A new arrangement to a very old and familiar text.
- What a gorgeous day, albeit a little windy, today turned out to be. It was nice as the mercury made its way into the mid-50’s. I haven’t had much chance to enjoy days like this, so it was great. Pam and I even got in a late Sunday afternoon walk, which worked off some of the calories from lunch today.
- Speaking of, I can still smell the leftovers from lunch…It’s always interesting to smell the house after dinner or lunch. James claims that chicken cutlets stink up the house for a week. I think that has to do with the frying.
- This evening I was checking on Facebook and found this cute picture of Robert. It seems that all of his cloths are too big for him – at least at the moment. What a cute adorable boy – yes, I am biased. It’s hard to believe that he will be turning a month old this week. Pam and I miss Robert and Rebecca and Michael and can’t wait to see them again.
- This afternoon, before Pam and I went out for a walk, James and I were watching the Daytona 500. I was excited that Jimmy Johnson won. It was also good to see Danika Patrick make a good showing on one of racing’s biggest stages.
- We had a good, solid service this morning. Our handbell choir played and did a great job. I’m looking forward to hearing the recording tomorrow. We had a special guest, our Assistant District Superintendent was here today. He preached a great message on the cost of discipleship with several illustrations that really hit home. I had never heard him preach before and he is a good preacher. He also knows our Discipline upside down and backwards, so if I ever have a question on that, I just give him a call.
- I am looking forward to another great week – I just wish that spring would come a little faster. One of the first signs of spring is SWU’s Spring Break, which starts this next weekend. Our middle daughter will be making the trip home this Friday and I can’t wait to see her.
Until next week – Pressing On!
February 24, 2013
Second Sunday of Lent
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship and Invocation
Songs of Worship
Mighty to Save
The Power of the Cross
Worship Through Prayer
Song of Worship
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Committment
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The last couple of weeks have been a bit frustrating on the running front. Why? Apparently late December and January took more of a toll on me than I thought. Frustrating isn’t quite the right word, because things are coming together, just not as fast as I would like.
About two weeks ago, I realized that it was getting tough to run distances (even short distances). Sometimes 5 miles seemed like all I could do. I’ve been struggling to get in long-distance mileage. Everything above 8 miles seemed hard. Like I said frustrating isn’t quite the right word, because over the last two weeks, things have started to come together. That being said however, my pace is still slow – at least compared to last fall. So I have endeavored to take care of some of the issues that have caused this stalemate.
One of the things that was causing some of the bog down was that I was running the same 1.3 miles over and over and over again and it was starting to take a toll. It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve completed a full run in the park. Now sooner or later, I will take a spin around the park for 7 miles, but I need to stay out on the streets. The reason for this is that the streets are hillier – they are more challenging.
One of the things that I did to build endurance toward the Park to Park Half in April, was to choose a route that would be challenging at the end. It was a twelve mile route, so I wanted miles 9 through 11 to be hilly and tough. Hilly and tough is an understatement. The first 8 miles were very familiar ground – then I diverted from my regular route, even though it meant that I would be running away from the home base that was just a mile away. This took me over some tough ups and downs. At one point I didn’t think I was going to make it up the last big hill. I slowed to a very slow shuffle – but kept on pressing on and soon that hill was gone. Hills like that are going to make me stronger and I’ve been running quite a few of those of late. If you know the Staunton landscape you will know that they aren’t hard to find 🙂 .
Sometimes you may wonder why I choose to write about running on a worship blog. For one, running is a great discipline. It reminds me of the great spiritual disciplines (reading the Bible, praying, etc.) I think we find in any discipline, we can slack off – we can get soft – we might lose our motivation. The important thing to remember is to press on. We need to challenge ourselves. I’ve encouraged our congregation to challenge themselves during this season of Lent. Two, I think running has saved my life. Running is important to me because it has changed me. Isn’t that the point of worship? Isn’t that the point of the Christian life – to be changed? I like to share my victories and my defeats in running. There would be some who would think that after running for almost 4 years that it has become second nature. Well, not really! That’s what happened in January. I let the weather dictate my running and I paid the price for it.
Most importantly, running has taught me the great lesson of enduring. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. If you run you know what I’m talking about. Very few times is it about where we are going, but how we get there. It has also taught me that no matter the circumstances, we need to keep working at it. Have you failed? It’s time to pick yourself back up again. Don’t think you can make it? Keep pressing on.
I am excited that my endurance is coming back. Now the next thing I need to work on is building up my speed. There was a time that I was closing in on an 8 minute mile. Today’s run was at an 8:48 pace, which is about 25 seconds a mile of the pace of the Danville 1/2, where I set a personal record. I would really like to do that for the Park-to-Park, which means I need to get my pace down to an 8:25. I’d like to get to around an 8:15 to 8:20 pace. We will see how the next 8 weeks go.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
9 Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
The season of Lent started a week ago. It’s really amazing to me to see those who seem to be afraid of Lent. Perhaps because they think it is “Catholic,” That it is too mystical. That it is too much about works. All of those could true, but we could say those things about many of our traditions.
I like the way Dale explained Lent to our congregation at Parkway this year. It is Spring Training for Christians. Just as the ball players are gathering in Arizona and Florida to get ready for the upcoming baseball season, Lent is a time to prepare our hearts – to focus in on our spiritual conditioning – to focus on our spiritual lives as we get ready for perhaps the biggest celebration of the Christian year – Easter.
This past week I was reading my devotions and I came across what we should be doing during Lent. We should be stepping up to seek what God wants us to do. During Lent, we keep up what we normally do for devotions — we keep the spiritual flame alive — but we want to take it to the next level in our spiritual life. It seems that most of what I have observed is that Lent is ok for some, but it’s not for me. The would say, “I don’t need to make a special effort during these forty days to strengthen my spiritual walk, because I’ve been doing it all along.” The Christian life involves taking risks. Our spiritual condition gets flabby from time to time. Lent is a great time to focus on that.
Check this out from the devotional I read this week: And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) In the King James Version it says, “diligently seek Him”. The words “diligently seek” come for the Greek word ekzeteo (ἐκζητέω), which means zealously seek for something with all of one’s heart, strength and might. The point is during this season of Lent, we need to diligently seek God. Yes, it takes some effort. But then, most everything I know that is worth it, requires effort. There are Christians that are OK with their lives staying at the same level year after year. They become lazy and not expanding their knowledge of God. I would encourage you to take what’s left of these forty days until Easter, to focus in – to diligently seek – to sincerely seek after Jesus. Ask Him through the power of the Holy Spirit to make you stronger as a believer. Ask Him to help you mature in your faith — ask Him to help you step up your game so that you can become all God desires you to be.