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Winning At What Matters

As we set our clocks forward and welcome in warmer temps, excitement is building for the 2015 season. We are finalizing our race calendars, our fitness is building, and our training is becoming more focused. For those up north, we are actually getting to train outside! As the season draws near, I once again focus your attention to winning at what matters most in 2015 . When this season is over, will you be able to say, "I trained and raced hard, but more importantly, I was faithful to my calling to make disciples of Jesus."

In the last Aid Station we explored what a disciple is. To summarize, a disciple could be defined as an all-in apprentice of Jesus Christ, someone who is wholeheartedly committed to becoming as Jesus is, no matter the cost. This month, we'll begin discussing how someone grows as a disciple of Jesus in our current culture. This process is called discipleship, and it is usually a three-way partnership between the Holy Spirit, a disciple-maker, and a disciple.

Within this partnership, each role is extremely important. There are certain things that each party brings to the table and is responsible for. And, if their part is not done (well), it can sabotage the whole process. Basically, there are aspects of discipleship that only God can do through His Holy Spirit. If God doesn't do it, it cannot be made up for by anyone else. Similarly, a disciple has certain responsibilities (pursuing God, submitting to the Spirit, and being available and teachable for example). If he/she is not willing to do their part and respond to the Spirit, the disciple-maker can't overcome their lack of heart for God or commitment to grow. We may explore each of these roles at greater depth in the future, but today, we'll focus our attention on the disciple-maker.

Within the sports world, most of us are familiar with the role of a coach. I once heard a coach described as someone who helps someone else achieve their potential in a certain area of life. We have all seen this lived out in athletics as coaches help bring athletes to the next level. A coach recognizes potential, and helps an athlete unlock what is possible.

I love that definition of a coach and am inspired by the thought of someone helping me reach my God-given potential - in sports, life, service, leadership, and ministry. Beyond all of this though, I am grateful for the men in my life who have recognized God's desire for me as a disciple of Jesus and have invested in my growth to that end. These men are disciple-makers, and their faithfulness has not been in vain.

In this same light, one of my greatest joys is responding to the Lord's command to make disciples. On my own, I am so far from perfect and have so far to go in terms of being like Jesus. And yet, despite how far I have to go personally, with the Holy Spirit's help, God has worked through me to help others grow closer to Himself. Like a coach, I have been given a game plan (the Bible), and I have a little experience in following after Jesus. God has been able to use this to help those with a little less knowledge and experience grow closer to Himself. God has called each of you to do the same (Mt. 28:19-20).

I now return to my opening question. At the end of the 2015 season, will you be able to say that you were faithful to your calling to make disciples through endurance sports? Some may say, "I'm not ready to disciple anyone. I don't know enough and my life is still a mess." Here's my sporting metaphor. If you are a 35 minute 5K runner, find someone who walks a 45 minute 5K and help them get to where you are. Or, find someone who is sitting on a couch (doesn't know Jesus) and get them training for the race. You know more than you think you do, and you have more to offer than you are aware of. And, more important than all of this, Jesus will be with you to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20). Basically, the Head Coach has your back.


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