A New Adventure: Cross Country Coaching

My heart is incredibly full right now. And much of that is due to the fact that it is preseason, and God has given me the awesome privilege of being the Assistant Coach for Lancaster Bible College’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams.

I love running. I get giddy when my Runner’s World magazine comes in the mail. I try to convince all my friends to meet me to run together. I love waking up just before the sun to run in the cool, early mornings.

And I love Lancaster Bible College students. I look forward to filling my schedule with lunch appointments and coffee dates to hear about all that God is teaching them through class and chapels. Pride wells up in me throughout the school year as I watch them flourish in sports, music, and campus leadership. I love scrolling through social media and seeing their joy in their LBC experiences.

And God, in His perfect timing and grace, chose to unite both of those passions this season.

Charger Cross Country

I have the joy of working with a head coach who deeply loves the Lord, his family, running, and discipleship. Coach Hamm is knowledgeable, personable, and incredibly hard-working.

The runners are each a gift from God. Below are the notes I took during our brainstorming session earlier this week. These were their responses when asked, “What do you want Cross Country to be this year?”

Team Brainstorm 2015

They don’t want to complain, or compare themselves to others. They want to be known for their God honoring attitudes and work ethics. They want to represent Christ to the teams we compete against, and to each other at every practice and meet. They want to improve. To set goals. To see progess. To push themselves and each other in a healthy, encouraging way. They want to integrate glorifying God through our sport in everything, finding spiritual parallels everywhere they look. They want to be holisticaly healthy in their running, stretching, eating, and sleeping. They want to care for each other well, hold each accountable, and spend time together.

I am beyond excited for this season, and this team that God has brought together.

Soli Deo Gloria

Follow us on twitter? 🙂 https://twitter.com/LBCCrossCountry

LBCXC-Logo

Has God Mellowed Out in His Old Age?

I’m currently reading through the book of Numbers, and this morning I read through the spies checking out the land God promised to them, their lies, and their complaints, yada yada yada. I read about God’s anger against the wicked, grumbling Israelites and the punishment that follows. Then in Chapter 15, there is this small portion-5 verses-that tells about the time someone was publically breaking the Sabbath by gathering sticks, and the Lord said “stone him to death”. Geez. That seems a bit overdramatic. And frankly, I was frustrated and literally, out loud, said:

“See, LORD. This is why people don’t like you!”

He just commanded someone to be STONED to DEATH for PICKING UP STICKS on the Sabbath! In fact, there are many times we read about similar stories in the OT. And it’s easy while reading through the Old Testament to see God as short-tempered and ungracious. Though I KNOW there are also countless examples of him being gracious and as Moses declares, “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression”, the times where he is not, definitely stand out in my mind.  This is why people love New Testament Jesus and avoid like the plague Old Testament Yahweh.

And then, (because I am a quote junkie) I remembered this quote by Pastor R.C. Sproul:

“When there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God, it’s with me.”

Dang, R.C.! Okay, so there is something wrong with me (that I already knew!) but what is it?

According to Scripture, God is immutable-never changing. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Ps. 102:24-27).  So why does it sometimes seem to me that God was a cranky dictator, but now he’s more lenient and gracious, and less sensitive and severe? Why do I like the responses of God less in the OT although I KNOW that He hasn’t changed in the NT?

The Holy Spirit graciously showed me the answer. The answer is (as it often is) the Cross.

Here’s the thing, God’s CHARACTER, RIGHTEOUSNESS, and PERFECTION have NOT changed. But, whereas his wrath once was rightfully poured out on individuals, through Jesus Christ, his wrath CHANGED to be poured out ONCE for ALL WHO BELIEVE on Jesus Christ. So God is still as deeply offended by blatant sin as he was in the time of Moses. But FORTUNATLEY for us, instead of sentencing us to death-he sentenced Christ to death.God still is INCREDIBLY serious about sin-but FORTUNATELY for us, Jesus Christ took all our deserved punishments so we don’t have to fear God’s punitive reactions to our crimes. In the Old Testament, God had the ground swallow people (Numbers 16:32), and if I view my sin correctly, I realize there are PLENTLY of times I rightfully deserved that to happen to me! But ON THE CROSS, CHRIST mercifully absorbed all of God’s reactions to our sins.

So when you and I read Old Testament stories of God’s wrath, instead of thinking “Ugh. I hate that God was so dramatic against sin!” focus on these 2 things–

  1. God STILL FEELS THAT way about sin! Don’t minimize your offenses against God-they are severe, He HATES them, and they do deserve punishment!
  2. PRAISE God ALL THE MORE for His kindness is sending Christ so that His children no longer need to be punished for their sins!

