my search to understand the bigger picture

Friday, July 19, 2013

Today is my 30th Spiritual Birthday

what a day.  i've been a christian for 30 years today.  my parents did such a great job celebrating this day every year that i still remember some specifics about the night that my parents talked about this with my brother and i after supper.

this is one of those things that my wife and i are passing along to our own daughters.  i've been taking moments throughout the day today, allowing holy spirit to bring back to mind moments in time that i've had with him.

some of the more powerful ones:

  • my first time attending a small group while in youth group.  i still have some interaction with one of the leaders, and some of the kids in that group today.
  • countless times spent with my youth pastor, Dan Seaborn.
  • being asked to serve on the leadership council my senior year.
  • preaching a sermon twice my senior year to our senior high youth group of about 250 kids.
  • being baptized in lake michigan the summer before my senior year.
  • starting up a group my 4th year in college, which grew to about 100 students every tuesday night where we worshipped and spent time in prayer.
  • going into full time ministry after college.
  • my wedding day.
  • the miscarriage of our first two children.
  • the birth of my next two children.
  • hours of interaction with holy spirit while running the 56 mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa.
  • meeting our sponsored child, Nomonde Precious in South Africa. 
  • having both daughters accept Jesus into their hearts. 
  • countless conversations with holy spirit while trail running at Kickapoo State Park.
and on, and on, and on.

these moments have been so precious to me.  God has been a powerful and important part of my entire life.  while i've had my moments of following him more closely than others, i'm proud to say i've never walked away from God.  i've never backslidden.  i've never given up on him.  

and he's never given up on me.  he's been so patient with me.  so loving.  so caring.  so tender.  so filled with mercy towards me.  

with all the certainty i have in me, july 19 will always be the most powerful day in my life.  it's the day i gave my life over to jesus in 1983, at the age of 6.  he's my savior, my redeemer, my ever present help, my rock, my very best friend.  

God the Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, i love you!  happy birthday to us today!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Skyrunner's Manifesto

found this in a book i just finished reading, Run or Die by Kilian Jornet.  it was written a few years ago, and just recently translated into english.

Kiss or kill.  Besa o mata.  Kiss glory or die in the attempt.  Losing is death; winning is life.  The fight is what decides the victory, the winner.  How often have rage and pain made you cry?  How often has exhaustion made you lose your memory, voice, common sense?  And how often in this state have you exclaimed, with a broad smile on your face, "The final stage!  Two more hours!  Go, onward and upward!  That pain only exists inside your head.  Control it, destroy it, eliminate it, and keep on.  Make your rivals suffer.  Kill them."  I am selfish, right?  Sport is selfish, because you must be selfish to know how to fight on while you suffer, to love solitude and hell.  Stopping, coughing, feeling cold, not feeling your legs, feeling sick, vomiting, getting headaches, cuts, bleeding....can you think of anything better?
The secret isn't in your legs, but in your strength of mind.  You need to go for a run when it is raining, windy, and showing, when lightning sets trees on fire as you pass them, when snowflakes or hailstones strike your legs and body in the storm and make you weep, and in order to keep running, you have to wipe away the tears to see the stones, walls, or sky.  The strength of mind to say no to hours of partying, to good grades, to a pretty girl, to the bedsheets against your face.  To put your soul into it, going out into the rain until your legs bleed from the cuts when you slip on the mud and fall to the ground, and then get back on your feet and continue uphill until your legs cry out, "Enough!" and leave you marooned in a storm on the remotest peaks, until you die.
Leggings soaked by snow, driven on by the wind that sticks to your face and freezes your sweat.  Feeling the pressure from your legs, the weight of your body bearing down on the metatarsals in your toes, pressure that can shatter rocks, destroy planets, and move continents.  Legs suspended in the air, gliding like an eagle, or running faster than a cheetah.  Running downhill, slipping on the snow and mud before driving yourself on anew, and suddenly you are free to fly, to shout out in the heart of the mountain, with only the most intrepid rodents and birds hidden in their nests beneath the rocks as your confessors.  Only they know your secrets, your fears.  Because losing is death.  And you should not die before you have given your all, have wept from the pain and the wounds.  And you cannot surrender.  You must fight on to the death.   Because glory is the greatest, and you can either aspire to glory or fall by the wayside.  You cannot simply not fight, not suffer, not die....Now is the time to suffer, the time to fight, the time to win.  Kiss or kill.

