Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Are You a "Tough Guy"?
by Tom Goodman
February 6, 2008

An eccentric Brit has discovered that people will rise to a dare.  Jesus must have known that, too, considering how he warned us about the toughness of his mission right at the start.

Billy Wilson, aka "Mr. Mouse," designs an annual punishing 8-mile race that thousands pay to experience.

Maybe you saw ESPN coverage of the phenomenon.  The Challenge starts out as a typical cross-country run, but gets bizarre 6 miles into it.  At that point, you hit events with names like "The Elephant Graveyard," "Ghurka Grand National," "The Killing Fields," "The Fiery Holes,"  and "The Viet Cong Tunnels."  Competitors slither through mud under barbed wire, snake through a hundred yards of used sewer pipes, wade through ice water, swim under logs, scramble up huge rope webs, and dart through a stretch of exposed electrical wires.

Last week five thousand people paid up to $500 to gain entry to this race though there was no prize money waiting at the end -- not even a T-shirt.  Just the privilege of saying you're a proven "Tough Guy."

Who signs up for this?  ESPN's Jim Caple did, at 45.  He saw "men in their 60s and girls in their teens and a lot of guys in their 20s and 30s... welders, soldiers, firefighters, copy editors, cooks, plumbers, programmers, students, and teachers."

This year's winner: Colette Francis, a 37-year-old sales representative, who completed the course in a commendable 2hrs 48mins.  She was running for a charity.

Prominently displayed on the side of a barn that all competitors and spectators pass: a huge image of Jesus being removed from the cross.  Written next to Jesus: "The Original Tough Guy."

As he sent his followers out on mission in Matthew 10, Christ warned about the hardship and opposition we will face as we set out to make a difference around us.  We'll take a look at his words this Sunday.  If thousands can hear about the rugged Tough Guy Challenge and still say, "Sign me up!" then surely Christ's followers can hear his warnings and still say, "I won't back down!"  Join us at 9:30am or 10:45am.

Also, I've started writing about "unChristian Christianity" in my other e-newsletter, LeaderLines, distributed by email every Thursday.  I'll spend the next six weeks reviewing the important new book, unChristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity and Why it MattersSign up for LeaderLines at our website or stop by my weblog every Thursday.

Drop By the Blog, Leave a Comment.  At my weblog, "Get Anchored," every Sunday I post a new "Song of the Week." (This week, "Fix You" by Coldplay)  Also, every Tuesday I post some entertaining and informative "Links to Your World."  You might also want to check out a hilarious music video called "Cletus Take the Reel," encouragement for those tempted to abandon ministry, the beginning of an important new LeaderLines series called unChristian Christianity, a nice note from a church member about how Hillcrest has impacted her life, and "vertical" presidential candidates.

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