Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Christmas Pictures

Brad home in Wichita from Rwanda on a short visit to his girlfriend, Chelsea
All smiles at the Northridge Friends Church, a yearly reunion we have the Wednesday before Christmas - invited are all the students who have ever attended Northridge Youth Group
That is/was the Youth Pastor, Matt, in the middle and also some others

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Good Marginal Thinking

I read a great article today by one of my favorite authors, Brian McLaren.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Celebration

El arbol de navidad con mucha decoracion!

For the record, these are not fake smiles. Just forced. Christmas Day '07.

My Step-dad, Kenny and I.

My mom being kind of crazy.

Aunt Linda in a sling (she fell three times on the ice/snow!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Very simply, I have thought today about the redemptive endings to both the Grinch and Scrooge stories. This thought speaks for itself.

Merry Christmas!

The Shortest Day of the Year and a Blizzard!

The day before the day before the day before Christmas.

Short days - only 8 hours leave me longing for the long summer days. I haven't run in the daylight in what seems like months.

Today's "first day of Winter" brought a blizzard. Who knows how much snow really fell because the incredible drifts of up to several feet have left everything snowed in, including my car, and this restless homebound runner.

Wise Men Still Seek Him!

My thoughts on the Christmas season 2008:

-We celebrate the greatest act of love ever in the history of humankind: the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, born to the Virgin Mary. The greatest, most specialized and specific and incredible and amazing proof that God, indeed, loves us. All praise and honor and glory to a God who really became "one of us" in order to save us, and even better, give us hope and meaning and purpose and life "here and now"!

A Message of Hope from John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Challenge this Christmas, in response to and contemplation of the Incarnation (Ph. 2):
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Christmas Music Recommendations

My second favorite Christmas CD is "Christmas" by Rebecca St. James (1. Behold the Lamb of God 3. Handel's Messiah 4. Nitro Praise Christmas etc. is my list)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Do Not Be Afraid of God Who Became a Man!

"Christ knows our anguish best of all...Do not be afraid of God...insted invoke him, call him Father. God is with us. God, infinetely perfect, is not only with man, but He Himself became a man in Jesus Christ. Do not be afraid of God who became a man!"

- Pope John Paul II

as quoted in "John Paul The Great: Remembering A Spiritual Father" by Peggy Noonan

A Very Big Deal!

"Christmas is a really important date in the Christian year, even if people make it out to be a material event. If God really did enter into this world, it's the most significant event ever in human history and it only makes sense that people would turn it into a very big deal!"

Chris Laughlin (my friend from Emory/Candler Seminary)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Quote of the day

"You loved us first, O God, alas! We speak of it in terms of history as if You have only loved us first but a single time, rather than that without ceasing You have loved us first many times and every day and our whole life through."

"You who are unchangeable, whom nothing changes! You who are unchangeable in love, precisely for our welfare, not submitting to any change: may we too will our welfare, submitting ourselves to the discipline of Your unchangeableness, so that we may in unconditional obedience find our rest and remain at rest in Your unchangeableness. You are not like us; if we are to preserve only some degree of constancy, we must not permit ourselves too much to be moved, nor by too many things. You on the contrary are moved, and moved in infinite love, by all things."


Top 10 Things I am thankful for in 2007

10. 226,000 (number of miles on my car)
9. First successful finish of 31 miles (by foot)
8. The number 26.2 X 5, from 4:45 down to 3:40
7. That “new” doesn’t get old
6. Calling/Purpose in life
5. Family
4. Friends – connections in Christ!
3. Blogs :)
2. Discipline/Grace (what’s the difference!)
1. Hope!

Love Bade Me Welcome

Described and exegeted by one of my former college professors as “one of the most beautiful descriptions of the gospel”

by George Herbert, 17th Century Pastor

Love (III)

Love bade me welcome, Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go were it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

Glory to God on high
And on earth peace
Good will toward men

1 John 4:7-18 NLT
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Wonder as I Wander

Last evening's Wichita Symphony Orchestra (accompanied by Singing Quakers Alumni Choir from Friends University) concert was fun, though I didn't realize (never crossed my mind) until after I got there that they would be playing, pause, Christmas music. There is just something not right about singing Joy to the World with an awkward-looking Santa standing on stage with a "ho-ho-ho". Humbug. I was confused and disoriented, so I can only imagine how the young impressionable children felt! The music was also very diverse; everything from "Santa Baby" to "Silent Night" to "Carol of the Bells". The following song, "I Wonder as I Wander", is one that interested me, though I wouldn't say that I "liked" it or anything:

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
But high from God's heaven, a star's light did fall
And the promise of ages it then did recall

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
Or all of God's Angels in heaven to sing
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A New Day

James 1:17
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..."

Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson

Behold, the lamb of god
Who takes away our sin
Behold the lamb of god
The life and light of men
Behold the lamb of god
Who died and rose again
Behold the lamb of god who comes
To take away our sin

Broken hearts
behold our broken hearts
Fallen far
we need you

Behold the lamb of god
Son of god
Son of man
we need you
Behold the lamb
The hope of man
Behold the lamb of god

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Result of a Mostly Iced-in Weekend

What happens when the weekend comes and it rains ice and sleet from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon? Well, church is canceled and other than reading several books (literally), running 18 miles in the bitter cold (fun!), going to the movies, and catching up on sleep, you really can't wait for Monday morning to go back to work to get out of the house!

Favorite Quotes of the Weekend:
[Really challenging words from Gene Edwards, "Letters to a Devastated Christian: Healing for the Brokenhearted"]
"...One of the foundations of human survival is to understand this simple point: 'It is not what men do to you but how you react to what men do to you that determines how you will survive and live upon this planet.'...You have but one person in this world to indict for any attitudes of bitterness, cynicism, hurt or pain. That person is yourself and it lies within your jurisdiction, and yours alone, to decide whether or not you wish to continue the patterns that are beginning to be set in your life, or whether you wish to break from them and head for the sunlit meadows of higher ground."

[“Through Gates of Splendor” by Elisabeth Elliot]
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot
“As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha. May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility.”
“Lord, God, speak to my own heart and give me to know Thy Holy will and the joy of walking in it. Amen.”
– Nate Saint, December 18, 1955
“God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”
“We are not always sure where the horizon is. We would not know which end is up were it not for the shimmering pathway of light falling on the white sea. The One who laid earth’s foundations and settled its dimensions knows where the lines are drawn. He gives all the light we need for trust and for obedience.”
– Elisabeth Elliot

Revelation 5:9 NLT
And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."

Friday, December 7, 2007

At Least Somebody Had A Camera

To view two pictures from Saturday's St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, follow this link.
The first picture it shows is just after crossing the finish line. Yeah...the grimmace on my face. Well, I guess you could say "it hurt so good"! I was glad to be done but my head was spinning for a while after the race. Remember that the clock time it shows was "gun time" and my actual time was measured from the time I crossed the start line to the time I crossed the finish line...officially 3:40:09. It took about three minutes to get to the start line.
The second picture, I believe, was captured right around the end of mile 26. The last .2 (1/5 of a mile), which sure seemed like a long ways, was all I had left to go (just running one block into the baseball stadium and around the warning track to a third base finish. Autozone Park fields the AAA team for the St. Louis Cardinals, I think. This picture reminds me how fast it felt like I ran in this race. I probably passed 300 people in the last 5 miles.
Now 2007 can rest...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An Oldie But A Goodie (written in 1987 and 1989)

I Believe In Jesus

I believe in Jesus
I believe He is the Son of God
I believe He died and rose again
I believe He paid for us all

And I believe He's here now
Standing in our midst
Here with the power to heal now
And the grace to forgive

I believe in You, Lord
I believe You are the Son of God
I believe You died and rose again
I believe You paid for us all

He Is Able

He is able
More than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
He is able more than able
To handle anything that comes my way
He is able more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream
He is able
More than able
To make me what He wants me to be

Monday, December 3, 2007

Just "Be Still"

Early this morning as I sat in silence, this verse came to my mind over and over and over, until I set everything aside in my mind, one a time through 'the issues' and was just "still" before God. That was all that I was being asked to do today, just "be still, and know that I am God". Besides, the Lord is on thy side...

Psalm 46:10, NIV
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

46:10, NLT
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation. \
I will be honored throughout the world.”

46:10, The Message
"Step out of the traffic!
Take a long,
loving look at me,
your High God,
above politics,
above everything."

"Maybe it was Memphis"

This past weekend I went to Memphis, TN to run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon
I drove up there on Friday morning, ran the Marathon Saturday morning and drove home Saturday afternoon, making it home by midnight.

I ran another PR (personal record) and finished in a time of 3:40:09, which is over eight minutes faster than my MCM time in D.C. in October. The day was perfect with a sunny 47 degrees start in gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. It quickly warmed up into the 50s by 9am and I wore a short-sleeved shirt the rest of the way. It was mid-60s and a very warm southern sun by finish time. I ran again with a pace team, this time provided by the local Memphis running club. They helped me to maintain even 8:24 minute miles, finishing each mile directly on target. I guess I slowed 9 seconds in the last mile or so. The marathon is always a fun event and a fun day of running - but this time it was tough. It was a fast pace to maintain and felt like "work" the whole way. Sometimes you can get in a zone for 10 or 15 miles and cruise and it seems easy. It was never like that on Saturday. From mile 3 on - it was hard work. But again I am excited about the finish!

In total Marathon finishers, I placed 391/1923.
In age group, Males 20-24, I finished 26 out of 67.

Everybody is so consistently friendly and warm in Memphis - not quite like anywhere else I've ever visited - "southern hospitality" I hear? I saw Elvis at least 10 times, at least two of them running the marathon and the rest singing in a band on the side. The marathon ran twice down Beale Street, home of the Memphis Blues, Rock'N Roll and Barbeque and all that stuff that is interesting but I know nothing about.

"I'm goin' to Memphis, mhm
I'm goin' to Memphis, mhm" - Johnny Cash