very interesting thoughts from perhaps the greatest endurance athlete the world has ever known.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What Would You Sacrifice For a Cause You Believed In?

a job?

a business?



the easy life?

seriously, think about this for a moment.  is there any cause that you would consider making a sacrifice for?  is there any one person you would sacrifice something significant for?

two thoughts come to my mind when thinking on this topic.

first, Jesus.  he sacrificed his life so that i could be made free, set free from sin.  he sacrificed his own life so that i could experience life to the full in him.  powerful.  almost mind-numbing.  inspiring.  shocking.

second, Steve Spear.  he and his family sacrificed all of the above in order to help bring clean water to people in Kenya.  this man, is running across america, trying to raise $1.5 million to bring clean water to 30,000 people.  for the uneducated, water is life in many areas of the world.  we take water for granted, many times paying $1, $2, even $3 for a bottle of water.  we take 30 minute showers, own swimming pools, have underground sprinkling to make our lawns look nice.  many in the rest of the world are lucky to get water as clean as the water when you are finished washing your car.  that is, if you wash your own car.  have you ever looked at the water left in the bucket?  imagine using that as your everyday water, and then multiplying the pollutants by 10 or more.

steve spear is simply following the example set before him by jesus.  giving of himself.  why am i writing about this?  because i got to run with steve today.  my friend Scott and i ran 9 grueling miles with steve today.  he still have 23-24 more miles to go before his day was done.

what's sad is that many have had to resort to crazy exploits like this to raise awareness.  we simply don't want to know about the suffering of others.  but we must open our eyes to the conditions of others around the world.  the movie Spiderman reminds us, that "with great power, comes great responsibility".  well, we live in a wealthy country.  you may not feel wealthy, but check this website out.  maybe you'll get a better, more realistic perspective.

so, i implore you today, do something to help others.  start with a $50 gift or bigger, providing one person with clean water for life!  check out their project by clicking here.

seriously, what are you waiting for?  do you really think you are going to miss that $50?  go scoop up some water from a nearby puddle, then imagine having to drink that.  imagine having to cook with it, bathe with it.  better yet, imagine that you can't send your child to school, because you have to send them to fetch that water, and then you have to watch your own child drink that water.  come on, $50.  you can do it.  there ya go!

now, go tell others.  we can do something about this!  in a world filled with news of hate, violence, and tragedy, you can be a ray of light.  go for it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This Caught My Attention Today

i was reading a blog post i get every so often, and this sentence stood out apart from the rest:

"There is nothing worse than a well read, smart, articulate leader who can’t lead themselves out of a paper bag simply because they lack self-awareness."

so tragic to see potential in others, and yet the only thing holding them back is themselves.  take a few minutes today to think about yourself.  work at becoming more self-aware.

if you want to read the rest of the article click HERE.

thanks to scott williams for sharing his thoughts on a regular basis.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


i'm currently working my way through the book Start by Jon Acuff.  it's been a fantastic read so far; one that i'd highly recommend to anyone who has the ability to read.

one thing i came across this morning has really got me thinking.

"1.  If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?
  2.  Are those the things I'm spending time doing right now?"

great questions i think one could spend a good deal of time on.  give it some thought today.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Father's Day Meltdown

just got back from my first counseling session.  the guy was right, i need a some migraine medication!

it was good though, and i'm going back.  but i'm a mess.  and then after catching up on emails at the office, i came across this little gem, and tears are streaming down my face.

i seriously hope my daughters view me in this light, or one day will.  wow, still crying.