Friday, October 31, 2008


I'm thinking that Halloween is just as busy as Christmas. David's pre-school party was at 9:30. Benjamin's party was at 2:00. Trick-or-treating started around 5:30. David was a cow. Benjamin was a Ghost Buster.

Training Update:

Because I had so much going on at the church and with the kids, all I had time for was 4.4 miles around the east lake. I'm frustrated that I didn't get a long run in this week, but my roles as dad and pastor come before my role as runner.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thomas Aquinas

I read a little book about Thomas Aquinas last night. Here are some of his quotes to think about:
  • To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
  • Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.
  • If the primary aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.
Very insightful stuff.

Training update: No run today. I'm saving my legs for a long run tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

30 Things I Would Do

I am doing a sermon series right now called "One Month to Live." The goal is to help people get the most out of this once to be lived and never to be repeated life that God gives us. If I knew I had one month to live, here is what I would try to do:
  1. Buy a lot of life insurance.
  2. Get a new picture taken of myself for the next four church bulletins.
  3. Run a 100 mile race. I have always wanted to do one.
  4. Spend a couple days having loved ones take care of me after the above-mentioned 100 mile race.
  5. Eat a lot of baby back ribs.
  6. Eat a lot of key lime pie and chocolate chip cookies.
  7. Watch a few of my favorite Seinfeld episodes.
  8. Get rid of all my alarm clocks.
  9. Spend more time thanking people.
  10. Forgive more.
  11. Spend less time worrying about what others think of me.
  12. Play more with the boys.
  13. Pray more for the boys.
  14. Listen more. Talk less.
  15. Spend a few days serving the oppressed and the marginalized.
  16. Spend a day or two at the lake hanging out with friends and tearing around on the wave runner.
  17. Be a comedian in a comedy club for a night.
  18. Play more with my dog.
  19. Sit down with AJ and write one last song.
  20. Go for one last run at Platte River State Park.
  21. Go for one last run with all my running friends and give them a sweaty hug goodbye.
  22. Preach the four best sermons I’ve ever preached.
  23. Have one last chili cook-off at the church and fix the contest so I win.
  24. Post-chili cook-off: Stand at the door and say goodbye to everybody, thanking you for sharing your life with me and thanking you for allowing me to share my life with you.
  25. Go visit my parents. Thank them and say goodbye.
  26. Write letters to both my boys and put them in a Bible. That way they would have a letter from their earthly father and their heavenly Father.
  27. Spend more time with Amber.
  28. Read the Bible more, pray more, and spend more time with God. I’ll be doing a lot of it, so it will be good practice!
  29. Invite others to do the same.
  30. Thank God for my life.

Training Update

It was a perfect day for running. I ran on the trail at Lake Zorinsky this afternoon.

1.75 mile warm-up

9 miles at my current marathon pace (about 6:25 per mile). My total time was 57:56.

I jogged .25 miles for a cool-down.

Much better than yesterday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Waiting for Another Day

The plan today was to run 22.2 miles - 3 trips around Lake Zorinsky. The first lap was going to be at 7:15 per mile, the second lap was going to be at 7:00 per mile, and the last lap was going to be at 6:30 per mile.
After one lap I was doing great. It was easy, just like it should have been. I finished right at 7:15 per mile.
After two laps I just wasn't feeling it. I averaged 6:59 per mile, but wasn't feeling the best. I had a feeling that I couldn't do the last lap at 6:30 per mile. So, I called it a day and saved my legs for another day.
Sometimes life is like that. We have a plan and things don't necessarily go the way we want them to go. An old axiom exists: You can lose the battle, but still win the war.
Sometimes we just have to be flexible and be willing to make revisions when things don't go our way. We have to be willing to keep our eye on the final destination and not become too discouraged with the obstacles on the way. Some of the people who inspire me the most are people who overcome setbacks and move toward realizing their dreams in life!
I'll give it another try on Friday and count myself as blessed that I got to spend part of a beautiful fall morning outside.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Sad Day

It was a sad day at the Finnestad house. Yesterday Benjamin's favorite show was:

Tonight he announced to be that he was going to watch a different show on channel 48. When I asked him how he like the new show, he said that he was digging it.

