Archive for November, 2007

Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you,remember, were once strangers in Egypt. Don’t mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I’ll take them most seriously; I’ll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans. And if I hear the neighbor crying out from the cold, I’ll step in—I’m compassionate.”
Exodus 22:21-27 The Message

As millions suffer from this dreadful disease, we are full-swing into a self-centered, materialistic, holiday season.  If we want to put the Christ back in Christmas this is an excellent opportunity. Christ was about justice, not materialism or fighting to have His name displayed everywhere.

World AIDS Day is actually tomorrow (Dec 1) and is a day to focus on the AIDS pandemic and its impact on global structures.   The World AIDS Campaign has selected Leadership as its 2007 theme. From their site

Leaders are distinguished by their action, innovation and vision; their personal example and engagement of others; and their perseverance in the face of obstacles and challenges. However, leaders are often not those in the highest offices. Leadership must be demonstrated at every level to get ahead of the disease – in families, in communities, in countries and internationally. Much of the best leadership on AIDS has been demonstrated within civil society organisations challenging the status quo. (emphasis mine)

HIV rates are actually increasing throughout the world while at the same time less money and attention is being paid to the issue.  HIV/AIDS makes for good soundbytes for politicians but many have failed to take a leadership role and really step up to ensure that our promises are kept.

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. Psalm 33:5

World Vision offers you the opportunity to Learn, Act, and Give.

©2007 Jon Warren/World Vision
Country: Democratic Republic of
the Congo

They have focused on the 6,000 children who lose a parent to AIDS. The ONE Campaign has a good list of activities and organizations working on the issue posted on their blog. I would strongly encourage you to take action today.

Your help is vital to changing the world for our fellow citizens around the world who are struggling to survive, while you struggle to find a Wii.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Technorati tags: , , ,
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

According to an e-mail sent by the Genocide Intervention Network, the Senate had the opportunity to pass the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) and failed to due so, thanks to Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE).

SADA simply put will help protect state and local divestment and prohibit federal contracts with foreign companies helping to fuel the genocide. Legislators and activists have learned from past campaigns and have made sure that the bill will not hurt future business transactions with China and Sudan after the genocide has ended. A summary can be found here (pdf).

The bill sets benchmarks for the Government of Sudan that include:

(1) abide by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007); (2) cease attacks on civilians;(3) demobilize and demilitarize the Janjaweed and associated militias;(4) grant free and unfettered access for delivery of humanitarian assistance; and(5) allow for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

The House version of the bill passed back in July 418 – 1 (the dissenting vote was Republican/Libertarian Ron Paul). It would seem that something with such an overwhelming majority would be a no-brainer for passage.  An October article in the International Herald-Tribune quoted Hagel saying, “I don’t think we want to give local governments authority in foreign policy decisions.” He eventually stepped aside to let the bill out of committee but is now blocking the bill again.

Take Action and contact your Senators.  Find out how your congressional delegation scores related to Darfur issues at the Darfur Scorecard.

Additionally, the UN was finally given permission to supply a peacekeeping force into the Darfur area.  To ensure that this force is fully equipped and prepared for success the US and other nations must keep their financial promises.  It is that time of year where the budget is being finalized for 2008.  Make sure we keep our promises.

We can end this Genocide that is still killing thousands and displacing millions.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Perspectives brings you a high quality missions education/training course at the lowest possible cost to you. The material from 15 week course is brought to you by experts in the field in dynamic presentations. If taken through a university this course would be out of reach for many due to the expensive nature of education.

However, this year everyone can come the first night FREE to check it out!After that first experience most will want to keep coming back for the remaining 14 weeks so be sure to invite all of your friends for this first night event.

Enrollment Changes

The total cost of Perspectives is approximately $13 per week. Many of the speakers you will hear throughout the course charge much more to hear them at a workshop or other speaking engagement. Plus you get a free book (for the whole course) with many great articles and stories!

Perspectives in Anderson and Muncie has 4 enrollment options this year:

  • Certificate Students (required by some missions organizations) $200
  • Audit Students $200
  • Course for Credit $450 (credits through Trinity International University)
  • Alumni free refresher course!

This year’s fee structure is a little different. This price includes all of your materials and there is no discount for large groups. We have decided to offer the absolute lowest price for all students. Be sure to check with your church or current employer about having them sponsor you or sponsoring the Perspectives class in general.

