Once again, I was listening to Elevation church one day as I was walking, and Christine Caine gave the sermon. She entitled it THE EXCHANGE ZONE. It was so good I had to share.

These are some points that Christine discussed in her sermon:
She began by discussing a relay race, and in a relay race, it isn’t about the individual runner. We aren’t on an independent destiny. It is about the exchange or the passing of the baton. It has to be seamless. In 20 meters or 1.9 seconds, the baton has to be passed from one runner to the next. If that isn’t a smooth tradeoff that what happened before doesn’t matter. It the 1.9 seconds of the handoff falls the momentum and speed doesn’t increase. These 20 meters of exchange determines the entire race. Christine then went through several Olympic games where in the exchange zone, the Americans lost the gold medals due to a lack of exchange in the exchange zone. They were the fastest and the best runners; however, in just those short 20 meters, they lost the race.

Ok, so hold on here we go. Several weeks ago, Elisabeth told me we needed to remind people of what we did, what our mission is. Soon after this discussion, Lauren received a post on her Facebook wall of a cancer patient opening a box of joy that he had received. He opened the box and went through it piece by piece. He saw the picture of Stringer “the runner” and read what was located on the back. The same scripture that Christine Cain references in her sermon.

Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12 begins with the word, THEREFORE. When you see the word, therefore, you know that there is a reason why it is there. It is there because we need to run with endurance the same way that all of those did in Hebrews 11.

So what is so important about Hebrews 11?

Hebrews 11 is better known as the Hall of Faith. It includes men and women from the old testament whose stories stand out to encourage and challenge the faith. (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and other anonymous heroes of the bible.)

From this Hall of Faith, we learn what God can do for us. We learn that God will sustain us, and he doesn’t require our strength. It is by faith alone that the Hall of Faith did what they did. They understood and had unwavering faith and obedience when obstacles were staring them in the face. They realized that with man, things might not be possible, but God is a miracle worker. They also teach us that there is a life waiting for us if and only if we put our trust in Christ alone. The eternal life is much better than the life we are in now.

Just like those Biblical characters we learn from in Hebrews 11, we have people that have gone before us running this race of endurance and perseverance. They have taught us to have faith in things we cannot see. They have taught us to trust when we have to step into deep waters. They have found peace while passing, knowing that there is an eternal life that is much better than this that we call life.

They have passed the baton off to us. They have had an exchange of life. They have continued into the eternal, leaving us with this baton that we don’t know what to do with, but then again, do we?

In passing the baton, God has given us a responsibility for us to keep running the relay. We have been handed a job that we have been gifted the skill set to accomplish. We can make the exchange zone more complicated, or we can let it be a smooth transition. We can let the devil try to make us drop the baton, or we can have an easy exchange and follow through with what we are being led to do.

So let’s circle back around to the cancer patient and the box of joy. The box of joy began with Stringer and Lauren. Stringer was the first leg of the relay. He fought with strength, he ran with endurance, and he never gave up. But when it was time, he handed the baton off to us. It wasn’t an easy handoff. It wasn’t one that we wanted, but it was necessary for him to be able to finish his leg of the race and for us to continue. We continue this race without him, but we keep on sprinting with what we learned and gained from him. We keep doing our job at Pass on Joy and Personal Pep Rally encouraging and motivating cancer patients and their families because Stringer passed the baton.

It is never the fastest runner or the last runner that wins the relay. It is not an individual sprint. It is a team working together, trusting that each runner before and after them will do what they have promised to do.

I ask you to look at yourself. Who has passed the baton to you? What have you learned from them, and what are you supposed to be doing to keep the race going? Are you passing the baton?

Take the baton and pass the baton you can and will make a difference!

• Keep your daily appointment
• Dive deep into the word
• Take the baton and pass the baton
• Fill your cup with Christ

RESOURCES Elevation Church Christine Caine