At the beginning of this year, Will & I had the opportunity to step in as the interim youth directors. During this time, we partnered with the other volunteer leaders to teach the message to the students each week. Our favorite series was titled CLOSE, and we wanted to share one message brought to the youth by Tim Bernsau, that really stood out to us and the youth.
One day Tim walked into our leader meeting with a shirt so wrinkled it looked like he just woke up. I did not think much of it, but it was quite out of the ordinary. Come to find out, as Tim began sharing that weeks’ message it soon became clear that the wrinkles had a purpose. Tim said:
“This morning, I grabbed my shirt and found that it was very wrinkled. I pulled out the ironing board and spent the next 10 minutes ironing my shirt. But, as you can see, it didn’t work too well, did it?. Why do you think that is?”
After a series of very creative scenarios proposed by the students, Tim shared what actually happene...
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith….” Heb. 12:1-2 is the most vivid description of a sports arena in scripture. We can almost feel the weight of that “great cloud of witnesses” towering overhead…and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to go down to the floor of a large sports stadium or concert arena you know what that crowd feels like.
The athletes who gathered in the 90,000 seat Rio Olympic Stadium this summer were chosen from among hundreds, even thousands of other athletes in their countries, selected to compete among an elite group of the world’s youth. Can you imagine the sense of pride in representing one’s country, the sense of honor that these athletes must have felt in being chosen for this moment; to compete before this great...
In modern Olympic games there have been numerous documented cases of performance enhancing drug use; a practice that makes athletes stronger in the short run…but can lead to heart, kidney, and liver disease, and crippling injuries. When Lilly King won the 100 meter breast stroke in Rio this week she said in an interview, “we can still compete clean and do well at the Olympic Games.” King had just defeated Russian rival Yulia Efimova who had been accused of past drug doping.
We tend to idealize the ancient Olympians who said that it was the “agone” or “glorious struggle” rather than victory itself, that was most important. But even then, there were athletes willing to cheat in order to win cash prizes, prestige, and the sweet satisfaction of beating a rival. In AD 67 Emperor Nero took part in a 10-horse chariot race in the Games, an event added for his benefit; but when he fell and failed to complete the race, he arranged to be declared the winner anyway!
This summer at Rooted we’ve been studying the life of Peter in a series called “Like a Rock?” This title comes from Matthew 16, a chapter that serves almost as a preview of Peter’s overall performance as a disciple. In this chapter, the disciples are asked “Who do you say I am?” by Jesus. Peter responds by saying that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the Living God. Jesus blesses Peter and tells him that He will use Peter to build His church; promising Peter great responsibility but also great importance in the future. It has to be an incredible moment for Peter; he’s following the Messiah that the Jewish people have been waiting hundreds of years for, he’s received a revelation from God, and Jesus has promised him a place of authority and importance in His continuing work. It is without a doubt a high point in the life of Peter!
However, in the exact same chapter, Peter seems to blow it. After this declaration from Peter, Jesus begins to expl...