Training for a Marathon; Competing in a Sprint

by DanWolgemuth on October 31, 2014

It was 1924 and Scottish athlete Eric Liddell was perfectly prepared for the race of his lifetime. The 100 meters was Eric’s specialty and the Olympics in Paris would serve as a perfect platform to showcase his talent.

That was until Eric discovered that the preliminary heats for the 100 meter race would be held on a Sunday. This grated against his Christian conscience so severally that he opted not to compete. Instead, Eric was entered into the 400 meter race. This middle-distance race was a length that favored others ahead of Liddell. In fact, his best times in the event were mediocre on the global scale.

While in the starting blocks of the 400 meter race at the Paris Olympics, a member of the American support delegation slipped Eric a piece of paper that contained a portion of a verse from 1 Samuel 2:30. It read: “for those who honor me I will honor.”

The sound of the starting gun harmonized with the message from the scriptures and Liddell not only won gold, he also did it in world record time.

Eric Liddell excelled on an international scale at a distance that wasn’t his expected specialty.

The vivid lesson of this athletic accomplishment didn’t fully come into focus for me until a few days ago.  On Tuesday morning I received a note from my brother, Robert,  that his wife, Bobbie, had pulled her last molecule of oxygen out of our atmosphere. Bobbie was now in the presence of a God who loved her and commended her.

Bobbie was only 64 years old, and a very young 64 at that. Her two and a half year battle with cancer had only intensified the impact of her life on the many people she encountered.

I have no doubt that five years ago, Bobbie and my brother, Robert, were training for a very different race; a longer race. Yet, in 2012 when news of stage four ovarian cancer smashed into their reality, Bobbie began training for a different race; a shorter distance, but a significant and meaningful race.

With dreams of an extended marathon obliterated, Bobbie, with Robert at her side, trained in earnest for the race set before them. Many of us prayed for an extra lap or two or three… but God knew, and so did Bobbie, that this was her race; her distance.

Bobbie faithfully poured herself into every stride until she hit the finish line. Every stride.

Indeed, a race shorter than many of us wanted, and perhaps a race that Bobbie hadn’t considered to be her event… that is until her Father made it clear, this was His plan, His design for her, for Robert, for their girls, for their sons-in-law and their grandchildren. It was also a powerful lesson for thousands of others; and for me.

We are called to run the race that He sets before us, even if it’s not the distance we had expected or trained for.

Faithful. Obedient. Passionate. As we run our race on our Father’s course.

“Those who honor me I will honor.”

Gold.

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The City

by DanWolgemuth on October 24, 2014

Jesus never wasted His tears, but He didn’t spare them either.

“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it.” ~ Luke 19:41

In compassion and without regret.

Not naively, but tenderly, emotionally.

Realistically, but hopefully.

Jesus understood that chaos had replaced peace. And His prayer for shalom was real and authentic and compelling.

Jesus didn’t isolate or segregate in His prayer – He included the entire city. From the darkest corners of evil to the sweetest avenues of hope. Jesus prayed for it all.

His tears instruct our soul and inform our journey. The brokenness of our city should break our hearts. This is why God has placed His followers in the city.

Prayers of polarization only divide; and the truth of God’s love and mercy and hope serve to reconcile. First in the church and then overflowing into the culture.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For in its welfare you will find your welfare.” ~ Jeremiah 29:7

Weep for your city. Grieve for the brokenness and evil and pain and poverty and injustice and corruption and arrogance. Repent for it. Beg on behalf of the exiles. Plead on behalf of the renegades.

For peace. For God’s peace. For restoration and revival.

It’s vogue to judge or rant or dismiss and condemn our city. There’s much to invite this kind of response… but from this posture the tears won’t flow.

Jesus invites us to weep. No posturing; no positioning. Tears. Lament.

For Denver. For Ferguson. For Houston. For Detroit. For Washington, DC…

For mercy. For peace.

For the brokenness of creation. From the heart of God.

Without despair. Without reservation. Tears.

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38 Stories of Amazing Grace

October 17, 2014

The last two weeks has afforded me the opportunity to host three separate small-group lunch events in three of our Youth for Christ regions.  At each lunch we had indigenous leaders from under-resourced communities that are now a part of the mission of Youth for Christ. I asked each of these leaders to say their […]

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An October Kind of Feeling

October 3, 2014

This morning on my way to the airport I expressed to Mary that early fall brings a unique feeling for me.  There’s something about October.  When asked what that meant, I stumbled through a lame explanation of mellowness and reflection.  What I failed to express was the uniquely American perspective associated with October; playoff baseball. […]

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By This…

October 2, 2014

The seminar itself was not all that different from other seminars that I’ve attended from the standpoint of content or structure, but there was something wildly different about what was taking place. Every three years the national directors of each of the Youth for Christ programs from around the world get together for a week-long […]

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The Answer to the Question

October 2, 2014

Years ago we invented a birthday party game that includes questions about the birthday celebratee, and written responses by the party attendees.  The goal is to match the answers of the individual celebrating their birthday. A fresh set of questions are required each year… until this year.  Two weeks ago as we celebrated two birthdays, […]

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Crunchy

August 29, 2014

On a recent trip to the mountains, Mary and I popped into a local grocery store to replenish our inventory of peanut butter. PB&J sandwiches are a mountain staple when hiking or biking. As we walked the aisle I noted that it looked like the small market only had crunchy peanut butter. I looked at […]

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His Journal/My Journal

August 22, 2014

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18, 19) Peter.  Good old Peter. Yep, the Disciple of Jesus.  The fisherman […]

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Because Grace is the Point

August 15, 2014

Imagine the mayhem that would exist in corporate boardrooms and executive suites when one of the primary spokespeople for the organization completely discredits and disconnects from the cause they have agreed to support.  Imagine. That’s Michael Jordan, in his prime, saying that he doesn’t know anything about Nike and he doesn’t want anything to do […]

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Fifty-One Verses

August 8, 2014

The room was filled and hearts were hungry.  Wednesday night was when young people would be invited to respond to the message of confession, grace, mercy, hope and transformation. Ray Villegas, our YFC staff member from Harlem, was bringing the message.  Although Ray’s address was 3,000 miles from most of the kids in the room, […]

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