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Josh McFarland writes:  A few months ago, Lela and I completed a race called the Warrior Dash.  If you aren’t familiar with the Warrior Dash, here is the base description from their website:

“Warrior Dash is a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell.”

Pretty awesome, right?!  The answer is Yes!


We enjoy doing things together and this seemed like a perfect fit; she loves to run and I love to conquer obstacles.  The downside, she wasn’t pumped about the obstacles and I don’t run unless I’m being chased.  While we were both a bit nervous, we knew that the point was to do it together and enjoy the challenge.  To ease the anxiety of the racers (or increase it for some), the race organizers installed signs all along the course to warn us when we were about to face an obstacle.  The sign simply read, “Danger: Obstacle Ahead.”  Semi-random thought: It sure would be nice if we had those in life.  There were also people along the course encouraging us and letting us know how far we had run and/or how far we had left.


There was a point in the race as we were running up this muddy, torturous hill (2 miles of the 3 mile race were uphill) that I thought to myself, “What is wrong with you? Why did you think you could do this?  You big dummy, this hill would be a lot easier to run if you had trained for more than two days.  This hill is never going to end.  I think I’m gonna die.  If I do die, at least I will be closer to heaven on this mountain.  Lela, just go ahead and pick up my body at the end.”  The fact of the matter is, I didn’t die.  The funny part is that when we crossed the finish line, I kinda wanted to do it again; not immediately like one crazy guy did, but sometime in the future.  I realized that as challenging as it was, there was something rewarding about crossing that finish line.


Obstacles in life are inevitable.  At times, we bring them upon ourselves and yet others are placed in our path.  The important thing to remember is that obstacles always pass.  Obstacles are never permanent.  Some may last longer than others and some have consequences (both good & bad), but the obstacle itself is only temporary.


Obstacles are never easy, but when they come, try to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Stay Focused.  Obstacles are only temporary.
  2. Use the buddy system.  Obstacles are always easier to face with someone else.
  3. Don’t quit.  Everything in life is preparing you for what is coming next; you have the tools to succeed.
  4. Learn something.  Try to evaluate things during and after the challenge; this will help you be better prepared for the next one.
  5. Look around.  Find others around you to encourage in the face of their obstacles.  It is amazing how a change of perspective can breath new energy into your battle.
  6. Smile.  It never hurts anyone (unless it looks creepy).


At the end of the Warrior Dash, everyone has a medal placed around their neck as a reward/reminder of their accomplishment.  Each time I walk in my office I see that medal and it reminds me of another obstacle faced and conquered.  Try doing the same.  As you pass through an obstacle in life, find some tangible object to keep as a reminder of what you faced and that you survived.


Life is a journey and you aren’t the same person you were 5 years ago, 5 months ago or 5 days ago. 


Why? Obstacles create change.  The type of change that occurs is up to you.


You can learn, grow and become stronger or just get old.


“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” ~ 1 Peter 5:10


Josh is a happily married father or 2 beautiful girls.  His writings are sporadic, his thoughts are random, and occasionally the two collide.  He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Hillsboro, OH.  You can find Josh on twitter, facebook, blogspot and usually drinking coffee:



It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the McFarland family that a lot of talking takes place in our home.  I used to try to simply push all the blame off on my wife and our girls, but the reality is that I “talk” for a living, so I too must take some responsibility.  One of the most common phrases uttered in our house is, “You have 2 ears and only 1 mouth, so talk less and listen more.”  While I am usually the one saying these words, I have had them directed at me numerous times.

Recently, I have begun to feel that while that phrase is adequate, it is far from complete.  Sure, everyone  from kids to parents to politicians to church leaders needs to do a better job of listening more, but it can’t stop there.  I wonder if a piece of that saying has been lost in translation?  I wonder if we are missing out on something more than just being quiet and listening?  I wonder if there is more out there for us to grasp?

What if the original phrase read like this:

You have 1 mouth, 2 ears, 4 appendages and a Big Heart.  Therefore, you should talk less, listen more, serve frequently and love greatly.

Wow, that’s kinda long and a lot harder to remember.  Plus, it isn’t exactly easy to accomplish.  Maybe that is why we just dropped the second half; that’s more efficient, right?

While it may be more efficient, it is also less effective.  Oh, and a tad bit selfish.

You see, talking less and listening more will make you a much better person, but if we stop there, it’s pretty selfish.  When we realize that we have been given hands and feet so that we can go and serve others, we go beyond just us; we realize that others can benefit from what we have learned.  However, if we simply talk less, listen more, and serve others without a deeper purpose, we are really just again, being selfish.  Sure, serving others out of our surplus is nice, but it always makes us feel good. Is everything really about us?

That is where are heart comes in to play.

You see, we are all spiritual beings; that is the way God created us.  Inside each of us is a soul that will live on for eternity.  A soul that is broken and is searching desperately for a way to be restored.  The only answer for restoration is trusting in Jesus Christ.  Jesus fixes everything, from the inside out.

So, the most important part of that whole phrase is the part about the “big heart.”  Why is it big?  Because it has been completely restored by Jesus Christ and is full of enough Grace to share with the world.

We should talk less, listen more, serve frequently and love greatly.

That means we have to get up and move.  That means we must come to terms with the fact that our goal in life isn’t to simply get everything we want.  That means we have to think of others.  That means that we must first, Trust Jesus to restore us and second, share the restoration we experienced with everyone so they can have the opportunity to experience it as well.

But that all sounds really hard, time consuming and kind of messy.  Couldn’t we find a way to be more efficient?  Maybe we didn’t lose anything in translation after all; maybe we just hid the hard stuff so we could forget about it and make things easier.

Yeah, that sounds much better.  We just need to be quiet and listen more.  That’s what the church is for anyway, right?

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” ~ James 1:22



Josh McFarland


Josh is a happily married father or 2 beautiful girls.  His writings are sporadic, his thoughts are random, and occasionally the two collide.  He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Hillsboro, OH.


You can find Josh on twitter, facebook, blogspot and usually drinking coffee: