Posts

Showing posts from 2017

UNPLUG THE AMBIENT NOISE

Read: 1 Kings 19:9-13 "“Bestill, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 ESV Sometimes, when the pace of life overwhelms me, I just step outside, close my eyes and open my ears. To gain a measure of calm in a frenetic world, it is a comfort just to let the soft sounds carried on the breeze wash over me like a breaking wave. In the pre-dawn hours, I listen to the chirping of the crickets and the birds singing their sweet songs as if to welcome the new day. In the afternoon and evening, as the waning sunlight sweeps over me, I listen to the Kansas wind sweeping through the grass, rustling the trees, and flapping the flags high on the poles. At any time of day, in Kansas, too, it is not unusual to hear livestock calls in the distance, whinnies, moos, and bleating,

MARATHON NUMBER FOUR? THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES...

By way of confession, in the midst of a project where I set out to write one piece a day, this is actually the third piece I have written today. And it is not even 11 a.m. Why? As I have often said, writing is my way of working through complex issues I am chewing on mentally and emotionally. It’s how I process stuff. This morning, though, I am writing to process a thought that my book-writing project has actually triggered – again. As I have previously written, the marathon – a daunting 26.2 mile race – is the one distance which has always gotten the better of me. Even on the two I actually finished, I felt woefully unprepared for what I encountered during the race, and the one I did not finish a few months ago left me wondering if I was even capable of successfully accomplishing the distance. It has always been my “big picture” goal as a runner – for me, it is the running equivalent of publishing a book as a writer. Finishing – more to the point, finishing strong – has always been the …

SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP

SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP Read: 2 Samuel 12:1-15 "For I want very much to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." Romans 1:11-12 This morning at 4:15 a.m., I had a minor disagreement with my alarm clock. That disagreement? It told me to get out of bed, and I did not want to. “If you didn’t want it to go off that early, why did you set it for that early?” you ask. It’s a perfectly reasonable question, and one I spent the next five minutes sitting on the couch in a dark living room asking myself. The answer is a very simple one. About 8:30 p.m. last night a friend of mine sent me a (mildly) joking four-word message: “Suck it up, buttercup!” It was because of those four words ringing in my head I chose to listen to my alarm instead of crawling back under the covers. See, the friend who sent me this message invited me to begin taking a 5 a.m. fitness class three days a week …

HEALING AN INJURED HEART

Read: Matthew 18:21-35 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV Earlier this week, I injured my Achilles tendon (the small tendon on the back of the ankle) while on an early morning run. In one fell swoop, my intense weekly running schedule was brought to a grinding halt. After a couple of days of no running, and feeling pain free this morning, I tried a light morning jog this morning. Just like that, the pain in the tendon returned, along with some mounting frustration. The frustration comes from the knowledge that I have an injury that will take time and patience to heal, and it is one I cannot just “push through” without the risk of severe long term damage. The injury right now is relatively minor, but to try to ignore the pain and fight through like nothing has happened would put my long-term health in muc…

THE JAVA FOR OUR SPIRITS

Read: Lamentations 3:19-26 "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8 ESV When I step out of bed in the darkness of pre-dawn morning, the first thing that usually comes on, often even before the lights, is our coffee maker. That first cup, the first sniff and of the full-bodied aroma of coffee awakens the senses

JUST OVER THE HORIZON

Read: 1Corinthians 1:18-31 Calling. It’s a short, simple word, but it’s always been a large and very intimidating word to me. It’s caused me more racing minds, elevated pulses, and sleepless nights than I can count, as a matter of fact. At the hearing the word calling has always left me with the nagging feeling that God is leading me to something more with my life than where I am at right now. And most often, when the word calling arises in my life, the word ministry most often accompanies it. And no, I do not believe in coincidence – the God is too big and the Holy Spirit far too direct for me to believe in a coincidental connection between these two words. But the word ministry has always been as large and daunting as the word calling in my thought process. Anytime the two words emerge together in mind and in my heart, invariably the wheels in my head start spinning faster than I can imagine, and my thought process becomes so jumbled it’s been impossible to make sense of any true, clear …

HELPING BUILD A WRITER'S 2018 READING LIST

From an early age, writing has been a passion of mine. I have always loved putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may often be).
However, despite graduating fifteen years ago with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and spending almost half of my adult life working at newspapers, I have not spent nearly the time or effort honing the craft that I should have been. Now, I could give a lot of reasons (ahem, excuses!) as to why this has been the case. The truth is, though, I have far too often allowed other pursuits to take priority, and allowed my pursuit of writing to stagnate. Sadly, this goes against everything I have learned as a distance runner, and as a coach, about following a passion. Pursuing a passion takes a great deal of time, effort, and sacrifice, and I have not put enough of any of these into my craft as a writer during my adult life. Jesus said, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." This is true with our passions and pursu…

HELP CARRY THE BURDEN

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
As I sat on the couch in my Fort Collins, CO apartment on the morning of September 11, 2001, watching the tragic events of the morning unfold, New York City and Washington, DC seemed like a world away. While I was as angered and grief-stricken as millions of others at the senseless loss of life, I never thought I imagined I would have a truly personal connection to the tragedy. Fast forward a decade and a half. Through my involvement in various running organizations, I got to know and become good friends with someone who had volunteered at Ground Zero in the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks. For sake of a dear friend’s privacy, I don’t want to say too much more about their identity. Through my friend, though, I came to know far more about the far-reaching effects of the tragedy than I ever could imagine. Even today, survivors and first responders who worked at Ground Zero continue to deal with serious health effects from dust and chemicals they …

THE LORD'S MASTERPIECE

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know this is a sensitive topic for many. My hope in writing this is that those who have been touched in one way or another by this tragic subject can find the healing that only our Creator can provide. Read Psalm 139:7-18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139%3A7-18&version=ESV) "For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother's womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14a My heart is breaking this morning with a storm of deep sadness filling my heart. I heard from a friend yesterday about a student who tried to take their own life. While I do not feel right sharing the full story here, my heart is in pieces hearing of yet another young life in jeopardy because they thought suicide was the best, or only, answer. My life has been personally touched, too, by the specter of suicide. I have known someone who survived a suicide attempt, and I have known others who have not. It's alw…