The Olympics begin and we see athletes from around the world gathered to show their best. They’ve trained and worked really hard (I can’t even imagine how hard they’ve worked!) Life as an athlete training for and being in the Olympics is completely different from my life. I think that’s one reason why we are attracted to watching as much of the Olympics as we can.

The Olympians inspire us and we feel for them during the competition: their struggles and pain. We feel for and with them during their losses and their wins. They make us want to be better at the things we do. It’s a good time to watch the sports we know and love and get a glimpse at the ones we don’t know so much about.

What would you do if you could do anything?

What would you want to be good at, if you could be good at anything?

Where would you go if you could go anywhere?

Jesus turns what is “good” upside down. (Well, Jesus turns most things we think we understand upside down.) Jesus invites us into his way of life that is different. A way of life that, like the Olympics, might be different than my life. Jesus' words make me want to be better at the things I do. Here’s Jesus telling us what he thinks “good” is.

Matthew 5:1-12

The Message (MSG)

You’re Blessed
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it,Ido! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Tomorrow, we get to hear Hunter Lee share stories from his trip to Kenya at the beginning of the year. Life in Africa was different from anything he had known and I think he would agree, that was a good thing. We’ll be looking for you at 9 or 10:30 am to celebrate and thank God; and to comfort one another in life’s struggles.


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