Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mid-week Check-in


Hey! I know you are just dying to hear from me, so I will accommodate your need and want! So how are you? Are you in costume this morning? I'm so scary I don't have to dress up. The weather looks a bit scary too. I hope it doesn't get too crazy out there today. I am getting ready to clean my gutters out at daybreak. Yes, I know, but, hey, it needs to be done before the heavy rains.

I had a great time at Lipscomb's Preaching Conference. I learned a lot and had lots and lots of thoughts stimulated. I got to see some old friends and made some new ones. There were a few meetings thrown in on top of everything else. I love Lipscomb and being there.

On Tuesday afternoon, we had some time free, so I took off for the Natchez Trace Trail. It was a nice, quiet afternoon with pleasant temps. I rode 35 miles of hills. Here is my Strava data: Ride on the Natchez Trace.

Another highlight of being in Nashville was time with Luke, Lydia, and Rebecca. I took them out to dinner on Monday night and then we enjoyed frozen yogurt on Tuesday night. It was so nice to see them. They all are doing well.

Ben went to the doctor yesterday. He tore his meniscus in the game Friday. He has to go to physical therapy to get it back to where it needs to be.

I am off to IronMan Florida this morning. There are 6 of us headed down to volunteer. It should be an interesting trip!

Thanks for stopping by.

He's All I've Got

Poor old Jeremiah! He had such a hard task and received such a hard time. He lived and worked for God in the 6th century B.C. He was a prophet of doom, and his message was the last thing the people wanted to hear.

They turned on him, and he felt God had done the same. Lamentations 3 is hard to read. Jeremiah accuses God of lots of things. He vents! But then, in his utter brokenness he turns back to recognizing God as good.

Lamentations 3:22-27

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.

There are some powerful messages there for us, wherever we are.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Proverbs 26:20 (The Message)

When you run out of wood, the fire goes out; when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

- John Wooden

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday a.m.

Captains' meeting

Ready to play

Hurt his knee early - I thought he was done

Seniors after the game

Great group of boys

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty good. I rode 60 miles and ran none, but I think I'm about ready to hit the streets again. Cycling was a little on the cool and windy side, until yesterday, when it was really nice.

I have a very unusual week. This morning I am going to Lipscomb to participate in a preaching conference. I will come home Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning I am leaving for Panama City, FL with 5 other guys. We are going to work Ironman Florida. Our plan is to volunteer this year and to do it next year. Volunteers get the first opportunity to sign up. Believe it or not, it fills up and is hard to get into.

Friday night was one of the more emotional nights I've had in a long time. It was Ben's last football game. He's been playing since he was a little boy. He was not 100% going in, due to an ankle injury from the week before. My heart sank when, early in the game, he got up limping and motioned he needed to come out.

I could tell he was in a lot of pain. They sat him down and worked on him and then took him to the locker room. I was sure he was finished for the night. Much to my surprise he came back from the locker room dressed and ready to play. He went back in and played really well on defense.

He also played some offense and had a decent time running the ball. The thrill of the evening for me was when he ran 10 yards for a touchdown. Then he ran the 2 point conversion in. What a way to go out!  We lost again, but it was ok. The emotions ran deep as Ben and his buddies gathered for the last time in the middle of the field. He loves the game and loves his friends.

OK, I'm getting all emotional again, so I will stop there and get busy. I have considerable organizational challenges this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Prayer for the Week

I need to start the week off with prayer, a prayer that encourages me to consider the amazing dimensions of God’s love. Here is one that works really well. Wow! It’s Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, but I’m pretty sure it’s for us too.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:16-21

Read, say, and pray this a few times each morning before starting your day. It will change things and change you for things!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Good morning! Friday again and a cool one. It's going to be very cool at the football game tonight. This could be Ben's last football game. I'm trying not to think about that. It has been a long season, but I've enjoyed watching Ben play. He has played well. He is going to take several snaps again tonight and run the ball some. I have mixed emotions about that, because that is what got him hurt the other night. I enjoy watching him play defense more.

This has been a busy week, but it has all worked out, like usual. I should be able to finish up my work by noon today, and then I hope to get on my bike and ride 20 miles or so this afternoon. My running is really limited right now, due to Mr. Hamstring.

