Monday, July 28, 2008

Baptism Service Pics









Ryan Hall

I came across this article on Ryan Hall. In case you don't know Ryan is the #1 marathoner in the US. He is the fastest american born person at the distance of 26.2 miles. He also holds the american record for the fastest half marathon. Ryan is also a first class guy and clearly a follower of Jesus Christ.

Read the article here. It's long so if you don't get to all of it I highlighted a few things. They might not make sense if you don't read the whole article or know a little about Ryan's life and achievements.

There is no dust on Ryan Hall's Bible. It is hardly tattered, but the gilding on the pages is scored and worn. When he opens it to follow the sermon, it falls open easily to reveal well-thumbed page corners and verses underlined in pen. This Bible is not a prop. You can see him turning to it again and again. When racing for Heaven, one must train to the finish.

Everything is extraneous to those legs. You can see them in footage from the homestretch of the Trials, turning over in a pinwheeling lope, each foot meeting the earth right on axis, then looping up and away to fly forward again. The legs are all business right to the finish, even as the arms begin to loosen, even as Hall's head begins to swivel to acknowledge the noise of the crowd. The closer he draws to the line, the more evident it is that this is a finish for the ages. Hall begins to gesticulate, pointing to the sky, raising his arms high, even slapping hands with the people crowding the course. At first it seems uncharacteristic based on what you know of Hall and his mellow Christian demeanor. Then you notice the blazing intensity of his eyes and the inclusiveness of his open arms, and you realize he is not exulting, but exhorting. He is not celebrating triumph over man but rather triumph in the Lord--in short, this is a man in rapture. Hall often refers to running in terms of sanctuary, and here he is now, Brother Lawrence in a singlet, twining work to worship, running 4:55 splits, praising God full tilt right until he breaks across the line and the only thing left to do is bow quietly down, the work all done, the victory won.

Eventually, Susie speaks. "You know, for three days before every one of Ryan's races, Mickey fasts and prays. He prays that it will be a good race and a safe race." Up on the screen Ryan is surging for the finish, strong as a bolting deer, glorifying the Lord with each step. You think of Mickey, on his knees and hungry (so weak one time he fell and wound up in the ER), beseeching that same Lord that He might deliver every runner safe to the finish line. And yet we know full well watching the footage now, that even as Ryan Hall was pointing to the sky and the crowd was making a crazy joyful noise, his friend Ryan Shay was dead. The following night Mickey dined with Shay's father-in-law. "What do you say to someone who's lost their son?" he says, shaking his head. "What do you say?"

Ryan Hall's grandmother is suddenly at my elbow. Her face is troubled. All day she has been a sparkling presence. A petite woman with glittering eyes, her family loves to tease her for her vociferous cheering at Ryan's races. In private company she is quick to laugh and often punctuates her asides with a knowing grin. But now the house is quiet--Mickey has his son paused up there on the screen--and the glitter in her eyes has gone wet.

"I want you to know?" says Madeline, faltering. "I want you to know that this family prays, and prays for many things. That it will be a good race, that it will be a safe race, but they never?they never?" She stops now, holding her hand to her mouth as her eyes fill with tears. It takes her a moment to gather before she can speak again.

"They never pray to win."

Friday, July 25, 2008


What’s your passion in life? What burns in your belly? What do you do that excites you? What do you do that gives you a feeling of accomplishment and achievement?

I love to read books. When I’m asked what type of books I like to read I always fumble around for an answer because truth is, I like to read all kinds of books. I like to read books about church growth, books about business and small business success, books about hobbies I enjoy, theology, and probably my favorite types of books are auto-biographies of people’s lives where were passionately lived. Most of the time these lives were passionately lived about one central thing. This genre also encompasses the new style of book that isn’t quite an auto-biography but is a book that is written from the heart from a non-ficitonal person’s life.

So now when I’m asked the question as to what types of books I like to read I’ll have an answer. But more than an answer as to what types of books I like to read I have an answer as to how I want to live my life. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t exactly the newest revelation. What I recalled in my car this morning, with the radio turned down and only the sound of my car driving on the highway with the windows down is nothing new for me. But it is fresh. And a freshness is what I need right now.

What burns in my belly? Well I have to say Jesus Christ. Thing is if I’m honest I’m not sure I have to say Jesus Christ because I know that’s what I’m supposed to say or if I have ot say Jesus Christ because I really believe that. Of course, I’d like to say it’s because I believe it and I’m pretty sure that’s true. I kknow Christ is my chief corner stone and without him life is futile I just hesitate because I often say that if our behavior doesn’t reflect a belief it’s hardly a belief at all.

What else? I think it’s the secondary passions we have that Christ uses to impact the world. As he resides at the center of our lives and as we strive to reside at the center of his will he sparks in us passions that motivate us. This may or may not be our vocation. I think we often mistake passion for vocation. I think its perfectly possible and perfectly healthy for your vocation not to reflect your passion. Because what we do is not who we are, who we are is this. We are always disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But what burns in my belly? If I had to boil it down and give an answer, which after all is what this post is all about then I would say my passion is to equip people to live their lives on all cylinders. Pardon the car metaphor. My passion is to equip people to live their lives as close to 100% as they can, as close as possible. I absolutely love hearing what God is doing in people’s lives as a result of one of my ideas, messages, or even a class/study of some sort that I initiated. I even get excited when someone else initiates a class that is changing perspectives and in turn will change lives. It motivates me so much, to see people get closer to the life God intended for them, a life closer to 100% than they’ve ever had before.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Every year about 32,500 people commit suicide. In 2004 my little brother was one of those 32,000+. There are some statistics HERE, if you're interested in further reading them. They aren't encouraging but might bring your awareness up to a point where you might be able to help someone that's hurting.

