A Christians Voice from Fort Smith: Volume 1, Issue 1 – June 2012

“The Heart of a Champion”

It has been my pleasure to publish this website since March 2009. I have dedicated the site to the memory of my late father, William C. Sexton, as a teaching tool targeted to youth and men’s ministry. I have focused teaching, targeted to young people, in a page I have titled Remembering My Creator. I generally focus the articles in this section, which I now call A Christian’s Voice from Fort Smith, to topics of interest to men who are striving to be spiritual leaders of their families. This month I address those men who are interested in being spiritual champions. I want to speak to those of you who are interested in developing the heart of a champion in your sons and daughters.

 

There is a book in my library which I purchased while still in high school. I have read it several times, used it as the basis for a Toastmasters speech, and drawn upon it for illustrations in sermons. I would like to share some thoughts from it with you here. In it, Bob Richards, former Olympic pole-vaulter writes, “What it takes to make a champion in the game of athletics is what it takes to make a champion in the game called life…every man needs the heart of a champion. It’s a quality of mind, a mental resolve, an attitude that turns a man beyond the normal and the mediocre to accomplishing great things in all walks of life.” (The Heart of a Champion by Bob Richards, published by Fleming H. Revell Company, May, 1959, pp. 27-28)

 

Richards opens the book with a chapter he titles “A Philosophy for Winning.” Summarizing the thoughts of this chapter, Mr Richards says there are three secrets to this winning philosophy:

  • Dream great dreams and have the will to translate them into reality
  • Be inspired by a great goal, cause, or challenge to see yourself for who you can become
  • Take God with you

 

Don’t we all want to win – to be “champions” in life? His association with great athletes lead Mr. Richards to the conclusion that ALL champions display 4 QUALITIES. Please consider those qualities and then allow them to motivate you to accomplish great things in your spiritual life. First, consider that the heart of a champion …

 

Refuses to Give Up!

Abraham Lincoln, though not an athlete, is an example of one who refused to give up. Born in obscurity and poverty, Old Abe tried unsuccessfully for the senate 4 or 5 times before he finally made it. In business, he failed 3 times and was in debt $1800 when he went to Springfield. But Abraham Lincoln had the heart of a champion and he never gave up. He was elected the 16th President of the United States in 1860 and won re-election in 1864 and has been recognized as one of the greatest of U.S. presidents. His law partner said of him, “His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest.”

 

This is a principle that I personally struggle with. I am tempted to give up when I encounter an obstacle. If I do not master the new skill or learn the new material after a few attempts I must fight that inner voice that tells me to quit. My wife, a music major, has tried on several occasions to teach me the finer points of tempo, cadence, beat and rhythm. I usually throw up my hands in frustration before I have fully comprehended the concepts.

 

But Champions NEVER give up. If you and I want to succeed, we must refuse to give up. Also secondly, consider that the heart of a champion …

Dares to Believe the Impossible!

The 14-foot pole vault, the 50-foot shot put, the 4-minte mile; all were thought impossible before they were achieved. In 1951, a year before the Olympic Games in Helsinki Finland, a Russian by the name of Kazantev astounded the world by breaking, by 10 seconds, the world record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He solidified his grip on this event by repeating his record-breaking performance. As the ’52 Olympics approached, everyone conceded that no one had a chance of beating the Russian. Everyone, that is, but a young American named Horace Ashenfelter. Horace just determined that he was going to give everything he had and that he was going to WIN that race. Horace stunned even his teammates when he ran a faster time than Kazantev in his preliminary heat. Then in the finals, in a race that changed leads several times, Horace finished ahead of the Russian slashing his record by 3 seconds. Horace had orchestrated the biggest upset of the Olympic Games.

 

Richards in his book says, “I believe the thing that has made America is the dream in the hearts of scientists like Edison and Franklin, the dream in the hearts of politicians who have been statesmen. It’s the dream in the heart of practically every person who dares to believe the impossible, who believes that no matter what has been done, men will come along to do yet greater things.”

 

We might not be great scientists or statesmen but we too must see ourselves as what we can become. We must see our POTENTIAL! We limit our success when we live only in the present.

 

Having refused to give up and dared to believe the impossible, thirdly the heart of a champion …

 

Keeps Going Even When It Hurts!

