Summary: This is our Stewardship Series for 2009, focusing on the assurance of the Christian peom "Footprints in the Sand" we can step out boldly knowing God walks with us.

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As you can see, the sanctuary is decked out in a “beach theme.” During our brainstorming session this year we came up with the idea of “Forward Steps” for our stewardship drive. Now, can anyone guess how we got from “Forward Steps” to the beach theme?

The center theme of it all this year is that classic Christian poem “Footprints in the Sand.” During one of our talks in visioning team, we talked about the obstacles people have to stewardship… and we discovered that the biggest hurdle that most people feel is fear. We all would LOVE to give 10% to the church… but c’mon… right. There’s no way we can do it. We would love to start out every morning with an hour of reading the bible and praying… but c’mon… where would I find the time for that. We would all love to give the most of ourselves serving as deacons, as elders, as committee representatives… but c’mon… our nights are already too full! The thing that we need to remember, is that every step along the way… we have a God who walks with us. The challenge becomes to step out in FAITH, and trust the God who sustains us. With that said… let us turn to this weeks lesson and turn your bibles to:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

“Building a Relationship with God” (Running the Race)

It was the summer before my Senior year at Jamestown College. I had taken up riding my bike several times a week and had gotten up to riding 10-20 miles in a single go. Needless to say… I was feeling pretty good about myself. So when school resumed and they began advertising for the “Fall Team Triathlon” my friends and I thought we would sign up, and win it! Glory would be ours.

My friend Ken volunteered to swim the 20 laps… I volunteered to ride the 8 miles… Bill volunteered to finish us up with the 2 mile sprint. Now, one thing you should know about us three… is that we were not what you would call… highly trained and toned college athletes. I know that it’s not easy to believe looking at me now… but I was not a Herculian Athletic God in college. We were, the three average Joes… racing against 10 teams of the college’s best athletes. Don’t start laughing just yet.

Well… Ken swam his 20 laps… finishing about in the middle… and when he was done he hit the pool deck gasping for oxygen… he didn’t move for the next four hours or so. But for me… the race was on. It was now my job to make my way to the head of the pack on my bike. Now… my bike was this beautiful grey mountain bike, and I had taken great pride in achieving speeds of 20… even 25 miles per hour on that bike… so I was utterly confident that I would be able to overtake the lead in no time. The thing that I hadn’t accounted for… was that Mountain Bikes are like the SUV’s of bikes… the guys on the 1 pound racing bikes soared past me like I was standing still. You notice how I manage to blame it all on the bike right there? Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it… it was all the bike’s fault.

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