Saturday, August 30, 2008

Full Day - Quick Run

It was a full day today, but I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute run right before lunch. I love full, active Saturdays, but now I am tired. Going to bed and looking forward to tomorrow. I will be baptizing four individuals in the morning and that is always a joy so I am looking forward to that. Yeah, I love Sundays and always look forward to them. It should be another fun, exciting, challenging day at Crossroads Church!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Earthly Minded or Heavenly Minded?

"If we had actually reached a place of such spiritual commitment that the wonders of heaven were so close that we longed for the illuminating Presence of our Lord, we would not go into such a fearful and frantic performance every time we find something wrong with our physical frame."
A.W. Tozer

Wow! Talk about conviction! I need to reach a place of spiritual commitment that the circumstances of this world (good or bad) do not bother me. I need to be heavenly minded and not earthly minded! As I have been blogging about recently, it is much harder to be heavenly or eternally minded when things aren't going your way. I guess the good news is that when circumstances are bad, I think about God and His ways almost constantly and I talk to Him almost without stopping. I know that God has His purposes for all of our negative circumstances and I know that He is presently shaping me into His image and trying to get me to see more than ever before that it is about His Kingdom and not mine. This situation with my house not selling and therefore us not having anywhere to move to is very frustrating, but I know I need to take my mind off my Kingdom and wait on Him. Then I will be freed up to focus on His Kingdom. Then I will be heavenly or eternally minded. That is what I need.

Jesus said it best (of course): "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sporadic Running

Recently my running and exercising has been so sporadic. This is the best time of the year to exercise and things just seem so busy right now. Last week, I ran one day and I biked one day. So I guess I have finally accepted the fact that I am not going to be in the best shape of my life while my kids and my church are still young. So I think I'll shoot for some fast 5k times when I am 40. In the meantime, I'll try to just stay up with things and keep in some semblance of shape.

Tonight, I ran for 37:23. The weather was perfect and Ian rode beside me on a bike. It was nice to have his company and it made the run go very smoothly. Maybe if Ian keeps going with me, I'll run more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Still Waiting

I cannot even begin to imagine the patience that God required of Abraham as he waited years for his firstborn son of promise or of Joseph as he languished away in an Egyptian prison. It is easy to hold onto God and His truth when everything is going just like you want it to, but it is a whole different story when God is not doing what you want Him to.

Today, I am having a hard time adhering to my own sermon from yesterday as I spoke on living in light of eternity. I am trying not to be a hypocrite as I keep waiting on God to do something or show me which way to go. I definitely need to see things from God's perspective so I am trying to stay grounded in His Word. It is the only thing that alleviates frustration.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Population Growth!!!!

Yes, yes, boys and girls school is back in session. It is that time of year when the West Virginia University students are back. And let me tell ya, they are really back! Man, talk about population growth for one town. Morgantown, WV grew by over 28,000 people in a little less than a week. That is crazy population growth! And it shows on the roads. It just took me 35 minutes to drive 6 miles. Morgantown summer driving is over. I will not be able to go where I want without worrying about traffic until Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, I am actually excited. I am looking forward to all that the students bring to our church. This fall, along with our town's population growth, should be a very exciting time in the life of Crossroads Church. So I'm glad that the students are back and that our population has grown, but now I will just have to be careful about where and when I drive through town. Cool, cool!!

The Waiting Place

I am at a spot in my life and spiritual journey where I believe God is testing my patience. This is so hard for me. I am not good at waiting. It is not that I am not content and happy where I am, it is just that I hate sitting still. I love it when things are moving fast and I am on the go. I do not like sitting still and waiting on anybody including God. But God has me in this place where He is calling me to be still and wait on Him.

Look at His Word to me this morning. "True faith is not the intellectual ability to visualize unseen things to the satisfaction of our imperfect minds; it is rather the moral power to trust Christ! To be unafraid when going on a journey with his father, the child need not imagine the events of the journey, he needs only to know the father! Jesus Christ is our all in all - we need but trust Him and He will take care of the rest." A.W. Tozer

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16

Spending time with my God is the most important thing in my life in order to keep me grounded in His truth. Apart from His truth, my life would spiral out of control! Hearing from the Lord from His Word is what allows me to grow in His truth and to continue to trust and obey.

Waiting is difficult for me and this season of waiting that I am in right now is especially so, but being grounded in God's truth and specific word for me make it easier to trust and to be the man that He wants me to be.

Thanks for Your Word of truth, Lord - I'll keep waiting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exercise - It Does A Body Good

Before yesterday, I had not run since July 24th. I remedied that yesterday. I came back with a bang. Listening to a great Francis Chan sermon, I ran a slow 5 miles in 47:18. My knees hurt a little bit in the last half mile but I was not gonna let that get me down on such a great run. I figured it was just because I had taken so much time off.

