Thursday, March 31, 2011


Good morning Thursday! Seems like you were just here. Has it really been a week? You and me will work on getting ready for Sunday. Right? OK.

How'd you like that snow yesterday? You know I love snow, but not so much on March 30th. I left the house around 7.30 yesterday morning with a bag packed with running clothes to be used late morning. I had checked the forecast temps and thought that it would be in the 40s with light wind. Well, as I watched the fat flakes of snow fall throughout the morning, I knew that I was going to be dressed too lightly. I was! But it wasn't too bad. I ran 10 miles in the sleet, snow, and strong wind. I'm thankful that I had a friend accompany for 6 of them.

Yesterday was a good, productive day, and it ended with a very enjoyable class. I announced that the world would not end on December 21, 2012. Doing some research, I found that the end will actually come this year - October 21 to be exact! Some wanted to argue, but I know I am right. I mean it's on the internet! It has to be true!

We had a really good discussion about Mark 13, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the world. It was a great way to end the day. Today I will strive to bring it all together in a sermon.

Right after school we are headed to Nashville, TN. The time has come for me to cut my first record! It's a secret that I have kept from everyone. I am a country music singer with amazing abilities, so it is time for me to go public with it.

Is lying one of the signs of the end times?

You really should be ready!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The end is near


Yesterday was a weird day. Sitting in a small room all day listening to the Sibbitt hearing was mind-numbing. I tried to read and do some other things, but I couldn't concentrate, even though I could tell you word for word what the cross examination words were going to be. Some of you are probably wanting to know more details about yesterday. It's really hard to describe. What I said in my last post really sums it up. I guess the hearing ended about an hour after I left. Nothing significant was said after I left, and really nothing all day was said that changes anything, best I can tell.

There was a lot of Orange County talk yesterday, of course, and the casino money was mentioned several times in the context of school funding. Hearing about the casino made me think of my only visit to it. It was a couple years ago. The kids got Kedra and me a night in the dome for our 25th anniversary. We had a nice meal and then walked to the casino. We had no interest or intention of playing any of the games. We just wanted to have a look.

When we got to the entrance, it was noisy and bright and full of flashing light. We decided to not go in, so we went to wait for a shuttle bus to take us back to the dome. While we were waiting, we noticed that there was valet parking for casino customers. The valet was really dressed up in very nice clothes. He parked a really nice car or two. Then something happened that cracked me up and made me kinda sad at the same time.

A really old car pulled up. It was rusty, dented, dirty and not in good shape (Yes, just like what I would drive). This old car pulls up to the valet stand and out of the car comes two rather large people in sweat shirts and sweat pants. They hand their key to the valet and head in to the casino to, I guess, watch for their ship to come in. Maybe you had to be there, but it was something to see.

Today is the long day, but I think I am ready. I have had a cold since Sunday, but it is not getting any worse. I missed running yesterday, so today I need to try find the time to crank out 10 miles. I found out that I am not going to Indy this week, so that really helps with my time crunch.

I have really enjoyed studying Mark 13 this week. I wish I would have had a little more time with it, but I think I understand it fairly well. The challenge, in part, is comparing it to Matthew 24 and, especially, Luke 21.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sibbitt Hearing

Wow, it has been a long day! I went to the Dr. Sibbitt hearing at 9.30 this morning, thinking it would be over a little after lunch. Clearly I was wrong. They took an hour break at 12.30. After resuming at 1.30, it was still in progress when I left at 6.45 this evening! My guess is that it will go one for quite a while.

It began with opening statements, followed by the police officer on the witness stand. He was cross-examined. I am not a fan of defense attorneys... I'll just leave it at that. The rest of the day was people testifying to two things:

How good Dr. Sibbitt was/is
How bad the officer was/is

It was still going on when I left. At one point the attorney for the school board made a motion to not listen to all the witnesses because they were all saying the same thing, but the defense insisted on hearing them all. They have that right, but it sure was boring.

OK, I need to catch up on all the stuff that I missed all day...

Monday, March 28, 2011

You Big Chicken!

Are you ready?

Wow, that's a question you can take in lots and lots of ways! Are you ready? Ready for what? I had two pictures to choose from this morning. I chose this one because it best fits what I am thinking about this morning, that is, I am ready to take off on a very busy week. This one is going to be a little more challenging than most.

