Taking a Blogging Break

keep-calm-and-take-a-breakYou may have noticed a lack of posts over the last week.  Maybe you didn’t and that’s ok.  I have decided to take a little vacation from blogging.  I’ve noticed that much of what I put on here is simply links and posts from others and not much original. Pam has been doing most of the original writing.  I’ve come to realize why so many blogs “go dark” – the writers run out of material.  This is not a permanent break, but something that I need.  I’ll still post some of the regular features – especially things that are of a journaling nature – running posts, worship sets, weekly readings, but I need some time to collect my thoughts and put some original stuff up here.  There are a couple of posts, if I had time.  So don’t worry, I’ll be back.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night ThoughtsWell, it’s been a good week and a good weekend.  Not that it hasn’t been busy.  We knew coming into July that it was going to be a bit crazy.  Not only are our lives crazy, but the weather has been a little weird here in the Shenandoah Valley as well.  We’ve had some hot, hazy, and humid weather and over the last couple of days, we’ve had some cool unseasonable weather.  Yesterday’s Sweet Dreams Race was about 10 degrees cooler than normal.  We have also had alot of rain and when I tried to cut the grass yesterday, it rained.  It looks like I’m going to go out to another hayfield tomorrow night – if the weather holds.

We are also anticipating the arrival of our kids from the north.  We are really looking forward to spending a few days with them and getting to see Robert crawl.

We did have an amazing week helping our friends over Craig and Vilene Horton at Waynesboro Wesleyan Church.  The material was the same material, so we recycled the material that we used here.  The children – through their offerings – raised $160 for Hephzibah Children’s Ministries in Macon, GA.  This is a ministry supported by the Wesleyan Church and they do a great job.  Not only that, but 13 children crossed the line of faith this week, trusting Jesus as their Savior.  That is why we do all this!

Speaking of Sweet Dreams – I crunched the numbers from yesterday’s race.  I finished 10th in my age category – which is all men from 40 to 59 years.  I don’t think that’s too bad.  The better news is that I finished 35th overall in a race that had 179 runners.  The Sweet Dreams race is a family-friendly race so many of the runners were younger, but still I feel pretty good about it all.

We had a sweet spirit in this morning’s service at Parkway.  I love it when things just come together and the team did a great job leading worship.

Like I said our kids are coming this week and then Saturday, we go over to Valley Mission to serve breakfast.  What a great opportunity this is to serve our community and I look forward to it.  That about wraps it up…Pressing On!


Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List Main

July 28, 2013

10th Sunday After Pentecost

Opening Song

How Can I Keep From Singing

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

Psalm 85:10-11

Songs of Worship

Beautiful One

Here I Am to Worship

My Jesus I Love Thee

Worship Through Prayer

Song of Worship

It Is Well

Worship Through Giving

Worship Through God’s Word

Closing Song

I Need Thee Every Hour


Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Revive Us Again

psalm85_6-7Proper 12 (17) (July 28, 2013)

Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-19; Luke 11:1-13

Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
    You restored the fortunes of Israel.
2 You forgave the guilt of your people—
    yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude
3 You held back your fury.
    You kept back your blazing anger.

4 Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
    Put aside your anger against us once more.
5 Will you be angry with us always?
    Will you prolong your wrath to all generations?
6 Won’t you revive us again,
    so your people can rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.

8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
    for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
    But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
    so our land will be filled with his glory.

10 Unfailing love and truth have met together.
    Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11 Truth springs up from the earth,
    and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
    Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
13 Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
    preparing the way for his steps.

Sweet Dreams 5K – 2013 Edition

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It’s the last weekend of July, so that means it’s time for the annual Sweet Dreams Festival in Stuarts Draft, VA.  Part of the festivities include a 5K race.  For the last three years this race has been on the hottest weekend of the summer – which makes sense because the last week of July/first week of August are statistically the hottest weeks of the year.

We got a nice break in the weather this morning – it’s raining as I type this.  I was concerned all week because of the calf muscle injury I sustained last Saturday.  This past week I have nursed it and got up early to get everything stretched out.  This was a very good race.  The Sweet Dreams 5K is an out and back race – straight out, make a 180 and come straight back – literally.  Just because it is straight doesn’t make it easy, because there are some tough hills.  I really didn’t set many goals for this race – my first 5K since last year.  My main goal was to beat last year’s time and earlier this week – that was a huge goal.  The cooler morning meant that I had a shot and the little bit of speed work I did all week helped as well.

