Pastor's Pen
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March 8, 2016, 1:58 PM

Riding Into The Wind

 

Riding Into The Wind

   Before I mount my road bike, I always watch the weather reports to see which way the wind is blowing and how hard. I usually ride south on Commerce to 70, then east to Madill and back. The direction of the American flags flying at the Veteran’s Center also help determine if I am going to have a difficult workout on the way out, or on the way back. If the flags are blowing in an easterly direction that usually means that the wind will be to my back going out toward Madill. But by the time I get to 70, the wind is blowing from the east and that makes for a difficult ride. Then when I get to Madill and turn around to come back the wind has changed and it is blowing out of the west. Those who ride know what I’m saying and know that those days are not much fun. BUT, it is true that any day on the bike is a good day!

   Those of us who also swim know that the wind doesn’t have much effect on our swimming. That’s why on windy days I would much rather swim at the Y. If you are an outdoor swimmer, swimming in water which has currents, you know that the current carries you along with it. You have to swim too, of course, but with the help of the current the swimmer can go further and faster, and with less effort, than by your own power.

   O.K. what’s the point with all this riding and swimming information? Let me share with you that, for me, when the riding gets tough and the swimming feels like it’s all upstream, that’s when I think … “Our God is the God who gives power to the faint …” That a great line from the movie, Chariots of Fire, when Eric Liddell is talking to a group of people who have watched him run in a race between Ireland and England.

   Our God IS the God who gives power to the fainthearted. Faith is not a general trust in something or other or someone or other. It is looking at our situation and our own frailty in the light of who God is and what He has done for us. Hope, in the same way, is not a little bit of optimism. It is looking at the future in the light of the same God and what He has promised to do for us … working his purpose out as we ride through this life.

   For a Christian, life is shaped by gratitude – gratitude for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.  It is by God’s grace that we receive the gift of our own lives, and so we are called to shape the whole of our lives by our grateful response. “The stewardship of all of life” is a common phrase among Presbyterians and other Christians, yet too often stewardship is reduced to an annual program. “Gratitude for all of life” may be a way to broaden and deepen our understanding and our use of the gifts God has given us! Some folks who listen to my sermons have often heard me say, “I believe the central note of the Christian faith is JOY. And the central expression of that note of joy is gratitude.”

   Easter is coming in a few weeks. Let me encourage you to not celebrate Easter just once a year. Celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ every Sunday and watch it flow into your Mondays. 03.06.2016

   Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at: rbgoodnews@yahoo.com


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