They grow up so fast.
Training update:
7.5 miles easy at 8:00 per mile, before I picked up the big boy from school.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Love Completely

This morning I continued my series: One Month to Live. The message was titled: Love Completely. It is about how to develop healthy and life-giving relationships.

Listen here.

Here are my notes:

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” -Isaiah 40:3-5

The 3 Mountains of Relationships
  • The Mountain of “Misunderstanding”
  • The Mountain of “Me First”
  • The Mountain of “Mistakes”
We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. –Oswald Chambers

1. Climbing with the Rope of Acceptance

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. -Romans 15:7

Acceptance: Stop trying to change me and start cherishing me

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. -Genesis 2:25

2. Securing Your Footing with Acts of Love

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. –John E. Southard


Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. -Philippians 2:4


Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. -John 13:1


For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. -Philippians 2:13

3. Anchored by Forgiveness

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. -Colossians 3:13

He who is devoid of power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. –Martin Luther King Jr.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. -1 John 3:16

Begin Climbing the Mountain Today!

Say what you want to say when you have the feeling and the chance. My deepest regrets are the things I did not do, the opportunities missed, and the things unsaid.

Training Update

10 miles at easy at 8:00 per mile at midnight. I ran the F Street hills. A very quiet and peaceful run.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I enjoy running by myself. I enjoy running with others even more. This morning I met with seven other guys. I kind of knew two or three of the other runners. Four or five of them are good friends of mine.
We started off at the new pedestrian bridge, crossed the Missouri River, and ran most of the 10 miles in Iowa. At 6:00 a.m. most of the running was in the dark.
A dentist, a heating and air conditioning guy, a UPS employee, a business process analyst (whatever that is), an accountant, a psychologist, and a pastor. Some of us are married. Some aren't. Some of us have kids. Some don't. Some are really fast. Some aren't. None of that stuff mattered. We just had fun. We poked fun at each other, enjoyed each other's company, and all look forward to running in Boston next spring.

Life is like that. We can do well by ourselves. But I have this feeling, and I have a feeling that you have a feeling, that God gives us each other for a reason.

I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

Friday, October 24, 2008

High School Football

Benjamin, Amber, and I went to the Millard West vs. Papillion-LaVista with some friends. Three kids from our church all play for West and we wanted to see one of their games.

Although Amber is an alumni of Papillion-LaVista, we sat with some friends on the Millard West side and cheered for the second rated Wildcats.

It was a great game. Both teams played well, but Millard West played a little better as they remained undefeated.

I was thinking about teamwork after the game. It was easy to tell that the players and coaches on both teams had a special bond with each other. Something special exists in life when people can accomplish more together than they could collectively as individuals.

Training Update:

I'm running again. The legs are all better. I took it easy and just did one lap around the lake in about 50 minutes. 7.38 miles at about 6:45 per mile.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Injury is the enemy of the runner. We are generally the unhealthiest of all athletes. We generally don't get the really painful injuries like football or hockey players. Most of ours are repetition based.
My injury wasn't from running. It was courtesy of my son Benjamin during a wrestling match. Let's call it a pulled upper leg abductor muscle and leave out any unnecessary details.
I enjoyed the extra hour the injury gave me, was thankful that I am generally healthy, and am grateful that I have a son who loves to wrestle with me.
Happy birthday to my sister Jane!

Jane is the old person on the top right. Her daughter, Alex, is the cute girl on the top left. This is what Benjamin and David looked like 18 months ago.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As of last night, I'm injured. Not from running. But wrestling with a seven year old. I don't get injured much, but I really dislike being injured.

Patience (pā-shənz) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.

"Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; all thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices." -Teresa of Avila

Patience helps us in all areas of life. It is kind of counter-cultural in the instant gratification society that we live in. But God wants to bless us with patience. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Biblical patience isn't passively waiting. It is persevering towards a goal, enduring trials, or expectantly waiting for a promise to be fulfilled.

