Chris and I again went to Solid Rock last night and were again blessed by God's word which I would like to share with you. These are my notes, I hope you take the time to read them they really made me stop and re-evaluate how I am running the race and make an effort on improving in every way. Hard work is  not a term I like but last night I again realized how much importance God puts on some of the things that I don't like… for example self discipline, hard work, focus, and endurance. But to receive the reward (which I do like) I must first do the things that I don't like .
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 
All runners run but only one gets the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games (such as the olympics) goes into strict training prior to competition.
Paul- I do not run aimlessly... We (Christians) run to get a crown that lasts forever and does not pass away.(focus and reward)
Paul- I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified to get the prize. (hard work, self discipline, reward)
Acts 20:22-24
Verse 24
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
Galatians 5:7
you were running a good race but who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
1 Tim 6:11 
pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
Don't give in to un-forgiveness, doubt , fight for love and faith and godliness.
2 Tim 4:6-8
Paul at the end of his life rights this letter to Timothy and at the end he says...
I have fought the food fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness...
Run in such a way as to get the prize!
1. FOCUS - we run with focus. Do not run without a clear goal ahead of me. Focal Point!!! If you aim at nothing you you will hit it every time.
2. HARD WORK - strict training, labor, blood, sweat, tears. If you don't work for something it's not gonna happen. Godliness is not natural. If you don't work at it you are not gonna wake up and become Billy Graham.
If you don't work out and you just lay in bed day after day your muscles will atrophy, so does your spirit. Is the mission in front of you hard and exhausting? You are alongside Paul.
3.SELF DISCIPLINE- every athlete exercises self control in all things. That is how all followers of Jesus are called to live. Discipline and disciple of the same word. Obvious example of where we are with discipline is DIET--- most people use food as in escape. When your cravings and desires have power and authority over your will. When you can not say no!!! You must be able to live in control and discipline over your cravings. You must be able to deny passions desires and urgings that are not in line with the will of God. Are you willing to give up desires, cravings and urges for the will of God???
4. ENDURANCE- let us run with perseverance the race laid out for us. You are in the story of Jesus for the long haul however many years you may have. Give your life to something other than yourselves. Average American gives 10 years of their lives to TV. Keep going don't give up. Don't throw in the towel. Don't stop praying, don't stop hoping, run with endurance.
5. HOPE-  v. 25 we do it to receive the crown that will last forever.
Fame is fleeting- do you remember the name of the runner at the Beijing Olympics who ran 26 miles in 2 hours he was in every paper and headline 3 years ago.  I don't remember... Do you???

The REWARD -  most of the time what you are dedicating and working for ends up being your reward. In other words my reward is finally attaining that which I have given my whole life to achieve and this reward is is eternal.
Moms- your reward for your hard work giving your life to raise children who are passionate about God the reward is going to be when you are standing in heaven with your children who lived lives passionate for God.
When I think of all that... the way of Jesus is not easy. But it's LIFE. America is about the pursuit of happiness.  That doesn't always align with the way of Jesus but the end result of following Jesus is eternal. Chasing after happiness is fleeting.
It's not an easy life that I want but a good one!!!