Saturday, January 26, 2008

7 Again

I ran 7 miles today a little faster than the last time I did 7. It took me just over an hour with a time of 1:00:34. I ran the first 3.5 in 31 minutes and the second 3.5 in 29 minutes and 34 seconds with a final mile in 7:31. Not to bad, but the final two miles my little toe on my left foot started hurting. I got home and found the blister -not cool. My knees also started hurting. That scares me a little bit cause I don't want to take any time off to heal an injury. We'll see. I know that I need some new shoes. I have logged over 350 miles on my present pair of shoes and the traditional running mindset says not to go over 300 miles on a pair of running shoes. They break down and don't offer the same benefits that they are supposed to to protect your legs and body from all the pounding that running brings. Anyway, I hope to get some soon and that will hopefully take care of my knee problem. Hopefully!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I thought 26 degrees was cold weather to run in, but I went out tonight in 19 degree weather. I do believe that was the coldest temperature that I have ever run in. It was pretty great though and I am glad I have logged some miles two days in a row. It was my shortest run in a long time. I was only out for 30:10.

Oh, I finished that Andy Stanley sermon too. It was great and I made some fresh commitments to God in the area of my finances. God has been too good to me for me to rob Him!

The Decline of the American Church

Why are churches in America in such steep decline today? Listen to what Mosaic pastor, Erwin McManus said: “My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent so they see the church as a place there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them,” said cultural architect Erwin McManus, lead pastor at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles.

McManus boils it down to the fact that the church in America is dying today because we are so self-centered. We really don't care about others. It's all about me. This selfish Christian culture that we have established and/or bought into is killing the church in America and dooming the majority of individuals around us to hell.

Oh God, mold me in Your image. Let me put You and others before myself. That is my prayer for my life and for Crossroads Church. Let us all be intentional about self-denial, cross bearing, and following Jesus!

You can check out the entire church decline article at

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Coldest of Runs

Wow, 26 degrees is pretty cold weather to run in, but I hadn't run since Saturday and I ate alot of pizza yesterday so regardless of the temperature, I thought I'd better go run. It was surprisingly a great run. I clicked off 4 miles and it seemed almost effortless. I ran the last mile around 7:25 and when I finished, I wasn't hurting at all. It felt great! That makes me really excited about the spring and summer. Usually I just maintain in the winter, but this year, I seem to be getting a little faster. My total run time was 32:23.

Today during my run, I listened to a sermon by Andy Stanley, well half of my run anyway. My Zune battery went dead exactly halfway into the run/sermon. I charged my Zune when I got home and am anxious about hearing the rest of Stanley's message. It was about finances. It was really good and convicting. He was talking about how we spend our money and end up robbing ourselves and robbing God. Money has such a way of pulling our hearts away from God. It's so crazy how we live more for this life than we do the next. Anyway, I'll listen to the rest of it later and I'm sure some bits and pieces of the sermon will make it into my own upcoming messages.

You can check out Andy Stanley's messages here:

Product of Choice

The choices that we make today will determine the circumstances of our future.

Nothing that you do can change the truth of this statement. The decisions that you make today in your finances, morality, and relationships will set your course for your future stress or future blessing.

Therefore, "Be careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise." Ephesians 5:15

Monday, January 21, 2008

Image Bearers

"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
Genesis 1:27

What does it practically mean to bear the image of God? "This means that we have been given gifts that enable us to represent and imitate Him. Since we were created in love and are now sustained by God's patient love, we bring glory to God by imitating his persistent love" (Edward T. Welch).

Let me try to explain that quote a little bit. Being an image bearer of God simply means that we fulfill our purpose and bring God the most glory and experience the most purpose and peace when we act like God (see also Eph 5:1). It really is simple and also so profound.

When I look not to my own interests, but to the interests of others, I fulfill God's plan for me. I am acting like God, I am His image bearer. I am showing all the world around me what God looks like. When I act selfishly and I do whatever I want regardless of who I hurt or other consequences whether intended or not, I am not fulfilling my role as an image bearer. I am not showing anyone what God looks like.

So the question then comes; am I living my life in such a way that when people look at me, they see God. Are my relationships, words, and actions pointing to my Creator.