Patience isn't always easy for me. But, when I figure out how to be patient, my life seems to make the most sense. I suspect the same is true with you.

Remember this truth when times get tough: God alone suffices.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm speaking about love this Sunday. Here is my article for Sunday's bulletin:

Nothing is more thought about. I don’t think anything is probably more talked about either. It is what we all long for.

It means different things to different people. The two teenagers think it is one thing. The young mother thinks it quite different. The couple celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary have a different perspective.

In the Bible the Greek word used for love is agape. It is interesting that agape is a verb. It’s not an adjective. It is not something we feel. It is something we do. A biblical view of love is not something like: “I am in love with him.” It is more: “I love him.” On the cross Jesus wasn’t thinking, “I’m in love with that person.” But he was able to say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

So what does this mean for us? Well, it means either nothing or it means everything. It means nothing if you want to continue to believe that love is something you feel. The problem with love as a feeling comes in a question: What happens when you no longer feel the love?

It means everything when we begin to understand that love is something we do. We do it when we feel like it. We do it when we don’t feel like it. We do it to people we feel like loving and we do it to people we don’t feel like loving. Love has nothing to do with the other person. It has only to do with our own character and integrity. Again: let me point you to our Lord on the cross.

When asked what the most important thing in the world was: Jesus said it was to love. Love God, love others, and have a healthy love of self. Paul tells us what love is and what it’s not:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

There is one more thing I want you to think about. Jesus says that the world will know that we are his disciples by our love. My dream for the church is simple: that we are lovers of God and lovers of people. It is the thing that we do. We invite others, we care for others, we pray for others, we serve others, we give to others, we forgive others, we encourage others, and on and on and on. And, we are blessed because we are loving. And, the world will know that we are disciples by our love.

Training Update:

2 mile warm-up.

5 miles with 400 at 5:45 pace followed by 400 recovery at 7:00 pace. Christy and I did 31:45 for the 5 miles.

2 mile cool-down.

Monday, October 20, 2008


After a week of getting ready for vacation, a week of being at Disney World, a late night (Saturday) and an early morning (Sunday) of throwing a sermon together, and a busy day on Sunday -- I was ready for some rest. Monday is usually the day I try to take off. I had a few things I had to get done, but enjoyed resting and spending time with the boys and the dog. Jesus promises that when we go to him, he will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Training Update:

14.25 miles easy running at about 7:45 per mile. Running for a couple hours is rest for my mind!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Live Passionately

My sermon this morning, Live Passionately, was the second message in a series I am doing called: One Month to Live. You can listen here. I just kind of threw it together on Saturday night and Sunday morning, so here are some abbreviated notes:

1. Lessons from Expedition Everest

A truth of life is this: This biggest risk we can ever take is not taking a bunch of small risks along the way.

“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” -Esther 4:16

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it, I say! Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. -Pope Paul VI

2. Lessons from the Guy at the Beach

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. –Ephesians 2:10

3. Lessons from the Kid at the Beach

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. –Psalm 118:24

Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

4. Lessons from the Kennedy Space Center

When you doubt that you can do something, remember that 40 years ago, that a man walked on the moon.

Jesus said: I tell you that truth, if you had faith even as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. –Matthew 17:20

5. Lessons from the Airplane Ride Home

In the event that our cabin pressure should change, an oxygen mask will be released from the overhead compartment. Please place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping small children or others who may need your assistance.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls. –Matthew 11:28

You formed us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you. –St. Augustine

Training Update

It was nice to run in cooler and less humid weather. I ran with Samantha one more time before the State Cross Country meet on Friday. She won her districts last week and has a good chance to win, especially if she runs like she did today.

1.25 mile warm-up

800 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters with 60 seconds rest between each rep. The total time was 14:21.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vacation, Day 3

Epcot Center was the destination of the day. I think you could spend a week there and not see everything there is to see or do everything there is to do.

