Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I ran my first 100 Kilometer race (62 miles) on Saturday near Lawrence, KS.

The day was perfect and as far as I am concerned, I experienced pure victory! The race began at 7am with brisk temperatures (upper 30s). I just wore my short-sleeved t-shirt however and kept my hands warm by blowing hot air into them for the first 30 minutes. The race began and we followed the single track trail single file into the woods for a nearly 21-mile loop. After about an hour of “warming up” running, I began to pick up the pace to a run that I was pretty much able to sustain for the next 13 hours or so!

My running friend, Allen Smelser (north-east KS) ran with me the whole way, every step from beginning to end. We talked, joked, laughed, and learned about running the whole way. We completed the first loop in about 4 hours and 30 min. Half waythrough the second loop (the half way point) we started getting really excited about our great pace and were predicting finishing times. I thought aloud that if I’ve made it this far in this time that certainly I could break 16 hours. 18 hours was the cut-off time and I wasn’t even worried about that by this point.

I experienced my first low point somewhere between mile 31 and 35 where I just lacked energy and needed to down more calories to regain momentum. This began to make me question myself a bit and my ability to finish. But we kept going, pushed through this time and after no more than 20 minutes of this, it all came back! We finished the second loop in 4:40 and set off for the third round trip with a head lamp even though darkness was several hours away. I was consuming hourly electrolyte replacement capsules, lots of GU (energy gel) sometimes 1 – 2 per hour and other foods like boiled potatoes with salt, brownies (made by Allen’s wife Nancy), and pretzels. I also had consumed literally gallons of sports drink by this time in a water-bottle I carried with me. The heat wasn’t too much of a factor in mid-afternoon, maybe around 65, but the trees helped to keep us shaded a lot of the time.

The third loop was the hardest, of course, but also the most exciting. The first half of the last loop passed so well that I figured that I had beat my previous 50 miles times by over an hour and a half – I couldn’t believe it! Between mile 40 and 50 we were still running great mile splits, often as fast as 11 minute miles. Remember that these trails are single-track technical trails with rocks, roots, mud, hills and constant twists and turns and switchbacks. About mile 55 or so a light rain fell and cooled us off but slicked up the rocks and trees. About this time we turned on our flashlights to help us to see and twilight. We arrived at the final aid station, about mile 58.5 in great spirits, turned on our headlamps as well, drank some Mt. Dew for the sugar and caffeine, and set out over the last little stretch with great confidence and excitement and eagerness to cross the finish line. Here is a link to what some of the trails looked like (but these were the good parts):

As pitch blackness set in the course rendered us power-walkers (but as the end approached we found more and more occasion to run slowly, awkwardly, and painfully) due to the slick rocks and technical trail. Those last dark miles really seemed to drag on and on but finally we came out of the trail and had a 200 yard jog up a steep hill and then across a field where we ran (yes, definitely running at the end!) between two cones and that was it! The end of the ultra 62 mile run was so humbling it was hilarious. Literally the only guy there was the race director with a clip board and flash light. We crossed the line, very happy, and he said, “What’s your name and bib number?” This made me laugh. I remember lots of marathons with spectacular finish line celebrations and cheering crowds. We had gone twice and half times as far as a marathon and the only thing the guy at the end could say is, “What’s your name?” Anyway, Allen’s wife was asleep in the van nearby but had no clue when we would finish so didn’t know when to stand near the “finish line”. The third loop was only 5 hours and 20 minutes, which we were very pleased with how we only were 40 minutes slower which ends up at 2 minutes per mile off our pace of loop 2. I crossed the finish line in 14 hours and 28 minutes. I was so thrilled with that finish time!

The prize for the race is a really cool belt buckle that I wore proudly all day Sunday. I’m not the belt-buckle type but I couldn’t help but wearing it. Someone at church on Sunday asked me “did it hurt?” The honest answer is that the worse pain was felt only after stopping at the end and sitting down in a chair for a few minutes when all the muscles begin to crap up and chills came over the body. Sunday and Monday I limped around a bit but slowly things healed. Tuesday I was able to go for a 3 mile run straight up and down a mountain here in Estes Park, CO. I feel fine!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Meet With Me

I'm here to meet with you
Come and meet with me
I'm here to find you
Reveal yourself to me

As I wait
You make me strong
As I long
Draw me to your arms
As I stand and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won't you come, Won't you come and fill this place

-another current favorite

When I Think About the Lord

When I think about the Lord
How He saved me
How He raised me
How He filled me
With the Holy Ghost
How He healed me
To the uttermost

When I Think about the Lord
How He picked me up and turned me around
How He placed my feet on solid ground

It makes me wanna shout
Thank you Jesus!
Lord, your worthy, of all the glory, and all the honor, and all the praise!

-a current favorite song by Hillsong United

Friday, April 25, 2008


"Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love."
1 Corinthians 16:13

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." Romans 16:20 NLT

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Church" is Fun!

