Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sometime Wednesday

Amish Country Cyclists waiting on Iron Bill
OK, OK, I know, I know... Sorry about the absence. I just enjoyed a few days of not doing some of the things I usually do. I think I got caught up in the spirit of long weekend. I've been going at things pretty hard for a fairly long time, so it was refreshing to take a brief break. I hope you had a good holiday.

Summer has started! It gets a little crazy for a few weeks. Routines get wrecked, which is not all bad. It seems like everyone relaxes a little. Life is good.

I have a few things this summer that become the focal points. I am going to the Christian Scholars Conference in Nashville next week, followed by a few days in Alabama. Our Honduras trip is July 7-17. Then I will help out with Camp, beginning July 22nd. We are not taking a vacation this summer, so we will strive to enjoy each day as it comes. School starts back the very first part of August.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Clone problems

A preacher’s church was getting too large for him to cover all of the duties. He needed help and the church budget would not allow another minister, so he had a clone made of himself.

It worked really well for a while. He could be in two hospitals at once praying for the sick and attend two meetings at the same time. It was great!

Then something happened. The cloned preacher’s personality changed. He started making passes at women, yelling obscenities at drivers who cut him off, and making obscene gestures.

The preacher was mortified and had to do something. He told the clone to take a day off and spend some time with him. The preacher took the clone to the Sears Tower, ate lunch, and enjoyed the view from the top.

While the clone was looking at the skyline through a coin-operated telescope, the preacher pushed him over the side. The clone fell to his death. Witnesses watched with horror. The preacher got in the elevator and started his escape.

When the preacher left the building and walked past the crowd that had gathered, the police stopped him and placed him under arrest.

"Under arrest?? What's the charge?"

The police man calmly told him the charge.

"Making an obscene clone fall."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Foot washing

John 13 is what I’m thinking about this week. It’s where Jesus assumes the role of the lowest servant, washing the feet of his closest followers. They are too proud to take on the role.

Peter, probably embarrassed, protests the move. Jesus challenges him.

"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

Could it be the key to our service is allowing Jesus to serve us, surrendering and submitting to him every area of our life?

Peter does not want Jesus to wash his feet, and I think sometimes we are the same.

Jesus desperately wants to wash your feet, and you say, "Lord, you’re not going to wash my feet; I can take care of it."

We carry burdens around like suitcases full of bricks, and Jesus says, "Let me take those from you." We say, "No, I can carry it; I’m strong. I can take care of it."

We carry worry, stress and struggles around, and Jesus says, "If you are weary and are burdened, come to me; I’ll take that from you." We say, "No, I can carry it; I’m strong. I can take care of it. I’ll wash my own feet."

We carry sin around, and we let it control our lives. Jesus says, "I’ve paid for those sins, and I can take them from you." And we say, "No, I’ll just try a little harder to be a little better, and then maybe they’ll go away on their own. I can wash my own feet."

"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."


Good morning! It's Thursday and cool again. What's this I see? 40s in the morning? I put my riding tights up, but if I plan to ride in the morning, then I may have to go digging for them. I would rather not, but . . .

Well, the trial ended yesterday. I've been the courtroom all week. The closing arguments took place yesterday morning. The jury had the case at 11:40. We stayed around until noon, just in case there was a really quick decision. At noon the prosecutor told us she was going to lunch and that we should do the same. We knew the judge wouldn't/couldn't allow the reading of the verdict without the attorneys present.

We just got our fast food when the cell phone rang. The jury had reached a decision, and the verdict would be read in 20 minutes. Fast food became very fast food. We hurried back to the courtroom, as did everyone else. The judge came in. All the attorneys were present. "Are we ready," he asked the attorneys on both sides, looking at all of us. He warned about any show of emotion or outbursts of any kind.

My heart was pounding as the jury returned. I really felt for my friend, the mother of man who died. Everything seemed so dramatic. All the simple, formal questions, including, "have you reached a verdict?" seemed so powerful The paper was handed to the judge. He read it to himself and then slowly read it to us all. He read the charge and then finally said, "guilty."

At that moment there was a sweet relief on one (our) side of the room and great pain on the other side. My friend received what she was after. Justice. She's quoted in the paper, the words she spoke to me quietly, "Now maybe I can forgive him." I think it is a lot easier to forgive when you feel like justice is present and served. Justice is painful. I watched the man hand-cuffed and escorted out look back at his family. I know his family and feel for them too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Last Gift

This week I am reliving someone’s death. He was a friend and it’s not easy. My grief is nothing, however, compared to his mother’s. His death was sudden, totally unexpected. No time for final words or good-byes. That’s so hard for those of us left behind.

