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Summary: Our lives as Christians is an amazing race that takes a lifetime. We are going to face obstacles that will cause us to want to quit. But we have to remember that our coach, God, is always pushing us to go just a little further.

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The Amazing Race

Paul’s Missionary Journey’s

Part 1- Witness To The World

Pastor Ryan Akers

Me- Has someone ever told you you couldn’t do something because of your size or intelligence or because of your family or your past? Pic of me running cross country

(Cross Country- rag tag kids, laughing stock, my friend Melissa/blind and albino, look down to see the course and Mr. Caldwell would run beside her to help her find her way. “Listen to my voice!”) She never quit. The end of her story after the message.

We- You don’t have to be blind and albino for people to not believe in you. Unfortunately who we were can and probably will haunt us for a long time. Even though we know we aren’t the same person, its hard for others to believe that we’ve changed. It’s hard to not run the race that is set before us and ignore the people around us saying that we aren’t good enough that we should quit that we’ll never finish, but its us who is going to have to make a choice whether or not we are going to listen to people and quit or are we going to listen to God and keep running the race.

Are we going to let our past hold us back from being everything God has created us to be or are we going to travel on this journey and never look back?

Take This Home: God has forgiven where you’ve been so how far will you journey with him.

God- If there was ever a person in history who others thought couldn’t run this race it was Paul.

Paul’s History/ His finish line was to be the best Jewish Priest possible. God wanted him to be a witness to the world.

9:1-6- Paul is determined to eradicate the Christians. He has become a religious terrorist./ God takes drastic action to change a driven man. When you are training for a race it takes drastic measures sometimes to get us focused. (coach would take us to the middle of the country and drive off-focus, don’t panic)

9:15: God purposely chooses people who we least expect to be his witnesses. (God’s greatest leaders have been shepherds, tax collectors, prostitutes, children, and carpenter’s) So don’t question God when he calls you to be his witness and you say, “who me?” I say why not? And don’t question God when he tells you who he chose to be his witness. Just obey. If God called only a certain type of people then many groups could not be reached. What if God wouldn’t have called me to become a Christian because my parents divorced? What if God refuse to accept you as a believer because you were an alcoholic or a drug addict? God’s grace is bigger than us. God desires all people to be His followers not just a few.

9:19-22: Started to preach right away. There is not a grace period. Once you become a child of God you are a witness to the world. Your job is now to proclaim, “once I was blind, but now I see, once I was lost but now I am found.” And people are going to say, “Hey wasn’t he the one who was addicted to pornography. Weren’t you the one who bullied everybody in high school. Weren’t you the girl who gossiped and lied about everybody? Those are the ones who will question what God has done. They will be people we know and people we don’t, they are the general population but we are to keep listening to God’s voice. Keep running to his direction.

When you listen to God’s voice and boldly proclaim Christ then God’s spirit will baffle men and Christ will be proclaimed to all who doubt.

9: 23-28: On this race even God’s own will question you. But God will always raise up one who will stand by you. That one person who will keep you going strong in your faith. Who will fight for you, encourage you. They will be the person to run the same pace as you.

You- So what happened to Melissa- She went on to win 2 state titles, graduated Valedictorian of high school, graduated # 1 in her University and is now a Rhode Scholar studying Criminal Justice at Oxford University. Don’t tell Melissa it can’t be done.

Just remember God has forgiven where you’ve been, so how far will you journey with him?

Where are you on your race. Are you listening the doubters or are you listening to God’s voice. Are you too tired to run anymore or is someone keeping pace with you to keep you going just a little bit more. Are you being a witness to the world or are you failing your call? It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with in life. Work, marriage, personal sin, parenting, all of it is part of the spiritual race that you and I are running right now. In every area we are being told by people to give up. Give up on your job because people are being promoted past you, give up on your marriage because its not getting better give up on your life because your single and will always be alone. Give up on your walk because I know what you did, I know who you really are.

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