Running Streak – Week 1

il_570xN.3219461151The magazine Runner’s World issued a running streak challenge.  What is that you may ask.  A running streak is to run at least one mile every day for a specific time period.  In this case the challenge is to run one mile every day from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.

I missed the challenge that they issued to go from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  There was quite a bit going on in our life at the time.  But this time around, I want to tackle it.  So this week, for the first time in my life, I ran six days in a row.  Monday, Thursday, and today were all 6 miles +, Tuesday was a weird 5 mile walk/run, but included at least one mile. Wednesday and Friday both had 1 mile + runs.  So I’ve made it.  How do I feel?  It’s been a rough week on the running front, but May seems to go that way for some reason.  I think it’s the recovery from the half followed by the 5K two weeks later, then I ended up with a cold.  My running times have been all over the map this week.  But today’s run showed promise that I could soon be running under an 8:30/mile pace soon.  It was feeling so much stronger.  I am planning on continuing the streak.  Wednesdays and Sundays will be the hardest.  And yet through all of this I plan on Pressing On!

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Rise up, O God

Psalm 68

Seventh Sunday of Easter

June 1, 2014

Acts 1:6-14  •  Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35  •  1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11  • John 17:1-11

Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies.
    Let those who hate God run for their lives.
Blow them away like smoke.
    Melt them like wax in a fire.
    Let the wicked perish in the presence of God.
But let the godly rejoice.
    Let them be glad in God’s presence.
    Let them be filled with joy.
Sing praises to God and to his name!
    Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.
His name is the Lord
    rejoice in his presence!

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
    he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

O God, when you led your people out from Egypt,
    when you marched through the dry wasteland, Interlude
the earth trembled, and the heavens poured down rain
    before you, the God of Sinai,
    before God, the God of Israel.
You sent abundant rain, O God,
    to refresh the weary land.
10 There your people finally settled,
    and with a bountiful harvest, O God,
    you provided for your needy people.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth.
    Sing praises to the Lord. Interlude
33 Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens,
    his mighty voice thundering from the sky.
34 Tell everyone about God’s power.
    His majesty shines down on Israel;
    his strength is mighty in the heavens.
35 God is awesome in his sanctuary.
    The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

Are Your Kids Stained or Painted with the Gospel?

cracked paint on wood

Jared Martin shared an amazing insight a while back. I’ve reordered the question:

Are your kids stained or painted with the Gospel?

I think for many who teach children, we just teach kids the Bible and about Jesus and it sticks to them. It might stick for a long time or it might stick for a short while, but in the end, it doesn’t actually change them. It just appears as if they have been changed.

This is what Jared alludes to as paint. You can paint over something, but it doesn’t actually change what is underneath. It just covers that something over with something pretty (an often it’s only pretty at the time).

Jared goes on to advocate for stain rather than paint:

A better goal to strive for is stain. When you stain wood, that stain soaks deep into the wood itself. In fact, while the original integrity of the wood often shows through in this method, it is forever changed by the stain. It soaks into the wood and you can’t just scrap it away. This is more of what we should strive for. Rather than just covering things up with facts about Jesus, we need to allow the Gospel to soak our kids and saturate their very being. The beauty of a good stain is that, while the original texture of the wood is still visible, it is made more beautiful by the stain. This is the Gospel in our lives. It beautifies without hiding. It saturates and changes us without covering who we were meant to be. This is accomplished when those facts we learn are allowed to form a relationship with Jesus. It happens when instead of memorizing a verse for a project or to earn points, we allow that verse to shape how we live our lives.

I loved Jared’s metaphor of what we should strive for. It’s pretty easy both as a parent and as a children’s ministry leader to merely transmit information about Jesus, instead of transfer and model a relationship with Jesus. I got to tell you that it is much more difficult and more messy to stain the Gospel rather than paint the Gospel. In fact, it is sad to say that it is easier to paint than to stain. However, over time the cracks will show and it will be revealed for what it is.

I don’t know about you, but I want my life and the lives of students to be stained with the Gospel!

HT Small Town Kidmin

Let the Wesleyan Movement Begin!

From Wesleyan Blogger Ken Schenck

Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as a Wesleyan theology and there can even be a Wesleyan denomination. But I was reminded yesterday by John Wright of Point Loma that Wesley didn’t set out to start a church but to “reform the nation, particularly the Church, and spread Scriptural holiness over the land.”

For some reason I have never applied this insight to the Church today. It has always only been for me a historical reminder that many of those who have started new churches were only originally trying to reform the church they were in.  Sure, we know the charismatic movement, which has found its way into just about every Christian tradition there is. I also believe that there are evangelical Catholics, evangelical Anglicans, evangelical Wesleyans, and so forth.

But what struck me yesterday in a way it never has is that you can have Wesleyan Anglicans, Wesleyan Catholics, Wesleyan Baptists, and even Wesleyan Reformed! What would a Wesleyan movement of this sort look like, one that was not so much a church but a revolution within many churches?

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Come Everyone! Clap Your Hands!

Psalm 47Ascension of the Lord (May 29, 2014)

Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53

Psalm 47

Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
    Shout to God with joyful praise!
For the Lord Most High is awesome.
    He is the great King of all the earth.
He subdues the nations before us,
    putting our enemies beneath our feet.
He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance,
    the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves. Interlude

God has ascended with a mighty shout.
    The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King over all the earth.
    Praise him with a psalm.
God reigns above the nations,
    sitting on his holy throne.
The rulers of the world have gathered together
    with the people of the God of Abraham.
For all the kings of the earth belong to God.
    He is highly honored everywhere.

Prayer for Ascension Day

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Songs In the Night

When we are in pain, the midnight hour is not the easiest time to hold a worship service. There are times when we don’t feel like singing to the Lord or praising Him. The great British preacher C. H. Spurgeon said, “Any fool can sing in the day. . . . It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but the skillful singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by. . . . Songs in the night come only from God; they are not the power of man.”

When Paul and Silas were imprisoned for preaching the gospel, it was a hot and horrible environment. Prisons back then were far more primitive than they are today. Archaeologists have discovered what they believe was the actual prison where Paul and Silas were imprisoned as recorded in Acts. It was nothing more than a dark hole, without ventilation. But instead of cursing God and questioning how a God of love could do this to them, Paul and Silas realized it was time to pray. The Bible tells us, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). Songs — not groans — came from their mouths. And instead of cursing men, they were blessing God. No wonder the other prisoners were listening. We read in Psalms 42:8, “The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”

Are you facing a hardship today? God can give you songs in the night.”

Greg Laurie