First Baptist Church St. Simons Island

Month: March 2014

I Lift My Eyes Up to the Mountains

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121

This past weekend I went skiing with my sister in Vail, Colorado. I have skied many other places but skiing here has always been a dream of mine. Therefore, when my sister found out that she was going to move out there for a few months to do a clinical for her last semester of physical therapy school, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to make this dream a reality. The scenery was far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. When I first got off of the ski lift at the top of an over 11, 000 foot mountain I was utterly amazed. Mountains continued in the distance as far as my eyes could see. When you take in a view that powerful and majestic you cannot help but think about how incredible God is to be able to create such a beautiful masterpiece. It reminded me that if the God in whom we believe can create this than God can take care of us. What worries are we carrying around with us that we need to let go of and give to God?

The Spartan Race

This past Saturday I ran in something called a Spartan race. The race has fifteen obstacles and lasts for over four and a half miles. I ran this race with eight of my friends from college and high school. The race was very difficult; it was probably the hardest physical thing I have ever done. Towards the end of the race I got real close to walking away. But as I looked at my teammates I realized that we are all in this together, quitting was never an option. As I think about our Christian walk, I am sure we all feel the same way sometimes. Life gets hard and we want to give in or give up. Just remember that we are all in this together. Your family in Christ is there to help carry you along the way and you are there to carry them.

Lessons From an Olympian

This past Sunday I preached at Haddock Baptist Church and one of the stories shared in the sermon was about Louis Zamperini. To my surprise, as I was watching television last night I saw an advertisement for a new movie that will be directed by Angelina Jolie about the story of his life. One lady at Haddock asked if I would send her his story so that she could share it with people at the jail where she speaks. That gave me the idea to also share it with you. I believe his story of strength and perseverance has the ability to inspire us all.

Louis Zamperini was a track prodigy. He set a United States track record that was unbroken for 19 years, and an NCAA mile record that lasted for 20. By 1940, he was an Olympic 1500 meter favorite and was predicted to be the first person to break the four-minute mile. But World War II cancelled the Olympics, and Zamperini became an airman. When his plane crashed in the Pacific he survived only to become a prisoner of the Japanese. They beat him, starved him, conducted medical experiments and enslaved him. Once they heard he had been an Olympian, they were going to force him to race hoping to humiliate him. If he refused they threatened to beat the other prisoners.

The guards summoned a Japanese runner to face him and Zamperini had no hope or intention of winning. Not only was his broken body in no condition for running but he knew that if he won he would probably be put to death. As they started the race he says that other captives began to gather around and watch. For that small amount of time he saw the hollowness leave their eyes and their spirits become uplifted. Zamperini saw it in their faces… they needed him to win. On the final lap, as they cheered, Zamperini pushed past his rival and won the race. He said the last thing he heard before he was clubbed unconscious was the chorus of voices shouting in triumph.

Louis Zamperini, now at the age of 97, would not have done that differently. He could have easily felt sorry for himself and thought his journey had come to an end. But he allowed God to use him to bring light into a very dark place. How can we be a light in our world?