Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sarah and Abraham had plenty of hard knocks in their time, and there were plenty more of them still to come, but at that moment when the angel told them they'd better start dipping into their old age pensions for cash to build a nursery, the reason they laughed was that it suddenly dawned on them that the wildest dreams they'd ever had hadn't been half wild enough. The laughter of Abraham and Sarah at this joke was not so much a laughter of unbelief as of disbelief, as when we say "You can't be serious" or "You've got to be kidding." Yet it was a laughter that became the laughter of faith. Abraham and Sarah would be less inclined in the future to declare the impossible. And their laughter, in turn, would become the laughter of faith and hope for generations to follow.
The Bible is a collection of tragedies and comedies that ends as a comedy. A tragedy has finality and ends in despair. The Bible does not end in misery, but ends with a pronouncement of life, making it ultimately a book of comedy—the unforeseeable grace of God is given to an undeserving people. Humor happens because people are surprised at the benevolence of God and are offered an escape or a way out from tragic life into faith. Like Sarah and Abraham, Christians are often surprised by God's goodness. The Bible shows how the comic eye can stare directly into the face of death and still see the surging powers of life and laughter. People laugh at the comic overcoming the tragic: How can Donald Duck foresee that after being run over by a steamroller he will pick himself up on the other side as flat as a pancake for a few seconds but alive and squawking?
The connection between the tragic and the comic can be demonstrated in one short saying from Jesus Christ. "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). The first part, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens," is descriptive of the inevitable tragedy that is life. People live and die in pain. People are weary and carry heavy burdens. The second part, "and I will give you rest," is the comedy, the unforeseen joy given by the grace of God. Life is tragic, but God overwhelms tragedy with the comedy. Jesus says, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33)
This Sunday we’ll celebrate the triumph of comedy; I hope to see you then!
This morning I ran with a pack of runners. I did 12 miles with Christy, Machelle, and Robert. Paul joined us for most of the run. We ran a few miles with Joanie, Tracy, and Kurt. Lots of comedy.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
No fire today and no animals that weren't aren't leashes. Our own content is always subject to inspection, introspection, and investigation. But this morning, the humidity was brutal. The air was 100% saturated with water. You know when you get out of the car and your glasses fog over -- that is not a good thing.
I ran with Christy and Machelle. We did a three mile warm-up followed by: 3 x 2 miles at marathon pace (6 minutes and 20 seconds per mile) with a half mile jog between reps. Our times were: 12:38, 12:39, and 12:36. We did a mile cool-down.
So here's the deal... Some things in life we can't change. We can either let those things distract us or deflate us or defeat us. Or we can just do our best and play with the hand that is dealt to us.
Monday, July 23, 2007
One. You shall have no other gods before me...other gods cannot do anything for you. I am the one who brought you out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God, and you shall not give anyone else my place in your hearts.
Two. No more golden calves. You look silly bowing down to little statues that you yourselves have made, and besides, you don't need them. [They don't serve you.] You have me.
Three. Don't throw my name around. My name is a very personal thing, and the fact that you know mine at all is a sign of our closeness. Do not abuse the privilege.
Four. Keep the Sabbath, not for my sake but for yours. One day a week, stop working and remember that you are more than what you do.
Five. Honor your father and mother. Whatever job they did on you, they are your roots. Lose them and you will lose your place in the story.
Six. Don't murder. However dubious it may seem to you, all life is precious to me, including yours. Until you can make it, don't take it.
Seven. Don't mess around with marriage vows, your own or anyone else's. Sticking with one person is the best chance you have got of growing up.
Eight. Don't take what doesn't belong to you. Life may not be fair, but that doesn't mean that you [don't have] to be.
Nine. Don't give your word on things you know aren't true. Your word is as much a part of you as your arm or your leg. Twist it and you will limp. Why would you want to do that to yourself?
Ten. Don't fondle other people's things in your mind as if they were your own. You'll not only resent them for having things; you'll soon resent yourself for not having them too. Learn to want what you have and pretty soon you will have what you want.