Then today I hoped on my bicycle for a quick ride. I only rode for 43:38, but it felt great and when I got home, I told Becky that I hardly felt it (even in these West Virginia hills!).

Two straight days of good exercise have left my legs a little tired, but overall I feel really good and I should sleep well tonight. Exercise (running and biking) is really good for all the areas of my life. It helps reduce my stress and makes me feel better all over. That in turn makes me a better husband, father, and pastor. I just gotta keep it up, gotta be more intentional and consistent. I need to make sure I am the master of my circumstances and not vice versa.


"To the degree that you are inward focused, that will be the same degree of your misery."
Lisa Chan (Francis' wife)

Hmmmm - great reminder that it is never about me. I need this reminder often.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Bike

Here are some pictures of my bike and of me before I took off on a recent ride.

Back in The Saddle

Well, I literally got back in the saddle today - the bike saddle, that is. It has been 15 days since I last exercised and my body was feeling it. Not good. Ever since I hiked the 32 miles on the AT, I haven't done anything in the world of physical fitness. I don't really have an excuse, I just haven't been intentional about exercise since the backpacking trip. I decided yesterday that I was going to get back after it today and I did. I had a great ride this morning right before lunch. I rode for 54:13 and it was an exhilarating ride. I love my bike. It is an awesome piece of machinery. So now that I got back in the saddle today, maybe I will do better in my exercising this week and even strap my running shoes on. I was just looking at my exercise log and noticed the last day that I ran was on July 24th. That's crazy! I wonder how much endurance and speed I have lost? Oh well, I'll get it back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daily Contentment

This past Sunday, I preached a message entitled, "It's Not About You!" I think the main thrust of the message is pretty obvious. God has chosen to call us His own and to bless us with Himself as well as other "things", but it is to never be about us. We are to live our lives in such a way as to act on the prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done." We are to be more concerned about God's Kingdom than we are about our kingdoms. We are to be more concerned with what God is up to and how we can join Him than we are about all of our little selfish issues.

In my sermon, I shared a story about where Becky and I are right now with our housing situation (3rd kid on the way in a 900 square foot two-bedroom) and about our level of contentment with where we are right now. I said on Sunday that I am completely OK with whatever God wants us to do even if He wants us to stay where we are. The past two days, I have realized that contentment is an on-going process. It is a battle. It is not a place that you go to and are never tempted to leave. In other words, for me to stay in a place of contentment, I must stay steadfastly focused on Jesus Christ. I cannot allow myself to focus on me and my circumstances.

Therefore the key to contentment is DAILY prayer and Bible study! Daily contentment is my desire because IT is truly not about me and I want to live with that ever before me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Greatness and Popularity

"Human society generally has fallen into the error of assuming that greatness and fame are synonymous." A. W. Tozer

Have you ever noticed the proliferation of magazines that are completely devoted to the lives of "famous" people. It is staggering and also quite ridiculous. It seems we have some sick interest in the lives of people that we consider famous or great. The fact that someone is a good actor, physically attractive, or good at a sport somehow has elevated them to the status of greatness in the eyes of many in our western culture. I wonder how many famous people are truly great human beings. I am not asking are they good people or nice people, but asking are they truly great.

I would be willing to bet that the greatest people on this planet are the ones that nobody has ever heard of. Greatness is not defined by popularity or fame, it is defined by character, integrity, and courage.

I fear that this mindset of confusing greatness and popularity has also rooted itself into the minds of many in western Christianity. Many Christians think that because a pastor, speaker, or author is famous that they must be great and what they are saying must be golden. We, in the church, must also be careful to not confuse greatness and popularity. Don't be suckered in by glamour, glitz, and fame. Watch people's lives closely and you will notice the truly great individuals. True greatness will shine through in people's daily choices and routine.

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." John 12:24-25

Friday, August 8, 2008

Which book of the Bible would you most like to study?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back-packing Pictures

The pictures are not in a very good order, but I think you still get the point from the trip. The one with me holding up my sock was at the end of the 32 miles when we had just gotten back to the car and had just gotten out of a mountain rainstorm and my socks and shoes were soaked. It felt good to sit down at that point. As I posted earlier, it was a great trip and I look forward to many more now that I am hooked.

My Back-packing Trip

I have been on a blogging hiatus because of my recent back-packing trip. I could write a lot about it, but all I am going to say is that is was so awesome. I loved it. I am hooked. This backpacking thing is right up my alley. I have a new hobby and adventure direction that I believe will be a great outlet for me for many years to come.

The trip I just recently did was in southern Virginia. I went with some great friends from Arkansas and we had a great time. The scenery was beautiful and the exercise was strenuous. We even got rained on twice and that really added to the adventure. Needless to say, it was a great trip and I can't wait to go again. The only downside was that I missed my family so it will be a cool day when I can incorporate backpacking and family (not sure Becky will ever be down with that or not - she is not much of a camper, but one can hope)

I'll post some pictures of the 32 mile trip a little bit later today.