Monthly Archives: October 2014

Don’t Forget the .2!

I did it!  I completed the Chicago Marathon.  My goal was to do it in less than 5 hours and my official time was 4 hours and 28 minutes.  It was a great run, on a great day, in a great city, with great weather, running for a great cause!  I will never forget the experience.

The official length of a marathon is 26.2 miles. So often, when people talk about marathons, they will say it is 26 miles.  I always correct them and say, “No, it is 26.2 miles.”  If you have never run long distances, you might think there is little difference between 26 and 26.2 miles, but for those who do run, the .2 makes a big difference. In fact, the .2 is over 350 yards (the length of over three football fields). So, no matter how insignificant .2 miles may seem, it is vital in order to complete the marathon.  If you stop running after 26 miles, you fail to finish, and all those other miles are meaningless.

As I have reflected on the marathon, one thing that struck me was that sometimes when you think you are finished, you realize you still have .2 to go, and as I said, in order to be considered an official finisher of the marathon, you have to complete the .2!  As I passed the 26 mile sign during my marathon, I found myself asking, “How silly and foolish would it be if I just stopped right now?”  I was tired, hurting, and ready to be finished, but I knew that in order to complete the marathon, I had to go the final .2.  The reality is, the .2 matters and a marathon runner cannot forget that.

In life, the .2 matters as well.  So often we find ourselves running the “race of life,” and think there is no way we will be able to keep going.  We get tired, frustrated, and ready to quit, when in reality, there is only .2 more to go, so to speak.  Just as it would have been foolish for me to quit with only .2 left, it is foolish not to finish the “race of life” you are running.  We cannot forget the .2 and that the .2 really does matter.

Wherever you are in life today, remember this, you can make it and you will make it!  The Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.  Truly, in the strength God provides, you can endure anything.  He will give you what you need for the WHOLE race, even the final .2.  If you are ready to quit today, don’t!  If you feel like you cannot go on, look to the Lord.  As you run your race, the .2 can look overwhelming, but remember, when you finish, you will be glad you kept running.  Let me leave you with one final passage of Scripture:  “…the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day… (2 Timothy 4:6-8).” In other words, keep running and finish well. Don’t forget the .2!  See you next week.

Jeremy Freeman

www.pastorjfreeman.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.freeman.3538

Twitter: JeremyFreeman_

Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

The Chicago Marathon – More than a Race!

I am running the Chicago Marathon tomorrow morning! The date is 10/12/14. When I think back to all that has happened in my life these past 2 years, it truly is hard to even believe I am still standing…but, by the grace of God, I am what I am. I have learned and continue to learn that in my weakness, He is strong.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am running tomorrow for a Pediatric Cancer Research Organization in honor of my son, Trey! Tomorrow is a special day because it is so personal to me. Tomorrow is way more than a run and way more than an event on my calendar. Tomorrow is another step in my journey of healing and another opportunity to keep pointing people to Christ through Trey’s story. I will be wearing my “Run for Trey” shirt, and I will be running as hard as I can, competing, I pray, with just a fraction of the endurance and strength Trey exhibited in his life!

It is hard to put into words the mixture of emotions I feel everyday, and it is impossible to put into words how much I miss my son. I do not know if he will be able to see me tomorrow, but I know this, he will be at the front of my mind. I will see his handsome face, his beautiful smile, his contagious laugh, his courageous spirit, and so much more. I will envision him waiting for me at the finish line, and I will imagine what it will feel like to wrap my arms around his neck and pick him up and hug him…and all of it will be a reminder that we will one day be reunited in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Any way, for everyone who is and has been with me in this journey, thank you. I have such tremendous family and friends…and I love you all!

So…here is to tomorrow…here is to a great race…here is to another step in the journey! I love you Trey, and tomorrow, I run for you buddy! I will see you soon!

I will leave you with a Scripture my oldest daughter sent me…one that is fitting for tomorrow:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race marked out for us, with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith.”

Run Your Race Well! – Article 3

Setting the Pace:Living Life with an Eternal Perspective

I am running the Chicago Marathon on October 12th. This will be 26.2 miles of pure work. I have run one marathon before, but I am not a typical “marathon runner,” nor do I desire to become one. I plan to run this marathon and the Oklahoma City marathon next Spring, and then my marathon days are done. I will stick with shorter runs in the future. You might wonder why I am running this marathon. I can tell you, I am running with a specific purpose in mind.

As I mentioned in my first article, my seven year old son, Trey, had a long battle with cancer in 2012-2013. During that year, he spent over 280 days in the hospital. On September 1, 2013, the Lord called him home to heaven. Trey fought cancer hard though. He had the heart of a warrior and he never quit. In fact, it was because of his enduring spirit that he earned the nickname “Super Trey.”

As a parent, it was incredibly hard watching my son battle. I felt so helpless at times and every day, I desperately wanted to take his place. But, I couldn’t. It was hard to come to grips with this, but Trey’s “race” and my “race” were different. He had to endure intense cancer and now I have to endure living with intense emotional pain. What I want to do is endure the way Trey endured. I want to live, “run my race,” with just a fraction of the strength he displayed.

The marathon I am running in Chicago is in Trey’s honor. God used my son to absolutely change my life. He was and forever will be my hero, and I want to run for him. I am also running for a pediatric cancer research organization that raises funds to help find cures for such a horrible disease that affects so many children. I have worked and trained hard, and hope that I will start the race well and finish the race well. I do not know if Trey will be able to see me run or not, but I know this, as I run, I will see him. I will remember him. I will remember his smile, his laugh, his heart, his endurance, his strength, and so much more. When I want to quit, I’ll think of him and when I see that finish line, I will imagine him waiting on me. As you can see, I am running this race with a specific purpose in mind.