It was a nice morning for a run. Lots of the kids from Millard West were out. I would pass them on the trail and then they would take the road less traveled and get ahead of me. I would pass them again on the trail until they would use their resourcefulness and mountaineering skills to exceed my raw talent and gritty determination.
Anyway, I ran 13.1 miles. Somebody left me a liter of cold water and a breakfast cookie on my car. Thanks to whoever it was!
In the evening I did the Giles hills from 168th Street to about 198th Street with Brad -- pound for pound one of the best hill runners around. Nice run tonight. Giles is a very hilly course and the gravel feels good on the feet. We finished in the dark, picked up Benjamin, and went to Sonic for some ice cream.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Read the Study Guide
Listen to the Sermon
I ran five miles with Machelle at 3:00 in the afternoon. At 95 degrees and sunny with no wind, the run was no too fun, kind of fulfilling, and seemed to take forever.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
His book Running and Being is a classic.
- Life is the great experiment. Each of us is an experiment of one-observer and subject-making choices, living with them, recording the effects.
- Success rests in having the courage and endurance and, above all, the will to become the person you are, however peculiar that may be. Then you will be able to say, "I have found my hero and he is me."
- Fitness has to be fun. If it is not play, there will be no fitness. Play, you see, is the process. Fitness is merely the product.
- Listen to your body.
- Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach.
- There is no substitute for learning to live in our bodies. All the tests and all the machines in the world will fail if we do not first become good animals.
- No matter how old I get, the race remains one of life's most rewarding experiences. My times become slower and slower, but the experience of the race is unchanged: each race a drama, each race a challenge, each race stretching me in one way or another, and each race telling me more about myself and others.
- Play is where life lives.
- Once you have decided that winning isn't everything, you become a winner.
- Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not.
I had to run early today as I had a very busy day. Imagine that. Thanks to Robert and Machelle for being willing to start at 6:00 on a Saturday morning. We did 13 miles. 7.5 miles at Lake Zorinsky and 5.5 miles in the infamous F Street Hills. Will joined us in the F Street Hills. It was a near perfect morning for a run. 81.5 miles for the week.
Friday, July 20, 2007
In running, as a disciple, and in life--tough training makes you better.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I was reading Soren Kierkegaard last night. He is a brilliant man. He lived in Denmark which makes being brilliant even more rare. Here are some of his best quotes:
- Be that self which one truly is.
- The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
- At the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference.
- Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
- Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle.
- Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself;... In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.
- There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.
- Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.
- To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
- Once you label me, you negate me.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I did a workout today. It started with a 3 mile warm-up. The workout was 10 x 1 minute at marathon pace (about 6:15 / mile) with a 1 minute recovery jog at Maureen's current 5K pace (about 7:45 / mile). We (Robert, Christy, and Machelle) rested for a few minutes and then repeated the 10 x 1 minute (hard / easy). We covered about three miles each time. 1 mile cool-down.
Monday, July 16, 2007
A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.” The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north altitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.
I am replied the woman, “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is, I’m still lost. Frankly you’ve not been much help to me at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”
The woman below responded, “You must be in management.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist, “How did you know?”
“Well,” the woman said, “You don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. That fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, you’ve managed to make it my fault.”
When we fail to see things from the perspective of others we will fail in our relationships.
How are you doing at seeing life from the perspective of others?
On the running front: I did an easy run with Christy and Machelle. Congratulations to Machelle who only stopped three times to go to the bathroom. We did 12 miles in about an hour and a half.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
No running today. I took a very long nap in the afternoon. Benjamin and I started Vacation Bible School tonight. He is a student. I am helping lead the pre-school games.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
It's a great little course. Very hilly, very soft, lots of gentle curves, and very beautiful. I then ventured out on Highway 31 for about a half mile and to 204th Street for the really big hills. I ran 2 miles on the gravel and was getting dangerously close to a former running partner's house, so I did a 180 and ran back to Highway 31. This four mile section is brutal. It was a half mile back to Schram Park and three more miles on the trails.