I remember a few years ago being at a funeral home with a very distraught man. His brother had died suddenly in tragic circumstances. The man came to me in tears saying, "the last words I had with my brother were words of hatred in a heated argument and I never apologized."

These sorts of things happen all the time. Maybe they happened to you. Relationships left ripped apart by death are irreparable in some ways. Yet I believe that we should do our best to repent or forgive, hoping, imagining that the other person would respond appropriately.

What we can do, since we are still alive, is avoid those situations. Henri Nouwen speaks of making our death a blessing, a gift to others. Listen carefully.

"How do we make our deaths gifts for others? Very often people's lives are destroyed, harmed, or permanently wounded by the deaths of their relatives or friends. We have to do whatever we can to avoid this. When we are near death what we say to those who are close to us, whether in spoken or in written words, is very important. When we express gratitude to them, ask forgiveness for our shortcomings and offer forgiveness for theirs, and express our sincere desire that they continue their lives without remorse but remembering the graces of our lives, then our deaths can become true gifts."

Since life is so uncertain, then it is best to be at peace with all, to the best of our ability.

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! How are you this morning? The birds are singing this morning, so that makes for a nice start to the day. Soon there will be some daylight for us to start burning. I like the expression, "Let's go, we're burning daylight!" I don't know why really. I just do.

Yesterday was spent mostly in court. The local courts are not quite as dramatic as the ones on TV. There is a lot of tedium which can lead to boredom. The most noticeable thing yesterday was the lack of reliable witnesses. With the exception of the police officers and detectives, it was hard to fully believe the others.

The weather was nearly perfect for our Tuesday Night Pace Line adventure. We rolled out at a pretty slow pace. Some turned around a little early, so I was left with some really good and fast riders. I hung on pretty well for 7 miles before getting popped and then dropped on Lost River Hill, the place where many have experienced the same over the years. I was pleased with how I hung on that long. I am improving, I think.

Well, I need to go. I am going to back to court at 8, and need to get some running miles in first. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pleasing God

Can we please God?

We often, rightfully so, focus on the grace of God, saying that we are not worthy of it nor able to earn it. Very true!

Sometimes, though, I wonder if we come away from all this with the idea that we cannot please God. From there is it a short journey to a short question. Why try?

This leaves us with what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called cheap grace.

"Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession . . . Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

The truth is we can please God and should strive to do so. It’s the right response to his grace.

Here are just a few, of many, verses that speak of pleasing God.

Ephesians 5:8-10 — You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what PLEASES the Lord.

Colossians 1:10 — We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may PLEASE him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God . . .

2 Corinthians 5:9a — We make it our goal to PLEASE him . . .

That’s a good goal, one deeply rooted in God’s amazing grace.

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! Tuesday it is. Stormy? I hear rumbles of thunder this morning. I hope this morning's thunder will diffuse some of the energy of stronger storms that could arrive later in the day. The storms in Oklahoma yesterday were terrible. It's amazing with all the camera phones and other technology that we watch these things literally as they happen.
Yesterday was a good but busy day. I moved through it at a pretty good pace so I could be in court early in the afternoon. There is jury trial going on, and I am going to try to be present as much as I can to be with the mother of the man who died. I got to court, only to be told that it was over for the day. That was fine. I've been in court enough to not be surprised by much of anything.
This morning I will be there shortly after 8 and will spend most of the day there, unless something else happens. I find court very interesting, but this is going to be painful. I feel for the mother. She has to relive her worst nightmare, and on top of that, she'll have to listen to people telling lies about it. That's the nature of a trial. Right?
I am hoping for Tuesday Night Pace Line, but the weather is going to be a concern. If we can get it in, then we'll ride 37.5 and run 3, starting at 5:45. I am really looking forward to it. A bunch of my buddies had a great triathlon in Terre Haute on Saturday. I've heard several stories, but I know there are many more to be told.
OK, I need to go get ready to go. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crash Landing

Did you see the story about two eagles that got into a midair fight? In their fight they locked talons. As they plummeted toward the ground, they did not separate.