What Others Say

I watched this class transform our leaders. Not only did we have an explosion of ministry, but evangelism efforts of our people went into overdrive!
Rev. Dan Scott – Senior Pastor, The Valley Cathedral, Phoenix AZ

The challenges presented to me through this course are thing I believe all (world) Christians should grapple with. 2007 Anderson Perspectives Student

This is a pretty biased statement since I am an alum of Taylor (2003), but it is supported by fact as well.

I recently received a letter seeking a donation, which is another topic.  Taylor has pretty good alumni giving rates and a pretty good advancement department.  But I digress.

The letter has some facts (also found in this news release) that prove that Taylor is

  • the best university, and
  • worth the $$$ of tuition (which is now probably over $100,000 for 4 years).

These stats won’t convince my wife to give Taylor any praise (she went to a local rival school) but I’m happy to spread the good word about my alma mater.

  • Taylor was ranked #1 by US News & World Report in the Midwest category of Baccalaureate Colleges. Highlighted areas include:
        • Ability to attract and retain some of the brightest students,
        • High graduation rate, and
        • High rates of Alumni loyalty (based on Alumni giving).
  • Taylor was ranked #2 for best value in the Midwest Baccalaureate Colleges.
  • Taylor was mentioned in the Top 24 of a national grouping based on strong study-abroad programs.  Other colleges included Georgetown, NYU, and Dartmouth (last year Taylor had almost 400 students in 31 countries).

My wife and I have been talking a lot lately about the cost of our education and the debt-burden that we now face.  Was it worth it for us to attend private schools? Was it worth the loans and “bondage” we are now in?? I would say, Yes and No.

Education is a priceless piece of your life and directly impacts your career and basically your whole future.  We are both frustrated at the many people (mostly women) who were able to go to these schools just to get their “Mrs. Degree.” Would tuition be more or less expensive without them? Who knows!

I don’t regret my decision and neither does she.  At a private Christian school you get so much more than book-learning.  You get the deep fellowship of living within a community of believers.  There is a bubble that gets created around any college, even more so at a small school in the middle of a corn field! But the bubble can be burst by being active in community activities.  I had lots of discussions with my family about the virtue of attending a private school versus a public school.

Ultimately, I wanted to have an education that was rooted in faith.  God provided the opportunity to attend Taylor and it was and is a sacrifice worth making!

Learn more about the great educational opportunities at Taylor.  This was not a paid advertisement!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

First, Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you and your family have a wonderful day of giving thanks.  I know I am thankful for much, includes my wonderful wife, friends, running, and you my fellow runners and blog friends!

In my first-ever Thanksgiving Day race I completed the 4.5 mile Drumstick Dash hosted by Tuxbro in Broad Ripple (Indianapolis). According to their website over 5,000 signed up for this 5th annual event. 

I traveled to the event with the Rayl family (Brian, Kelly, and Logan), all three of them completed the race! We all ran good races and had an excellent morning together!

The race began at 9am between Broad Ripple High School and the shopping plaza with the Running Company (event sponsor).  The high school’s electronic sign said the temperature was 32 degrees, the car thermometer read 38, and the official temperature from Tuxbro says 37.  So it was somewhere in the mid-30’s with gusting winds at the start.  Due to the wind I wore tights and a long-sleeve shirt and other runners were wearing as little as a singlet or shorts all the way to a guy in a parka and pants! It spit rain a few times and afterwards there was some white stuff falling too!

This race includes a turkey chase so we watched the 6 foot tall turkey ride through the crowd, high-fiving everyone, before he got about a minute running head start.  His captors (female and male) later finished the race 39th and 83rd (respectively), but their sprint from the start netted them some type of award. There were also some great costumes!

I ran with Logan for the first mile which ended in a neighborhood but included some of the major thoroughfares of Broad Ripple. We took it out at a comfortable pace and kept it relaxed while the large crowd sorted itself out.  They had people holding signs with pace times at the starting line so that you could line up in some type of order, which made for a pretty decent starting pack. We came through the first mile at 6:22.

