God WITH us
Yesterday I visited Jerry Thomas, one of members of the Calvary Running Team, who is recovering from surgery for prostate cancer. Due to his recovery, Jerry wasn't able to attend church so instead, he watched the live stream on the website. He mentioned that while he enjoyed being able to view the service, it wasn't the same as being there in person. He missed the opportunity to interact with others in the church family. As we continued to talk, Jerry shared a thought he had while viewing the service. "I think it's sad that some people view God as if He is watching us via a live stream, only a spectator or observer, rather than an active participant. He isn't disconnected from our lives, but often we relate to Him as if He was." Usually, when Jerry and I run together, it is a comment like this that spurs a discussion lasting for miles! As we talked, I was reminded of the prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 about the birth of Jesus. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Matthew later referenced this passage in Matthew 1:23 adding that Immanuel means "God with us." Not God watching us or God looking in on us from time to time, but God WITH us. He is Immanuel.
In the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Derek Redmond, a 400 meter runner from Britain was leading the semi-final race when he heard a loud pop and fell to the ground with a badly torn hamstring. Rather than allowing the medical staff to help him off the track, he got to his feet and hobbled on, determined to finish. The crowd of thousands watched as he limped painfully toward the finish line. Suddenly, Redmond's father Jim, leaped over the barriers lining the track and pushed past the security personnel until he reached Derek's side. Wrapping his arm around his son, he helped support him and together they crossed the finish where Derek collapsed and was carried away on a stretcher. I think this is a great picture of God WITH us. Unlike the spectators in the stands that day, Jim Redmond, like God our Father, didn't just observe, he came along side and provided support and encouragement. No matter what challenge or difficulty you may be facing today, we serve a God who is WITH us, who desires to support and encourage us. Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble." If you could use some support and encouragement, that's what our community groups are all about. I invite you to join us for a run/walk this week. On Wednesday, we will meet at Clearwater trail at 7 pm. On Saturday we will meet at 9 am at Dorris Ranch and on Sunday we will meet at 7 pm at Clearwater trail. Come early on Sunday to Mount Vernon school and join the Kickin' It group at 5:30 pm for a warm up game of kickball! I will be taking orders for Calvary Running Team shirts for one more week. The cost is only $10. If you would like a CRT shirt, please contact me with your shirt size. Have a great week! Pastor John