NYC Marathon: Rejoice In Suffering

I have had the great pleasure and honor of sharing inspirational words with my fellow runners at the Interfaith Chapel at the start of the New York City Marathon a number of times.  I find it extremely inspiring to share God’s word before the race as we all prepare for the long miles ahead.  This year I participated in two services and, as such, delivered two “sermons.”  I will share both of these messages here on my blog.  The first message I delivered is directly below this one on the blog’s home page.  I hope, these words inspire you and your faith as well.  

Rejoice in Suffering:

My dear friends, smile.  You are here today.  Here at the start of the New York City Marathon.

You are already a champion. 

You are a champion for being here.

You are a wonder and an inspiration. 

You have inspired family members, friends, colleagues, and others.  Believe me, even those that tell you that you’re crazy are inspired by you.  They are in awe of you.

I promise.

It’s true.

But, even though you are a champion for being here…the greater glory lies ahead.  It is there, just waiting for you, in Central Park.

The glorious finish.

You’ll be there soon.

But…the task before you will not be easy.  Even champions battle pain and doubt and struggles and worries.

Even champions, and you are champions, struggle.

Part of the glory of today is the struggle.

And as you struggle, as you fight doubt…

Just remember the Word of God.

It’s there…in the Book of Romans, Chapter 3.

God knows that you’ll suffer today, but he teaches you that it’s ok.

In Romans it reads:

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”

Hope will never disappoint us.

Suffering

Endurance

Character

and Hope.

Those words will define our day today.

Let God help you through the suffering.

Be strong and be courageous.

YOU ARE AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE.

You represent the glory of what people can do – and you also represent the glory of God. 

This race will build your character in ways you cannot even imagine right now, but it will. 

And as you battle the streets and the noise and the joy and the fear… stay hopeful.

God is with you.

Hope does not disappoint.

God does not disappoint.

Go in peace.

Go in strength.

Go for the glory.

Run strong and finish strong.

God loves you!

Amen.

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NYC Marathon: God Is With Us

I have had the great pleasure and honor of sharing inspirational words with my fellow runners at the Interfaith Chapel at the start of the New York City Marathon.  I find it extremely inspiring to share God’s word before the race as we all prepare for the long miles ahead.  This year I participated in two services and, as such, delivered two “sermons.”  I will share both of these messages here on my blog.  I hope, these words also inspire you and your faith as well.  

God Is With Us Today:

We are gathered here with similar emotions. 

Excitement.

Fear.

Dread.

Anticipation.

We know, whether this is our first, or our 100th marathon, what awaits us.

There will be moments of glory –

And moments of pain.

We will suffer today.

We will suffer physically.

We will suffer emotionally.

The marathon is a battle of wills.  It’s as much a mental exercise as a physical one.

It’s hard.

It’s an emotional roller coaster.

There will be times on the course, where all seems lost.

But I am here to tell you that all is not lost.  All is glory.  All is wonder.  All is joy. 

In our worst moments on the course, we only need to look up to God.

He has already told us that everything is going to be alright.

He shared these words with us.

He asks us, in our darkest moments, and, dear friends, there will be dark moments today ahead for many of us…

He asks us…

No, he tells us… to look for him when we struggle.

That is what he wants.

The words that tell us this are found in Joshua 1:9.  It is there that the Bible says:

“Be strong and courageous. 

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

God Bless!

It is there.

Be STRONG!  We are strong.

Be COURAGEOUS!  We are courageous!

Do not let the dark periods on the course bring you down.  Instead, at those moments, look to God.  Pray, to yourself quietly, or if you dare, pray out loud and ask God to remind you that he is there.

Because he is.

He is with all of us.

And he will be with all of us… as we cover the miles today.

The glorious miles.  The wondrous miles. 

God is with us…wherever we go.

Let him run the race with you today.

Open your hearts, and your mind, and your body to him.

When you need a boost, he will carry you.