I got in the pool last night. That is the first swim in a long time. It took me a few laps but I was able to get back to where I was a few weeks ago. My  next swim will be in the Gulf of Mexico. More about that in a later post.

Lately, I guess because of lots of very real things involving life and death, I've been more aware of what I do, thinking through it.  Some time ago I saved this post which gets at it pretty well. It's important for all of us to have people to encourage us, whatever we do, and I am blessed with some good friends who do that for me. I am peacefully thankful.

This morning I read this and found it refreshingly helpful. Again.

2 Timothy 4:1-22

The Message (MSG)

1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

Men & Women

A husband and wife’s journal from the same day:


Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset I was a bit late, but he didn’t mention it.

Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet to talk. He agreed, but he didn’t say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, ‘Nothing.’ I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it.

On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior. I don’t know why he didn’t say, "I love you, too." When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent.

Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep. I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.


Boat won’t start; can’t figure out why.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! It's Thursday and will be until it turns in to Friday. Today is yesterday's tomorrow, but in some ways, it could be argued, tomorrow never comes. Can you tell I have little to say this morning? This scares me because today is sermon prep today. Creativity - where are you? Oh well, maybe he, or is it a she, will show up later.
I hope you have a great day!

I Love Her

I bought a dress this week! I’m not one to buy dresses, but I saw this dress in a store that I’m associated with and just had to have it! It’s for my granddaughter who will be born in January.

Even though I’ve not met her, I have a love for her that almost makes me melt when I think about it. How can I love someone so much?

I love her because she is a part of me and related to me. I love her at a very deep emotional level, and later on, when I may not feel all these feelings, I will still love her unconditionally. I’ve made that decision.

It’s very helpful to realize God loves us like that! From the moment of your conception he has loved you and will love you forever. Look at these interesting passages of Scripture.

Psalm 139:13-16

. . .You created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Job 10 (The Message)

Oh, that marvel of conception. . .
What a miracle of skin and bone, muscle and brain.
You gave me life itself, and incredible love.
You watched and guarded every breath I took.

Oh, how he loves us!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Good morning! It's on the cool and damp side out there, but I don't see any snowflakes. I miss the October weather. Maybe it will return in November? All the winter forecasts seem to think it is going to be a cold and snowy winter. I'll make my prediction in April. I think it will be very accurate.

Ben and I went to the doctor yesterday and found out his ankle is not broken, which was a great relief. It is sprained. The doctor had a fancy lace-up brace in his office, so Ben is all fixed up and ready to go for Friday night. I'm glad. It would have disappointing for his season and career to have ended last week and not even know it.

With a funeral on Monday and a doctor's visit yesterday, I am running a little behind this week, but that's OK. I been around long enough to know that I'll catch up and it will all be OK. I need to have a really good, productive day today.

I'm reading through the Bible this year, and so far I'm still on schedule. It's always a challenge to stay on schedule, but I make it a priority, and it's one of the first things I do in the morning. I'm reading through The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson. I like it for the most part. This morning I read this, which was a good reminder for me. It's from 2 Timothy.

So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain.

For many years I found the word and the concept of faithfulness to be the key and the main thing for me. I believe that's what Paul is getting at here. Being faithful regardless of what is going on around you will sustain you. Right?

Oh! The picture? This 5 foot beauty came into the Store yesterday. It is made of tin and is pretty cool. I'm not sure where it would be proudly displayed, though Ben wants it. I think Kedra said no.

OK, I need to get after it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

So Simple

Karl Barth, who died in the late 60s, was a famous theologian of the 20th century. He is known, among other things, for his thirteen volume theological work, Church Dogmatics. He was a brilliant thinker and thoroughly thorough, probing depths of knowledge beyond many.

On his only trip to the U.S., in 1962, after a lecture that wowed the crowed of theologians, someone asked him what was the most important and profound thing to consider. The audience waited, anticipating some great truth to be eloquently articulated.

It was indeed a great truth eloquently articulated, but it was not what the crowd expected. After a short, but dramatic, pause, Barth said, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

God’s love is beyond full comprehension yet it is accessed simply by the simplest.

