Friday, September 28, 2012

How Committed Are You?

A chicken and a pig went for a walk around the farm. As they passed the farmer’s window, they noticed a wonderful breakfast prepared for the farmer and his wife on the breakfast table. As they peeked closer, they noticed bacon and eggs on the plates.

The pig and chicken were silent for a moment as they took in the impact of what they saw. Finally, looking at the eggs, proud of her contribution, the chicken said, "now that was a sacrifice!" The pig looked at the bacon on the plate, turned to the chicken and said, "Yes, for you it is a sacrifice. But for us it is total commitment!"

Good point, Pig, good point! While the chickens are involved, the pigs are committed totally.

So what are you, when it comes to following Christ, a pig or a chicken?

Have a great weekend, move past being involved, and go to church for Heaven’s sake!

Friday a.m.

Good morning! So, you made it to Friday again. And just what are you going to do this weekend? Looks like the weather is going to be very nice for early fall. Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year. We'll participate in the Persimmon Festival 5K, which always is enjoyable. It's a great, encouraging atmosphere. Then after a little clean up and eating, we'll gather in the usual spot to watch the parade in the afternoon. It's tradition. All of my children will be present, except for my little Costa Rica queen.
Yesterday was a good day. I got a very humid 10 mile run in pretty early, and then activities lined up waiting for me to show up. And I showed up and showed up and showed up. I spent a lot of time in hospitals yesterday and then finished the day helping some people clean out a house. The owner is in a nursing facility and will not return home. It was kinda sad in some ways to think about what we were doing.
Today I will help unload all the stuff we loaded up last night. Unloading will go much quicker than loading. We had to carefully place things in a box trailer, trying to maximize limited space. We did pretty well, but it took a while to figure out what should go where. The ReGeneration Store is going to be full of furniture by mid-morning. It will sell quickly. Always does.
I hope to take a little time off today. I might even get on my bike this afternoon? I need to and want to, so we will see how that works out.
Have a great weekend!

What's in a Name?

I always find baby names interesting. Some parents should be locked up for what they name their kids! I saw a website the other day that had a list of the most unusual names. Wow!

Five people named their kids Tequila. Do you think they were drinking? A dozen named their precious one Juvenal (yes, it is misspelled, but does it matter?). I wonder what the middle name is? Delinquent?

Notorious is growing up in various parts of the country. Wonder what he (or is it she?) is going to do to live up to his/her name?

God names and renames people through his-story. If you have committed your life to Christ, then he has renamed you. He looks past what your parents called you, reaching a level of love and intimacy to where you are now "Son" or "Daughter." And he puts "beloved" in front of that.

Let that sink in. You are a beloved son or daughter of the Almighty God, the maker of heaven and earth. He loves you more than you know. He is for you and not against you.

Psalm 103:13 — As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

Today I am going to work on living up to the name I have received from the creator of this world.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday a.m.

Hey, it's going to be a great day! Right? It's Thursday. It's raining again this morning, which is good. I think it's about over, so that's good too. The Persimmon Festival has been blessed with dry evenings after rainy days. I think that's perfect. The rain washes all the nastiness away from the night before. There is always food and puke on the ground. Sorry, but I think that's true. ha ha.
Today I finish getting ready for Sunday. I'm in pretty good shape this week. I've been focused and productive all week. I really like Sunday's sermon, which means others won't. ha ha. Well, that seems to be the way it works, believe it or not. We'll see.
Also today I have a meeting or two, some time I need to spend in 2 hospitals, and I'm going to load up some furniture this evening to take to the Store. A guy's mother is in a nursing facility and will not return to this home, so it is time to remove the furniture. Furniture is always a welcome thing at the Store. It sells so quickly. Often it sells within the first hour of display. There are a lot people out there who need furniture, even old really used furniture.
OK, you gotta know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, and when to walk away. I need to walk away this morning. I hope your day goes really well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trapped By Holding On

In Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he talks about simple monkey traps used by indigenous people in various parts of the world.

To make the trap, you hollow out a gourd, leaving an opening just large enough for a monkey to get his open hand through. Once the gourd is securely chained to a tree, you place inside it some nuts or rice—something the monkey desires to eat.

The monkey reaches into the gourd to grab the food, but his fist full of food is too large to pull out of the hole. He’s trapped! He pulls and yanks in vain. He will not let go. Even when the hunters arrived to check the trap, he will not let go. His life ends because he will not let go.

Before you judge the monkey’s stupidity, stop and think about all the stuff that we hold onto that is destructive. How much misery do we create simply because we will not let go?

There is power available in Jesus to let go. Sweet freedom awaits!

Romans 6:22

Now that you have been set free from sin. . ., the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

What do you need to let go?

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! Who's got your back?

Wow, another rainy morning! I like the rain a lot, so I'm not going to complain. I re-arranged my run yesterday and got it in. It's looking like flexibility is going to be a key concept for today as well. I'm working through this running funk. The Persimmon 5 K is Saturday, and I'm not that excited about it. I will run and run it fairly hard, but I don't expect that my time will be all that great. It doesn't really matter. More than a billion Chinese will never know.

Part of my morning ritual is to read a few online newspapers to see what stories dominate. It's interesting to see how certain stories rise to the top. I also read a few blogs of all kinds, from theology to running/biking. One of them is Experimental Theology. Richard Beck is an interesting, stimulating thinker. I really enjoyed this morning's post about the banality of goodness, reacting to thoughts about the banality of evil. The thought in both is that so much of life comes down to simple, seemingly insignificant, choices that we make everyday. It's the stuff of integrity.

