Monday, March 31, 2008

Ramblings pt. 2

Jim Elliot, a great American missionary from Portland, said: " He is no fool who gives what he can not keep, to gain what he can not lose." 
Its weird to me that I hold on to so much. And I do so willingly many times. Last year from December to June I had to opportunity of living with 3 amazing Godly men. From the outside, I fit in with them. We could talk about our struggles and be open often. In reality, I was going through some of the deepest and darkest struggles of my life. I never opened up and let it be known that I'm not perfect. So when God gave me men whom I could trust with that, who loved me enough to help bring me out of that, my pride didn't let me show how much of a mess I truly am. These past few weeks God has been really great in drawing near to me and reminding me of His goodness, but in doing so I am starting to remember how much junk I have (which is great, because His grace covers that), but those things demand and repentance and through sanctification, I must press forward from that sin. 
Another thing I have been thinking about is loving your enemy, blessing and praying for those who persecute you. On tour, I am around my teammates literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We get sick of each other, I love them but you can imagine.  Many times any one of them can do something really small that frustrates me and makes me want to retaliate and do the same thing back (as if any one of my teammates is out to destroy me and finds pleasure in making my life harder). But what would it look like if when my teammates do something that anger me, purposeful or not, I start to love them more. What does it look like if I don't remind them of the small thing I could have done. I know that I "get" the idea of loving the enemy (although I don't do it) but what about loving the person who annoys the crap out of you. Needless to say, I am learning once again how much of a mess I am.
please pray for me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reflections and probably rambling

I just returned from Mars Hill Church's Good Friday service, and can't find the right words to describe it. The closest thing I can get to is "Intense". Beginning with music and communion followed by a reading of the "easter story" from Luke with images being displayed on 3 massive screens and screen cut out of a cross with a projected "Jesus" being crucified. Typically I get annoyed by production but I was praying that God would use this service to bring me closer to Him, and that I wouldn't get so caught up in the production. 

It would good to be reminded of the cross. 

I tend to make so many other things central in my life. Even good things can become center, whether that be humanitarian work, friends, family, church or serving others.... they are all pointless without the cross as center. The idea of the cross is crazy. The idea that the God of the universe, the God who created the stars, who created the whole earth, the God of Abraham and David made himself a man, Jesus, who came, lived a perfect sinless life and died for my sins. He died for me. He died for a prideful, arrogant, unforgiving mess of a person and took the wrath for my sins. And yet, knowing this.... I still run. I attempt to run so far and surround myself with so much thinking that other things will fulfill. I write this just as thoughts after attending a great service. 
God has been good, I pray it is the same for you.

p.s.- sorry for not writing more.... i'll try to start to

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Power of Story

There are a few things that I get excited about: God, family, friends, boba but one thing that always gets me excited (of course God always gets me excited but get past your christianese, you know what I mean) is story. When I learn of an individual past or present that has an amazing story I'm going to learn all I can. Last fall during tour, I read three books all about Lance Armstrong because I was so amazed by the power of his story. (I you haven't read his book I highly recommend it, check it out here, but be warned that he has quite the ego). Today was a chance for me to visit the places of another story that has excited me. Steve Prefontaine.
Growing up in Coos Bay Oregon, a small lumber town off the coast he began to set records as a high school student in track. He caught the eye of University of Oregon coach and the would-be Nike founder Bill Bowerman. He started in school and made the cover of Sports Illustrated his freshman year. He was called "Americas Running Prodigy", and bringing the sport of running back to the attention of American families. He had a huge mouth, being known for his off-track interviews saying things like "someone may beat me, but they'll have to bleed to do it" but he had the results to match it. He ran in the 1972 olympics but failed to win as he and the rest of the country wanted. By his senior year, he had only lost 3 races at Hayward Field in Eugene Oregon and had managed to set every American record for every event from the 2000 to the 10000 meter run. 
At the age of 24 he died in a tragic car accident, ending an era. Today, at the location of his death, there is a memorial to him called "Pre's Rock" where many runners come and visit. There are many track spikes, race numbers and folded letters put in the crevasses. Also, there is a trail called pre's trail that he had demanded be built. It is an ideal place to run being several large loops made of small wood chips and tucked away from the city, following the Willamette River (the only north-bound american river). Every year there is "Prefontaine Classic" which takes place in Eugene which features olympic hopefuls in all track and field sports. In 2001 one, High Schooler Alan Webb, became the first High Schooler to run a sub-four minute mile since Jim Ryun in 1964 with a time of 3:59 and several months later setting the H.S record with 3:54. There is so much in Eugene that still has his fingerprint,  so being in Eugene I made a few stops including a visit to the legendary Hayward field and ran a little on Pre's trail. I would recommend the movie "Prefontaine" for anyone wanting to learn a little more about him. He has been an inspiration to me and many many others.
Some Pre quotes worth reading-

"A lot of people run to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy 2 miles. Not with me. If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself."

"How does a kid from Coos Bay, with one leg longer than the other win races? All my life people have been telling me, 'You're too small Pre', 'You're not fast enough Pre', 'Give up your foolish dream Steve'. But they forgot something, I HAVE TO WIN."

 "I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it."

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