“Hold Tight!”

December 7, 2011

Pastor's Study

Do you remember the 1988 Olympics?  One of the greatest stories that came out of those memorable days in Seoul, South Korea was that of the Quadruple Sculls Boat Competition (yep, I missed that one too!!).  The event may not have been very important to you and me, but it was to Italian David Tizzano.  His team won the competition – earning him his first gold Olympic Medal.  Tizzano experienced the thrill of standing on the winner’s platform with his teammates and having an Olympic Gold Medal hung on his neck.

That evening, they decided to celebrate, and that is when the trouble began.

At one point in the party, Tizzano was tossed from the dock into the water of the new Han River Regatta Course.  He landed on top of another teammate.  When he went in, he had his gold medal in his hand; when he came out, he didn’t.  It slipped from his grasp and was embedded in the mud at the bottom of the river.  A squadron of Korean frogmen, employed for security purposes, was enlisted in the search for the missing medallion. 

Isn’t true that medals won in battle are often lost in celebration.  The risen Christ exhorts the church at Philadelphia, “Behold, I come quickly; HOLD THAT FAST WHICH THOU HAST, THAT NO MAN TAKE THY CROWN.” (Revelation 3:11).  I do not think He meant to fudge on His promise of John 10:28, that no one will ever rob the believer of salvation.  Instead, Jesus cautions us against losing the joy of our salvation.  Often, in the excitement of celebrating our victory over sin and death, we let go of the very Christian walk that proves to the world the reality of our triumph.  Like the hapless Italian boatman, we lose our glittering badge of victory in an unguarded moment of celebration.

David Tizzano won an Olympic Gold Medal; the official record contains his name, and no one can ever take that away from him.  But he lost the thrill of displaying his trophy for all to see.  The greatest moment of victory in his life turned to greatest moment of misery over his loss!!  Once saved, a Christian has his or her name placed in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and nothing can change their eternal destiny.  Yet, what a shame it is to forfeit, through careless carousing, the daily victorious Christian walk that is our gleaming token of victory.   Hold fast what you have!  Show the world the difference that Jesus has made in your life!  And, save the celebration for Glory!

PS:  The divers found David’s muddy medal after two days of frantic searching – days that should have been the greatest of his life were taken away from him due to careless celebration!!  So,  HOLD TIGHT!

About Pastor

My Family: My wife and I have been married for 30 years (wow! that's hard to believe.) We have four wonderful children and EIGHT perfect grandchildren!! Education: I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Theology from Tennessee Temple University. After serving Bethel Baptist Church in Ontario, Canada as Youth Pastor and South Buncombe Baptist in Asheville, NC as Associate Pastor, we moved to Wake Forest, NC where I attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1995, I received my Master of Divinity degree (with languages.) From 1999-2001, I attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary pursuing my Doctor of Ministry degree in Expository Preaching. Ministry: I have had the privilege of pastoring three wonderful congregations (Montwood Baptist 1993-1997; Union Baptist 1997-2002; and, South Fork Baptist 2010-present.) In 2010, God brought a very special group of people into my life. South Fork has become much more than a ministry to my family - it has become our home. If you are looking for a Church to call home, you will not find a better group of people than the family that makes up South Fork.

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