Part of the challenge this week is the preaching text from Mark 13. Is Jesus simply talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, or is he also talking about the end of the world? The message either way comes down to the question:

Are you ready?

There is so much going on in the world--earthquakes, tsunamis, freakish weather--that some see as "signs of the end." What about you? What do you think? Last days?

Are you ready?

Am I ready for this week? I have possibly three unusual events this week. The first is the Dr. Sibbett hearing on Tuesday. Let's see if I have this right? He got arrested for several things, claims he did nothing wrong, sues the school because they no longer want to employ him, and is getting paid while he is suing us. Yes, I think I want to go hear about this.

I am probably going to Indy this week to see someone who is likely going to have surgery, and I am hoping to get everything under control so I can go to Nashville with Rebecca and Kedra on Thursday, right after school. Rebecca wants to make another visit to Lipscomb to talk to the education folks. I want to go so I can spend time with one of the most amazing people I know, Earl L.

OK, sounds like I need to get busy! I am ready!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Henri Nouwen:

Returning to Trust

In my own life I well know how hard it is for me to trust that I am loved, and to trust that the intimacy I most crave is there for me. I most often live as if I have to earn love, do something noteworthy, and then perhaps I might get something in return. This attitude touches the whole question of what is called in the spiritual life, the "first love." Do I really believe that I am loved first, independent of what I do or what I accomplish? This is an important question because as long as I think that what I most need I have to earn, deserve and collect by hard work, I will never get what I most need and desire, which is a love that cannot be earned, but that is freely given. Thus, my return is my willingness to renounce such thoughts and to choose to live more and more from my true identity as a cherished child of God.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Butler Way

The Butler Way.

You gotta love it!

What is it?

The Butler Way demands commitment, denies selfishness and accepts reality, yet seeks constant improvement while promoting the good of the team above self.

The five principles as posted in the Men's Basketball locker-room are as follows:

1. Humility - know who we are, strengths and weaknesses
2. Passion - do not be lukewarm, commit to excellence
3. Unity - do not divide our house, team first
4. Servanthood - make teammates better, lead by giving
5. Thankfulness - learn from every circumstance

All this is really neat to see. Biblical priciples applied to athletics; they work wherever they are applied.

Did you know that Butler started out as Christian college? In fact it was a Church of Christ school. You can still see some signs of it when you visit the campus. The admissions building is the old chapel. Slowly they drifted from their roots, and in the late 50s they spun off Christian Theological Seminary, which is right next to Butler's campus. Butler ended up in the hands of the Disciples of Christ, our Church of Christ cousins.

The Butler Way. I love it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March is a cruel month

March is cruel! I call this day as my first witness! Yesterday it was, what?, in the mid 70s? Let's say 73, and today is presently sitting on 37 degrees. Ouch! Add a little wind and it feels like minus 37. Oh well... There are many, many things to be thankful for.

My sermon is actually moving along well today, for which I am very thankful. I struggled in my class last night. Part of the design of my Wed. p.m. class, which examines the preaching text with me, is to gauge the level of interest and engagement with the text and/or certain ways of approaching it. Last night indicated that the texts themselves did not generate much interest. Of course it could have been the mood of the class or the way I presented things. Regardless, it indicated to me that I needed to really think about how I will approach things this week.

Armed with the knowledge of last night's class, I set out on a new preaching path this morning. I think it will work well! The slide show will include some of my original artwork. I have to tell you that it's impressive!

I decided this week needed to be a "rest week" for running. I have been having a little minor pain in my right hip. It's moving around, which indicates to me it is nothing serious. I have had numerous things like this before. Ever since I broke my hip running, I have been a little more careful about pain. I am going to back down to 30-35 miles instead of 40. I did get a nice 25 mile bike ride in on Monday. Biking is not going to be very good for several days. I will have to decide whether to bike in the cold; not sure I want to do that.

OK, back to work on the sermon...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sacred Interruptions

Is anyone else annoyed at the State Farm commercials where people sing off-key, "like a good neighbor..." and an agent magically pops up and then, this is the part that really annoys me because it does not make sense, the people start magically singing about all the other stuff they want. What?? How does that have anything to do with insurance? I'm probably old and don't get something...

Why the above rant? Because I was thinking of the commercial that says, "Life comes at you fast!" While I don't remember what it advertizes, it made me think of other commercials, which then lead to the one that annoys me. So now you know how my (not so) brilliant mind works.

