Victory

The Christian life, it seems to me, is above all a life filled with joy and purpose. Because of Jesus and his resurrection, death does not have the last word. In the words of Paul, death has been swallowed up in victory.

“Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:54-55, NIV)

There is hope here that cannot be found anywhere else. We do not live in stoic resignation. We live for victory. Paul says we are like athletes going for the win. Listen to him.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor 9:24-27, NIV)

That spirit is what we have to capture as a congregation – that sense of shared commitment, intensity, and willingness to do whatever it takes. In my perfect church, a high school pep rally would be boring compared to Sunday worship. In my perfect church, we would be so focused on the goal that we would never let ourselves be sidetracked by peripheral issues. In my perfect church, each of us would be ever willing to lay ourselves down for the team. In my perfect church, the one thing we would never do is to rest on our laurels.

Whatever the specific plan, it seems to me that Coach Paul tells us that we need two things: a clear focus on the final goal, and intensity in the pursuit. Paul had both, to an amazing degree. Listen.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24, NIV)

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14, NIV)

“So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?” (2 Corinthians 12:15, NIV)

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21, NIV)

And, toward the end of his life, he sums it up like this:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV)

Fight! Keep the faith! Finish well! When I hear these words of Paul I am moved to the depths of my being. Christianity has to be about more than playing church. We are in a high stakes game. In fact it is for the highest stakes of all – souls. A lot has changed in the last 2000 years, but not that. If we keep that in mind we will not go far wrong.


Other Posts You Might Like:

Out of My Comfort Zone - Judy Wilmoth

REVIVE TEXAS - Bob Bentley

The Beauty of Love - Nicole Kennell

Body of Christ - Laurie Templeton

The Fellowship of Fire - Ross Thomson

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on the journeybaby dedication

Location
McKinney at Cardinal

101 Cardinal Drive
Denton, TX 76209

940.387.4355

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Worship Schedule
Sunday Morning
9:00 - Worship
9:35 - Children's Church
10:45 - Worship
11:20 - Children's Classes
Wednesday Evening
5:30 - Dinner (during school)
6:30 - Passion Worship
6:30 - Celebrate Recovery
7:00 - Classes/Small Groups

Children are dismissed during the sermon to attend children's church or classes. Sunday morning adult class times vary.


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