Focus: Many people believe that running is an individual sport. I did, but the truth is running often requires a community. No one can complete the strides necessary for you to “finish the race,” but a support system is vital to the process. Discipleship functions with the same principle. No one can take your steps to follow Jesus, but a support system and being a support system for others is vital to the process of “finishing the race” of discipleship.
Function: There is a great cloud of witnesses. I saw this first hand at the beginning of the race in Greece. Jen and I were surrounded by 15,000 other runner, as we all prepared to race. That was an amazing encouragement for us to “finish the race,” but it went deeper than even this group, for along the way, we had supporters cheering us on throughout the streets of Greece. We need to be a community of support for each other, and we need to be supported by the community. Sometimes we are running. Sometimes we are cheering. Often we are doing both.
May 6, 2018
Texts: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Title: “Competition and Discipleship”
Focus: What does competition mean in discipleship? When Jen, Ethan and I ran, I would sometimes try to run faster than them, for what reason, I don’t know. It is a silly remnant of proving myself worthy by beating someone else. Discipleship offers a different vision of competition.
Function: Competition in discipleship is set within the foundation of community. We are called to compete in building each other up, in being the iron that sharpens another’s iron for following Jesus. This competition does not define itself by stepping on someone else, but it defines itself by stepping up with someone else. We “finish the race” together spurring each other on in righteousness, celebrating each other’s achievements and working to follow Jesus together.
May 13, 2018 Mother’s Day
Texts: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Title: “Mind, Body, and Spirit with Discipleship”
Focus: The vital connection between the body and soul can be defined with this simple choice: when you speak of yourself and your body would you say: “I have a body,” or “I am a body?” Your answer to that question reveals the importance of your body.
Function: If Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, then God affirms our bodies and our embodied living in Jesus Christ. If Jesus joins us in our bodies, then God is saying our bodies are GOOD. If our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, then we meet God in our bodies. We are called to listen to our bodies, to commune in our bodies, to meet God in our bodies. The connection between our body and soul is essential to our discipleship.
May 20, 2018 Pentecost
Texts: Philippians 2:1-12
Title: “Other Discipleship Gifts”
Focus: We end our 40 days by looking at three deeper gifts for discipleship that we discover in running: breathing, perseverance, and patience.
Function: You cannot run well without breathing properly. You cannot “finish the race” without the perseverance to make it through all the miles. You cannot make it through the miles without patience in your running. These gifts are also vital for discipleship, for the Spirit is the breath of God, and we must breathe deeply the gift of God’s Spirit. Perseverance is a crucial for discipleship, but maybe in surprising ways. It doesn’t always mean we stay on the same path, but that we persevere in following Jesus where the path leads us. Patience is vital for discipleship, maybe most of all with ourselves.