Anyway! Life does come at you fast, and you never know what is going to happen. You can plan, prepare, and expect things, but then something will come along and change it all. That's all fine and the stuff that can lead to faith.

Why am I thinking of this? Because this morning I had an unexpected interruption. You have heard me quote/paraphrase Henri Nouwen enough that you can qoute him back to me.

I used to complain about the interruptions to my ministry until I realized the interruptions were my ministry.

A guy came by for one reason, and a few questions (by me) later we are invovled in a deep conversation about his life. His life happens to be falling apart. You'd never know it unless you asked the right question. He told me, in essence, "I'm really good at everything I do professionally and recreationally, but I suck at life." Hmmm.



We had a good chat about faith/trust and submission and God's redemptive nature. He is disappointed with church. He used to attend, but through all his problems he said not one person has called him. "Not one," he said, fighting the pooling of tears. He needs a friend, and that's who I hope to become. How can I not? (See last Friday's post about the tension of living life.) Providentially, I believe, I was able to go run after the interruption. My daytime running buddy is my therapist and did not know that until now (ha ha). We run, I talk and he listens. It's all good.

Yesterday I had a fairly stressful morning. Lots of stuff going on with lots of people. Just lots of stuff. Life comes at you fast. I decided to take the afternoon off and ride my bike. Twenty-five miles later, I was feeling much, much better.

OK, time to get back to work! I never know who/what is going to come into my life next. I am prepared, I think. I told the guy this morning, the older I get the less I know, which drives me further and further into faith/trust with God. It's scary, unsettling but wonderfully liberating in some ways.


Monday, March 21, 2011


This week my sermon will deal with a lot of the questions that are asked in Mark 11 & 12. Questions are everywhere! The people ask Jesus questions, and how does he answer? With questions! I started looking around this morning for good questions. I came across this from here and thought it pretty good:

10 Best Questions Ever

1. At the end of a conversation – “Is there anything I should be asking?”
2. While talking with a passionate person – “Why do you feel so strongly?”
3. At the beginning of a meeting – “Why are we here?”
4. At the end of a meeting – “Who does what, by when?”
5. Any time – “How can I help?”
6. When receiving criticism or advice – “Where will your suggestions take me?”
7. With your wife – “What can I do that makes you feel loved?”
8. With your husband – “What can I do that makes you feel respected?”
9. With your children – “What am I doing that frustrates you?”
10.Within your own mind – “What vision is driving me right now?”

Bonus question when conversations are ending – “Do you have any questions?”

Bonus stupid question – “Why do psychics have to ask your name?”

Reminder: Always follow a question with silence.

Any questions?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday afternoon

Watching a little basketball this afternoon... Wow, the Butler game was amazing last night, wasn't it? I love watching them play the "big" teams on a national stage. I think they have a real shot of advancing further. I hope so.

To bring you up date with my life (like you really want to know - ha ha)... I did get everything done by Friday noon, and I did go for a 20 mile bike ride. I got it in right before some light rain came. It was an enjoyable experience. I am on my training path to Ride Across Indiana on July 16th. I need to build a base and then work on speed. It's similar to running, I suppose.

Speaking of running, I got my 14 miler in yesterday without any problem. I think I could have done several more miles. I ended up with 40 miles for the week. This is my first 40 mile week since before the Monumental Marathon. I hope to do 40-45 mile weeks until the Mini, while taking advantage of nice days to bike 2-3 times a week. After the Mini I will decrease running miles and ramp up bike miles.

I've got to get ready to go to Washington this evening to talk about Honduras. We'll get to visit with Maddie's (Lester's wife) parents. They are members there, and Drew, Maddie's dad, plans to go to Honduras with us again this summer, along with Hannah, Maddie's sister.

Tomorrow, everyone who lives in this house with me presently is leaving. I will be all alone until Wednesday. I don't mind that for a couple of days, so this should work out just fine.

OK, gotta get ready for this evening...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Doing it again

I always seem to end up in the same place - the place where I am trying to do too much. It just happens, and it always ends up working out, but things start piling up demanding time and attention. It's hard to say "No." All the things I want to do, I think, are good things, but a person can only do so much.