Evil is ordinary people thoughtlessly making a million small choices. No doubt this account cannot explain all that needs to be explained about evil, but it does explain much, even much about the Holocaust. The Holocaust couldn't have happened if the German populace hadn't over time gradually consented through seemingly insignificant daily choices. Laughing nervously, but without objection, to the anti-Semitic joke. Not shopping at the Jewish store. Accepting the promotion when the more qualified Jewish person was passed over. Casting a vote on election day. And so on.

So true, and it's also true on the otherside of things, goodness.

We need to recognize that goodness is banal rather than heroic. Goodness is achieved through a million small acts of kindness, goodness, and generosity. Goodness is achieved through a million small acts of subversion, resistance, and protest. Millions of small Yes's and millions of small No's.

I've been thinking and reading about integrity. I see a lack of it in my life at times and in the lives of others. I ran across this little thought in the Bible I'm reading through this year. Each day it has a thought or two about the passage that is assigned.

Integrity is behaving in the dark just as you would in the light. It is being what you say you are and doing what you said you would even when no one is watching. It is consistency of character, with no hidden agenda or twisted motive. Integrity is what causes you to tell the truth, regardless of how tempting it might be to shade the truth.

OK, I need to go. I have lots and lots of little decisions to make today, I need to pray I make the right ones.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Psalm 100

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! Do you remember my old neighbor Roger? He died at the beginning of this year. We miss the old guy. He was quite a character and a great neighbor. His house--the one we bought and flipped--the one that is right across the road from us--is still empty, working its way through foreclosure. Another neighbor and I have kept the place mowed and looking decent. I will not buy it again, but I think my neighbor will. I hope so.
Last week I talked to Roger's brother. He lives in St. Louis. He told me some things that I didn't know. Roger did not want any kind of funeral. He wanted to be cremated and nothing else, so we really had no closure. I saw Roger a few times in the hospital before he died, including the day he died, but that was it. His brother told me where Roger's ashes are buried. They are in a military cemetery in St. Louis. The brother is going to send me a picture. I look forward to seeing it.
Wow, I've been watching the radar this morning. We are going to get wet today! I was hoping to get a good dry run in early but that's going to happen, I'm thinking. We'll see how all that plays out. I am unable to go to Tempo Tuesday, so I am going to do a hard workout sometime today. I went over and run with the gang last night. It was such a beautiful evening. I mentioned my running funk yesterday. That was part of the reason for going over and running with friends last night. There is nothing like a loving, encouraging community to pull you out/through funks. Yes, there is another reference to the idea/ideal of church in that somewhere. 
Yesterday was one of my more productive days of late. I just simply got a lot done. I had some great conversations and interactions with people, got a lot of things organized, and even removed some of those items on my list that have been there for weeks. They are kinda like that stubborn belly fat, which is always the last to go. And I'm working on that too, by the way! ha ha. Photos to follow. Just kidding.
Today I delve into Lamentations 3 and Jeremiah's life generally. Poor guy. Man, he suffered. He stayed faithful, occasionally complaining along the way, but he stayed faithful. There is much to learn from him about how to complain about injustice and keep your faith.
OK, let's go do this thing!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Wilderness

As soon as Jesus is baptized, he is led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness. The wilderness was hostile territory, a lonely place fraught with danger.

Why was he led there? To be tested, strengthened, and to get ready to serve as the Messiah. What has that to do with us? A lot, I think.

The Bible speaks a lot about testing, temptations, and trials. These things come to develop us, to mature us, to help us become better servants of others. God is interested in your difficulties and problems, but I think he is more interested in what you become as a result of them.

James says this in the first few words of his letter.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Here we go Monday! Here we go New Week! Allow the trials of the week to draw you closer to the One who loves you more than you know.


Good morning Monday! Something that rarely happens happened this morning. I woke up to Kedra's alarm. I usually wake up before it goes off and hop out of bed. Today it woke me up and I didn't want to get up. Strange. Not sure what's going on with that. I know what I describes sounds normal for normal people, but, hey, I am not normal. In lots of ways! ha ha
It was a good weekend. I managed some downtime on Friday before driving the football bus to Brown County. We won the game--second in a row--and Ben had a really good game to top it all off. It made the late night more tolerable, even enjoyable. I didn't get home until midnight, which made getting up at 4:53 on Saturday morning a little difficult.
Saturday was my first 20 miler of this training cycle for the Monumental Marathon. It was OK. Running of late has not been the best, but I keep doing it, hoping for some improvement. I've been here before and know to just keep going. It's not a bad metaphor for life. Perseverance.
Luke drove up from Nashville and met us at the game. It was so nice to have him home for the weekend. My dad celebrates his 80th birthday this week, so Luke came home for a party we had yesterday. All the grandchildren were home, with the exception of Rebecca. It's too far to commute from Costa Rica.
Last night Tony Campolo was in town. He spoke at the vesper service, the official beginning of the Persimmon Festival. He did a good job, but more significant, for me and a few others, was a meeting we had with him before the service. We met with him for about 45 minutes, and I took away from that meeting some ideas that I want to explore.
He challenged us to not sit idly by and allow our little town to continue its slow death. He challenged us to start some businesses that will employ people. Those of us who comprise Capstone Ministries have talked about this some over the last few years but have never left the talking phase. Now I'm stirred up again about it. We already have some of the things in place to do it.
OK, I think I finally have a week without anything unusual planned. Of course anything can happen at anytime! Talk to you soon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Desire

Scot McKnight is my favorite blogger. I get a lot from him in lots of ways. He shared a post this morning from someone else that describes what I want to be when I grow up. You can read it here.

Be a Lover

Joe walks into a post office one day and sees a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. The man then takes out a perfume bottle and sprays scent all over them.

