I had a great day at church today. Chris mentioned that it was Missio Dei’s 4th anniversary, which means it been one year since I started coming here. My friend Shauna took me to Missio’s 3 year anniversary party at a park and that is how I got started. I am thankful for the friends and family I made here. It’s been a blessing.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Speaking of Shauna, she once asked me about a year ago if our loved ones that have passed on can see and watch what we do here on earth. Shauna’s husband had passed away a couple of years ago. I did a little research for her and remember hearing this passage preached and told her it was all I could find. I’m thankful Chris preached on it because I now stand corrected (and would like to correct that Pastor that told me about it too).
Some people think cloud of witnesses refers to those that have passed away and are now in heaven cheering us on. But I forgot to take notice of the word therefore, which refers to the chapter before. Chapter 11 is a chapter talking about all the amazing people in the Bible that have endured the struggles of the Christian walk and have run the race with their focus on Jesus. The cloud of witnesses refers to them and how we are to look to them as examples. We are also part of a bigger story and are to lay aside our weights (the thing that hinder us – which can be good things too) so we also can continue to run the race. Our focus is always to be on Jesus as we move forward in life with endurance. The gospel as he puts it will “leave you encouraged to run because of what Christ has done on the cross, the freedom He gave you to run in the resurrection, and the power that you have to run in the Holy Spirit.”
I’m glad Chris had us take time to evaluate our own lives and the things we may need to cast aside. It gave me opportunities to sit and re-evaluate where I am at in my own life and what I need to be focused on. He also really stressed to have Godly examples that are living their lives for the Lord that we can look to for encouragement. I am thankful to have quite a few older Godly men that I meet with weekly to learn and grow from.