by Lisa Coleman
I would guess that a few of you have or have had a device, most recently smart watches although small navigation gadgets have been around quite some time, that tracks your walk, ride or run. My husband Clif would come in from a long bike ride in west Texas and gleefully (my word!) upload his Garmin, that was mounted on the handlebar of his bicycle, into the computer. He would then study the route he took, the miles he rode, calories burned and reminisce I suppose. The information it yielded told a story, his story for that journey. The kind of rides he took were not for the faint of heart! They were long and very difficult. There were stories of dog and car hazards, bicycles colliding and wrecking, strong wind/dust storms, steep mountains, snakes, and cacti.
Most Bibles have maps in the back that show Paul’s missionary journeys. The solid and dotted lines remind me of the mapped routes the modern devices make. Of course, I had the ‘privilege’ of hearing the firsthand details of the ride Clif came home and told in addition to administering first aide on more than one occasion. The remarkable thing about Clif’s bicycle riding with a group of similarly wired guys is that regardless of what happened the week before, they all joined up and rode again. Regularly. With their cuts and bruises from the week before still visible.
“Someone once asked Roger Staubach, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, about football injuries. “How do you keep on keeping on if you’re playing professional football?” Roger said something important: “If you’re not playing hurt, you’re not playing football.” It’s exactly the same way with the Christian faith. If you’re not living it hurt, you’re probably not living the Christian faith.” (Steve Brown, “The Prime Principle,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 107)
I can think of other ‘maps’ created, even if they are not readily visible. Imagine mapping your marriage journey! Make a mental list of all the highs and lows from the first time you met. Lots of ‘dogs and dust storms’ on that list, right? Phew! It can make us shudder to realize the difficulties we have navigated over the course of our lives. Of course, marriage is just one example. The lifetime of a career would make for a curvy, pothole filled map as well. Many points of interest could be marked on that route to be sure. The journeys we embark on are the best of times and the worst of times all woven together into this amazing tapestry we call life. It was no different for the first century disciples of the early church. They had stories and bruises. And they kept on traveling.
This week, we will hear some of the ‘points of interest’ on the second missionary journey Paul took. It too is filled with hardships and hazards. But like a weekend warrior cyclist, a professional athlete, a member of a marriage or a career employee – devotion is paramount! It propels us forward during the hard times and rewards us when we are making great strides.
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We look forward to seeing you online or in person tomorrow morning. To help you follow along more easily, a PDF version of the lesson is attached for your use.
If you cannot be with us in person, feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. You can also find the video of this session on our YouTube channel soon after the meeting concludes. And lastly, you could follow this link to download other studies in this series: INpowered Discipleship if you happened to miss one of our prior studies.
Yours in Christ,
The Gospels Class
Brentwood Baptist Church