Emil Zatopek, in the1952 Olympics, won 3 championships, setting 3 records. In talking with Mr. Richards, Emil talked of the secrets to his winning. He trained 6.5 hrs a day, every day of the year. He told Mr. Richards, “I run until I hurt; that’s when I begin my training program. I’ve learned that if I can just get beyond fatigue, there is a reserve power that I never dreamed I had, and then I go on to run my best races.”

 

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to complain and throw a “pity party” when things turn sour for me. How much MORE could I accomplish with the mindset of an Emil Zatopek?

 

Finally, the heart of a champion …

 

Gives Everything It Has!

In speaking of this quality Richards observes, “…I’ve seen boys, when they’ve given everything they’ve got physically and mentally, call on something spiritual that carries them to their greatest performance.”

 

Mr Richards interviewed Parry O’Brien on the night that he went out and shot the put a world’s record 59 feet, ¾ of an inch. Parry told Bob, “You can train your body to a peak of physical perfection… But when you get into that ring you need something just a little extra, something down deep within you that can give you that extra boost you need for world’s-record-breaking performances. I always pray to God, because I’ve found in Him that power that helps me do just that little extra.”

 

Yes, we must learn how to “bring home the gold,” “to call on everything We’ve got, down to the deepest spiritual reserve in our hearts and souls (adapted from Richards, p44).” I Don’t believe that we should pray to win but I DO believe we should pray for help to give our BEST!

 

Conclusion

As you go about your day, think on these things. Remember that a champion refuses to give up. He dares to believe the impossible. He keeps on going even when it hurts and he gives everything he has.

 

Do you exhibit these qualities in your professional and personal life? I challenge you to apply these principles in all areas of your life! Remember, “The way we react to our challenges determines the destiny of our lives, our country and our world.” (Richards, p 121).

 

There are definite character traits that typify the heart of a champion. In the coming months I would like to consider several of these character traits with you. Click on the link below to see the Topic Schedule for what I have planned for this page over the next few months. Next month we will consider the trait of LEADERSHIP.

 

Thanks for reading with me dear friends. If there is anything that I can do to assist in your daily walk, please e-mail me at achristiansvoice@sbcglobal.net

 

–Randy Sexton

A Christians Voice from Fort Smith – Topic Schedule

 

Remembering My Creator: Volume 2, Number 1, June 4, 2012

Remembering My Creator

Volume 2, Number 1

Theme: Evidences for my Faith –

Bible Claims & Christian Evidences

 

In This Issue:

  • “Letter From The Editor” by Randy Sexton
  • “What the Bible Claims to Be” by David Deuster
  • “What is Christian Evidences?” by Randy Sexton

 

 

“Letter From The Editor”

 

By Randy Sexton

 

 

Dear Readers,

 

After an extended absence from writing, I am planning to breathe life back into my website. During the absence, I relocated my family from Raymore, MO to Fort Smith, AR. My sons completed their first year of school in Fort Smith. Tyler played fall soccer and Ryan continued his advancement as a percussionist in the Ramsey Junior High band and is playing in the Boys & Girls Club Prep baseball league. We are slowly getting our new residence in shape thanks to Linda’s hard work. We placed membership with Park Hill church of Christ, where we had previously been a member and where Linda grew up. I was asked by the elders to serve as a deacon and treasurer at Park Hill and am happy to do so.

.

I plan to continue publishing the Remembering My Creator (RMC) page and to begin a monthly page, refocusing a previous page, calling it A Christian’s Voice From Fort Smith.

 

I did publish a short issue of RMC in November using an article that Jordan had submitted quite some time ago. (Sorry for the delay, Jordan). I also published a December issue focused on the theme of “How I Look.”

 

I have chosen themes during 2012 related to Internal Evidences of Christianity and How To Study The Bible. I have been teaching the High School Class at Park Hill the past two quarters from David Banning’s Bible 101 and Bible 102 workbooks and will choose topics covered there. If you would like to write an article for this series, please contact me at achristiansvoice@sbcglobal.net. The Schedule of Topics with scheduled publication dates are listed below.

