Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Daily Read - May 30, 2012

18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Talking To Yourself (May 29, 2012)

A few weeks back, I posted THIS VIDEO of a twitter-friend of mine.  In the video, she is repeating to herself the motto: "I run this body.

Last week, I was watching the Conan O'Brien show on TBS (as I do regularly).  Every once in a while he does a bit where he pretends to cry over something and as the tear rolls down his cheek, he drinks it and flexes his muscles and says, "I drank the tear and it made me strong.

The past week has been a tough week of running... with daytime temps in 90s with lots of humidity.  These phrases (and others) are some of the things that I think to myself... and sometimes say to myself... and sometimes say out-loud to myself as I'm running. 

And that's okay.  It's okay to talk to yourself... encourage yourself audibly while running.  We all do it.

I'm a music-listening-runner.  I listen to music on every run... even if I'm running with my wife (I have one ear bud in and one out (so I can hear her)).  Part of the reason why I do that is the positive, inspiring and challenging messages that I find in the songs. 

Take this morning for instance.  I headed out for my first tempo run of this training cycle (I have a tempo run scheduled for every third week... hill sprints... then tempo runs... then track workouts (mostly Yasso 800's).)  The tempo run expected a 1 mile warm up... then about 10-12 minutes of flat out 10k speed... then about 10 minute cool down.  As I rounded the corner onto a straight stretch that was slightly downhill, I began to pick up the pace to start the tempo part.  As I did, I hit skip on my iPod.  The next song to come up was "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins.  Anyone who is a child of the 80's knows the power of this song.  Chills started in the back of my neck and went all the day down to my feet and the pace picked up. 

It's great to encourage yourself as you're running.  Find a phrase or multiple phrases that work(s) for you.  Repeat it to yourself.  Say it out loud.  Find some music that pumps you up and let it carry you.  In the same way that the crowds cheering and chanting at a marathon, 1/2 marathon or 5k encourage you, you can encourage yourself with some phrases that challenge you to dig deep and keeping moving! 

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Daily Read - May 29, 2012

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Monday, May 28, 2012

We Remember... This Memorial Day (Skit Guys)

Daily Read - May 28, 2012

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daily Read - May 27, 2012

14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Daily Read - May 26, 2012

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Loved this quote...

I picked up a copy of Marko's latest book... A Beautiful Mess.  It is a short little e-book that I picked up for free off of Simply Youth Ministries website a couple of days ago. And I loved this quote...

"There really is a magic formula - a math equation - for great youth ministry...

A grace-filled caring adult who's willing to be present to teenagers + a smallish group of teenagers + the power of the Holy Spirit and presence of Christ = a freakin' awesome opportunity to impact the world" (page 24).

That's good stuff there.  It's so easy to get wrapped up in new ideas... programs... events... sermons... planning... outreach... programs... volunteers... programs (did I mention programs)... that we forget that youth ministry is really just an adult who loves Jesus and is growing more like him who likes and is available to teenagers and the power of God wrapped into one fun-loving ball of ministry!


Daily Read - May 25, 2012

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Youth Ministry Tech - Dropbox

I don't think that I've blogged about this... If I have, please forgive me.  But I just really love this tech.

I love the Dropbox program!

I have multiple computers that I use on a regular basis for different things.  My main MacBook pro.  But I also have an iPhone.  Hopefully soon, I have an iPad.  I also have a windows computer that runs slides in the hallway at church.  Additionally, my wife has a MacBook.  I'm always moving files around to different machines or wanting to have some of those files on my phone and will want them on my iPad (when I get it). 

Dropbox is perfect for that. 

It's free.  You can create a free account HERE.  It creates a file folder on the harddrive of your computer.  Whatever documents, pictures, files, etc, that you put into that folder will be available on whatever other computers have access to that folder.  If you want to share a file, document, presentation or whatever with someone else, you can create a shared folder with anyone.  They can upload from anywhere they have internet and "boom!", it's on your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod or whatever you have it linked to (depending on your network speed and the size of the doc, pic, etc, it might take a couple of minutes to upload).

Easy peazy!!!

I use this program to share documents with folks around the office.  My wife puts documents in there that she wants me to see or that we edit together.  I put mp3s in there of music that I want our student worship band to check out.  I put docs on there that I want to have access to on my phone. Good stuff.
You get a small amount to start out.  But if you jump through a couple of hoops, you get some more.  If folks join based on your usage, you get some more (up to 16gb).  It's not great for moving huge files like 2gb movie files, as it take a while to upload (unless you start it and walk away for a couple of hours) but it still works pretty great! 

