Four Years

6a00d83451c2d869e201310f7a2c24970c-500wiIt’s hard to believe, especially after a run like this morning.  What am I talking about you ask?  Today marks the fourth anniversary of a life changing day in my life.

Four years ago, on a sunny weekday afternoon, Pastor Barry and I hit the track at Robert E. Lee High School.  We ran 200 meters and walked the second 200 meters for 400 meters or one lap.  We did that three more times.  In the space of twenty minutes, I completed 1 mile of run and walking.  Not very inspiring at the time.

Today I was able to get out on my running anniversary and turn in a 7.35 mile run in just over 68 minutes – quite the improvement.  Over the last year, I have maintained my weight.  I probably weigh about the same tonight as I did a year ago.  As I continue training for Richmond, I’m sure some more pounds will come off.  They seem to start melting away as the miles increase.

It’s been an amazing transformation.  Those of you who didn’t know me four years ago would find it hard to believe that I weighed 265 pounds – and that I would start running when I hated it.  At least I thought I hated it.  Now I hate when I can’t get out or run too slow.

I actually believe that everyone could run.  That’s a pretty bold statement. The main problem is that most won’t run slow or long enough to see that it’s really true.  All of us have a runner, deep down inside of us.

In the running department this week, it has been a very good week. A strong 13.5 mile effort on Monday, followed up by a 5-1/2 mile run at an 8:30 pace Tuesday, followed by two strong 7 + milers (an 8:36 pace on Thursday and today’s quick 8:26.) I’m hoping to build on these strong runs.  On Monday, I’m scheduled to do a 15 miler – again I’m shooting for a 9:00/mile for the entire distance.  Which is the pace that I want to run Richmond, if not a bit faster.

In other running news, I set a new personal distance mark for running/walking in one month – I completed 152 miles breaking the former record of 149 that was set last September.  If my training goes well this next month, I have a chance to break it again, because there will be some long distance runs by the end of the month – probably somewhere in the 18 to 19 to 20 mile range.  That feels weird even typing that.  I still can’t get my mind around running that distance and yet 12 weeks from now I will do 26.2.  And to thing 4 years ago I wouldn’t have even dreamed of running 5.  I remember thinking, what crazy person would ever run further than 5 miles?  (Yep, you’re looking at him!)

Well, that’s about enough rambling for the night.  Time to get to bed and get ready to lead worship and preach in the morning.

Pressing On!

In Memory of Kate

176512_121739184645075_307582817_oOne year ago I was working at Chick-fil-A and my wife came in and gave me the most tragic news I’ve ever heard. One of the children of our church had been killed in a traffic accident. At first my mind went to several of our high schoolers and then to some of the younger and then she mentioned who.  It was a 19-month old little girl.  The way I first heard the story, it sounded like possibly a bus accident or a mini-van accident – which would have been tragic in an of itself.  But as the day wore on, the details became even more horrifying.  Little Kate had been run over and killed by a 16-year old distracted driver.

My heart broke and so did many hearts in our church. Kate and her older sister and their mom were regulars not only at church but at Chick-fil-A.  My mind was numb as I learned the details.  Today is the anniversary of that tragic accident and death.

However, I want to take this time to remind everyone of the dangers of driving distracted. We try to do so many things in our car, forgetting that these are machines that can cover much ground in just a little time.  I would really encourage you that if you are in the Staunton/Harrisonburg area to join the Kate’s Krew 5K Rainbow Run.   This is a benefit run for Kate’s Krew.  This organization was started by the family to make people aware of the dangers of distracted driving.

My prayers are with the family, especially today – it is going to be so hard.  I would encourage you to pray as well.

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Small Stones

CH1005 mixed small pebblesWhen I am walking in the park, sometimes I get stones or small pebbles in my sneakers. The problem with those small stones is they could hurt my foot. They might cut my foot because they are sharp or they could cause blisters.  Either way, I have to pause and take the stones out of my shoe if I don’t want this to happen.  It is important to take care of the problem before it causes damage to my foot.

