One of my best friends, Mike Fabian, who is a pastor outside of Detroit, told me a story about the summer before his junior year in college. Mike was on camp teams that summer for Great Lakes Christian College. Camp teams go from church camp to church camp all summer long, representing the college. He was also planning on playing soccer again in the fall. Before the summer started out, the coach warned the team that the first practice in the fall would be a two-mile run and everyone would need to finish the run in under twelve minutes if they wanted to play. My friend Mike had never even ran a six minute mile in his life. Let alone two six minute miles in a row. Even in tiptop shape, his legs, because he has cerebral palsy, just won't let him do it.

So Mike approached the coach after the announcement, and the coach told Mike, "You have to want it." Mike replied, "No matter how much I want it, my legs just won't let me have it." The coach repeated, "You have to want it."

Fearing failure and not being able to play on the soccer team that he loved, Mike set some goals for himself over the summer. He was determined to achieve what he thought was an impossible goal and woke up early every morning before camp to run. On the weekends, he ran the actual two-mile course he would have to run in the fall. He ran and ran and ran all summer long. He even timed myself. He wanted it. But he still could not run the two miles fast enough.

The first day of practice came. The day of the run. Coach gathered the team together and said, "Hopefully, you guys have been training all summer for this. Here you go. You got to want it." Mike was going to give it his all. He wanted to be on the soccer team and would run his heart out. He ran as hard as he could for two miles and even sprinted the last quarter mile. He wanted it.

As he came around the final turn, his teammates were clapping. They were cheering. Coach was encouraging, "Want it! Want it, Fabian!" Mike ran harder and harder.  As he finished, his time was called out - and remember, he had to run it in under twelve minutes. "14:23."

Under fifteen minutes for two miles is Mike's personal best to this day, but it wasn't under the twelve minutes that it needed to be for Mike to make the team. He was really disappointed. He put his hands on his dropped head, breathed heavily in his slumped chest, and walked away. And then threw up. He really wanted it. And he didn't achieve his goal.

Coach blew the whistle and called the team in. He said. "This season - if we are going to succeed, you gotta want it." Then he continued and said something that Mike will never forget. "You have to want it like Fabian wants it. No one ran harder than he did." Mike was second to last that morning, but coach used him as an example of someone who wanted it because, despite his limitation, he gave it his all. He was determined. He prepared. He worked hard. He left everything he had on that run. He wanted it. He made the team!

Determination doesn't mean you will succeed. Mike showed determination, yet he failed. Determination means that you will try your hardest. It means that you will work toward it even if you can't accomplish it.

We need to introduce a little crazy determination back into our faith.

Determined to live out the life of Jesus, ShaneClaiborne has moved into the inner city of Philadelphia and lives among the poor.  Also determined to live out the life of Jesus, other lesser known, yet just as faithful, brothers and sisters in Jesus live with him.

Determined to live out the life of Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. stood up against racism in our nation.  Also determined to live out the life of Jesus, many others marched with him.

Determined to live out the life of Jesus, Milton Bates, a pattern maker at General Motors, after seeing disaster strike Bangladesh in 1972, started International Disaster Emergency Service, which has been helping around the States and around the world when disasters strike. 

Determined to live out the life of Jesus, Mother Theresa moved to Calcutta to help the poor.

Determined to live out the life of Jesus, Millard Fuller, in 1976, started Habitat for Humanity and since then, Habitat, with the help of many other determined volunteers, has built over 400,000 homes.

Determined to live out the life of Jesus, a group of people from this area started a place to help kids in need. This place we know as the WoodburnChristian Children's Home. Since it started forty-one years ago, hundreds of lives have been made better because of the determination of a few who decided they were going to live out the life of Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)