This past Sunday we learned again that serving with our hands can be a profound act of worship! We had our first ever Crossroads "Serve Day" and worked together most of the afternoon at an inner city mission house.

Chris & Brian clearing brush; Pastor Jeff - Expert Demolition Man

Jana Mullen working hard!

We filled that dumpster with debri from inside that house and tree limbs and leaves.

Monday, April 21, 2008

From Wichita to Burundi, Africa

Volunteers for the Friends of Kibimba Hospital have been working hard to prepare a 40 ft container that will go to the Kibimba Hospital in Burundi. The crates that will go in this container are filled with much needed medical equipment and supplies for the hospital. God has blessed this effort through the help of Hospitals of Hope, an organization that has given many of the supplies and equipment including an xray machine, surgery table, incubators, and other essential medical supplies. Pray for this container to make a successful journey to Houston, then by ship to Tanzania, and then across the continent of Africa to Burundi.

April article in Wichita's local Newspaper:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"The Liberty of Obedience"

"The Liberty of Obedience" by Elisabeth Elliot

"Jesus Christ gave us, with Himself, all things freely to enjoy. Paul reminded us that all things are ours. We are not asked to deny ourselves as many things as possible in order to set our hearts on the Eternal. Things are not incompatible with Christ...
It is not what goes into the man that defiles him. It is what comes out. It is our use of things that determines their effect on us. It is our response to events, not the events themselves, that shapes us. God is more concerned with the heart. He is not as concerned that we obey a code of conduct governing outward things. He says, 'My Son, give me thine heart.' "
p 50-51

"It appears that God has deliberately left us in a quandry about many things. Why did He not summarize all the rules in one book, and all the basic doctrines in another? He could have eliminated the loopholes, prevented all the schisms over morality and false teaching that have plagued His Church for two thousand years. Think of the squabling and perplexity we would have been spared. And think of the crop of dwarfs He would have reared!
He did not spare us. He wants us to reach maturity.
Note that He is not interested in conformity to a static code but to a person, the 'likeness of His Son,' the living expression of Himself, the very Life of all the ages."
p 84-85

"Let us who claim to take the Bibles as our norm not oversimplify. Our search for truth has by no means ended-although our facile mouthing of formulas could turn away some who are earnestly seeking. We have much to seek and much to learn.
God is absolute. His Word is authority. Still, it is at the same time anything but cut and dried.
For the Love of God is broader,
Than the measure of man's mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
But we make His love too narrow,
By false limits of our own
And we magnify its strictness,
With a zeal He will not own.
Frederick W. Faber"
p 89-90

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two of My Favorite Prayers Ever

"Abba, I surrender my will and my life to you today, without reservation and with humble confidence, for you are a very loving Father. Set me free from self-consciousness, from anxiety about tomororrow, and from the tyranny of approval and disapproval from others, that I might find joy and delight simply and solely in pleasing you. May my inner freedom be a compelling sign of your presence, your peace, your power, and your love. Let your plan for my life and the lives of all your children gracefully unfold one day at a time. I love you with all my heart, and I place all my confidence in you, for you are my Abba." - Brennan Manning

"I abandon myself into Your hands. Do with me what You will. Whatever You do, I thank You. I want to be ready for all. Let Your will be done in me.
Into Your hands I commend my spirit. I offer it to You with all the love of my heart. For I love You Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself without reserve and with boundless confidence, for You are my Father." - Charles de Foucauld

See Anyone Jogging?

Our guess is no. In fact, what you will see is running. Running to the swings. Running down the ice cream truck. Running to pick up a stick. But not jogging. That's because the act of jogging is a learned behavior. You see, somewhere between being told not to run in the halls and not to run with scissors, running morphed into a cautionary activity that's done at the speed of chit-chat. And real running became dangerous. So it should come as no surprise that the majority of people grow up to be joggers, while sadly only a few continue to run. Next time you lace up, take a cue from our tiny-tot brethren. Run like an animal.

(Found in a Running Magazine advertising Pearl Izumi shoes. Thought it was clever.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not Last Every Time
Finished 42/153

JUST a 5K run! It is fun because you actually get to finish the last kilometer inside the Zoo with all the sights, sounds, and smells of the Zoo.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Who Wants a Limonada?

Our favorite restaurant in Mexico: Jugos Veracruz
We've been eating there since Spring Invasion began. This year on the last night of the trip, we took over 200 people to the restaurant to eat! It took about 3 or more hours for everybody to have their chance to eat but it was well worth it. Matt and I were awarded honorary employee status (fit with official shirts and hats, just like the rest of the workers) because we serve all the food to the Americans. What a fun night!
The second picture is Matt and Pastor Zulema at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

El Amor de Dios

Nacimiento, Coahuila, MX The final Wednesday evening service at the church we invited all the kids who participated in the daily VBS to teach the songs they learned to their parents and the rest of the adults in the church, along with all the grengos!

El Amor de Dios

El amor de Dios es maravilloso.(x3) The love of God is awesome/amazing.

¡Grande es el amor de Dios! Great is the love of God!

