Archive for October, 2007

I was encouraged by this article to write about the blogs I read and share why I read them, with you my readers. So here it goes!

I am a huge Ohio State fan, born and raised in southern Ohio with pretty much my entire family attending it seems pretty logical.  Each year Ohio State Football is a HUGE deal, even now as I live in the Hoosier state, I am still a BUCKEYE!  We even went to a game awhile back.

The best way I’ve found to stay up on what is happening in Buckeye Country is by reading the Columbus Dispatch’s Buckeye Blog: Blogging the Buckeyes.

During the week reporters hit on news topics concerning the team and on game day they provide snippets throughout the game. This is a little less formal than the actual news reports submitted to the paper and provides a more interactive approach to Buckeye news.

So if you are a fan of the best football team in the country be sure to check this blog out.

 

 

 

 

 

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This past weekend we got to experience some amazing displays of created beauty in North Carolina.  We went down for job interviews and with our free time decided to drive for awhile on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We traveled from MP 291 to MP 316. 

It was a foggy, cool, rainy day but since we had limited time and it was peak leaf watching season we decided to set out and see what we could see! We were treated to some amazing sights including the Linville Falls and Linn Cove Viaduct. Part way through our journey, the clouds and fog lifted and we were treated to some amazing views! Here is a sampling with plenty more here and a video of the sweeping landscape and Linville Falls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is our part in the world today? As Christians we are called to a “Higher Calling” than our neighbors, but what does that mean?

I know that those are some of the questions I struggle with at different times.  I really wish I could have heard the message at Church on this topic, but I was busy doing a run through for our new student-focused Sunday service called Aftershock. 

This is a new Sunday morning experience designed specifically for middle and high school students.  It will be very high energy, with teens playing in the worship band and taking part in the drama.  This is a big step for the 3 year old ministry of The Bridge Community Church. Our hope is that kids from across the area will come check out this event that occurs each Sunday at 11:27 at a local high school (our entire church meets there).

This weekly service will be supplemented by, what look to be, great small groups that will meet in place of our mid-week gathering.  I am very excited about this new adventure, I have been with the student ministry for 2 1/2 years.  It is an interesting time in my life since I am looking for a job and moving away.  It is hard to know how much to invest and what commitments I can make while at the same time wanting to invest my energy into helping impact our communities youth.  It has been a struggle. I would like to be a part of the small groups, but know that it wouldn’t be a good idea to “abandon” them at a crucial point in the development cycle of the groups.  So I have taken a more “behind the scenes” approach and offer support for everyone and just provide my presence and continue building relationships with some of the kids who have been there since the beginning (many of them know I am planning to move).

I have enjoyed this as My Part of serving Christ and learning more about youth and youth programming.  There is more from the service, based on what my wife and others have said. 

The synopsis from the journaling sheet says:

This week, Chris shared about the horror of “if only” and the miracle of our presence.  These are simple yet profound things to not just think about but to grab hold of with great intent.  As we prioritize our lives, we need constantly ask ourselves whether or not the way we live is fulfilling the part that we play in this life before we leave this place.

I was told he talked a lot about “self-talk” and both positive and negative self-perceptions can impact our reliance on God and His provisions.  We may put ourselves down too much and feel useless, or we may be prideful and forget why we are positive.

He also talked about our part being holier than our neighbors.  Not in a negative “holier than thou” way, but in an internal “how should I react to this situation in order to honor and please God” type of way. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33 NIV

For this series they provided journaling questions:

  • Do you see yourself as having something valuable?
  • What would it take for you to see every moment as gold?
  • What moments will you face today that you need to seize?
  • Who has been there for you in the critical moments of your life? Did they fully know their impact on your life at the time?
  • Miracles are all around us – do you see it? Are you a part of it? How do you know?
  • Write a prayer to God about your desire to do your part.
  • Write about what you have learned about God and yourself this week.

 

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was AMAZING! It was hard to place this book down and was so compelling that my wife wanted me to start reading it out loud to her halfway through.

Kingsolver brilliantly tells a story about a family from Georgia who moves to the Congo as missionaries before the world turns upside down and Congo becomes independent from their colonial rulers.  This is a work of historical fiction as she weaves the story of the Congo into the lives of 4 women and a unfortunate man. In her own words

This is a work of fiction. Its principal characters are pure inventions with no relations on this earth, as far as I know.  But the Congo in which I placed them is genuine.  The historical figures and events described here are as real as I could render them with the help of recorded history, in all its fascinating variations.