Soarin' was probably the highlight of the day. It is an incredible ride where you fly over much of America. Incredible! Lots of other fun stuff as well. Benjamin got to help a SCUBA diver. We went on lots of rides and visited many of the countries in the World Showcase. Our dinner was at a Restaurant Marrakesh, a Moroccan restaurant. One of the belly dancers had a crush on Benjamin. I think he was quite fond of her as well.

The Illuminations fireworks / light show the most impressive fireworks show I have ever seen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vacation, Day 2

4:30 in the morning came pretty early. Like 4:30. I ate a blueberry Clif Bar, loaded up my gear, and drove to Disney. This race was very organized. I parked at Epcot Center and took the bus to the starting line.

It was a great race to run. It went through both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center. I found my place near the front at the start line. A few people, including a woman who was a dead ringer for my training partner Christy, budged in front of me. I figured I had 6.2 miles to catch them, so I was happy to spot them a few steps. I took it out in 5:45 per mile for the first 3 miles. I was in 7th place and closing on a group of three in front of me. I fell at about 3.5 miles on some wet asphalt. Nothing major. I got up. I slowed down the last 3 miles. Not because of the fall. More likely the heat and humidity, the tight turns at Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center, and a 22 mile run two days earlier. I managed to stay in 7th place out of about 3,000 runners. I won my age group and got some nice hardware.

The rest of the day was spent at the Magic Kingdom. We met up with some friends and had a blast. I think we did most everything at least once. The fireworks at night was awesome. Our favorite, probably because it was Benjamin's favorite, was Mickey's PhilharMagic. It was an incredibly fun 3-D movie. We left around 11:00 p.m. A very long, but great day!

Benjamin at Splash Mountain

Enjoying some turkey legs

Benjamin and friends

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vacation, Day 1

Thanks to our friend Mark who was kind enough to pick us up at 4:15 in the morning to take us to the airport. Our two flights to Orlando were uneventful. We got to Orlando around noon.

I thought I would save a few bucks by renting a car from Advantage Rent-a-Car. The axiom "you get what you pay for" is generally true and is true with Advantage Rent-a-Car. Oh well, it got us around for the week.

We went to Disney World of Sports to pick up my race packet for the 10K race in the morning. Quite a nice place.

After some late lunch / early dinner at Chick-Fil-A, a restaurant that is somehow missing from the Omaha landscape, we went to check into our housing for the week. Thanks to our friend Paula for letting us stay at the Horizons Marriott. It was a great place!

That night Amber, Benjamin, and I just hung out in our villa and went swimming in the swimming pools.

Benjamin sleeping at the car rental place

Benjamin exploring our villa

A room with a view

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Need a New Hobby

I think I need a new hobby. This morning was long run day. I had to get it done before we go to Florida tomorrow. It was a beautiful morning for 22+ miles. Three laps around Lake Zorinsky. I am pretty sore right now and am at least wondering if I need a new hobby or not. Other than my calves, thighs, feet, hamstrings, and stomach I feel pretty good.

1st lap was 53 minutes in 7:09 per mile
2nd lap was 51 minutes in 6:53 per mile
3rd lap was 49 minutes in 6:37 per mile

Total was 22.2 miles in 2:32:58 at 6:53 per mile.

Glad to have it done and think I'll stick with this hobby for a while longer.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I was super crunched for time today. I only had about 45 minutes to run and it was between 5:15 and 6:00 this afternoon. I left from my house and went to 180th and F Street. Then I turned around and went home. I did another mile or so in my neighborhood. Every step was on concrete. Not the best surface to run on. There is no give. As I ran down 180th Street I longed for a soft dirt trail surrounded by trees and wild animals. But, I took what I had available.

Life is kind of like that. I heard somebody say recently that one of the keys of a good life is to enjoy what you have and not to long for what you don't have. So when God gives you concrete or something similar...just enjoy it!

6.5 miles pretty easy at 7:30 per mile.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Today's workout was difficult. I met with Christy at Lake Zorinsky early in the morning and we did the following workout:

1.5 miles easy running

2.5 miles at marathon pace (15:42)
4 minutes rest
6 x 800 meters at 5K pace (2:50) with 1 minute rest between reps
4 minutes rest
2.5 miles at marathon pace (15:37)

1.5 miles easy running

I was glad to be done. The 800s about killed us!

