Wednesday, July 30, 2008

He Knows My Name

I have a maker
Before my heart,
before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call

I have a father,
he calls me his own
He'll never leave me,
no matter where I go

by Paul Baloche

Born Again

Born Again: What Really Happened to the White House Hatchet Man
By Charles W. Colson

I’ve always been interested in politics, but I found myself mostly ignorant on the volatility of the 70s in Washington D.C., and especially fascinated yet ignorant on what happened with “Watergate”. This book written by Colson is a great read to learn about the above and yet again, the mighty to save power of God to redeem, restore, and transform a life!

[Colson as he was first beginning his journey to faith:]
And then I prayed my first real prayer. “God, I don’t know how to find You, but I’m going to try! I’m not much the way I am now, but somehow I want to give myself to You.” I didn’t know how to say more, so I repeated over and over the words: Take me. (p117)

How fortunate it is that God does not allow us to see into the future. (p130)

[CBS News Transcript of how the news got out of Colson’s newfound faith:]
RATHER: Jerry, what is the President doing continuing to see Charles Colson?
WARREN: I don’t think he is.
RATHER: What was Mr. Colson doing at the White House today?
WARREN: (pause) Well… (pause) he was attending a meeting in the dining room downstairs which is held every other Thursday. A group of White House staff members get together for a prayer breakfast and Mr. Colson was attending that…
ANOTHER UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Is he going to be the next preacher?
Several minutes of the proceedings here became unintelligible because of the laughter which apparently rocked the room…
RATHER: I would like an answer.
WARREN: That is the answer.
RATHER: That he was attending a prayer breakfast?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No Such Thing as Distance

“For the people of God there is no such thing as distance, even if they be thousands of miles apart. However far away our fellow human beings may be, we must stand by them.”

Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Really Big Turtle

We took our Jr. High (Wednesday) and Sr. High (Sunday) youth groups and a few other guests to the Sedgwick County Zoo this past week for an off hours private tour of the Herpetarium. Chris Hutson, from Crossroads, is a Master ZooKeeper there in the Herpetarium building.

Keep On Speaking

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

Acts 18:9-11

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry

"Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It is filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God's actions." (1991 Interview)

John Ortberg asked Dallas Willard what was the one thing Willard could recommend that would bring new energy to Ortberg’s spiritual life. Ortberg says that Willard’s reply was “shocking in its simplicity.” Dallas Willard looked him in the eye and said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lunar Trek

(1-with Allen, a few minutes before the start; 2-one strech of mud)

(3-the start line at 11pm; 4-still running at daybreak)

(5-crossing the finish line; 6-with only about 6 miles to go)

What could be more fun that running all night under the moonlit sky? Under last Friday’s full moon, fifty or so runners met in the high school parking lot in Scandia, KS (North-Central KS, just a few miles from Nebraska) to embark on a long, weird, run. I trekked through 40.4 miles (most opted for shorter distances) of secondary gravel roads and a few muddy spots, and at least one huge hill.

The run was an absolute blast! I never felt mentally tired during the night as I kept going, and once the sun came up a little after 5 am a new surge of energy spurred me on! The 11 pm start on Friday night seemed strange at first but once I had run a few miles I locked into my groove and it felt like any other race I’d run, except it was dark. But because of the full moon, I hardly used my headlamp at all.

I bested all of my personal records for each interval along the way, including the marathon (about 5:12), 50K (about 6:15), and then a PR, of course, in the 40.4 because it’s the first time running that distance. My final time was 8:22:47, which averages out to 12 minute, 30 second miles (including all the aid-station stops for food and cold Gatorade). I figure that when running, I was running 11 minute miles the whole way! I was very, very pleased with my finish and excited about the progress I’ve made.

I ran with a new friend from the Kansas Ultra running crowd, Gary. I caught Gary at the 20-mile turnaround point and we ran all the way back to the finish. (Between mile 10 and 20 I ran most of the way in the dark by myself, semi-conquering any apprehension of running in the country in the dark by myself!)

After arriving at the finish line (a white line made with flour in the high school parking lot) at 7:22 am I thought I should sit down for a few minutes! Then after cleaning up, we went to breakfast and then about 9:30 am, I felt a bit tired so I slept for 30 minutes before driving home.

For the record, I do not think that what I did Friday night is normal, ordinary, healthy, or should be routine. But it sure was fun!

For some great pictures (although it's hard to take pictures in a "night run") of the Lunar Trek: All of these pictures are thanks to Gary Henry, Kansas Ultrarunner, who took pictures of several events this past Spring and Summer:

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Oh No You're Not! You're Coming With Me!"

A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. Years passed and the eagle grew old.
One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. The old eagle looked up in awe.
“Who's that?” he asked.
"That's the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbor.“He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth; we're chickens.”
So the eagle lived and died as chicken, for that's what he thought he was.