Joe’s curiosity gets the better of him, so he goes up to the man and asks him what he is doing. The man says, "I'm sending out 1,000 I Love You cards signed, ‘Guess who?’"

Joe probes further, "Why?"

The man explains, "I'm a divorce lawyer."

So that’s kinda funny!

There is a serious thing to think about though, and it comes from Proverbs 6:19. There are some things that God hates, including, "a person who stirs up conflict in the community."

Be a lover, a peacemaker, and attend church this weekend for Heaven’s sake!


Good morning! It's Friday. Already. Again. I'm going to try take today off. I just need a mind-clearing day, at least part of a day anyway. I think I will cut some wood, doing something productive and something unlike what I do the rest of my time. I woke up at 3:33 last night but was able to stay in bed, which is good. I've got a 20 miler planned for in the morning, so I need some good rest.
I won't get much sleep tonight. We have a football game in Brown County, and it doesn't start until 7:30. It's gonna be a late night. The run starts at 6 a.m. in Bedford, so you can see what's going to happen here! Late to bed and early to rise, but I will be fine.
Yesterday was a really good day. We had a nice breakfast with the Tindalls, and they came in and looked around the ReGeneration Store before heading south. I got all of my preparation for Sunday completed yesterday. Productive day.
OK, I need to go sharpen a chain and get my saw ready to go.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How do You Hear?

In 2001-2002, Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, funded by the Lilly Endowment, conducted an extensive study of how people listen to sermons. Researchers discussed with more than 260 lay people, in twenty-eight diverse congregations, the elements of preaching that engage or disengage congregations. Essentially the researchers approached the participants with a request: "Teach us how you listen to sermons so that we can help ministers become more effective preachers."

The study asked specific questions derived from Aristotle’s three categories of rhetoric: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos involves the listener’s perception of the preacher’s character, personality, and trustworthiness during the preaching event. Logos is concerned about the content of the sermon. Pathos involves the role of feelings stirred during the preaching.

The study and subsequent books attempted to improve the effectiveness of preaching by better understanding the hearers of sermons. The study discovered that people listen to sermons primarily through one of the three rhetorical categories. The researchers found that twenty percent of people listen to sermons primarily through the category of pathos. The listening categories of ethos and logos were evenly divided among the remaining participants, each receiving forty percent.

* * *
Four books were published about the study: John S. McClure and others, Listening to Listeners: Homiletical Case Studies (St. Louis: Chalice, 2004); Ronald Allen, Hearing the Sermon: Relationship, Content, Feeling (St. Louis: Chalice, 2004); Mary Alice Mulligan et al., Believing in Preaching: What Listeners Hear in Sermons, (St. Louis: Chalice, 2005) and Mary Alice Mulligan, Make the Word Come Alive: Lessons from Laity (St. Louis: Chalice 2005).

Imagining God

Voltaire said, "God created man in His image, and man has forever been trying to return the favor."

Anne Lamott says, "You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

There’s a lot to consider in both of those quotes! The point is that we do tend think that God thinks like us. Right?

That’s why it’s crucial to think and communicate in a community where Scripture has authority, where diversity is present, and where people are striving lovingly to come to honest views about life.

We may not always agree but we never need to hate.

By the way, I don’t think God hates FAQS - frequently asked questions!

Thursday a.m.

Well, hello! You came by again. I'm glad you did. I will do my best to hold your attention for the next minute or two. My life just oozes with excitement, so it really should be no problem. I hear that they are considering making my life into a reality show. I'm not sure what the title would be. Oh, speaking along those lines, I have seriously considered applying for the CBS show Amazing Race. I have to have a partner. The show likes to have couples of some kind--the weirder the better--participate. We have a good start here: an old white preacher.
Well, it was back to the 3 a.m. start again today. I have to stop this madness, but so far I can't. My prayers and pleas for a couple more hours of sleep are unanswered so far. My life is all about endurance, it seems, and pushing myself, probing just how far I can go. This is one area I have no desire to find out.
Our main man from Honduras is in town. We had a really good gathering last night, a nice crowd. Marc tells compelling stories, stories that make you laugh, stories that make you cry. His presentation got interrupted last night by one of our ladies. She passed out and required some emergency medical attention. Thankfully we had 4 nurses present. Thankfully she seemed like she was going to be OK. She went to the hospital to get checked out.
Wasn't yesterday beautiful? I started it with a run in the 40 something degree temps. I wore gloves for the first time since I don't know when. It felt great to run without getting hot. Fall is a great time of the year to run. I need to get a few more miles in today. I'm not sure how this lack of sleep thing and running are mixing. I'm pretty sure it is not a good combination.
Today I'm going to be busy getting ready for Sunday, and I will spend some time with Marc and Terri this morning, talking about and planning our work in Honduras. I'm also submitting my writing project, which will be a nice relief, a goal met.
I hope you have a really good day! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Body Thoughts

A little quiz about your body!

Which is more important: eye, ear, arm or Adam’s apple?

Truth is all of them are pretty important! Sometimes people get the arrogant notion that they are superior to others, or that everyone should be like them. God designed diversity for a reason, and it should be celebrated and used for his glory.

If we are followers of Christ, then we have been placed in the church to become his body, a body of diversity and unity, a body of love and support, no matter what happens.

1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (The Message)

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this.


Everyone is important, no need for feelings of superiority or inferiority.

Wednesday a.m.

Been nice not having to run AC lately
Good morning Wednesday! You are a little on the chilly side this morning, but that's OK. You'll be warmer later.

