Going from I Can’t to I Can?
Thursday, August 2, 2012
“Evening of Shame” – not words to be expected at the Olympic games, but when athletes purposefully give less than their best you can expect a backlash. Eight badminton players were kicked out of Olympic games yesterday.
Typically, Olympic trainees have to make the difficult mental shift from “I can’t to I can.” But yesterday, those who could pretended they couldn’t. It’s a sport where you expect the guys to wear ties and the ladies to wear dresses. The ball is called a shuttlecock but growing up we called it a birdie. It’s only an intense sport at the Olympics but the exception to that happened yesterday when eight badminton players were expulsed from the game for purposely serving into the net and trying to lose. The crowds booed. Some in the audience came to the referees asking for a refund. As Christians, we trust in a Savior who always lived by the rules… even all the way to the Cross.
It’s been almost a week now since the Opening ceremonies – it already feels so long ago. Here in the United States it set a viewing record with over 40 million viewers and I’m sure it was well viewed in your country. Back on the line with us from London, Christian journalist and writer Craig Borlase. Craig, you’re a Brit – can you tell us what this ceremony meant for Great Britain?
Craig mentioned the hilarious spoof of Chariots of Fire that was performed by Mr. Bean – aka Rowan Atkinson– during the Opening Ceremonies. We have it in our Going Deeper section on our website and I encourage you to go there after the program and watch it. Speaking of Chariots of Fire . . .
We also some other great video clips up on our website and if you’ve never been to haventoday.org, this is your invitation. Take this as your invitation to visit. Just go to haventoday.org. It’s August and we always need to hear from more people us pay the bills. Haventoday.org. 1-800-654-2836.
Open-More Power To Ya- Petra-Be sure to use the 2011 version- From “Back To The Rock”
Well, we have another Olympian, Jennifer Nichols, who is an archer. If you think like me you may be picturing a competition like Robin Hood’s splitting arrows in a half with bow and arrow made of wood, but the competition is quite a bit sophisticated. You might not even recognize Jennifer’s bow as a bow if you saw it. Let’s talk about faith though, Jennifer:
What has the Lord been teaching you? [00:33-01:09]
That sense of priorities is important right? [01:15-01:32]
Thanks Sport’s Spectrum.
. Visualize success. That’s the key for a Olympic athletes. 29-year-old Barbara Parker is running in two races in the London Olympics and she’s relying on the power of positive thinking to help her win. She told the media, "I always picture myself thinking 'wow, I've just got a medal' and doing a lap of honor.”
We all need to visualize success but, for Christians, success doesn’t mean winning a medal, it means living fully for Christ, not bringing ourselves glory but bringing him glory. And for Christians, our hope of success isn’t based in ourselves, it’s based in Christ.
The Apostle Paul visualized success for himself.
He was full of confidence when he wrote the book of Philippians even though he was in prison looking at death. Can you imagine? Sitting there in a cell, anticipating the very real possibility of your own death – and with the Romans it wasn’t likely to be an easy death. Wanting with all your heart to live through it without being ashamed. That’s how Paul defined success --- that as he faced this challenge – he wouldn’t experience the shame of denying Christ but that he would be able to glorify Christ in his body. And he was confident that he would, not because he had confidence in himself, but because he had confidence in Christ.
What do you do when you’re facing a challenge? Do you summon up your own internal resources and practice “positive thinking”? Do you convince yourself like an Olympic athlete that you can do it? Do you visualize yourself a winner? I think a lot of us have been taught to live the Christian life that way. But that wasn’t how Paul lived.
He had tremendous confidence. He said he KNEW he wouldn’t end up ashamed of how he passed through that test of suffering. He saw himself living with strength as he faced it. But he wasn’t banking on himself. He was banking on Christ.
1. He had confidence that Christ would supply him with the Spirit
2. He based his life on that confidence.
1. He was confident that Christ would supply him with the Spirit
It’s simple, it’s real, and it’s something I keep learning again and again. I can have confidence that Christ will supply me with the Spirit.
Phil. 1:18b-20 I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Clearly Paul was confident that Christ would supply him with the Spirit. The fear that he would be left to his own resources and end up ashamed of his own weakness melted away as he trusted in Christ. In place of fear there was joy – joy that Jesus could always be trusted, in every single situation, joy that He would supply him with the Spirit.
He connected his confidence in Christ with joy. He says, “I will continue to rejoice.” He was already rejoicing and he would continue to rejoice.
Confidence does that doesn’t it? Athletes who convince themselves they’ll win experience an exhilaration that’s something like joy.
But what Paul was talking about was real joy. Jesus will supply me with the Spirit. His confidence was built on solid ground. And his joy was legitimate – it’s the joy the Lord intends for us to have --- joy in the Lord and what we can trust him to do.
Paul was confident that Christ would supply him with the Spirit and . . .
2. He based his life on that confidence.
Let me read you another one of Paul’s great “can do” statements from Philippians:
“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Paul was talking about a way of life that always trusts in the Lord – trusts that he will continually give us what we need, that he will always be for us what we can not be in ourselves, that he will always meet our weakness with his strength. I know as I speak to you right now, you may be feeling discouraged and hopeless. For me at those times the question boils down to this – how do I keep on keeping on? Life doesn’t stop does it? How do I find the strength to live?
Paul has a word for us – he’s learned a way to live – he describes it like this: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
How do we learn that way of life? It just doesn’t come automatically. Paul said he had to learn it. He says, “I have learned the secret.”
What Paul learned was very simple – I can’t. It’s a simple statement of truth, “I can’t.” When we’ve learned the “I can’t” then we can learn the “I can.” I can’t do it on my own, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can’t but through Christ I can.
This is how Paul put it in Galatians, “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
That’s what faith is – it’s that shift away from operating as if you’re on our own to knowing you’re not, that you can depend in every way and in every situation on Christ and on his beautiful Spirit at work in you. It’s swinging the center off of yourself onto Christ as the center of your life, as the redemption of your life and the power of your life. It means living in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, doing everything in him and through him.
We have the Spirit, all believers have the Spirit of Christ in us, but we don’t experience His presence when we try to do things in our own strength. We don’t experience him when we’re going it on our own.
But when we realize we can’t do it on our own and that WE DON’T HAVE TO – a whole new way of life opens up. What a great realization it is! We have the Spirit in us giving us strength – giving us life! We can depend on the Lord to continually supply us with the Spirit! And we can begin to walk in the Spirit, not living life on our own, but living in and through the Spirit.
And that’s when we can really say, “I can.” Not because we’ve pumped ourselves up with “positive thinking.” But because of Christ: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
CLOSE – In Christ Alone – Avalon
Chick Fil A Story
Chick-Fil-A Man on the Street interviews
Thank you for offering this DVD. The movie is dear to us. Blessings Eileen in Wisconsin.
Pamela in Washington Your broadcast really was powerful to me today. Thank you. Looking forward to "Chariots of Fire".
Giselle in Colorado, Thank you for your broadcast! Very good interview and information on movie Chariots of Fire and his daughter. Really loved learning more details behind the scenes of it and about Eric Liddle!
Chariots of Fire
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Winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture! The inspiring true story of British athletes competing in the 1924 Olympics. Ben Cross and Ian Charleson head a sterling cast of newcomers and veterans. The story, told in flashback, of two young British sprinters competing for fame in the 1924 Olympics....
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