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 Written by Tom Strinden

Luke 24:5-7 – In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He (Jesus) is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’

Romans 6:3-5 – Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 - But thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

     It is National tournament time of the year and only one team gets to claim the title champion. R.N., the athletic director of a small private school, was diagnosed with cancer during the summer recess of 2014. A non-smoker, he battled lung cancer courageously for 4 months before being called to Heaven. He was able to continue working and he impacted many for Christ during his brief struggle with the disease. He spoke at an FCA sponsored state volleyball breakfast 2 weeks before his death. R.N. instructed those young athletes to consider each day a gift from God & to take life "one point, one game and one match at a time". My Peewee A hockey team dedicated our recently completed season to R.N. and the team put his initials on white hockey tape affixed to the back of their helmets.

     The Bible instructs us to finish the race, but few of us know when life's race is going to end. Paul states in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith". As athletes, coaches and believers in Christ our goal should always be to finish the task ahead of us for Christ's glory. We need to look at what is directly in front of us and not look ahead or look past any opportunity or opponent. We all can be crowned "Heaven's champion" and live victoriously through the blood of Christ that gives us victory over sin and death.

     This Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is here that He conquered the grave and defeated sin and death. Those who believe in the name of Jesus have this hope – that having been baptized into His death we are also united with Him to rise. There is only one Championship team, but many players are a part of it. Jesus has offered us a way to be a part of the winning team. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Psalm 118:24

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