Faithful readers, I wish I had something exciting to tell you this morning. Let me think for a minute. Well, yesterday I stayed holed up in my office until about 6:30 p.m.. Never got in a vehicle; didn't run. Just wrote, read what I wrote, revised what I wrote, read my revisions, revised my revisions, and read them again. Exciting stuff, I'm telling you.

I really wrestled with missing Tempo Tuesday. I argued with myself most of the day about it. I feel that I'm flirting with over-training right now, with 2 weeks in a row of 40+ miles and 6 days each week of running. Plus I got up at 2:30 yesterday morning. In the end I opted to rest. No regrets for now.

This morning I will run a little longer than I had scheduled to make up some of yesterday's lost miles. I won't get 45 this week, but that's OK. That number is somewhat arbitrary, but I like it. I like 50 even better, but. . . It may not happen this training cycle. I hope to do my first 20 miler of this cycle on Saturday. I hear we are starting at 6 a.m.? Dark and early.

I have run several times in Bedford during that hour. My most vivid memory of it goes like this. I left Parkview and was heading down a side street toward Wilson Park. The little side street did not have as much light as the main streets, but I could see my way OK. As I was running down a little grade toward the spot where 3 streets connect, just below the baseball field, I noticed some movement on the street in front of me.

First thought: it's a small dog, I need to be careful; don't want a yapper at my ankles. It was not a dog. Second thought: it's a cat, so who cares. It wasn't a cat. Third thought: that's not a possum or a coon. I was right. Fourth thought, which led to an abrupt turn around: that's a stinkin' skunk. It was.

That skunk ran down the road into a culvert underneath where the 3 roads come together. His bushy tail was bouncing all the way down the road.  I avoided that area until daylight. Now, wasn't that an exciting story?

Today Marc Tindall comes to town. I'm looking forward to seeing him. Before he arrives, I have lots to do, so bye!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Self-deception is a huge issue, from what I read. I don’t have a problem with it personally, at least that’s what I tell myself. (That was a joke.)

They, whoever they are, say that we talk to ourselves more than we talk to anyone else. And guess who we talk about the most? Yes, that’s right. We talk to ourselves mostly about ourselves.

We all lie at times, so guess who we likely lie to the most? See the previous paragraph for the answer.

How do we figure how we are deceiving ourselves? True friends are probably the best answer, but you can start by listening to yourself. Do you spend a lot of time rationalizing?

A long time ago someone wrote this out for me:

Rationalize = rational lies

All lying is sourced, ultimately, in the father of lies, Satan (see John 8).

I need to be careful.

Tuesday morning

Marc is coming to town
Good morning Tuesday! Why did I have to start you so early? You know how I had a couple of days recently where I woke up during the 3 o'clock hour and couldn't go back to sleep. Well, I didn't do that this morning. No, I woke up at 2:22 a.m., and that was it. The old mine engaged and would not be denied or shut down. Oh well...

Marc Tindall, our main man in Honduras, is coming to town tomorrow afternoon. I am looking forward to seeing him and his wife Terri. He will speak to all of us tomorrow evening at 7.

Today I am holing up to write. I have a deadline, and it's called Thursday. But today is it for me. I worked on it several hours yesterday, so I am in pretty good shape, I think. I have to finish a few pages, polish, get footnotes in order, convert from (my much preferred) WordPerfect to Word, and hope that it holds together.

What am I writing? A chapter for a book to honor Charles Siburt. It's basically my doctoral thesis written in a more accessible, reader-friendly way. I have an 8,000 word limit. Charles recently died of cancer, and this book will be a tribute to him and his work of training students. The completed book will be presented to his family at next year's Christian Scholar's Conference. I plan to be there.

Yesterday was a nice damp day. I actually enjoy rainy days, so I was fine with it. I got a good 5 mile run in early yesterday. Then I had a lot of correspondence going on, along with a meeting or two. The afternoon was devoted to writing.

Today it's writing, followed by Tempo Tuesday! Three miles tonight. I'm not sure what I can do with such a short night.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Are you content? It seems that some are; most are not.

Why is that?

I think our lack of contentment is rooted in a lack of satisfaction with God. Not being content, it seems to me, in essence, is saying "God is not enough. I want more." And wasn’t that the original sin of Adam and Eve?

The cultivation of contentment must be rooted in the promise of God’s protection and provision.

The writer of Hebrews really gets at it with these few words (in chapter 13):

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Of course, Paul, in Philippians 4, says he knows the secret of being content no matter what. Here’s his secret:

I can do everything through him who gives me strength, referring to Christ.

Knowing and trusting, which is the essence of faith, the promises of God found in a relationship with Jesus allows me to be satisfied internally regardless of what is going on externally.

I’m going to work on staying focused on that this week!

Monday, Monday

It's the most awkward moment of the ceremony, and I've experienced more times that I can recall. The kiss. The kiss that seals the deal. I set it up, of course. (Man) and (Woman) have consented to be married, and have witnessed the same before God and this group, and have pledged their faith and love to each other, by the authority given me, I pronounce them husband and wife. (Man) you may kiss your bride. Some of the kisses are short and sweet. These are the best for all involved. Then others are long and maybe even multiple. Awkward. This couple did a great job on Saturday. They were a delight to work with, so I wasn't surprised.

So how are you? It's going to be a nice week ahead. Cool mornings. Nice days. I like it. This week is going to be busy in a different sort of way, but I think I'm ready.

Last Friday morning I got an 18 mile run in, and it went pretty well. It's harder running by yourself than running in a group, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I was pretty happy with my performance overall. It was cool but pretty humid.