 

2nd & 3rd Quarter 2012 Theme: Evidences For My Faith

Publication Date

Topic

June 4, 2012 Bible Claims & Christian Evidences
July 1, 2012 Unity of the Bible
July 1, 2012 Fulfilled Prophecy
July 1, 2012 The Testimony of Jesus
July 1, 2012 Historical Accuracy of the Bible
August 1, 2012 Scientific Accuracy of the Bible
August 1, 2012 Alleged Contradictions of the Bible
August 1, 2012 Archaeology and the Bible
August 1, 2012 Evolution and the Bible
September 1, 2012 Biblical Ethics vs Situation Ethics
September 1, 2012 The Resurrection of Christ
September 1, 2012 Relevance of the Bible to the Needs of Man

4th Quarter 2012 Theme: How To Study The Bible

Publication Date

Topic

October 1, 2012 Bible Study Habits: Are You Satisfied?
October 1, 2012 Tools That Help Us Study
October 1, 2012 Developing a Daily Routine
October 1, 2012 Defining Bible Words
November 1, 2012 Answering a False Doctrine
November 1, 2012 Studying Passages That Help With My Own Spiritual Growth
November 1, 2012 Determining the Message of a Book
November 1, 2012 Brainstorming
December 1, 2012 Researching the Background
December 1, 2012 Identifying the Main Sections of the Book
December 1, 2012 Figuring Out the Confusing Passages
December 1, 2012 Putting It All Together

 

 

What the Bible Claims to Be

By David Deuster

The validity of the Bible as the inspired word of God is one of the most important questions we could answer. If the bible is not from God, then it is not authoritative and man does not need to use it as his guide. However, if you believe that the Bible is from God, are you willing to accept it in its entirety as the complete, infallible, and inspired word of God? Either the Bible is a complete and perfect guide in religion or it is lacking in the ability to guide man in his efforts to please God.

 

Let’s first begin by looking at the claims that the bible makes for itself. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is “breathed out” of the mouth of God and is profitable to mankind.

 

Over 51 times in the New Testament, the word “scripture” is used in reference to the written statements of God. Because these statements are inspired, we can have confidence in knowing that they are ultimately God’s own words and convey His thoughts. Paul says the Scriptures make it possible for man to be spiritually complete (cf 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, if the Bible makes us “complete,” then the Bible, in itself, must also be complete.

 

Second, we notice that the writers of Scripture spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:20-21 states, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The writers of the Bible were inspired men who were enabled to speak and record the mind of God through revelation of the Holy Spirit. The words written were not just the prophets own personal product or thought.

 

These inspired men wrote under direction and will of the Holy Spirit, so that what they wrote is not what the prophets willed but the revealed mind of God unchanged in interpretation.

 

Paul taught the Corinthians that the very words by which he and the other apostles spoke were given by God. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 Paul says, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

 

God exposed His thinking to man by sending His Holy Spirit to communicate with the apostles and prophets. If the prophets and apostles had not been under the direction of the Holy Spirit, there would have been the possibility of failing to understand the thoughts that were given or they may have failed in expressing those thoughts in a way that could be understood.

 

For this reason, Paul makes sure to tell the Corinthians that the words they spoke were given by God and not by man’s wisdom. Therefore, the words they taught with were the teachings of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

 

Furthermore, the Scriptures are infallible and are reliable in every way. Consider the fact that the Bible was written by about 40 writers over several different periods of history. Yet all of the writers harmonize and proclaim the same central theme of the Bible. Throughout the pages of the compiled writings, there are no contradictions or false statements. Prophecies that were to take place hundreds of years in the future, even when very specific in time and names, were all fulfilled and can be confirmed by history.

 

The Bible makes the claim for itself that it is the infallible, complete, and inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, we must accept it and submit to its authority in our lives.

 

What is Christian Evidences?

By Randy Sexton

The field of study known as “Christian Evidences” is devoted to presenting evidence, both internal and external, to support the claims of Christ to be the Son of God, the reasonableness that God created the world and that the Bible is His inspired message to man. This field of study is also known as Apologetics and is a legitimate field of study in schools of religion.

The study of Christian Evidences may be approached in a number of different ways, but in general, can be broken down into several key components. The key components are listed in my letter above.

The plan is to present articles, written be different authors, covering each of these components in the monthly issues of Remembering My Creator. Thanks for reading with us, dear friends….