Summary: This sermon is about the practice of fasting. (The Life - part 10)
Go Fast And Live
The Life – part 10
The Practice Of Fasting
QUESTION – what do you want to be when you grow up? Who do you want to do when you grow up?
When Bruce Jenner grew up – he wanted to win a gold medal in the decathlon in the Olympic games. But in 1972 in the games in Munich Jenner finished in 9th place. AND though Jenner had trained hard before Munich, after this poor showing he trained even harder. He trained 7 hours day, 7 days a week for 4 years… AND – because of that training – in 1976 at the games in Montreal, 26 year old Bruce Jenner won the grueling ten day decathlon and was acclaimed the world’s greatest athlete.
Vladimir Sainikov of the Soviet Union was a skinny kid who seemed to be almost constantly sick – but when he grew up he wanted to be a great long distance swimmer… Vladimir would eventually see that dream come true and win Olympic gold and set world records in the 400, 800 & 1500 meter swims. BUT – these accomplishments - did not come without a price. Seven days a week – 365 days a year – Vladimir’s daily routine involved six 500 meter swims before breakfast, an hour of lifting weights in the afternoon, and 6 more 500 meter swims before dinner. Eventually he would lengthen his daily swims to a total of 20 kilometers (12.5 miles a day!).
IN – this country a dream that many young girls have is to an Olympic gymnast. THIS – is how they get there… They wake up in the dark, while most everyone else is still sleeping. When other people’s alarm clocks start ringing, they are already working at the gym. Their concentration is total, even at this early hour. Over and over, they twist and turn their bodies, making sure that each muscle knows exactly what to do. After practicing hundreds of moves, they might head off for a few hours at school, then it’s back to the gym for an afternoon into evening session. Every day except Sunday they put in 5 full hours until 9pm. They run and do conditioning exercises for about an 1/2 hour, then some stretches and basic skills work. Finally they work on their various apparatus rotations, three a day for 70 minutes each. They’re home by 9;45 at the latest, in time for a snack and some studying. Then, it’s bedtime. The next day it starts all over again. And that’s the off season. To prepare for an important competition, world class gymnasts spend even more hours each day perfecting every detail of their performance.
LISTEN – there is one word that underscores all those examples above, and that word is discipline… QUESTION – without his grueling training routine do you think Bruce Jenner would have won the decathlon? If Vladimir Sainikov only swam 2 miles a day would he have seen Olympic gold and set 3 world records? Does a young girl have even a chance at making it to the Olympics if she only shows up to the gym 3 times a week? I THINK – we know the answers to those questions…
SO – what do you want to be when you grow up? who do you want to be when you grow up in your faith?
Do you want to be like; David – standing in a valley, taking out a 10 foot giant; defeating mighty armies for God?
Do you want to be like; Moses boldly standing before the most powerful ruler in the world and telling him – “dude you’d best let God’s people go” - parting seas, bringing down the word to God’s people, leading them…
Do you want to be like; Joshua – ‘strong & courageous; - who led the Israelites across the Jordan River and conquered the promise land…
Do you want to be like; Noah – who keep on hammering nail after nail for 120 years building a boat in the desert, talking all kinds of flax from his neighbors, BUT who didn’t give up because God said it’s going to rain… AND – because of his faithfulness God saved his family.
Do you want to be like; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – 3 men who refused to bow to the image of gold Nebuchadnezzar had set up in the desert… Who said with such confidence – King we are not bowing to that idol – go ahead and toss us into that furnace, and if God wants to he will deliver us – but even if he doesn’t we aren’t going to bow…
Do you want to be like Paul; a soldier for Christ, a man who was beaten, put in prison, betrayed attacked and often was cold hungry and naked… BUT – who said I’m not giving up, I’m in this to the end…For me to live is Christ & to die is gain… a man who still stood strong as they led him to his death at the edge of an axe.