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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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. 

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Schulz and Success

I just finished reading,  Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography (by David Michaelis) an excellent book that provided an in-depth look at Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip and franchise.  Schulz’s life was fascinating.  He was successful beyond his wildest dreams.  His characters became household names.  His sayings have been quotes by millions.  In many ways, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus, Sally, and Snoopy defined America in the second half of the 20th Century.

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