After the run, I rushed around and got ready for my trip to (near) Nashville. While I was making my way down there I got a phone call from UNKNOWN. I have had enough of these to know that it is usually an international call. It's usually Marc Tindall from Honduras, but he's in the US right now. This could mean only one thing: Rebecca was calling from Costa Rica! Sure enough, it was Rebecca Skyping my cell phone. We had a very nice 20 minute conversation. She is doing really well.

I made my way to Gallatin, TN, got checked in, read and rested a little bit, and then it was time for Ike and Emily's rehearsal at the historic Cragfont Mansion, which is a little beyond next to nowhere. Since it's located there, everyone was late for rehearsal, which was fine. It was a beautiful evening. After the rehearsal, we went to a steakhouse. I got a rib eye, my favorite. It was good. Nothing satisfies like beef. That's what the beef association says. I think they are onto something.

While the dinner was going on, I was in constant contact with Kedra and Maddie. They were watching Ben play football. He had a good game, and Mitchell got a really good win. I hated missing it, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

After a good night's sleep I got up and ran a few miles and then got ready to meet Earl Lavender for breakfast. We had a really nice couple of hours together. Earl is one of the brightest, wisest people I know. He has been a friend and mentor for decades and helps me in so many ways. I always leave him encouraged. Saturday was no exception.

Back to the hotel for a little work... Then it was time to meet Luke, my son, for lunch. He chose Top Hog BBQ, a local highly rated establishment. Good choice. We had a really nice visit. I love him so much and am so proud of him. He's doing really well in his new job and seems very happy.

Next up: wedding. All that went well. It was perfect weather and a beautiful location. I apologized for leaving a little early, but I had to work the next day, Sunday. I changed my clothes and was off. I didn't stop and arrived back home a little after 10 p.m. It was great to be back home again.

Yesterday was about as normal as a Sunday gets, so that sets me up for this week. I have a writing project deadline, 45 miles to run, Marc Tindall is coming, and a bunch of other good things. Hmm, I think I better get started on something. Bye.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Breaking the Silence

A couple had a really bad argument, which was not unusual for them. Then the usual pattern played out: silent treatment. Both ways. Strained, tense silence.

They had to be somewhere that required them to drive through the country. As they were driving along in their angry silence, they came up on a barnyard with several donkeys in it. The wife saw this as an opportunity to break the silence – with sarcasm of course!

Looking and pointing at the donkeys, she asked, "Relatives of yours?" As the words settled, she crossed her arms smugly.

Her husband smiled and answered her, "Yes! In-laws!"

It’s Friday and you should laugh!

Remember Proverbs 17:22.

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

Have a great weekend, and go to church for Heaven’s sake!

Friday a.m.

I really admire the way these guys think. Really. It reminds me of the kids in Honduras who ride bikes up the long, long hills. They literally grab hold of the back of a slow moving bus or truck and let it pull them up the hill. Sometimes you get by with a little help from your friends, or anyone else who might be around.

Good morning Friday! My Friday is going to be unusual again. I am doing a wedding in Nashville, TN tomorrow, so I will go down late morning to get ready for rehearsal, etc. Before that I need to finish up Sunday prep AND run 18 miles. I hope to get started on that in less than an hour.

My email provider is down this morning, so I don't know what I have waiting for me that requires action. I love when that happens! NOT! Oh well, they will get it fixed soon, I am guessing.

I got a lot done yesterday. That's the good part of getting up during the 3 o'clock hour. I managed to stay awake and fairly productive all day. I napped for 10 minutes at some point and felt fine. I slept better last night.

We heard from Rebecca last night. She continues to do well. She is piling up a lot of stories through her experience in Costa Rica. I am so happy for her.

I hear 18 miles (maybe 20?) calling my name...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Young Wisdom

Over the years a teacher collected thoughts from children ages 5 - 10. They are good reminders for us all.

Don’t hit.
Stay on the path.
Don’t chew with your mouth open.
Say "Please" and "Thank you."
Don’t burp in public.
Be nice to old people.
Close your eyes when you pray.
Put your dishes in the sink.
Don’t go through red lights.
Hold hands when crossing the street.
Don’t pick scabs.
Brush your teeth.
Clean your room.
Don’t use bad words.
Don’t call names.
Go to church.
Tell jokes.
Obey the rules.

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! I did it again! Woke up a little before 3 and could not get back to sleep, so this time I just got up. I'm not a prophet, but I foresee a long day ahead. I reasoned (the best one can at 3 a.m.) that I might as well get something done with a racing mind. I need to get ready for Sunday, which involves several things, and get a wedding ceremony ready for Saturday, along with several other things.
I leave for Nashville tomorrow. I am performing a marriage ceremony Saturday evening near Nashville. I will go down there tomorrow for the rehearsal and spend the night. Saturday morning I am getting with my good friend Earl and then spend time with Luke my son. I will get back home late Saturday night, after doing the ceremony. I told the couple that I probably would not make the reception.
Yesterday was full -- full of meetings, visits, study, and other activities. It was a good day. I ran early yesterday morning and could still feel tempo Tuesday. My heart did not like the run yesterday morning, protesting with a high rate. I battled it, and it finally decided to cooperate about mile 3. I will do an easy 4 miler this morning, and tomorrow, due to the Nashville trip, will run 18 miles before heading south. I hope to throw another 6-7 on the log on Saturday sometime. Monumental is coming quickly.
OK, I need to keep moving...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We can’t be sinless but we can sin less.

I really like that quote. My observation is that we are pretty quick to claim to first part, using it to justify sloppy living. "It’s just the way I am. I can’t help it."


If we follow Jesus, we have the Spirit of God who enables us to overcome lots of things. While it’s not possible to be sinless, it is possible to sin less, by the power of God’s Spirit.

