Ironman Sunday began early for me, doing a little last-minute organizing of tshirts that I would be giving to part of our volunteer team on Sunday. My plan was to put the 30+ shirts in my hiking backpack so I didn't have to carry around a box all day. Altogether our group was over 300 people on race day, but most already had their shirts.
Then I prayed for the NCM bike aid station crew as they left the church at 6:00 AM to head down to Keene.
I headed down to the parking lot on Wesvalley Rd, walked from there to Colden Ave, and connected with some of our Road Marshals who were ready to start serving.
On the way, a friend who works closely with our ministry and with Ironman called with a bit of an emergency - the person scheduled to sing the national anthem didn't show up! I quickly called Pastor Jeff from our church to see if he happened to be at the beach, so he could scoot to the microphone and sing. He didn't pick up his phone. (Turns out he was watching the start at a different spot on the lake.) I looked to my left and saw a family from our church, and asked them if any of them wanted to sing the national anthem. "No kidding!" I said. Callie said she would if they really needed her. They hurried to the beach, but before they got there Ironman had gone to their "back-up singer," one of their staff members. It's cool when someone is ready to use their gifts to serve even when called upon in an instant. Thanks, Callie, for being willing.
After getting the first crew of Road Marshals in place, and the bikers started screaming down the hill, I headed to church for Bible study and worship service.
We had a great Sunday school lesson on "What the Bible Says About War." It was week 3 of that lesson. I read a great article recently entitled "Did Jesus Teach Pacifism?" that pointed to some key Scriptures to discuss. I love our church family. We don't shy away from important, challenging topics. The Bible has the answers! Several members of the mission teams joined us for Bible study.
Sunday morning worship was great! We had a great crowd of people who were hungry to worship God, to encourage one another in their faith, and to dig into God's Word. LPBC church family, mission team members, and guests worshiped the Lord together. I was finishing a three-part series on "Becoming a Fully Devoted Follower of Jesus Christ." Week 1 was "Glorify God." Week 2 was "Get Connected!" This week we were seeing that the Bible tells every Christ-follower to "Go Serve." A fitting message on Ironman Sunday. You can hear audio of each message at our Sermon Podcast site.
After worship I dropped Kevin off downtown. He had been able to use his SeaDoo during the swim portion of the race, with a lifeguard on the back of his watercraft. He found out at the last minute that Ironman wanted him to use his boat in the race. I dropped him off to take care of some details with his boat. Thanks, Kevin, for serving.
Folks from churches throughout the Adirondacks and the mission teams served in four primary areas on race day:
Thanks everyone for serving!
Earlier in the day, as I was driving to my post after church, I came upon a lady who had broken her ankle on the side of the road while cheering on her husband. In her enthusiasm to cheer for her husband, she didn't notice where she was walking. She had stepped off the road at a big drop-off. Her ankle was broken badly and she was in lots of pain. Some nice folks had stopped to help her, we put her in my truck, and I drove a short distance to the state troopers who were helping with the race. They called an ambulance. The EMT's did a great job of helping her. One state trooper and I had a chat about the Good Samaritan. I prayed with the lady who broke her ankle. I was late getting to my spot, but Nick covered for me. Thanks to all these guys for serving.
Many of the folks from our team, including me, had a chance to see people that we have gotten to know this week and/or over the years. It was wonderful to cheer on all the athletes, but even more meaningful to cheer on someone you know personally. Many of the athletes allowed (some requested!) our team members to pray with them as they came by us at the places we were serving.
Near the end of the race, at 9:30 PM, I performed a wedding on the Mirror Lake beach, at the exact spot where the Ironman race had begun. Bryan and Melissa, two Christ-followers from NYC, were both in the race. Several weeks ago they contacted me about doing their wedding after they finished the Ironman race. They both completed it (strong!) and their family and friends joined us, along with my son Andy and our friends Charlie and Cam. Charlie played guitar and Cam helped out with some logistics. The wedding really honored Christ. May God bless Bryan and Melissa as they are now joined together as husband and wife.
One funny part to the day was when I was trying to post an update via Twitter and Facebook about our day. I was trying to say that the day including Serving, Encouraging, Praying, and Glorifying God. However, the spell check on my phone changed the word "glorifying" to "clarifying" at the last minute. So my post ended with "Clarifying God."
I guess in a sense that's one thing that serving is - clarifying God.
By serving, we show people what a Christ-follower does, so then we can tell them who Jesus is and how He wants to save them.
Thanks everyone for serving!