I guess you can tell I am feeling a little pushed this morning, but that's the way it goes. I really feel pretty good about everything, and I am looking forward to today and the rest of the weekend. I will feel a lot better when my sermon is done. That is the constant of every week. It never leaves my mind. It's amazing how relieved I am once I consider it to be at an acceptable stopping place. I will still review it Saturday p.m. and Sunday a.m., but I can let it go for a day or so. I am almost there now; not quite.

We are loading at semi at 10, and then, assuming my sermon is done, I am off for a 20 mile bike ride. Therapy. Rest (active rest). Renewal. Tomorrow I have a 14 mile run. More of the same.

Don't you love the weather? I saw yesterday that it is going to get really cold in about a week and possibly a snow flake will fall. Ouch!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wonder if this guy is still alive?


This morning I wrote another letter to a woman in prison. She is a former student of mine who made a couple of very serious mistakes. She is not violent and a wonderful, creative person. She and I have been exchanging letters for the last few months. I send her some of my sermons. NO, she does not have insomnia, and, no, she does not use them as sleep aids!

Anyway, I was thinking about prison this morning, and it is interesting that yesterday I had a conversation with one of our food pantry workers about prison. He was telling of some good work that he knew about and is involved in.

This conversation brought back some vivid memories of my last couple years at Lipscomb, back in the late 70s, early 80s. I'm not sure how it all started, but I got involved in doing some prison work. I think it started out as a group visit to a women's prison and ended up to where I was preaching on a regular basis in both men's and women's prisons.

As I reflected on that I thought of a few stories that amused me. The first was when one lady wanted to be baptized. The prison had a portable baptistery that took a while to fill. I don't remember if I baptized her or someone else, but I do remember that she was a large black lady. She really didn't quite fit the tank, so we'll need some extra grace to cover the unsubmerged parts of her. Anyway, once she came up out of the water, she started twirling around, dancing, and praising God. At first it kinda freaked me out, but later I saw it as a wonderful, authentic expression of joy. Very appropriate!

Another time I preached in a maximun security facility that housed some of the most violent offenders. They gathered in a cafeteria and sat on carefully arranged chairs. The tables had been put up (if my memory serves me correctly). The thing that I remember is that shotgun-toking guards lined the walls of the room while I preached.

The last memory I'll share took place during the same assembly mentioned in the previous paragraph. I made the mistake-I think it was a mistake-of offering the invitation to the crowd. Nearly all of them responded! Here I was this little skinny boy surrounded by all these big hardened criminals. They all just wanted prayer, and maybe to be recognized by possible witnesses at their parole hearings. Sorry, cynicism showed up!

OK, those are my prison stories for today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Every evening, it seems, about this time, I have this incredible urge to sleep. Resistance is futile or so it seems. Tonight I am trying to fight it, so I came down to my office. Might as well write a note about it.

The picture is Luke in his new sleeping bag. Get the connection? I am so clever at times. Speaking of Luke and the others - they all left about 1.30 today. I sure hated to see them go, but as they left I thought about how blessed I am to have good children. It's neat also to see Lester and Luke become friends and enjoy each other's company. They used to have some really big fights! ha ha

I hung around/worked around home this morning to spend time with them. Luke had to get his expired driver's license renewed, Caroline was getting her hair cut, and Maddie was going to watch that, so it worked out really well for Lester and me to run. We met Tim Strunk for a tempo run. We ran 7 miles, 3 of them were tempo miles. Lester averaged around 6.30, I went around 7.09, and Tim was right behind me. It was good, even though it rained on us some. Most of the time is was a heavy mist.

This afternoon I hung around the food pantry and got some good study in. My preaching passage this week is Mark 11:12-25. I am collaborating with a friend in Texas for this series of sermons, which makes it a lot more interesting for me. I simply love studying, so this afternoon was wonderful.

Tomorrow is going to be a long, busy day, but that's OK. I am going to run 7-8 miles late morning before a lunch meeting. Then I will see a couple of people. Then WEM and class. All the rest of the time will be filled with several smaller things I need to get done. I've got quite a bit more study I want to do before my class, and I need to make contact with a few people.

OK, I believe I have resisted the sleep urge successfully. I am going to bed early tonight to try get my DST mojo going.

Later dudes!

We should all celerbate!

Over the weekend, as we were celebrating all the birthdays, Luke's primarily, Maddie noticed that one the gift bags didn't look quite right. See the picture to see what she saw. Wonder where that was made?