The tension, in my mind, lies between two extremes. One extreme is striving for perfection to point that I make myself miserable, forfeiting peace and joy in the process, often making others miserable as well. The other extreme is simply giving up and giving in to sin without much effort.

So what do we do? Isn’t the key simply asking God to work in our lives, giving him the time and space to work, cooperating with him, following his lead? I believe he shows us the way to put forth a strong effort without being miserable.

So what do I need to allow him to work on today? How can I sin less today?


OK, how are you today? It's Wednesday. Already. I woke up at 3.00 with my mind racing about everything that I need to get done before Sunday. This is not a good thing to do. I managed to doze until my usual 5 a.m. get up time. I think I have plenty of time to get everything done, but in the middle of the night, somehow, perception is not the best.

I had a pretty productive day yesterday. I have mentioned a couple of times a writing project that I'm working on. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time on it. I've been asked to write a chapter in a book in honor of one of my professors/mentors who recently died. I will tell you more about all that later on. I have really enjoyed going back into a world where I used to spend a fair amount of time: academia. My deadline is next week, and I will need to spend several more hours on the project.

In addition to writing yesterday, I had a meeting or two and a few other things going on, things that I could take care either by phone or email. I may have to shut everything off for a day or so next week to finish writing. My day ended with Tempo Tuesday! It was so much cooler than last week, though it was still around 80 degrees. I'm looking forward to running when it's 65 degrees.

Several of us gathered for our run. Lester ran over from his house and met us on the way to the tempo course. We warmed up for 2 miles, stopped at the 3 way stop on Washington Ave, stretched, lied about what we were going to do, etc. Then it was time to take off. Second pole on the right marks the beginning point. The plan last night was to do 2 miles fast.

I decided I would go for a sub-7 pace. I didn't feel that great or fresh during the warm-up, so I was unsure of what I could do. A group of 4 us ran together for the first little while. Then Rand and I separated ourselves some. Robin stayed with us for the first mile before dropping drastically. Rand rounded the mile marker a little ahead of me and continued to pull away gradually. I went through the first mile around 6:50.

The second mile is pretty tough. It begins at the bottom of the hill, where White River Lodge is. You have to climb a little before turning left onto 39th, where it flattens out. Then you get a little down hill on Washington, heading to Hillcrest Circle. After you complete the circle you have a slight up grade to the second mile mark. I finished my two miles in 13:44, which is a 6:52 pace. Good enough! Next week we will add a third mile. I hope I can hold sub 7.

After the run, we had dinner at Lester and Maddie's house. Kedra came over and we had a enjoyable time. Maddie cooked a great meal. It tasted so good after a hard run.

Today is going to be busy, so I better getting running. Literally.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It was one of those days that you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. You remember what the day was like as it unfolded.

Fears. Worries. Anger. Sadness. Concerns. Questions. Lots of prayers.

I remember the eerie silence of the beautiful blue sky. No noise. No contrails. So strange.

I remember how churches filled to overflowing on the Sunday after the reminder that we are not in control of much of anything in this world. People, who don’t usually, remembered a God who loves them, even as we had questions for him.

It’s good to remember, and it seems that in a lot of ways we have forgotten (again). How quickly we go back to the illusion that we are in control of our lives and that we are not totally dependent upon God for each breath we take.

Remember. Don’t forget.


Good morning! Rebecca's little family took her to the Costa Rican coast this weekend. Beach trip! Rebecca seemed really happy about it. She got to see crocodiles and whales. It's hard to believe that we said good-bye to Rebecca 2 weeks ago. The time is scooting by quickly.

Didn't you love yesterday's weather? Wow. I ran early yesterday morning and actually wore a (very thin, light) long sleeve shirt. I ended up pulling up the sleeves, but it felt good for the first couple (out of 7) miles. It's amazing the difference -- running in cooler weather as opposed to heat and humidity.

Yesterday was good. I ran, organized, met, ate lunch with a good man/friend, visited, went to Bloomington Hospital, and a few other things along the way. Today will be a little different. I have a meeting and a lunch appointment, but I hope to spend most of the day quietly studying and writing.

Tonight is Tempo Tuesday! This week we will run 2 miles fast. It should be so much easier than last week, when the temp was in the low to mid 90s with lots of humidity. Today will be 10 degrees cooler and a lot less humidity. I hope to put 2 sub 7 miles back to back.

And we're off...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lot to Do!

Here it is Monday again. As you look at your week ahead, it may seem almost overwhelming – so many things to do, people to see, places to go, meetings to attend. Can we get it all in?

What I’ve found is that often the load is not as heavy as it appears. A lot of times the container appears heavier than the content makes it.

Some time ago, one of my sons was feeling burdened by all he had to do. I told him I understood, and I told him the best thing to do was to get up and just start taking it on. I added that once you begin tackling the tasks, they usually are not as bad as they appear.

So, let’s get going this morning. Just take stuff on, one thing at a time, and maybe you’ll find that it’s not as heavy as it appears.

Oh, and don’t forget, you are not alone today!

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified. . ., for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Monday a.m.

What a beautiful morning! It's great to wake up, and it's nice to wake up to cool temps and lower humidity. The humidity on Thursday, and especially Friday, was beyond uncomfortable, especially if you were running in it.

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was fine, which is good. I moved my long run to Friday morning because of an activity on Saturday, so I took off fairly early to get 16 miles. Did I mention how humid it was on Friday? Wow, I had to do all kinds of mind games to finish 16 miles in that humidity and rising temps. I bargained with myself, negotiating all kinds of things, but in the end, I stuck to the plan and gutted the thing out. It got slow, ugly and done.

