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Summary: Life is a tough course. Certain factors can help us or hinder us.

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THE RACE OF LIFE

Heb. 12:1-3

INTRO.- Life is a race, don’t you think? A race against something or someone.

ILL.- TOP 10 SIGNS YOU ARE BROKE

10. American Express calls and says: "Leave home without it!"

9. You’re formulating a plan to rob the food bank.

8. Long distance companies don’t call you to switch.

7. You rob Peter...and then rob Paul.

6. You finally clean your house, hoping to find change.

5. You think of a lottery ticket as an investment.

4. Your bologna has no first name.

3. Sally Struthers sends you food.

2. McDonalds supplies you with all your kitchen condiments.

1. At communion you go back for seconds.

I know. I know. That’s bad. But for some people, it might not be so far off base.

Life is something of a race again inflation, recession or some kind of bad session.

ILL.- About 10 years ago my twin sister and her husband were separated for about two years. She was in Arlington, Texas, and he was in Seattle, WA. Why were they separated? It wasn’t because of marital problems, although that’s a real problem in our world today. They were separated because of financial problems. HE NEEDED A JOB. And could only find one in Seattle.

My sister Sharon stayed in Arlington, TX. She lived and worked there while Mike lived and worked in Seattle. They didn’t want things that way, but it just happened that way in order to survive.

Mike lost his white-collar, aircraft computer engineering job after many years with a company in Dallas. They cut back and that sort of thing happens all the time. He even went one full year without work! Finally, he got another job back in the Dallas area and is now living with his wife of 36 years. Hopefully, the job will stick.

Financial problems are tough. They are tough for families and for churches! Amen?!

Work-related problems are tough. They happen in the church too.

ILL.- A preacher friend of mine in Marion, IL, (Gerald Ford, Jerry Ford) preaches at the 3rd Baptist church. It’s a Southern Baptist church, conservative and generally, very committed people. NOT! No, not always. Listen to what he wrote me the other day.

He wrote, “the lack of commitment in the 21st century evangelical church is at an epidemic level. Even with what we are doing, there is an absence of commitment. Our staff does most of the work. I am fortunate to have a good staff. I have 37 deacons and only 2 of them made deacons meeting last night. That is discouraging. We are trying to organize into ministry teams, and get a Baptist Men’s group organized to dovetail with the deacons ministry teams, and it is like pulling eye teeth. Our finances sound good, but for a church that averages over 360 in worship we are a long way from where we should be. The minister of music gets discouraged in the summer, because the 35 voice choir doesn’t show up for practice or Sundays. I had 12 in choir Sunday morning. That is pitiful.”

Work-related problems happen everywhere. In the world and in the church and they are very real. But they are not the only things we have to deal with in this rat-race called life.

ILL.- Someone said, “Careful grooming may make you look 20 years younger, but it still won’t fool a flight of stairs.”

And someone else said, “You’re getting older when all sports leave you tired - including just reading about them.”

Another part of the race of life is called aging. And it’s here to stay whether we want it or not. We can only turn the clock back so far or stop it momentarily.

I Tim. 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

That’s a powerful and enlightening verse of Scripture. Physical exercise is good. And I am one person who believes in it, but it alone will only do so much for us.

What we need is godliness or a continual relationship with the God who created us and His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only way I know of to make life better during the bitter times of this life!

PROP.- There are certain factors that can help us or hinder us in this race called life. What are they?

1- The witnesses who encompass us

2- The weights that encumber us

3- The winner who encourages us

I. THE WITNESSES WHO ENCOMPASS US

V. 1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses...”

Are you an action-type person? Or a watch-the-action type person? Do you like to play the game? Or do you like sit and watch from the grandstands?

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