Tan alto que no puedo estar más alto que El. So high that I can't be above it.

Tan bajo que no puedo estar más bajo que El. So low that I can't be below it.

Tan ancho que no puedo estar afuera de El. So wide that I can't be outside it.

¡Grande es el amor de Dios! Great is the love of God!

Classic Hilarity

This link shows you one of the funniest dumb videos I've ever seen. My favorite scene is the old guy at the end who picks up his whole monitor and tosses it over the cubicle to the punk throwing paper airplanes at him.

Let Us!

Hebrews 10:22-25 NLT

“…let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Wow! What a passage.
Let us:

1. Go right into the presence of God
2. Hold tightly without wavering to hope
3. Think of ways to motivate one another
4. Keep on meeting together
5. Encourage one another


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rockin' K

I finished* the 50 mile trail run, called the “Rockin K” last Saturday on the trails near the Lake Kanopolis State Park in North-Central Kansas.

I finished the 50 mile course just a few minutes faster than my last 50, but this time without any injuries. I was startled at how good I felt at the end – which really means I didn’t work hard enough throughout the day. Maybe next time I can get under 12 hours with a lot of hard work?

The hardest part for me was a stretch between miles 32 and 37 where I wanted to give up. I was out there all alone (perhaps some runners a couple hours ahead of me?), had temporarily run out of water in the afternoon sun, and was doubting my ability or desire to finish this or any future run! Once I got to mile 37, something clicked in my mind (and legs) and I never looked back or doubted myself again. I trotted in to the finish a few minutes after the limit for an officially unofficial finish!?

The funnest new-to-me thing about this run was the stream crossings. There were several streams we had to cross at ankle to knee depth with one (that we crossed twice) and waist depth. I was worried about how the cold water would affect my legs beforehand but I really loved it! Besides being really fun and wild, the stream crossings numbed any leg muscle soreness and allowed you to keep going effortlessly.

This is way too much fun!

My first ‘last place’ finish! Results:

A little bit about the Kanopolis State Park:

A Great explanation of what the course is like:

To Not Be a Fool

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Luke 12:13-21 NLT

Friday, April 4, 2008


I was reading an article in "The Week" magazine (current week's edition) today called "How to Buy Happiness". It caught my attention. The article begins:

"Why do the Brangelinas, Bill Gates, and Bonos of the world appear to be so happy? It's not simply that they have a lot of money-it's because they're giving so much of it away, says a new study. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have proved that spending cash on others is far more satisfying that spending it selfishly..."

Well, it makes sense to me! In February I read President Bill Clinton's book "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World". The book is an excellent confirmation of a truth that seems so plain but is so confused in our culture. The book is great for consideration of God-honoring stewardship of money, talents, and time. (There is near-zero "politics" in this book.)

More Valuable Than a Whole Flock of Sparrows!

"Don't be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows."

Matthew 10:28-31 (NLT)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Can You Even Imagine?

Romans 11:33-36 "The Message"

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out.

Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?

Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.

Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Velvet Elvis reflections

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell

I’ve never really been able to identify with any criticisms against post-modernism until now. I just finished reading Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis”. Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found that the words of the book articulated many of my feelings and put words to many of my thoughts about Christianity for years. However, I feel that Bell makes some radical jumps to conclusions about his commentary on scripture. He is very critical of some who make awful conclusions about what certain passages mean. While I hope that the ‘Gospel according to Rob Bell’ is correct just about every time he writes it, I am not so fully convinced quite as easily and believe that we should continue to approach God “with fear and trembling”. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Bell’s work:

“The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are dealing with somebody we made up. And if we made him up, then we are in control. And so in passage after passage, we find God reminding people that he is beyond and bigger and more.” P25

I love the question that Bell thinks aloud on p29: “Either God is in control of everything and so all the crap we see today is part of his plan (which I don’t want to accept), or it’s all out of control (which sucks too). What’s up?”

“…It is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in his name, then it is no longer secular work; it’s sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness.” P85

“There is Jesus’ death on our behalf once and for all, but there is the ongoing work of the cross in our hearts and minds and souls and lives. There is the ongoing need to return to the cross to be reminded of our brokenness and dependence on God. There is the healing we need from the cross every single day.” P108

“I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me. I have been told that I need to have faith in God. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that God has faith in me.” P134

“As Christians, it is our duty to master the art of the long meal.” P171


A fun game of baseball with the youth of Agujita Iglesia Amigos.

"Just" A Marathon

I ran a marathon on Saturday in Olathe, KS. It was just a mileage and confidence tune-up race for the upcoming biggies.


Early before the race...

Just after crossing the finish line (happy to be done and slight grimmace of discomfort)... I finished slowly but surely.

Beautiful Day

Yesterday and today have both been beautiful days - for January! No clouds, lots of sun, light breeze and cold! I ran across a great Family Circus comic last week that has the little boy looking out the window saying "doesn't Mother Nature know that the Baseball season starts next week"? But who can complain, it was light until 8:30 last night!