When we live out the purpose of being His image bearers, we are fulfilled predominately because we are not even seeking to be fulfilled. Chew on that!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Running in the Cold

Today was a great run. I felt great the whole time out even though it was the coldest run that I can remember. I didn't keep my distance, but I ran for 36:35 with a final mile in 7:05. That is the fastest mile I have run in a long time! Felt/Feel great!

Jason Sheffstall met me at the trail today. We are getting ready for a half-marathon in Baltimore in October. We have committed to running in it together. It is going to be great and I am really proud of Jason. He is doing a great job. I know it is hard to start running anytime, but it is really hard to start in the winter time. Keep up the good work Jason. The rewards are worth it!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Recipe for Renewal

"If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" 2 Chronicles 7:14

I am sick of talking about how I want God to do something great and not seeing anything radically crazy happen. I know that it's not God's fault. It's mine!

Humble - other people matter more than me; my money and time are just tools to accomplish God's work; my opinions take a back seat to the needs of others; my comport and pleasure do not matter as much as personal holiness; I agree with God that my sin sucks; loving God first and others second.

Pray - hmmmmmmmm, what does this really look like? talking to God in the shower or in the car or for a few free minutes before I rush out the door or when I need something from Him. I don't think that is what God is talking about here in Chronicles. Where are the passionate (screaming and crying) and sincere prayers of the people of God calling out to Him just because we are doomed without Him? I know one thing for sure; we need to be on our knees way more than we are. We really need God, not more programs or ministry.

Turn from wicked ways - I'm not sure we as American Christians even know where to begin on this one. We have lived in the gray for so long, we are not sure where wickedness ends and holiness begins. O God search our hearts and know us and reveal any wickedness within us and help us move toward You more everyday!

If God is going to show up in radical crazy ways, we've got work to do. He will respond to our humility and prayer. He always has. It's not too late for America. It's not to late for Morgantown. We just need to get serious about the things that really matter in order to see a true spiritual renewal in our time!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cold Run

Tonight was a cold, and dark run, but I had to get back out on the trail. I had not run in four days so it was important to log some miles tonight. It was cold, but good. I ran 5 miles in 40:47 with the final mile in 7:47. Not too bad for running in the dark and in 30 degrees.

And the hot chicken and dumplings that Becky had waiting on me were so delicious. It was a great post-run meal. What a great wife I have! She is so supportive of my running. That makes logging the miles so much easier.

I also listened to another awesome Francis Chan sermon while I ran. It is so good to exercise my body and feed my spirit at the same time. Francis Chan truly inspires me to walk closer with Christ. I am so thankful for technology. How cool is it that a great preacher in CA is available for me to listen to during secluded runs in WV. That is so great!

Being a Preacher

I have known what I was going to preach this upcoming Sunday for the past 9 days - Until today that is. I was going to take a break from the sermon series that I am in in Luke. I had this great creative message about perseverance all planned out. It is a great sermon and one I will probably preach someday, but as I was studying and praying in my office today, I just could not get a peace about which direction to go. So I spent the afternoon preparing a sermon on perseverance and one on the next section in Luke. Then I had to leave to go to a meeting and I was very frustrated because I didn't know what to do. It was later in the evening that God spoke and gave me a peace about which direction to go and I am so relieved.

It is hard to describe the seriousness that I approach being a mouthpiece of God. I never want to say anything that God has not put in my heart and mouth. I never want to say anything from my own opinions. I know that I fail and probably speak sometimes things that I shouldn't, but I don't want to. Preaching is VERY serious business to me. With all the half-truths and lies about God and the Bible out there, along with a major lackadaisical attitude about God, I so desire for every word that comes out of my mouth to be God's words.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" Romans 10:14-15

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Some days are better than others, but I praise and thank God for the calling that He has placed on my life and it is my goal in this life to preach with a demonstration of the Spirit's power and not with mere words thought up by me! God use me and the gift of preaching to grow and expand your great Kingdom!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

7 Miles!

I ran 7 miles today in the beautiful sunshine! My time was 1:30:37. It was awesome! Everything still feels great. We'll see if that holds true tomorrow morning though.

The truth from my last blog entry really hit home this afternoon as well. What am I pouring into myself? If I allow busyness to drive me and do not take time to feed my soul, I am worthless. I am a terrible pastor, husband, and father, not to mention follower of Christ. Or if I feed my soul and my mind with things other than God, it has the same effect. So my lack of filling my life with holy stuff impacts me as well as filling my mind with unholy stuff. It amazes me how we rationalize the trash that we put in our minds. How do we expect holiness to bloom in our lives when we fill it with so much from the world.