Life is a lot like running. Difficult times make us stronger. They are not pleasant at the time, but they condition us to be stronger when adversity comes in the future.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Grace is one of those things you can't earn but can only be given. I have been struggling in my runs lately. Probably because I have been upping my volume and intensity. Today was an exception though. It was a beautiful day. I was going much faster than normal and it was much easier than normal. What a great run on a great day. I didn't earn this hour. But I will gladly accept it as a gift from God. 9.5 miles in a little over an hour.

Instead of thinking about earning God's grace; let's be open to receiving God's grace. He has a lot of it he wants to give to us.

Monday, October 6, 2008


When I was in college, I changed my major four times. I started with history. Not practical enough for me (at the time - I see how it is practical now!). Then I tried public administration. I found it to be quite boring. Then I studied political science. I liked it, but didn't find the job prospects to be to great. So a few years later (yes, it took me more than four years) I graduated with two degrees: accounting (I wanted a job) and economics (these were my favorite and most interesting classes).

Fifteen years later I consider myself an amateur economist. Very amateur. I know enough to be dangerous and that's about it.

The subject still fascinates me. Economics is kind of like the weather -- people tend to talk about it a lot more when it is bad than when it is good. It seems that people are talking about economics more now than we have since at least the late 1970s. One of the interesting things about economics is that Jesus talked about the subject more than he talked about any other subject.

So read the following at your own risk. Here are my thoughts about the economy:
  • Long-term and historically, the stock market always increases. There has never been an exception to this rule.
  • The chronic federal budget deficits have started and will continue to take their toll on the economy. It is ethically irresponsible to borrow money from future generations. We are sacrificing long-term prosperity for short-term prosperity.
  • Certain sectors of the economy are in crisis: the airline industry (most on in bankruptcy), banking and finance (Have you read the news lately?), and American automobile companies (Have you checked the price of Ford or GM stock compared to what they were 5 years ago? Ouch.)
  • The cost of health care inflation far outpaces the general inflation.
  • For the first time in a long time, home values are dropping at unprecedented levels AND new construction is at its lowest level in over two decades.
  • With the exception of Norway and Dubai (both very small countries with large oil reserves), per person, the United States is still the most prosperous country in the world.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the economy by the end of the year with the upcoming election and Christmas season. I'll write more later.

Training Update:

5:30 A.M. - Easy 8 mile run through Elmwood and Memorial Parks with Henryiard at 7:20 per mile pace.

2:30 P.M. - Easy 6.5 mile run on the Lake Zorinsky Trail by myself at 7:45 per mile. Just beat the rain.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A New Focus

Here is my sermon from this morning.

Here is my column from this morning:

Like many of you, I am busy. Some of you are probably a little bit busier than I am. I am probably a little busier than some of you. For many of us, it probably depends on the day. Busyness can be good. To the store owner, busyness generally means business which is good. Busyness isn’t always a good thing though. Sometimes we find ourselves spending too much time and energy on things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really mean a whole lot.

About a year ago I had LASIK surgery. It was an incredible experience. I remember shortly after the surgery that I peeked from under my mask because I was curious how good I would be able to see. For the first time in my life I could see clearly without my glasses. I looked at the birds in the distance and was amazed at how well I could see. The next morning I woke up and out of a 24 year habit, I looked for my glasses. I realized I didn’t have them or need them. I looked at the box on the television and I could see the numbers and they were clear. My eyes could now focus correctly and I could see.

A few days later I was getting ready to do a wedding. A small problem came up. Actually it was a big problem. Even though I could see things at a distance, my eyes hadn’t fully recovered and I wasn’t able to read. I have easily done over a hundred weddings, but don’t quite have the entire script memorized. Even if I had time to memorize the ceremony, it wouldn’t have mattered because I couldn’t read it to memorize it. I generally don’t get nervous before I speak, but I stood in front of the wedding party and the congregation without any notes. I guess my nervous energy, a few years of experience, and the grace of God got me through the wedding.