God is infinitely more holy and righteous than we ever realize. That truth plus the incredible grace displayed in sending God the Son to die for us, should motivate us towards joyful obedience and humble adoration!

Sproul

Keller

A Break-Up Song of Sorts

 

A thousand lessons learned,

absolutely forever changed.

Grace of God please work

through all the joys and all the pain. 

Let us trust that you are good,

You are working, you can heal.

Keep us far from bitterness, 

and at your throne please let us kneel. 


You are always worthy of our praise.


You are holy-our lives are but a breath.

You love us deeply-and saved our souls from death.

You graciously give the peace of knowing Truth.

Please keep us loving, trusting, seeking only you.

Please keep us satisfied with you.


You weep with those who weep,

And you morn with those who morn.

You knew this trial we’d face

Before we were, or time was born.

You have purposed all our days

For your glory and your name.

As your children we have hope

And are free from guilt or shame.


You are always worthy of our praise.


You are holy-our lives are but a breath.

You love us deeply-and saved our souls from death.

You graciously give the peace of knowing Truth.

Please keep us loving, trusting, seeking only you.

Please keep us satisfied with you.


Work out your good in us

Though I don’t understand

In your grace, reveal to us,

Your perfect purpose and your plans.

But even if you don’t

And I never see the why.

I’ll cling to your character-

Your love can’t be denied.


You are always worthy of our praise.


You are holy-our lives are but a breath.

You love us deeply-and saved our souls from death.

You graciously give the peace of knowing Truth.

Please keep us close-abiding, seeking

Keep us joy-desiring, seeking

Keep us spirit-guiding, seeking you.  


English Camp Message Transcript/Outline: Day 6

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Friday: ONE CHURCH                  

Thanks for making my birthday awesome! I felt so loved! I think this is the best birthday I’ve ever had! I’m serious! The only other one that might compare was when I turned nine and I got a “teddy bear hamster” for my birthday…but then I remembered it escaped a few months later and when we moved I found it’s skeleton in the basement…and that was traumatic…so…I’d say this is DEFINITELY the best birthday ever!! But seriously, you guys have been so loving and encouraging this week-I’m really thankful for you!

  • The whole Bible agrees, our God is the ONLY GOD and our God is an AWESOME GOD.
  • Our ONE PASSION should be the same as GOD’S and that is for his GLORY.
  • Out of his great LOVE for us, God mercifully sent JESUS CHRIST to be our ONE SAVIOR.
  • The ONE DECISION to be part of God’s FAMILY changes our entire IDENTITY.
  • To glorify God with our ONE LIFE, we must DISCIPLINE ourselves for GODLINESS.
  • To serve the ONE CHURCH-both universal and local-introduce people to Jesus and help them follow Him.

Tonight I am going to talk to you a little bit about ONE CHURCH, and then I am going to give you my final words of advice.

  1. Introduction- In scripture the word “church” used to describe 2 different things. There are times where it is talking about the “Universal Church” meaning all believers in Jesus Christ ever–or the “local church” meaning an organized group of believers at a specific time and place who meet together regularly.
  2. First let’s talk about the “local church”-you need to both attend and serving a local church
    1. If you saw an eye on the sidewalk out here…AHH! That’s gross! It belongs on a body!
    2. What if I wore an eye patch all the time? Look like I should be in the Pirates of the Caribbean! And said, I just don’t feel like using my right eye.
      1. That’s stupid!
      2. Even if it’s not the prettiest, or perfect vision…it still works-use it!
    3. God’s word says the same things about being part of a local church.
      1. If you are a believer you are part of the “body of believers” and you NOT being in a church is GROSS!
      2. AND you not serving the body with the gifts and abilities God has given you because “you’re not the best” or “you don’t feel like it” are super lame and dumb reasons!
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 14-20 “14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[b] yet one body.”
  1. God chose to create local churches for us here on earth. He wants you to be a part of one. To serve and to build relationships with them and to learn about Jesus.
    1. You should be serving in a local church-
      1. Take leadership and start a new ministry within your church!
        1. Use the gifts God gave you!
        2. Be creative!
      2. and if you’re church for some reason will not allow you—you should be serving the universal Church
    2. Both the universal church and the local church: The point of Church is Jesus
      1. The church is not a building that we retreat from the world…it is where we suit up with armor to go into a broken world to bring people to Jesus!
      2. 1 Colossians 1:15-18 “He is the image ofthe invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
        1. Jesus is the head of the church-He is to be #1 things church is about!
        2. You need to be in a church that helps you follow Jesus. You have to put forth the work!
          1. Ask your pastor if he can help you find a mentor- to help you love Jesus more
          2. Serve ANYWHERE YOU can! To be a servant LIKE Jesus was!
  • Doesn’t have to have the best music or coolest youth group-they just have to genuinely love Jesus
  1. If you find a church, but it does not preach Jesus…that is not a church. Leave and find one that does love him.
  2. The church is people introducing people to Jesus and helping them follow him
  1. We are all part of God’s universal church: and it WILL NOT fail.
    1. I know many of you get discouraged explain or convince your unbelieving friends or family of God.
    2. Don’t be! Keep praying! Keep sharing truth! Don’t give up!
  • Because we have a great and powerful God!
  1. Matthew 16:18
    1. Simon says Jesus is the son of God. Jesus responds, “And Jesus answered him,“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock2 I will build my church, and the gates of lhell3 shall not prevail against it.”
  2. You don’t have to be afraid. God’s word says the Father in Heaven opens peoples eyes to who Jesus is-and people WILL become believers!
    1. Just be faithful
      1. Share the gospel!
      2. Evangelism! Invite to church
      3. YOU are the one with the power of the Holy Spirit in you! NOT THEM! What do they have? Nothing!
    2. So in review…
      1. Use your gifts in a local church that loves Jesus. Remember that the universal church is created and sustained by our good heavenly father, and do not be discouraged in sharing your faith.
        1. To serve the ONE CHURCH-both universal and local-introduce people to Jesus and help them follow Him.
      2. Challenge: FIND A JESUS LOVING CHURCH: SERVE IN THE JESUS LOVING CHURCH, and don’t be afraid to STORM the gates of hell for the growth of the universal church (meaning all believers).

