Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Running The Race - 5. Drinks Break

Sometimes in a race a runner has to stop and have a drink. While I don’t encourage my kids to do this in their 100m dash on sports day, it is important to keep the fluids up and make it for the long haul. I have a few tips then, for those of you at different stages of the race of life that Paul talks about in the New Testament.

Firstly, choose your stop. There are many people holding out refreshments for the runners or riders in famous races, but each runner knows what to look for and what to take. Many people will recommend different things if you are feeling tired, run down, disillusioned or feel like giving up. They might tell you to take some time out for yourself, go and be pampered, go shopping, have some fun. Its hard to keep running past these offers of refreshment, but they are not the real thing, they will never provide you with all you need to keep running.

Choose your stop wisely, if you are truly wanting to be refreshed, to be filled with the energy, peace and joy to keep going, then you need to look to your Team Captain who is there holding out what you really need. God provides all you need and you can find it best in the Bible. If you need a bit of help, look out for someone who has run the race before you, or fellow members of your team who might get together for Bible Study or a Conference or Church on Sunday. And think twice before grabbing those other things which only last for a moment.

Secondly, stop. Realise that sometimes, on huge marathons like life, you need to stop. You need to take on board some fuel, you need to get advice and encouragement from your Captain and teammates, you need to have your injuries seen to, and you need to look again at the map to plan out the next leg of your journey. We all need some down time. Time away from the noise and business of the race, to get our bearings and our blessings ;) and refocus.

And Thirdly, run! I think sometimes it is very tempting to just stay at the drinks station and keep sipping away. Especially if your injuries are great or if the pain is at the forefront of your mind. After you have taken the time to rest, refuel, receive and relax, then watch your Team Captain so you know when its time to run again. It might seem like too much to get back out there, but you have your team behind you, and your Team Captain there beside you all the way. If He says it’s time to get up, then do it, and take it one day at a time, one leg at a time, one step at a time.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let
us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and
let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on
Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith
” Hebrews 12:1-2

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Click Go The Shears, Boys

In the interests of continuing the cultural heritage of our fine nation I feel compelled to share a chorus of a supposedly famous ballad with you. Its about sheep shearing, an industry which has provided jobs and income for Australian's since 1788 and history dates it back to 3500BC!

Click go the shears boys, click, click, click,
Wide is his blow and his hands move quick,
The ringer looks around and is beaten by a blow,
And curses the old snagger with the bare-bellied Joe.

I say it is in the interest of cultural heritage but actually its more for my personal benefit.

A bare-bellied Joe is a sheep with no wool on its belly, hence making it quicker to shear. Its like volunteering to help only to find out the trickiest part of the job is already done, or being on the Sunday School roster when most kids are away on holidays, or coming home to cook dinner and finding plenty of leftovers in the fridge.

Its important to appreciate these things in life, and to congratulate others when they receive them. In the ballad, the head shearer curses the new bloke for beating him by one swipe of the shear. And dont we often to do the same. But next time you hear of someone getting a break, a bargain or a blessing, share their joy. And next time it happens to you, smile and thank God for the unexpected blessings.

And next time I joke about getting a bare bellied Joe, you can laugh at my joke cause now you know what it means ;)

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