The entire course was on roads, so nothing too exciting happened.  There were some people along the streets cheering, but not a lot.  The streets were a little wet from yesterday’s rain which caused some puddles in little dips and the side of the road.  One concern was that we were all taking the turns pretty close to the curb and there were leaves collected in the gutters which made it a little slippery.  Logan pulled away from me and I came through the 2nd mile at 6:28.

A water stop was available at about 2.5 miles which was also at the top of a hill.  Nothing real serious here, but just something to make you think about your stride and pace.  I took it in stride and I don’t think it bothered me too much.  Throughout the race I was continually passing people while only occasionally being passed as well.  Right after the water stop was the turn off point for the short course.  They offered two distances the 4.5 (which was timed and scored) and a 2.6 mile course which was not scored (they had a clock so you knew your time).  I came through the third mile at 6:36.

This next mile wound through a neighborhood circle.  Going into the neighborhood I could see the runners coming back out.  They were probably the back of the first packs. During this 1/2 mile loop.  I threw in a surge to try and catch the next pack in front of me. I continued passing groups of people as we turned onto Broad Ripple Ave and came through the 4th mile in 6:38.

The last 1/2 mile had a slow downhill, a quick uphill, and then a nice downhill finish! The finish line wasn’t marked overhead with a banner or anything so I wasn’t sure exactly where it was.  At the top of the hill two, what appeared to be, college runners took off for a sprint finish.  The first guy took off and the other one yelled at him and then chased him down.  It was funny to see, but didn’t really inspire me to try and sprint to the finish! I did pick up the pace and passed a good amount of runners in this section to finish the half-mile at 3:08.  My overall time was 29:14 (6:30).

I’m completely fine with that time, I had no expectations and haven’t done much running or any speedwork for a few weeks.  It would have been nice to beat Logan again (I beat him at Pop Weaver 5K), but oh well!! There was lots of food and water at the finish area.  Starbucks, the Noodle Company, and the Sunflower Market were all giving products away.  The Running Company had an amazing sale, but most of the stuff had already been picked over. The event shirt was a very nicely done black, Brooks Technical shirt!

All proceeds from this event benefit the Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis. The race slogan was Move Your Feet So Others Can Eat!

Overall this was another great event by Tuxbro.

Cross-posted at Run Central Indiana Team Cross World.

Technorati tags: , ,
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

I would like to sincerely wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year!

I recently received this verse and I like it!

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

So it is with eyes towards heaven that I am thankful for so much on this earth. Thank you Father for providing for so many of my needs this year. Whether it has been through a kind word, opportunities to work and play, friends to chill with, a wife to love, races to run, obstacles to leap, holes to dig, or just a place to get out of the cold or heat, your grace has been abundant (even when I thought it was lacking).

Image from Thanksgiving Corner.

Technorati tags: ,
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 in 10 American’s were hungry or on the verge of hunger in 2006. This comes alongside other bad news from America’s Second Harvest (national food-bank network and the largest hunger-relief charity).  Second Harvest is also reporting that their 200+ food banks are at “critical shortages.”

There simply may be no food for many families when the rest of the nation gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving and religious holidays,” said Vicki Escarra, president of Second Harvest.

According to the Christian Science Monitor Second Harvest is reporting two major causes for this decline in food available through their network:

  • Higher Costs – oil prices are hurting both food banks and individuals.  It costs more for the banks to transport the food which results in their dollars not going as far.  With individuals facing rising heating bills, housing costs, and health insurance they have less money available to purchase food. Food Stamps are also declining in value due to inflation.
  • Less Surplus Food – A strong agricultural economy means the federal government has less need to buy up surplus products, and less surplus to pass on to food banks. The government’s support for food banks is down 70 percent over the past three years (as measured by its dollar value).

Second Harvest is trying to help eradicate hunger throughout the year through advocacy, food banks, education, and more.  This year they are trying to provide a Thanksgiving feast for 23 million people (which is actually 10 million less than the 33 million food insecure).

It is sad that there is so much need in the US.  But it also a growing trend, that we are falling behind in supporting our fellow citizens.  I’m not advocating for socialism, but our government needs to take a look at its policies and how they negatively impact millions of people while only benefiting a small group.

Other hunger related resources can be found at the ELCA World Hunger Calendar, which provides 40 days of short readings that make you think and act on hunger issues.  This is an interesting journal article entitled Fat Christians in an Age of Hunger?

Technorati tags: , ,
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]