Well, our celebrating is about to end. Lester and Maddie, along with Luke and Caroline, leave this midday to go to Nashville for a few days. It's always hard to see any of them leave, but we had a wonderful time together. We had one last nice family meal last night. It was so nice to gather around the table.

I managed to squeeze some work in yesterday while they were out doing various things. Actually I got quite a bit done. Today I will hang around with the kids this morning and then work this afternoon and evening. Lester and I are going to do a tempo run this morning. We ran yesterday as well.

Have you seen the forecast? Wow, those coming 70s make up for yesterday's cold dampness. I am hoping to get a couple of good bike rides in later in the week. I am going to work really hard to get my work under control.

I do not like springing forward as much as I do falling back. I had trouble getting out of bed this morning. Maybe a couple of more days and I'll be there? It's not really that big of deal...

OK, I'll have more to say soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birthday Weekend

It seems like this is the 10th time we have celebrated Lester and Maddie's birthdays, but we did it again over the weekend. Really we celebrated Luke's birthday, which is today, and we added L & M in because Kedra's parents came up for the triple celebration. It was a great weekend. And it continues! Lester and Maddie, along with Luke and Caroline, are still here, since they are all on Spring Break. They plan to leave midday tomorrow. So today I am hanging around here with them.

On Friday I smoked a brisket and 2 chickens. They were for Sunday's meal, but, hey, I had to sample them, so they became supper on Friday night. Brisket is simply amazing! I am so glad I discovered it through my Abilene experience.

Luke and Caroline came in Friday night. It was so good to see them. Saturday morning I ran 12 miles with some of my buddies, and then Saturday afternoon I had my first outside bike ride. I rode 10 miles, which felt really good. Saturday afternoon Lester and Maddie arrived, along with Kedra's parents. Ribs. It was what was for dinner. Yum.

Yesterday was the dreaded spring forward day, which went fine. We had a great time of worship, followed by our big family meal. Brisket and chicken for 20 something people. It was nice. Last night we went to Curt's for Life Group, which was excellent.

Now I am trying to swing my body around to DST. A couple more days and I should be there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mind-boggling stuff

I think I about have my sermon ready for Sunday. In it I am going to talk a little bit about the universe. I am fascinated by astronomy. Here are some of the things I am going to mention on Sunday:

We live in a galaxy called the Milky Way. More specifically we live within our own solar system, which revolves around the sun, which is a local star.

The sun is 93 million miles away.

If you can imagine that our galaxy is the size of North American, then our solar would be the size of a coffee cup.

The sun is just one star in our galaxy. There are 200-400 billion stars in our galaxy.

Our nearest star is Proxima Centauri. The Voyager spacecraft is traveling toward it at 35,000 miles per hour. It would take the Voyager nearly 40,000 years to get there.

Our Milky Way galaxy is so huge. If you could travel at the speed of light, which 186,000 miles a second (or 700 million miles in an hour), it would take you 100,000 years to get across our galaxy.

Then you have to remember that our huge galaxy is just one of billions of other galaxies that can be seen with the aid of giant telescopes.

The guy who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, a guy so misunderstood, made all that! We still have trouble misunderstanding him.

Misunderstanding leads to unmet expectations, and unmet expectations lead to deep disappointment. The best way to misunderstand God is trying contain and tame him. Let the King be king of the universe!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One of those days

It's not been a bad day by any means. It's a gift from God, so it should be received with gratitude. Of course some days are better than others - ha ha!

I really thought I would get all my work for Sunday completed today, but that did not happen. I got a really good start on it, so I took a break to run 6 miles. It was a little on the cool and windy side. March, if you are not mentally prepared, can be a cruel month. Why do the mid 30s in March feel colder than 15 degrees in January?

After my run I moved the sermon along further, but then things started happening. The biggest problem was trying to get a video ready to show on Sunday. It is an amazing video, so it was worth the effort. I spent a total of about 3 hours on it. I ended up over at Todd's, and he finally got it. I hope you love it!

After the video deal, I headed up to Bloomington to go to Sam's to get a bunch of meat. Guess who is smoking this weekend?? Yes! It has been a while. On the menu over the weekend are chicken, ribs, and brisket!

I will smoke the chicken and brisket tomorrow, while working on my Sunday stuff. This meat will be served Sunday. Then Saturday I will smoke baby backs! Lester, Maddie, Luke, and Caroline, along with Kedra's parents will be here Saturday evening and Sunday as well. I am really looking forward to the weekend!