John 3:16 — "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! Did you know today is National Nut Day? How to celebrate? I think I'll just be myself today. They, whoever they are, say that you are what you eat, and I do eat a lot of nuts. Cashews are my favorite. By far. Brazil nuts are my least favorite. I knew you were dying to know this information. You're welcome.

OK, it's a little on the chilly side out there, and I guess it is going to stay this way for a little while. I think this is November's weather. It's all OK with me.

Last evening a confluence of factors lead to some frustration. I decided to drive to Bedford to run with my friends. I have not spent much time with them of late and needed some encouragement. As I took off, my truck decided to only run on some of its cylinders. I persevered, thinking the others would join in. They didn't. Is this the end?  As I was getting ready to run, Ben called to say the trainer thinks his ankle could be broken. As I was processing that, along with thinking about my truck, I had to abandon the run after 2 miles. Stupid hamstring. Black dots. (See post next to this one.)

I went home. The fact I made it was the first encouraging thing, and then I started thinking about Kedra, my beautiful wife, and then I continued counting my blessings. My hamstring will heal, and the truck can either be fixed or replaced, and hopefully Ben's ankle is not broken. It's all going to be OK. I will take Ben to the doctor today sometime. All opportunities to trust and grow.

I hope you have a great day!
What do you think?

What's Your Focus?

A small town chamber of commerce invited a speaker for its annual dinner. The community’s economy was bad and people were discouraged. They wanted this motivational speaker to give them a boost.

During her presentation, the speaker took a large piece of white paper and made a small black dot at the center. Then she held the paper up and asked the audience what they saw.

"I see a black dot."

"Okay, what else?"

Others said: "A black dot."

"Don’t you see anything else?"

A resounding "No!" came from the audience.

"What about the sheet of paper?"

Then she added this:

"We tend to overlook and take for granted many wonderful things we have or happen around us, focusing our attention on small, dot-like failures and disappointments. The problems we have are usually like the black dot on the paper: small and insignificant if we can widen our horizon and look at the whole picture."

– Author Unknown

As Paul followed Jesus in this world, he suffered a lot, but instead of focusing on black dots, he saw them against the backdrop of God’s love, knowing God would use those dots for eternal purposes.

We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Lord, help me keep the dots in perspective, focusing on you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Get Over Grouchy

In our last post we talked about being grouchy. Two days later I saw an article entitled, "6 Ways to Un-Grouch a Grump." Wow! Timely.

Here are the 6 ways listed:

1. Schedule grouchy time. Get by yourself and let it rip. Complain and enjoy your misery. Then stop.

2. Do something silly. Intentionally. Jump in a rain puddle.

3. Eat happy food. Some foods can change your mood: muscles, seafood, eggs, and leafy greens.

4. Do something kind. Think of ways to bless the lives of others. Acts of kindness, random or otherwise, can help you.

5. Name your grouch. Give your grumpy side a name. Naming it helps you to realize it is not your true identity.

6. Be good to your gut. One word: fiber.

OK, what do you think about that? I’m not sure about all of them. Jump in a puddle? Silly for sure.

The one that stands out to me is #4. I have learned that when I think of others and do something for them, I feel better. Consider this:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 2:3-5

You get over grouchiness by following Jesus! Have a grouch-free week!

Monday a.m.

Good morning! I'm back live and in person. I took last week off from blogging. I kept most of my other duties but let this go. It was fall break. Kedra and Ben were around as a result, and it just changes things around the house. I really enjoyed it.

This week is starting off to be a little extra busy, which is fine. Today I have a funeral to do in Shoals. I need to finish that this morning and then head west. It is a fairly easy funeral to prepare. It is for one of the finest men I've known.

He was a member of the Shoals church where I preached for a few years, several years ago. He was always an encourager. Always. Rare but greatly appreciated bird. It seems lately that I have been wading in death, up to my neck. Whether associated with our church family or my family or the community, there has been more than usual. I confess it really wears on me. Today's funeral will be helpful, believe it or not. It will remind me of, and allow me to articulate, the faith that sustains me.