What is your “race”? Are you running it with a specific purpose? Maybe your race involves battling a disease, living with emotional pain of some sort, or another life struggle. Perhaps you are still searching for the “finish line”. Whatever your race is, run it and run it well. Ultimately, we are to run our race for the Lord and run with the strength He provides. Hebrews 12:1-2 says this, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us RUN with ENDURANCE the RACE that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

Whatever your “race” is, run it for the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the One who loves you and gave His life for you. We should “run” for Him because He gave His all for us. Let us run well. See you next week!

Live with the End in Mind – Article 2

Setting the Pace:Living Life with an Eternal Perspective

I had the privilege of being a part of a very special funeral service this past Monday for Paulene Harryman. Paulene went to be with the Lord at 101 years of age on September 18, 2014. From a human standpoint, she had lived a long life. I had the unique privilege of being her pastor and seeing the far-reaching impact of her life. She was very special to me and will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Paulene moved to Newcastle when she was eight years old, and lived the rest of her earthly life here. Her husband Vencil, who went to be with the Lord in 1983, was Newcastle’s first mayor and instrumental in helping move Newcastle forward in its early days.   Both she and Vencil loved this community, their church, but most importantly their Lord.

As I reflected on Paulene’s life, I found myself at a loss for words, something most preachers don’t struggle with, I might add. I found myself thinking, no matter what I say about her, it will pale in comparison to the person she truly was. Paulene was perhaps one of THE most genuine Christians I have ever known. She did not just talk about her faith, she lived it. But what did she live? What made her so special? There were two things that came to the front of my mind: (1) She had a real relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. She was saved at the age of twelve in the winter of 1925, and was baptized in a pond in Newcastle in the spring of 1926. She wanted to make sure I, and everyone, knew that her Savior had changed her; (2) She lived with the end in mind. In other words, she had an eternal perspective.   She made decisions with the end in mind. She did not live for temporary pleasure. She did not focus on fleeting things. Her heart and mind were focused on things that truly mattered, on eternal things.

This led to me to once again reflect on my own life and ask some questions. What consumes my heart and mind? What will my life say when people gather at my funeral? What is most important to me? Paulene’s life reminded me to live with the end in mind, because when we live this way, we will have an impact that will reach farther than we could have ever imagined. Think about it, what if we all lived with the end in mind today? A perspective like that would lead us to do differently.

During my funeral messages, I’ve always said this, “I don’t really preach anyone’s funeral. The life they lived and the decisions they made will speak long and loud after they are gone.” Paulene’s life has spoken, and it has spoken well. She lived for what mattered most and the impact of her life continues. What will your life say? What will mine say? Let’s live with the end in mind. See you next week!

Jeremy Freeman

www.pastorjfreeman.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.freeman.3538

Twitter: JeremyFreeman_

Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

Living Life With an Eternal Perspective – Article 1

Setting the Pace: Living Life with an Eternal Perspective

Welcome to my new column! I look forward to sharing a few thoughts and encouragements with you each and every week. As you can see, I have titled this column, Setting the Pace, and have added the tag line, Living Life with an Eternal Perspective. The reason I selected this title is because I believe the only way to “set the pace” in our short, temporary life, is by living life with an eternal perspective, and it is with that perspective I will be writing each week.

My family has learned much about living with an eternal perspective the past two years. Many of you might remember hearing and reading about my son, Trey, in the Newcastle Pacer. Our son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2012, and fought hard every single day for a year, but on September 1, 2013, the Lord called him home to heaven. Trey was 7 years old. As you can imagine, this was incredibly difficult for our family. My wife and I have four other children, and we were all shaken to our very core. Yes, I am a pastor, and yes, I know what the Bible says, but there is a difference between “knowing” something and “living” something, and on September 1, 2013, we were confronted with the reality of whether or not we would truly live what we knew. On that day, we were greatly comforted with the incredible truth that Trey was in the presence of God, because he had surrendered his life to Jesus earlier that year. However, we were still hurting since we knew we had to go on in this life without him. That was and continues to be a difficult reality.

Since September 1, 2013, my family has been on a journey together, though it is a journey of growth and healing. We have learned, in a fresh and new way, what it means to make the most of the time God has given us. The Bible says in James 4:14, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” This verse begs the question, “How should we live our lives while on this earth?” Some might say, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.” Others might read that verse and live in fear, or go into a hyper-protective mode trying not to ever let anything bad happen to them or the ones they love. Yet, those perspectives and many more are not the way we need to live.

2 Corinthians 4:18 tell us what to do. This scripture says, “So we fix our eyes, NOT on what we can see, but on what we CANNOT see, for what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal.” This is how we need to live. We need to live on earth with a focus on eternity. When we live with eternity in mind, we will live to please God, whom we will all stand before one day. We will love and treat our family and friends they way they should be treated. We will have the right priorities and make better decisions. We will serve and sacrifice for others instead of living for ourselves. We will not worry about things that do not matter or things we cannot control. And list goes on and on. Today, live with an eternal perspective, and watch how it changes everything else in your life. See you next week!

Jeremy Freeman

www.pastorjfreeman.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.freeman.3538

Twitter: JeremyFreeman_

Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: