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                                                                  `STAYING POWER`

We are in a month where sport lovers everywhere are `rubbing their hands in glee`. It`s a nightmare period if you hate sport, but for those who enjoy it, July comes alive. Not only do we have Wimbledon for tennis lovers but for cycling enthusiasts there is the ultimate endurance test: The Tour De France, and then there is The Open for golfing fans and the ODI [One Day International] cricket World Cup for women is currently taking place too. And not to feel left out, and all though the football season has finished you wouldn’t know it, as friendly after friendly is being played as teams get ready for the new season.

But as I watch the tennis and the Tour De France in particular, these athletes all need one thing in particular, if they are to become champions in their relevant sport. The Germans have a word for it: it`s called Sitzfleisch. Staying Power. Which is more commonly known as stamina, which is the `ability to maintain an activity or commitment despite fatigue or difficulty`. And although ability plays a huge part in success it`s usually the staying power that wins through, because why could a No:20 seed at Wimbledon beat the No:1 seed if it was all to do with ability?

And as I look on with total respect for these sporting marvels, I often think about the hours of training that goes on behind the scenes which enables these stars to be victorious. Bradley Wiggins once said `he spent 3 months away from the family to go and train up a mountain in the winter to prepare for the Tour De France`. And this sacrificial training is what brings the Staying Power for the long gruelling bike rides across the terrain of France or for that matter, in any sport.

Staying Power is also what God is looking for in every Christian, but unfortunately, too many fall-away when the `going gets tough` or `throw in the towel` because the challenges are either too high or too demanding. If we are to, `run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us` [Hebrews 12:1], then all Christians will need Staying Power, because it`s pretty tough to keep going when the battle is difficult, as we saw with Jo Konta on Thursday.

Staying Power doesn’t guarantee success, but it always allows you to compete at the highest level, and that`s not just in sport but life too, and especially in our Spiritual lives. Noel Coward famously once said, `Thousands of people have talent. I might as well congratulate you for having eyes in your head. The one and only thing that matters is: do you have staying power?

Moreover, Jesus was able to endure the Cross because of His Staying Power, and I want that to be the inspiration for you to keep going in your faith right to the `very end, because it will be your Spiritual stamina that will enable you to `win the prize and be a Spiritual champion`.  [Phil.3:14].

In the Tour De France the Yellow Jersey is all that matters. In tennis and golf the trophy is what every player aspires to receive, but for Christians we must aim to receive the 5 Crown`s on offer to us in: 1 Cor. 9, 1 Thess.2, 2 Tim. 4,1 Peter 5 and Rev.2. because they are far more valuable to us than any man-made item. So, whether you are a sports lover or not, just keep pedalling away in your faith but remember, `the ball is in your court` as to what to do next.


Pastor Steve