Thursday, February 28, 2008

You Are My God!

14But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!”
15My future is in your hands... 16Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me.

21Praise the Lord, for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.

24So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!

Live Deeply

I've written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they're no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ's anointing, no less! You don't need any of their so-called teaching. Christ's anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.

-1 John 2:26-27 (The Message)

Sounds a little supertitious to me but maybe give it a try?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My First 50

I planned on leaving early on Friday afternoon from the office to get down to Lake Texoma. So instead of leaving at 5, I left at 4:53. I arrived in Whitesboro, TX a little after 9:00 pm and laid out everything (obsessive tradition) for the next morning’s run and went to sleep. My alarm went off at 4:30 am and I jumped out of bed and “cooked” some oatmeal in the hotel microwave and got ready.

By 5:20 I was on my way to the race start which was only supposed to be about 15 minutes away. The directions were simple and straightforward. I took a wrong turn following a sign that I later saw and I don’t know why I turned there but eventually I ended up 15 miles off the beaten path and hoping I could figure out how to make it back to the main highway. At 6:00 am I started to get a little anxious. I was hurriedly retracting my turns back to the main highway to go just a few minutes further to the race start. Finally at 6:15 I found an adequate all-day parking spot at the Cedar Bayou Marina & Resort and, yes, ran over to start line to get my packet and info and race bib. I quickly pinned it on my shirt (I’m still learning that real trail runners pin their race bibs to their shorts) and stashed my drop bag in the appropriate place to access later during the run, filled my water bottle with HEED and pockets with things I’d want on the trail and made my way to the starting line just in time. It was still dark at 6:30 when someone said “Go”. I started the timer on my watch but probably didn’t think to look at it again for a couple hours.

I followed a guy on the trail with a flashlight until the sun came out about 30 minutes later. He was keeping a steady consistent but reasonable pace and he looked like a pro. His name was Dan and he was from about an hour away somewhere in Texas. I followed him for about the first two hours or so before we even started talking and ended up running together for the rest of the day. We arrived at mile 10 in a very respectable 2 hours and 9 minutes. I was very happy about that but also knew that that sort of a pace was not sustainable all day. Around mile 15 I experienced some serious left knee pain that left me gasping for air for about ten minutes as I kept running hoping it would go away. I had experienced this same pain on every run throughout the last two weeks. I don’t know why or how but eventually the knee pain went away and I never felt it again the whole day!

I had prepared myself to not think about the distance and just focus on getting from one aid-station to the next. Throughout the day that strategy was working. The Cross Timbers trail around Lake Texoma was very well marked with white ribbons and a very nice trail but very challenging. I heard the overall elevation climb was over 10,000 feet throughout the 50 miles. At mile 25 (6 hours), I was feeling very strong and confident that I would be able to finish. After about mile 35, I remembered that these were all new running miles for me since I had never gone that far. I was amazed how much I was still able to run between mile 30 and 45 on the flats and down hills because I was hydrated and had plenty of energy (through food and supplemental energy, electrolyte, and sodium gels and capsules). Around mile 36 I was running through a relatively flat and rocky area and my left foot rolled over a rock. I heard a “snap snap”. The guy behind me heard it too, I think. I tried to walk it off for a couple minutes but then realized I needed to loosen my shoe laces because my foot was swelling. I remembered a phrase that some crazy ultrarunners say: “It hurts up to a point and then it doesn’t get any worse.” My left foot hurt pretty bad but then I tried running on it and it hurt but not any worse than before so off I went. I had to loosen the shoe laces to give room for a swelling foot a few more times.

At mile 45 we passed back through the main aid station with just a 2.5 mile out and back left (possibly the toughest terrain of the course?). I got out my long sleeve shirt and gloves and head lamp to prepare to finish in the dark. We jogged or walked as briskly as possible those last 5 miles, up and down those rocky trails in the dark (a challenge in itself!). I tripped and fell several times during this period but I laughed every time if I remember right. Once you come out of the trail you have to run about 1/3 mile or so downhill to the finish line. I ran that last section with great pleasure and a great sense of accomplishment, finishing at 7:48 pm!

After the race I ate some food that didn’t settle too well. About 7 miles down the highway on my way home I had to pull over to throw up in the ditch! After that I realized that there was absolutely no way I would be able to drive home the 4 ½ hours to Wichita feeling so exhausted that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I pulled over in the first town I came to and at the first motel I found and got a room and went right to sleep by 9 pm. I woke up early the next morning to drive home in time for church. First of all I learned that it’s one thing to drive home by yourself after a marathon but I won’t ever try to drive home by myself after a race like this. Secondly, I need this foot to heal (currently swollen and bruised) before I can start running again, I guess. But I think I’ll be okay. I was very encouraged and excited to finish this race!

