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I’ve decided to start a new series of blog posts that should be simple and fun. These will be selections of songs that are on my mp3 player for running. Like most people, I need a little distraction/inspiration when running, especially when the runs are rather long, and this is some of what gets me through those. As you’ll figure out, virtually all of these are Christian music – but not “your parent’s” Christian music. I hope you enjoy them and get a little taste of some other aspects of my personality…

The first song I’ll share is some old school Audio Adrenaline – from way back in 1993! A favorite of most Audio A fans, it’s just plain fun and a great reminder that it’s God’s house, it’s fun, and we need to be inviting others… Continue Reading »

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Wow, what a year or so it’s been. My birthday is coming up soon and that tends to move me to reflection, especially after this past year or so. In the past 12-18 months or so I have:

  • Led a very fulfilling mission trip, then left the church that was with to join a different church.
  • After joining that church (which I still love) and being greatly blessed by the preaching of our gifted senior pastor, seen him follow God’s call to a new ministry opportunity.
  • Taken the leap of faith to finally sign up for a triathlon, then got in a bicycle accident and broken my hand.
  • Set two new personal records for race distances completed (a 50km/31mile ultramarathon and a 70.3 mile triathlon), and set two new personal worst times for marathons.
  • Experienced the let down of finishing difficult races with no one there to greet you afterwards, and the high of getting to see friends afterwards (particularly Austin, and most special to me – the Vineman 70.3).
  • Said goodbye to old friends that moved away from Houston, and tried to make new friends at my new church.
  • And welcomed two beautiful baby girls into this world (daughters of two couples who are like family to me), then laid to rest one of my closest friends.

Like I said, what a year. It’s easy in those circumstances to get down at times, and I certainly have. It’s easy to be mad at God, and I’ve had those moments too. And it’s easy to feel like life just might be pointless or to lose faith, and I even had a few of those moments. But somehow, when everything is said and done, while my faith may have been shaken it has not been broken. Instead it has been strengthened. I’m more convinced in my heart and soul that God is in control, even when it seems like our world is spinning out of control. I can’t really explain it, or even take any credit for it, but simply say “Praise God for working through these events to change me.”

So, what’s next? Well I hesistate to claim I have much if any idea of what God may have in store for me, but in the next 12-18 months I’ll be going on a mission trip to El Salvador, and I’m planning on a series of races including a 25km trail run, a marathon, a 70.3 triathlon, an iron-distance aquabike (swim, bike – no run), and a 140.6 (iron-distance) triathlon. Is it a little nuts? Probably. But why not give it a shot.

Pray for me!!! 🙂

This is a follow-up to my last blog post about my recent ultra-marathon. You can read that post here.

One of the things I like about endurance sports is that they’re such a great metaphor for life itself. In fact, frequently the Bible uses that metaphor in both the New and Old Testaments in two key aspects – the race analogy itself (see Jeremiah 12:5, Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Galatians 2:2, Galatians 5:7, and 2 Timothy 4:7), and the concept of perseverance or endurance (Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4, and 2 Peter 1:5-9). In Hebrews 12:1 we see the great union of these concepts:

“Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
– Hebrews 12:1-2, HCSB

Continue Reading »

Race Report from the Hog’s Hunt 50K

This past Saturday I completed something most people would honestly find a little crazy, my first ultra-marathon. Now, for the uninitiated, the first question is obviously, what’s an ultra-marathon? Technically an ultra-marathon is anything beyond the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. Common distances include 50 kilometer, 50 mile, 100 kilometer, and 100 mile races, and even some longer than that. In this particular case I was racing a 50 kilometer (31 mile) trail race at Huntsville State Park in Texas called the Hog’s Hunt 50K. In part one (this post) I’ll give a bit of a race report, and in part two I’ll give you a bit of a philosophical/spiritual commentary related to it.

Race Report:
If you’ve run half-marathons or marathons, or even some bigger 5K’s and 10K’s you know that often they’re crazy affairs with thousands of runners, race expos with lots of exhibitors and retailers, quite a lot of spectators on race morning, and of course the volunteers manning aid stations and such. Trail ultras (and their associated races of other distances) are a whole different animal. Small field size, a handful of spectators at most, a goodie bag and a few volunteers. In a way, far simpler and enjoyable. The Hog’s Hunt is just that sort of race.

I woke up around 3am that morning to drive up to Huntsville for the 6am start. Got to the start around 5:15 or so and picked up the race packet. Plenty of time left to take care of business in the bathroom, change into trail shoes for the run, get the bib number on, etc. Went over to the start around 5:55 or so and waited with the other 50 or so arguably crazy people getting ready to run for 31 miles in the woods. Flipped on my headlamp and at 6am the race director started us and we began the jog down the road for the first mile before we headed into the trails in the woods.

Continue Reading »

The third and final song I want to share is the popular carol Little Drummer Boy. This simple song has a bit more depth than most people probably think about.

Little Drummer Boy, Katherine Davis

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

The carol alludes to the story of the Magi from the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The Magi, wise men from the east, had travelled and brought 3 precious gifts to give to the newborn king foretold of by the prophecies – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (gold is obviously valuable to us today, frankincense and myrrh were valuable monetarily at the time, and have heavy symbolic meaning due to their role in anointing and embalming). Into this setting, the carol draws us in as one of the others who came, perhaps one of the shepherds. Confronted with the expensive gifts being given in worship, the “drummer boy” feels inadequate for he has no gift that he feels is fit to give a king. So he does the best he can, and plays music for the newborn Jesus. Continue Reading »

The second song is Jars of Clay’s Love Came Down at Christmas. It’s actually a poem by Christina Rosetti:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Continue Reading »

As Christmas approaches this week I want to share a few messages with you regarding the spirit of the season. To do this, I’d like to draw from a number of songs. Most of these you’ll know if you’re familiar with Christmas carols.

The first song is the old carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, which deals with an important topic which we way too often ignore. It’s easy to recognize once we get over the distraction of materialism and glitz in the Western world that we live in a world that is still darkened by war and genocide. A world in which hatred and violence seem to be prevalent, and evil appears to rule the day. The heart despairs over the horrible state of this world, and it becomes tempting to dismiss Christmas and dismiss God as some sort of fantasy. Continue Reading »