There’s a famous story about the lion who came upon a flock of sheep and to his amazement found a lion among the sheep. It was a lion who had been brought up by the sheep ever since he was a cub. It would bleat like a sheep and run around like a sheep.
The visiting lion went straight for him, and when the sheep-lion stood in front of the real one, he trembled in every limb. But the lion said to him, “What are you doing among these sheep?”
And the sheep—lion said, “I am a sheep.”
And the lion said, “Oh no you’re not. You’re coming with me.” So he took the sheep-lion to a pool and said, “Look!” And when the sheep-lion looked at his reflection in the water, he let out a mighty roar, and in that moment he was transformed. He was never the same again.

-stories from Anthony De Mello

Friday, July 18, 2008

The LORD Lives!

The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.
Psalm 18:46,49 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philip. 4:8 (NLT)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quotes of the Day

From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Eight sect. 5; Paulist Press pg. 278):

"Those who do not know must be taught, not punished. We do not hit the blind. We lead them by the hand."

From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 5; Plough Publishing pg. 19):
"...busyness, keeping up with others, hustling hither and yon, makes it almost impossible for an individual to form a heart...”

From G. K. Chesterton (Habits of Belief, Essential Writings; Orbis Books pg. 138):

"The test of happiness is gratitude."

From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 113):

"Every success in anything we should refer to the Lord and with the Prophet say: 'Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory' (Ps. 113:9)."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When the Financial Pressure is On

1. Rememeber! God is our Provider.
2. Be more Generous!
3. Be more Creative!

Psalm 90:17
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hand for us-yes, establish the work of our hands."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wedding Pictures

The wedding on Saturday night, in Medicine Lodge, KS, was for some friends of mine from Haviland/Barclay. The people in these pictures (Jeremy & Andrew Logan, and their mother, Kay) represent my "home away from home" when I was in Haviland at Barclay College for four years. Also, pictured is Audra who used to be in the Jr. High youth group I served in at Haviland Friends Church (in her third year of college now!) and Jeremy's girlfriend, Alyssa, from Missouri.


The message Sunday came from John 7:53-8:11 (NLT). Mom and Katy, Kenzie, and Reagan all came to hear me speak and visit Crossroads for the first time.

"Go Nuts!"

Pictures from our Sunday evening youth group outing to the Wingnuts game.

Worlds of Fun

The last day of June, we took our Junior Highers from Crossroads and Northridge to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, MO. Worlds of Fun!
1:The whole Crossroads group, most of the kids from Sedgwick, KS where we meet on Wednesdays in homes. Photo taken near the gate to enter the park.
2:I don't know why Michael always hides his face from the camera?
5-6:Eating supper at Pizza Hut in Emporia on the way home.
7-8:We ate lunch under the shade tree before entering the park.
We all rode the Mamba roller-coaster at least seven times (or close)!

The Cross and the Switchblade

I just read "The Cross and the Switchblade" by David Wilkerson. How often, when you read a book, do you exclaim right out loud "Wow!", "Amazing!", "No Way!", "You got to be kidding!", and "Thank you, Lord!"? Well, that's what I did while reading this book. Amazing! God is Mighty to Save!

Some of my favorite quotes:
-[on the "'Lamb Chop School' of evangelism"]
"You win over people just like you win over a dog...You see a dog passing down the street with an old bone in his mouth. You don't grab the bone from him and tell him it's not good for him. He'll growl at you. It's the only thing he has. But you throw him a big fat lamb chop down in front of him, and he's going to drop that bone and pick up the lamb chop, his tail wagging to beat the band. And you've got a friend. Instead of giong around grabbing bones from people...I'm going to throw them lamb chops. Something with real meat and life in it..." p36
-"The heart of the Gospel is change. It is transformation. It is being born again to a new life." p42

Two More 'Favorite' Songs

Delirious? "Cutting Edge" (Disc 1)

"Message Of The Cross"
This is the message of the cross, that we can be free,
To live in the victory, and turn from our sin,
My precious Lord Jesus, with sinners you died,
For there you revealed your love and you laid down your life.
This is the message of the cross, that we can be free,
To lay all our burdens here, at the foot of the tree,
The cross was the shame of the world,
but the glory of God,
For Jesus you conquered sin and you gave us new life!

You set me free when I came to the cross,
Poured out your blood for I was broken and lost,
There I was healed and you covered my sin,
It's there you saved me, this is the message of the cross.

This is the message of the cross, that we can be free,
To hunger for heaven, to hunger for Thee,
"The cross is such foolishness to the perishing,
But to us who are being saved, it is the power of God!"

You set us free when we come to the cross,
You pour out your blood for we are broken and lost.
Here we are healed and you cover our sin,
It's here you save us,
You set me free when I come to the cross,
Pour out your blood for I am broken and lost
Here I am healed and you cover my sin,
It's here you save me, this is the message of the cross.

Let us rejoice at the foot of the cross,
We can be free, glory to God.
Thank you Lord, thank you Lord,
You've set us free, glory to God.

