Thursday, August 28, 2008


On Sunday, 8.31.08, I'll be running a 10K, all by myself...kind of. I signed up to run Nike's "The Human Race 10K" along with a million of other runners worldwide. Just for my commitment to run this day, Nike gave a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (cancer research and treatment) on my behalf. I've read both of Armstrong's books and have a very high view of his foundation.

On the back of my race bib it says:
On August 31, 2008 you'll be making history.
You'll take on the world in a 10K like no other.
A 10K where every step counts, no matter now fast, slow, short or long.
A 10K where a million runners will celebrate human potential.
And you'll be proud to say you ran the day the whole world ran.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Blue Like Jazz"

My favorite quotes from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. A very refreshing unorthodox book on Postmodern Christian spirituality.

“If you don’t love somebody, it gets annoying when they tell you what to do or what to feel. When you love them you get pleasure from their pleasure, and it makes it easy to serve. I didn’t love God because I didn’t know God.” P14

“The goofy thing about Christian faith is that you believe it and don’t believe it at the same time. It isn’t unlike having an imaginary friend. I believe in Jesus; I believe He is the Son of God, but every time I sit down to explain this to somebody I feel like a palm reader, like somebody who works at a circus or a kid who is always making things up or somebody at a Star Trek convention who hasn’t figured out the show isn’t real.
When one of my friends becomes a Christian…I see in their eyes the trueness of the story.” P51

“…I realized that believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is like making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon.” P104

“Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me. The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever.” P202

“Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them.
If a person senses that you do not like them, that you do not approve of their existence, then your religion and your political ideas will all seem wrong to them. If they sense that you like them, then they are open to what you have to say.” P220

“When I am talking to somebody there are always two conversations going on. The first is on the surface; it is about politics or music or whatever it is our mouths are saying. The other is beneath the surface, on the level of the heart, and my heart is either communicating that I like the person I am talking to or I don’t. God wants both conversations to be true. That is, we are supposed to speak truth in love. It both conversations are not true, God is not involved in the exchange, we are on our own, and on our own, we will lead people astray. The Bible says that if you talk to somebody with your mouth, and your heart does not love them, that you are like a person standing there smashing two cymbals together. You are only annoying everybody around you.” P221

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 Things John Maxwell Knows About People

"5 Things I Know About People" by Dr. John Maxwell

1. Everybody wants to be somebody.
2. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
3. Everybody needs somebody.
4. Anybody that helps somebody influences a lot of somebody’s.
5. God loves everybody!

Carpenter Wedding

Brad Carpenter and Chelsea Roberts married Saturday, August 23rd. The weekend was a reunion of literally almost all of my friends from Barclay. I believe that as many as 96% of everyone I knew and loved were all there at this one wedding. Incredible!
I don't wanna rush this thing
I don't wanna jump the gun
I really wanna say those three little words
But I'm gonna bite my tongue

Yeah, I'm just gonna lay on back
Leave it on cruise control
I'm gonna hold it all inside
Till the right time comes down the road

I got a feelin'
My head's a reelin'
My heart is screamin'
I'm about to bust loose
Bottled up emotion
It's more than a notion
It starts with an "I"
And ends with a "U"
I got a feelin'
Are you feelin' it too

"I Got A Feelin''' by Billy Currington
[Left to Right] Brad Carpenter, Jeff Carpenter (older brother and best man), me, Aaron Carlson, Josh Bunce, Jesse Penna, Casey Roberts (brother to Chelsea) and Mike Foster.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just Look At It

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are.

1 John 3:1 The Message

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Revolution in World Missions

Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan

“God has provided more than enough money to meet all of the needs of the Two-Thirds World. The needed money is in the highly developed nations of the West. North American Christians alone, without much sacrifice, can meet all the needs of the churches in the Two-Thirds World.” P45

“God did not shower such great blessing on this nation for the Christians to live in extravagance, in self-indulgence and in spiritual weakness.” P51

“Born into affluence, freedom and divine blessings, Americans should be the most thankful people on earth.” P85

“When God changes the heart and spirit, the physical changes also. If you want to meet the needs of the poor in this world, there is no better place to start than by preaching the Gospel. It has done more to lift up the downtrodden, the hungry and the needy that all the social programs ever imagined by secular humanists.” P114

“The average North American Christian gives only 50 cents a week to global missions.” p152

“Pretending the poor and lost do not exist may be an alternative. But averting our eyes from the truth will not eliminate our guilt. Gospel for Asia exists to remind the affluent Christian that there is a hungry, needy, lost world of people out there whom Jesus loves and for whom He died.” P193

More Leadville Pictures

(above) 3:10 am Saturday morning - the Crew - ready to go!

