Monday, February 05, 2007

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood,
the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”
Isaiah 59:19

In the town square of Donetsk, Ukraine stands a tall bronzed statue symbolizing this communities greatest and most decorated hero. The statue is not that of Lenin, Stalin or some other Soviet-Union era architect of Communism, but instead of a track and field athlete who “set the pole” higher for himself, a generation of vaulters, and more importantly for a people who had suffered the oppression of their occupiers for a decades.

The statue dominating the central business district of this community is that of Ukrainian-Born pole-vaulter and world-record holder, Sergei Bubka. The base of this bronze memorial sits 20 feet 1 3/4 inches off of the ground below; a number equal to the world record that he established.

This 8-time gold medal winner (including six World Championships) set and established world records 35 times during his career—most of the records that he broke were his own! Utilizing a technique that would later be called by his name, Bubka utilized world-class sprinter’s speed to attack the launch pad unlike any of his competitors.

His rivals would typically rely on “planting” their pole in the launch pad and exerting the maximum amount of force in the initial “bend” of the pole before they ever left the ground. This technique, sought to flex the pole downward and then to “ride the force” of the pole to the height of the cross bar that was set before them. While this would certainly “elevate” the vaulter above the ground—because all the energy of the vault was exerted at the initial point of contact, the vaulter could only “hope” that his momentum would somehow get him over the bar.

Bubka developed a technique that was far different that his competition and obviously produces greater results. His approach to the launch pad was lightning quick, but instead of relying on a lighter, more flexible pole—he chose a heavier pole and gripped it at a much high position than his rivals. This allowed for a couple of things:

First of all, instead of just relying upon the momentum of the initial “push” to carry him over the bar, the heavier pole allowed him to plant and then continue to generate constant momentum throughout his rise towards the cross bar.

Secondly, his higher grip would allow him to press at the last minute to achieve levels that others could only watch and see him achieve. (It obviously worked, seeing that he is the only valuter to ever clear over twenty feet).

Most Christians today prefer the first method—lighter pole (less responsibility), give all your efforts at the beginning (conversion) and hope to ride out the momentum to the end of the jump, and flexibility (compromise) but never becoming a spiritual Record-Breakers.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is calling us to pick up a heavier pole (greater responsibility to reach the world) and generate power throughout our spiritual jump so that we will not just be competitors, but VICTORS. Let’s press towards the mark of the high calling!

Pastor Troy D. Bohn– Raven Int’l

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