Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sacrilege: Finding Life In The Unorthodox Ways Of Jesus

Sacrilege: Finding Life In The Unorthodox Ways Of Jesus
By Hugh Halter

I just finished Sacrilege by Hugh Halter. I definitely loved the book, just as I have loved everything I have read by him so far. Halter tries to answer the question "what does it really mean to be like Jesus?" He addresses the gospels and the "ways of Jesus" by taking a fresh look at the beatitudes. He words are provocative, challenging, helpful, and formative for the church to be what God intends. This book does not address models of church ministry like his other books. Actually I don't think it hardly ever uses the words "missional" or "incarnational". And while some of the things he proposes are a "new way of thinking", he makes a good case for the possibility that they are really an "old way of thinking". A few of my favorite quotes:

...followership, instead of true discipleship, has been the norm, and thus we Christians have produced a lot more people that are like us than people who are like Jesus.  p44

Wrought with legalism, the Pharisees could have made the elder board in most US churches. Great behavior, few scandals...what more would any good pastor want? Ironic, isn't it, that it was these very well-behaved religious men who ended up being a hurdle rather than a bridge to bringing others into a real relationship with God? p48

You know what?  God and this thing called faith are so beyond my grasp that I am empty of the ability to know absolute truth. I know absolute truth exists.  But I also know that I am a human of very small brain compared to God, and I have no problem admitting that I may be wrong about many things and you may be right.  Only God Himself knows it all.  p67

Our perceived ideas or interpretations of "truth" have started religious wars.  "Truth" has construed private piety to be more important than taking care of orphans and widows.  "Truth" has taught us to blindly support whatever Israel wants.  "Truth" has casually brushed aside any thought of actually loving Muslims as a path to peace and change.  In other words, under the banner of "truth" many have missed the truth that Jesus preached.  In many cases, simple faith and humble learning have been replaced by a mountain-sized pile of ill-begotten ideas that encourage Christians to feel like they have arrived.  p70

Absolute truth is absolute.  God is truth and his Word is truth...There is however, one glaring problem with absolute truth, and that is that we, being humans, have a tendency to be...well, human.  And that means that we are biased, short-sighted, and very often wrong. p73

What do you think about letting God help you become a place of belonging for others instead of you just looking for another place to belong? p91

This isn't about a duty to be performed; it is about a relationship to be explored. p108

...Fervency in a slightly immature direction is better than apathy in the right direction.  p113

Monday, November 7, 2011


We evangelicals are hardly known for our silence. Our branding implies proclaiming, declaring, even persuading. But it opens up the possiblity that we can very easily be a rather noisy people even when we don't have much to say. Words without substance and authenticity equal irrelevance. -Gordon MacDonald

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Regardless of the Results of the Gift

A great post on living the life of missional obedience at YLCF this week. Check it out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Run for Missions 2011 Report

Run for Missions 2011

5K, 10K, Half-Marathon

Over one-hundred and fifty runners participated in all of the Run for Missions race day events this year! This was the first year for the half-marathon and it was a great success. There were over fifty entries in this new event and for a race in Haviland, K
S, this number of entries surprised just about everyone. And even better, they came from all over the state and many of them enjoyed their first visit to Haviland and first glimpse of Barclay College. The 5K/10K

events were a lot of fun as well in their second year with lots of people who came last year and also plenty of new faces. Complete race results have been published at www.runformissions.org.

It was about 32 degrees or so at the 8 am start of the half-marathon wi
th a brisk wind out of the south. Many runners mentioned being cold when they ran south back towards town. Only a few commented saying they didn’t like running on the soft sand. Most of the rest loved being off the concrete and enjoyed the beauty of the country. The half-marathon followed the same route for the first 5K, crossed near the finish line and then set out to complete the second 5K loop with an added 6.9 mile out and back section to make for 13.1 miles. The half-marathon was generously sponsored by the GoRun Wichita stores and the top three males and females were awarded gift certificates towards running shoes.

By 9 am, as the 5K and 10K races started, the sun was out and it was
starting to warm up. As the 5K finishers crossed the finish line they were entertained with live music from Abby Hutson from Wichita and the kids had the option of playing on a giant inflatable. Nearly two dozen volunteers who manned the aid stations, directed traffic, and pointed the runners in the right direction were key components to this successful event. Another special feature this year was the visit of two really cool llamas who swept the 5K course.

Next year we will have the same three events on Saturday morning, October 27th, 2012. The same basic course will be utilized but a few modifications to the event will be employed to make it better, safer, more fun and a better experience all around. Race directors are always eager to hear feedback from runners, volunteers, spectators, nay-sayers and fans alike to improve the event for next time. Please don’t hesitate to submit and ideas, suggestions or critiques to adam@efcmaym.org.

