Monday, April 29, 2013

Training Will Take You Further Than Trying

In just 6 days I will be running the Pittsburgh Marathon and am so excited for the opportunity to do it!  A lot of work has gone in to getting ready for May 5th.  I've trained hard.  I've logged nearly 300 miles of running since January 21st.  I've stretched countless times and have also popped several ibuprofen and have even had to resort to using Ben Gay!  I've trained in the rain, in the snow, on the road, on trails, and when the temperature was 5 degrees outside with a windchill that made every step feel like my feet were going to shatter.  But, all the training will certainly come in handy on May 5th when I run my second marathon.  I can't wait!

As I've trained for this race, a few different thoughts have come to my mind:

1. There's a big difference between trying to do something and training to do something.  I heard a guy by the name of John Ortberg use a phrase similar to that one time and I've never forgotten it.  I could try to do a marathon on my own, but I undoubtedly would not be able to finish simply by trying to do it.  But, training for a marathon makes finishing one totally possible.  When I train for something, I order my life around making that "something" happen.  Since my goal is to finish another marathon, I've had to order my life around doing the things that make that possible ... in other words, I've had to train for it.  I followed a training program.  I've run nearly 300 miles in 4 months.  I set aside specific times to run and stretch.  I invested in good running shoes.  When May 5th rolls around, training will take me a lot further than trying. 

2.  What would it look like to train to be like Jesus instead of trying harder to be like Jesus?  I guess I just see a huge difference between trying harder to be like Jesus and training harder to be like Jesus.  If I go out and only try my hardest to run a marathon, I will fail.  But, if I go out and train my hardest to run a marathon, I'm setting myself up for success.  I think it's the same in our relationship with Jesus.  Instead of trying harder how about we train harder.  Training will take me a lot further than trying.  

The Bible has a lot to say about "training:

- 1 Corinthians 9:25 "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."

- 1 Timothy 4:7 - 8  "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

- 2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  

- Hebrews 5:14 "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."  

We are invited in to a life of training for godliness because "godliness has value for all things."  It will allow us to "get a crown that will last forever."  So, what could that possibly look like?  Just a couple of possibilities:

- If you're impatient, instead of trying harder to be more patient how about training yourself to be patient ... drive in the slow lane for a week ... don't pass people ... pick the long lines to wait in ... train yourself to be patient by putting yourself in situations where patience is needed.

- If you're struggling with selfishness, instead of trying harder to be generous, how about training yourself to be generous ... set aside money each week to be given away ... pay for someone's lunch ... make tithing a regular practice ... refuse to buy something for yourself for an extended period of time ... train yourself to be generous by putting yourself in situations where generosity is needed.

- If you're struggling with your thought life, instead of trying harder to think good thoughts, how about training yourself to think positive thoughts.  2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 says the Bible is "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."  Hebrews 5:14 says that those who have been trained by the Bible have "trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."  So, what specific thoughts do you struggle with the most?  Find Bible verses that speak to those issues and memorize them.  Focus on the things you're grateful for.  Spend time each night reflecting on the positive things that have happened during your day.  Do a "thankfulness" walk each week.  Train yourself to think godly thoughts by putting yourself in situations where you have to focus on godly things.

We'll never thrive in the Christian life by trying harder.  We can't "try" for a godly life, but we can certainly "train" for one.  And, for those of us who know Jesus, we have the greatest coach ever ... the Holy Spirit ... living inside of us giving us the edge we need.  Jesus said in Luke 6:40 "The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher."  If your goal is to be like Jesus, then train yourself to live the way Jesus lived.  Training will always take your further than trying.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

$10.00 Could Help Me Get to Haiti

On June 7th, I will be taking a group of our teenagers and adults to Haiti where we will be working with an organization called CPR-3.  This ministry helps the millions of Haitian children and adults living in poverty by supplying them with food, funding building projects, and also by teaching them the Bible in creative ways.   Their desire is to breath life and hope in to the world.  I want to partner with a vision like that!
     The total cost of this trip is approximately $1,700.00.  I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity, not only because I have the opportunity to lead our teenagers and adults and see them serve in this way, but also because I’m looking for my eyes to be opened to the greater needs in our world.  I’m excited to see what God is going to do in my life and how He is going to use us to help the the Haitian people.  
$1,700.00 is a significant amount of money to raise and I would greatly appreciate any help.  If 100 people would be willing to give $10, I will be well on my way to Haiti.  If you feel so led, all donations are tax deductible and I would be incredibly grateful.  Any donations can be given through Grace Community Church (20076 County Road 36  Goshen, IN  46526)  or you can simply fill out the form below and mail it to Grace Community.   

I have prayerfully considered donating $___________________ to Rich Yauger for his mission trip to Haiti. 

Name: _____________________________________________

Due to IRS regulations, Grace Community Church cannot refund your gift if I cannot go unless the whole project is cancelled. All gifts will be used for ongoing short term ministry. Please make checks payable to Grace Community Church. NOTE: Please do not put my name on your check in the memo line or you will not be able to receive tax credit at the end of the year. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

What a Way to Celebrate Easter

What a day yesterday celebrating Jesus!  It's one of those days that I will never forget.  I loved seeing how God came through on so many different levels to bring everything together and see people come to a relationship with Him.  

We started the services at Grace Community off with a dance video we made.  Awesome to see the church as a whole make this video happen.  We had teenagers, volunteers, and paid staff all involved behind the scenes to make the video.  The behind the scenes stuff is what often gets overlooked because we typically just see the finished product.  But, so much effort behind the scenes was put in to making a great opening at our services.  Very thankful for all the hard work.  You can see a picture above and a short clip below of what we did.

We had a powerful worship time celebrating Jesus and all His resurrection means for us.

And, when Pastor Jim spoke on "When the Unbelievable Becomes the Undeniable" it was a very powerful message on the hope of the resurrection of Jesus!  He gave an invitation at the end for people to respond and it was, quite honestly, overwhelming.  We talked a bit after our last service and it was one of those times when you try to think of all the adjectives you can to describe what you just witnessed and every word fell short.  Many responded in the 1st and 2nd services, but in our 3rd service people just kept coming.  Seriously, we had probably a 10 to 15 minute response time.  Pastor Jeremiah had to keep coming up with songs to sing!  It was incredibly moving and just awesome to see God work in that way.  We gave each person who made a decision a computer jump drive with the words "Empty Tomb" written on them.  On the jump drive was a short video and also information to help people know what next steps to take to grow in their new relationship with Jesus.  Here are a few pics below.

After our services we had our community Easter Egg Hunt.  Thousands of people came out for it.  We had 30,000 eggs and once the fun started, it didn't take long for them to be scarfed up by the kids.  We also had something called the Great Gum Drop for middle and high school students.  Our local fire department came out with a ladder truck and drop packs of gum with cash and prizes attached.  Lots of fun!

I'm so thankful for what God has done in my life and loved celebrated what He started in the lives of others yesterday at Grace Community!

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