Run Your Race… part 4

#4  Run For The Prize

Ok, this is not the best picture of me but I was so proud at that moment! I had just finished my first 5k (and beat my own personal best time from practice).  I ran because I wanted to run, I had a goal and I wanted to accomplish that goal.  Little did I know I would win a medal, but I did.  I won 3rd place for my age bracket (now for all I know there were only three of us running lol but that would still be fine!)  I shared my medal and my story with the teens at Center that day.  How I thought I was not going to make it (it was so hot that day).  How whenever I was passing where my husband I was standing, cheering me on, I would make sure and be jogging with all I could (didn’t want to be caught walking – I saved that for the corners when no one was watching 🙂 )  And finally of the joy I felt when I crossed that finish line (and didn’t pass out!)  My little medal, I am still proud of it, because of what it means I accomplished.

Part of our purpose in running our Christian race needs to be the prize. That’s what all athletes compete for isn’t it.  The trophy, the gold medal, the win!  We need to press on in our lives knowing there is such a spectacular prize waiting for us when we cross that finish line.  So much better than some dinky little medal on a pink ribbon, but a CROWN from our KING!!

2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul was speaking to Timothy saying that he had fought the good fight, he had finished that race.  He was nearing the prize, the crown that was waiting for him.  But thats not all!  The end of verse 8, but also to all who have loved His appearing!  That’s us!  The prize we need to be reaching for is the same one Paul was striving for!  That crown of righteousness!

And it’s not just any crown!   1 Cor. 9:25 “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

We are princesses!  We are daughters of the King!  If we run this race for Him, if we endure to the end and never give up, remain faithful, we will reign with Him!!

2 Timothy 4:11-13 “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.  If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

When we live our lives for Him, when we run that race with faithfulness…

1 Peter 5:4 “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

Love this verse because it says Will!!  There is no doubt about it, we will receive the crown at the end, we will receive the prize for living our lives for Him!!

But why?  Why will God give us a crown??

1 Thess. 2:19-20 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For you are our glory and joy.”

Because you are His joy! You are His crown!!  When you live for Him you are glorifying Him!  You are His precious jewel and He treasures you! He loves you!


I really hope you enjoyed these notes and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future!


Youth Day Notes Part 4

(I just realized I never acually published this post!  Oops, the was the last part of my notes for the morning session)

Youth day notes part 4 from lesson 1 of the Center Youth Day!

#4  Running Is Challenging!  But Worth it!

Sore muscles, tiredness, shin splints, sprained ankles, etc.  If running was easy everyone would do it!  It can be tough, But if you do it, the feeling of accomplishment is great! We keep at it, we don’t give up.

In the words or Dory, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Or in our case today, just keep running!  Keep at it, don’t give up!

(hold out your bibles)    Our key verse today, Heb. 12:1 tells us “set us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us”.   For anyone who has ever run, has ever trained with ankle weights, you can appreciate this statement!  The feeling of taking off those weights after you have been wearing them, trying to push forward with them on is remarkable.  You don’t realize the affect of them, maybe only a pound or two, they don’t feel bad, I can go on, I can do this.  But then you take them off and you feel almost like you can fly.  Like your feet were glued to the ground and now have been released.  You don’t realize until it’s gone the true burden it was on you.  God wants us to lay aside what weighs us down.  To set aside what holds us back so we can run freely.  To put aside the ours pasts, any sin in our lives, the doubts, the fears, anything at all that keeps us from running at our full potential.  We can’t keep looking backwards when the race is before us and Heb. 12:1 tells us to look unto Jesus. He isn’t behind us!!

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man in history to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Within 2 months, John Landy eclipsed the record by 1.4 seconds. On August 7, 1954, the two met together for a historic race. As they moved into the last lap, Landy held the lead. It looked as if he would win, but as he neared the finish he was haunted by the question, “Where is Bannister?” As he turned to look, Bannister took the lead. Landy later told a Time magazine reporter, “If I hadn’t looked back, I would have won!”

Looking back will only keep up from moving forward at our full potential!  It will slow us down!

Heb. 6:11-12 “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

He doesn’t want us to run sluggishly,  But with diligence, full of hope, knowing what awaits us at the end!!

1st part of Ecc. 9:10  “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; “  We must not be lukewarm, we must not run our race for God halfhearted.  We must do it with all our might,  Even if things are tough, we must give it our all and never give up!

I hope you have enjoyed my notes, please check the earlier posts if you missed the first ones. Check back soon for the notes on the 2nd class session that day!!