The story is told by Orleanna Price (mother), Rachael, Leah, Adah (twin of Leah) and Ruth May.  Each person narrates for awhile in their own distinct personality and perspective.  They talk about what is happening, their feelings, and their interaction with each other and their father, Nathan.  From the beginning you can begin to see how their fundamental Christian faith is not going to benefit them much as they negotiate a new and vastly different culture.

The story doesn’t end when tragedy strikes, because that is when the story really gets interesting.  I recommend this Oprah’s Book Club book to everyone.  It highlights the problems of Westerners bringing their own ideas and culture into the developing world and being so rigid that no good can come from it. 

 

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I was encouraged by this article to write about the blogs I read and share why I read them, with you my readers. So here it goes!

Jubilee USA Network is part of the international Jubilee movement which is applying the Biblical idea of Jubilee to international debt and the developing world. Blog the Debt is

Jubilee USA’s notes on debt and economic justice. Cancel Debt. Eliminate Poverty.

I enjoy reading their well-written posts about progress, action points, information, and much more.  They powerfully use media, guest posts, and other web elements to keep me up-to-date on the latest news. 

For example: Did you know that Liberia has taken Herculean steps to meet the IMF’s standards for debt cancellation, only to be told it wasn’t good enough?

I highly recommend subscribing to this blog if you are concerned about international development, debt cancellation, and social justice.

 

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On a picture perfect fall morning about 4,500 gathered at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Lawrence, Indiana for an excellent Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K.  I felt great in the morning and lined up with my pacing buddy at the front of the pack.  It was a bit chilly at the start, I think in the mid-50’s but was able to stay warm up until the end because my wonderful wife was taking my warm clothes for me!

This is an interesting course because it makes a couple of circles and loops, but is excellent for spectators! The course was very well supported with 21 water stops for the full marathon, it seemed like almost one every mile (the last half of the marathon was an out-and-back so it is possible that they were every mile). I guess in previous years they had some type of powergel available at three aid stations, but this year only at two (both past the half-split).  The race festivities started 10 minutes later than expected, so we were in the corrals for about 15-20 minutes waiting.  People were walking around prior to the race passing out cards from the photography company.  This was a little crazy, because where am I going to put it?  The craziest part, some guy was walking across the starting line passing them out to all the runners at the very front!

Looking back on the race it was probably one of the toughest I ever done and I probably felt the worst afterwards.  I’ll say it was moderately hilly with a major hill right after the 10 mile mark.  Miles 5-8 were mostly flat, but the rest had noticeable hills.  My overall time was 1:37:31 (7:26).  This is actually my second fastest half ever and definitely the toughest course (my PR is 1:34:57 on a mostly flat course) and my goal was 1:30:00.

We started out a little fast, but not an uncomfortable 6:35 first mile.  It was pretty flat and we came through the second mile at 6:39.  We then proceeded down 56th Street which has some large rolling hills and hit mile three at 6:43 (so around 20:30 for the first 5K).  My race plan was to take 2 Clif Shot Bloks around every 5K, so running through a neighborhood loop I reached into my pocket for them and they were GONE! They must have bounced out of the pockets of my Brooks Men’s Sherpa Short II

I think this created a mental barrier that later became insurmountable.  This was to be my first half-marathon taking any energy supplements.  The plan was to help ward off the late mileage time drops in other halfs. I came through 4 at 6:54.  At this point we were running back by all the other runners on 56th Street.  Somewhere I missed the 5 mile mark (maybe because of the crowds).  I knew I should be seeing my wife again soon and that she had a half-eaten Clif Bar (Spice Pumpkin Pie) in one of the outside pockets of her backpack. So I began looking intently for her.

I came through mile 6 at 13:54 (2 miles) which would make the 10K around 41:48 (my PR is 41:28).  This began another out and back section along 59th Street.  After tossing my sweaty gloves at my in-laws before entering the neighborhood next to theirs I went 7:15 through mile 7.  I was still 2 seconds ahead of my goal pace.  After leaving the neighborhood and returning along 59th Street I came through mile 8 at 55:24 about 30 seconds of goal pace.  I finally saw my wife and tried to eat some of the Clif bar while running, I saved a cup of water from the aid station, but that didn’t really help.  Clif Bars aren’t made for running! This was another hilly section and I hit mile 9 at 8:25. 