The rest of the day on Friday, I finished up my work and got ready for football festivities. The football game did not go well. It got suspended, due to lightning, so we had to finish it Saturday evening. That part didn't go well either. I feel sorry for Ben and the other boys. They are a young team, struggling to find confidence and success.

Before the game on Saturday, I got up and ran 5 miles. Then, helping out the transportation director, I got a bus and picked up the soccer team. This is why I ran long on Friday; didn't have time on Saturday morning. We headed down to Lanesville. We got there, and there was no one around. Evidently they have had 3 A.D.s in the last little while, and someone goofed up. After driving and asking around, we headed back home.  Hey, now at least I can say I know where Lanesville is.

Yesterday was a good day with all the usual things. I watched some football. I have always loved NFL football, so it's good to have it back for my viewing pleasure. The Colts are going to struggle, but we know the script because of the Manning evolution/development from the past. I think there is a lesson about narrative theology there, but I will spare you.

This week is going to be challenging. I have a wedding in Nashville on Saturday evening, so I will go down there on Friday and return late Saturday. I will have to compress all my work/activities a little bit to make it all happen, but I should be fine. I look forward to the trip. I hope to get to spend some time with Luke and others.

OK, let's get this thing going...

Friday, September 07, 2012

Be Careful

A large corporation, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.

On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall. The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business. He asked the guy, "How much money do you make a week?"

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, "I make $400 a week. Why?"

The CEO said, "Wait right here." He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy $1,600 in cash and said, "Here's four weeks' pay. Now GET OUT and don’t come back!"

Feeling pretty good about himself about making an example out of this young man, the CEO looked around the room and asked, "Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?"

After an awkward silence, from across the room a voice said, "He was the pizza delivery guy from Domino’s."

That’s funny! And instructive! James, in his first chapter, says,

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Have a great weekend!


Good morning Friday! Some live for you; not me. I like you and all that, but you are not my favorite day of the week. Please don't take offense; it's nothing personal. I do like you during high school football season more than the rest of the year. It's all good. Everything is fine.
I hope your week went well. It seems like a long way off, but we did have Monday as a holiday this week, shortening everything a bit. I think I work better under the pressure of having a lot to do. I didn't say that it was my preference.
Yesterday I smoked 7 pork shoulders for a fund-raising meal on Sunday night. While smoking I did a lot of other things, so it was not particularly an enjoyable smoke. It was more of a get-it-done smoke. I ended up pulling all of it myself last night, which was a pretty big job. The perk of such a job is that you can nibble on the best pieces.
Some of us fed the football team at church last night. That went well, and it was enjoyable. The boys presented us a nice framed, signed team picture. They seemed very grateful for the meal. I'm just hoping they can get a win tonight and gain a little confidence. It's going to be another tough game. The weather could be an issue as well. I hope the storms will hold off until the game is over.
We missed Rebecca last night. I think she got online after we went off. She is 2 hours behind us. From our conversation the night before, we learned a little more about her host family. The father is driver for a wealthy family. I guess he drives them around to whatever wherever. The mother, best I can tell, is a maid for another family.
Here's an interesting article about the earthquake. It could have been really bad.
OK, I need to keep moving this morning.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Do Something

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says this.

I hear and I forget.

I see and I remember.

I do and I understand

There simply is no substitute or replacement for action.

When it comes to following Christ through this world, we understand him and his ways best, really coming to know him, by doing the things he did.

It’s important to hear about them, it’s crucial to see them, but in the end, we must take action.

Jesus asked the people hearing and seeing him, "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?"

James (2:26), the brother of Jesus, puts it this way:

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

What do I need to DO today?

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! It's going to be a good one today!

I guess you know 2 things: 1) Rebecca, my only daughter, is studying in San Jose, Costa Rica this semester, and 2) there was a major (7.6) earthquake there yesterday. Thankfully there was not much damage or too many serious injuries. There are mixed reports about a couple of deaths. Some say there were quake related; others not. My main concern was quickly relieved when we heard from Rebecca that she was/is fine.

While I was out seeing people yesterday, I got a call asking if I knew there was an earthquake in CR. No, I did not. About the time I was processing all that, I saw a missed call from Kedra. She left a voicemail that went something like this: "I got a brief text from Rebecca saying she is fine and will try to call later."

Last night we finally got to Skype with Rebecca. It was so good to see/hear her. She is doing fine and seems very happy. We "met" her Costa Rican family, which was nice. Rebecca was at home yesterday morning when the quake happened. She said the little house where she is staying started shaking. Rebecca was unsure what was happening, thinking maybe she was dizzy or something.

As the house was shaking, her little "sister" grabbed her by the hand and lead her out of the house. Evidently this little family has an earthquake drill. They went outside to a meeting place. Rebecca said that the only damage in their house was a dresser mirror fell and broke, along with a few things knocked off walls and shelves etc. She said the shaking lasted a "long time." We thank God that she is fine and not scared by the whole thing.

Yesterday was good; good and humid! I ran 5 miles early yesterday morning. It was so humid, so I was not surprised by the afternoon storms. I knew something had to give at some point. It was nice to get some more rain. Yesterday ended with a really good class last night at church.

Today the main focus is prep for Sunday. This week that includes smoking meat. I am smoking 7 pork shoulders for a Honduras fund-raising meal on Sunday night. Multi-tasking. All day.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


It’s a good way to live! It helps keep us accountable and governs much of what we do.

What? Living in anticipation of questions.

If you know someone is going to ask you later if you did something, then you will think pretty hard before doing it or not doing it.

