Did you ever see the movie, CHARIOTS OF FIRE? If not, you need to. It’s the true story of legendary British athlete, Eric Liddell. He was Britain’s star sprinter. He went to compete in the 1924 Olympics and discovered the first race he was to run, the 100-meter, was on Sunday. Without flinching, he decided he wouldn’t run in that race. Why? Are you ready for this? Sunday is the Lord’s day and it had been the consistent habit of his life to honor God by being in worship every Lord’s day, without fail. Every Sunday. So he refused to run.
Craig Groeschel wrote, “Just because he was in Paris to compete in the Olympics didn’t justify changing his lifelong commitment. Most NORMAL people today would think him more than just WEIRD – they would think him foolish for passing up a chance at personal glory and international acclaim. Many in Liddell’s own country called him a traitor for his bold and unusual stand. Even the Prince of Wales begged him to change his mind. But this uncommon man made an uncommon stand.”
HE DID SOMETHING WEIRD.
“In the next race, the 400 meters (not run on a Sunday), Liddell beat the runner-up by an amazing fifteen meters! He won the Olympic gold and set a new world record. Though he could have done almost anything with his life after this success, Eric and his family moved back to China to serve as missionaries.”
WEIRD? True. But what a story and what an example!
Like Eric Liddell, fully-devoted followers of Christ are consistently faithful in worship. Without exception. No excuses. No rationalizations. It’s not something they have to do. It’s something they love to do and want to do because of their love for God and their love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Fully-devoted followers of Christ are consistently faithful in worship. Without exception.
Consistent faithfulness in worship characterizes the vast majority of people who call Crossroads their church home. But there are thousands more who should and could be in worship every week.
More than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. But they don’t all come on the same Sunday. Some only come once a month. Some come only when they feel like it. Some who come don’t come back. Some come for a while and drop out. Some come and when they find a better show someplace else, they're gone. Some come to be served and when they find out we’re not a country club, they’re gone as well. Some move away. Some get mad and leave for whatever reason. Some die. Some are spiritually dead and can’t stand a church that’s alive.
We’ve never kept everyone who came. No church does. That’s to be expected. We aren’t working with programmed robots. We’re working with frail, fickle and sometimes frustrating humanity. Even Jesus didn’t keep everyone who came. You won’t often hear John 6:66-68 quoted by church growth experts – Jesus told people what it was going to cost to follow Him and the whole crowd left!
Ironically and quite coincidentally, no baseball team keeps every fan, player or coach. No restaurant keeps every customer, waiter or waitress. No financial adviser keeps every client. No doctor keeps every patient. No school keeps every student or teacher. No business keeps every person they’ve ever done business with and on and on the list goes.
27 years ago in August when I became Pastor here, there were 188 people in worship. Today, close to 7,000 are coming to worship each week. As encouraging as that may be, we also need to remember what John Maxwell said: “Some of the people who helped get you where you are today won’t be there to help you get where you need to be tomorrow.” T.D. Jakes, at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit a few years ago, said, “Don’t try to hold onto people who were meant to come and go. Some people are meant to come to pass.“
DON’T BE NORMAL. BE WEIRD!
The fact is, each of us, like Eric Liddell, determine our own convictions. No one else can or will do that for us. Our decisions and actions are a direct result of the priorities we establish based on our convictions. My hope and prayer is you will make worship, every Lord’s day, the highest priority of your life regardless of what anyone else says or does and you will pass that legacy on.
If you ever get the opportunity to participate in something like the Olympics, on a Sunday, hopefully no one will find you in a stadium somewhere. Instead, if they want to find you, they’ll have to come to God’s house and find you with God’s people worshipping Him.
Why? Because, instead of following the crowd, you’re on fire for God and worshipping Him on the Lord’s day is the pattern, priority and lifelong commitment of your life.
If that seems WEIRD to some, so be it. Psalm 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
See you Sunday!
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
[SOURCE: Groeschel, Craig. Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working. Zondervan, 2011.Pages 59-60)
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.