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The Athlete

The Athlete

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Published by Tim Fig Carper

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Published by: Tim Fig Carper on Sep 15, 2010
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09/14/2010

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Picture Perfect Christians THE ATHLETEII Timothy 2:5 Tonight we continue our series on Picture Perfect Christians. Paul, in writingto his young "son" in the faith, Timothy is giving Timothy examples from dailylife that give us a glimpse of how to live the Christian life. Last week, Danielshared with you the picture of a soldier. Tonight, I want us to take a look atthe life of an athlete.II Timothy 2:5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does notreceive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.Rules are very important to any athlete. Whether its football, basketball,baseball or golf. Each sport has a set of rules that need to be followed.1. In order for an athlete to follow the rules, he first must know the rules.Golf is a game that some of the most and quite honestly hard to understandand quite dumb rules ever. And to be a good golfer you have to know therules. The real hard part, sometimes in the game of golf, is that you are yourown referee. You are the person who enforces the rules on yourself. There are many times when you are the only person who really knows if youground your club in a hazard. You may be the only person to see a ball movewhen it shouldn't have. You are your own official at times and you mustadmit when you break a rule.Golf is a game of rules both obvious and arcane, and if you're going to playthe game, you have to play by its rules. No matter what the cost.Last weekend. Zach Nash, a 14-year-old Wisconsin kid who happens to be afine golfer. So good, in fact, that he won a junior Wisconsin PGA tournament.Problem was, he won it by violating one of golf's most straightforward rules.He had too many clubs in his bag. And the worst part? It was a total accident,discovered long after the fact.Specifics: Nash's 77 won the boys' 13-14 division at the Milwaukee CountyParks Tour Invitational, knocking off 31 other players. Afterward, Nash wentto celebrate with one of his mentors, Chris Wood, head club pro at RivermoorGolf Club. And that's where the troubles began.Wood noticed an extra club in Nash's bag and pointed it out to him.Apparently, a friend of Nash's had left the club at his house, and Nash put itin his bag, not realizing it put him one over the mandatory limit of 14 clubs.
 
Carrying an extra club is a two-stroke penalty per hole, but since Nash didn'taccount for those extra strokes, he signed what was, in effect, an incorrectscorecard, and thus would be disqualified from the tournament.And from there, there really wasn't any choice. Nash called the WisconsinPGA, explained what had happened, and sent back the medal from thetournament. WPGA officials plan to present it to the tournament's runner-up.Now, it's easy to go and tee off -- pun very much intended -- on golf's drop-the-hammer rules, on Wood for bringing the extra club to Nash's attention, orto Nash himself for failing to count the club. But all that misses the point. Thisis a story about honesty and doing what's right, even when what's rightmakes zero logical sense. Sure, Nash could have rationalized away keepingan extra club, but where's the honor in that?LIfe is a lot like that isn't it? I mean there is no referee following you aroundeach day keeping score when you mess up. Its up to you isn't it? When youcross that line and put that extra club in your bag and break the rules in thisrule book with that little white lie or taking that shortcut on your taxes. Well,Zach Nash knew the rules of golf and he called himself on breaking them.Do you know the rules of life? How will you know? By reading the rule book!Later in this chapter Paul will tell Timothy to study to show himself approved.And Paul is telling us as well, to study the word. Know the rule book. Apicture perfect christian, like the athlete will know the rules of the game.A. OBEDIENT...1. "...he competes according to the rules." - 2Ti 2:52. Athletes understand the need to abide by the rules if they desire towin. The rules are contained within this rule book and we are to be obedient tothese rules. There isn't a referee that's going to blow a whistle when we sin.We, like the golfer, need to recognize when we break the rules and callourselves on it. Its called repentance. Its a time when we realize we havebroken the rules and we need to ask forgiveness from God. The great thing about the game of life is this however. Zack Nash wasdisqualified for breaking the rules and he had to give his medal back. For theChristian, that is not the case. Yes, we are going to break the rules containedin this rule book. We are going to fall. All have sinned and fallen short of theglory of God. But we aren't disqualified if we go the judge and ask forforgiveness. An infraction of the rules for the Christian is a forgiveableoffense.
 
Sometimes we break the rules intentionally. Some people just flat out cheatat sports. And just because we are Christians doesn't necessarily mean wewon't be disqualified. I am not saying just because you are a Christian youhave a free pass in the end. And if you don't know the rules of this game of life, you can be disqualified.But you don’t have to deliberately break the rules to be disqualified. It’spossible to unintentionally break the rules and still be disqualified. At the ’88Summer Olympics there was an American boxer named Anthony Hembrick.He was disqualified from competition because he didn’t show up at the ring intime for his fight. The newspaper article states that “U.S. coach, Ken Adams,before returning to the athletes village with Hembrick, said he was under theimpression the bout was scheduled to be the 11th fight of the day, just before1 p.m. But Hembrick was actually scheduled to participate in the fifth bout of the day. He attempted to catch a bus from the village at 10 a.m., but the buswas packed, according to Canadian boxers and coaches who just got insidethe doors. Hembrick didn’t catch a bus until 10:30, and was too late to behurried by ABF officials waiting for him at the door of the boxing arena. Hisopponent was in the ring at 10:40, but Hembrick didn’t arrive until 10:52. …Angelo Dundee said, ‘It’s the responsibility of the head coach to check,double-check and triple-check the time. He’s an Army man, too, he shouldknow that better than anybody. He’s been in the Army for 30 years. And he’sgot assistant coaches.’ … Coach Adams said, ‘We had no idea it was thatclose to the time. I feel bad about it. I’ll take the blame. I feel for Hembrick. Iwish there was something I could do.’” The article concludes by stating,“Hembrick, from Detroit, was considered one of the few U.S. fighters who hada legitimate chance to win a gold metal, in the 165-pound class.”But Hembrick didn’t win a metal—he was disqualified. He didn’t deliberatelytry to break the rules. He did it unintentionally. He was sincere—but sincerelywrong. He was still disqualified.Being disqualified from winning the race of the Christian life is a realpossibility in our lives. Paul took the matter seriously and personally. Younotice in 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul says, “I beat my body and make it my slaveso that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for theprize.”Paul didn’t think that the prize was automatically his just because he was anapostle or because he preached to others. He knew it was a real possibilitythat even he might be disqualified if he failed to faithfully follow Christ. Heknew he had to know the rules and live by them.Are Christians under any less obligation to abide by the rules?a. Jesus calls upon to observe what He taught - Mt 28:19 .Therefore go

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