Running Update

Sunrise Gypsy Hill Park

This morning wasn’t the first time I ever ran at sunrise, but it was the first time that I ever ran at Gypsy Hill Park in the early morning.  Most of my runs there have been in the afternoon.  I love to watch Sunrise Earth, especially on our HD television.  This morning I was able to watch the “sun rise” right before my very eyes.  When I got up the temp was right around freezing.  Imagine a 30 degree, January day, with a light fog and overcast skies with blue sky peeking through here and there.

When I first got to the park, there were just a few walkers and one other jogger.  During the time I was there, the traffic picked up in the park quite a bit.  When the sun finally does come out today, I’m sure the park will get lots of use.  It was interesting to hear all the morning sounds — the woodpecker trying to get some food — the ducks and the swans at the pond — the geese flying overhead.  In addition to that there are the park squirrels gathering food.  It is great to watch all of that.  When I went by the duck pond, I was thinking about the first several times I ran at Gypsy Hill and it almost sounded like the ducks were mocking me.  Well, I’m way passed that now.

This morning was a tough, but fun run.  I completed 3 laps or 3.9 miles in 47:30 (another personal best!)  We are slowly moving back toward that 12 minute mile mark.  Today I clocked in at 12:10 minute mile.  Monday is suppose to be much warmer and sunny and I plan on putting in 4 laps or 5.2 miles.  It’s time to get back to that distance and an hour or so run.

Pressing On!

Weekly Lectionary Reading

Third Sunday After The Epiphany
January 24, 2010

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 * Psalm 19 * 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a * Luke 4:14-21

1 all the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given for Israel to obey.

2 So on October 8 Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. 3 He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law.

5 Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet.

6 Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord  with their faces to the ground.

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.

9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

This is the Third Sunday following the Epiphany.  We are in a season that emphasizes the mission of Jesus.  The passage above comes from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.  This narrative comes after Nehemiah has led the people in rebuilding the walls Jerusalem.  The people come to gather to hear the reading of the Law.  The books of the law are the first five books of the Old Testament — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  These books are also known as the Torah.  They include the laws that the people of Israel were to follow.  Unfortunately from the time of Judges on forward the people of Israel were caught in a vicious circle of following God, then slipping into sin and worshiping the surrounding nations idols, then being oppressed by those nations, then crying out to God for help and repenting and then following God again.  Over and over throughout the Old Testament this happens.  From what is recorded here, it sounds like the people were being convicted of their past sins.  In that they were weeping and wailing over their past sins and shortcomings.  Nehemiah tells them it is not a day for mourning and weeping, but a day for celebration because now the people were following God once again.  It was a sacred day — it was a day set apart.  I’m sure Nehemiah would have told them, make sure that you continue on this path — continue to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and strength.  If you do, the joy of the Lord will be your strength.  Perhaps you have gone through a time of restoration like the people of Israel did in the time of Nehemiah.  I encourage you to love God with all that you have — God has restored you and he wants to see you do your best.  In this way, we can be faithful to the mission of Jesus to go and make disciples to all the world.  Blessings….

Running Update

Cold, Grey Morning

Cold grey morning without sunlight ghostly mist on the horizon…

These are words written by Kerry Livgren, but played by the band Kansas.  However, these lyrics really sum up the way it was running this morning.  On Monday afternoon, with the sun out and the temp around 50 degrees, everyone was out in the park.  In fact it seemed a little crowed.  Not so this morning.  There were a couple of walkers and a couple dog walkers and a runner or two, but for the most part, I had the park to myself.  One cool thing that happened was toward the end of my second lap.  I passed an older gentleman who was walking.  I’m sure he heard me coming — I was huffing and puffing pretty hard because I was pressing to improve my time.  He asked how it was going.  I said, “good.” Then he said, “Keep it up, you’re doing great!”  Wow!  what an encouragement.  That made me even press on harder.  It was good to be running this morning.

So…how did I do?  I completed three laps (3.9 miles) in 47:55.  As far as I can tell, this is a personal best.  I ran a 12:17 minute mile.  Not bad…at all.  I also completed 15 miles in the last 7 days.  I’m hoping to get out on Friday — if the weather cooperates and hope to complete another 4 miles.  I’m really trying to get back up to 20 miles in 7 days.  My next goal is to run an 11 minute mile…Pressing On!

Haiti Update

Wesleyan Churches in Haiti Damaged by Earthquake

Jan. 18, 2010

The Wesleyan church of Carrefour Dufort-Leogane (pictured) is one of five Wesleyan churches in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. This photo by Thony Querette shows the extent of damage to one of those churches. Photos and videos of Haiti are being sent to The Wesleyan Church World Headquarters by World Hope International CEO, Dr. Karl Eastlack. Updates on the Church’s Haiti Emergency Relief efforts are being posted regularly.