Friday, July 13, 2007
It was a perfect morning for a long run. The pace was a little pedestrian for the first few miles, so I took leadership for the next 16 miles. Christy was the leader from 19 to 20. I ran with Robert, Machelle, Christy, and Kurt the whole way. Paul, Steve, and some 14 year old from Indiana joined us for about 7 to 10 miles at various times. I probably had another 10 to 15 miles in me, but have a few things to do today, so I stopped at 20 with everybody else.
A sense of humor judges one's actions and the actions of others from a wider reference and a longer view and finds them incongruous. It makes enthusiasm possible; it kindles hope; it pardons shortcomings; it consoles failure. It recommends moderation. I needed the sense of humor today. 20 miles seemed like a long way.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
C.S. Lewis wrote: It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
|Benjamin excited about the goods|
So for lunch I put a hot dog on a plate, placed a damp paper towel on the hot dog, and cooked the hot dog for 45 seconds. It was good. It tasted kind of fishy. I think I cooked it about 10 seconds too long. A little soft for a hot dog. I think I will try it tomorrow evening on a bun with onions, garlic, mustard, and sweet pickle relish.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Jimmy asked me to come up here and say a few kind words. Then he asked me to talk about Walt Smith.
I said, “Jimmy, I am a pastor. I’m not supposed to lie.”
I know God loves Walt. The Bible says that God loves us more than we have hair on our head. That isn’t much of a problem with Walt.
What can you say about a man who is admired, revered, and loved by everyone? I can start by saying he’s not the man we’re honoring tonight.
Walt likes to square dance. How many square dancers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Four. And you have to walk them through it a few times.
The one thing I couldn’t figure out was how Walt ended up with a woman like Sandy. They have been married like 40 years or something.
Sandy knows about the three rings of marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.
As a pastor I tell people marriage isn’t a word. It’s a sentence. For Sandy it has been a life sentence.
I want to share with you all the good things I have learned from Walt Smith. A very non-existent section of this talk.
Walt doesn’t put on a great show for people buying air filters. After all the 4th of July eating, he has enough trouble just putting on his pants.
Walt is afraid nobody will remember him when he’s gone. Gee, we can think of several reasons he’ll be remembered. He wouldn’t like any of them, but we can think of them.
With most people, the left side of your brain does some things, and the right side does others. In Walt’s case, however, neither side seems to do a whole lot.
There’s no middle ground with this Walt—people either hate him or detest him.
Walt’s not the kind of man who takes work home with him. How can he--he doesn’t work.
Walt is a man for the birds. He has the grace of an owl, the wisdom of an eagle, and the eye of a swan.
Walt was born in 1942. The same year:
Daylight-saving time goes into effect in the United States.
The Thoroughbred Racing Association is established in Chicago, Illinois.
Walt Disney's fifth animated feature, Bambi, premiers.
The Alaska Highway is completed.
And the same day, August 1st, that Jerry Garcia was born.
Walt is a pretty bright guy. You have go to give him that. While walking along the beach he found a bottle one day. When he rubbed it, lo and behold, a genie appeared."I will grant you three wishes," announced the genie. "But since Satan still hates me, for every wish you make, your rival gets the wish as well -- only double." Walt thought about this for a while. "For my first wish, I would like ten million dollars," he announced. Instantly the genie gave him a Swiss bank account number and assured the man that $10,000,000 had been deposited. "But your rival has just received $20,000,000," the genie said. "I've always wanted a 30 foot trailer," Walt said. Instantly a trailer appeared appeared. "But your rival has just received a 60 foot trailer," the genie said. "And what is your last wish?" "Well," Walt said, "I've always wanted to donate a kidney for transplant."
Have you ever heard Walt talk before?
Walt can out-talk an echo.
How can you tell if Walt is lying? His lips are moving.
I closed by say a few good things about Walt. Congratulations on your well deserved retirement!
