Arriving At The Finish Line!

One of my two sons was a runner. He ran medium distances and cross-country. I remember standing near the finish line at a track and field meet watching different races finish. One young guy had amazing Olympic style form. Every movement seemed so coordinated and oriented toward driving him forward. I declared to another dad standing next to me that that was winning form. One of the timekeepers was an elderly gentleman. He turned to me, stopwatch in hand and said, “It ain’t how you drive it’s when you arrive.” At the time it made all of us within earshot laugh. He was right about foot races. However, life is different. It is all about how you “drive” and “when” you arrive at the finish as a follower of Christ really is not paramount. What concerns me as I look back at my 50 years of following Christ is how many don’t ever arrive. They give up on their faith, throw in the towel, or leave the race all together. Others, it seems, throttle back and seem to plod across the finish line.

These realities stand in dissonance to Paul’s declaration to Timothy. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). What about you? Are you still running the race with the same vigor, joy, and expectation as when you first launched out of your spiritual starting blocks? Are you still putting to use the spiritual gifts and natural abilities the Lord has privileged you with for the sake of the glory of the name of Jesus?

One of the concerns I have today is that our pandemic exodus has resulted in spiritual lethargy made more evident by our recent recess from so many opportunities to utilize our passions and grow in our faith. Are we one of those runners who have backed off and are content to plod into the presence of the Lord? Or worse still, are we heading toward spiritual collapse, which usually is the product of an erosion of our heart’s affections.

Sunday, I want us to look forward with an expectant faith. God is still God, and God is still good. And we the church are the Bride of Christ. We have much to do to be prepared to present ourselves to our coming Groom.

I look forward to being with you.
Pastor Steve Adams
(Guest Contributor)

Are We Thankful For The Cross?

Recently we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. It’s a time to reflect on the blessings in our lives. It’s also a time to reflect on the challenges we’ve overcome. At City Centre, we’re also celebrating 42 years of worshipping and serving God together – October 12, 1980 was our first worship service. Through the years there have been many ups and downs, but God is faithful to give us just what we need if we keep our focus on Him.
In the same way, the cross has its ups and downs. The world knows the downs best. The cross began as a place of torture. Criminals and opponents of the Roman Empire were subjected to public humiliation as they hung naked on a tree. It was a good ending if one died of suffocation and had the body taken down. Often a body could be left on the cross until it completely decomposed. Hebrew beliefs thought that anyone left to hang or left unburied was cursed (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). This is an awful, awful thing. How could we ever be thankful for such a horror?
It’s because by enduring this very act our Lord Jesus brought freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom from the guardianship of the law. Freedom from all the systems that keep us from God. As Paul summarizes, “for freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). Why use a symbol of death and torture to bring freedom? Only God knows. And the testimony of the cross still confuses the world. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). We can certainly be thankful for the instrument and sign of the cross which brought us the gift of freedom. It’s the last gift we should expect as rebellious children, but our perfect and loving Father knows how to give the best.
In this way we should be thankful for the cross. If that reason doesn’t fill your heart with joy and thanksgiving, take a moment to inspect your relationship with God. I’ve found that when my feelings are reduced to simple obligation it’s usually because something else in my life is out of order and has made a barrier between myself and the Lord. Confess the dysfunction, proclaim Jesus as Lord and King, and then give thanks. You’ll be glad you did.
See you Sunday,

Paul Alli
(Guest Contributor)