Archive for April, 2011

Don’t Stop

April 28, 2011

Saturday is the day that I will participate in my very first 24 hr run.  I am looking forward to it.  I expect to be physically challenged in a way that I have never experienced.

The advice that I was given by an individual who has participated in over twenty of these events was “Don’t Stop.”

Apparently you should alternate between running and walking, but don’t stop.  If you stop you will quickly stiffen up, the pain will set in, and it will be very difficult to start again…so… don’t stop.

It’s kind of like my overall approach to ministry and life.  I have been pastor of the same church for over twenty years and every day I get up and work at those things that need to, should be, or could be, done.

Don’t stop.

Of course there is a difference.  In life, I take breaks.  I observe a sabbath rest.  I go on vacation.  There are periods of rest, but I don’t quit.  I don’t give up.  A key verse to remember for continuing in Christian service is Galatians 6:9

“Be not weary in well-doing for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not.”

I hope to complete 100 kilometers in this race.  If I do, I will get a plaque.

More important, I hope to complete the course that God has set before me.  I want to hear the words.  “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

That will be worth way more than any plaque.

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The Egg and Political Reformation

April 26, 2011

When the time is approaching for a chick to break out of its shell it needs to be left alone.  If someone standing by were to decide that they wanted to help the chick, by helping to break it out of its shell, that bird would certainly die.  It is necessary for the chick to remain in the shell until it has sufficiently developed and is able to break out on its own.

There are countries throughout the Arab world experiencing political turmoil.  It is hard to passively watch as these countries are in the throes of breaking free, but we are doing them no favor when we interfere with the natural process of political reformation.  When outside forces assist, the developmental process is hindered and a weakened, dependent, political agency is the result.  That is not good for the nation’s sovereignty.

We should let a countries internal conflicts be resolved by the people of that country.  The social contract will be worked out in time.

Resurrection

April 25, 2011

I believe in the new life that God has for us.  I don’t just mean the life in heaven that follows this life.  I believe that when we are saved we are reborn.  I also believe that God restores life to people whose hopes and dreams have been crushed by the circumstances they have endured.  God is able to give new dreams, new strength, new wisdom, and new hope to the lives of those who trust in Him.  We need to let go of the old, dead dreams, so that we can grasp the new vision that God has for our lives.

It is a good life that God has for us, you might say, an abundant life.

Holy Week and Easter

April 21, 2011

Today is Maundy Thursday, tomorrow Good Friday, and then Sunday is Easter morning.  In some liturgical churches, there are services on Thursday and Friday.  The church that I now pastor celebrates Palm Sunday and then Easter.

I suppose you could say that we hit the highlights.

I sometimes suspect that we might be missing out on some important lessons.  Jesus washing the feet of the disciples powerfully displays an attitude of humble service.  His submission to the shame, beatings and the crucifixion demonstrate obedience and sacrifice.

The celebration of victory and the new life that we have in Christ is great, but, humble service and obedient sacrifice are concepts that should be regularly reinforced to the people of God.

Blisters

April 19, 2011

I am preparing to participate in my very first 24 hour run.  I have run regularly for years, completing distances of up to 10 miles.  I thought that since I was upgrading the distance significantly that I should upgrade my shoes as well.  I went to a local store that specialized in running equipment and purchased the shoes that they recommended in the size that they suggested, which was a size larger than I normally purchase.

In over thirty years of running, I have never had problems with my feet.  These new shoes have been a challenge.  At first they caused soreness in my arches.  Now that has gone away but I am getting blisters on my left foot.  The good news is that my knees, hips and back: which have sometimes hurt,  are doing well.

I hope my feet adjust soon, the date of the run is quickly approaching.

Seek First..

April 18, 2011

When life becomes too intense, when there are deadlines, conflicts, and pressures; when the activities and demands of this world engulf us and we feel as though we are being carried away down a flash-flood of life, it is even more important to remember one simple rule.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

Take the time each day to spend time in prayer and in the Word.  Remember that God will guide us and give us wisdom and  strength, so that the challenges of life will not sweep us away.

Mid-life

April 14, 2011

The other day I helped a friend with some roofing work.  I was only out on the roof for a few hours, but I discovered that although I am in good shape for my age,  I am not as young as I once was, and those few hours wore me out.

My wife and I are looking around the house trying to figure out what we should get rid of next.  We used to look around stores dreaming about what we would next purchase.

When I try to lose a few pounds, it is far more difficult than it used to be, and they come back on in a blink of an eye.

I find myself thinking about retirement.  I realize that I am far closer to retirement than to the beginning of my work history.

I look forward to grandchildren, but will let grandma change any dirty diapers.

I realize that some dreams might not come true.

I continue to rethink the possibilities that the future holds.

God is not finished with me yet.

True Pleasure

April 12, 2011

“Lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God.”  In II Timothy 3:14  Paul uses this description of people in the last days.  It is a shame that people seek the pleasures of this world before developing their relationship with God.   I understand that people want to be happy.  Aristotle taught that all humanity shared the same goal.  He called it eudaimonia; which is Greek for happiness, or flourishing.  What so many people fail to realize is that true happiness begins in our relationship with God.  Psalms 16:11 says “You will show me the path of life.  In Your presence is fullness of joy:at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  So if you truly want to be happy,  “Seek first the kingdom of God, and its righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Mathew 6:33

24 Hour Run

April 11, 2011

Well, I did it.  I have signed up for a 24 hour run.  This does not mean that I have to run for 24 hours, but that I will have 24 hours to complete as many laps as possible on a 400 meter track.  This will be done by a combination of running and walking.  (Actually, they permit crawling as well, but I hope it doesn’t come to that!)  A friend of mine from church has participated in this event for 22 consecutive years.  It’s his fault!  Actually, this past winter I was on a 10 mile run on an inside track when the idea of participating came into my mind and wouldn’t go away.

I just want to give it a try.

I am also going to use it as a fundraiser for the Chi Alpha group that I work with at the college.  I will seek people who will sponsor me per mile completed.  My goal is 100 kilometers, which is about 62 miles.   I have upped my weekly mileage, bought some new shoes, and am looking forward to the experience.

I’m actually kind of excited about it.

Budget Compromise

April 9, 2011

The threatened government shutdown has been averted.  The politicians in Washington realized that no one would appreciate the idea of our military being in combat, and their families not receiving financial support.  That would cost them votes next election.

I have not seen the details of the compromise.  If it is a good compromise then everyone should be equally unhappy.  Yes, I said unhappy.  A compromise means that you have had to give up something that you wanted originally.  It means that you hoped for more than you are receiving in the deal.  It is a fair compromise, when both sides give up equal shares.  Of course, each side also should receive things that are important to them., but they should come at the cost of other things of lesser importance.

Hopefully, our political leaders will figure out what is truly important.