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Summary: Spiritual Olympians with a "go for the goal" mindset, recover from injuries.

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Title: Olympians Recover from Injuries

Text: Hebrews 12:12-13

The Big Idea: Spiritual Olympians, with a “go for the goal” mindset, recover from injuries.

Series: Spiritual Olympians: Going for the Goal, is based on Hebrews 12:1-13 and designed to coincide with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, August 8 – 24 and beyond. It is a series developed from Go for the Goal: Become a Spiritual Champion, Mainstay Ministries.

Introduction:

Athletes get injured.

If you Google “Olympic Injuries” you will immediately pull up a bevy of articles, photos, and videos highlighting the accidents and injures suffered by Olympians.

In this photo we see Olympian Sarah Hammer being attended to after crashing her bicycle in competition.

Project Photo Slide: United States’ Sarah Hammer grimaces in pain after crashing during the Track Cycling Women’s Points Race, at the Beijing 2008.

In this slide you see Hungarian Olympian weightlifter being attended to after dislocating his elbow during the lifting competition. It was a gruesome injury which made the point that the human body has limits. When those limits are exceeded… things break.

Project Slide Photo: Janos Baranyai of Hungary is attended by officials after he was injured while competing in the men’s 77 kg group B weightlifting event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 13, 2008.

When an athlete is injured he or she may have to undergo surgery and most certainly will require extensive rehabilitation in order to return to form in order to compete again.

Spiritual Olympians are also susceptible to injury… in fact books have been written about the wounds suffered by Christians.

Perhaps you have read C. S. Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed or seen the 1993 film about his life, Shadowlands.

Gene Edwards wrote a book originally titled Crucified by Christians which has subsequently been published under the title Exquisite Agony.

Years ago I read a book by Dwight Carlson titled Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?

U.S. Army Corporal Pat Tillman walked away from a 3.6 milion dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to serve his country in Afghanistan, only to loose his life because of “friendly fire.” (CNN.com, Army Finds Tillman Probably Killed by Friendly Fire, 5/31/2004)

Stonewall Jackson, a southern general during the civil war died on the battlefield, mistakenly shot by his own men… that’s friendly fire.

This month the Preaching.com website published a sermon by Michael Milton, Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, TN titled Hit By Friendly Fire: What To Do When Christians Hurt You. (preaching.com/printerfreindly/11550487/)

If you are a Christian it is likely that you will be injured in some way by life and you may even be hit by “friendly fire.”

In one church we served there was a family who attended. The grandparents attended, the parents attended, and the grandchildren attended... but the daughter and her husband did not attend. They were in their late thirties and had two children, both of whom attended, completed Confirmation Class, and were involved in the youth ministry.

One day I asked the daughter why she and her husband never attended church and she said, “When I was seventeen years old (and she named the lady) came up to me after church and told me that my legs were too heavy to be wearing a skirt like that.” She said, “I was so hurt and so angry that I never went back.”

I know there are those who say, “Oh, that’s just an excuse.” And others who say, “It’s time she got over it.” But who is to say the depth of hurt a misspoken word can do to another person. How may little girls become bulimic and anorexic just because someone told them they were fat?

During the last six weeks we have used the athlete metaphor and chronicled the life of a Spiritual Olympian.

We have noted that Spiritual Olympians:

• Remember the Crowd of Witnesses.

• Remove Friction Factors and Signature Sins.

• Run with Perseverance.

• Reach for the Goal.

• Respect Divine Discipline.

Today we are going to talk about how the Spiritual Olympian Recovers from Injuries.

• Spiritual Olympians Recover from Weariness and Injuries!

Spiritual Olympians do not need to lick their wounds and nurse their injuries for years and years and years and years.

The writer to the Hebrews knew that the Christian life is a marathon and that the likelihood of exhaustion and injury along the way is very real.

1. Spiritual Olympians may become tired and get hurt along the way.

• “So take a new grip with your tired and stand firm on your shaky legs.” NLT - Hebrews 12:12

• “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” NIV - Hebrews 12:12

The original language speaks of:

a. The hands as having been wearied. The image is of arms and hands hanging at one’s side, limp and useless… energy spent.

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