The Summer Olympics will be hosted in Rio this year. In August, the world will be watching as champions make their journey to that illustrious podium where others have taken their place with the gold, silver and bronze medal winners. I've already caught the Olympic fever as I watched athletes muster all their grit during the US Track and Field qualifying rounds. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines a champion as someone or something (such as a team or an animal) that has won a contest or competition especially in sports or someone who fights or speaks publicly in support of a person, belief, cause. But, we all know that becoming a champion encompasses much more than being first to cross the finish line.
So, what sets a champion apart?
Gazillions of dollars, euros, pounds, rubles and yuan are invested trying to discover what can give the victorious edge to win gold. I believe the Olympic athletes are some of the most researched people on the planet. Researchers gather data on everything from their diet, exercise, and eating plan to their personal relationships, mental toughness and support networks. Sponsors, trainers and competitors search for the 'golden solution." But, sometimes the best athlete doesn't win. Circumstances can develop during the competition that can give someone an opportunity to make their dream a reality. The television networks figured out years ago that audiences love to hear the stories and backgrounds of the athletes. We all want to discover what sets these champions apart from the rest of us. Maybe we can learn something from these amazing people that applies to our own personal lives.
What could happen if we became 'spiritual champions?'
Imagine what it would take to become a 'spiritual champion.' Imagine what it might be like to live into God's vision for your life and become a chosen instrument for the Kingdom of God. Practice, discipline and spiritual gifts are essential but so are spiritual mentors, friends and faith communities that can support you along your way. How do you know what can take you to the next level spiritually? Who challenges you to get over yourself or your situation in order to live a powerful, robust, spirit-led life of Kingdom influence? What training efforts will develop your spiritual arsenal against the plans of the enemy? Let's discover all this and more together.
This weekend we kick-off our final sermon series of the Summer titled The Making of a Champion. Of all the people in the Bible, the apostle Paul is perhaps the best example of a 'spiritual champion.' We will investigate his personal life, his transformation and his impact as the early church began to influence the world. We will read about the development of Christian character as Paul's story expands into the cosmopolitan world of the Roman Empire of the first century. We will read from the book of Acts and several of Paul's Epistles. The world is in need of more spiritual champions for Christ. What lasting impact will you have on the next generation? Your legacy is important. You don't want to miss any of this new series. See you Sunday.
‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:16-18 NIV