The workout this morning was crazy. Christy, Machelle, and I did a 3.5 mile warm-up, then 6.25 miles of 400 harder and 400 easier. The harder stuff was at 5:45 per mile and the easier stuff was at 7:00 per mile. We did a 2.25 mile cool-down. That was a crazy part. Christy was late to coach her kids. I think I am a bad influence on her. So we were cruising to get to the other side of the lake at sub 7:00 pace. We ran into Paul, who was on his bike. Christy tried to ride the bike. Not a good idea. So Machelle rode to where the kids were to tell them Christy would be late. Christy and I picked up Robert and ran to the other side of the lake. You know when your cool-down involves running sub 7:00 minute miles, a mountain bike, a cop, a chef from Switzerland, and a very uncoordinated woman who is training for the Olympic Trails racing on a bicycle -- things are too complex.
Monday, July 9, 2007
The job you do, the family you have, the way you vote, the achievements and blunders of your life, your religious convictions or total lack of them, are all somehow set off to one side when you are together.
You talk about life, but that is beside the point. You are yourselves the point. The usual distinctions such as male-female, smart-dumb, rich-poor, and old-young cease to matter. You meet on a clean slate every time. Anything may come of it or nothing may come of it. That doesn't matter. Only the meeting matters.
The command is "to love one another." To be His friend we have to be each other's friend, even to lay down our lives for each other (John 15:12-15). It seems like a pretty high price to pay, and Jesus doesn't pretend to pretend otherwise, but the implication is that it is worth every cent.
Christy and Machelle, two of my friends, wrestling to see which one gets to run next to me. We ran 12 miles this morning. Just hanging out.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Listen to Holy Reflection
Listen to The Simple Worship Song
Listen to I Will Sing
Listen to I'm Yours
The sermon, Games People Play: Loaded Questions, was me trying to answer four questions my congregation asked me:
1. What is the Christian position on war?
2. Does the Bible have any good news for homosexuals?
3. What happens to those who never hear the gospel?
4. Why don't Christians act like Christians?
You can listen to the sermon here.
No running today. After a long nap, Benjamin and I went to Whole Foods and then we went swimming.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
I had to keep it at one lap this morning as I did a few weddings today. I tried to push the pace a few times, but no takers. I thought Stiffler would have been game after his sabbatical from running this week -- but I couldn't get the kid to go.
The first wedding was at the Soaring Wings Vineyard. Quite a nice place to have a wedding. Natasha and Warren had a great morning and are now on their way to the Dominican Republic. AJ did the music. It was great to be part of it. They were so happy!
The second wedding was huge. Jessi and Matt did an awesome job planning their wedding. Check their slide show out. This is incredible.
Here is what I told both couples:
As of today, you are no longer two, but one. You come into your marriage relationship as individuals and you will not lose your identity, rather you will use your individuality to create and strengthen your marriage relationship.
Today you promise that you will love, honor, and comfort each other to the last of your days. Today you promise that you will cherish each other and be faithful to each other always.
Today you promise that you will do these things not just when you feel like it – but for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health – even and especially when you don’t feel like it at all.
Today you give away part of your freedom. You take on each other’s burdens. You bind yourselves together in ways that are even more painful to unbind emotionally than they are to unbind legally.
What is it then that you get in return?
Well, the only thing you really get is each other.
Assuming you have any success at all in keeping these promises, you will never have to face the world quite alone again. There will always be the other to talk to, to listen to. If you are blessed, even after the first passion passes – you’ll still have a kindness and a patience to depend on and a chance to be patient and kind.
There will be someone to get through the night with, to wake the new day beside. You will both have lives apart as well as life together.
A marriage made in heaven is one where a man and a woman become more richly themselves together than the chances are either of them could have managed to become alone.
Congratulations to Warren and Natasha and to Matt and Jessi!
Friday, July 6, 2007
And now for the more important topic of the day: seven clear and compelling reasons not to trust Lonnie Gibson:
- She always pays for everything with cash.
- She always sits in the same chair in worship every week.
- She changes the oil in her mini-van more than once a year.
- She gets stuff done well in advance of deadlines.
- She sits amongst one of the great Bible teachers of her era and is only able to learn 7 things from him in two years.
