Olympic Inspiration…it’s not all about winning.


There are so many inspiring stories about the athletes who train for and compete in the Olympics.  Both the Summer and the Winter Olympics are grueling and highly competitive.  Yet the back stories on the people who make it to this world stage are both inspiring and amazing.  


For example in 1988 a Jamaican Bobsled team competed in the winter Olympics.  The last time I checked Jamaica does not get snow…nor does it reach temperatures cold enough to have enough ice for Bob Sled training.  Yet, a team showed up at the 1988 Winter Olympics to compete.  They didn’t even own Bob sleds and had to borrow them from other competing teams in order to participate in the event.  They competed for pride and for the pure sportsmanship of the games.  Their inspiring story even ended up being made into a movie in 1993 and was again an inspiration to many who saw it.  

When we think of the Olympics the imagery of winning gold medals come to mind, and the glory involved for the country who dominates a certain sport.  But for any country who even competes in these events there is national pride and honor involved.  Above and beyond the glory of winning an event, there is the joy of even being there to excel in excellence.


Another inspiring story comes to mind when I think of the Olympics, it is the story of Canadian Lawrence Lemieux.  He was a Summer Olympian in Sailing.  During the 1988 Summer Olympic games in Seoul South Korea as he was in the heat of his sailing event he saw a Singaporean boat capsize injuring the two sailors on board.  He quickly altered course of his boat and immediately went to their rescue.  In that moment Lawrence Lemieux didn’t have gold medals in his eyes, he had concern for others.  Because of his bravery and concern those two lives were saved.  Later, after finally completing the race (which he placed 22nd because of altering course to save lives) he was awarded second place in that heat.  He didn’t go on to win the event (he ultimately placed 11th) but despite not winning gold, he won the hearts of many around the world for his heroic act of bravery.  At the podium for the awards ceremony in the Sailing category, though Lemieux didn’t win gold he was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal by the president of the International Olympic Committee.   

The idea behind our current Olympics embodies comradery, endurance, hard work, sportsmanship, team work and so many more adjectives.  

I cringe when some individuals on this stage display poor sportsmanship and throw fits because they didn’t win an event.  I think those athletes miss the point.  Yes everyone is to compete to the best of their abilities but the Olympics is not only about winning.  It is about striving for excellence and coming together peacefully as nations from around the world under one cause. 


If only we didn’t have to wait every four years to come together.  

If only we didn’t have to leave the arena or the Olympic village where regardless of ethnicity or difference by and large the athletes live for two weeks in harmony.  If only…

To quote John Lennon, “You might say I’m a dreamer, but you know I’m not the only one.”  

For just a second I wish our nations, all nations could put aside differences and wars and blood shed to see the bigger picture.  For just a second I wish we as human beings would wake up and see what hatred and violence truly does and the long term effects of these divides.  For just a second I wish we heard more stories of heroism and love displayed not just at the Olympics but in every corner of the world.  

We have to tear down these walls that divide us if we’re going to survive each other.  Jesus once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven...” (Matt 5:43-45)

I know injustice exists in this world.  I know that we don’t live in a Mary Poppins world where everything is easily solved with “just a spoon full of sugar”, but I believe despite of how others treat us, we (who are are Christ-followers) ought to rise above it and love despite its lack of reciprocation.  

The Olympics give me hope and reminds me that one day the King of Heaven will make all things new and restore creation to its intended state…in the mean time I don’t have to wait for that to happen, I can live as a child of the Father in Heaven now.  I can rise above the hate and display what love, Godly love looks like.


January 1st = Forgiveness (The 70X7 Principle)


New beginnings.  That’s what some people are hoping for at the start of 2014.  Cue the song “High Hopes” (I’m really not being cynical here either…really).  I believe in the God of second chances, do you?  I believe that when His disciples asked Him how many times they had to forgive Jesus told them seventy times seven (Matt 18:21-22).  I know that He wasn’t just giving them a random number out of His head and it wasn’t legalistic in the sense that they only had to forgive 490 times (that’s 70 X 7 by the way for us who had to use a calculator cause we suck at math).  I believe the disciples eventually got Jesus’ point.  Forgiveness isn’t really about how many times we have to forgive but rather about the conditions of our hearts and the willingness to find grace for others.   Isn’t that what God has done for us?  We mess up royally and we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness and yet His prevenient grace is offered to us through Christ.  He forgives us COMPLETELY!   


I don’t wish to imply that there are conditions on forgiveness here but think of it this way: Forgiveness of others and those who have wronged you alleviates the burdens and scorn you may still have in your heart for that person(s).  They may not even seek sincere forgiveness from you but when you wipe the slate clean of transgressions done to you, you are clearing the weight of that burdens of wrongs done to you.  It may sound selfish, but why live life burdened by the wrongs of others?  It holds you back.  It holds you captive.  You will always be a prisoner to their wrong doings done to you even if they have moved on.  So why let it fester?  Why let that kind of emotional/spiritual sliver remain?  Pluck it out and move on for your own health and well being. 