On the endurance athletic front, I've been riding more than running. My right hamstring was bothering me quite a bit. I think it is getting better. I will push it a little this week to see. I have the Rocket City Marathon coming up in December, so I need to be getting the miles in.

Ben's regular season career is now over. We have a sectional game Friday night. He got nicked up a little Friday night, early in the game. He's a tough kid. He was out for a series getting his ankle taped up and continued playing. He could barely walk Saturday, but I think it is going to be fine. It has been a long season.

OK, gotta get on the move! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I didn’t see until late in the day, but it didn’t really matter. Last Tuesday was National Grouch Day! I’m usually not grouchy (that’s my perception of me, anyway), but I felt that way a little on Tuesday. When I feel that way, I try to avoid people. You’re welcome.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a grouch is described as a person who complains frequently or constantly or a habitually irritable or complaining person. Do you know anyone who is chronic grouch? They don’t celebrate it once a year. No, it’s their way of life. Gripe, complain, grouse, mutter... Grouch! And they are not as much fun as Oscar on Sesame Street.

There are lots of reasons, I suppose, for people to be grouchy, but for the followers Jesus, well, we shouldn’t be that way. Sure, we have our moments, but we have been baptized into peace and joy.

One time someone said, describing a grouchy church member, "I think they were baptized in vinegar." That’s pretty funny and, sadly, an accurate description! I hope you will join me as I strive to live by the song that is rooted in deep theological reflection:

Booster, be a booster, don’t be grouchy like a rooster. . .

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


It’s Fall Break where I live. It sure seems a lot of people took off to go somewhere. I am a bit envious ( in a God-honoring way, of course).

Why is that we want to get away, to go somewhere, anywhere but here? As soon as an opportunity presents itself, vroom vroom, we are gone! Out of here! G.O.N.E.

Since I’m stuck here, wishing I was somewhere else, I’ve been thinking about this. Is our desire to vacate tied to the way we live? Probably. Alabama captured it pretty well:

I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why

We proudly embrace a self-validating "busyness" and take so little time to experience reflective rest. That’s the way it seems to me anyway.

Jesus knew about busyness at a level beyond our imagination. He even tried to control the crowds, it seems, by telling people he healed to not tell others.

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. (Luke 5:15)

Can you imagine the crowds? Jesus was compassionate and loving dealt with them. I don’t think he took vacations, so how could he do it? Maybe this is the key:

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)

Key words: Often, Withdrew, Lonely Places, Prayed.

I need to work on this. Maybe a vacation would help? Oops, there I go again.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Insult to Injury

Over the weekend, Matt Schaub, the quarterback for the Houston Texans, went down in the third quarter of the game with an ankle injury. To add insult to his injury, some of the fans in the stadium cheered! They were happy he was hurt.

Who cheers for a man who is injured? In Houston it was people frustrated and angry with him, disappointed because of unmet expectations regarding his performance and that of the team.

Has anyone ever "cheered" for your misfortune/pain, adding insult to an injury? Yeah, me too, but I also know this. I have celebrated the pain of others, and I’m guessing you have as well. Whether adding insult to another’s injury or receiving it from another, it’s probably for the same reasons the fans in Houston cheered. Disappointment. Anger. Unmet expectations. Lots of other stuff.

Sometimes we like to see others suffer, just a little at least. We need to repent, realizing our Lord does not add insult to our injuries, even though, I’m sure, we disappoint him a lot. What does he do? He invites us to bring our injuries and insults, and the burdens they bring, to him.

Matthew 11:28,29 — "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

I want to continue to grow, becoming more like that, more like him.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


One SONG can spark a moment

One FLOWER can wake the dream

One TREE can start a forest

One BIRD can herald spring

One SMILE begins a friendship

One HANDCLASP lifts a soul

One STAR can guide a ship at sea

One WORD can frame the goal

One VOTE can change a nation

One SUNBEAM lights a room

One CANDLE wipes out darkness

One LAUGH will conquer gloom

One STEP must start each journey

One WORD must start a prayer

One HOPE will raise our spirits

One TOUCH can show you care

One VOICE can speak with wisdom

One HEART can know what is true

One LIFE can make a difference.

