July 2018

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
I have to confess an addiction to watching the tennis at Wimbledon. I’ve just got a Wi-Fi extender so I can sit in the garden with my iPad and watch the tennis in the sun (hopefully!) whilst working at the garden table.
I have watched some incredible battles on Centre Court on TV.  One day I’d love to go and see one for real, live on court. And in many ways a good tennis match mirrors life.
There are several parallels, firstly, tennis is filled with mistakes.  Serves, volleys and rallies will end in a point attributable to someone’s mistake.  Mistakes are part of the game.  The very best players make mistakes.  But winners learn how to deal with their own lack of perfection – despite years of practice – and continue on relentlessly in their efforts.
Next, the game isn’t over until it’s over.  You can lose the first set and pick yourself back up again.  It’s hard, but possible with the right attitude and effort. You can come back in the second and third sets and still win. Don’t give up just because you lost the first round.
Mental toughness is just as important as raw talent and skill.  If you feel disappointed, lose your focus, lose your confidence that you can win this game, it is fatal.  It requires mental toughness to come back from being battered down by an opponent.
Finally there is always another day.  Whether we win or lose life goes on. Circumstances might have made life very difficult.  But don’t give up perseverance is vital to the Christian life: determination, commitment and the will to continue even against the odds.
When you’re playing a singles match, you’re on your own. But in the Game of Life, Christ is with you. The Holy Spirit is present to strengthen you.  Your family, friends are there to encourage you, you’re not alone.  
Saint Paul saw many spiritual victories, but went through depression, beatings, deprivation, prison, shipwreck, betrayal, and abandonment.  Near the end of his life, he wasn’t looking back in bitterness, but forward in hope. 
“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).
Don’t give up.  Don’t quit.  If you want to win in the game of life then you must serve well.  We must serve one another.  You live to fight another day with Christ at your side.  And you, with Christ, will succeed!

Yours, in Christ