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Unexpected cannonball

Over the past several years, the beautiful bride and I have developed convictions that just a few years prior would have seemed unthinkable. We’re encouraged by, amused by, and challenged by how we have been led to those convictions. Our convictions about things like education, food and nutrition, parenting, health and medicine, practical theology, ministry, government and politics, and more have undergone major transformation since we married almost 11 years ago. Because our new ways of thinking in each of these areas has come about since our move to Washington state almost 8 years ago (still can’t believe it has been that long) we often joke that the east coast version of ourselves would unmercifully mock the west coast version of ourselves. I am grateful for the learning process to arrive at these convictions, and I am grateful for the convictions themselves.

They also terrify me.

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Will you pray with us?

I want you to look at that question again. I’m not asking you if you will pray for us. There is a presumption on my end that you are either: a. already praying for us, or b. would gladly pray for us if we asked. We treasure those prayers, and we thank you for them.

What I am asking you to do is to pray with us. On Wednesday night, March 20, the North River Community Church family will gather for our mid-week prayer service. I have made the somewhat bold statement to our church family that this prayer service may be the most important one we do all year. As we prepare ourselves for the events of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we see it as an opportunity to reach, serve, and bless our community. Continue reading

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Running and rewards – #1

A journey of 26.2 miles begins with…what in the world am I doing? I began training two weeks ago for another marathon. I have started and completed two, and am hopeful to complete my third in June. My willingness to participate in this activity is against the protocol of my nature. My body desires ease and comfort. My flesh deems it unnecessary to make long term commitments. My mind repeatedly reminds me that I’m not particularly fond of running. If there is a proper and expected posture to take prior to taking on a marathon, I have its opposite. So, why do this? One word sums it up – reward.

To be clear, I’m not a gifted runner. Those who hold records in marathon events and those who would aspire to hold records in marathon events should have no fear of me claiming their spot. I will not be coming in first or the top 10. Based on registrations for this upcoming marathon, I will not be in the top 5000. Sponsors will not be knocking down my door. Monetary gifts will not be issued to me. The closest my name will get to being noticed is if someone (likely a family member or friend) takes the time to scroll through the list of finishers and finds my name towards the back of the pack, and likely at the bottom of my age group.

My rewards are less tangible. After 16 weeks of training, 5 days a week, in sun (maybe), rain (definitely), wind, and profuse amounts of sweat, I will get to race day. When I cross the finish line, I will have put 506.2 miles on my legs over those 16 weeks and I will be given a medal. The medal will not have a place embossed on it, rather “finisher”. That medal will cost the race organizers about two dollars, but to me, its value is much higher.

At the suggestion of a group of writers I meet with monthly, I’ll be coming back to this topic (hence the “#1” attached to the title line above) periodically, with the intent of developing and unfolding the list of rewards I either am experiencing or expect to experience. Striving to do it weekly. There are clear parallels that can be made between running and a commitment to Christ, and prayerfully I’ll be able to draw those out.  Pastors hither and yon like to make the illustration that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, so I am not necessarily breaking new illustrative ground. The difference is that while many of those pastors talk about it, I’ll actually be doing it (not trying to be prideful, just making an observation). I hope that it will be of some use and encouragement to you.