"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Monday, April 17, 2017

ROCC RFG 2017 - Week 9

Week 9 began with an encouraging word and pre-run prayer from our Senior Paster, David Beaty. We appreciate Pastor Beaty stopping by and are especially grateful for his encouragement.

And speaking of encouragement, it must have worked - you all looked great. With 25 minutes of running and a stroll down to Sedalia on this warmer evening, you were in control, running your pace, and working hard.

In our time of study, the Skit Guys take on 'Grace' provided what is likely one of the more impactful video messages that we will watch. The gift of grace, so that no one may boast!  (Ephesians 2:8-9). It was followed by Mitchell's discussion on "Our Answer," with the "Answer" being, what do we say when others ask us about our Run for God shirt? Are we prepared? What does it mean to each of us? What is our story? Words that make us think of 1 Peter 3:15, "be prepared to have an answer ..."

Finally, Race Etiquette 101. There are definitely some "Do's" and "Don'ts" when it comes to running your 5k race. Tonight we looked at the most important ones, including the most important ones for the ROCC 5K. They are shown in an attached slides.

Have a great week - only eleven more workouts left!!! Saturday at Tanglewood.

Keep running with horses, and keep running for God.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ROCC RFG 2017 - Week 8

Motivation Monday! That's the week in our training where the committed walkers and runners among us cross over the threshold of not turning back. While the uncommitted (at least until now), must decide if their 'why' is motivating them enough to get back at it. So, Motivation Monday is the perfect theme to our week.

In short, if you have stayed disciplined to this point, you are almost to the starting line of your 5k (stress 'YOUR' 5k). Yes, the runs get longer and the workouts a bit more difficult, but you have endured thus far and you WILL endure for the remaining fourteen workouts. You have been working hard and the rewards of that work are starting to be felt and seen. Think about reaping what we sow, or getting out what we put in. Persevere and finish the race!

I would encourage all of us to spend some time going back over 2 Timothy 2:1-7. We spoke briefly to our call in discipleship that we find from Paul's words of motivation to Timothy, but there is a powerful message in the metaphors of soldier, athlete, and farmer, that can motivate our focus, our determination, and our mission, in both the spiritual and physical races.

In addition, I have attached a link to the Awkward Invitation & Dean's Tips for Motivation.

Have a great week of training and moving forward. If you didn't pick-up your shirt, then please plan on doing so next week. If you haven't registered for the 5K, then please plan on doing so in the near future.

Keep running for God and running with horses!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My "Unhappy" Place

I'd like to think that everyone has a happy place. You know, that space - familiar, yet not overly routine - where we experience moments of complete contentment and soulful renewal. Where the busyness of the everyday melts away and we find ourselves wanting to bottle it all up; the sights, sounds, emotions, all of it. A place that consistently meets this expectation, and defines much of who we are.

One of life's real blessings, at least for me, is the good fortune of having identified those happy places early enough into the journey that they can continue to be revisited in the years ahead. It is incredibly satisfying to know, without a doubt, that these specific moments resonate with me like none other. 

As a reminder, outside of time with family, my happy places include: 
The Starting Line (Any Starting Line!)
Small Group Community
The Run for God Gang
The Local Body of Christ in Worship & Fellowship
These have long been my happy places and I suspect, expect, and pray, that they will remain as such, far into the future. 

So, if the existence of our happy places is a reality, then the opposite must be true as well. Even if you are as optimistic as yours truly, it would reason that there is a space that is consistently unsettling and undesirable; the unhappy place. And for the first time in my life, I now realize exactly where that is for me. 

Over the past nine months, my wife and I have discovered the new-norm that occurs when the "c" word becomes part of everyday vocabulary. In the flash of an August MRI, life changed courses and priorities were instantly rearranged. As we like to think of it, God revealed the next page of our lives, and we were completely surprised, though he was not.

Fast-forward to one week ago tonight. An ER room near midnight, and my best friend rolled away for scans, again. And the waiting begins, in a room that is far from quiet (think frequent monitor alerts and constant hallway chatter - some frantic, some just loud), but somehow it becomes one of the loneliest, most silent places on earth. Pacing, sitting, checking the clock ... pacing, sitting, checking the clock. The room is loud, but the mind is deafly quiet, waiting, wondering, projecting best and worst case scenarios for the results, which could, should come at any moment, or not, so waiting, pacing, sitting ...

I'm sure there is a correlation between the time one waits and the level of silence and  depth of the loneliness, but somewhere near the forty-five minute mark on this night, this great revelation occurred to me: "Right here, right now, I have identified my unhappy place!" Those were the exact words, spoken out loud to no one in particular. An empty waiting room with someone you love rolled off elsewhere, that is most definitely it. 

I'm not really certain why this seemed so profound at that moment, but I am certain that it made me realize how our lives are filled with much more happy than unhappy. In fact, I recall thinking that it took almost half-a-century to find this space, and for that, I am most grateful. I also came to consider that God allows us the same joy in either of these "places." Perhaps one with greater sadness than the other, but the fullness of His joy can never be taken from us, even in the ER. 

May the joy of the Lord be our strength in all of our unhappy places, and may the dark skies and rough ground remind us that the call to "run with horses" can often be an extremely challenging endeavor .... but one that is always better than stumbling around with men on foot in safe country. 
Blessed Be Your Name (even in our unhappy places)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ROCC RFG 2017 - Week 7

The good news: 19 workouts completed, 17 workouts to go - You are over halfway home to the ROCC 5K starting line!

The challenging news: Each of the remaining 17 workouts are critical - every one of them. Keep trusting the plan and remain committed to running your race.

The inspiring news: At Monday's session, we were reminded of several important things:

1) Life can change in a minute - a show of support for Molly Offstein (video below)
2) Your 'what' is important, but your 'why' is even more important - a powerful word by Michael Junior (video below)
3) Our spiritual nutrition is critical to our spiritual health - the bread of life, his Word that is sweet to our taste, "we are what we eat."

The bad news: If you missed last night, then you missed our first-ever indoor cross country track and our post-run PED's (Performance Enhancing Donuts).

To learn more about any of the above references, see the presentation slides below. We will meet this Saturday at River Oaks for our third run of week seven. See you there.

Keep running for God and keep running with horses!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ROCC RFG 2017 - Week 6

"Running into the sun, but I'm running behind ....."

Fuel, both spiritual and physical nutrition, was a central theme to our time together this week. During our connect time, we took a listen to Jackson Browne's well-known song Running on Empty. As we listened (link with lyrics included below), we considered the application to our faith. Have we ever felt as aimless, desperate, or uncertain, as the character in this song? Why do believers sometimes feel like they are running on empty? Has anyone ever helped you "refuel?" In overhearing a few of the table conversations, it seemed that this connect activity resonated with several of us. 

Following, we spent some time discussing a healthy runner's diet, nutrition, and weight management. Always keep in mind that each of our needs, body types, and rates of metabolism are unique. Know your body, but also know there are some general, universal guidelines when it comes to improving performance and reaping the benefits of a good diet. We tried to emphasize these common threads. 

Additionally, we watched a video for Crisis Control Ministry of Forsyth County (our ROCC 5K beneficiary) and a moving video on Elon cross country / track athlete Molly Offstein. Both are included below. Next Monday we plan on sending Molly a #showusyourshoes pic of support as indicated in the video. I will have an update on her condition and I look forward to sharing. 

Have a great week. Stay at it. You are halfway through the training and your consistency will pay off as we increase the intervals in week 7. On Monday, we will run the back half of the course for the first time, come back to celebrate and have an early night. Keep running for God. You can do it!