Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Run of 2007

It is hard to believe that 2007 is over. Time flies when you're having fun! I decided to close out the year with a run. I didn't measure distance, but I ran at a fairly quick pace for 33:18. I never seemed to get my breathing in rhythm with my running, but it was still OK. It certainly was a beautiful day to close out 2007 and to go for a run.

I look forward to some heavy training in 2008 and it is my goal to break my 5k and half-marathon PR's (personal records).

Have a Happy and Christ-filled New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Best 12 Years of My Life

Twelve years ago today, Becky and I exchanged wedding vows. It hasn't always been easy (mostly my fault, I'm sure), but it has been the most wonderful journey I could have ever imagined. To say that I married well would be an under-statement. Becky is the best life partner that I could ask for.

Through all the good times and bad, God has always been there helping us and molding us in His image so that our love for each other grows and our marriage looks like He wants it to. I know that I am the man I am today first because of the love of Jesus Christ and second because of the love of a good woman named Becky. Thanks God for loving me and for giving Becky and I to each other.

I can hardly believe it has been 12 years. In so many ways, it seems like yesterday we were driving to Knoxville on our way to our first date. In other ways, I can't remember what life was like before Becky. What a great way to spend 12 years! What a great journey. I love you Rebecca Anne and I look forward to all the future years that God has in store for us. I will always be yours!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mom and Dad Visiting

I picked up my parents at the Pittsburgh airport last night. It is so great to have them here in Morgantown for a few days. I have not seen them since last Christmas because they live in Austria. My little girls have been so excited to see their Gram and G-Daddy too. It's great to be together. We will get to be with them for a week and I am thrilled. I miss them alot especially since I don't get to see them that often.

They will be here in Morgantown for 4 days, then we are all going to TN to connect as a big family with my three sisters. Really looking forward to that as well.

I love sharing my life with my parents. I love when they come to see my town and meet my friends and I am super excited about them being at Crossroads tomorrow. It is a little odd to preach when my preacher dad is in the congregation, but I am so glad that he and mom will be there to hear my sermon and participate in worship with the Crossroads family. That really means alot. It should be a great week and should provide some great topics to blog about. It is awesome having mom and dad home for a few days.

Keep Running

Today I ran 5 miles in 40:12. It was a pretty uneventful run, but good nonetheless. I think I started out kinda slow, but made up for it with a final mile in 7:13. I am so thankful for my Zune. It has really helped my running. I have run 8 days in Dec and I am beginning to get a little faster and a little less sore after each run. 8 days a month is not where I want to be, but its better than I have been and pretty good for a cold West Virginia December.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shane, the Volcano

I feel like a volcano right now. God woke me up on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and I have been in a unexplainable place since then. I have spent a long time thinking about the condition of Christianity in America and doing a lot of praying. I have been reflecting on why the church in America is in such poor shape; why we, as Christians are so void of power in our lives; why we struggle so much with sin and telling others about Jesus. It doesn't make sense. Jesus message was/is so simple and His promises so sure. What are we missing?

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

It's so simple! It's just also so difficult. We can't fully grasp that deny self part and we hold on to so much selfishness and opinion. If we would completely surrender, and let God take over, I think things would be different in our lives, families, churches, and country.

So since the other night, I have been just seeking God's presence to get to know Him better and then asking Him for direction for the church (Crossroads and the Universal Church).

So back to the volcano analogy. I feel like God is doing something major in me and it is just below the surface. I feel like I am a spiritual volcano. I think it is a good thing and I am excited to see what God is about to do in and through me. I am nervous and excited about Sunday. A preacher eruption could be a good thing, huh?

Ravings? Good title, huh?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Steppin up the mileage

This evenings run was very interesting on two fronts. First I was in the mood to run farther so I stretched out my run for 46 minutes. Not sure how far I ran, but I know I ran slower and farther than I have been. It felt really good to put that kind of time in. Looking forward to going even farther.

Second, this evenings run turned into a major worship service. No one general focus cause when I am running, my brain is usually all over the place, but just a general sense of the greatness of God and my desire to live completely for Him. I was really struggling with my sermon for this coming Sunday and my run and time with God on the trail really helped solidify where God has me going on Sunday. I am really excited and also a little nervous about Sunday, but it should be rockin as long as I submit to the leadership of Christ.

Mark Driscoll on the Prosperity Gospel

This is scary and encouraging. Thosuands are flocking after Jesus for what He can provide for us instead of entering into a love relationship with the King of the universe no matter what the cost. Check out the first part of a sermon by Mark Driscoll as He dispells some of the lies of the prosperity gospel. It is really amazing and good and I agree with Driscoll. Following Jesus is hard. See what you think.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Seen Santa?