Focus is a choice and a habit. We can choose to see the birds in the distance and we can pretty much choose if we are able to read the small print. We can choose if we will let the details and duties of life distract us or if we will pour the majority of our time and energy into the things that matter most to us and, even more importantly, the things that matter most to God.

Today I am talking about focus. Next will we will begin a new series that will continue the discussion. By considering what we would do with our life if we only had a month to live – we can focus and change our lives. I’m grateful that you are along for the journey with me.

The best is yet to come…


Training Update:

Not much time for a workout today. Church in the morning. Benjamin and I sold popcorn in the early afternoon. We had small group tonight. I got the kids bathed after that.

I ran with Samantha, a fast 15 year old girl at four o'clock this afternoon. She is training for the High School State Cross Country Championships in a few weeks and has a good chance to win.

We jogged for a few miles to warm-up. We ran 2K (1.25 miles) at her 4K race pace. We got some water and jogged a half mile. We then ran a half mile at a little faster than her 4K race pace. We jogged a little bit more to recover. We finished with a quarter mile to simulate the end of a race for her. We were flying. We jogged back to our cars. Nice workout (about 5 miles total) on a warm day.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


The family and I took a drive to Iowa this afternoon to Ditmar's Orchard to get some fresh apples, a few pumpkins, and hang out together on a beautiful afternoon.
Training Update:
I had planned to take the day off from running, but decided to go for a 7.62 mile run instead of watching the 4th quarter of the Missouri vs. Nebraska football game. I think this Nebraska team may be worse than last year's team, if that is possible. It was a good run though. Nice night and I felt good.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I'm talking about focus on Sunday morning. Here is what I have come up with so far...
Focusing a camera – Creating lasting memories
He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” -Joshua 4:5-7
To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions. –William James
How can God direct our steps if we are not taking any?
Focusing the projector – Being authentic
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” -Ruth 1:16-17
Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”
Focusing a microscope – Being accepting
Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. “You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, “for you are the son of a prostitute.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him. –Judges 11:1-3
If you can learn a simple trick, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his or her point of view. –Harper Lee
Focusing a telescope – Keeping our eyes on God
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. –Hebrews 12:1-2
O Lord, you have formed us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you. –St. Augustine

Photo by Steve Wall

Training Update:

16.2 miles this morning with Christy at about 7:40 per mile. Easy running and good conversation is always a joy in 45 degree weather with blue skies and a bright sun that is beginning to warm the day. Two laps around Lake Zorinsky plus another mile and a half.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I woke up this morning around 4:30, put on my favorite shirt: "I eat marathons for breakfast", ate a Blueberry Clif Bar, and drove to a trail head at Lake Zorinsky. The plan was to run 22 miles at about seven minutes per mile. I could tell after about 4 or 5 miles that I was going to fail this morning. My mind said "yes" but my body was saying "no". After 10 miles I decided that I would slow it down a bit and only do 15 miles. I averaged about 7:20 per mile for 15 miles.
I failed this morning. Failure is a part of life. Failure isn't a bad thing unless you just don't try or just don't care. The biggest failure in life is the failure to care enough to try. All great people are great because they failed. But they didn't let their failures define them. They risked failing, embraced failure, and learned from their failures.
Here's the deal. Failure isn't the opposite of success. Failure is better thought of as a precursor to success.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Daddy Dental Company

For some strange reason I find that I like to pull teeth. This morning, Benjamin noted that one of his teeth was ready to fall out. I convinced him that it would be best if he let me extract it. I pulled out what a dentist would call the upper right lateral. (Yes, I had to look that up!) Anyway, I think if I wasn't a pastor I would be an oral surgeon.

Training update:

I can't believe is is October 1st already. Only about two months to go before the California International Marathon. 10 miles easy running on 180th Street and the Zorinsky trail at 8:00 per mile very early in the morning. Very lethargic and tired.