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Akron Marathon

Tomorrow morning I plan to mark another state off of my list on my way to #50by50.

My big goal is to run a full, official marathon in all 50 states by age 50. Tomorrow’s marathon will only get me to #4, but it’s still another state on my list.

Surprisingly, the state that I will get to Mark off of the list tomorrow is my home state of Ohio! For whatever reason, Ohio was not my first state. It was, technically speaking, the first state I ever ran the full marathon distance in, but that was not an actual, official race. That was just a few friends celebrating the final day of #5kMay2017. Ironically, we did run the Akron Marathon course on that marvelous morning of May 31.

Not only is Ohio not the first state that I ran an official marathon in, but tomorrow morning I will not be running it in a “normal” way, either. I will actually be running as a “Pacer”. I will be pacing the 8:24 per mile group, which ends up being a finish time of 3 hours and 40 minutes.

That will be a different role, for sure! Instead of working hard to do my best, I will be working hard to help others do their best and reach their goals. I am excited to do it!

The Pacer role reminds me of Paul’s word to the Ephesians

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… -Ephesians 4:11-13, ESV

In the church, God has given each member different roles. Each member is important, but certain members serve in specific functions for the purpose of helping everyone “attain unity in the faith”. Church is not meant to be every-man-for-himself. We are meant to help one another along.

That is kind of the role of the Pacer, as well. My job tomorrow will not be to go out there and see what I can do (although that is typically my goal in a marathon). My role tomorrow will be to run the race that is set before me, and to bring as many people along as possible…

…which reminds me of another passage of Scripture.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, – Hebrews 12:1, ESV

I think that is pretty straightforward! We are called to run with endurance (other translations say perseverance) the race that is set before us. And how should we run that race? I see a comma there at the end of the verse…

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2, ESV

We look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith! Amen! That will be my aim tomorrow. As I run, hopefully encouraging and helping others, I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith!

As is customary, I have readied my shoes for tomorrow morning. For each official marathon that I run, I inscribe the letters G.O.S. on the back of my left shoe and P.E.L. on the back of my right.

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. – Ephesians 6:15, ESV

If anyone asks me why I do that, I simply tell them that I want to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that I have in me (see 1 Peter 3:15).

I run for Jesus.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16, ESV

And what is this gospel that I am unashamed to declare and inscribe on my shoes for every official marathon?

I’m glad that you asked!

God created us to be with Him

Our sins separate us from God

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life

Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!

This is the gospel! God is so good that He has provided a way for sinners like me to be brought into His presence -namely through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus.

Have you put your faith in Christ? Everyone who trusts in Christ alone for salvation will have eternal life that starts now and lasts forever! What a great deal for us!

The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. – John 10:10-11, ESV

If you have never put your faith in Christ, what is holding you back from doing it today?

Tomorrow morning I will be living the abundant life by running the Akron Marathon as a Pacer. I will be running with Jesus, and hopefully with a bunch of great runners who are aiming at an awesome goal!

Please pray for me, if you think about it. And I’ll be praying for you -that anyone who reads this post will experience eternal life with Christ, as they were created by God to do.

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