Summary: God has called us to do hard things! Do we walk away from our relationships including our relationship with God because it gets to challenging? Jeremiah 12:5

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Good afternoon, it is so good to be back with you. I am thankful for all that God is doing in my life and in the life of our church.

And so it is great to be with you today.

Today I want to share a word with you that I believe God has been stirring in my heart for a while but I think that in the recent weeks, He has been showing me how critical it is. And I think that from some of the conversations I have had with some of you he is showing you this too.

I absolutely love the Olympics, I don't know about you but I love it. I love the competition, it is funny because during the Olympics we all become experts on sports we have never even thought about before. You know what I am talking about? I remember after the last olympics saying things like, oh yeah the Norwegian rowers gave it a good effort but their cadence was just a little off. Seems like their first oar, needed to get his head in the game.

Anyway one of the truly amazing athletes during the last olympics was a sprinter named Carmelita Jeter, do you guys remember who she was. David can we see the photos, Anyone remember this moment, it was one of the best moments of the Summer Olympics. A couple of weeks ago we discussed Gerard Butler's abs so I thought it would only be fair to talk about Carmelita's abs today, She could have been a Spartan!

One of the things that made a big impression on me is right after Carmelita won this race and she was giving an interview and she began to talk about her coach. She said that he was the biggest jerk she had ever known. That he was never satisfied and that he called her bad names and he was ruthless in pushing her to achieve at an even greater level. Then she said that she could never have become the fastest woman alive if it had not been for him. She went on to say that she was a very good runner, but he had turned her into a great runner. At the end of the interview she said that she loved her coach because of how hard he pushed her.

I had a very similar experience in basic training, I had this little drill sergeant that was so mean. I am telling you he was likely the meanest person I had ever met. He was just a nasty ugly little man, with all kinds of scars on his face, He looked like the devil! and he could cuss. Man I am telling you I aspired to be able to cuss as good as this guy could cuss. He could add four different cuss words into a word that only had two syllables. I remember thinking at one point during that training that he was possibly the most evil human being on the planet.

He pushed us and pushed us, to relearn everything we thought we knew how to do. We had to relearn how to walk and how to run, how to exercise and how to fold our clothes. We relearned how to make our beds and how to clean a room. One of the interesting things is learning how to think about success. Each of us in the squad had an ability to do one thing or another really well. I remember the feeling of mastering a skill and thinking that my drill sergeant would give me praise or at least not cuss me out. But I found out of one of us failed then we all failed. On graduation day, as we prepared move on to wherever the Air Force was sending us next I remember thinking that I truly loved this man. That he had pushed me to become a better man, to become more focused that I thought I could be, to be more honorable, to work harder and to evaluate success in a whole new way. I knew that day that my character and my ability to achieve would not be as great if I had not known him.

The thing is that over time I have learned to love the easy path. I have realized that the easy path is filled with pleasure and with comfort. Why do men cheat on their wives, because it is easier to have sex with someone you do not care about that it is to work through the often difficult realities of committed relationships. Isn't that a deep truth, why do we love people when we first become friends and then when the difficult life issues come up decide that it is too much work to stay friends. Oh to be sure we are not that honest with ourselves, we blame in on them don't we. We say things like, they are too needy or not needy enough, they have not been the same lately, they are too demanding or expect too much. Their problems are too big, I feel like my relationship with them is taking too much, etc, etc!

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