Friday, November 8, 2013

OnFire #307 Sidetracked Personal Bests

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #307 Sidetracked Personal Bests

Hi Folks:

It has been a while since I’ve written OnFire. The fall is always busy, and it has been busy, but more than that, I just ran out of things to say. It was time to take a break.

Our family is well. Jan was hired again as a teaching assistant at a local Christian school and is directing our church’s handbell choir. Mark is doing well in grade 12 and is considering plans for next year. Ian is in his second and final year of his forestry and wildlife program and loves it. Next week he has an overnight survival exercise. They are dropped in the bush, alone, for a night, and must build a shelter and fire using only the things they normally carry in their field vests. Ian has been preparing for this since last year and usually has several knives and about 6 ways to light a fire.

I’m preparing to play in a musical at Mark’s school. We’re putting that on from Nov 20-23. We’re a very small pit band, 8 in total. There is nowhere to hide in this orchestra, so I’ve been working hard on getting my music ready.

Blessings for your week.

I had high hopes for a personal best in the 5km run. It was a fundraiser for a team from our Convention going to Kenya next spring, and so I was glad to take part, but it was also a chance to push myself and perhaps claim a new time.

The gravel crunched under my feet as I climbed the first hill. Before the race, someone described the course as beautiful, but I really didn’t feel like looking around as I tried to convince my lungs to sync up with my legs. I always find the first 10 minutes of a run uncomfortable, but I’ve also found that the feeling passes if I persevere. And so I lifted one foot after the other and worked to avoid the slippery leaves and uneven ground which might put me out of the run with a twisted ankle.

I was just starting to feel good on my feet when it happened. Several of us missed a crucial turn and headed across a dam instead of down the path into the woods. We realized something was wrong when we could couldn’t find the pink flagging tape which marked our course. By the time we got back onto the course, we had travelled an extra kilometre and wasted precious minutes.

It goes without saying that we can’t do our personal best when we get sidetracked. As in running, so also in the Christian life, where there are lots of ways to lose the path: angry words, curious clicks, unwise money decisions, unguarded hearts, fear of what others will think, hungry habits. These are just some of the ways we miss crucial turns and fall short of our best.

The solution is to keep our eyes on the goal. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize....” (1 Corinthians 9:24)

That’s the apostle Paul writing, telling us that the way to avoid being sidetracked is to keep our focus on the end, the goal. When we lose site of the end goal we get sidetracked, and eventually we find ourselves in a situation we later regret. Of course, we don’t do this on our own. We need to rely on the Lord for strength in the face of temptations and trials.

Hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a biweekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. This letter published Nov 8, 2013. Troy is the Pastor of Next Generations and Connections at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at, but I’m a little behind in updating things. Blog located at

No comments:

Post a Comment