The hour and three minutes that I ran today, I listened to 7 Casting Crowns songs and a full sermon on the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan. Talk about putting the right stuff in and feeding my soul. I feel great; so thankful for the mercy and grace of Jesus! My heart is right. My attitude is right and I really can't wait for church tomorrow. It's gonna rock.

So it begs the question. What kind of man do I want to be all the time? Well then, what do I put in my life, cause that has all the impact in the world on the kind of man that I am and am becoming.

What are you presently pouring into your life?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Busy and Dry

I have been so busy this week. I guess that is kinda good and kinda bad. The good part is that it shows there is much work to be done in the Kingdom and at Crossroads. I have spent lots of time with people this week and trying to catch up administratively after some slow weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years.

While I love moving at a frantic pace (it always keeps me on my toes and out of trouble), I have discovered this week, that the busier I am, the less time I have to read and therefore feed my soul. I have accomplished much this week (with one day to go), but tonight I stop and wonder if it really has been a good week. I have neglected two of the books that I have been reading and I think my spiritual fervor is lacking now because of this. I have been reading about prayer and the fear of God and I have not even thought about these books or these subjects this week. I haven't even had time to blog about all that God has been teaching me throughout the holiday season.

In a lot of ways, I have had a very fun and fulfilling week and in other ways, I see the injury to my soul and spirit. I know my enemy, the devil, is constantly trying to get me off my game and I have often said, "If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." Well, his tactic has seemed to work this week.

Oh Lord, help me find the balance between hard work and quiet, still, reflection and pursuit of You and Your Kingdom values!

On the Run

I came home from being out with my family all day. It was great to take a day and just be with my three girls. Then I was going to head out and log some miles on the trail, but Becky asked me to run on the treadmill so I wouldn't be far away. That's cool! So I logged 4 miles on the treadmill tonight in 31:42. My last mile was 7:31 and I wasn't even feeling like it was a hard workout. Watch out PR's (personal records), I'm just heatin up!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First 2008 Runs

My blogging has been off as I stated in my last post. Because of that I missed listing my first run of the new year. So here are the first two.

On Saturday, January 5th, which was my first full day back in Morgantown after a week in east TN with my family, I ran for 32:48 in 39 degrees on a snow covered trail. It was a pretty good run although I felt a little sluggish, probably from all the holiday food and 5 days off.

My second run of 2008 was today and talk about a turn around in the weather. Three days ago, my feet were crunching the snow and today I ran in shorts and a lightweight t-shirt in 67 degrees. It was great to run so unencumbered as I have been used to running in tights and sweatshirts for the past 5 or 6 weeks. That reminds me of that passage in Hebrews where God tells us to throw off everything that keeps us from running the spiritual race to the best of our ability. It is interesting how we like to exercise in as little clothes as possible, but we try to run in our spiritual lives and we carry so much weight with us (material stuff, selfish opinions, comfort, pleasure, etc,). It's no wonder we struggle to be holy.

Well, I didn't mean to start preaching; I was just going to tell you about my recent runs. Today was a great run and I ran for 33:02.

Well, whatever you do in word or deed, do for the glory of God. Hey, throw off that weight and sin and get to running as fast as you can for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ cause physical training is of some value but Jesus training last forever!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, it has been a great week off. I forget how wonderful it is hanging out with my family. I miss my parents, sisters, and brothers so much. It was great to spend the New Years holiday with them. We had a great snow in the East TN mountains and I took Brannon sledding. It was the first time I have been sledding since the blizzard of 1993 when I was 20 years old. It was fun and I enjoyed watching Brannon have fun in the snow, but I think I felt every bump a little differently that I did when I was 20.

As good as it is to be away, it is always good to be home. It is especially good to be at Crossroads Church. I love being with my church family almost as much as I love being with my biological family.

So I am back in the saddle today and it has been a good and productive day. I am looking forward to all that God has in store for my week and my new year. I plan on blogging Tuesday or Wednesday (I am running out of time for today) about all that God has been teaching me these past few weeks. He has been really stirring in me. It will probably be a recap of yesterday's sermon, but I am anxious to write what He has been doing in me.