Friday, June 04, 2010

Finishing Well

Don't you love a great finish? This weekend I will celebrate my oldest daughter Hannah's great finish of high school. Ten days later I will celebrate my second oldest Mary Courtney's finish of 8th grade and Roy Cloud Elementary School.

Why is "the catch" etched in our minds even though it transpired 26 years ago? (Yes, you are THAT old!) Do I dare mention "The Play" from 1982 that took place in Memorial Stadium and is etched as the greatest play in college football history? Let's face it, we do love a great finish!

This week in my personal Bible study, I came across the above verse in Hebrews, and the Holy Spirit seemed to make these words grow bold, and He told me to stop! Sit. Soak. Meditate. God wanted to school me and have me dwell on aspects of my life that have significant ramifications and where I am tempted to pull up, fall short and not finish well.

I thought of my family, and the legacy I am endeavoring to leave them with. I am 18 years into parenthood and have 10 more until our baby girl graduates from high school. What am I doing this week that ensures a God-honoring finish in their lives? I thought of my relationship with my neighbors and the great start we had when moving into my neighborhood 5 years ago, but wondered if I have fallen short in the meantime? I thought of PCC, the zeal, vigor and dreams I brought into this position when I was promoted from Pastor of Students to Lead Pastor 7 years ago and wondered, am I falling short of those?

The good news is that God has an abundance of grace and mercy to cover over the areas where we fall short, and God is committed to outfitting us for a strong finish: Philippians 1:6 says "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Think about it, God is all about our finish line, he longs to meet us face to face when we finish strong.

Jesus was all about the finish line too! While the world interpreted Jesus' final words from the cross as words of defeat, His cry in John 19:30 "It is finished" are actually words of triumph! I think one of the reasons we love a great finish is because we are created in God's image, and He not only loves, but models and is committed to great finishes.

Can I ask you a question what kingdom arena are you tempted to fall short? Why? Why not surrender that area right now, access the strength, power and perspective that the Holy Spirit makes available to you and keep going?

Speaking of strong finishes, we did it! We honored God by finishing our year honoring our commitment to our budget. I pray that translates into us touching more lives than ever with the Gospel.

This weekend, we continue our study of the book of Jonah in Chapter 4 looking at Jonah's not-so-great finish. Let's learn from his failures! Bonnie Hansen, Principal of Sequoia High School, will be with us in all three gatherings. I can't wait!