Briefs: Naval Academy Sermon, Overcoming ‘Obstacles’

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Smith Preaches at U.S. Naval Academy

Efrem Smith

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 23, 2012) – Efrem Smith, superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, doesn’t remember exactly how discussions started three years ago to have him preach at the U.S. Naval Academy, but coordinating schedules had not worked out until earlier this month, when he spoke four times.

Smith preached during two formal morning services as well as an informal Sunday evening service, and also delivered a food and faith lecture. “It was a great honor to be there,” he says.

He spoke from Matthew 25 on the kingdom of God. “They are being trained to serve their country, which is a great thing,” Smith says. “But there also is a high citizenship.”

Group Finds Obstacle Course a Daunting Challenge

JAMESTOWN, NY (April 23, 2012) – Even though Adam Rohler says his idea to run a 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces was “really stupid,” he and the six others who joined First Covenant Church’s pastor say it was well worth the nine months of training.

'Tough Mudders'

The pastor wrote to his church chairman, Brian Brinkley, in an email that, “We should do something stupid and fun.” For him, that meant, among other things, crawling through mud, under barbed wire, enduring jolts of electricity, and jumping from a 25-foot platform into icy water.

Brinkley jumped at the idea. The two then enlisted four other Jamestown area residents to participate – Jay Baehr, Kevin Kyser, Matthew Kindberg, and Gavin Paterniti. Ryan Colburn, who lives in Ohio, also participated.

Rohler got the idea after seeing an advertisement on Facebook for the “Tough Mudder” course in Ohio. Organizers bill it as “the premier obstacle course series in the world.”

“It’s a metaphor for life,” Rohler told a reporter for The Post-Journal newspaper. “I think of James (in the New Testament) who considers it pure joy when you go through trials and struggles of any kind. Once you get over the fear, then it becomes fun, and struggles become moments of victory rather than things to go around. You just go for it.”

Click here to read the full newspaper story.

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