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The Olympics are in full swing! It is a joy to watch the competition.  These athletes have committed their lives to perform at this amazing level.  Our new sermon series is Racing to Win.   It would be unthinkable for an athlete to go onto the field or into the pool to lose the race!  They are there to do their very best for their country. The beauty of the competition is the clarity of the win: You must beat both your competition and the clock to win.  The first sermon in this series is Lifting our Sights.  Unfortunately for us, the “win” in our race is not so clear.  We have a chorus of different voices telling us what will make us better, smarter, and improve our lives.  Yet, when we try some of these things, we end up being disappointed, frustrated, and empty. We turn to Philippians 3:7-16 in which the Apostle Paul gives us insight and direction as to how to run our race in order to be stronger, more hopeful, and more confident. He shares with us the point in his own life where he realized that so little had been gained for all of his energy and efforts.  However, in Jesus Christ, he found a “win” that was worth everything.  It also gave him a hope that could conquer despair, and a purpose that would enable him to endure difficulty.  As you read Philippians 3:7-16, we pray you will sense the power of the Spirit of Christ filling you with hope and power for running your race.  Philippians 3:7-16: 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ– the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ– yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (NIV)