A “call for a church-wideDay of Prayer and Fasting for Haiti, along with sacrificial giving, has been issued by the Board of General Superintendents of The Wesleyan Church. According to board chair Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, “The immense tragedy of the earthquake that has devastated Haiti is beyond human comprehension, but not beyond Christ-inspired compassion. We encourage each of our local congregations to set aside one day between Sunday,January 17 and Sunday, January 24 as a day of sorrow, prayer and fasting for the suffering nation of Haiti. We also ask every Wesleyan to donate the cost of at least one day’s meals to our cooperative disaster response effort by sending gifts either to the Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund or World Hope International (our primary international relief and development partner).”

Sanctity of Life Week

From the Wesleyan Church website:

Sanctity of Human Life Week Spreads Hope and Holiness

Jan. 16, 2010

Debate about the ethics of torture has risen to a new crescendo with the international war on terror. Yet, another global war—unashamed of its use of torture, dismemberment, and chemical weapons—is being waged against unwanted, unborn children every day, year in and year out. It is a war in which abortions take 115,068 lives every day—an estimated 42 million lives every year worldwide (based on a 2007 report by the World Health Organization and Guttmacher Institute). For every 100 children born alive, 31 are discarded as post-abortion waste. It is estimated that more than nine out of ten of these abortions are performed solely for reasons of personal economics or convenience, not due to endangerment of the life or health of the mother or the abnormal development of the unborn child.

[Read more here]

Believing in life’s sacred value means being concerned about more than preventing abortions. The same love that protects innocents in the womb also moves us to protest a growing arsenal of self-destructive political and technological weapons that society is turning against itself. In addition to abortion on demand, human dignity is threatened by gender bias and manipulation, genetic modification, human experimentation and cloning, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and social culling to relieve society of the pseudo-burden of its undesirables (the unwanted unborn, the diseased, the disabled, the aged, the criminal, the economically unproductive). We desire to turn these worldly perspectives upside down as witnesses to the redemptive grace of God that can transform individuals and communities with hope and holiness.

Running Update

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I was able to get out for a third run in five days 🙂  today.  It was another 3.9 mile run and I shaved a minute and 10 seconds off of Saturday’s run.  I completed the run in 50 minutes and 51 seconds for just over a 13 minute mile.  Looks like the weather should hold up even on Wednesday for another run then.  In the last five days I have completed 11 miles — which is the most in several weeks. Pressing on...

Mr. Holland’s Opus

Last night I had the chance to watch an older movie, “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”  It is a classic movie about a man who takes a teaching job so that he can do what he really wants, which is to compose music.  In the process, he makes a huge impact on the life of his students.  The line in the movie that really got me is when Mr. Holland is singing John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy” — “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” The movie underscores the value of investing in people and making a difference in their lives.  That’s what we should be doing spiritually, making a difference in the lives of those around us.  Blessings….

How Can I Keep From Singing?

This was posted by one of our Wesleyan missionary kids.  When he was younger his parents served in Haiti.  It includes the old Quaker song, “How Can I Keep from Singing?” which was the inspiration for the Chris Tomlin song.  In the midst of devastating circumstances — if we have the Lord of heaven and earth on our side — we can sing through the storm.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Cold and Rainy

After several nice days here in the Shenandoah Valley, we had a rainy day.  It seemed to rain hard overnight, but most of the daytime hours was more of a mist or spritzin’ as Pam would say 🙂  Tomorrow is suppose to be nice with temps back in the 50’s — sounds like a good day for a run.  🙂

House Update

We are in the new parsonage Parkway has built for us.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Pam and I spent most of the week trying to get things organized.  It’s looking really good with just a few more things to put away and then put the girls room together.

In The Presence of the Lord

We had a great service this morning, despite the difficulties I was having with my new headset mic.  I couldn’t get it to stay in place during the initial worship set.  It turns out that I had the clip that holds it on my shirt too far to the right, so it kept pulling my mic to the wrong position.  Once I got that corrected, the sound was great.  The team did a great job leading worship — I especially loved “We Worship and Adore You.”  The a cappela section was unplanned but the vocals were great as the congregation joined us.  It was great being led by the Holy Spirit this morning and Pastor Barry preached a great sermon on the dangers of compromise.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

Tonight we had our first choir practice ever with me leading.  For now we plan on having a seasonal choir.  We are doing a musical entitled “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone.)  The choir did a great job sight singing and I’m hoping to add a few more to the choir in the next few weeks.

Closing Thoughts

I’m looking forward to a week of not moving boxes and getting out to run a few more times to lose the holiday weight.  In the meantime, let me encourage you to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.  Let me close with this.  Wednesday night, Pam was teaching our elementary students.  One of the things that Pam likes to do is have the students make encouraging cards.  One of the students asked who a particular person was.  Pam explained that he was a Marine serving overseas.  Our students have also made encourage cards for people at church and missionaries.  One of the littler ones spoke up and said, “Oh, we’re making cards for missionaries (who tell people about God) and people who need God.  It encourages my heart to know that our students (even the little ones) are excited to tell people about Jesus and to encourage those who are telling about God.  Seize the Day!