Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Race

The Olympics are over.

Our family thoroughly enjoyed watching and rooting for America with pride, although a couple of times Ali and Livi chose to root for another country based solely on the name of the competitor. For example, Alison and Olivia, who absolutely ADORE Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana, decided to root for Hannah Miley, the swimmer from Germany, I believe. *Shrug* Go figure. But regardless of who we were rooting for at the moment, the thrill of the competition was understood - the thrill of who would finish the race, whether swimming or track and field, the marathon or the bicycle race. Even the beach volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics could be viewed as a race - a race of stamina and endurance. How much longer could Misty May and Keri or Kobe Bryant and the Redeem Team dominate their opponents? Or how many more flips and twirls would Nastia have to nail before she received a score that put her on top? (As far as I know, that one is still being investigated. Hmm.)

Yes, the Olympics are over, but the RACE is not. Far from it!

Do you think I've lost my mind? Or that I'm at least slightly confused? I'm not. I'm talking about the race that we are running as CHRISTIANS.

Let me define the race for you: The opponent? Satan, of course! The finish line? The end of our life here on this earth. The course? Where ever you go in the course of a day - work, school, the grocery store, your own home, etc. The goal? To spread the Good News of the Gospel. And the prize? (This is the best part!) SOULS FOR JESUS! 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 says, "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 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." That is what this post is all about. That is what our life as a disciple of Christ is supposed to be about. That is what I want to make my life about - to "run in such a way as to get the prize".

Now those of you who know me know that I'm certainly not an athlete and by no means fit to run in a race, but on September 27th I am participating in Soul Walk here in Nashville. It is a noncompetitive 5K (3 mile) walk in which the purpose is to raise funds for local and international mission projects. The mission of SoulWalk is to mobilize Christians to walk and pray for the salvation of family and friends while raising support to share the message of the gospel around the world. I am walking for the school that I teach at and my girls attend, Heritage and Hope Academy, AND for the people in our fallen world who really, really need to hear of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Soul Walk is splitting the funds that I raise 50/50 with our school.

Now, I have the perfect opportunity to hop up on my soapbox and state my viewpoints on the importance of Christian education but I'll spare you . . . for today! :) The bottom line is this: the ONLY thing more important in this life than a good, quality education is developing a relationship with the Lord. I very strongly believe that. I know first hand the difference that having a relationship with the Lord has made in my life. I've seen the wonderful way it is affecting my girls, even at four years old! As you can imagine, with our economy the way it is right now, it is a huge sacrifice for our parents to send their children to this school, and yet they understand the need, ESPECIALLY in this world we're living in today, for their children to receive a quality Christian education. It is the desire of our school administration, faculty, and staff to raise money from outside sources. Thus, I am walking!

Please, please, please support me in this endeavor. To view my personal web page and to make a monetary donation go to: www.soulwalk.org/pages/jen526. I certainly understand if you can't make a donation at this time and simply ask that you please pray for me and for all of His lost sheep that I will be walking for. By supporting me, you are supporting this cause, and therefore, indirectly, you are walking right along with me! Thanks for the company! :)

PRAYER CONCERNS AND UPDATES: This week I need to add my cousin Laura Marske, who is recovering from an emergency appendectomy. Please pray for strength and healing for her. Please pray for Soul Walk '08 and for me as I have been nursing a hurt ankle for a while now. Carson Starks is adjusting just fine and I believe his mama, Laurie is, too, so I took him off of our prayer list. And I'm very happy - no, more like ecstatic, to report that my little girl, Alison Stephens, is doing great with her CPAP machine! Yay! I'm taking her off of the list also. As always, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

P.S. As I'm getting close to the deadline of my contest and my own personal deadline for the completion of The Heart's Journey Home, an update and snippet will be coming soon, so stay tuned!

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