Monday, September 12, 2016

Beyond the Pain

I think Malcolm Gladwell got it right — in my opinion, he often does. His book Outliers describes what he calls the “10,000 Hour Rule,” the idea that people who find something they love to do and stay at for at least 10,000 hours are the ones who leave an indelible mark on their world. Among his many examples are The Beatles who, long before they were thrust upon the world from The Ed Sullivan Show, had spent thousands of hours playing in shabby clubs in Paris. Before they became known, they would often play for hours every night, making barely enough to make ends meet. Yet, the demand of those accumulated hours was to find ways to keep fresh music coming for their handful of fans. The combined musical proficiency and artistic creativity helped them to be unusually ready to take the world by storm.

I think of Gladwell’s discovery of the power of 10,000 hours as I reflect on our current Stone Ridge sermon series, FaithFit.
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The idea is that God, the “World’s Best Personal Trainer,” wants to help us get fit with faith. The challenges of everyday life demand us to move beyond the minimal, mundane way in which many followers of Jesus have tried to live.

I introduced this series last weekend, describing how a number of my friends have become active in CrossFit. CrossFit training, they have explained, isn’t about body sculpting; it’s about being ready for the everyday physical challenges of life. As I watch some of them overcome years of being out of shape, I rejoice that they are getting healthy. Every hour of training, combined with every healthy food choice, is moving them closer to the energy and strength they have needed all along.

If CrossFit is helping people face the physical challenges they meet everyday, FaithFit is far more important! FaithFit people...
  • Love, even when surrounded by hate.
  • Hold on to God, even when others give up.
  • Experience peace in the middle of turmoil.
  • Live confidently, even when many are afraid.
Those FaithFit qualities require that we learn to live beyond the pain which tries to hold us back. If physical fitness means moving beyond temporary discomfort to do things we never dreamed we could do, spiritual fitness is even more so. “Those whom God uses greatly, He wounds greatly,” someone wisely said. Jesus Himself endured pain in this life because of the joy He knew would come later (Hebrews 12:2). If that was true for Him, how much more for us?

It is pain that holds many people back from getting fit. Our challenge this weekend at Stone Ridge Church will be to willingly submit to God’s Boot Camp. It won’t be easy, but the results are out of this world! See you there!

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