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"Forget what Lies Behind.

Strain Toward what Lies Ahead."

Hello Beloved Church,

As many of you know, our Church Staff typically selects a theme at the beginning of every year which we believe will help to guide and direct our ministries. In years past, "His Church, His Way," "I am the Vine, you are the Branches," and "Who can stop the Lord Almighty?," have all been selected. In the year 2020, our church theme was, "Break my heart with what breaks Yours." And certainly the Lord did that!

For 2021, we have taken a phrase from Philippians 3:13-14, "One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

In this brief text, the Apostle uses an athletic metaphor to remind his readers of the race they are running. He often used imagery such as this in his writing, calling the Christian walk a "struggle" (like a wrestling match) against spiritual forces, other times likening it to a boxing match, or being a soldier. But his favorite metaphor was always a footrace. And in this simple paragraph, the Apostle Paul reminds his readers how to run the race if they want to win.

He says that our race will require maximum effort and awareness. He says it will require focused concentration. But most important of all, he says that running our race well will require proper motivation, "forgetting what lies behind, straining toward what lies ahead!"

The world would have us look at 2020 as a "lost" or "wasted" year, but the Lord has been working! This year, 2021, let us not take our eyes off the prize! Let us never become "woe is me" ingrates who refuse to see the work of Christ because of our own discomfort. We have the "upward call of God in Christ Jesus" to look forward to! We are not destined for this planet. This is not our home. And the circumstances of Earth, even when difficult, will make us more excited than ever for heaven's shore.

Blessings, Pastor Danny

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