Event website that will eventually have results and possibly pictures and a nice “Virtual Tour”:

Info from the website about the Cross Timbers trail: “Mostly narrow, hilly trails with some rocky and hazardous areas. Some call Cross Timbers the 'Toughest Little Trail in Texas’

"We Aren't About Weekends"

I found an excellent article in Leadership recently about all of the subjects that most interest me all wrapped up into one article (the kingdom of God, missions, mission, postmoderism, evangelism, discipleship, church, church planting, etc.):

Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Alternative to Futility

When I was in school (really for the last nineteen of 24 years), I’ve always had a list of the books I wanted to read if only I had the time. Well for nine or so months now I have been out of school and have really enjoyed reading my “long list” of books – that I really enjoy because they are good writing but also the fact that I didn’t “have to” read them!

Last night I finished my first D. Elton Trueblood book, “A Life of Search”. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“All professing Christians are called to be Christian intellectuals. That might seem a strange idea. One may say, ‘I have no degree.’ Socrates did not have a degree. Jesus did not have a degree. Who cares? The main thing is to use the mind that God has given you to the very fullest extent of which are capable.”

“…we are making a great start in understanding pain and suffering when we realize the Christian faith is not dependent upon an easy success story, but upon the Cross.”

“It ought to be possible to be both tender-hearted and tough-minded. This is the hope of all Christian theology, not only the Christian theology for clergypersons or professional theologians, but for lay Christians everywhere.”

“In Christ we have an alternative to futility, an alternative to confusion, and alternative to perplexity.”

“I do not support the church just because I need it. I support the church because I believe there is no other way for the centrality of Christ to be made effective in the world.”

“When lay people leave the cultivation of the spiritual life to one person, whom they employ and pay for this purpose, freshness tends to disappear.”

“Of all the fresh wineskins of the contemporary church, that of Pastor as Coach is pre-eminent.”

Quoting Stephen Grellet:
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness I can show, let me do it now. Let me not withhold or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good News!

16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

-John 3:16 (The Message)

Jr. High Retreat

Our Crossroads Group The Northridge Group

All of us

Playing getting to know you games...

Kansas is beautiful! and playing the human knot

Skip Church for a Weekend Retreat

Mark 6:30-32 The Message
The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat. So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves.

In February, Crossroads and Northridge went together to Rock Springs 4-H Center in North-Central Kansas for a Jr. High retreat. The junior high students along with their youth workers retreated together for two nights of cold, wet fun! We played games, laughed hard, sang songs, and had times of solitude and prayer. We require students to leave cell phones and IPods and blackberries and blueberries at home. The blessing and spiritual fruit for our youth group and church for taking such a spiritual retreat is tremendous.

As adults it is easy to forget the need for retreat. We have the same need (if not significantly greater) as the youth we minister to for intentional spiritual rest. No one denies that our culture is one of noise, chaos, and frenzy. What better way to disengage from the culture and to reengage in intimacy with God than a spiritual retreat! So get your youth group, small group, Bible study, or Sunday School class together and organize a weekend retreat or head on out alone to a remote place to “take a break and get a little rest.”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

I helped my aunt get to court today to take care of some legal matters. While sitting in a waiting room, a random person sat down next to me and started talking:

"My cousin had 8 D.U.I.'s and never had to go to jail. This is only my second D.U.I. and they are treating me like I am some kind of criminal or something!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Way of Love - Happy Valentines Day!

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10Love never dies.

Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:

Trust steadily in God,
hope unswervingly!,
love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services, but few conversions; much machinery, but few results. —R.A. Torrey, How to Obtain Fullness of Power

Let it not be so of me!

Don't Take This The Wrong Way But

"Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultramarathon."
--Alan Cabelly

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Inspiration

Some quotes and stories from David J. McGillivrary, "The Last Pick: The Boston Marathon Race Director's Road to Success". McGillivray has done all kinds of fun and crazy things like running across the USA when he was in his early 20s. (I'm definitely not getting any ideas!)

“Never let those who say it can’t be done get in the way of those who are doing it. Though not everything is possible, there’s only one way to find out what is.”

“The marathon is an ideal metaphor for my life. It’s challenging and difficult, but if you work hard and you’re prepared, then it’s manageable."