Secondly, forgiveness doesn’t mean that you become naive and trust people who haven’t earned that trust yet, but it does mean that you move on.  We must be wise in how we let others effect us coupled with the decisions we make which also impacts others.  Forgiveness and trust aren’t always mutually the same.  What forgiveness allows you to do (and the offending party) is to move on.  I don’t believe that we have to automatically forget but we forgive.  Afterall we can’t expect someone who has been sexually or physically abused to forget what was done to them right out of the “forgiveness gate”…it will take time to heal and to cope.  In the same way that it may take years of counseling and healing for the abused, those who have been wronged in other ways will find that time needs to pass before trust and “forgetting” can ever take place.

Lastly, I mentioned earlier about what the year of Jubilee meant in the Hebrew culture.  It was a year in which all debts were erased and people could start over.  Perhaps 2014 is that year of Jubilee for you.  Perhaps you’ve been holding onto pains, hurts, and grudges that need to be wiped completely away.  Forgiveness heals and lifts burdens of all parties.  

Are you willing to forgive?  For those also who are seeking to find forgiveness, be strong.  It takes a lot of courage to own up to wrong doings so that you can grow and move on.  Don’t miss this opportunity on the first of the year to begin on the right foot!  


-Just a thought for new beginnings.  

New Things, New Year’s Brings!


Many people want a clean slate.  Some are hoping to just get through this year and with breaths of relief cruise into a new year, hopefully less bruised and battered.  It is almost 2014, can you believe it?  For some this year flew by (I would be in that crowd), while for others it slowly, geriatrically creeped by.  

Perhaps some look forward to that big New Year’s day bash, while others will happily avoid the festivities and regale themselves with a cup of tea and a good book before falling asleep well before the clock strikes midnight.  3-2-1…Happy New Year!!  

I, for one, have a tough time when getting to the new year and writing that “2014” on the checks from my check book…I’m sure I’m not the only one…anyway I digress.  

What will 2014 have in store for you?  Do you have dreams and hopes to plunge into?  Have you already filled your calendar with them?  I’m not much of a long range planner, but I do have some aspirations for the new year.  



 noun \ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən\

Definition of ASPIRATION
:  audible breath that accompanies or comprises a speech sound


:  the pronunciation or addition of an aspiration; also :  the symbol of an aspiration

:  a drawing of something in, out, up, or through by or as if by suction: as


:  the act of breathing and especially of breathing in


:  the withdrawal of fluid or tissue from the body


:  the taking of foreign matter into the lungs with the respiratory current

a :  a strong desire to achieve something high or great
There we go, #3 in the dictionary…something to achieve…this is the kind of aspiration I’m talking about.  
Here is my bucket list for 2014…(AKA my bucket of aspiration) 
1) I want to write better and increase this audience: 
I know, perhaps it sounds ambitious, but we need things to aspire to and I want to become a better writer as well as help others along the way within the content of what I write…so here goes!  
2) I want to improve my preaching and my application of the Word!  
It goes without saying that ministry is tough and there will be times when I won’t have all the time I would like to write my sermons but my desire is to dedicate more time the application of method of my sermon writing. 
3) To stop and take in God’s beauty more. 
I love the outdoors, I enjoy photography as well as poetry and this year I would like to stop and just relish the beauty of God’s creation around me.  In the process of taking time for 1 & 2 I want to be able to look up from my computer or my books and spend time in the nature around me, to truly appreciate it more and say “thank you” more often to the Lord of these provisions.  
4) Be all I can be as a good parent. 
I have four kids who need good parental role models and I can (and should) strive to be that to them as their father.  God blessed me with these four wonderful humans and it is both my responsibility as well as my Wife’s responsibility to bring them up properly.  I aspire to be a better parent in 2014.  
5) Be all I can be as a Husband.
My Wife deserves it, and I can and should show the love of my life how a husband can cherish and love his wife!  She deserves my best effort and love as well as attention to her every needs.  I aspire in 2014 to win “Husband of the year”…okay maybe that’s pushing it, but hey the sky’s the limit!  🙂  
Anyway, new things, new year’s brings…it’s simple…take time, appreciate life, and contribute positively to it in ways that God has blessed you through gifts, insight, and abilities.  Remember life isn’t only about what you’ll get out of it, life is far more rewarding if we all include others first into the grand scheme of our perspectives.  
God Bless you, and Happy (Pre)  New Years!  Now get aspiring!  

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