Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It Has Begun

Well it's official. As of Monday May 8th, the madness has begun to start training for the

Philadelphia Marathon. Running is something I always hated growing up, and something I never thought I'd enjoy. However I'm slowly beginning to realize that as the things that I think i'll never do..keep ..going to Geneva..after going to high school 5 min from there, enjoying running, getting married after knowing somebody for less then a year, moving told myself many times in college I wanted to be out of the country soon after...yea..don't see that happening in the near future..not with plans of kids, and now entertaining the idea of something else I never thought I'd want to do ever again..yes..going back to school...not just that..but possibly going back to school for something in the "Health Science field" ...also an area of study that I swore I would never get into after taking a BIO class at Geneva, but now my eyes have been open anew to it. However looking back on the things I said I'd "never do", and seeing the outcome of those things really makes me love the fact that the Lord is in control and not me. Had those things not have happened how they did, I wouldn't have the friends I have now, probably wouldn't have worked at camp that one last summer.....where I met my wife..the list goes know the deal, probably with experiences from your own life.

Well sorry to get off track, let me get back to this marathon business. It wasn't until the summer after my Jr. Yr in college when I realized I had packed on too much college weight that running regularly became a reality. It started with 1 mile, that I barely finished..and little by little it increased. Since then I have done small races and even a half marathon, but before my knees give out and before I'm in the hospital every other week getting my back fixed, I figure I should try to tackle this beast in my 20's.

There are 26.2 reasons why running a marathon is going to be hard, — as in 26.2 miles from start to finish. When you run a marathon, you run..of course.. on hard streets. A friend was telling me how the impact of each stride is three to four times a runner's body weight, transferred from ankles to knees to hip. ( I'll deal with those ramifications in my 40's). With all the possible reasons I can come up with to not do this, I could come up with just as many increased discipline, more quality time outdoors...and how could I forget.. great-looking legs...riiight. I tried to tackle this once, but failed miserably in my training..and gave up. However this time, i'm hoping things are different. I have a nice long boardwalk that follows the ocean for many many miles, hopefully that will help. For me it's also a way of challenging myself to be a part of something a little bigger than myself, and to push myself physically and mentally in a way I never have. My knees have never been kind to me, and this won't help but my body will give up on me long before my mind ever will, and I am going to finish this, and soon will set a time that I want to finish in.

So my next deal is to find somebody to RUN IT WITH ME!. Yes..cmon you know you want to. It's in November, in the city that prides itself on Rocky Balboa. If you're a runner and you've ruled out a's the time to join me and rule it back in. I'll be waiting to hear from one of you...I HOPE. And yes..I'll try to find us those red tutu's that are in the above pic to run in.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Time is flying

Wow, I can't believe it's almost June again. I feel like life has been a huge blur this past year and half or so. I guess I should get used to it. Our church is gearing up to go to Mexico through the organization Back2Back ministries. We'll be heading out the last week in June. We'll be in Monterrey Mexico working with children's homes by doing service projects and spending quality time with the kids. One of the interesting facts I recently learned about Mexico was that there is no public assistance, and as a result, struggling single mothers end up abandoning their children to a children's home out of necessity. Also, most of these kids cannot be adopted. This is the churches fist time to go on a mission trip like this so we're all pretty excited. I'm excited because we have a good intergenerational group going. It's a good mix of Sr. High, College/young adult, and older adults.

On the summer front, this summer will be filled with VBS, events for youth here at the church, a couple weddings ( one being my sister), and some vacation time to see our parents. Then around August the little one will be on his/her way...!....ok that was a joke..just wanted to see if anybody read that far.

Recently I've been going back and reading parts of some of my favorite books. One of them by Brennen Manning is called The Ragamuffin Gospel. It's main theme is GRACE. Isn't that just a beautiful word? Here's a great quote from it that pretty much speaks for itself.

"Yet God gives us his grace willingly, no matter what we've done. We come to Him as ragamuffins, dirty, bedraggled, & beat up. And when we sit at his feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His furious love".

I just love that quote. I used to be in this funk back in the day. Trying real hard to keep my regimented schedule of devotions, prayer, and when I missed a day, I'd think back on what I did or didn't do and feel like lesser of a person if I was more on the "didn't do" end. It's easy for us to see God as a score keeper tallying our success & failures. That can get dangerous because it turns to what "we" do instead of God. The idea that personal discipline will mold a perfect us is wrong. Although personal discipline is good, and we have to make time to be with the Lord everyday, it still won't mold a perfect us. We'll get on these great patterns, and then we can fail and think we can pull ourselves up again, and when we can't it's easy to feel inadequate. I would get into these "highs and lows" over and over again. It was leading to a joyless Christianity for me.

I still remember part of a talk that one of my youth pastors in high school (Kent) gave back in the day. It was 6 or 7 yrs ago, so i don't remember much but one thing that he said that has stuck with me ever since is "When we try and try and try we can deny the gospel of grace".
It was at that point I remember thinking that I needed to stop denying this grace.

After all...none of us have done ANYTHING to deserve it. What a great God we serve huh? A God who in knowing our sin...still delights in us..that's pretty awesome. Let us all continue to take time and get to know the heart of God.