At this point we were inside Fort Harrison State Park, which has an almost 3 mile loop trail that goes up a long, somewhat steep hill.  Even after walking through the aid station I managed a 7:39 thanks to the long downhill! I walked through the aid station at the bottom and began girding myself for the long uphill mile, which I completed in 9:01.  Going through the rolling hills back towards the finish I got passed by a friend and tried to go with him, but struggled fiercely and couldn’t do it.  I came through mile 12 at 8:22.  With a mile to go I started trying to pick it up, I knew I was off pace, but also knew I could still finish under 1:40 which would be the best half I’ve run since 2006. At about 12.5 the half and full marathons split and I again thought ok, lets pick it up here… pushing a little harder, it seemed to take forever.  Then I finally saw the 26 mile mark, only .2 left.  Then the 13 mile mark, only .1 left.  Here I really started picking it up and “sprinted” past 2 people in the final chute area for a 0:38 last tenth (which is a 6:20 pace!) This resulted in an overall 1:37:31. 

It turned out to be a very mental race for me. I do think I became fatigued and the hills were rougher than I had anticipated, but I think the feeling of reaching for my Shot Bloks and them not being there sent a panic through my mind that never really went away.  I also struggle to keep pushing my body in those middle and late miles. I want to keep something in reserve so I can finish, but then I still have stuff left in the tank.  I also struggle with the idea of taking it too easy from the start, because then you have to pick up the pace and make up for the difference instead of having some time banked away that you can lose. But I know that almost hitting a 10K PR in a half-marathon isn’t a good idea!

Thanks for reading this long race review.  It was a great race. Let us hear about your race at the Indianapolis Marathon, or other race this weekend.

Pictures coming soon!

Check out race reviews from:

Run with Perseverance: Race Report: Indianapolis Marathon

Noob Runner

 Cross-posted at Run Central Indiana Team Cross World.

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The most important commandment is this… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Mark 12:29-31 NIV

Do you see non-Christians as objects to be converted or marks for your judgement and disdain? What does that say about your heart and your “love” for your neighbor? Do you think non-Christians or new believers would feel comfortable at your church or Christian function?

These were some of the questions presented Sunday at the beginning of a new series.  This was another impacting message as the pastor shared with us four experiences that changed his life and ministry focus.

I can relate to his experiences and have hopefully been able to remove many of the bad ideas and ministry styles from my life.  I’m sure I still slip and make mistakes that push people away from the church, but I try!

One experience was when a college student he was working at Arby’s with a bunch of teenagers who always talked about their party lifestyle, which included porn, alcohol and more.  He said he would judge and always be looking for ways to interject God and his Christian morals.  One day he had a revelation and started seeing them as peers and friends, inviting them over to his house, learning their interests, etc.  Eventually he said many of them came to know Christ.

I too have had moments where I was more worried about trying to “push” Christ and my values onto someone who really just needed a friend and some love.  I have seen the power of being a friend and sharing love not condemnation onto other people.  My memories of this are mostly from high school, where I know several people who were really hurt by condemning Christians.

Another experience was working with Youth for Christ.  During this focused outreach and ministry to non-Christian youth he came to realize that there was a huge cultural gap between Christians and non-Christians. When the kids became Christians they would try to enter the Christian culture and weren’t successful in making the transition or were pushed out by the cliquish-ness of it.

I would generally agree with this point because it is always hard to switch groups or try to break into a clique.  But I do think we have a higher calling to ensure that we aren’t exclusive in our Christian culture.  We should engage in culture and be able to relate to some degree with it.  We should also welcome with open arms anyone who wants to be a part of the body of Christ. 

Is there a difference between youth group and student ministries? Not necessarily, but grammatically the youth group is closed while a ministry is more open.  So it could be a subtle difference but may have a lasting impact. 

There were more examples but this is a good place to stop. 

This series also includes daily journaling opportunities. This week’s prompts are:

  • What things are nearest and dearest to your heart?
  • What things do you think are nearest and dearest to the heart of God?
  • What obstacles exist in your life that keep you from fully focusing on God?
  • How can you more fully live out the Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31)?
  • How can your more fully live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)?
  • Write a prayer to God about your desire to have a heart that is more like His.
  • Write about what you have learned about God and yourself this week.

 

 

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