Today, July 24 is my brother's birthday. If you're a reader of my blog you know that last year I also made an entry about my brother, Doug. I'm not a big proponent of causes, I don't normally take part in charity walks, fund raisers and stuff like that. Don't get me wrong I respect those that do and think it's a valuable use of their time but it just doesn't stir my heart like it does some others.

Today, my brother would be turning 22. I often wonder what he would be like as an adult. He really loved children and the elderly. He was very patient and gentle with people that fell in those two categories. He really enjoyed music, I could always count on him to give me the update of what's "indy" and what was up and coming. And for some reason he would get stuck on one type of food and just eat the same thing over and over and over again. I guess he got that from me. I'm sure his love for people and for music would have endured...

But for the rest of my life I will remember Dougie as a 17 year old. Sometimes, with regret, I remember how at times in his life he never quite figured where he fit into the world. I think as a teenager that's a very normal feeling and a great source of frustration. Normally as one grows up and out of those teen years that bring more questions and insecurities than it does answers and reassurances that feeling of "where do I fit" and "how will I make it in this world" fade away. Sadly, one either stops asking those questions and doesn't care any longer or one finds his or her answer and pursues that with her life.

Today you can answer that question for someone suffering from depression. You can show them how they fit into this world. You can be a listening ear. You should ask your depressed friends if they are considering suicide. You can let them know you care about them deeply and would miss them terribly if they were no longer living. Finally, take all mention of suicide seriously, encourage the person to get professional help!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moral Code: It doesn't occur to me that there are those in this world that don't share my world view. I know that sounds stupid but for most of the time I surround myself with two types of people; either people that have a christian world view or those that are living in contrast to the christian world view on purpose as rebellion.

I know even within these two view there are many sub views but that's not the point of my post here.

My point is that our world view dictates our moral code. And I've been thinking about moral codes (the rights and wrongs we live by) probably because of the election coming up. I think we often want to vote for the candidate that shares our moral code; we agree and disagree with laws based on how they fit into our lives and our view as to what is right and wrong. So...what's a moral code we can all agree on?

I believe that all believers should live under the grace of the cross of Jesus Christ. I believe we should also work out our salvation as those worthy of the cross of Jesus Christ. Because we are saved we are obligated to behave in a certain way. Now this means there are things we should not do but let's not forget the things we should be doing.

However is it fair to expect those that are not in relationship with Jesus Christ to live under those same expectations? If not, then how does this relate to our laws. Especially how does this relate to the politicians we vote for?

Just some thoughts- do with them what you will!

As I mentioned before I've been preaching through the book of Philippians for the month of July and it will continue into the August as well. I love the continuing theme that Paul puts out there, Christ. It's all for Christ, Christ is central, Christ is all, Christ, Christ, Christ.

I've quoted before the surveys of "believers" it continues to shock me and baffle me that about 50% of believers claim that they believe there is more than one way to achieve eternal life. Shocking that as I quoted before that american christianity is 3000 miles wide and 1 inch deep. But Jesus doesn't call us to a mild life of mediocre following.

I just saw on the early show that happy people live longer. One of the things they said is that religious people are happier people so there are actual health benefits to going to church- maybe our next advertisement should be at the ymca (sarcasm intended). I don't want to sound jaded though or get off topic. I just want to remember what Paul said. That he considers all of his achievements rubbish next to what he has in Christ Jesus.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A few more pictures

This is the dinner party we had for Nathan and his friends. The parents were able to make it but as you can see we fine dined on hot dogs anyway.

Dinner Party

And this is Nathan being Nathan. He's sitting in a bumpo seat that is made for babies and he's lifting his hands, I think, because that's what we do on the swings at busch gardens.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Put the gospel first

One remembers what an aging Christian said to John G. Paton in the last century when Paton was planning to go as a missionary to the South Sea Islands. "You will be eaten by Cannibals!" Paton was warned.

Paton replied, "Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honouring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness as our risen Redeemer." Put the gospel first.

From D.A. Carson's book Basics for Believers (Philippians)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How bout some pictures?





So um...:What's been going on lately? I'm doing ok. You've haven't called for a while I thought you were mad at me or something. Nah, I've just been busy. So we're cool then? Yeah, we're cool. Are you mad at me? Nah it's no biggie.

Wow now that we got that awkwardness out of the way...

Philippians: I started a new message series on Sunday called Philippians. Like many of my message series the title is a bit deceptive in leading you to the content of the messages.

I've loved studying and preparing for the messages and from the response I've been getting from those in the church they are enjoying hearing them. It's funny the responses you get to a message sometimes. I don't get this too often because our church is very untraditional and very authentic but sometimes I'll get the typical "nice message today pastor". Which unfortunately I always interpret to mean "I didn't hear a word you said and before you ask me about the message I'll just say this". I hope that doesn't sound too jaded and for the record I never ask people about their thoughts on the message.

But then there are those times that I get feedback from people about a confirmation that my message brought them or how it was in some other way relevant to their life. These are the times I most cherish. You can see the tears in their eyes and they are tears of comfort of them knowing that God cares for them enough to speak to me and to them at two separate times and somehow plan to coincide those conversations at just the perfect moment. It's hard to explain but simply incredible. Those are the times I'm so grateful to do what I do and those times that I hope I always get to do what I'm doing.