                                                       --Author Unknown

You are important! Your life is important, and you can make a difference for good or bad. The choices you make, one at a time, are the determining factor.

Focus on following The One, the one and only Son of God, and be aware of the ones around you watching the way you live.

One life, your life, can make a difference forever.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday a.m.

Good morning! What another beautiful day is unfolding. Perfect weather, in my opinion. We are going to start the day by feeding Ben and his fellow football seniors. Kedra thinks she has made way too much food. We'll see. The bottom line is that I'm getting a really good breakfast this morning - ha ha!

Rebecca is coming home for Senior Night, so that is a nice bonus for us. I miss my girl so much. She adds lots of life and joy when she is around.

Today I hope to finish up all my work this morning, and then Scott and I have a good ride planned this afternoon. I think we will do something in the 30-40 range. The weather should be perfect for it.

My leg is still doing weird things on the run. The pain/discomfort keeps moving around. Yesterday it headed south and my calf knotted up on me. I am hoping it keeps moving around as it figures out a way to exit. I need a long run in the morning and will give it a shot, but I'm not completely confident it will happen.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Friday Funny

The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady who had just married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life and what it was like to marry again at 80. Then he asked about her new husband’s occupation.

"He's a funeral director," she answered.

"That’s Interesting," the newsman responded. He decided to ask a follow-up question.

"What occupations did your first three husbands have?"

She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. A smile came to her face as she explained she married a banker in her 20s, then a circus ringmaster in her 40s, and a preacher in her 60s, and now, of course, in her 80s, a funeral director.

The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.

She smiled and explained, "I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Good morning! How are you on this fine day? It is going to be so so nice today. I hope later today I can get outside and enjoy some it.

It is a little warmer this morning than the last couple of days. It is still just about the perfect running temp, at least in my opinion. I am still working through my little problem with my glute, but I believe it is getting better. It needs to get better really quick if I am going to have a decent Rocket City Marathon.

I wish I had something exciting to tell you this morning, but my life is just clipping along in a pretty normal way. Today is sermon prep today, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I am dealing with some forms of suffering. There is always a lot of interest in the topic. We are all too familiar with it.

Friday night is Senior Night for Ben. It is so hard to believe that we have arrived at this point. I remember going through this with Lester, back in 2005. I find all these things to be a little easier the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time through. We've already had 3 children graduate and move into new phases of life, so we are getting pretty experienced at this kind of thing, I suppose.

Ben is going to take a few snaps at quarterback on Friday night. That should be pretty interesting. I hope it goes well. We play another tough opponent on Friday. Paoli. I hope we can catch them looking past us and give them a surprise. The weather for tomorrow evening looks great. We have been blessed with fairly mild weather all season. A little rain during 2-3 games is all we have had to deal with.

Next up: run! I love watching the sun come up. Thanks for stopping by.

What time is it?

It’s getting about time to craft your Christmas wish list. How about this? A Tikker Watch!

This watch is really different. You enter your age, weight, eating habits, exercise patterns, vices or lack thereof, and family history. It considers, calculates and then displays years, months, days, minutes, and seconds, counting down until your death!

Fredrik Colting, the inventor, explains it is not meant to be a morbid reminder of death but a way "to cherish the time and the life that we have been given, to honor it, suck the marrow from it, seize the day and follow our hearts. And the best way to do this is to realize that seconds, days and years are passing never to come again."

An investor in the project says it is not about how time you have but what you do with it. OK, I like that. I like the idea of living with an awareness of my mortality and the promise of eternity.

From Hebrews 9:27,28, I know this:

Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.

So I/we say this everyday:

Psalm 118:24 — This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I don’t need a Tikker. I can live each day joyfully and with confidence in the future. How about you?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


I'm still not tired of this one - ha ha! How are you on this favorite day of camels? We rode by the camels last night on our ride. They seemed pretty pumped. I guess they were anticipating today?

Last night was a nice night for a ride. Scott, John, and I rode 21+ miles. James met us and rode out for a while. He was on call, so he stays close enough that he can respond in a very timely fashion. It was good to see him, even if it was for a little while.

