Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us… ” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Today is a significant day in my life, I turned 60 years old. Recently, while I was praying I felt compelled to raise up 4 fingers and declare that, “it’s the beginning of the 4th quarter.”  That thought is sobering to me. And, I’ve been asking myself some hard questions, like:  Am I still experiencing spiritual growth? Or, will I ever grow up to become a spiritually mature man? I like to be brutally honest with God and with myself, so, I realize that I’m not the man that I desire to be, yet.

My favorite football team, The Alabama Crimson Tide, emphasizes finishing each game and each season, strong. It doesn’t matter according to their philosophy whether or not they are ahead or behind, just – FINNISH STRONG! The Apostle Paul used sports analogies in his teachings to the Church. And, while Bama’s understanding of finishing strong may be somewhat different than Paul’s – I believe this is a biblical concept.

As I was writing this article, I realized that this will be my 200th post on my Word Press Blog, which I started about 3 years ago.  I first began blogging on a Blogger account in 2005. Strangely enough many years earlier while someone was praying over me, he ask me if I was a writer. He said (spiritually speaking) that he saw me writing.  As I thought about his spiritual perception about me,  I said to myself, “He’s wrong about that!”  Frankly, I wouldn’t identify myself as a  skilled writer, but I came to use writing as part of  my ministry to encourage others, about a decade later.

During the month of December in 2005 a spiritual mentor of mine said, ” just go home and start a blog.”  And I did! He had  encouraged  me often to write the things  down that I was learning, and my spiritual experiences.  So, over an 11 year period I enjoyed interacting with bloggers all over the world, and surprisingly it did well.  This was not mainly a result of my own insights or writing ability,  but, the fact that I posted so many articles by prominent Bible teachers.

In the early days and in my first attempts to encourage people as a personal ministry, I gathered  lots of  resources. I used tracks from Keith Greens’ “Last Days Ministries,” and David Wilkerson. From there I went on to become a distributor of Fullness Magazine and their materials. This was a group of Baptist ministers that had re-discovered spiritual gift’s (Healing, spiritual warfare, prophecy etc.) and embraced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Around this time is when I started a tape sharing ministry. Over time I began to gather and distribute tapes and literature from  various other ministries, also.

As a result of different ministry opportunities over the years I have attempted to help others make disciples. It’s important that each one of us know our role and ministry as part of the body of Christ. In the 80’s, my friends began to call me “a Barnabas” – which means “son of encouragement.” And during the mid 90’s I had a very detailed dream, and in one part of the dream I was handing out water and encouraging  runners during a race. And that was my confirmation to continue what I was already doing. In fact that sealed the deal so to speak for me.

The Apostle Paul was clear – we each have spiritual gifts, so there is nothing to boast in except “the cross of Christ.” Each member of Christs’ body (his Church) should operate in our various  gifts that God has so graciously given to us, to build up others. We operate in our gifts  and callings according to the level of faith we have. Even thought I’ve had major setbacks in my life – mostly as a result of my own sin – by the grace of God – I’m still standing.  May God help me and you to run our races and finish well.