With locked talons, they were out of control and ended up crashing onto the tarmac at Duluth International Airport. They survived and were found by a concerned citizen. He wrapped them up and put them in his truck to take them to an animal rehab center.

On the way one eagle got loose and flew away. The other one, receiving a little more damage, is now in a raptor rehab center.

As I read the story, it didn’t take me long to start thinking about people. When we lock into conflict, digging our talons into one another, it is not likely to end well.

I wonder if those eagles were too stubborn to let go?

"I’ll crash us to the ground before I’ll let go!"

Monday a.m.

Sunday morning in the backyard
Good morning! Looks like we are off to a very warm start to the day and to the week. I prefer this over last week's start. If I recall correctly, it was in the upper 30s this time last Monday. I wore winter gear for my morning run. This morning it will simply be shorts, shoes, and a shirt. I like the simplicity of that.

I hope you had a good weekend. I had a good one, even if it was on the busy side. I managed to take some time off on Friday, which is my goal each week. I hopped on the bike and got 64 miles in, taking a tour of parts of Orange and Washington county. It was humid but not hot.

After the ride, later in the day, a couple of my boys, my dad, and I headed for the woods. We went there to cut firewood. Later several of our women folk joined us around a fire that we lit. We enjoyed some hot dogs and other good woods food. It was a pleasant evening.

Saturday was the busy day. I had hoped to run and ride, but I only managed a quick 5 mile run in the humidity. Spring Mill Bible Camp was celebrating 50 years and I was a speaker, so I spent most of the morning thinking through what I was going to say. It was a really nice day at Camp. My grandparents were honored, along with a few others, for their help in establishing the camp.

It's going to be an unusually busy week, so I best get going! Thanks for coming by.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mistaken Identity

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.

The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."

Thursday, May 16, 2013


God is kind.

I’ve been thinking about that this week. His kindness is woven throughout Scripture and is seen in those who have his heart.

Here are a few interesting verses about it:

Ephesians 2:6,7 — And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his KINDNESS to us in Christ Jesus.

Titus 3:4-6 — When the KINDNESS and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.

The kindness of God challenges our complacency, apathy, and hard-heartedness, calling us to change, to turn back to God.

Romans 2:4 — Do you show contempt for the riches of his KINDNESS, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s KINDNESS leads you toward repentance?

Luke 6:35,36 — Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is KIND to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Repentance, turning back to God, is a turn toward kindness. It’s a turn toward being kind with others. All of them.

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! It's hard for me to believe, but in 2 months from today, we will be preparing to return home from our summer trip to Honduras. These trips roll around so quickly. I am really looking forward to this summer's trip. We have a good group going. We have about 20 of us flying out of Indy and another 10 or so joining us from other places. We are working on boosting our work fund some, so if you would like to make a donation toward a house, then please let me know.

I'm liking this weather! It's so nice. I went for a short run early yesterday morning. I was pretty rung out from the previous night's workout, so a short run was all I wanted/needed yesterday. I will go a little longer, here in a little while. I hope to get a longer ride in sometime tomorrow, if I can get all my work done.

A lot of my friends are doing the triathlon in Terre Haute this weekend. I originally planned to make my sanctioned tri debut there, but a conflict came up quite a while ago. I can't go, and I think that is probably divine providence (ha ha). I don't think I am quite ready for an 800 yard swim in cold water.  John H. is making his debut this weekend, and I am confident he is going to do well. He will be a beast on the bike, after getting through the swim.

Today is going to be busy, busy. I need to get all my Sunday prep done. Plus I am speaking at Camp on Saturday, so I need to get that pretty well finished as well. Better get moving... Thanks for coming by.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wise Words

Proverbs 15:8-10 (The Message)

God can’t stand pious poses,

but he delights in genuine prayers.

A life frittered away disgusts God;

he loves those who run straight for the finish line.

It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path,

a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules.

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! How are you on this lovely warm morning? I hope you are enjoying these nice mild days. I am! I think we could finally be done with the cold until fall. That works for me.

I'm running a little behind this morning, which is fine. I got to bed late, didn't sleep that great, and got up a few minutes late. I am waiting for my Honduran coffee to fully kick in. Almost there.

Yesterday was a good day. It was one of those "interruptions are my work" sort of day. There were lots of them, and they were all fine, good. I did not get as much study done as I had hoped, but Mephibosheth will still be there today. Hopefully we'll hang out some this morning? He is an interesting character.

