Monday, May 14, 2012

Good but No Fun

I'm not sure when in my life I began to understand the importance of regular physical exercise.  I never was an athlete but I did do lots of activities when I was growing up.  When I was in high school I bought a "10-speed" and rode long distances for fun, so I guess there was something I liked about it way back then.  My dad liked bike riding so maybe I got that from him--that plus the wonderful feeling of getting somewhere without polluting the atmosphere at all.

Some sorts of physical activity I really enjoy.  I still like riding bike--whenever I can I bicycle around town instead of driving.  I love getting out in God's creation, walking, hiking, canoeing... it just feels good.

Working out with machines and weights is a newer experience.  That didn't start until I bought a used "Nordic Flex" from a neighbor in Taylors Falls.  It's not that I really enjoy the workout, but I know it's good for me and I like the result of having a stronger body.

I think lots of people can relate.  Today at Snap Fitness I was talking with an exceptionally fit grandmother who, like me, doesn't particularly enjoy the time up there lifting weights etc., but we have learned how good it is to take the time to do that hard work.  I call it "enlightened selfishness."  After all, I'm the one who benefits from staying in shape.  It won't prevent every health condition, but it does improve my odds.

Now I'm looking ahead to next Sunday and the preaching I'll be doing on Mark 1:16: "The kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news!"  As I've been studying this, I'm thinking there might be three different kinds of repentance.
  1. There is the repentance that leads to a new self, the born again experience, the surrender of one's self-will to the Lord.  John 3:3 says, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."  I think of the Ethiopian who was baptized in Acts 8. He turned his entire life over to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Then there is the change of mind like in Acts 10 where Peter repented of his misunderstanding of the ceremonial law, that is, that the Old Testament laws such as about clean and unclean foods somehow made or established one's right relationship with God when, in fact, they are signs of that relationship.  This means they are not any more necessary for a right relationship with God than wearing a wedding ring is necessary for a right relationship with my wife.  
  3. Finally, there is the repentance needed when Christ-followers fall into sin, whether out of ignorance or rebellion.  The New Testament Epistles are chock-full of admonitions and warnings about sins and evils that Christians need to repent of.  
In all of these cases, repentance is a good thing.  Confronting the truth may bring pain and sorrow; repentance is not fun.  It is, however, necessary, as is the discipline Gintare reminded us of on May 13. 

Repentance continues for us all as long as we live in this broken world.

Let me know what you think!  Time for me to head to Dassel and the school bus!


  1. Good words Pastor Steve!
    Renee Lackey

  2. "The goodness of God leads us to repentance." Romans 2:4 Repentance- -return to a higher way of thinking. Change your heart and mind. God is calling many outside and INSIDE the church to repent! Repent!! Turn from your sins. Sin-miss the mark. God is just so good and in many cases, He just keeps knocking on the door of your heart. THE RAIN HAS BEGUN-GET READY! GET READY! GET READY! Brenda