So then I was thinking about how this is my last chance to talk to you! I with this last opportunity to speak what else do I say?

This word: FIGHT.

Our enemy, the devil, would love to defeat you with these temptations and bring you down, but FIGHT my FRIENDS! Fight because you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you, and in 1 Corinthians 10:13 God’s word says that “God is faithful, he will not tempt you beyond what you can bear, but…he will provide a way out”

Life is hard. Temptations are strong, and the devil is cunning. BUT PLEASE, DO NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN. Find a local church to help you, be disciplined in your time with God and as Paul tells us in 1st and 2nd Timothy, FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT of the faith.

When you are tempted to give in to sin of pornography or sex: FIGHT FOR PURITY.

When you are tempted to wallow in self-loathing, depression, or anxiety: FIGHT FOR JOY.

When you are discouraged by unbelief, and don’t know if you can trust the Bible: FIGHT FOR FAITH.

When you are tempted to be lazy, ignore God, and turn to this world for comfort…FIGHT FOR LOVE.

I think we all have things in our life that we have to fight. Each person’s is different, but everyone has something. I have to FIGHT hard against some things. I have failed and continue to fail so much. But I FIGHT. I will never give in. I will never let the devil have the last punch. I will ALWAYS FIGHT. Because I know my relationship to God is worth fighting for.

Think about what your struggle, your sin, or your temptation will be when you go back home. Know that CHRIST has already paid for that sin. There is NO condemnation for it for those who are part of God’s family. You don’t have to drown in shame or guilt-he loves you, he’s forgiven you-but he deeply doesn’t want you to hold onto that painful sin. Christ brings freedom from those emotions. And the Holy Spirit brings STRENGTH. The Holy Spirit is who is convicting you of this struggle right now. He is the one telling you to fight, and who will continue to tell you to fight.

We have a cross here in the center of the hall. A cross that reminds us that Christ is ENOUGH for us. That his blood on the cross means we are FORGIVEN and LOVED by God. The cross tells us that our sin is paid for-not just some of it-ALL OF IT. And for that we PRAISE THE LORD. And with that praise-filled, thankful heart-we know that we don’t want to hold on to the sin that keeps us from loving God well. We want to fight it. We want to kill it. So we are going to sing worship songs and I invite each of you to go to the cross, and write down on the paper provided the sin or temptation or struggle that you are holding onto-that you want to fight and kill. And then we have hammers and nails and we want you to take that paper and, just like I savior was, nail it to the cross. Nail it to the cross to remind yourself that HE BORE the punishment for that sin, and that God has COMPLETELY forgiven you for it. And nail it to the cross to remind you that THAT is where your sin can stay-not in your life. You don’t have to carry it, the Holy Spirit can give you strength to fight it. And when it comes into your life, trying to temp you to take it back again, remember the pounding of the nail, and know that CHRIST died for that sin so that you will live in RIGHTEOUSNESS (verse).

[campers go]

Christ is enough for us.

Campers, I am so thankful to have been here this week with you. Thank you for listening so well to me, and for all of your encouragement. I will be praying for you this year! On your way out tonight you are going to receive a sticker to remind you of the truths you learned this week about ONE God, one passion, one savior, one decision, one life, and one church. And I will be praying that is a constant reminder of what you left behind here, on the cross, and the truths that you are taking with you.