Last night was Time Trial Tuesday, and the key word: WINDY. I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed in my performance, but there is nothing to do but keep working at it. I averaged just a little over 20 mph, finishing last out of 8 (pretty good) riders. It's a benchmark and something to work from.

After we got back from the 37.5 mile ride, everyone but James, who is a pure cyclist of the non-snob sect (ha ha), donned our running shoes for a 3 mile run. That went pretty well. I was the only one who knew the course, so I felt compelled to stay out front with those who tend to go faster. Following the run, it was a late night (for me) trip to Wendy's for refueling and fun conversation that included a little truth occasionally.

What does today hold? Well, all kinds of things. Have to kill you...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pray it

Jesus, a long time ago, said:

"This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! This picture is of another bridge in Guatemala. It's the same basic design as the bridge Typhoid Luke helped with last year. This one is shorter and they did the construction a little differently, using more substantial scaffolding. They also added a roof to this one. Lipscomb has a group of college students there for the construction. I know Luke wishes he could be there too.

My email is not working again and has not since yesterday morning. This always makes me a little nervous, wondering if I am missing something that I need to do, etc. I am not sure what is going on with it. Seems like we have had a lot of this in the last few weeks. I'm trying to connect with the web-based provider site, and it appears to be their problem. I will find out more today.

I saw somewhere that a reality show about L.A. pastors is in the works. I know there was a show recently about preachers' kids. This got me to thinking - I bet my life would be a fascinating reality show. NOT. ha ha. Perhaps it could be packaged as a sleep aid, just like my sermons.

Yesterday was a good day. I ran early, before the frost melted. Yes, I had frost on my roof yesterday morning. I wore my light winter gear and ran a good 7 miler while the sun was coming up. Then it was on to organization and meetings. Then I took a trip here, then there. I saw a couple of guys in the nursing home, stopped by the school to make sure they were running it right, and then to the Store. Saw my wife briefly at lunch to get my allowance for the week. Cut some wood with my dad after Ben got home from school. Went to his softball game and ended the day in the pool, learning to be humble yet again.  You know, I think this would be gripping TV.

Today is Tuesday. I'm going to study Mephibosheth today. He was crippled in both feet, you know. You didn't know that? Oh well, look it up. You are on the internet. It's easy. Tuesday also means a great bike ride, rolling out of the church parking lot at 5:45, returning a couple hours later with 37.5 miles, following by a 3 mile run. I think tonight is a time trial night, which means everyone takes off individually from the county, about a minute apart to see how fast we can cover 10 miles. We regroup and ride back home together. Wind may be an issue this evening.

OK, here we go!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Suffering and Joy

The sole survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He cried out to God to save him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but he only got depressed. He eventually built a small hut and put his only possessions in it.

One day, after hunting for some food, he came back to his hut to find it had gone up in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. He was devastated and disappointed with God.


Early the next day a ship drew near the island and rescued him. He couldn’t believe it. When he came on board he said asked, "How did you know I was here?"

"We saw your smoke signal."

When Paul writes the Romans, he talks, in chapter 5, about access to God. Imagine that – having access to Almighty God. This thought leads Paul in progression of thought that includes suffering as a part of joy.

How can those two thoughts, suffering and joy, connect? Because one often leads to the other, thanks to God and his way working in our problems. Let’s stay aware of this wonderful idea as this week unfolds.

Romans 5:2-5

. . .We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Monday a.m.

About time to put these on
Good morning! Are you ready for a new week? Ready or not... Looks like after this cool morning we are going to have some really nice, warm weather. Sounds great to me. I believe this is the latest in the spring I have had to heat my house. Could this be the last morning until fall? I sure hope so.

I had a really nice weekend. Friday was a busy day. I got a lot done. Then it was time to drive a bus to Perry Central for the PLAC track meet. It rained lightly all the way down, but once we got there the sun came out. I went out for a nice 7 mile run.

After I got back, I got something to eat and watched some of the meet. I also watched the sky to the west. Dark. Darker. Darker. Sure enough the storms approached. Eventually we got a lightning delay. It was only a 30 minute delay. The meet finished, and we arrived home just before midnight. It was going to be short night.

I got up and saw that it was upper 40s with some northerly wind. These are not the best conditions for riding a bike, but I was committed. Seven of us showed and rode. I almost got warm once during the ride. Actually, it was not too bad. We rode a little more than 44 miles. It was a fairly slow ride, around 15 mph, so I wasn't working too hard, which was good since I was short on sleep.