Run Your Race With… part 3

#3  Run With Purpose

We must run with purpose.  We must run toward something, have a goal, something we are striving to reach, to obtain.  In real life, in running, we may strive to run for 5 more minutes, to reach that next mailbox, to be 1 minute faster than before, to finish.
“You may have heard the story of John Stephen Akhwari, the marathon runner from Tanzania who finished last at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. No last-place finisher in a marathon ever finished quite so last. Injured along the way, he hobbled into the stadium with his leg bloodied and bandaged. It was more than an hour after the rest of the runners had completed the race. Only a few spectators were left in the stands when Akhwari finally crossed the finish line.  When asked why he continued to run despite the pain, Akhwari replied, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me here to finish.”

That is how we grow, how we get stronger, we have a purpose and we try our hardest to reach it, to run toward it, we strive to finish no matter what!   Spiritually we have a purpose too!

Romans 8:28-30 Our purpose is His purpose, it is to be conformed into the image of the Son of God.

We must run with that purpose, to spend each day trying to be even closer to that image.

The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.”   (Joseph Stowell,Fan The Flame, Moody, 1986, p. 32.

We want to run in such a way our light never goes out.  That we keep His light shining our whole lives and we keep l
iving each day reaching for the ultimate goal of spending eternity with Him. We must run to win.  We can’t run half way, we can’t be lukewarm.  We can’t live the way we want, life for self and try to have a little church on the side, but fully!

1 Cor. 9:24 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. “

In running or any sport, do you go out expecting to lose? Do you go out knowing you are not going to give your all?  No we always go out to win!

We must run with purpose, not with uncertainty, but with discipline and in subjection to Christ.  1 Cor. 9:26-27 “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

One key to running is realizing that it is a process.  We run with a purpose, with a goal we want to obtain in our sights, but we must realize who we are, in that we are not perfect and we can’t expect to be overnight!

Phil. 3:12-14Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul wrote that he had not already obtained, that he wasn’t perfected.  Paul!!  This man who has seen so much, who has lived such a life as he did, knew he wasn’t there yet!  We need that attitude. Knowing we are going to press on, keep going, keep trying to reach for it, letting go of the weights, letting go of the past, not letting it keep us down.

I want to share another story with you of someone who ran with purpose!  A purpose of proving that even when everyone said he couldn’t, He knew he could!

The Legend of Cliff Young: The 61 Year Old Farmer Who
Won the World’s Toughest Race

Every year, Australia hosts 543.7-mile endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world’s most grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.

In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone’s shock, Cliff wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.

The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”

When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn’t even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer’s safety.

All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn’t know that!

When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night.

Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone’s disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.

Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.

When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn’t know there was a prize and insisted that he did not enter for the money. He ended up giving all of his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

In the following year, Cliff entered the same race and took 7th place. Not even a displaced hip during the race stopped him.

Cliff came to prominence again in 1997, aged 76, when he attempted to raise money for homeless children by running around Australia’s border. He completed 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run before he had to pull out because his only crew member became ill. Cliff Young passed away in 2003 at age 81.

Today, the “Young-shuffle” has been adopted by ultra-marathon runners because it is considered more energy-efficient. At least three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Furthermore, during the Sydney to Melbourne race, modern competitors do not sleep. Winning the race requires runners to go all night as well as all day, just like Cliff Young.
He had a goal and knew what he wanted to do! He wanted to prove he could finish.  He didn’t let distractions stop him.  He didn’t let other people saying he couldn’t do it stop him.  He didn’t let “you’re doing it different from everyone else” or “you will never make it if you run that way” stop him from doing what he knew would get him to his goal!  He ran a purpose and was surprised a the end to discover there was a big prize!  We know there’s a prize and must fun to obtain it!

I really enjoyed this topic and I hope you have been enjoying my notes.


Run Your Race With… part 2

#2  Run With Direction! 

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Direction is something we all want.  The unknown is scary, but God is already there and with Him directing our paths, we can rest assured we are in good hands!

He isn’t going to give us a road map that says turn left, go past the big red barn, but He does give us directions in His word for how to live. If we are living our lives according to those directions it will help us in making the right decisions for the choices in our lives that will send us down the right paths.

He has written it in such a way as to make it understandable. Hab. 2:2 “Then the Lord answered me and said:  “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.” 

God’s word and what He asks of us is not meant to hinder us and slow us down, but give us a boost!  He wants us to run our race without any weight burdening us and slowing us down.

In our key verse today Heb. 12:1  we can follow the paths of that “great cloud of witnesses”  all those in His word that have gone on before us, that have already traveled the path we are trying to follow.  We can learn from them!  Those who were mentioned in Heb 11.

The path we are taking is the narrow way,Matt. 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

This verse teaches us a very important lesson!  We have to look for the narrow path in order to find it! We need those directions from God, we can’t just hope to get there.  We must be ready to find it!

God our Father wants us to find it! Prov. 4:11-15 “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.

Prov. 4:18  “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”

The way of God will not lead us into darkness, only into light!  Does that mean bad things will not happen to us, unfortunately no, we live in a cursed world.  It does mean however that if we are walking in the light we know there is a better and brighter end awaiting!