge you to consider what goals you have for your life of faith and to use this fresh start God has given you to take the next faithful step!
It Takes a Village...
Over the next few weeks in worship, we will celebrate our community and how we can make a difference in the world by working together. This Sunday, we kick off with a celebration of our ministry to the children of our community and the work of our teachers. We will have a special blessing and gift for all of our teachers!
Looking ahead, we will hear a powerful testimony on August 28th, head out in mission to our community on God's Labor Day on September 3rd, and honor our first responders on September 11th!
Join us each Sunday as explore how "It Takes a Village..." to complete God's work in the world!
Living in Community
Please pray for all of our teachers as they prepare for the beginning
of the new school year in Rockingham Country next week.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, August 17
Office Hours cancelled this week
Thursday, August 18
10 am - Sunshine Seniors
Saturday, August 20
7-11 pm - Youth Flashlight Tag in the Park
Sunday, August 21
9:30 am - Worship: "It Takes a Village... to Raise a Child"
Blessing of Teachers and Staff
11:00 am - Sunday School
4-6 pm - Back-to-School Bash for Elementary Students
Blessing of First Responders in worship on September 11
If you know a police officer, fire fighter, EMT, or other first responder,
invite them to join us so that we can say thank you for their service to our community!
Wednesday at the Port kicks off on September 14!
Charge Conference, October 23
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!