100-Mile Fundraiser Run

Well…100 miles is a long ways…it’s kinda hard to run that far really…sometimes you throw up…sometimes you just want to sleep…sometimes you even want to quit…sometimes you wonder why you ever committed to doing this!...and the rest of the time you are just so grateful to be alive and have such great friends and an incredible support team to be able to make it happen. I finished Sunday afternoon just before 1:00pm in a total time of 25 hours, 25 minutes and 6 seconds for the 4th annual Run for Missions. It wasn’t necessarily pretty or as ‘fun’ as other 100 mile run experiences in the past but I finished without injury or anything going wrong really. Well…kinda. Read on.

I honestly can’t remember all the details as the whole weekend is kind of a blur, but I will try to unpack a bit of what I do remember and how it felt. But first I must start with sincere words of deep gratitude to everyone who makes the Run for Missions possible. There wouldn’t be a run if there weren’t donors! To date, nearly $14,000 has been given and/or pledged this year. This makes a total of nearly $64,000 for the past four years of the Run. The Run for Missions also wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for a bunch of crazy runners (and some walkers too) who come from literally all over to run the 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon. A portion of each of their entry fees goes toward the scholarship fund. The 100 mile fundraiser run wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the pacers (dozens of them each year) who give up so much time and energy to serve as companions and “sanity inspectors” to keep me moving. The last but not least thank you goes out to the support crew who drive all night long and serve generously and put up with whining and some sleeping and sections of me going really slow and all of the just plain craziness of the whole thing.

Thursday, Sarah and I traveled to Haviland and first thing Friday morning we began setting everything up for registration in the gym. By Friday evening we were ready for registration and it was time to set up and mark the course with flags and white flour and set up the finish line area. After a fitful night of tossing and turning and only sleeping for three hours on Friday night, Saturday Hmorning started at 5:30 for Jesse and I as we went out to drop cones and the pumpkin mile markers and the aid stations. We should have started at 4:00 am! We know better for next year! We were very late to our 7:15 meeting with the volunteers who were ready to go. But everyone was briefed and placed just in time for the 8 am start. Sarah and I had responsibilities at the finish line and Jesse was pretty much in charge of the other 13 miles of the course! By the time it was all over and the last runners were crossing the finish line I was already tired! A hiccup in the timing software caused some data to be temporarily lost and the awards ceremony to be delayed. But it started a little after 11 and was over before 11:30. Then it was my turn to run! I changed my clothes and set out to run knowing that I could be self-sufficient for about an hour until my crew caught up to me as they had to finish tearing everything down and cleaning up.

I left the start line at 11:38 am with Tim Marshall (the winner of the half-marathon, by the way) who would run with me for the first 50 miles! In the first mile I realized I was really hungry and hadn’t thought to eat lunch. It has been over 5 hours since a meager breakfast. So I ate a couple hammer gels until I felt balanced. Kind of a weird way to start. The whole first two miles my hamstring was really hurting. This had me worried to say the least. It had been bothering me for a couple weeks for some reason (probably due to over training and running too many miles) and I was worried it would really hurt me on this long run and either cause me to quit or get really injured if I finished all the way. Anyway I popped three ibuprophen at mile 2 which is also another first to take them that early. But after about 10-15 miles I didn’t really notice it anymore and I rarely mentioned my hamstring bothering me the rest of the way to the finish line.

At about mile three my friend Terry Rider joined me as a pacer. He ran aid-station #2 where the porta-potty was so he was busy tearing down and getting ready and wasn’t quite ready to take off with me from the start. Terry ended up logging 30 miles with me and was a great encouragement and inspiration and it adds comfort to know you have other experienced ultrarunners out there.

I came into Pratt before 3 pm and ran up 281 to the street where Pratt Friends Church was out. We stopped there for a couple minutes to regroup and I set off for another mile or so of pavement before heading back into the country. At this point we had three vehicles and three runners as Sarah was in her car with all the crewing supplies, Jesse had the church van with the porta-potty attached and Sherri was crewing for Terry. Just before dark Terry and Sherri went home.

The first 50 miles really were uneventful. I started knowing I would need some additional caffeine around 9pm as I requested a lot of Mt. Dew. It helped for a while. Somewhere around mile 40, if my memory serves correctly, I was joined by Gabe Hancock, Mike Neifert and Marc Compton as pacers. Tim quit after 50 miles which made his total 67 for the day. Tim ate a foot-long Subway sandwich while running during the last hour. I thought that was nuts!

