Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mark Baxter's 6 Keys to Becoming a Strong Finisher - Part 1

I want to share some videos that discuss the main key points in Mark Baxter's book "Finish: Starting is Easy, but Finishing Makes the Difference". Mark, who is the Director of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Jacksonville, FL, was one of my Perspectives instructors this past Spring and he really has a hard-hitting and challenging way of driving home the truth of the gospel. Mark's book has a special meaning for Christians in light of the words and life of the Apostle Paul.

At the end of Paul's third missionary journey to the churches in Greece (54-58 A.D.), he bid farewell to the elders at Ephesus, saying he must hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible before the day of Pentecost. He told them he was compelled to go by the Holy Spirit and that he didn't know what would happen to him there because he knew the Jews in Jerusalem were plotting against him. Despite this he said:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

The book of Acts ends with Paul's arrest and his dangerous and miraculous journey to Rome to be imprisoned (though he was allowed to live outside of the actual prison). The author (most likely Luke), in writing the last sentences of the book, affirms:

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! Acts 28:30-31

In what is most likely Paul's last epistle (after prison), he writes to Timothy:

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—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Paul's life offering to the spreading of the good news of Jesus is a wonderful inspiration and challenge to all Christians. I want to finish the race too. When I see Jesus, I really, really want Him to say to me "Good job, Jenn. You were faithful until the end."..... Doesn't satan just have a way of making you believe it's "too hard" though?! Boy he's good at his job sometimes.... BUT the Holy Spirit is even BETTER at the job of building us up in faith and when we turn our hearts toward Jesus then we can rightfully see the path God puts before us and we can follow it until the end - without turning to the right or to the left.

So, we all have the desire to finish the race in "all boldness and without hindrance," but we need a little lot of help getting there! Let's see what Mark Baxter has to say...

Here is his intro video where he explains his book "Finish" (which can be purchased here):

Father, thank you for the ministry of Mark and for everything that the YWAM organization does to be a blessing to others. I pray that you bless him and that his book turns out to be a huge success. As I listen to his words in this video, I hear a challenge made directly to me. It is SO easy to start things. I start things all the time and don't finish. I don't want to take the easy route anymore and I pray that You give me an abundance of faith and strength and courage to be a finisher, and not just a starter. I pray for godly wisdom and strength to take a stand for Jesus and for the truth of His life, death and resurrection. I know that I am blessed to be a blessing to others, and I pray that You take over my life and make it whatever You want it to be so that I can be a vessel that brings the living water to those who thirst for it. Protect me from the lies of satan and keep me and my husband (and baby) safe from his wickedness and from the destruction that comes from believing him as opposed to believing You. May our faith be strong enough to overcome the lie that we "can't finish" the race. May Your will be done in our lives so that we complete the task that You have called us to do - to live holy lives and proclaim the truth of Jesus. I pray this in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen


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