A late Happy Easter to each of you! I pray that you all had a blessed time of worship with family and friends as you celebrated God's love, sacrifice, and victory! May we continue to reflect on these amazing truths each day. As we celebrate Easter and April 1st, I'm happy to announce that the season is here, at least as marked by our first Iron Prayer of 2013. This year, our Iron Prayer ministry started in a very unique way... as a Good Friday service out in Oceanside, CA.
As we begin our 2013 season, I'm enthusiastically inviting each of you to help us by completing a new Teammate Survey. Our goal is to learn what has led to your previous spiritual growth, what barriers stand in your way of helping others follow Jesus, and what is needed for your future spiritual growth. Prayerfully your answers will equip us to more effectively accomplish our mission.
The current survey has 8 questions and will take a few minutes. Beyond giving us answers, we also believe that taking this survey will serve you as you intentionally process the questions and reflect on your answers. To thank you for investing your time in this effort, we will be doing a drawing for a free FCA Endurance Tech T among everyone who completes it (optional, as entering the drawing will remove your anonymity). The drawing will be next Monday (April 8th).
If you've been reading our past few Aid Stations, and I hope you have, perhaps you have noticed an increased emphasis on making disciples. This has been intentional as we desire to focus your attention on both FCA Endurance's mission and ultimately Jesus' command to His apostles (and all believers who would follow them) in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
As we consider our mission, I wanted to briefly explore what "disciple" means. A simple definition would be: a pupil, learner, student, and follower of a certain teacher. This certainly makes sense in the verses above, "teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you." As Jesus used this word, He described those who would answer His invitation to, "Follow me" (Luke 9:59 and many other places). Disciples are those who respond to the Holy Spirit's prompting, recognize their need for the forgiveness of their sins, and respond through humble repentance and complete trust in Jesus sacrifice for their sins. They are filled by the Holy Spirit and begin joyfully following Jesus as an appropriate act of loving thanksgiving for their salvation and restored relationship with God.
In essence, a disciple is a Biblical follower of Jesus Christ, a true believer (vs. James 2:19) who is filled with the Holy Spirit, longing to become more like Jesus daily. It is certainly a process, sometimes slow, often filled with trials and opportunities for growth. However, there is a loving, steadfast desire to follow Jesus, even when it's hard (Luke 9:23). Also, as mentioned above, followers of Jesus (disciples) make disciples. This is God's design to save the world... His Spirit moving through the witness of His people
(Acts 1:8). That's what we're all about!
As usual, I also want to share some encouraging Huddle News from Steve
First, we start with the Statesboro Huddle. Under the leadership of Dave and Deb Dzurinko, the Huddle held their second "Workout and Pancake Extravaganza!" These guys have found a fun way to combine a love for pancakes and Saturday morning workouts. Basically, several teammates stay back to watch the kids and cook the pancakes while others go out and get their run on! Deb shared, "We had a great turnout for our last pancake breakfast. I obnoxiously rode around on my bike and yelled encouragement to everyone, haha! Dave, Josh and Katie stayed at the house and cooked/watched the kids... We had some old friends and new [people] come out. I was pleased to see people bring friends." This is a great example of a huddle coming together for exercise, fellowship and using the event to influence others!
The second update comes from our Richmond Hill Huddle. They traveled down to Ocala, FL for the HITS triathlon series that included a full distance triathlon all the way down to an open distance for beginners and children. This was a great race for the Huddles as there were both veterans and first-time triathlete. Despite a downpour and a few personal obstacles, 3 Teammates finished the Half distance: Scott Harrison, Alex Fuerst, and Lee Fuerst (1st Half).
Teammates from the Richmond Hill Huddle at the HITS Triathlon series
On Sunday, 2 teammates completed the Olympic distance, 2 did the Sprint, and 2 of the kids raced the Open distance. Denisse Fisher and Marie Kavetsky (her first triathlon ever) both signed up to help keep them occupied while their husbands are over in Afghanistan serving our country in the military. Both of them battled their anxiety of the open water and with the Lord calming their fears came out victorious. They both finished strong and at the end were looking to sign up for their next triathlon. Walt Barnes and Lori Harrison both finished their Olympic distance strong and under their goal times. Lori Harrison shared, "Praise God for His hand of blessing on all of us for keeping us strong and giving us peace that surpasses all understanding."
The Huddle also had the opportunity to help race director Mark Wilson, a FCA Endurance Friend, and his staff by volunteering throughout the weekend with packet pickup, water stations, parking, and special needs station. They were able to see how God worked through Mark during the weekend as he offered a prayer after each athlete's briefing and before starting the swim. Many joined Mark in prayer and praise to God before all races! To God be the glory!
Our last Huddle update comes from Texas. Huddle Leaders Blake and Rebecca Marrou joined Teammate Roger Kramer for the Alamo 13.1. Blake and Roger had great races and there were many opportunities to talk to some amazing people (hopefully future teammates!). They also hope to be involved in this race to a great degree next year.
Ridefield, WA - MaryJane Rose
Western PA, PA - Dennis Derringer
DC, VA - Jeff Austin
Lastly, I wanted to pass on a few quick ministry updates:
- EMI Savannah Update: We are excited to announce that we have locked in the date and venue for our next EMI Savannah: August 23-25. Details and registration will be coming shortly, but please hold this date if you are interested in joining us for a terrific weekend of Uniting and Equipping!
- New England Huddles Wanted: Do you live in the New England states? If so, we want to specifically invite you to prayerfully consider starting a Huddle. There are some great opportunities up there, and we simply want to give you some enthusiastic encouragement. We're praying for you! Here are the steps for Huddle formation.
- New Board Member: We're celebrating the addition of a new FCA Endurance National Board Member, Dan Perkins from San Jose, California. Dan has been a faithful partner of FCA Endurance's for years, and we are excited about his commitment to help serve and lead our ministry through the Board. Dan currently serves as the Executive Pastor of WestGate Church, and he is a multiple Kona qualifier. Please join us in praying for him and all of our Board members as they serve in this capacity.
For God's Glory!