Since last night and in the days leading up to the announcement that the grand jury did not indict Darren Wilson for fatally shooting young Michael Brown, I have seen numerous people encouraging peace in Ferguson. A number of my friends responded to last night with simple calls on social media to "pray for peace." I think we need to be careful about that because it too easily sounds like "get back to normal."
People will ask me, "How often do you run?" I usually reply with "Five days a week." In reality, I could respond saying that I run everyday, but I'm good about resting. Rest is important when you're training hard. In fact, I'd rather do my best to not miss a "rest day" than a training day because lack of rest can cause all kind of problems.
The same thing is true for life. Whether it's your spiritual life, your work life, your home life, or just life period, taking time to rest is critical to your health. My experience running backs this up. If I don't rest, I'm could end up with all kinds of problems:
Injury is probably the one I worry about the most, so I rest. I rest two days a week, and my training plan includes weeks where I cut back on the mileage for the week. Sometimes on rest days, I'll do something different like walking or cycling. But there's at least one day a week where I simply rest.
Sabbath rest is one of the teachings of the spiritual life of Judaism and Christianity (and possibly others). It's a practical lesson for health in your life. You can't go 110% all of the time and not pay the consequences. Your family suffers because you're not around or you're not engaged when you are around. Your work suffers because eventually you can't focus as much. Your health suffers with fatigue, or you start self-medicating with comfort food or other stuff. Not resting results in a lot of suffering. We need rest that renews us.
The key piece to Sabbath rest is Renewal. There are some things we do that are restful, but don't always renew us. I've done things that are fun to do and are enjoyable, but when that's done I have nothing to show for it except that time is gone. Sabbath rest renews my soul and my mind. It's actually an investment in myself so I can relate in healthy ways to my family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, etc.
So doing nothing, can actually be doing a lot! Take a good Rest and be
Originally, I thought I'd title the post "Why I Run" because a lot of people think I'm crazy for running multiple miles 5 days a week. But running is not crazy. It's good for you! (just do a quick search and you'll find stuff like: http://www.runnersworld.com/health/nine-surprising-ways-running-helps-your-body). It's not for everybody, but it is beneficial. So running itself is not crazy. In fact, I like to quote Eric Liddel's character in the movie Chariots of Fire as to why I run:
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure
Now, I'm not really fast, but I've always been slightly taller than others because I have long legs. Ever since I was a little kid I thought that God gave me long legs so I could run without taking as many steps as everybody else! Since I'm not very fast, I just run long distances. I'm currently training for my second marathon which has me up to 40+ miles per week that I run. Now that sounds crazy! So why do I KEEP running?
I've asked myself that a lot lately. I've hit the marathon training blues. A lot of mornings I don't want to get out of bed so early (which isn't even that early) just so I can start my day with a run before it gets too hot. But I go out running anyway. And as I run I'll cuss at myself a few times until I get warmed up or when I want to quit. But I keep going, and going. Why?
Because I'm growing, and getting stronger. It's not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I keep running because I'm training myself, disciplining myself. I keep running even when I don't want to because I have to. I have to because I have a goal in mind, but also because I'm becoming a disciplined person, a tough person.
We live in a culture that often says, "do what you want! do what feels good!" and "if it's not what you want or it doesn't make you feel good, then don't do it." We let the fulfillment of our preferences and pleasures dictate our psyche and our general demeanor and approach to life. I don't think that's healthy.
I keep running because it's preparing me for times in my job, in my family life, and in life in general when I have to do what's right even though I don't want to or I don't feel like it. Because I have a greater goal in mind. It's actually not my goal, it's God's goal: new creation, peace, love, joy, God's presence for everyone.
Running is a spiritual discipline. It is communion with God. It is developing me into someone who won't stop or give up, someone who will know to do what's right even if I don't want to or it doesn't feel good. I keep running because I want, I have to, I must. It may look crazy to train so many miles per week, but I want to be ready when the time comes. I want to persevere and have courage. Running trains me for that. So I keep running.
So this guy pictured to the left is Chuck Bomar. He spoke at the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church back in June. I, unfortunately, had to follow his talk on Twitter because I attended a memorial service. Then, a month or so later he posts this: http://chuckbomar.blogspot.com/2012/07/on-mission-but-missing-point.html. And it was a reminder what my first task is--to abide in Christ. As I am starting ministry in this new context, I feel behind and sometimes overwhelmed. There's so much to do! And the church-work often distracts from the mission field. I recently missed a couple months of blogging in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Fortunately, blogging and church-work don't need to be my first priority. As Churck says, it's "abiding in Christ...If I'm abiding in Christ and intimately remaining connected to him, then I'll be on mission." This blog is my attempt at claiming an identity as a Missionary, rather than Pastor. I cannot forget, though, that my first priority must always be maintaining intimacy with God. You can't be missional without Christ. He is the original Missionary, and I'm joining him.
The title is partly inspired by the recent USA Today article about 50 years of The Beatles, but actually, we've been saying a lot of goodbyes lately, and we are beginning to say more hellos. In the past week we've started the first step in our journey to our new mission field, St. Joseph, MO.
Saying goodbye is not easy or fun. It's awkward with some people, easy with others, and painful with others. And, in this case, it carries on for weeks, even months. Balance that with all the excitement we have of meeting new people, moving to a new place, into a new-to-us house, and new ministry to explore--and we are on a whirlwind of a transition.
First, it is always a tear-filled time when I say goodbye to one mission field and move onto another. I have invested so much into the lives of the people here, and I've seen how much God has worked in their lives through me. It's unbelievable and hard to leave behind. I also see A LOT more work that God has to do in the life of the people here, and a part of me knows that I could still make a big difference. That's what brings tears to my eyes: leaving behind a work-in-progress. But, I guess we are all works-in-progress.
Then, it is so awesome to be heading to something new. It's perfect and full of opportunity right now. It's a blank slate, ready for me to come in and mess it up---er, I mean...well, you know what I mean. It's so exciting to go and catch or start a wave of God's movement in a new place with new people.
Moving is a lot of work. It's emotional and stressful, and hard to leave. But, we are really looking forward to what God has next for us. We say "Goodbye" and "Hello" in a very short amount of time. I'm choosing to think of it as being "sent." We have been formed and shaped by the people we've spent time with here in Paris, MO, and we carry those experiences with us as they send us on to St. Joseph. We are carrying on the Spirit of Christ, and the we leave behind the Spirit of Christ. Oh, there's another song: "Blest Be the Tie that Binds."
Pray for us, and all of the other Methodist Missionaries who are moving this time of year. BTW, we plan to start an email prayer list soon, so check for the subscribe form here on the site. In it, we can keep you up to date on our prayer requests and what's going on as we embark on this new mission. Thanks for the prayers!
I am a Software Developer, a career shift made in 2018. So far, I have experience with C# .Net and Angular. I continue to let curiosity lead me into learning new technologies. I plan to share what I learn along the way about technology and personal/career life. Previously, my vocation was United Methodist pastor. So in addition to coding, I'll share about theology, the Church and The Bible. I also enjoy running, music, and I'm a deeply committed father and husband. Maybe my experiences will help you. I know it helps me to share.