We had committed to a brick workout, which means as soon as we got off the bike, it was time to run. Our transition time was pretty relaxed, but I was eager to run to get warm again! It only took a mile and I was shedding some clothes. Three of us ran 5 miles, and I was pleased/surprised at the pace. It was one of my faster 5 milers in a while.

After a clean-up and a nap, Kedra and I had a couple of things we needed to do in Bloomington, so off we went. It was good to spend some nice relaxing time with her. We got home, and I tried to stay awake until bed time. I did. Then I had a great night of sleep.

Sunday was a good day. Church went well, and then our men folk of the family provided a meal for the women folk. My role was to provide smoked brisket and chicken. It was easy and fun. Following a few festivities, Kedra and I drove to Owensboro, KY to meet Luke and Rebecca. They drove up, along with Lydia and Melissa W., to meet us to eat and visit. Rebecca's birthday is today -- 20 years old!

Like I said, it was a good weekend! This week looks pretty promising as well, so here we go!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Seek Direction

I found this. There is probably a lesson in it about being lost and seeking direction.

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Thursday, May 09, 2013

God can use anyone

This week I’m working on a sermon from the Book of Ruth. It’s such a powerful story and worth taking the time to read.

Probably the most famous words in the book are found in chapter 1, when Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law, who is about to travel back home. Ruth is urged to stay put, but she won’t.

"Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

These words take me back to my wedding, nearly 30 years ago. They were a key part of our ceremony and a key part of our marriage still.

The larger picture of Ruth, for me, is God’s redemptive work, where he makes good come from bad. Ruth, who is a Moabite, becomes a believer in the God of Israel.

Moabites were pagans and the enemies of God’s people, yet God brings Ruth into a relationship with Him, using painful and difficult circumstances to do it. In the end, Ruth gives birth to Obed, who fathers Jesse, who fathers King David.

When Matthew, in his first chapter, records the genealogy of Jesus, guess who is there? Ruth the Moabite. She is an important part in the plan of God, which may be surprising.

It shouldn’t be really, though, because God always uses flawed people to accomplish his will.

He can use anyone who will turn his/heart to him, including you and me.

Pleasant to Bitter and Back


Naomi means pleasant. Life has a way at times of changing the pleasant, not simply to unpleasant, but to bitterness. It happened to Naomi in the Story of Ruth.

Naomi lost her husband and her two sons to death. As a result, she changed her name, holding God responsible.

"It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD'S hand has gone out against me! Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."

Mara means bitter. The once pleasant Naomi has become bitter, bitter about life, bitter toward God.

She doesn’t lose her faith, however, and God, working through the people who surround her, doesn’t give up on her. He keeps blessing and she keeps seeing it. The bitterness slowly goes away.

Before the story is over Mara becomes Naomi again.

It took a while. Seems like it usually does.

Thursday a.m.

Hello Thursday! I hope you are well on this new day, another gift from God. What all can we do today? What all can we be today? I have to fight to strike the balance between being a human doing and a human being. We should do both, right? I learn toward the doing side. As a result, I find myself overextended a lot. I am in the midst of making some adjustments, most of which will not be noticeable to anyone but me.

Yesterday was a good day. We had a good Hoosier MAMA meeting, which included a great breakfast. This was perfect. I hit the road around 7 a.m. for 5 miles, which went well, which pleased me after Tuesday's ride. After the run and the clean-up, I had a little time to check and organize before the 8.30 meeting.

After the meeting I met with the mayor and another person for a while. It was a good meeting. I am plotting to take over the city. I think I am just about there, but please don't tell anyone.

The afternoon filled up with this followed by some of that. The next thing you know, it's time to drive that bus to Bedford. Remember? I was supposed to drive the junior high track team to Bedford and then come back. Literally as I was on my way to do this work, I got a call saying I, again, was not needed. This is the second time this week. Now I'm not paranoid or nothing, but I'm seeing a pattern here.

My real hope is that I will get this same kind of call tomorrow afternoon. This is my last scheduled trip for the season. I am scheduled to drive the high school track team to Perry Central for the PLAC meet, which will start tomorrow evening and finish sometime 2 days later. Well, it's not really that long, but it is long. A few years ago I drove to this event and we did not return until after midnight. I expect it will be the same this year, so I am hoping for that call again.

