I am running the 2018 Boston Marathon in memory of my sister Dee who died from bone cancer in April 2016. She strongly encouraged my running over the years, sometimes to the point of embarrassment. Sisters seem to enjoy encouraging and embarrassing their brothers.
An abundance of people engage in fundraising for finding cures for cancer, whether for a race or plethora of other methods. I despise cancer as much as anyone. Both Dee and my dad died of cancer. Additionally, other friends and relatives have died from cancer in recent weeks and years. Yes, I despise cancer!
However, even a cure for all present and future cancers is temporary. I strive to seek and promote permanent solutions. While on this earth, we will never end physical death. When visiting with loved ones in the last few days of their life we do not place our hope in finding the end of all cancers and diseases.
Rather, we center our conversation on the ONE who ends all disease, cancers, and all suffering. The One who brings eternal life for all who believe in Him for the forgiveness of their sin. This One is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. He is the One whose birth we recently celebrated, as He came to earth to dwell, to tabernacle, among us.
When I leaned over Dee on the night of Monday April 25th 2016 for our final hug, our final goodbye, I nearly said “Ouch!” Because, she hugged as hard as ever. I then reminded her of her salvation through Jesus Christ. What else is a brother to say in their last conversation but to remind his sister of the greatest love?
Yes, our last topic of discussion in her life included the fact that Jesus Christ is the only solution to all disease and every other type of suffering.
Similarly, I prayed during my final moments with my Dad a few days before he died on December 1st, 2006. Upon receiving the phone calls about their deaths, I rested in the hope and inner-peace found only by those who believe in Jesus Christ.
I simply cannot fathom the grief of losing a loved one without the promise of unmerited salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Like those in Galatia to whom the Apostle Paul wrote, some today believe that we are saved through Jesus plus our works. They believe that we somehow need good deeds in addition to Jesus Christ to earn our salvation. This belief considers the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as insufficient.
If Christ, the Word made flesh, is insufficient then we all have grave concerns.
Can you imagine sitting with a loved one on their death bed, or even your death bed, listing each good deed and googling for “Points earned for good deeds,” followed by searching for “Points necessary to enter heaven”? Such a list never has, nor ever will, exist. We cannot earn anything from God.
Everything that He gives us, especially eternal life, is a gift.
Additionally, I shudder in attempting to imagine the anguish of knowing you are about to physically die without securing eternal life through the forgiveness of sins found only in knowing Jesus Christ.
Yes, my goal in running Boston in remembrance of Dee is to share the hope of Jesus Christ with the world. The same hope that Dee enjoyed through her life, including through her battle with cancer and in her last few days when, absent a miracle, death was certain. My efforts in this endeavor are futile absent the presence of the Holy Spirit. All effective evangelism is from GOD!
Today, Running on Faith Ministry leads two to three expository Bible studies per week giving each attendee a 4 to 6 page handout each week. This enriches believers understanding of the Bible both in applying in their daily lives and developing disciples for their daily elbow-to-elbow interactions.
We too, focus on elbow-to-elbow interactions along with leaving literature and books. Evangelism and discipleship is never about drawing attention or credit to ourselves, rather pointing all to the Holy and Righteous God of all creation; God the Father, Son (the Lord Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. One God, three persons, co-equal, co-eternal.
Consequently, we try to not to keep a score card because, it isn't about what we do.
A couple of examples that we do recall:
About 18 months ago a running friend confessed that was an atheiest. However, because of my example of faith (It is ALL God!!!) he was starting to reconsider. God continued using various people in his life to reveal Jesus Christ to him. Today he confesses Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Another runner recently shared that he has given up consuming alcohol. We had previous discussions on the Bible's position on drunkeness and last spring I wrote a newsletter discussion how drunkeness interferes with hearing (rarely audible) the Holy Spirit.
Over the years, running well has and continues to open doors for elbow-to-elbow conversations with runners from around the globe, including leaving literature. Through the build-up for Boston as well as while in Boston, especially after running one of my best races ever, I will--with your help--visit with as many runners as God places in my path and opens the door for conversations and leave them literature along with a follow though plan.
We focus on conversations founded on God's love, mercy, grace, and truth. Truth includes the totality of God's story as written in the Bible.
Summarily, I (Rick) am better at evangelism and discipleship than trying to explain how we engage in it. For example, over the years, friends ask about how I breath or how my foot strikes while running. Even though I have surpassed 130,000 lifetime miles of running, I have difficulty explaining how I perform these tasks that I have done literally over a hundred million times.
God graciously and mercifully enables us to partner with Him in sharing the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:14–21)
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)
Raising money for cancer is a temporary benefit. Since I am doing thisfor the glory of God in memory of Dee, the focus is on the eternal benefits of eternal life for all who believe.
As, God leads you to partner in this ministry of helping people and their families know the Peace and Assurance of Eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ in their moment of physical death, we welcome your prayers and financial support.
We welcome any and all amounts, no amount is too small. It's not us, rather Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit graciously, mercifully, and lovingly work through us for God's glory.
Rick E. Meyer
Running On Faith Ministry