"Singer's Song"
Come on all us singers sing that Jesus Christ is Lord
As your people Lord we now stand before your throne,
A sacrifice of praise will be our song.
As your singers Lord we will shout that "He is good
For His love endures forever"

Come on all us singers sing that Jesus Christ is Lord
As your people Lord we will sing with thankfulness,
We want our lives to be a song of praise.
Banners we will wave to proclaim that "He is good
For his love endures forever"

Come on all us dancers dance that Jesus Christ is Lord
Help us Lord to realise that our lips were made for praising You
Not for bringing others down, but for boasting of Your love.
Show us Lord that when we meet we have our feet on holy ground,
Come and purify our lives, forgive us for the wrong we've done.
We desire to see Your face, but teach us first to fear the Lord
Let us not presume your grace, for the sin we bring is our disgrace
In Your mercy send Your power,
Demons go in Jesus name
Heal the sick and save the lost, reveal the power of the cross
Open up the heavens Lord
Let us sing the song that Jesus saves us!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Choosing to Cheat

Favorite quotes from "Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Famly and Work Collide" by Andy Stanley:

"Your situation isn't that different from mine. If you stayed at work until everything was finished...if you took advantage of every opportunity that came your way...if you sought out every angle to maximize your abilities, improve your skills, and advance your would never go home." p20

"I don't know the particulars of your situation. But here's what I do know: your Creator does not define your life by your career achievements or the neatness of your pantry." p31

"Now, I know I'm a preacher. And it is easy for men and women in the business community to excuse themselves from a discussion facilitated by someone who clearly doesn't understand the complexities of their work environment. But for future reference, when was the last time you heard about someone in the business going into the ministry because the business environment was too stressful?..." p85-86

"God honors diplomacy and dependency. One doesn't supplant the other. Both are necessary. Having a plan isn't a lack of faith. Walking in and giving an ultimatum at work isn't necessarily an expression of faith. You need wisdom, tact, and some friends praying for you back at home." p103

"It has been said before. It is worth saying again. Nobody gets to the end of his life and wishes he had spent more time at the office. You won't be the first." p125

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Divine Romance

I just finished "The Divine Romance" by Gene Edwards. The book is a well-written narrative perspective on the 'story of God' from the perspective of angels. The theme of the Church as the Bride of Christ is the main idea of this work. Edwards' genius in all of his works is to weave in the reader ("You!") right in the middle of the story - demanding a response. He does so again in this excellent work. (When reading narrative, I have to keep reminding myself that it isn't theology but story pointing to God/truth.)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Holiday Weekend

My mom and I ran the "Firecracker 4-mile" run on Friday morning in Derby, KS.

(July 4th) L: early in the morning before the run R: Mom almost to the finish line

Just after we both crossed the finish line.

And then on Saturday, I ran a 50K in Kansas City, KS called "PsychoWyco Psummer". It's called "Wyco" because this particular trail run takes place in a county park in Wyandotte County. It's called "Psycho", because well, it's a brutal 31 miles in the Kansas July summer! The course was tough with lots of hills and some mud. I finished in one piece thanks to a bandana filled with ice wrapped around my neck to keep me cool. I learned the meaning of a phrase that I've seen many times before: "It never always gets worse." There was a period where I felt awful and I was discouraged thinking that it meant I would feel that way all the way to the finish line. But it never always gets worse! After arriving at the next aid station, I ate some watermelon and Jello cake and quickly felt my energy come back and felt better most of the second half of the run than I did the first. Oh yeah, and I saw another sign that I found true: "What doesn't kill me sure does make me hungry!"

Before the race:

Coming up a steep hill:

Another random picture:

A good shot of some of the nice views:

L: Half way done; R: All the way done with finishers medals!
The guy in white is my running friend, Allen Smelser from McLouth, KS. I "celebrated" the 4th of July with Allen and his family on Friday night by going to sleep at 9 pm with ear plugs to block out ominous sound of what it might be like to live in a war-torn country!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lake Wabaunsee Retreat

Last weekend, we took a group of High School and College students from Crossroads to Lake Wabaunsee. We stayed in an amazing house on the Lake owned by people from our church (Jana's parents). The weekend was great with a nice cool day and all kinds of fun on the lake: tubing, water-skiing, knee-boarding, swimming, lounging, riding around in the boat, motion sickness, high speed water crashes, jet skiing, and much more.

We all rode up in the RV - definitely a classic road trip! The Flint Hills of Kansas were especially beautiful this time of year - so green! The Lake is partially a natural lake (rare in Kansas) with some man-made assistance to enlarge it and dam it up. The area around the lake was originally a World War II camp for German prisoners. After the war the prisoners were released and many settled and built right homes near the Lake. The house we stayed in is one of the oldest original German homes built. The stone house (left) was the original cabin and the white part (right) was added on recently.