The ride last night was friendly. No one was in a mood to push, so we just enjoyed the ride. Just for fun, here is two looks at my ride: Garmin Connect and Strava. I forgot to turn my Garmin on until we were almost a mile into the ride. It is certainly nothing to write home about, but it was a very pleasant evening.

It was so good to be back on the bike. I am going to have to figure out a way to get on it a little more before the weather turns too bad. One of my goals for the year was to ride outside in every month. All that's left is November and December. It should be doable.

Yesterday was a full and varied day. I really enjoy what I do and am often consciously thankful for all the different opportunities I have. I never get bored. I got to spend some time with a few folks that I don't see too often but always enjoy when I do.

Today I begin the day with early run, before an 8:30 meeting. The rest of the day will be filled with a little of that and some of this. Interruptions will play a key role as well. I will welcome them as ministry opportunities.

Today is Kedra's birthday. The kids and I all went together and bought her a very romantic gift! A dishwasher. We had been without for quite a while. She was actually pretty happy with the gift. She is just about to wrap up her student teaching and her second degree, which is a huge accomplishment. I am very proud of her. She has worked really hard for the last couple of years to make it all happen.

I hope you have a really enjoyable day! The weather should help you out.

Silent Presence and Protection

During the long dark nights of suffering and uncertainty, we long to see, hear, or feel the presence of God, but sometimes we feel nothing but the silence and the darkness. Here is a story I found and find helpful.

A tribe of Native Americans had a special rite of passage that transformed boys into young braves. When a boy turned thirteen he was blindfolded and taken deep into the woods. There he was left to fend off the fears of the night.

The young man had never been apart from his family until that night. He had been thoroughly taught about the night, its dangers, and how to survive. The training was now put to the test. Would he trust the training and be courageous?

After being placed in the middle of unfamiliarity, he removed his blindfold and saw nothing but loneliness barely illuminated by the thin slice of the moon and distant stars. The darkness and solitude magnified every sound of the woods. What dangers lurked nearby?

After a very long night, the first signs of daylight broke through heavy tree canopy. The young brave, successfully enduring the night, began to see trees and then a path. As his eyes began down the path, he was startled.

His eyes focused on a fierce warrior only a short distance away. The warrior had bow and arrow in hand, ready to stop any threat. It was the boy’s father. He had silently kept watch through the night.

Silent presence and protection. Thank you, Father.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Spinning Plates

The other day while doing a little yard work, I noticed a lot of things that needed my attention. A quick tinge of "overwhelmedness" hit me. It’s a familiar feeling. You know it too; I’m sure. It was easy to get rid of in the yard. It was all stuff that can wait and not that important. Life outside the yard is a bit different.

Have you seen those plate spinning people?

They start spinning more and more plates, trying to keep them all going at the same time. Tension mounts as they have to run back to first ones to keep them going and then rush to others that are about to crash. I don’t like watching them. It reminds me too much of the way I live life.

As I move on in years, I see the impossibility of keeping all the plates spinning. Everything we are spinning may be good, but if we spin too many things, then we are replacing joy with stress. Anyone hear me?

What to do? Prioritize. Spin the important ones and spin them well. Won’t some plates crash to ground? Yes. Carefully prioritize in/with/through prayer, and then let it be and be at peace.

Here is the key. The Kingdom of God and its priorities are the true path to peace. Jesus said this in Matthew 6:33.

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Spin the important plates first–faith and family–then the other stuff will fall into place, and if a few plates fall to the ground, then so be it.

Tuesday a.m.

This is amazing to me!
Good morning! I think you can click on the photo to make it bigger, if not you can click here to see just how big Africa is. Wow! Africa is on my list. I really want to go there. There are so many things I would like to see, including the Nile River and lions and tigers and...

Looks like a nice cool morning is going to turn into a warm day. I love October. I need to get out and get my run done a little earlier this morning. I have a meeting to attend, and I'm hoping it has breakfast!  I ran 6 yesterday morning, and my glute really protested. I'm not sure what that means.

I drove the cross country bus to Oolitic last night for the junior high team. Larry M is one of the coaches, and he had one of those roller torture things. I used it on my sore muscle until I was about to cry. This morning's run should be interesting. He and others swear by the device.