OK, I need to see if I can move this sermon toward completion!

It all started 27 years ago today


OK, class, let's remember what we are learning. Yesterday was Wednesday, so that means today is Thursday. Tomorrow will be ________?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."

That's really corny, but aren't you impressed that I got the full quote? You're not? Fine!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Long day over

Ah, 15 hours in and time for popcorn and bed!

My class tonight was really good. In the end the Triumphal Entry story, taken in the broader context, is a story of misunderstanding that leads to unmet expectations which leads to the death of Jesus.

We all have the problem of misunderstanding things which leads to unmet expectations that leads to the death of relationships etc.

Another cool way to look at this story is through 3 phases of the crowd. I think it is quite fair to say that some of the people shouting "Hosanna" were later in the week shouting "crucify him" and then were later (on Pentecost) convicted and saying "what can we do?". Misunderstanding everywhere!

God is redemptive and works in our misunderstandings IF we will let him. It takes an open mind and heart.

OK, good night!
Let's see. . . today is Wednesday, which means yesterday was Tuesday and tomorrow is Thursday. See, I kept my promise! Actually today is Ash Wednesday. There seems to be little (read NO) interest in it in my circle of influence/friends. In the past we have done a modified Lent observation that we called "40 days of focus" or something similar. Interest in that has waned over the years. I don't think that means anything in particular.

Yesterday was good. I finished up my paper for Resources for American Christianity. Before I sent it off, I reread the instructions regarding what the content of the paper should be. I probably should have read this before writing the paper. Of course I did, but I should have read it again. Why? I'm not totally sure I wrote what they wanted. I guess I will find out pretty soon. If I have to make any adjustments, they should be minor and easy.

I did the tempo run last night. Still struggling with focus and motivation, but last night's run helped clarify some things, I think. I think I want to get focused and motivated again. ha ha. I ran an uneven tempo, which is not what you want but, hey, I did it. I did 6.55, 7.20, and 7.09, which is not too bad. Next week I will try run an even pace, right around 7.00. I should be able to do that and then start lowering the time a little each week. We'll see.

Ben's running is going to suffer a lot during driver's ed. He has class from 4-6.30 each night and then school homework. Oh well, it is where he is in life. I know he can cover the 13.1 mile distance, but his speed is going to suffer.

Today I have a Mitchell Area Ministerial Association meeting. Yes, that's right, it's MAMA for short. I think I have told you before that I have proposed a new name for the organization. It is based on the fact that we all minister in Indiana. The new name I have proposed is this: Hoosier MAMA. So far no one seems that interested in changing the name. I don't have a lot of time to give to MAMA activities. I don't have enough time to do all that I feel I should do with my own church family. I battle guilt over that, but I can only do so much.

The preaching text for this week, Mark 11:1-11 -- The Triumphal Entry, is proving to be very challenging for me. What do you say about it that is relevant and will resonate? I have a few ideas, but I am really looking forward to my class this evening. They usually have fresh insight and ideas.

OK, time to do some more reading and then Hoosier MAMA time!

Worms in Church

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon. Four worms were placed into four separate jars. The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the minister reported the following results: the first worm in alcohol - dead, the second worm in cigarette smoke - dead, the third worm in chocolate syrup - dead, and the fourth worm in good clean soil - alive.

So the minister asked the congregation - what did you learn from this demonstration? Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

That pretty much ended the service.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tuesday! I have observed over the years that Tuesday always follows Monday. I know, I know! Yes, I am quite amazing, now that you mention it.

Yesterday was an interesting day. Yawn. I woke up and got up at 4.45. Why? I don't know, but I was ready to go and didn't slow down all day. I got some good study/research done in prep for my preaching text and for my new Sunday morning class about prayer. Then I got to play in the mud (and other stuff) as I helped my Dad and Ben load some cattle.

Then it was off to the Store. There I found that I needed to help get a couch that someone was donating, but I had a couple of meetings first. I met with Wayne and then Wayne and Gary in my office. We are having really good meetings about our future. I think we are about to enter into a period of renewal and good, healthy change.