Check it out and get started HERE.  Would I steer you wrong?


Daily Read - May 24, 2012

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily Read - May 23, 2012

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Fun - Teachers Dancing Behind Students

This just kinda cracked me up... maybe you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up! Check this out!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hard to believe... but... Graduation arrived!

It's hard to imagine. 

But the day that I had worked so hard for finally arrived on Saturday, May 12, 2012.  It was kinda like crossing the finish line in a marathon except without the inability to walk afterwards. 

I've been working on this Master's Degree since January 2006.  That's a long time running the same direction... after one single thing... more than 6 years! 

75 hours hours!
Countless hours reading and preparing!
Early mornings and late nights!
Miles and miles on the road to and from school!
Greek (again) and Hebrew!

It was a great experience.  When I started at Lincoln, I was all about getting in, getting my work done and getting out.  But the professors and the community grew on me. 

And I think I grew a lot.  I think I grew as a pastor.  I think I grew as a follower of Jesus.  I think I grew as a husband.  I know I grew. 

It was a rewarding experience.  I finally proved to myself that I could handle my own academically (something I didn't often do in my undergrad). 

Right now, it feels odd to not have any reading to do.  A couple of days ago, I deleted the list in my to-do list software where I kept my upcoming tasks, projects, papers and deadlines for seminary.  It still looks odd to look at my to-do list and not see a "seminary" category.  But it's gone.  And it feels odd. 

Several have asked me "what's next, academically?"  Honestly, right now I don't know.  I'm praying about what may lie ahead.  I don't know if a Ph.D. is waiting out there for me... I don't know if a D.Min is out there... I don't know. 

And it's a good place to be right now.  Soon, the diploma will be up on the wall beside my Milligan diploma, my ordination certificate, my picture of my Milligan buds and my photo of Alexander Campbell. My MDiv hood and gown are hanging on the back of the door in my office.  I don't know if I'll make room for anything else of that sort...

I'll pray about it... and we'll see!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Shoe Rotation (May 15, 2012)

Let me introduce you to some friends of mine. 

To the right, you'll see my current active running shoe fleet.  On the left is "Pair 1" with approximately 180 miles on them... in the middle is "Pair 2" with approximately 10 miles on them... and on the right is "Pair 3" who have yet to see mileage.  They are all Nike+ Pegasus edition shoes.  (Pair 1 is model 27 and Pairs 2 and 3 are model 28 if you care.)

Why show you my shoes? 

I wrote a couple of months ago about getting your shoes properly fitted (HERE).  A quick tip that most don't realize until they've discovered it for themselves... I didn't... is that your shoes last longer when you rotate them!

Totally floored me. 

An example will suffice.  I have a tendency to wear one pair of shoes and wear them until they wear out and then get a new pair.  My wife hates this.  But it's just easier to match.  Anyway!  I did the same thing with my running shoes.  I bought a new pair of running shoes.  Then I'd wear them every day, on every run, all the time.  Day after day, most days back to back and sometimes back to back to back on runs.  I'm a bigger guy (weighing in around 240... hopefully about 220 by Chicago time) and I can abuse a pair of shoes pretty quickly.  I would quickly rack up about 250 to 275 miles on a pair of shoes.  They would feel heavy and the tread would be wore out.  So, I'd declare them "retired" and move onto another pair. 

Then a friend challenged me to try rotating them.  Buy an extra pair and skip a day with one pair, while wearing the other and then vise versa.  I discovered that I could get about 400-500 miles out of a single pair of shoes if I rotated them!  That's huge!  That saves buying one new pair of shoes ($60-$75 where I buy my Nike's online). 

When you wear your shoes, you compress the cushioning and the insoles.  This happens a lot more with running because of the impact on the shoes.  When you wear them repeatedly back to back, it doesn't give the insoles and cushioning a chance to rebound (re-expand).  So when you wear them again and again and again, they don't have a chance to recover and they wear out faster. 