I ran the first 50 miles in 10 hours and 20 minutes. Around midnight, my friend and weekly training partner, Andy Bowman showed up and started running with us at the 52 mile mark. This was the half-way mark and Andy would put in the last 52 with me and run a new distance record for him. Sometime after midnight I began to “lose it”. A few days later Gabe commented to me that I sure didn’t seem like myself. I agree with his observation completely. Somehow the pressure and the mental tiredness just caught up to me and I was losing the will to continue. My body felt fine relatively speaking but my brain was just checking out and was wanting to go to sleep and I just didn’t know what to do about it! After fighting for a couple of hours I gave in and announced that I had to take a short nap in the van. I honestly felt better after getting out and within a couple minutes threw up everything I had just ate on the side of the pitch dark road with Andy and Gabe standing watch. The dry-heaving lasted for quite a while and then I took off walking again before eventually working my way to a run some walk some rhythm.

Eventually around 1:30 am or so my mom arrived to help and to crew for a while and was able to give me a much needed hug, and Gabe a ride back to his car in Kingman. At this point it was just Andy and I who were left to run to the end. Two hours later I felt like if didn’t take another nap I was going to fall over. I slept solidly for 30 more minutes. This time getting out of the van was really hard. I don’t want to admit how badly I wanted to quit. I changed all of my clothes and wore Under Armor tights and tops with an additional layer to stay warm outside. Altogether I spent 60 minutes asleep in the warm van. I’ve never done that before. I don’t recommend it as a strategy to completing a 100 miler. It just happened. It was survival. But from that time on I never sat back down again…I knew that to do so would very likely be the end for me.

I tried to run but really didn’t do much running mostly just a lot of fast walking for the next two or three hours. I was discouraged, frustrated and just plan overwhelmed by how far I had left to go at mile 64 realizing I had 40 miles left to go and I already felt this bad. The course is actually 104.2 miles. Those extra 4 really seemed to overwhelm me. At that pace I was calculating possible finish times with the half of my brain that was awake and I was so discouraged thinking about it that I eventually just blocked it out of my mind.

I had a goal of getting to the Sedgwick County line which meant 25 miles left (79 miles run so far) before 7 am and I made it within 2 minutes. This was somewhat encouraging. I hoped and prayed that the sunrise would give me a boost. And thankfully it did!

Sarah, who had left to sleep for 7 hours at home came back with hot coffee for Andy and fresh breakfast burritos. This was a first for both of us drinking coffee and eating breakfast burritos on the run but it really hit the spot. As the sun came up and started to warm things up I started to feel better and started running the flats and downhills again and slowly warmed my way back to a consistent 14 minute mile for over 10 miles. My next mental goal was just getting to mile 94 which meant only 10 miles left to go. Somehow single digits were really encouraging. And this meant the hustle and bustle of Wichita and not the remote desolation of the middle of nowhere…no offense. Running through Wichita I honestly felt great like I could go on forever.

Tim Marshall who had run so many miles Saturday drove the crew van all night long going ahead about 1-2 miles at a time and filled up water bottles and offered lots of encouragement and support. He left around 9 am to go to church in Rose Hill to talk about the Run for Missions with no sleep!

When I hit the east side of Sedgwick County Park I only had 3.7 miles left to go. Then it got fun. I was in a t-shirt and shorts by this point and was worried about getting too much sun even on the second day. I was really running strong with Andy throughout these final miles and I hit a couple 12:30s, I think.

Several well-wishers and friends found me on the course those last 4 miles and honked and waved and yelled, “You’re crazy”. It was music to my ears. Several more friends met me and ran the last couple blocks. There were 20 or so people waiting to celebrate the finish line with Andy and I at 2018 W. Maple Street at 12:57 pm on Sunday afternoon.

Then I just sat down in a chair and began to tell the story to my friends who were gathered around. Part of me wanted to laugh and part of me wanted to cry. I was so relieved to be done and also just so overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. We stayed for 30 minutes talking and telling the story of how we got there. The crowd really enjoyed my silver-dollar sized blood blister on my left foot. Once my shoes came off, they didn’t go back on for 48 hours. I wore my wife’s slippers for the next two days!

Sometimes running is fun but, honestly, most of the time it isn’t. But it’s always good. My experience with the second half of this run wasn’t fun but it was good. I guess I’ve heard it said that God is kind of like that. He isn’t safe and we don’t always understand Him and His ways and we certainly should never claim to have Him all figured out, but He is good. Yes, I do believe to my core that God is truly good.

I finished so thankful for such incredible friends and family that are all such a gift and also so humbled by the distance. Running one hundred miles can do that to a guy.

Ultimately the Run for Missions is not about my story. It is all about raising money for missions so that the story of God’s great goodness and mercy can be brought to all the people of all nations. That’s why we did this, that’s why we finished, and that’s why you support the cause. Thank you.