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February 17, 2022

Olympic Redemption

I have a soft spot in my heart for US Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis, who won silver in the snowboard cross in 2006.  I say she won silver, but it’s really more about her losing the gold.

If you aren’t familiar with snowboard cross, four snowboarders race simultaneously down an obstacle course with a series of jumps, berms, turns and drops.  The first one down the mountain wins.  Athletes compete in multiple heats before earning a spot in the final race.

In 2006 Lindsey had a 10-second lead heading into the finish, and rather than play it safe on the second-to-last jump, she looked behind her, saw her insurmountable lead, and did a little showboating by executing a mid-air grab.  It did not go well.  She wiped out, and before she could get back on course, she was passed by the next competitor, who took the gold as Lindsey settled for silver.

That moment has haunted me way more than it should.  My heart broke for Lindsey!  I’m sure she has lived with that regret every day, repeatedly replaying that jump in her mind, wishing she could have a do-over.

I watched her compete in the next three Olympics, failing to medal in every one.

She finally won her gold medal last week, in her fifth Olympics at age 36.  [She ended up winning two golds, also winning the mixed team event, where she did another mid-air grab.  This time she landed it.]

Why do I care so much about an athlete I never met?

I can identify with anyone living with regret, someone haunted by something they wish they hadn’t done or had done, said or didn’t say.  I hate that feeling.

As a pastor, I hear many stories about regrets.  And of course, I have my own.  I know with certainty that the Lord does not want us living in the past, replaying scenarios in our minds, wishing they had gone differently.  Our Heavenly Father is more concerned about what we are doing NOW.  He has set us free from the past, and we are foolish to dwell there.  We can replay the different scenarios in our heads a thousand times, but we can never change the outcome.

What we can do is move forward.  We can ask God to redeem the regrets of our past, to fill us with His peace that transcends our circumstances and transforms our minds.

Undoubtedly, if you have read this far, you have begun thinking about regret in your past.  But before you relive it, let it go.

Give it to your loving Father and move on.  It’s Satan, our enemy, who wants us to feel bound by the past.

I find encouragement in the following verses, and I hope you do as you let things go and move forward.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. –Philippians 3:13-15

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. –Romans 8:28

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. –Isaiah 43:18-19


Men’s Service Opportunity | February 24-28

We have partnered with a ministry called Catalyst that inspires people, builds hope and nurtures community by mobilizing volunteers to do construction repairs & remodels that benefit under-resourced homeowners and non-profits in and around the Portland Metro Area. 

I’m looking for men who can serve at various times from February 24-28 to help remodel a home for an 89-year-old disabled veteran in Beaverton.  To learn more about Mr. Boyd and the project, click HERE.

Before selecting a time to serve, you must register with Catalyst.  It only takes a few minutes.  The link to register is in the upper righthand corner of their website.  After registering you will receive an email from Catalyst with further details. [This might take a day or two.]  Registering does not obligate you to volunteer.  It’s a one-time thing for all their projects.

I recommend talking with your Living Lionhearted small group, your Thursday morning small group and other friends to select times you can serve together.  Not currently in a group?  This is a great chance to meet other men from River West. There are a lot of options from which to choose.  Teen sons are welcome too.

This new partnership with Catalyst wouldn’t be possible without Jess Gilchrist, who is running point.  If you have questions, you can reach him at 503.312.8115.  BUT PLEASE CHECK THE WEBSITE FIRST.



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