If the call does not come, then I will run several miles, read a couple of books, and of course watch a lot of the meet as well. I asked the transportation director if we could mount a bike rack on the bus. He said, "no."

OK, lots to do today. . . Thanks for coming by.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Wednesday a.m.

IronBill fixing Roy's tire
Good morning! It's Wednesday, the long but good day. This particular Wednesday has a little more to take on than usual, so I have to stay focused. The first scheduled activity is a MAMA meeting. Mitchell Area Ministerial Association. My old joke: since we are all living in Indiana, it should be called Hoosier MAMA.

Toward the end of the day, I have an unusual bus driving adventure. I need to help out by taking the junior high track team to Bedford and then wait for someone else to come over to drive them home. That works for me. I get home in time to eat and to teach my class at church.

Yesterday was another good one. I had some time to focus on the Book of Ruth, which is the focus of my sermon on Sunday. It's Mother's Day, and I always find that day challenging. There are lots of different emotions associated with the day, so I think we should be sensitive to all that. I'll go for bigger themes on the day, rooting them in some motherly thoughts.

Last night was our first Pace Line Tuesday. It went well! The weather, which was a little threatening, turned out to be great. There was a little annoying northeast wind, but it wasn't too bad. My friend James showed up with his new bike. Wow, what a bike! It was his first ride with it, so he was still working out a few things.

We had a nice ride out to the start line, which is the Washington county line on 337. We had a very new rider last night, Scott. He ran with us over the winter and did really well. Now he is on a bike, one he purchased from Iron Mike.  He has only ridden a couple of times and never 37.5 miles, which was what we rode last night. He did really well.

We decided to do a moderate pace line back to Orleans, shooting for 22 mph average. James wanted to do a time trial, so he was going to wait a few minutes and then try catch us. Well, Iron Bill, one of the most competitive persons in the galaxy, decided he would do the same.

The pace line took off and did as promised. Scott, understandably, had trouble staying on. Finally he told us to go ahead, so we did. I didn't get my watch turned off at the finish line, but here is the data anyway. We averaged 22.3 mph. It was a nice ride back to Orleans.

James and Bill did not catch us. Bill took off a minute before James, and James did not catch him. They both averaged around 26 mph. It's going to be interesting to see how those two compete the rest of the season. James is 32 and Bill is not. James is still working on his new bike...

On the way back in, Roy had a blowout. That took a little while to fix, but we made it back to church in plenty of time for a trip to Wendy's. It was a great evening. Seven of us got the season under way. I'm sure we will see more and more each week.

Running out of time... so see you later!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


If you know me, then you know I am a big fan of Henri Nouwen. His books are worth reading and reading again. His insight into life is remarkable, helpful, and practical.

He often talks of simple things, like friendship. In friendships we often discuss details of what is happening in our lives. That’s normal and good. Nouwen adds,

"But often we want to hear something else. We want to hear, ‘I've been thinking of you today,’ or ‘I missed you,’ or ‘I wish you were here,’ or ‘I really love you.’ It is not always easy to say these words, but such words can deepen our bonds with one another. Telling someone ‘I love you’ in whatever way is always delivering good news. Nobody will respond by saying, ‘Well, I knew that already, you don't have to say it again’! Words of love and affirmation are like bread. We need them each day, over and over. They keep us alive inside."

Thanks, Henri. Again.

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning!  I like Tuesdays. A lot. Pace Line Tuesday begins this evening, which is my favorite kind of Tuesday. It's more fun than Tempo Tuesday. We ride out of our church parking lot at 5:45 this evening. I hope the rain holds off and the wind is not too strong.

Typhoid Luke is doing pretty well. He has a very mild case, I believe. The picture above is from Guatemala and is of the construction of a 2nd bridge. After the construction of "Luke's bridge" last year, they decided to build another one, but this time they decided to build scaffolding first. That is what is in the picture. A team from Lipscomb will build it soon.

Kedra got some good news yesterday. She is now finished with all her course work in her quest to become a licensed teacher. The only thing left is for her to do is student teach, and all that is already lined up and ready to go in the fall. Hopefully by this time next year she will be teaching math somewhere. She has worked really hard over the last couple of years to get this completed.