Has anybody spotted Santa yet? I think I'm going to give up and go to bed.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Run

4 miles in 31:04! I'm finally getting a little faster after minimal training for months. My times, my shape, and my midsection were all not doing as well as in the past. I have been running more since November though, thanks to my new Zune (Microsoft's version of Ipod), which is in turn thanks to one of our churches Life Groups. They got me the Zune for pastor appreciation month. It has helped me "get out the door" more. The rail trail is lonely, dark and cold this time of year so the music from the Zune helps considerably. Anyway, I've been running more and I am finally getting faster. I ran four sub 8 minute miles tonight. Not my goal, but much better than I have been.

When I started to strap on my Zune tonight, I realized that I had not charged the battery and so I ran with no tunes. It's all good though. Feel good tonight. Getting faster in the winter is a good thing. The goal is to set all new PRs (Personal records) this upcoming race season. I'm going to post all my runs on the blog since I am the running Rev and for more accountability to hit the trail.

Merry Christmas and Happy running!

The Urgency of Prayer

"The evangelization of the world depends first of all upon a revival of prayer. Our greatest need - in spite of what we may imagine - is the need for the forgotten secret of prevailing, all encompassing prayer."
Andrew Murry in The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer

Our lives are full of busyness and void of prayer. It's no wonder that U. S. church attendance is stagnant at best and rapidly declining at worst. Our baptistries are empty and our culture is quickly swirling down the toilet. As we keep our heads in the sand and continue to neglect passionate prayer, things will only get worse. May this up-coming year be the year where God's people get on their knees and beg Him for His Presence!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is almost here! Can you believe it? It seems like just a short time ago that I was a small boy and about to burst with excitement as Christmas day approached. I could hardly wait for Santa Claus to display his wares on my living room floor. I can remember not being able to sleep on most Christmas Eve nights. The anticipation was almost more than I could stand.

Fast forward two decades and the excitement is just not there. Christmas is fun and this time of year certainly carries great times with family and friends, but the excitement over Christmas morning is not the same as when I was a boy.

As I reflect on this, I am quickly reminded of two parallels to my Christian life. 1) I should live with child-like wonder and excitement at the perspective of living this life with and for Jesus and 2) I should anticipate the coming of Jesus with the same thrill that I used to anticipate the coming of Santa Claus.

So often , I get consumed by life instead of being consumed by Jesus. Paying the bills, getting work done, filling the car with gas, etc. seems to take my focus off of the One who deserves my focus.

This Christmas, let's again be filled with excitement and eager anticipation, only this time, let's do it for the real reason for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Divine meets the Ordinary

"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I read this the other day in a book that I am reading and it really jumped off the page at me. I want to live my life in such a way that I see the awesome majesty of God in every blade of grass and every snowflake. I don't want the simple and commonplace to ever become ordinary for me. The Bible tells us that God has created all things and the Jesus sustains all things by His word. That means that everything in creation bears the wonderful, loving fingerprint of almighty God. How cool is that! It is my desire to always be moved by God by His great creation. I don't want to just sit around stuffing my face with blackberries and miss the amazing presence of God all round me.

It seems to me that too many individuals in our society are smitten by so many pale substitutes and we throw our lives to fleeting peasure and material goods. We work so hard to make money just to get what it is we think we need/want and all the while we miss the great pleasures of life that God intended us to enjoy. The biggest thing we miss out on as we pluck blackberries is the presence of God Himself. In our busyness and lack of attention to His detail, we miss Him altogether. What a shame.

My mom and my wife deserve some credit in helping me see the fire of God in every bush. Thanks Mom and Becky. You guys are both amazing women who have aided my depth of character in this area of my life. Thanks to you both for enjoying the sunsets and waterfalls with me as well as the little birds and ladybugs and all the "small things" that I would have missed without you.

Don't let the real life pass you by today. Stop stuffing your face with blackberries and take off your shoes in the presence of God's holiness that is all around us.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Here's to blogging II

Well, it has been exactly one year and one day since I began this blog and I have never posted again. I guess it has been a busy year. It truly has, but I am going to make another go at this blogging thing. I guess you could call it my New Year's Resolution. I want to be able to post thoughts for my church, my family, my friends, and for pre-Christians who are searching for God. In light of this purpose, I am going to be more intentional about posting.

I hope this can be a place where community can happen, where family and friends can interact about fun things and serious things in our lives. I will be more intentional.

Speaking of one of my favorite words; INTENTIONAL, this, I have learned is one of the, if not the main keys to life. If we live by accident we are doomed. Living by accident, we are always trying to catch up. We are always searching for more of something. When we live by accident, it seems like we are never satisfied. Our spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, etc. lives go to pot when we are not intentional and disciplined. When we live by accident, we fail to spend time with God. We don't pray enough. We spend to much money. We eat too much. Our eyes wander. We spend to much and so on. AHHHHH, but with intentional living, things fall into place so much better and there is peace in our lives. Self-discipline brings about the life that we truly desire. So why do we struggle so much with intentional living? Why do we allow ourselves to be swept up in the currant of our circumstances and surroundings?

I long to be the man that God wants me to be. I know that it all begins with intentional self-discipline.

Oh and once again; here's to blogging!