This week is meeting week. I have one this morning and another one in the morning. That changes everything a little bit, so I have really be on my toes and not waste any time. I got a lot done yesterday, so I am off to a good start.

This evening we are going for a bike ride. Our usual 37 miler is now down to a 20 miler, due to daylight issues. I have missed the last 2-3 weeks, so I may have trouble keeping up. I have noticed the average pace for the entire ride is close to 20 mph. Oh well, I know the way back home - ha ha.

This week's sermon prep is interesting. I'm entering into that mysterious world of suffering. There are lots of ways to think about it. This week, using primarily Hebrews 12, I will think through the lens of suffering as discipline. It's a very tricky area. I don't think all suffering is loving discipline, but some of it probably should be understood in that way. But when?

This is a good book to think through suffering. I read it recently, It is Yancey updating an older work of his that I have found very helpful in the past.

OK, need to run. Literally.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Back at Thinking Along with you and back from a recently attempted trip to Honduras. Let’s think about that.

We asked, and St. Vincent Dunn Hospital said yes. We could have an ambulance for a small hospital in Ojojona, Honduras. The plan was to drive it there. We prayed and planned, weighing out lots of things. Aware of the various risks involved, we made a decision to trust God, believing the trip to be his will (James 4:13-15).

At the Mexican border, we ran into frustrating obstacles. Hours later, it became clear the complete driving trip was not going to happen. We peacefully accepted it, knowing the trip to the US/Mexican border was not in vain, and that by shipping it, the ambulance will still be used to serve the poor.

A verse came quickly to mind as we were leaving the Mexican border, Acts 16:6,7.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

I’m not Paul and our trip certainly was different from the one he was on, yet there are some important principles for us. You carefully plan, pray, and persist, striving to discern the Lord’s will. Even when you do that, there are going to be times when those plans are changed.

I wonder why, but I have no specific questions. The essence of faith is living in the unknown, living with change, and still trusting God.

Monday a.m.

Good morning! I hope you are good on this new day in this new week. Did you enjoy the weekend? The weather was interesting, to say the least. I enjoyed the weekend. It was fairly relaxing. It got off to a good start on Friday. I got my work done and then was able to get some things done around the house.

Since I was unsure if I would be back from Honduras, I had someone else drive the football bus Friday. Of course I was back, but I was content to not drive. It was a nice time for Kedra and I to use a gift card at Red Lobster in Clarksville. After a nice meal it was on to Providence for football.

As we thought, it was an ugly game. Ben played well and actually lined up in the back field for a few carries. He playing career is coming to a close. I love watching him play.

Saturday I worked my way through a 10 miler. I think my hamstring/glute issue is getting better. I will find out, here in a little while. The 10 miler was slow and ugly, but it got done. I had hoped to ride later in the day, but the rain came in. My bike time has really dwindled in the last couple of weeks. I hope to ride tomorrow evening with the group.

Yesterday was a day of church and football. I love the horse teams. You know, the Colts and Broncos. The only reason I like the Broncos is because of Manning. And wasn't that a game? Wow!

OK, here we go!

Friday, October 04, 2013


Deer season has opened
Good morning! Friday. I hope you have a good one! I have a busy one ahead, which is fine and dandy. And just what does that mean? Fine and dandy. I just looked it up. Here is a quick answer, which is probably not true (my opinion), and here is one that you won't want to read because it is long and boring. Let's just go with the first one, shall we? Fine and dandy!

OK, here I am again on a Friday without being prepared for Sunday, but that's alright. I had a little extra going on this week earlier. I should be able to get everything under control by midday, I hope.

Ben has a football game tonight in Clarksville at Providence. I am afraid this one could get really ugly. They are probably the best team we will see all season, and last night Ben told us we have several key kids out with injuries, including 2 of our bigger linemen. Oh well. We are just praying no one gets hurt.

I hope to get some good running and riding done this weekend. Plans are starting to take shape. . . My hamstring problem has moved north, which is a real pain in the rear. Glute. I ran 5 yesterday and it made its presence known the whole time. I will push it tomorrow, go longer, and see what happens.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Thursday a.m.

