Summary: Jesus is the critical reference point of our lives, providing the primary point of reference for our lives, our attitudes and our behavior

Roots, Ripples and Reference Points

Lessons from the Lake Part III

TCF Sermon

August 13, 2006

Have you ever run a race? Have you ever been in a swimming race? Have you ever played basketball, football or tennis, or baseball or soccer? What’s one thing that helped you know you were going where you were supposed to, when you run or swim? How did you know you’d hit a home run in baseball? How did you know you were done running the race? How did you know you were on the field of play, or the court, or where you were on the field or court?

In a running race, you were on a track of some sort, with clear boundaries, or if it was a cross-country race, there was a trail, or a road marked appropriately, maybe by flags. If you were swimming, the lanes were marked, and maybe separated by lane dividers.

On the basketball court, the sidelines, half court and baselines are marked. On a football field, every five yards is marked, as is the goal line, and the sidelines. On a tennis court, you have the net at center court and the backlines.

All these things are reference points. They all help us to know how we’re doing in some way. Whether we’re still on the field of play, whether we’re going straight, or staying on course, what kind of progress we’re making. The goal line, for example, let’s us know we’ve scored. The basketball baseline lets us know we’re out of bounds. The backline in tennis lets us know if our shot is in or out.

It’s funny how when you begin to think about something, you begin to see that something in many places. If you buy a certain kind of car, you all of a sudden begin to notice that make of car everywhere.

I began thinking about reference points as I was in the midst of preparing part one of this three part message, and I began to see reference points all around me. We don’t usually think of them because they’re so routine.

You saw reference points on the way to church this morning… you drove, didn’t you? What about the dividing lines on the road? They’re important reference points, to keep us traveling in our lane. We also get a sense of how fast we’re going by how fast the lines pass us. Of course, in driving, we also need the mechanical, or electronic reference point of the speedometer to tell us how fast we’re really going.

The first part of this three part message was on roots, way back on July 9. I was at Beaver Lake in Arkansas on 4th of July weekend, the weekend before I preached part one of this message.

One of the things I love to do in the summer when we visit my in-laws’ lake house, is swim laps. I do that four or five times a week when I’m home, but I do it at the club where I workout. When I’m at the lake it’s a lot more enjoyable – look at the picture and you can see why.

I’m usually out fairly early, before any boats or jet skis are on the lake, and the water is often smooth as glass, and it’s very quiet.

I typically swim from the dock straight out, oh, maybe about 75 yards, and then back. That’s a lap.

Now, in the pool at the club, a lap’s easy to gauge. I swim from one end to the other and back. It’s also easy to stay in my lane, because the lanes are marked with lines on the bottom of the pool, and even if I wasn’t looking down through my goggles at the lines, I can see the side of the pool and swim straight, by observing how far I am from the side.

But in the lake, that all changes, as the reference points aren’t as ready and available. In the lake, I can only guess how far I’m going by using a reference point. I watch the little peninsula just a short ways from the boat dock. I guess how fast I’m swimming. I can estimate how straight I’m swimming. That’s all because of reference points.

And since, strange as it may seem, the Lord often directs my sermon themes with sermon titles, it seemed appropriate, since I had these thoughts at the lake that 4th of July weekend, and since it was another “R” word, and I’d already planned two parts to these lessons from the lake for me to make this part three of lessons from the lake.

So, here it is, part 3 of Roots, Ripples and Reference Points, Lessons from the Lake.

Several passages of scripture came to mind as I thought about reference points. Of course, that phrase isn’t in scripture, but as with the message on ripples, we find that this is a theme that’s found often in the Word of God, if you consider the meaning of a reference point, and look for words that convey that idea.

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