Take it from me, and I watch my shoe mileage very closely, if you rotate your shoes... they will last longer.  If they last longer, that saves money (that you can spend on race fees or other goodies).  Rotate your shoes.  This summer, because I am attacking the Chicago Marathon with a little more fierceness, I will be racking up about 800 miles between May and mid-October.  So I'm going to go ahead and rotate in a third pair just to make them last a little longer. 

Keep running friends!  I'll likely see you out there!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicago Shoes - 825 miles for 26.2

"Mama says they was magic shoes. They could take me anywhere..." so said Forrest Gump about his special shoes.

These shoes here are my Chicago shoes.  They are going to take me to Chicago marathon.

Looking over my Chicago training plan, which begins officially in 10 days, I will cover about 825 miles on these shoes.  The pair on the left, currently called #1's, have about 140 miles on them.  The pair in the middle, #2, have 2 miles on them... just activated last night.  The pair on the far right, #3, don't have any miles yet.

It dawned on me tonight as I begin to break in a new pair of #2s, that one of these pairs will cross the finish line in Chicago.  

I've got a lot of miles to spend with these guys.  I hope they look as good in a couple of months as they do now! By the way, they are Nike+ Pegasus 27's (on the left) and the two pairs on the right are Nike Pegasus 28's

Keep running friends!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Daily Read - May 10, 2012

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

Isaiah 5:20 and Hebrews 13:4

In light of yesterday's political statements, these two verses have been rolling around inside my head today.  Something to think about...

Isaiah 5:20

20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Media Stats on the Millennial Teenager

Interesting stuff here:
(thanks Doug Fields... didn't create it... just posted it)

The Millennial Teenager
Courtesy of: Online Schools

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What's next: Chicago Marathon!!!

That's what's next!


Quick Running Tip Tuesday - #Runchat (5.8.12)

I've talked here often about the encouragement that exists within the running community.  It was actually a surprising find. 

Runners just like to encourage other runners. 

Runners also like to talk to other runners about running.  I have often found myself engrossed in conversations at Starbucks, church, at the office, the mall, Road Runners (where I buy most of my running gear), or just about anywhere about running.  The funny thing is, I don't want the conversation to end. 

Runners like to talk to other runners about running. 

If you're a runner... and you like encouragement... and you like to talk about running... and you have a Twitter account... Then you should be joining us for #runchat on Sunday nights. 

It's a free, twitter-based chat that happens on the second and fourth Sunday nights at 8pm EDT every month.  If you search within Twitter for the hashtag #runchat, you'll find us.  A couple of my buddies Scott and David ask running-related questions and we chime in with ideas, suggestions, experiences, etc.  Then the conversation begins!  We talk about everything and anything running related... gear... training... races... successes... failures... struggles... injuries... you name it!  Scott and David have even lined up some sweet give-aways to help spice up the chat a bit! 

It's great!
And it's free!
All you have to do is join us! 

If you want some more information:
Here is #runchat on the web...
Here is #runchat on facebook...
Or you can just check out #runchat on twitter... 

Also... those of us who are regular also include #runchat in with our running-related tweets throughout the week so that we can keep up with each other between chat sessions!  It's a great community!

Join us!
Keep running friends!


Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Cap City Half Re-Cap

Saturday (May 7th) was the Cap City 1/2 Marathon in Columbus, Ohio.  We'd (as pictured... my wife, myself and my friend Donnie) been thinking about this race since September and of the three of us, I was the most unprepared. 

My training did not go well.  Plagued with quadriceps tendonitis since early February, I was unsure until about 3 weeks before the race that I was even going to make it to the starting line.  Thankfully in the final three weeks, my quad shaped up and I was able to do it.

The day was supposed to be cool, in the low 60's, with sun throughout the morning and afternoon.  What we got instead was temps around 65 and about 85% humidity.  It was a killer.  I was sweating before we even started and I was soaked by mile 4.  It got so bad that at mile 11, I actually dumped water on me, which is something that I never do, to try and cool down.

Unfortunately, fluids were an issue.  The race was organized well.  The corrals were well executed.  As each wave (approximately 3,000 of the total 13,000 runners and walkers) went off, they held the next corral for a few moments to create some separation in the pack.  The race started on time.  The start and finish lines were great.  The entertainment was great.  But the fluid stations were a major draw back.  At one station (around 9 1/2), the station was completely out of water and electrolytes when I got there.  When I went for the electrolyte fluids, often what I received wasn't even enough to drink... just barely enough to get my mouth wet.  That would come back to haunt me later.