Back to the Store! We couldn't get a hold of the donor, so I decided to just go and knock on the door. I took Ryan, Penny's grandson, with me. We found the donor and the couch. Loaded! Ryan and I stopped at Dunbar's for a bacon burger (one each), which is on sale this week. Good! Saw 4 people from church there eating, and I talked to Dwight a little bit. He is interested in what we are doing in Honduras.

Back to the Store to unload the couch and then back to the office. I got a few more things done, including moving a paper along that I am writing for the Lilly Endowment about my sabbatical experience. They want the paper to be a resource for future applicants. I hope to finish the paper today. I just have to get a few footnotes finalized etc.

After some office time yesterday afternoon, I went home just long enough to change clothes. Then it was off to Bedford to meet my beloved running buddies. We met at Jim Sowders office at 5.05, which I guess is the standard meeting place/time for Mondays. [This was my first Monday run with them.] I ran with them because I was scheduled to pick up Ben from driver's education in Bedford at 6.15 or so. It worked out well.

Ben has driver's ed for the next 4 weeks each evening, Monday through Friday, from 4 to 6.30ish, which means I may do quite a bit of evening running. I do not like running in the evening on my own, but group runs are a different story.

Ben and I got home around 6.45 and had supper. Reading. Background TV - I really like Pawn Stars! This surprises me for some reason. Ben has been watching it, and now I am paying attention to it. Popcorn. Prepped coffee maker for this morning. Bed.

See what an exciting life I lead?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Forces of Evil pictured?

Do you see the skull right in the middle of the picture? This was taken at the dump in Tegucigalpa. Here is Marc Tindall's description of what happened:

In December when we had The Jesus Banquet at the Dump, lots of pictures were taken. Terri had a bad SD card so, we have had to depend on others to share theirs with us. One picture in particular caught my attention. Before we started serving food, there was a fire in the dump, a friend took this picture and the image of the skull is pretty scary.

And here is my recent blog about the dump.

The picture above, whatever it is, reminds us that the battle we face is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities in heavenly realms. There is so much more going around us, above us, below us, than we know.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

It has been a good weekend! Yesterday I attempted to take a day off and mostly succeeded. Seems like there were a few more calls than usual, but that's all OK. Last night Kedra and I went to Bloomington to celebrate 27 years of marriage (on the 10th). We started out by one of the most romantic things we could do - we picked up my bike from the Bikesmith. Then we went to Texas Roadhouse, which has been the place of many of family celebrations. It was good, as usual. Then we went to a movie. That's a lot for us!

Today started with the Let's Go 10K. I was not very motivated but did it anyway. I had a decent run but much, much slower than last year's 45.00 minutes. Today I ran 47.31. Nothing was on the line, so I did not push myself. I'm trying to figure out what I am doing. I spent SO MUCH physical and emotional energy on qualifying for Boston last year. I think I need this year to rest and recover. I think focusing on the bike and riding across Indiana will be just what I need. I plan to keep running quite a lot but not put too much pressure on specific races/times. That will change next year.

Ben had a really good run. He ran sub 45, which qualifies him for Level 2 seeding at the Mini. I achieved Level 2 last year by running sub 1.40 in the Mini, so that was another reason I did not need to run fast today. Ben is going to be challenged in the next 3 weeks. He starts driver's education, which is going to be every evening from 4 to 6 or 7 p.m.

Well, time to shut this thing down. I think I am about ready for church tomorrow, just a couple more hours in the morning and I'll be there. Hope to see some of you there.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Dumb Thing (again)

I recently confessed my dumbness in this post. Well, I have another confession in this category. This is another kind of dumb but still dumb.

On our flight from Houston to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, I had a very enjoyable time. I had a nice aisle seat, which is my preference, a good nap, a snack, and some very good reading time. I was reading a book on my beloved Kindle.

I am a fairly good organizer, so I had arranged to have certain things in the seat back, things that I wanted/needed, and everything else was stowed overhead in the bin. Once we get on the ground, I have a system: put everything in the seat pocket, get the bag from the overhead bin and place it on the seat. Then while standing, move everything from the seat back to the bag. It has always been a flawless plan.

I've always been critical of family members who do not follow a systematic plan and have been known to leave things on planes. They have left things because they did not follow The Plan.

After we got to Honduras, later that evening, I went to get my Kindle to do some more reading. I looked in the pocket where it should have been. Not there. "No big deal, I was tired, it is probably in another pocket." Wrong. Suitcase? No. OH NO! I had done the unthinkable. I had failed to properly follow The Plan. Shame, shame!