3:58 am Ready, Ready, Ready, Ready to Run...All I want to do is have some fun...

(above) Regrouping at the Fish Hatchery - ready to take off again

(above) Why am I smiling? The DQ ceremony of cutting off my wristband, eliminating me from the race at 50 miles!

Calling home after the run - reporting that yes, I'm still alive, but that no, unfortunantly, I didn't finish!

Leadville 2008

I returned from an excellent, restorative, peaceful and fun vacation in Colorado on Sunday night. I left the previous Friday, August 8th in the evening and drove to Idaho Springs. The next morning I woke up early and boarded the bus to Georgetown for the 25th annual Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half marathon. The race is all downhill (literally 1,000 feet of elevation decline) so it was fun and easy! I finished in just under 1:59:30, which I was really happy with starting elevation at 8,500 ft. The altitude didn’t seem to bother me that first day.

Allen Smelser and his son Scott met mid-afternoon to drive to Kite Lake. We set up camp with the back of their truck and my borrowed mini-RV. We ate camp stove cooked meals and enjoyed the sunset and mountain views and cool, dry mountain air at 12,000 feet. We slept literally from sun up to sun down. The next day (Sunday), after eating pancakes, we left on a hike to climb four 14,000 ft peaks. My firsts. We summited Mt. Democrat first (snowing!), then Mt. Cameron (an unofficial peak though above 14k), Mt. Lincoln, and then Mt. Bross. We always hiked up, but often ran down and ran the flat spots. Incredible vistas!

The next day we went trail hiking near Kite Lake off the main trails and ended up rock climbing, which is a whole lot more fun on the way up than on the way down! Monday afternoon we traveled to our campsite at Turquoise Lake near Leadville.

The next several days consisted of long sleeping sun down past sun up, trail running, mountain biking, road biking (a miserable experience “up” and a glorious experience “down”), and lots sitting in a chair by the fire reading (I finished Revolution in World Missions, Blue Like Jazz, and read some of A Time to Kill and my sleep research book). It was always cool, often cold! Always dry and beautiful, even with the rain – which usually fell at night when I was sleep in the dry RV.

On Wednesday, Scott and I hiked Mt. Massive – the second biggest 14er in Colorado and third biggest in the lower 48. The mountain is truly Massive! A spectacular and stunning view from the top.

Thursday morning, Nancy and the oldest Smelser son, Mark, who is only one year younger than me, arrived after driving all night, along with one of Mark’s friend, Tanner. Ron Smelser, Allen’s hilarious first cousin, also arrived Thursday morning. Thursday evening was the spaghetti dinner. Friday morning was the medical check-in (where they give every runner a hospital bracelet) and then the inspirational and necessary information meeting to all participants and crews. One of the race directors, Ken, after explaining all the rules and regulations and the conditions of the course, with the fury of an evangelist, asked all who were willing to give it all they had to finish to stand and commit to grit, guts, and determination! Powerful! Friday afternoon I dropped off three drop bags of supplies – including dry, warm clothes and extra shoes to be sent out to the specific aid stations.

A cold front rolled in Friday and I don’t think the temperature ever got above 50. It was very cold on Friday night. I accidentally woke up at 1:00 am Saturday (time zone difference on my alarm). I couldn’t fall back asleep. Everyone else’s alarms were set for 2. I got into my running clothes and coats and jeans on top. My 2:00 am breakfast was oatmeal, a banana, and my half coffee/half hot cocoa. By 3:15 we were on our way to downtown Leadville for the start. We had to check in by 3:45 and waited in the truck until about 3:50 because, well it was snowing and raining and cold!

The Leadville Mayor fired a shotgun at precisely 4:00 am. We took off – slowly. To run 100 miles, you really have to pace yourself. The first aid station was 13 ½ miles away. This section was pretty easy with trails around Turquoise Lake. The conversation on the trails was fun and engaging and interesting. You meet so many interesting and nice people out there – with always much to learn about running. The Leadville Trail 100 start line is downtown Leadville, CO, at 6th St. and Harrison at 10,200 ft.

