Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feb. 15 Sermon: Run, Christian Run

I'm sorry for those of you who like to listen to the sermon--I've had Ipod trouble lately. Once again, the sermon notes are all I can provide.

Texts: Isaiah 40: 28-31

Paul appealing to a culture steeped in athleticism.  Athenian and Isthmuthian games (which were played within 10 miles of Corinth, less than a year prior to when this letter was written.) 


Paul was writing to an audience who had sports on the brain.  I’m not just interested in looking at what this passage says, but also how it is said.  Paul appeals to the culture.  He knows what they find compelling, and he uses that language to describe the good news. 


Coming soon will be the NFL draft.  This could be an equivalent metaphor.  Darren McFadden blew them away at last year’s combine (where scouts from NFL teams examine a player)  4.3 40 yard dash.  What was he competing for?  Millions of dollars. 


Maybe not what we would compare to a crown of glory, but definitely is perishable.  Especially when you consider he ended up picked by the Raiders, which is owned and dominated by a crazy man.  As he found out this year, plagued by injuries and on a team that fired its coach midseason, that glory if fleeting. 


Running the race as though you will win.  Not because there is only one prize to be had.  Paul distinguishes between an athletic race and the spiritual quest in that way.  But, he admires the athlete’s model of self-control. 


Reading “Outliers” The story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell.  He says in the book that in study after study, those who show virtuoso talent in one area have one thing in common: they have all practiced around 10,000 hours to get to that point. 


We must train hard because we have been given the chance to live the life of discipleship.  There are those in the world who desperately want to express their faith but are kept from doing so by repressive governments or cultures of exclusion. 


Scene from Rudy—he struggles to make ends meet in order to get into Notre Dame.  Tries for 2 years in jr. college across the street improving his grades.  Finally makes the practice squad, which the coaches describe as, those people " who will never have a chance to dress for a game and who we don't care get hurt. "


Would we approach our faith life with less determination and focus?  If we have only one opportunity to “play the game,” are we just going to go out there and kick the grass? 

 This is what underlies Paul’s advice to the Corinthians. 

One big thing that just happened in sporting world is signing day.  Futures of football programs are speculated and prognosticated based on what high school seniors will receive the 25 or so scholarships to play football at different schools. 


Number of stars, better the prospect.  Here’s some good news for us—God wants all of us on the team. God give us all a scholarship called grace.   Now we should earn the scholarship we’ve been given. 


You know how a team plays better on its own court?  The players know that the crowd is just waiting to cheer them on, so they want to give them something to cheer about.  Our faith community should be like that. 


Cheer each other on in this faith journey.  Express yourself to others—let someone know that they’ve inspired you or encouraged you.  

No comments:

Post a Comment