Tag Archives: olympics

The time I caused my wife to miss a great opportunity

17 Mar

If someone offered you a free trip to the Olympics, including lodging, meals and tickets to a week’s worth of Olympic events, would you take it?

This coming summer the Olympics will take place in Rio, Brazil, and I suspect many of you would jump at the chance!  While I’ve never been there, I’ve heard loads of stories about the beauty of Rio.

Twenty years ago, my wife  had the opportunity to go to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  Atlanta is not as exotic as Rio, but nonetheless, it was an all-expense-paid trip.  The only catch was that she would be helping her sister who was a nanny for a family headed to the Games.  The family wanted live-in childcare so they could see the Games, and they said my sister-in-law could invite a friend.  She invited my wife.

But my wife didn’t go.  It was a missed opportunity.  And I am to blame.  We were newlyweds, I reasoned, and I couldn’t bear the thought of her being gone for a week just a month after we got married.  So Michelle stayed home.  I knew it was disappointing to her, but she never complained.

As I look back on that, I wish I would have been more open to the idea.  I wish it wasn’t a missed opportunity for her.  I was insecure, frankly, and while it is very good for newlyweds to spend a lot of time together, I feel bad that she missed out on going to the Olympics.

Then it seemed unfathomable to me that she would go on a trip so soon after our wedding.  Now it seems like I had the wrong perspective.  It is interesting how time can help us see a situation so differently.  In the summer of 1996, I thought I was right.  Now as we near our 20th anniversary, I see things from a new viewpoint.  As a result of my old way of thinking, my wife missed out on something big.

Have you missed out on something?

This week as we celebrate one of the most joyous days of the Christian year, Palm Sunday, we’re going to meet some people who missed out on something big.  The scene in Luke 19:28-48 is one of boisterous joy.  Jesus has finally made his way to the capital city of Jerusalem.  The crowds cry out with praise for him, declaring him the king entering his royal city.  We call this his Triumphal Entry.  The scene has all the makings of a glorious ascension to the throne.

Except a couple things are really out of place.  There are some oddities.  First, the king, Jesus, is riding a donkey.  Not too majestic, is it?  And second, the religious leaders, rather than praising the king like everyone else, are confronting him, telling him to get his followers to pipe down.  Third, the king is weeping.  Those are not happy tears either.  He is distraught on what could be his coronation day.  Did the crowds notice?  Did they find it odd?

A king riding a donkey, facing jeers, and crying.  What gives?

What gives was a missed opportunity.

Join us at Faith Church on Sunday to discover what Jesus was so upset about, what the missed opportunity was, and perhaps this story may help you avoid missing out too.

Does Michael Phelps have an unfair advantage? (and why it matters for followers of Jesus!) Luke 17:1-19

15 Feb

Quick trivia question: which Olympian is the record holder for the most Olympic medals of all time?

Michael Phelps is the correct answer, which if you didn’t know already, you probably guessed by the title!

But this picture only shows his medals from one Olympics. Guess how many total medals he has won? Total of 22!  See the chart below.  (Update 8/13/16 – Phelps is adding to his record total in the Rio games!  So this info is out of date.  The guy just keeps winning!)

Olympic Medal Winners Top 10When I watched Phelps swim in previous summer Olympics, I thought, he has a freakishly long torso. And he’s not this huge body-builder type. Instead he seems like he has a God-given body for swimming superiority. Anyone else every notice that? Well, it has made the news.   And because he has done so well, scientists have taken notice.

Does Michael Phelps have an unfair advantage? Scientists studied Phelps, took measurements, and they found that he does have some unique physical characteristics. The long torso, double-jointed ankles, long arm span. The scientists noted all these things, and found that compared to the average human, these characteristics are really helpful for swimming

It got me thinking about how perfect it is for Phelps that he got into swimming then. How many other people with bodies suited for swimming or some other sport never got into swimming? Maybe there are people with better-suited bodies than Phelps? It is amazing that not only does he have an amazing body for swimming, but that he got into swimming!  It’s almost not fair for the other swimmers.

My thoughts were dashed by the scientists. You know what they said? Sure his body might be better suited for swimming, but the actual advantage would be so minute as to be negligible. In fact, they suggested that his double-jointed ankles could be a disadvantage, when it comes to force and power in his kick.

You know what they said is Michael Phelps’ reason for success? Almost entirely his training. His insane training regimen is also the stuff of legends.

If you want to get your body operating at premium athletic levels, you have to fine-tune it with a commitment to daily habits.

Just like Olympic athletes, are there habits or practices that disciples of Jesus should be known for?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”  Jesus gave us habits, practices that he wanted us, his disciples, to follow. Some of them we learn by just watching him. Then we do what he did. What did he do? In Luke we have seen him regularly getting away from the crowds, spending time alone in prayer. We have seen him make disciples. So prayer and making disciples are two things he did, and thus they are two practices that we must do.  How are you doing in those areas?

But there are other important practices that we disciples of Jesus should learn.  He specifically teaches a number of them.  In Luke 17:1-19 he teaches that disciples should have a regular habit of the following practices:

Don’t cause people to sin, confront sin, be forgiving, have great faith, serve dutifully, be grateful.

How Jesus invites us to be like Olympic athletes

11 Feb

Are you excited for the Olympics in Rio this summer?   Already you have probably been hearing about athletes who are training for the summer Olympics in Rio. I am really looking forward to the Olympics, as I always enjoy watching the competition. It is awesome to see what these athletes can accomplish, and it is a blast cheering for them. To get to that high level of performance, Olympians train, and train and train. They have many practices, many habits they follow in order to perform athletic feats at a world-class level. Olympians have habits that regulate their eating, drinking, sleeping, free time, not to mention the cardio training, weight training, and training for specific athletic events.

If you want to get your body operating at premium athletic levels, you have to fine-tune it with a commitment to daily habits.

We’ve talked a lot lately about being disciples and making disciples. Disciples make more disciples. But whether you are thinking about yourself, how you can grow more as a disciple of Jesus, or whether you are thinking about how to help other people grow as disciples of Jesus, we need to ask “What should a disciple of Jesus do?” Just like Olympic athletes, are there habits or practices that we should be known for?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”  Jesus gave us habits, practices that he wanted us, his disciples to follow. Some of them we learn by just watching him. Then we do what he did. What did he do? In Luke we have seen him regularly get alone for times of prayer. We have seen him make disciples. So prayer and making disciples are two things he did, and thus they are two practices that we must do.  How are you doing in those areas?

But there are other important practices that we disciples of Jesus should learn.  He specifically teaches a number of them. As we continue our teaching series through the story of Jesus’ life in the book of Luke, we come to Luke chapter 17, verses 1-19.  In this passage, Jesus teaches his disciples six practices that they should incorporate into their daily lives.

So what are these six practices?  Read ahead, and you are welcome to join us at Faith Church this coming Sunday to learn more!