Yesterday was a pretty nice day. I had a meeting or two in the morning, after getting organized for the week. I then went to Bloomington to see someone in the hospital. I was scheduled to drive a bus right after school, taking the junior high track team to Brownstown. I literally was on the bus, pulling out, when the transportation director waved his arms at me. The trip was cancelled. I don't know why.

Since I was planning on running in Brownstown, I drover over there and ran. Just kidding. I went to the Park and found a few miles out there. It was very pleasant. Due to the cancelled trip, I was also able to swim at 8 p.m. I doubt I would have been back in time, if the trip had taken place. I had a good night in the pool.

Today has a lot of things in it for me to do. It ends of course on the bike, unless something unforeseen stops it. I will probably have a report for you tomorrow morning. I hope your day goes well!

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Example

A lot of people are facing a lot of challenges as this new week begins. I find the following words from Peter to be helpful.

They remind us that whatever we face is an opportunity to identify with, and draw closer to, the one who saves us.

1 Peter 2:21-25 (The Message)

This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.

He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.

They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

Monday, Monday

Luke and Lydia
Good morning! How are you on this Monday? Looks like it is a little damp out there. So we have another new week, filled with all kinds of opportunities and challenges. It's time to start anew and see what we can do. Did you catch the rhyme? Hey, maybe it's going to be a great week? I hope some creativity returns. I've been having to "force" things lately, which is just a part of the cycle of creativity. It comes and it goes. Even when it's not present, I still have to do things. I guess that's some form of discipline. I used to really dislike the dry seasons, but now I am used to them and wait them out.

We went to Nashville on Friday morning. I got up early and got a good run in before we left at 8. I needed 13 on Fri/Sat to make 30 for the week. I didn't get started as early as I hoped, so I only got 5.5 miles in. We had a good trip to Nashville, arriving in time to get Rebecca out of the dorm before the move-out deadline. We filled our car with her stuff. Then we put more stuff in her car. She is going to spend about a month in Nashville doing a short course or two. She is staying with our good friends.

We got Rebecca situated and then met up with Luke. We went to the famous Loveless Café to eat. It was really good, and the evening was very pleasant. We returned to the Lavenders, where Rebecca is staying, for the night.

Saturday was graduation day, and it was rainy! I needed 7.5 miles, so I borrowed a Gore-Tex jacket and off I went. It was only 45 degrees in Nashville and raining. Crazy. I actually had a pretty good run, followed by a great breakfast, followed by graduation, followed by a trip home. We got home past bedtime, but we managed to make it through the night and through yesterday.

This week we begin our official Tuesday Night Pace Line rides. We are going to try rolling out from our church parking lot this year, instead of the Park. That makes for about a 37 mile ride, with 10 of them--from the Washington county line to Orleans--being either a pace line or a time trial. Either way, you work hard for 10 miles. After the ride, I think there will be a 3 mile run, followed by a trip to Wendy's.

I have lots going on this week, so I better get on it.

Friday, May 03, 2013

All I Need

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.

Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.

On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."

Friday a.m.

Lipscomb University

Good morning! It's Friday and we're headed to Nashville in a little while. We have three main reasons for going: move Rebecca out of the dorm, see/check on Luke, and attend graduation. It's going to be a fairly quick trip.

I hope to get a 7 mile run in before we leave at 8 a.m. A little rain is out there, which does not make me super happy, but to quote the great philosopher Mick Jagger, "You don't always get what you want."

Yesterday was a good day. I'm on a roll this week. The most unusual thing was participation in the National Day of Prayer at City Hall. It went well.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 02, 2013


The late Erma Bombeck tells about a time when she was tired of listening. She had listened to her son tell in minute detail about a movie he had just seen. Then she had received several telephone calls filled with mindless chatter.

She was relieved to tell the last caller she had to rush off to the airport. She got into a taxicab, and the taxicab driver spoke incessantly about his son’s accomplishments. She got the airport and was excited to have a few minutes to herself. She opened her book and began to read.

“But no sooner had I opened my book, when an elderly female voice said to me, ‘I bet it’s cold in Chicago.’ ‘I suppose,’” Erma replied without looking up from her book.

“I haven’t been in Chicago for 3 years,” the woman said. “My son lives there.”

“That’s nice,” said Erma politely. Then the woman continued, “My husband’s body is on this plane. We were married for 53 years. I don’t drive, you see, and the funeral director was so nice. He drove me to the airport today.”