This dude not only ran for 24 hours straight but once swam for 24 hours straight as well. He tells the story: “After every 50 minutes in the water, I’d get out and wolf down 10 or so of my mom’s chocolate-chip cookies…then I’d jump back in…I had underwater speakers put in at both ends of the lap lane, and the music saved me…It was 1,884 laps. Each lap was 25 yards. My total distance was nearly 27 miles—basically, I has swum a marathon…As I’m running the marathon course, people will often say, ‘I don’t know how you’ve done this so many times.’ Sometimes I think to myself, ‘You think running is hard? Try swimming it!’ ”

Something important that some other guy learned from Dave McGillivray: “He’s taught me that within the context of your plan, just modify, but still do something; still get out there…His message is that what you’re doing is not only good for yourself but for others as well.”

“To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”


I “ran” a 50K (31 miles) trail race Saturday near Kansas City. It was fun. It was interesting. It was challenging. It was muddy. ‘Nuff said.

The race instructions explained that the event is called the “Psycho Wyco”. Wyco because the trail is located in Wyandotte County. Psycho, well, you’ll know after the first loop. Yep, it was psycho. “Run Toto Run” because, well, we are in Kansas. But I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face the whole day. It was fun!

Let me tell you about the mud: there was brown mud, black mud, grey mud, snowy mud, icy mud, just plain dirty mud, sticky and pasty mud, soft mud, hard mud, and muddy mud. I ran in this mud, walked in the mud, trapsed through the mud, fell in the mud, lost my shoe in the mud (found it but not before soaking my sock in, yes, cold mud).

Other pre-race instructions: “for the run you might want to bring a water bottle, and your wits. Some optional items include someone else’s wits, defibrillation unity and jumper cables, GPS unit, satellite phone, Darth Vader helmet, bear repellent, redneck repellent, helicopter beacon, last will and testament, shovel, and tombstone.”
-before the race with my running friend Allen Smelser, who lives near KC. Warming up!
-very early in the day (all smiles, no mud yet, before the sun came out and caused lots of trouble!). The first loop was simple (snow and ice but easy to run on). Loop 2 was pretty muddy. Loop 3 was definitely psycho!
-still early in the day. If I remember right, that was about mile 8. I was having fun! I guess there wasn’t really any good pictures of me after loop two or three covered in mud. I guess you’ll have you use your childlike imagination and take my word for it.
-photo taken at the finish line - but does not show the mud on my shoes/legs.

Looking forward to more crazy stuff like this this Spring. But to keep it in perspective, the theme before, during, and after this race was, "well, it's only 31 miles"!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My First Caucus

cau·cus (kô'kəs)
1. U.S. Politics. a) a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.

Last night was my first experience with a caucus system of election. I've voted in two primaries, two governors races, and one presidential election but never before in a caucus system. The sad thing is that although I have been paying attention to everything going on in the election I had to research for 30 minutes the day before the caucus to find out where and how to vote. The caucus was held at City Hall in downtown Wichita. After arriving and finding the end of the line, two blocks from the entrance, I waited in the falling snow and frigid blowing wind to find my way into the building.
After getting in, I found out the line had only begun! I first got in line at 6:30 and didn't leave until 9:00. My "vote" consisted of going to a certain side of the room and getting a sharpie X on my hand and a tally mark on one side.
My overall impression were that there was mass confusion about the process/caucus system (even among the staffers at the event!). My second impression was how sad the bold ignorance of people who chanted and clapped for their candidate but, if you asked them, didn't really know why they supported them at all.
What a weird Super Tuesday in Kansas!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Favorite Spanish Songs

I have so many favorite worship songs in Spanish. Here are a couple of them, and their rough english translation. I think they are all available online.


Yo, quiero más de ti I want more of you
Y habitar en tu presencia And to be in your presence
Menguar para que crezcas tu, To be less so that you can grow in me
y cada día seré and everyday I will be
mas como tu. more like you

Quebranta mi corazón. Break my heart
Quebranta mi vida Break my life
Te entrego mi voluntad a ti. I give up my will to you
Todo lo que soy señor All that I am Lord
todo cuanto tengo es tuyo All that I have is yours
Yo quiero menguar para que crezcas tu. I want to be less, so you can grow in me


Con mis manos levantadas hacia el cielo With my hands raised like this to heaven
Me presento ante ti hoy mi señor I present myself before you today my Lord
Para recibir de ti la fuerza y el poder To receive from you the strength and the power
Para vivir junto a ti To live united with you
Llenas hoy mi corazón con tu presencia Now fill my heart with your presence
Llenas de alegría y paz todo mi ser Fill my whole being with joy and peace
De cualquier necesidad tu me responderás And whatever need I have your will answer
Por que me amas, me amas Because you love me, you love me


