Monday, April 26, 2010

OnFire #222 Unfinished Business

OnFire Encouragement Letter

OnFire #222 Unfinished Business

Hi Folks:

Mark and I are back from Denver. We had a wonderful trip together. The city is beautiful and the view of the mountains never gets dull. The people are friendly, and Mark and I had some great times together visiting the Ferrari and Lamborghini dealerships, Speed Stacks, a pastry shop called Devil’s Food, and hanging around with the other stackers. It was a lot of fun and we will remember it for a lifetime.

Mark did very well. In individual events, he came home with third place finishes in the 3-3-3 and 3-6-3, and a 7 th place finish in the cycle. He was pleased with these and he may have set some new records for New Brunswick.

Team Canada went all the way to the semi-finals in the International Challenge. No Canadian team has ever gone to the “Stack of Champions” before, and Team Canada gave a good run but unfortunately lost to the Germans. Here are the final results for Mark’s team. They came first in the 14u Head to Head 3-6-3 Relay and third in the Cycle Relay. In the Timed 3-6-3 Relay they placed 9th overall, but tied for third in the International Head to Head Cycle.

Here is a video of some clips from Mark’s competitions:

Here is a link to the article in our local newspaper:

And, last Friday, he was interviewed on a local radio station as their MVP of the week. Lots of fun.

I hoisted the canoe to my shoulders again as I tried to finish another carry. I didn’t have much choice about going on. We were in the middle of the bush and it wasn’t like I could just quit and go home. We had paddled and hiked two days to get this far and it was a two day paddle/hike in three directions to get out. Sometimes it is easier to keep going when the options aren’t that great, so I grabbed a breath and leaned ahead to get myself moving.

That was day two of a seven day trip we did a few years ago. The whole day was like that, a struggle to keep going around the next bend, over the next rise, and through the next clearing until we saw the water that marked the end of another carry. Interestingly, it was not the physical effort that was hard. We were all strong guys, and there would be tougher carries and more paddling in the days ahead. It was the battle of the mind to convince ourselves it would all be worth it in the end that was the problem.

We have been reading in the book of Nehemiah and we can’t help but be inspired as he rallied the people to restore the wall of Jerusalem. The project took off and people got involved. Chapter 3 details 38 different groups of people who worked on various sections of the wall. More than a simple list, it is an example of what happens when hundreds of people are inspired to join in and be part of something bigger than they are. Some lists in the Bible aren’t that interesting or inspiring, but I find this one exciting. I can almost smell the dirt and feel the grit.

This is such an inspiring section we do not expect what we find in 4:6 “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.” * Hundreds of people had poured all of their hearts into the job and it was only half done.

Half done. I’m not sure which is worse, not to start a job, or only half finish it so that it stands as a monument mocking us.

Half done. I can think of a lot of situations this might apply to in my own life. I spend more of my energy than I’d like to admit managing a certain amount of frustration that so much remains uncompleted.

As a pastor I have often taught that a frustration can be helpful because it reveals an expectation and so I find my own words coming back to teach me about myself. I thought it would be easier. I didn’t think it would take this long. I imagined I would have more time. I didn’t expect it to be so hard. I didn’t expect to pour this much of myself into it and only come up half done. I find myself having to readjust my thinking to be a little more realistic, and this helps my frustration.

There is something else here we need to see. This passage wasn’t included to show how hard it was, but to show how much progress they could make when they poured themselves into it. They were half done!! Somehow we think that our progress doesn’t mean anything until we are finished, but this is not so, especially when we are talking about life change and not walls. As we look back to see where we were and where we are now, we can see how much we have accomplished.

They were half done!! There might still be a lot of hard work ahead, but they had accomplished so much. There are times we need to remind ourselves that we are making progress so that we can be encouraged to go on and finish the job.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published April 26, 2010. Scripture references taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

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