Erma recalls, “Her voice droned on. Here was a woman who didn’t want money or advice or counsel. All she wanted was someone to listen. And in desperation she had turned to a total stranger with her story.”

Bombeck adds, “She continued to talk to me until they announced that we were boarding the plane. We walked onto the plane. I saw her sit down in another section. And as I hung up my coat I heard her say to the person next to her, ‘I bet it’s cold in Chicago.’”

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! You know, if I had to pick weather to live in all the time, I'd pick this. Actually this is a whole like Honduras weather: 60s at night, around 80 in the daytime. It just feels good. I guess it's coming to an end, but that's OK. We will appreciate it more next time, hopefully.

Luke came back from Africa on Saturday, and he has been pretty sick since then. He's had a high fever. I think it was on Monday he went to a walk-in clinic. The doctor there told him to go to Vanderbilt's ER, because he was concerned that he might have something a little unusual. Here's the really unusual part: that doc didn't charge him anything!

Off to Vandy. Lots of tests and then an appointment with an infectious disease doctor, which took place yesterday. Bottom line: Luke has typhoid fever, but it appears to be a mild form of it. He is on a strong antibiotic. The doctors wanted to put in a port and have Luke administer the stuff through the port, but Luke, a hater of needles, refused.  He'll be fine. He took the preventative medicine before leaving the country but didn't do exactly the way you are supposed to. He is supposed to go back to Liberia in a couple of months.

Yesterday was another good one. I was having lunch with a minister friend. As we were talking about future preaching topics and projects, my phone rang. I let the call go to voicemail. I was a little concerned about what the message was, so I went ahead and listened to it. It was question about eschatology. Specifically the caller wanted to know what happens between death and the Resurrection at the return of Jesus.

I love the caller dearly, so I decided to change plans and just show up where the person works, knowing that was OK. When I got there, there were three people sitting at a table. An impromptu Bible discussion broke out, and we all had a good time thinking about the future. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Today is prep for Sunday day. I need to get it all done, because we are going to Nashville in the morning for Lipscomb's graduation on Saturday. Really we are going to move Rebecca out of her dorm for her "Maymester" of study. She is going to stay with some friends. Of course we will get to see/check on Luke as well. We will return Saturday evening late.

I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Love Gives

Love ever gives.

Forgives, outlives,

And ever stands

With open hands.

And while it lives,

It gives,

For this is love’s prerogative—

To give, and give, and give.

— John Oxenham


Lunch in the Dump
 Good morning! Wow, aren't you loving this weather? I almost heard the first complaint of it being hot yesterday. It won't be long. How quickly we forget how miserably cold it was recently and we were longing for warm weather. Human nature.

Yesterday was a good one. Even with a computer handicap, which I still have, I got a lot done and felt good about the day. I was thinking, again, about how little I can talk about here, regarding what I do. I don't want to violate confidentiality. Not that there is a lot of top secret stuff to hide, but I don't think it is fair to reveal too much about anything which happens with me one on one.

I can and will say that I did some interesting reading regarding The Poor. I've read it all before, but I am still surprised a little by what the Bible has to say about them. Of course serving the poor is something that I vowed to do a long time ago. I've learned a fair bit about doing it and am still pretty ignorant about the best way. I do know the Bible says a lot about doing it. A lot. It can be very frustrating work, because a lot of times you do not see the results and responses that you would like to see. I bet that's kinda like God and us?

The food theme yesterday was salad and pizza. I had lunch with a good friend yesterday, and he asked where I wanted to go. I suggested Chicago's Pizza, thinking about a good salad and pizza buffet. As I was enjoying that, I remembered that my evening plans included a trip to Pizza Hut for a Honduras fund-raiser. Salad and pizza would the on the buffet again. Oh well, dirty job, and I was up for it.

I earned the buffets by burning a bunch of calories. I rode my bike to Bedford, taking a long way to collect 25 miles. Iron Bill met me in Mitchell for the quick part, Mitchell to Bedford. We averaged more than 20 mph, which is nothing for him but significant for me. Riding with him is helping me to improve. We got to Bedford in plenty of time for me to change into running clothes. We ran, and then Kedra picked my bike and me up. A quick little towel work and some new clothes and I was ready to eat.

Today is going to be another good one! Lots of activities and a few meetings. Here we go...

Oh, here's a piece by Terri Tindall about the Dump in Tegucigalpa. If you want to help with this, please let me know.