About 2,000 years ago, Seneca, a Roman philosopher, statesman, and playwright, said there are four questions we should ask ourselves at the end of each day.

What infirmity have I mastered today?

What passions have I opposed?

What temptation have I resisted?

What virtue have I acquired?

You can modify them, but I think anticipating the asking of questions at the end of each day is a good way to live better.

What do you think?


Lately I've been thinking of changing my hair style. . .

Well, hello Wednesday!

We heard from Rebecca overnight. I'm glad. I'm not much of one to worry about my kids, but I confess as we approached the 48 hours of no communication, I was beginning to think about it. Overnight she sent an email telling of how things have been. In short: busy. She does believe she has figured out how she can Skype pretty soon. She seems good and content. That's good enough for me.

Yesterday was hot! I didn't realize how hot until we ran in the early evening. We started Tempo Tuesday with 1 mile at tempo pace. I think there were 7 of us who did it. It was so hot and humid that I had doubts about even doing it, let alone doing it very well. John and I were half joking before we started that we might be able to do a 7:30 mile.

We ran a couple of miles to warm up (funny term that). We stopped and stretched and then it was time to do the deed. Did I mention that it was hot? Humid too. I think the heat index was 95. Anyway, we all took off, and I think everyone did better than they hoped. I ended up with a 6:37 mile, which surprised me. I was very happy with that, even though I almost got in trouble. My body does not like heat!

You know I want to do an Ironman? Lately I was thinking that maybe Louisville would be the one for me. It's so close. It has a relatively easy swim. You swim upstream in a somewhat sheltered place where the current is not full strength, and then you turn and swim downstream with the current. The bike course is hilly but manageable, and the marathon course is flat. The problem with Louisville is late-August heat. Last night reminded me, again, that Louisville and it's heat is not the place for me to do an Ironman.

After the run last night, Jim had his wife, Dana, bring over several containers of homemade ice cream. You can imagine how refreshing that was after a run in the heat and humidity. Jim, multi-talented, can add expert ice cream maker to his list.

Prior to the run last night, I had a pretty good day. I had a great morning of writing, and I will tell you more about that in the near future. I had a good lunch with Pat A., some good Store time, and just a pleasant afternoon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Torn Curtain

Did you ever tear a curtain when you were a kid? It was accident! But you probably still got in trouble for it.

Lots of interesting things happen at the death of Jesus. One of them is that the Temple curtain is torn in two, from top to bottom. This curtain, which separated God’s most intimate presence from his people, was thick, 60 feet long, and very strong.

Josephus, the Jewish historian, says it was 4 inches thick and so strong that it could not be pulled apart by horses tied to it, pulling in opposite directions. Yet it was torn in two, and it’s clear who did the tearing: God.

Why? It’s about access! God has opened a way, through a relationship with Jesus, for us to come to him freely and with confidence.

Ephesians 3:12 — In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Hebrews 4:16 — Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Let’s remember that as this week unfolds with all of its challenges and opportunities.

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! It's going to seem like Monday all day today, isn't it? I hope you enjoyed your holiday yesterday. Mine was pretty uneventful. I did get a lot of good work done, so I was really happy about that. It was mostly a quiet day, which was fine with me.

This is a picture of the house where Rebecca is staying. It looks pretty small. She said it has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom for the 4, now 5 with Rebecca, who live there. Rebecca didn't get online yesterday, best I can tell, so we are still waiting to find out more about what's going on with her. She started her classes yesterday. I know from being in Honduras that Internet connections and availability can be quite challenging. The time is flying by; we took her to the airport a week ago today.

One of the good things that happened for me over the long, damp weekend is that I got a lot of reading done. I read a couple of books. One of them, I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life, was excellent. It gave me a lot of insight into my life and into situations that I often find myself in. It has this cool little piece written by Daniel Goleman:

The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.

It's going to be a good busy day and at the end awaits the beginning of Tempo Tuesday! We swap out Paceline Tuesday for Tempo Tuesday. We'll simply do one hard mile tonight and move into 3 later. The overall run will be 7 miles. It's going to be on the warm side!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Kinda Monday

Hey, it's a holiday! I don't want things to get too backed up, so I will go ahead and get some vital, life-changing, can't-live-without information about my weekend out there for you to consume. We all get by with a little help from our friends.

The above cool picture of Ben saving a touchdown (on a punt return, I think) is the only thing good that came out of Friday night's game. It was really, really bad. Oh well, we are young and Paoli is very good. 

Saturday we had a very slimy 12 mile run. Of course we thought it was going to be raining, and in fact we wished it would have been. The humidity was oppressive. Lester met/ran with us for the 12, but he ended up with 20 miles for the day. He did 8 before we met. Running 20 in those conditions is about like running a marathon. He's looking strong.

We still haven't had a good "catch up" conversation with Rebecca. We've heard from her on Facebook a few times, but it's always limited. I think she will find a way to Skype soon. It's good to know that she is doing well and enjoying herself. Here is link to some photos she posted. I hope that works!

We had a good day at church yesterday. The highlight for me was at the end. I was walking to the back, when a guy stepped in the aisle in front of me. I knew I knew him but I was working hard to connect face and name. Then it hit me with a great deal of emotion! It was Danny T., a long lost friend from Shoals. I baptized him 17 years ago. He had/has battled so many things, and his baptism was so powerful. Seeing him yesterday was the same for me. It had been a long, long time. We are going to catch up soon.

This morning was another slimy run. Five miles of humidity. After the run we hung around and talked about another 5 mile's worth. It was nice.

OK, today, I'm holed up and need to really get a lot done. I have a writing project I'm working on, and the deadline is coming up quickly.