God’s Relentless Pursuit

“God’s relentless pursuit of us is stunning. In the midst of our shame and guilt, it’s hard to believe that God has any intention of returning to restore us and even rebuild a relationship with us. We live in a world that makes us pay when 

we screw up. Even when others extend grace to us, it feels as if we have to do something–anything–to fix the problem. We are chronic self-fixers. But God continues to pursue us on this wilderness journey with a love that strips away our old selves. In time we’ll learn to relinquish control and to receive the love God wants to give us.”
Chuck DeGroat

Sunday Night Thoughts

Post #3364

It’s hard to believe that another week has gone by so quickly.  This has been an amazing week.  Fall is in full swing in the Shenandoah Valley.   This afternoon Pam, James, and I headed west out of town.  We drove out on US250 past Churchville and up to the top of Shenandoah Mountain and the Augusta/Highland County line.  We visited the site of the Confederate Breastworks, which was a battle line set up during the Civil War.  We forgot our good camera but did take some pictures on our cell phones and you can see some of our pictures below.

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The fall colors are so beautiful…I have been enjoying the colors during my runs in the park this week.  This morning we watched as came up and lit up the leaves.  While we were getting ready for church, a deer (a three point buck) walked right by our patio.  But then again we have had our share of rabbits and groundhogs, deer and skunks around of late.  Yesterday a bunny sat right by our side door.

I am so amazed at God’s creation – Fall is my favorite time of year.  One of the things I struggled with this week was our Trunk-or-Treat sign.  Finally I was able to get it the sign up and it’s finally not falling apart.

We also finally got all the tires fixed on our van. This fall has been rough – we’ve managed have three different tires get a nail or a screw in them.  Every few days, we have been filling up the tires, so it is so nice not to have to do that routine tomorrow.

I have two runs planned for this week – a 7 miler (around an hour tomorrow) and a 5 miler for Thursday and then the 1/2 marathon in Danville on Saturday.  I am really looking forward to see how this training season has improved my running.

We had a great worship service this morning – it all came together (the music, the message) was amazing.  The praise team did a great job. We learned a new song – 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.  The congregation really sang this new song well.

This evening we had another good choir rehearsal and I am really looking forward to presenting this in December.

Well that about wraps it up for tonight.  Have a great week and keep Pressing On!

Sunday Set List

October 21, 2012

21st Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

Songs of Worship

How Can I Keep From Singing

Blessed Be Your Name

10,000 Reasons

Worship Through Prayer

Song of Worship

O God Our Help in Ages Past

Worship Through Giving

Special Music

Worship Through God’s Word

Not A Fan

Following Jesus: A Passionate Pursuit

Luke 9:23

Song of Commitment

Be Thou My Vision


Prayer for the Week

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In The Taper Zone

The Danville Half Marathon is just a week away.  I really should be well into my tapering for this event.  It has been tough to back off on my training this time.  For one, I am feeling so strong and this morning’s run really brought that to light.  Part of my struggle was to get in one more long run – especially since my long runs have been on Monday.  I was able to get in one more run with plans to run a 7 miler on Monday and a 5 miler on Thursday. Then on Saturday we will be getting up early to head to Danville.

This morning’s run was pleasantly surprising – 11 miles at an 8:20 pace. I was trying out some energy gels that look like they will work out real well for Saturday.  It has been a great training season, especially considering that I have really only been training hard for about 12 weeks.  It has been amazing to watch my pace come down since early August, when I was struggling with 9-minute miles for short runs.

So here are my goals for this coming Saturday: (Good, Better, Best)

  • 1.) Finish in less than 2 hours (this is a 9:06/mile pace) and would also give me a PR (Personal Record for the distance of 13.1 miles.) – The way my training runs have gone, I have a fairly reasonable chance of making this goal. Still, there’s any number of things that can go wrong, so there are no guarantees.
  • 2.) Finish in less than 1:55:00. I have been running in the 1:55 type pace over the last few weeks.
  • 3.) Finish in less than 1:50:00. If everything is perfect, I may be able to get this, but that’s why you set multiple goals

Following next week’s race, I plan on working on setting up a base plan for the winter.  One-hour runs twice a week; a short (45 minute) speedwork session; and an 1-1/2 run.  I’d like to run some short 5k’s if the opportunity presents itself.

My future running plans include a return to the Park-to-Park 1/2 Marathon from Waynesboro to Stuarts Draft.  Then I would like to run a marathon in the fall, more than likely that marathon will be the Richmond marathon.

Well that about wraps it up for the week. Can’t wait for Saturday – Pressing On!

Who Is This Who Questions My Wisdom

Proper 24 (29) (October 21, 2012)

Job 38:1-7, 34-41; Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

38 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:

“Who is this that questions my wisdom
    with such ignorant words?
Brace yourself like a man,
    because I have some questions for you,
    and you must answer them.

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know so much.
Who determined its dimensions
    and stretched out the surveying line?
What supports its foundations,
    and who laid its cornerstone
as the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?

34 “Can you shout to the clouds
    and make it rain?
35 Can you make lightning appear
    and cause it to strike as you direct?
36 Who gives intuition to the heart
    and instinct to the mind?
37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
    Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
38 when the parched ground is dry
    and the soil has hardened into clods?

39 “Can you stalk prey for a lioness
    and satisfy the young lions’ appetites
40 as they lie in their dens
    or crouch in the thicket?
41 Who provides food for the ravens
    when their young cry out to God
    and wander about in hunger?

We are on the third week of readings in Job.  In this week’s installment, we hear God utter those famous words at Job.  “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.”

God goes on to ask Job some very pointed questions about the creation of the world — questions that God knows full well that Job can’t answer.  There are times when all of us get in a tight spot like Job and we start questioning God.  We wonder how we get into certain situations.  Sometimes those situations are of our own doing.  Sometimes, like in Job’s case, they are brought on because of the evil that exists in this world.

It’s in times like these that we need to remember that God is in control.  He is the one that set everything in motion.  He is not just watching us from a distance and God is not a micro-manager.  God cares for us – he really does.  I love what I heard on a Dennis Jernigan CD many years ago.  “God is God and we are not – I’m glad I don’t have his job, because it is hard.”  This week I encourage you to think about who God is and all that He has made.