Have a great race.

God loves you.  We all love you.

Bask in the glory of God and bask in the glory of the New York City Marathon!

I DID IT!

Well, I did it.

As I have shared, I was under-trained, a bit over weight, and unprepared for the race, but I knew I needed to do it. I’m still not fully recovered from the Achilles tear that kept me out of last year’s race. But all of that is now in the past.

At the Marathon Chapel at the start before the race, in one of the messages I delivered, I reminded the runners to trust God in their darkest moments on the course. I know I did.

I was toast by Mile 10. I had nothing left in the tank. But I pushed ever forward. Step-by-step all the way over the 26.2 miles to the glorious finish in Central Park.

Continue reading “I DID IT!”

Please Help Support a Great Cause!

My family has been struggling through the realities of cancer. Through this I have seen loved ones, especially my mother-in-law, exhibiting tremendous strength and character in the face of difficult news. Throughout all of this, the American Cancer Society has been a shining light – comprised of true miracle workers filled with kindness, support, and most of all, love. As I run the NYC Marathon on November 4, 2018, I would like to give back to this wonderful organization that does so much for so many. Thank you for your support.

Here is the link to my fundraising page: 

DR. SEM RUNS THE NYC MARATHON FOR THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

The Power of 20

You know, it’s funny…

I was getting very nervous about my upcoming NYC Marathon. And although I have run twenty marathons, coming back from an injury that sidelined me for so long had me scared.

(Let’s just say this – an Achilles tear is simply no fun.)

Because it’s been so long since I have run far.  I’ve been scared.  Very scared.

Continue reading “The Power of 20”

Me On The Radio – Quite An Honor

One of the most wonderful parts of being an educator and a writer is that my ideas and words seem to inspire other people and bring them joy.  

I am absolutely honored (and humbled) to be featured on WCBS News Radio 880 A.M. in New York City. 

Thank you Sean Adams and WCBS!

Here is the story:

Stories From Main Street: A Principal Who Writes To Inspire Kids And Adults

At 50, I’m Back To 40

It may seem like this passage is about running, but it’s not.  It’s about me and you and all of us.  The place where the idea was born, though, came out of running.  Stick with me, you’ll understand in a moment…

While I have always tried to push myself to do things that I didn’t think were possible, and sometimes succeeded (but just as often failed), and while I have always believed that I could do anything (and I do believe we all can), I am sometimes (believe it or not) hampered by self-doubt.

This all might sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t.  As we push to attain new goals, part of us often wonders if that new goal is possible.  I’m a big believer in trying.  I like to go for it, but as I do, there are times when I wonder if attaining the goal is even possible. 

Continue reading “At 50, I’m Back To 40”

Half Way Is A Start

I began my Labor Day weekend by pushing through the pain and self-doubt that accompanies any great effort and ran a half-marathon on my treadmill.

It took 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 32 seconds.  

It’s not a marathon, but half way is a great place to be.

Most often, it’s not about the end result, it’s more about the efforts one takes to get there.

Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats

Earlier today, my wife and I brought our son Ethan (a big Yankees fan and the Design Manager and frequent contributor to this site) back to college for his sophomore year. 

I’m always a bit emotional and sad when I leave my kids at college.  A part of me always feels empty when I contemplate the weeks and months that they’ll be away.  I love when my sons are home, they make our home complete. 

I think the best part of my life is just being Dad. 

Continue reading “Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats”

Possibility is Everything

Well, I have finally done it.  I think I came up with the title of my next book, the follow-up to Impossible is an Illusion.  

I think the title my next book will be Possibility is Everything.  

Right now, I really like that title.  The words, short, succinct, and precise sum up much of my philosophy on life.  I think it also goes extremely well with Impossible is an Illusion.  In that text, I explain and demonstrate that people can do things they never thought possible by trying, believing, giving their best efforts, and by never giving up. 

Continue reading “Possibility is Everything”