The next day I went back to the airport and found the one Honduran worker that I know. She and I formed a friendship in 2009 during the military mess that kept us in the country a little longer than we wanted. Her name is Katy. Katy told me that no one turned in a Kindle, even though she did not know what a Kindle was.

I filed an online report with the airline, knowing the chances were pretty slim of seeing my Kindle again. Then I got busy and caught up in our trip and really did not think much more about it. Until Thursday.

On Thursday morning I received an email notice that I had purchased a Kindle book. Hmmm. Somebody purchased a Kindle book for my Kindle, using my Kindle, but it wasn't me. At least my Kindle was no longer lost. It was now stolen. I immediately went to my Amazon account and shut everything down and reported it stolen. The thief only got one book that costs less than $7.

I guess if being that dumb only cost me $7, then that's not too bad. But I do wonder what dumb thing I will do next! Oh, I have another Kindle and was able to download all the books I have ever purchased, including the one the thief purchased, for free. I love my new Kindle.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I actually remembered to put a title on this post. I often forget to do that. When I wrote it, I was reminded of one my favorite old jokes.

Three old men were walking down the street. The first old man, commenting on the weather, says, "Windy, isn't it?" The second old man says, "No, it's Thursday." Then the third old man says, "So am I. Let's go get something to drink." Now, wasn't that funny??

We had another good class last night. My challenge today is to take all the good stuff I heard last night and combine it with all the stuff I've read, humbly seeking to allow the Spirit of God to lead me through the process.

I downloaded a book yesterday on my Kindle. I downloaded it and read most of it because it is relevant to this week's preaching passage, Mark 9:14-29. I down loaded Lynn Anderson's If I really believe, why do I have these doubts?. It's a good read.

One of the points he makes about developing and sustaining faith is its connection with morality. It we compromise our morality, justifying our own sins, then we are going to struggle with our faith. This thought brought to mind a conversation that I had about 3 years ago with my Turkish guide, Selcuk, pictured above.

Here's a quote from my blog about that conversation:

I had an interesting talk today with Selcuk, my guide. I asked him what he thought about Jesus and the resurrection. He knows the stories but has not thought about them in a way that applies to him. He considers himself a Muslim; he believes in Alla. He says he is afraid to draw too close to his religion. He says he knows that if he draws closer, then he will have to give up significant portions of his lifestyle. Interesting (but sounds familiar).

I will go into more details about the conversation on Sunday, I think.

OK, time to have some breakfast and make this day count. Gotta lot to do...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday a.m.

I dodged a stinking bullet last night! I have a wood furnace, so last night I went down to load it up with wood. My wood is under my deck, protected from the elements, right outside the furnace room door. I went out as I usually do, and I heard, as I often do, some animal noise. Seems like every cat in the neighborhood likes to hang around our place. I was in hurry, so I didn't pay attention, until I was about done. The noise grew louder and more intense, so I finally looked over a small retaining wall to see what was going on. It was a skunk! He was all worked up about something, so I ran in and slammed the door. No spray, no stink, no problem. I was very cautious this morning, however.

Here comes Wednesday! I have a lot on my "this week" list and a fair amount of unstructured time today. It might just be a great combination for the kind of productivity I love to see - the kind where you cross out things on a list!

I really like the preaching passage for this week, Mark 9:14-29, and I look forward to listening to my class tonight. There are some pretty good themes to explore in the passage.

Ran 7 miles yesterday; actually tempoed at 7.17 pace. Today I need to crank out another 7; same tomorrow. Saturday there is a 10K race that I am having trouble getting excited about. I will probably run it but have no time, no plan, no goal in mind. That's all good right now.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Hmm, what to say? Well, let's see... It's March! I am pretty sure that I have mowed my grass some time in March for most of the last 22 years. Point? The grass will soon be growing and need some mowing. I like to mow!

I really like ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. I think it would be fun to do a Sunday assembly like that sometime. Short segments on various topics and Bible characters. Communion could be the "5 Good Minutes" segment. I think it has lots of possibilities.

Tomorrow I begin getting focused on our Honduras trip and container. One of my friends, an eye doctor, is wanting to go, and he thinks he might be able to bring 1, if not 2, of his eye doctor friends. This would allow us to do numerous eye clinics, which would be wonderful.

OK, time to focus on popcorn...