Keep running

 

SERIOUSLY? 4:30am?

4:30 am comes really early every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Actually, it comes too early. This week it was raining “like for real” on Wednesday so we got to skip. Why do I get up on MWF that early? To run. I know that on these days my friend Bruce is coming over. I know that I need to beat him to my driveway or he will leave without me and I will have to run alone. It is a choice. Every day that he is coming I have a choice to make. Roll over or get up and start stretching.

running-shoes-02Bruce and I spend about 45 minutes running 3.4 miles on these days. When my alarm goes off I hate Bruce. Not really, but man I wish he could just run those miles by himself and I would get the benefit from them.

It is probably good that my alarm clock was made by Apple and is also my phone. I set my 6S to a “descending harp” to try to not wake my wife. If all of this was not so, I would have destroyed the alarm a long time ago. But since it is not a $20 alarm clock from Walmart, I am very careful. It is bad enough to buy running shoes and insoles for running shoes; I don’t need to buy a new phone because of this running thing.

Why do you do this?

Someone asked me today why I do it. Well, 4:30 is because I want to run with Bruce. Bruce is good for my soul. Bruce is both a metaphor for Barnabas, “the son of encouragement,” and the Holy Spirit. As we run, (not sprint, more than jog) we talk. Bruce is deep and human at the same time. He cares enough to say the truth and he loves enough to lift me up. I hope I do the same for him. As a pastor this is so important to my soul. He allows me to rant and rave and run. He lets me laugh and cry and wonder. He reminds me of truth and pulls me back when my heart is assuming something wrongly.

Just keep running!

As we run we have a 1.1+ miles course around our housing community. It has hills and flats and is really a nice loop. We run it two to three times depending upon the morning. The first loop is the hardest, then it gets a little easier. As we pass my house for the second time there is no going back so it’s three!

my-houseI can see my house from the other side of the community since it’s a bit of a draw down in to the housing development. As I get to a certain spot, I see the lights, four white dots and the front porch light way across the way. Each time I get to that spot, I think, “I’m almost there, I can do this.” As we run, Bruce will say, “We just need to run to that light up there.” Or, “Just to the white mailbox” Or, “We can run to the truck or the white sign what ever you want.” But we keep moving forward. Then we get to the spot where I see my house. It’s actually a little less than half way to the house from there.

I’m reminded of heaven this morning as I was running. I’m 56 years old this year and I am doing this for my health. I don’t always like it. As a matter of fact, I‘m actually an addict. Yes, I am a pillow addict. If I weren’t this would not be so hard. I want to stay on my pillow! I don’t like doing things that are good for me. I would rather take advantage of my body; feed it donuts, sit on the couch, ride my motorcycle, go to dinner. I would rather do anything than suffer the pain of making my body smaller. But I see the lights.

I made a decision in 1977 to surrender my life to Jesus. Not “accept” him, but “surrender” to him. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect, or “holier than thou,” no, what I am saying is I am part of the family of the King of the Universe and he loves me enough to die for me. Because of that decision on his part, and my decision on my part, I keep running in step with him. And when I do fall, I get back up; I don’t want to end up on the proverbial couch again.

As I am going through this life I look across time and I see the lights of my home: heaven. Those lights say to me, “Keep running you are almost there.” The Holy Spirit whispers in my ear, “Keep running, it is all worth it, just run until tonight.” Then tomorrow he says, “Just run until tonight again.” And because of that, we run together and each day gets me one step closer to home. Each day the running gets easier.

My house is a home

my-living-roomWhen I get home from running with Bruce, I walk into a home. I ran to a house, but I walk into a home. The house is the structure; the home is what my wife has made it. The house draws me; the home welcomes me. Honestly when I think of Jesus preparing a place for me, I don’t think house or mansion like so many do, I think “HOME.” He made me a home; a place to come in and crash, a welcoming place that is safe, and protects me, and is where I belong.

Paul wrote to the Hebrews,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”                    Hebrews 12:1

Keep running friend, just to the lights.

