The Beacon Church, Whitchurch

This is YOUR time!

This is YOUR time!

With a top speed of over 27 mph, Usain Bolt is widely considered to be the best sprinter of all time and is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016), a feat referred to as the “triple double.” 

Interestingly Bolt is Catholic and known for making the sign of the cross before racing competitively, and he wears a “Miraculous Medal” during his races…. a medal believed  to  prepare people to receive grace and dispose them to cooperate with it.

Of all his “inspirational quotes” the above is the one I am most struck by.  In effect “I don’t care what or who has gone before me…..This is my moment!”

Are you living like this?  Am I ?

Three things to keep us “on track” 

1.) Keep an eternal perspective:

2 Cor 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Col 3:1-3 Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.…

John Piper in his book “Don’t waste your life” distills this sentiment in one powerful story:   “I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.”

At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells.

Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.”

 

“Look Lord! See my shells!”

Please, please, please.   Don’t be sucked into the superficial, utterly fatuous, inane, dissipated ways of this present age.   Paul has a strong word for it  in Phil 3:8 skýbalon (variously translated “filth” “dung”, “muck”, or as here in the NIV translation…”garbage”  I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ”

In his classic book Celebration of DisciplineRichard Foster opens with the observation: “Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant gratification is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people, but for deep people”

DO me a favour…stop watching “Love island”…..

2.) Be filled with the Spirit

Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Does this mean we have to wear a white suit, look like models, have our hair perfectly in place and preach brilliant sermons?  No.  God’s spirit indwelling us means that in our weakness, God’s power is made perfect.

So stop making excuses,  stop disqualifying yourself,  get filled with the Holy Spirit and stop wasting your time!    As Mike Pilavachi  points out… Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused Moses had a stutter, Gideon was afraid, Samson was a womanizer, Rahab a prostitute, Jeremiah was too young, David was an adulterer and a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Job went bankrupt, Peter denied Jesus. The disciples fell asleep when praying, the Samaritan woman was divorced, Zacchaeus was too small, Paul murdered Christians, Timothy had an ulcer and Lazarus was dead! 

God wants to use ordinary broken, sinful, weak , foolish people like you and I,  and He does it by giving us His Holy Spirit …I love this definition of “anointing” :  “God on flesh doing what flesh cannot do”

3.) Train

1 Cor 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  They do it to everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly”

And here we come back to Usain.   How does a Christian “train”?

  • Read. By being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) … get into the bible, read the right books, (or get them read to you by audible books!)
  • Go to meetings…some things are “taught” but other things are “caught”. You have to be there…..preferably sitting in the front row and responding to the altar call. 
  • Pray . If you don’t know how to – turn up at prayer meetings and LEARN.
  • Live it! Witness to your friends.  Push yourself – as the motivational picture says… the magic happens outside our comfort zone!
  • Deny yourself. Yes that means films, books, internet sites, clubs, even people that you know are going to pull you in the wrong direction. As the bible says 1 Cor 15:33 Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.   Prov 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Conclusion

One final thought……  Last weekend the news headline was “Justin Gatlin gatecrashes Usain Bolt’s London 2017 farewell party in 100m”

A poignant moment for the man who said “This is my time”.  It seems his time – at least as a champion sprinter… has finished.  His time as a believer has not.

I hope Bolt will follow the example of Studd.  C.T.Studd was an all England cricketer who after his retirement from international sport,  became one of the greatest missionaries of his era. In total he spent some fifteen years in China and six in India on his missionary work and then he devoted the rest of his life to spreading the Gospel message in Africa, founding the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (now WEC International)

As he came to the end of his life he wrote these words:

I am getting desperately afraid of going to heaven for I have had the vision of the shame I shall suffer as I get my first glimpse of the Lord Jesus; His majesty, power and marvellous love for me, who treated Him so meanly and shabbily on earth, and acted as though I did Him a favour in serving Him! No wonder God shall have to wipe away the tears off all faces, for we shall be broken-hearted when we see the depth of His love and the shallowness of ours.

Jamie Muir 10.08.2017

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