"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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Guess It Was Time ...

Four years ago this week, I made the single greatest investment of my running career - the Garmin Forerunner 405. I was trying to shake free from an extended period of laziness and, quite frankly, disinterest in any training whatsoever. So on a whim, I thought I would give one of these new-fangled GPS watches a try. That chance decision (I was passing through a sporting goods store in Iowa while on a business trip), not only got me back on the right track, it is likely the only reason I ever attempted to run a marathon.

I have written often on the benefits that come with satellite tracking, virtual pacing, heart rate monitoring and the like, so you can check out some of those posts under the subjects of ‘Garmin’ or ‘Gear.' What I will share here is more the story of an ordinary man, driven by a structured plan and the technology to make executing the plan incredibly enjoyable.

To say that the data I outline below would have been unthinkable four years ago, is a gross understatement. But the truth is, these results all started with an initial first step, and just a few more steps after that. Then came downloading those steps, analyzing splits, reviewing courses, assessing elevation gain,  recording calories, on and on -- isn’t this unbelievably fun!

But before we talk numbers, I have to tell you, with heavy heart no less, that Garmin 405 moved on to that great runner’s time piece place in the sky this past week. So we celebrate an anniversary and we mourn my little running buddy’s passing. In 405’s honor, let’s now reflect on the best four years of my running career.

It was a warm, breezy spring afterno.... ok, I’ll drop the drama. Since April 14th, 2010 (the very first run - a 3 miler at 30 minutes), Forerunner 405 and I have:

* Logged 738 runs together, or exactly 184.5 runs per year, or just at a run every other day.
* Traveled 4,959.83 miles, or 1,240 miles per year.
* Averaged a distance of 6.72 miles.
* Run for an average duration of 1:01:59.
* Been on the move for a total of 762 hours, 25 minutes and 5 seconds, or just under 32 days of running, if calculated at 24 hours a day.

And finally, the biggest number of them all .... Forerunner 405 and I have burned 735,641 calories in these past four years, the equivalent of 3,503 Krispy Kreme original glazed donuts. I think you would agree this was the most genius purchase I’ve ever made!

Now we press forward, forgetting what is behind. In doing so, I will have Garmin 610 to keep me company. We can never replace 405, but we can create new memories with 610 and hopefully have an opportunity to look back in four years at a whole new set of unthinkable numbers! An ordinary guy, one step at a time.

from Garmin Connect - All Data (4/14/10 - 4/13/14)

Monday, April 14, 2014

RFG III - 2014 Week 9

It is always - ALWAYS - a great RFG night with Dr. Wiggy and Emily Saunders. We appreciate their insight and their willingness to share with our group each year. If you didn't make it out tonight, the slides, along with the Running For My Existence video link is provided below. Only three more weeks of RFG and it will be GO-time! Everyone is doing great, let's keep it up. See you soon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Psalm 73: ROCC SG Week 9

In our next to last week of the spring small group study, Drawing Near: Spiritual Renewal Through the Psalms, we take a look at the very first chapter in the third book of psalms, Psalm 73. The leader notes from the weekly On the Wall communication are provided below. Enjoy studying and discovering how Asaph resolves the age-old question of why the wicked seem to prosper.

In most translations (perhaps KJV a primary exception) you will find that Psalm 73 begins ‘Book III’ or the third division of psalms within the entire collection. Recall that the order of psalms is not chronological, but for the most part it is organized around several factors: when the book was compiled, psalms by authors and general themes. The five books include:

    1. Book 1 includes Psalms 1-41 and is often referred to as the “Davidic Section,” mostly written by David.
    2. Book 2 includes Psalms 42-72 and is called “Hezekiah’s Collection,” mostly compiled during the reign of King Hezekiah (729-696 BC), written by David and the Sons of Korah.
    3. Book 3 includes Psalms 73-89 and is called “Josiah’s Collection,” mostly compiled during the reign of King Josiah (638-608 BC), with a majority written by Asaph (11 of the 17)
    4. Book 4 includes Psalms 90-106 and are primarily intended to be used in temple worship (see Psalm 95 from week 6 of our study). These are mostly anonymous, but they do include one from Moses. These appear to have been compiled up to the date of the captivity, (586 BC).
    5. Book 5 includes Psalms 107-150, collected after the return to the homeland, perhaps during the time of Nehemiah and Ezra (450 BC). There are fifteen by David and most others are anonymous. Many are praises (thus connecting to the return from captivity) and others are decrees or directives.
Note that each book ends with a final verse doxology. I especially like how Book 4 concludes, “…let all the people say ‘Amen.’ Praise the Lord.”  (106:48) – If you’ve heard the current Matt Maher song ‘And all the people said Amen’, then you are probably humming the tune right now.