Sometimes, people can come into our lives that are just like those stones.  It doesn’t matter where we live – or where we work – or even what church we attend – there are people in our lives that are like those stones.  At first, they are just a little irritation, but if left there, they can cut us or they can blister us.  Either way they can cause scars if we don’t take care of it in one way or another.  Sometimes they are called toxic people – sometimes I’ve heard them referred to as EGR’s or “Extra Grace Required” people.  They are those who cause hurt by their actions or words – sometimes they may not even be aware of it and at times it seems that they know exactly what they are doing.  It’ almost as if they were bullies when they were children and never grew up.  Sometimes it’s because they were a victim of a bully growing up and use those actions to protect themselves.

Like I said, we can find these stones any number of places, even in the church.  It’s when we find them in the church that causes the most conflict.  We want to give them grace because that’s what Jesus has taught us to do.  Jesus said in the prayer that He taught His disciples that we won’t be forgiven if we don’t forgive others.

So, what do we do?  I think most importantly we need to pray for them – pray that God can change them – pray that God can heal the scars in their life.  Yet, there will be times that they will remain the same.  What do we do then?  This is when we have to do the things that will protect us – because we don’t want to be cut and we don’t want to get the blisters from the constant irritation.  It’s important to do this because we don’t want the scars that come from that.

So, how do you deal with those whose seem to be like those little stones in your shoes?

God Is Looking for Consecrated Vessels

I-Will-Praise-You-Website-BannerOur job as Christians is to maintain good communication and a pure walk with the Lord.  Let’s remember that God is looking for consecrated vessels that are continually able to abide in his power and anointing for the edifying of the church.

Kent Henry, “Involving the Congregation in Praise and Worship,” in The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Vol 4, Bk1, ed. Robert E. Webber (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994)

Sunday Night Thoughts

A Purple Sky to Close the Day

Just a few moments ago, I was sitting at my laptop and the reddish/purple glow coming from the sky caught my eye.  Immediately my thoughts went to the Chris Rice song “Hallelujahs”

A purple sky to close the day
I wade the surf where dolphins play
The taste of salt, the dance of waves
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs

A lightning flash, my pounding heart
A breaching whale, a shooting star
Give testimony that you are
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs

Oh praise Him all His mighty works
There is no language where you can’t be heard
Your song goes out to all the Earth
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

Today has been an incredible day – added to yesterday’s crazy day – makes for one crazy, incredible and yet AWESOME weekend.  To quote a Getty hymn “My heart is filled with thankfulness.”  I blogged yesterday how I had a major workout day – 7.25 miles running, 4.08 miles walking, two hours of cutting grass…One of the highlights of yesterday was a prayer meeting that we had at church.  I really believe that God has called our church to prayer.  I’ve asked if I could lead a Saturday night prayer meeting.  My dream or vision for this prayer meeting is much like what happens at Brooklyn Tabernacle on Tuesday evenings.  It will be a time of worship through music and prayer.  I really believe that last night’s prayer meeting was the key to the incredible day that we had today.

Even the sunset was incredible as you can see by the pictures that I took just a few moments before starting this post.  Why was today so amazing?  We had an awesome worship service this morning.  It was one of those mornings where everyone came to worship and engaged immediately.  It really was amazing.  As we sang, I looked across the sanctuary and there were hands lifted in praise and almost everyone was singing.

Following our time of musical worship, we tried to Skype one of our missionary couples.  Somewhere along the line we had some audio troubles.  We could hear them, but they couldn’t hear us.  Finally James suggested that we IM them and have them share.  It was a moment of brilliance.  Thanks James!

We also had our El Salvador Missions Team share today and that was powerful.  Pastor Barry preached a great sermon on “We are Family” as we concluded our Refocusing the Church series.

The highlight of the day was Pam’s first baptism.  We put together a nice little service and Pam was able to baptize one of the children at church.  It was an amazing yet short and powerful service.  Way to go Pam!

I am really looking forward to what God has for me this week.  I hit two significant milestones this week.  I also am preaching this coming Sunday.  My text for Sunday comes from Colossians 1:15-20.  I have an idea that I got from the book “When Hurting Helps.” We will be asking two questions:

  1. Why did Jesus come to earth?
  2. What is the purpose of the church?

The answers to both those questions can be found in that passage.  I am really looking forward to preaching.

Tomorrow I head out first thing for a 14 mile run.  The training is really starting to kick in now.  Again I’m looking at a 9:00/mile pace.  We will see how I do.

Pressing On!