PATHS

PATHS

Dangerous path 2

Paths come in many forms. There is path of thought, a path of emotion, a path of friendship, there are even paths through the sky and paths through the ocean. I heard someone say something about a path to someone’s heart. I have walked many paths in my life, probably the single most fulfilling of them all is this path called “Pastor.”
Not all of my paths have been healthy, or wholesome. Early in my life I was on a dark path. This was a path that I inherited, the path of the world, a path of men.

GOOD PATH

When I was 17 I started on another path, a good path, a path of light. I didn’t do real well at first, but I walked nonetheless. As I walked the path seemed easier. I still stumble once in a while but I get back up and I get on with the walk. I like this path. This path led me to the path of Husband-hood, then to the path of fatherhood.

This path has drawn me along various opportunities. This path had me working for a major research and development firm, then for a big printing company, then for myself. Then I heard a voice. It was the voice that called me to the path I was walking upon. This voice called me to a new path that I am presently on.

I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of different things in my life. Things like, motorcycling, hunting, fishing, drawing, painting, leading people, caring for people, camping, and hiking. I have learned to drive a car, operate a tractor, ride horses, rope cattle and even train animals. I have had the pleasure of breaking horses via John Lyons, I trained a dog to work cattle, another one to pull my grandchildren around in a cart. I even had the joy for 30 years of training hawks and falcons to allow me to hunt as their partners.

The paths I have walked have had some wonderful views.

path to the oceanThe paths I have walked have had some wonderful views. From the ocean in Maine, to Washington State, from Key West, Florida to the L.A. Freeway at rush hour and all kinds of places in between; this path of life has had some incredible views. I have seen some of the castles in Germany and Spain, and played as a child in downtown Madrid.

The great thing about a path is that it is going somewhere. It leads to somewhere. Whether it is the path of life or the literal path that you are walking on in the woods, that path leads to something. Something you want to see right?

Amidst all this walking down the path, I am heading somewhere. I have never been there before, but that is the case with most of the paths I travel. This path is leading me closer to what I call home. It is metaphorically the path that leads me up the walk to my real home; what some call “Heaven.”

HEAVEN

I am looking forward to the view. I am looking forward to seeing some of the people that are there. I know some of them; others will be new friends once I get there. But more than anything, I know that God is there. I know that his son Jesus is there. I just know it. Seriously, I would not have walked this path I am on, through all that we have been through, if I did not believe this to be true with all of my heart and all of my soul.

This path has my family interacting in positive ways with other people. We walk together independently. We are involved in trying to help other people see a better life and begin a journey upon this same path.

This path is a path of peace, and a path of love. It is also a path of truth and this path cannot be deviated from, nor can it be changed to suit individual “need” or “want.” The path is established, all we do is walk it.

Dark Path ForestI walked a path once that took me into a deep dark cavern. It was up in Ohio and my friend and I wanted to go down into the cavern. It is a well known Cavern in southeast Ohio. We went down there and the young man leading us, stopped us on the path, and then turned out the lights. It was dark. No, I mean it was D.A.R.K. dark!

You could almost feel the dark. Now, we were still on the path, the right path, but we couldn’t see it. Why would you want to walk down a dark path that you can’t see? Eventually you will be off the path and just wandering aimlessly in the dark.

That describes a lot of people in our world. Not because they are wicked. No, because they can’t find purpose in money, cars, things, or relationship or the pleasures that this world has to offer.

No amount of sex, however wild, no amount of money, and no amount of power, and fame is going to help you be someone purpose on this planet. No, purpose comes from understanding where you came from, why you are here and where you are going when it is all over.

Micah 4:2b
“He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”

God spoke through the prophet Micah and shared the key to a real life with you and I: He will teach us, but we need to stay on his path. Do things his way. What does that mean to you today?
walkingWhat does that say about where you are, what path you are presently walking?
Are you tired of the dark?
Are you tired of stumbling yet?
God made you a promise; he would teach you if you let him, but you have to choose to get up on the path.

God is not mad at you, he loves you and he is a prayer away with his arms wide open. No concern for anything except you being free from the struggle and the sin.