Levanto mis manos aunque no tenga fuerzas. I lift up my hands even though I don't have the strength
Levanto mis manos aunque tenga mil problemas. I lift up my hands even though I have a thousand problems

Cuando levanto mis manos When I lift up my hands
comienzo a sentir I begin to feel
una unción que me hace cantar. an anointing that makes me sing
Cuando levanto mis manos When I lift up my hands
comienzo a sentir el fuego. I begin to feel a fire
Cuando levanto mis manos mis cargas se van, When I lift up my hands my troubles go away
nuevas fuerzas Tú me das. you give me new strength
Todo eso es posible, everything is possible
todo eso es posible, everything is possible
cuando levanto mis manos when I lift up my hands

Superbowl Sunday Run

I ran a simple 4-miler on Sunday afternoon, the Superbowl Run at a downtown Wichita park. I finished 32nd out of 149 runners. I warmed up for 2 miles before the race and ran 2 miles afterwards to cool off. What a good day of running!

For proof of such craziness (there was snow on the ground but the temperature was pleasant so that I ran in short-sleeve shirt and shorts on the first Sunday in February!), the results are posted here:

We did have a fun church Superbowl party Sunday evening but when people asked me who I was routing for, I asked "Who's playing?" and then said, uh, "Go Chiefs!"

The most interesting part of the night, other than the last five minutes of the game which were thrilling, was our group's rendition of "Rock Band" after the game, a new video game type thing where a big group of people perform well-know music karoke style (voice, drums, bass, electric, etc.) all following the guided steps on the screen. It was suprisingly fun and interactive. I sang of course - high pitched and shrill - in my best 80s rock band voice!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mexico February 08

Lead Church Iglesia Amigos de Agujita (above 4)

Iglesia Amigos de Nueva Rosita (above 2) This is where my good friends Sergio and Luisa are pastors.

This is a new church - Iglesia Amigos de Cloete (where I served in 2006)

One day visit: Lots of fun fellowship, lots of plans made for March, lots of good food, a fun Friday night worship service attended at Agujita and lots of Spanish spoken!


This Gospel of the Kingdom

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

- Matthew 24:14

"...repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (NIV)

"It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his [Jesus'] name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ (NLT)

-Luke 24:47

A Chance to Die

I recently read excerpts from a very interesting book called "A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael" by Elisabeth Elliot. It is an excellent and thorough book about one woman's story of calling to fulfill the Great Comission and her faithfulness to live out that calling, even through suffering. What a wild adventure this Christian life is!

"I saw that the chance to die, to be crucified with Christ, was not a morbid thing, but the very gateway to Life."

She told a story that I really related to on my mission field visits. When visiting a foreign field, night time does not necessarily equal quiet and peacefulness outside when you want to sleep. If it's not mariachi music or people laughing outside your window, it will for sure be roosters and other animals (crickets, etc.) letting their voice be heard. I also relate to the necessity of flexibility in changing the 'day's plans' at a moment's notice when on the mission field and doing without the comfort of privacy and quiet.

"It was good missionary training. If one is preparing to storm the bastions of heathendom, it won't do to blench at creepie-crawlies. Another lesson Amy learned was to do at a moment's notice whatever was required... She learned to do without things most precious--privacy and quiet. The neighborhood was not what her family would have thought "safe," and once, walking to the railway station, she was mobbed by hooligans. She walked on unafraid, cheered by the story of a brave ancestor who had marched through a hostile crowd. In Amy Carmichael the faith of her fathers was living still."

"Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them."

"You who can resist the half-articulate pleading of many and many a heart today, can you resist this? From millions of voiceless souls, it is rising now--does it not touch you at all? The missionary magazines try to echo the silent sob. You read them? Yes; and you skim them for good stories, nice pictures, bits of excitment--the more the better. Then they drop into the wastepaper basket, or swell some dusty pile in the corner. For perhaps "there istn't much in them." Very likely not; "there isn't much" in the silence any more than in darkness, at least not very much reducible to print; but to God there is something in it for all that. Oh! you--you, I mean, who are weary of hearing the reiteration of the great unrepealed commission, you who think you care, but who certainly don't, past costing point, is there nothing will touch you?"

Yikes! May these challenging words of our missionary friend cause us, in overflowing love for God and those created in His image, fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives, however we possibly can, every day.

Another brilliant word that I really agree with:

"The training of a missionary should begin in the nursery; school should continue it; home should nourish it. All influences should be bent one way. That training should not be perplexed by a mixture of thoughts, but expressed in a single line of conduct, clearly recognized for what it is... After it has rooted, let the winds blow as they will. Then they will only cause the roots to take a firmer grip."