A couple hours in, right about day break, we were running through a thick forest trail stretch and everybody ahead of me was screaming. And then I was too! Bees! I was stung on the back of my right calf. But we kept going and laughed about it later. Right as we were arriving to the first aid station, the more intense cold rain began to fall. I put on my rain jacket I had tied around my waist. Miles 15 – 20 are uphill, over Sugarloaf Pass (11,060 ft). It wasn’t too steep overall but it was a long uphill. We mostly power-hiked uphill – getting colder and colder the higher we went. At the time it was thundering, lightning, and yes, of course, snowing! I hated the lightning but loved the snow. At the top, we ran about 5 miles steep miles down fast! Allen, a better downhill runner than I, beat me by a couple minutes to the Fish Hatchery, the second aid station at about 24 miles. We changed into dry shirts, socks, and shoes, put bandaids on my feet to cover the blisters obtained by wet footed down hill running and set out for an easy stretch of flat running until we started climbing again. We got to Halfmoon aid station, mile 30, or so and ate Ramen Noodles. A just a couple minutes, we took off for another long stretch on mountain trails, including several long climbs. Once you start descending rapidly, you know you’re almost to Twin Lakes, the aid station for 40 miles. When I arrived there, I felt fine, legs relatively fresh, energy up, and spirits high. I ate and changed shirt and shoes again (I was wet from hail and sleet and rain in the last stretch of running) and took off toward Hope Pass. Allen left the aid station about 10 minutes before I did.

After leaving the aid station in high hopes of making it to the half way point by the cut off time of 6:00 pm (14 hours clock time), I set out for miles across a flat swampy meadow. Right before you get to the Hope Mountain trailhead, you had to cross a river – that is a snow melt cold water river! But at this point the sun had come out and it was warm and the cold water felt very good. You held on to the rope to cross the three channels of the river. At the trailhead it was up, up, up! No switchbacks, just up! After a couple miles, my head began to pound and my heart began to ache and my breathing became more desperate. Eventually, I knew I was in trouble. I reached what is ironically known as the Hopeless Aid Station right near the top of Hope Pass still under the cutoff time for that station, sat down on a log and ate chicken soup. The aid station is at 12,190 ft. The Summit of Hope Pass is 12,600 ft. It was cold and windy up there – but such an incredible view. I began to doubt myself at this point and and begun to believe that I wouldn’t make it before the cutoff, and even if I did, I wouldn’t make it another 50 miles all the way back to Leadville! My legs weren’t really that shot, just my breathing and my head – Hope Pass psyched me out!

Coming down the back side of Hope Pass, I guess I had resigned myself that I wouldn’t be a finisher that day so I didn’t let my downhill pace get too out of hand! After having my bracelet cut off to signify my disqualification from the race, initially I was relieved! Only later was I sad about it. But now I am just excited to one day go back and tackle Hope Pass again and have a successful Leadville finish one day. I understand that only 1/3 of the participants actually finished this year – which makes Leadville a really tough course. But it was very fun and as far as I am concerned now, there will be a round 2 with Leadville!

My next attempt at 100 miles will be in October – Heartland 100 – through the flint hills of Kansas (should be easy compared to Leadville!). Hopefully then I'll be a real 100 mile finisher!

Thank God for such a great week!

Unofficial Race Results for Winfield:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Be Strong and Courageous

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:6-9 NLT

May God Bless You With Discomfort

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

-Fransiscan prayer quoted by Craig Groeshel at Leadership Summit 08

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ministry Conference Report

(I received this report from the perspective of our our Missionary who was our main speaker at our Ministry Conference a couple weeks ago. It was an amazing experience! - Adam)

Praying Friends: Mid-America Yearly Meeing invited [a special guest missionary speaker] as their speaker in meetings recently concluded. Here is Bob's amazing report about what happened. It looks a lot like the revival many of us have been praying for. Pray that it will continue.
Norval Hadley, EFM Prayer Coordinator

Note from Chuck Mylander: Mid-America leaders report that several things came together, including powerful preaching in three sessions. Preparations for their time together included four weeks of prayer, and some fasting, with prayer guides sent out to help people know what to pray for.