- She always has an updated proof of insurance card with her so if she gets pulled over the police will not be suspicious. Could she be hiding something?
- She is named after her uncle.
Why else should we not trust Lonnie?
Thursday, July 5, 2007
When Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death", you got the sense that something great was about to happen. And it did. A couple hundred years late, John Kennedy said something like, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Again, the listener got the sense that something great was about to happen. And it did.
In the age of terrorism, patriots must not only love their country, but the world as well. An attack in London or Cairo or New York City is an attack against freedom and sovereignty -- virtues that earlier patriots were willing to die for. The patriot understands that the world's business is our business.
Of course there is only one freedom and sovereignty that matters ultimately, and it is of another sort altogether.
Two runs today! I love Thursdays. The first was with Christy, Machelle, Melissa, Robert, Paul, Gary, and Maureen. We did 12.5 miles. The evening run for the church group was a little on the warm side, but Kurt, Angee, Charissa, and I made it around the lake for another 7.41 miles. I should have run another couple hundred yards and I would have had 20 miles for the day.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy 4th of July -- from the Finnestads. As you can see from above, David is real enthusiastic.
We went to Amber's parent's house tonight to blow up some fireworks and to watch them. We stopped at "our" bean field on the way over there. Benjamin and I inspected the crops that we planted about six weeks ago. It is a nice looking crop this year, but we could use some rain very soon.
I ran a 3 mile race this morning in Ralston as part of their Independence Day celebration. This is a really cool race--besides the weather anyway. Totally low-key and old school. There were probably about 150 runners in the 3 mile race. I liked the course because it is all hills. Not a flat section to be found. It was very warm and humid at 8:00 a.m.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
something that happens that is incongruous with what might be expected to happen, especially when this seems absurd or laughable
I woke up with a pretty decent pain in my lower back. Not a problem, I thought. A nice little run should take care of that. So I drove to the lake and met Machelle and Christy for a very sweaty run that wasn't really either nice or little.
2.5 mile warm-up. 3 x 2 miles at marathon pace with .75 miles jogging and cold water between reps.
Rep 1 -- 6:17 and 6:20 for 12:37
Rep 2 -- 6:22 and 6:10 for 12:33
Rep 3 -- 6:16 and 6:13 for 12:29
2.35 mile cool-down. Lots of Go Grape Cytomax and a dry towel after that. Good workout.
The decent pain in my lower back started getting worse as the day went on. Everybody who saw me was like: "Craig, what is wrong with you?"
So I called John's office and set up an appointment. John doubles as my weight lifting partner and is in my church. Therein lies the problem. I told all these light bulb jokes yesterday and one of them happened to be about a chiropractor. Quite ironic my back gives out the same day I tell the light bulb joke.
Q: How many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That depends on whether it has health insurance.
Q: How many Country singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to change it, one to sing about how heartbroken he is at the loss of the old one, and one to sing about how madly in love he is with the new one.
Q: How many Folk musicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 40-one to do it and 39 to complain that it's electric.
Q: How many chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one but it takes three visits.
Q: How many Carpenters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. That's the electrician's job.
Q: How many University of Colorado football players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One, and he gets three credits for it.
Q: How many Norwegians does is take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to screw in the bulb and one to tell a long story about it...
Q: How many pastors to change a light bulb?
A: We don't know. Everyone fell asleep while he was telling us how it happened.
So after some ribbing from him and an apology from me, he got to work. I already feel better. I definitely will not be telling any light bulb jokes about dentists, funeral directors, or auto mechanics in the near or distant future.
Here is a picture of me with a healthy back. This is from the Siena Francis 10K race I ran 8 days ago. I was doing a little posing. As always, thanks to http://www.ndorfnz.com/ for the pictures.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Here is the study guide for today's sermon -- Games People Play: Monopoly. You can listen here.
Amber's dad got home on Friday and is doing well. He is getting better everyday. Keep praying for him: especially for patience as he recovers.
We got a late afternoon visit from my sister Jane and niece, Alex. They were on their way home to Denver. Always good to see them.