Crossing from US to Mexico
Hey, has anyone seen my get-up-and-go? It must have got up and went without me. Dragging. Maybe this second cup of Honduran coffee with bring it back. I have learned to keep moving and keep doing even when you don't feel like it. I think that's called responsibility, duty, discipline, etc. ha ha.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I wasn't supposed to be in Mitchell yesterday, so it gave me some opportunities to do some things I needed to do. I worked on getting my Think Along daily thoughts back up and running. I am changing the format and the way I will disseminate those, which makes getting them going again a little more challenging. I'm just about there. I hope to start on Monday.

The Give Thanks 4 race is coming up soon, so I did considerable work on it yesterday. I hope I have persuaded the Mag 7 guys to open online registration. This will be our 4th year of running it. It is a very enjoyable event.

Speaking of running, the Persimmon 5K happened on Saturday. I had a pretty mediocre run. I was fighting my right hamstring all the way and settled for a 22.23, which is about a minute off what I've done the last couple of years, I think.

It was still a fun event. Luke, Lydia, and Rebecca all ran. Lester was busy running a marathon. He had some problems, probably heat associated, but finished with a 3:20ish time. It was another good experience on his quest to break 3 hours. The marathon is a beast that is so hard to tame.

Today is prep for Sunday day. I'm hoping my get-up-and-go comes back soon! I hope you have a really good day!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Tuesday a.m. and I'm not in Mexico

Good morning from the Rio Grande Valley. I am in a little town not far from Brownsville and will fly out around 1 this afternoon. Plans often change and we experienced that significantly yesterday.

Lester and I left Mitchell at 12.15 on Sunday afternoon and drove the former ambulance through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and into Oklahoma, where we picked up Marc Tindall in Norman. We then kept heading south. We met Bobby Moore outside of DFW airport.

Bobby is a friend of Marc's and had some supplies to take down to Honduras for others. After meeting him, we dropped Lester at DFW so he could fly home, which he did. Marc and I continued driving through the night.

We got to the Mexican border around 10:30 local time. We entered at one place but were turned around by the Mexicans because we were not in a "tourist" vehicle. We left Mexico and went down the river a few miles and crossed over again.

After 2-3 hours of frustration, we were rejected. The issue? First they said, even though the paper work says "truck," it still looks like an ambulance. Marc successfully argued that one away. Then the issue was the weight of the vehicle. It was too heavy for a regular tourist vehicle. They actually showed us the regulation on that one.

There was/is a way to fix the problem. It was to hire an agent who, for a hefty fee, would get all the paperwork in order to give us a permit to drive a heavy vehicle through. We started the process but quickly realized it was going to be expensive, delay us one day at the start, likely delay us a day at the Guatemala border, and that we would probably have the same issue in Guatemala.

What to do? Have it shipped on the back of a flatbed truck, which is what will happen. That's not cheap either, but that's what is going to happen. The ambulance is parked now at a place where it will be picked up next week. Marc and his friends have used this flatbed driver before, and the guy knows all the tricks, evidently, for getting stuff through.

All the supplies we were taking down are locked in the back. Hopefully, and I believe this, they will arrive safely to bless the people of Honduras. The bottom line is that the ambulance will still reach its destination and will still be put to good use.

What do we learn? Here's what I wrote in another place:

I will not question what happened. We tried in good faith to do what we thought was consistent with the Lord's will. We persisted in it until it was clear that we needed to do something else. The bottom line is the ambulance will be put into good use blessing people, and that was the goal from the beginning. Plans change but the goal remains the same: serve people in the name of the Lord. Thanks again for all your prayers!

Do I wish the outcome were different? Of course but we gave it a good shot. Last night after the long, long, long day, Marc and I got a good meal. Then I fell asleep and slept for 10+ hours. That is a long, long time for me. It felt great!

Now I am getting some work done. Later this morning I will check out and fly home, arriving around 7.30. It was an adventure that didn't turn the way we planned, but most of life is like that. Right? I got to spend some nice time with Lester and Marc. Thanks, again, for your prayers.