JaiMasee!! God moved in a very, very powerful way in Mid America Yearly Meeting. It just finished today. It is fresh on my mind, so I wanted to write you and thank you also for praying.
I preached for two days, and I could feel that each day the presence of God was getting stronger and stronger. Today was the last day and God poured out His Spirit in a transforming manner beyond what we had thought.
At the end of the preaching Matt Macy came crying up to the pulpit and gave the altar call. He couldn't stand the presence of God any more, he had to invite people to respond. No one expected this, but two thirds of the people came forward at the altar. These were mostly pastors and leaders of the churches. One by one people started praying their hearts out to the Lord. They were crying out and thanking the Lord that He had touched them.
The meeting started at 10 a.m. and usually at 12 p.m., or before that, people would be ready to go for lunch. It was 12 p.m. and Matt Macy said that people were free to go for lunch but no one left, not one. Then after the prayers were finished, amazing things started to happen. One by one pastors and leaders of the churches started coming up to the pulpit and sharing what God had done in their lives during this Yearly Meeting.
From 13 year olds to 70 year olds, they just got off their seats and would cry and weep and share what God had done. Many pinpointed their sins and openly confessed their sins before everyone. Others would come and say that they had been more defensive in sharing the Gospel than offensive, and that God had told them to be more offensive. Others came and shared that they were filled with power from on high to share the Gospel. One lady took off her shoes and came to the pulpit and said that she couldn't come there with her shoes on because it was Holy Ground Now.
People were lined up one after another giving testimony after testimony about God's renewing power in the meeting. It seemed as if the line would never end. Many said that this is what they had been waiting and longing for for years and years. Many of them just came to the mic and wept and could not say a word. Teenagers came forward and said that God was calling them to be on fire for the Lord and share the Gospel more and to be bold. Young people came forward and said that they had put music first before Jesus and were going to it throw away. They wanted people to hold them accountable.
My, my!! What an awesome power of God fell in the last session. The Mid America Yearly Meeting felt that they would never be the same now. They had felt the touch of God in their presence. They felt Friends churches were getting cold in their area little by little, but now God had revived their churches and they were not going to let that die.
The last person came for the close and he said that he really didn't want to close, but because people had to drive far away he was closing. He was called up just for prayer, but he said he just couldn't say a prayer without testifying. He testified that many people had been praying for the Yearly Meeting and God answered supernaturally.
There was a great hush, a holy hush. I could tell people still didn't want to leave. Each and everyone that was in that building was touched by the power of God. Not only that, the people felt that this would continue as they went back to their respective churches. And that when they came back next year for the yearly Meeting many wonderful reports would be heard because of what happened.
In Christ,

[A Special Guest Missionary Speaker]

Friday, August 1, 2008

Run for Missions

Let’s raise money for Friends Missions Scholarships! Allen and I will run 100 miles on November 7th. You donate $1/mile?

EFC-MAYM is pleased to offer scholarships to missions students. The Scholarship fund first began in 2005 and is supervised and granted by the EFM-Mid America Missions Mobilizers. The Board’s desire is to give affirmation and support to Friends students who are responding to a “call” to missions, and who intend to serve in the context of the Friends Church. The EFC-MAYM Missions Scholarship is for Friends Church College and Graduate students studying for missions intending to serve in the Friends Church.

In order to raise funds for this Scholarship, the EFM-Mid America Missions Mobilizers have sponsored a “Run For Missions”. Adam Monaghan (Crossroads Friends Church Youth Pastor, Wichita, KS) and Allen Smelser (Stanwood Friends Church, McLouth, KS) will run 100 miles, from Wichita to Haviland, KS! We hope to raise at least $10,000 to support this scholarship fund. We are looking for at least 100 supporters to give $100 dollars ($1 per mile) by November 15th. Will you be one of them?

The run will begin on Friday morning, November 7th, 2008 at 6:00 am. We hope to make it to Haviland by very early Saturday morning, running country roads from Wichita (Friends Ministry Center, 2018 Maple) to Haviland (Barclay College campus, 607 N. Kingman). More details will be announced later, including the opportunity for you to join us out on the road for a few miles or as much as you want!

As of August 1st, 54 names have pledged a total of $5,400. Will you please consider giving to “Run for Missions”? Please contact Adam Monaghan at the Friends Ministry Center 316-267-0391

You can make your tax-deductible donation by writing a check to “EFC-MAYM”, memo: “Run for Missions”; send to 2018 Maple, Wichita, KS 67213 by November 15th.