I wanted to run a smart race.  I wanted to enjoy the time with my friend Donnie, this was his first, and with my wife, also her first.  I wanted to not come out of the race injured (again).  But in the back of my mind, I continued to play with the idea of breaking the 2-hour mark.  I decided to just run for the first 6 miles and when we made the turn south on high street, I'd evaluate the my pace and the time and see if I could go for it. 

When we turned onto High Street about mile 6, it began an approximate 2 to 2 1/2 mile slight downhill course.  Evaluating my pace, I decided to go for it.  I was roughly only 2 minutes off of the 2 hour pace.  I was hoping the downhill would help me make up some ground.  The 6, 7,  and 8 mile splits weren't bad (9:47, 9:26, 9:29).  Even mile 9 was good. But just before the 9 mile mark, we rounded the corner and started back uphill.  This was trouble.  Then I hit a water station at about 9 1/2 that didn't have any water.  When I powered back up, my legs just didn't have any "get up and go" left.  Up until this point, I had run with my wife, Jackie.  This was the last time I ran with her.  I finished out mile 9 strong.  But miles 10, 11 and 12 would be hard.

I dropped almost a full minute off my pace.  I had hit the wall.  My lack of solid base had left me without any reserves.  I just didn't have anything left.  I was disappointed and felt defeated! But I gathered it back up and finished. 

Overall, I was disappointed with my time (2.07.55).  I am disappointed mostly because I know I can do better.  This is the slowest of my half marathons (Akron: 2.06.42 - Flying Pig: 3.03.52). But I was pleased with my effort.  I ran a smart race.  I waited to see if I could get my foot in the door on the time.  When it was time, I went for it.  I just didn't have the gas to carry it through.  That was due to being injured for three months.  Next time I line up, I'll be better prepared. 

Here are my splits (in case you care about such things):

It was a good day.  The course was nice.  I ran with my wife.  She actually beat me by 4 minutes... thanks to my pacing her for 9+ miles and creating her training plan. Actually she was/is a stronger runner than me right now.  When we run together, she sets a faster pace.  Hopefully once my mileage pops back up, I can tip that scale.  But she ran well!  I ran with Donnie!  It was great to see him finish something that 6 months ago he could barely even dream about.  Even a couple of months ago, he didn't think he could do it.  I was proud for him to see him with his medal around his neck!  He earned it!

Next for me: Chicago!  Actually, I already have a couple of miles in (3.1 miles today) toward that goal.  The Chicago Marathon is coming up on October 7th.  I'll be laying out my training plan today (I'm an overachiever...).  Gotta keep thinking about what's next!

Keep running friends!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Set A Goal (May 1, 2012)

(Apologies folks... I haven't been as regular with this column this month as I intended to be.  I pray that you'll forgive me. )

This beauty is what is currently in my sights. 

This weekend is the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio.  I kinda ended up in this race by accident.  Through a couple of conversations with a friend who was "kinda" running, he decided to sign up for his first half marathon.  Since I was encouraging him to consider doing a race and he registered, I thought it was only fair that I join him.  So I did.  I set a goal for this training cycle.

While this training cycle has been difficult to say the least (quad issues... back issues... time issues... ugh!), I have this goal in mind: Finishing the Cap City Half Marathon on May 5, 2012!  While it won't be the celebration that I had hoped for, it's still my goal.

Today a friend posted on Facebook that he was planning to run a half marathon next year.  My first question was: "Great! Which one?"  I wanted to see how focused and intentional he was.  

You've gotta set some goals.  Goals are good in every area of our lives... but especially in running.  There are plenty of goals in running:
  • Finishing a 5k
  • Running a mile
  • Running 10 miles
  • Finishing a Half Marathon
  • Finishing a Full Marathon
  • Shaving 1 minute off your 5k time
  • Completing a speed workout without throwing up
These are all good goals... and I'm sure you can think of some more... but you've got to have one/some.  You've got to set your sights on something.  I've heard many times, and it's true about running as well, that those who aim at nothing hit it every time. 

So... what should you as a runner do? 
  • Set out a training plan
  • Change your eating habits
  • Register for a 5k, 10k, Half or Full Marathon
  • Make a plan and do it!
  • Set a goal
  • Start
Let friends and family members know what you're doing so they can encourage you and keep you accountable.  Then go for it! Go after that goal with all you have to offer!

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!