 Asaph was one of the three chief musicians appointed by David to lead the chorus and music of the sanctuary services (1 Chronicles 15). While others were appointed throughout the land, Asaph was chosen to preside over the music when the ark was brought up to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16), and continued to lead the worship in Jerusalem. His sons were entrusted with the leadership of music at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 25). In short, Asaph and his sons were gifted and highly respected singers and worship leaders.

In Psalm 73, Asaph returns to the age-old problem of the seeming prosperity of the wicked, while the godly suffer. One interesting note is that this dilemma is addressed in previous psalms (Psalm 37 by David and in Psalm 49 by an unknown author), but here it is more resolved—through drawing near to God. In Psalm 37, David’s assurance was found in the idea of waiting on the Lord, or patience, for the evildoers will wither like the grass, perish and be no more. In Psalm 49 we are to watch and see what happens as none of the money, fame, glory and ‘pomp’ of the wicked will ever descend with them. In fact, they will be ruled over by the upright “in the morning.”

In verses 1-3, Asaph provides a summary to this perplexing condition. First, a reminder that God is good. Despite serious doubts by what we often see around us, God is good to those that follow after Him. Then he describes how he had almost lost this faith. As if saying, “You know, I came real close to believing that the ways of the wicked were the ways to go!” Sort of a “crimes pays” mentality. I think the idea of nearly losing a “foothold” (NIV) and that of “my feet were slipping, and I was almost gone” (NLT) should remind us of the slippery slope that exists when we allow greed, envy, and pride to consume our thoughts.

From verse 4 through 16, Asaph speaks to this issue in greater detail. The wicked seemed blessed by their actions, “they seem to live such a painless life” and “they are not in trouble like other men.” (verses 4-5). There are worldly benefits to the lifestyles of the wicked, “they have more than their hearts could wish” (verse 7). Again, on the surface, Asaph looks around and sees that the ungodly have money in the bank, influence and power, more provisions than they could ever need or use. Finally, they are blasphemous and seem to get away with it; “they have set their mouth against the heavens” (verse 9).

The Answer: In verses 17-28, Asaph first admits that he was having much difficulty in comprehending how God could let this happen. He writes,  “but (transition from previous thought – in other words, the wicked seem to prosper, but ….) when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, UNTIL I went into the sanctuary of God, THEN I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places, you make them fall to ruin.” (verses 17-18). Asaph is saying that it was when he came into God’s presence, when he came to worship God, then he could understand that evil does not pay. Ultimately, it is the wicked that exist on a slippery place. It was made clear to him, after he had set his heart right before the Lord, that God does despise evil and His plan will be fulfilled.

Finally, Asaph concludes with another reference to this need to worship and be near to God. It is in close relationship to God that we are free from our envy of those that prosper without Him; “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all of your works.” (verse 28).

Monday, April 7, 2014

RFG III - 2014 Week 8

Motivation Monday! Tonight has been all about getting our Mo-Jo on and 'facing our giants.' We have four weeks to go and our runs are even more critical. We only have one interval to remember with each run and the goal is to keep moving forward with a higher level of intensity during that interval. Stay motivated! Remember why you signed up and think about the effort it has taken to get to this point. The old saying goes, "pain is only temporary, the feeling that you get by accomplishing your goal lasts forever!" 

Week 8 slides and link to the motivational video are below. See you next Monday!

Monday, March 31, 2014

RFG III - 2014 Week 7

7 training weeks down, 5 to go. The intervals are fewer and the minutes are longer. You are doing a great job. Go back to your reason for starting Run For God in the first place. Stay on the wall! You WILL finish and you will continue to move forward.

Below are the slides from tonight, along with the video link on Ben's Journey - And, One Day I Ran. If you haven't signed up for Novant Health Fair (coming April 14th) please plan on doing so next Monday night. Also, time to promote the ROCC 5k--get your family, coworkers, and friends on board to support the Clemmons Food Pantry.