While I didn’t beat my fastest 5K, I did beat last year’s Sweet Dreams time – finishing in 24:30 running the distance at a 7:54/mile pace.  I haven’t seen that pace in a long time, so I was very happy and really now need to work on picking up that pace as well as really train for the Richmond Marathon.  Above you will see that I included pictures taken by our official family race photographer – James.

Pressing On!

The Family is the Best Context for a Holy Life Lived Out in Real Time

by Jeremy Mavis


Every day, countless young people leave the church and, worse, abandon their faith for something “more” in North America. What has been our response? More programs? Better curriculum? Stricter accountability to godly behavior? I wanted to understand how we had been led to believe that faith is simply knowing the right information about Christ and acting with good behavior.

Perhaps no one would actually say that. Of course we would say that we wanted a faith that impacted all we did and said, faith that would last a lifetime.

But think about it: if faith is simply about good teaching and proper behavior, then the church is a sufficient place for children to learn that.

But if faith is that plus more–if it’s understanding how to live out what we believe in real time, by the power of God’s Spirit over a lifetime, then the family (with spiritually minded parents), would be the best place for that!

Dreaming of More for the Next Generation: Lifetime Faith Ignited by Family Ministry by Michelle Anthony via David C Cook 2012 quote located on page 16

No doubt there is a moralist element in the kingdom of God. God does desire us to live out a model humanity for the world. We are His special people after all.

However, right information and good behavior might win you the perfect attendance award, but it doesn’t reflect that you learned anything…

…save that at least you were present to be able to learn something.

If learning means application of the content taught and the stories conveyed, then moralism should be the byproduct of great faith (capture and lived out through a compelling story), not great faith the result of a good, well-behaved life. Michelle Anthony’s argument here is that if church is merely the context to communicate moralistic values and good character development, then it is sufficient in its current ministry focus and application. However, Anthony’s point about the insufficiency of the church to demonstrate a life lived out according to a kingdom of God belief structure isn’t experienced in a church programmatic setting, rather it is exercised in the laboratory of real life–the family.

Whether a family is spiritually minded or not, children and teens develop and live out the belief structures and practices that are modeled in the home.

It’s what they see most often. It’s what they generally know. In fact, for most it’s all they know.

One cannot underestimate the extreme influence one’s family has on how they live out one’s life.

That’s why church in and of itself is insufficient. It seems, at least to this children’s pastor, that the church, in a close, involved, and aligned partnership with parents could really help foster not only right information and good behavior, but a life lived out that displays a model humanity for the world.


Knocked Down but Not Destroyed

1017170_10151546661962149_118874939_nWe are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

— 1 Corinthians 4:8-10

It seems this summer has just been one of those – especially on the running front.  Everywhere I turn I run into obstacles to my training. This has been an extremely busy summer.  Challenges have abounded.  Yesterday while I was out on my run, I developed a bad cramp in my lower left calf.  I think it happened because I was favoring my right ankle.  This meant I had to abandon my plans for a 7 mile run and run just over three.  I did walk an additional 2 miles.  As I thought about this post, it could be discouraging.  Especially as I think about how blessed I have been – running relatively injury free for these almost four years.

I’ll have to admit, I was/am getting concerned that training for the marathon isn’t going the way I had planned.  I was hoping to be getting in 13 miles on a regular basis by now, but the heat and the busyness of the summer have been a bit of a distraction.

Just today, however I found a marathon training plan in Runner’s World Magazine and it looks like I am not as far off in my training as I thought.  If I can complete a week of 7 mile runs, I should be right on track to start the longer runs – by then the weather may have cooled a little and the longer runs will be more bearable.

In other running news, this coming Saturday is the Sweet Dreams 5K.  This will mark my 4th running of this race put on by the Augusta County Parks and Recreation Department.  It is usually one of the hottest days of the year.  The early forecast actually calls for a cooler start than the last couple of years, so I hope that happens. Last year’s time was a swift 25:32 (my second fastest 5K time).  Like last year, I’d like to finish somewhere between 24 minutes and 27 minutes.  I’m pretty sure I can pull off a 9 minute mile pace and a 24 minute 5K would be under an 8 minute mile – that would require an incredible run.  I’d like to be faster than last year, which means I need to pull of an 8:14 mile.

So even though I’ve been knocked down a bit this summer I am still Pressing On!

Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List Main

July 21, 2013

9th Sunday after Pentecost


Sing to the King

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation     

Songs of Worship

Joy to the World

My Soul Magnifies The Lord

10,000 Reasons

Worship Through Prayer

Worship through Giving

The Love of God

Worship Through God’s Word

Song of Commitment

Take My Life and Let It Be