“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is atime for everyevent under heaven—A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.”
And there is also an appointed time for every blog on the Internet.
As you can tell there has not been much action on my blog for the last few months. In fact, there hasn’t been much action ever on this blog—it’s been fairly sporadic.
Lately, I’ve been sensing that I need to just close this blog down. Its time has come. It served its purpose. One of the troubles with my blog is that I didn’t know where I was going with it. The subject was unfocused and the life of the blog dragged on and on even though I didn’t do much with it. Now, some of you may be fine with my quarterly updates, but I’d rather not have the self-appointed pressure of feeling like I should post, but not knowing what to post about or how to post it and so I’d never post—adding to the pressure. This blog was started when I was seventeen years old. It chronicles a lot of my thoughts as I grew from seventeen to the early twenties. I’ve posted a few times the last couple of years with thoughts of something I was thinking about at the time, but I don’t like knowing if I should keep going or if I should just stop or who I should aim to target with my writings, etc.
So, I’m closing my runninhard4him blog. There will be no more posts on this blog.
However, I will be launching a new blog! You see, I enjoy writing. I process best by writing things out. And there are specific things I think about often and am passionate about and have written or will write out. I’m going to open a new blog that is simply thoughts from my journey about following Christ and hope that it can be a blessing to you, my readers. This blog is going to have a time span, a posting frequency and a clear focus in subject. And this new blog is going to be a special addition—it is going to be hand-designed by my very special wife. (Her hand on the mouse as she designs—I’m so glad I married someone who enjoys stuff like that. I don’t!)
It’s been said that tweaking an old thing never gives new momentum—you must quit the old thing and start something new in order to gain momentum. Perhaps, new momentum will be gained in my writing as I start this new blog.
I will post a link on this blog to the new blog when I launch it in a couple weeks, so stay tuned!!
 Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NASB
In 2008 three hundred thousand (300,000) children, in LA alone, lived in communities where walking to school put their life at risk. Those of us who live in North East Los Angeles live in some of the worst of those communities and many of the families that we relate with are from those communities.
Last year during our annual Evening Bible Camp 203 children came and were a part of our camp for at leas part of an evening. Grant it, only 25 came regularly enough to win a Green Machine EBC T-shirt as a reward for regular attendance. But, many of those 203 children that we got to know at least briefly come from communities where gun-shots are heard weekly, dope is smoked publicly, and their families are made up of a bunch of “half’s.”
Next Monday we begin the 2013 Evening Bible Camp at Rio De Los Angeles park. Please pray for us as we seek to touch lives of children and their parents with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This year the theme is God is For us even in our hard times. Because of the many painful situations these kids live in, we felt God was wanting us to teach them how He is present with us through those times (not just distantly looking on) and longs for us to turn to Him for our life.
Last year we showed the Jesus Film for the adults, because many parents would come and hang out while their children were attending EBC. Ten adults came to know the Lord through the film showing, some of whom we’ve been able to continue regular contact. This year, Dad is going to share life lessons through stories of Mom’s life. Pray for him as he does so each evening. It won’t be easy.
We’re excited to see how God works. This year has had several unique challenges. One of which was losing Mom who was one of our biggest cheerleaders and an incredible help during the weeks leading up to EBC, during EBC, and the weeks following EBC. Please pray for our family, as you think about it, that we would be able to continue in healing through the next two weeks. It brings back lots of memories for us.
HERE is a link to the FB page. Typically, someone posts an update throughout the weeks, if you’d like to stay tuned.
God is good! And if we can but show people a little bit of that goodness, maybe they’ll believe!
A godly father is a man who understands what he means to his children, who is humbled by overwhelming joy over the impact he can make for God and terrified by the damage he can do. He is both thrilled and scared. Because of his confidence in God, the thrill is stronger… He yearns to lead his son, by quiet example and few words, toward godly manhood… A godly father is a man of faith whose sorrows, though deep and abiding, don’t eliminate joy (at least not for long), whose failures are never used to justify hardness, whose struggles, which tempt him to quit, never overcome him. Without knowing it, a godly father’s countenance occasionally glows. Not many see it, but a few are dazzled by the brightness of his passion for Christ. A passion that reduces those who watch to awe… When he learns that his life has deeply encouraged his son to walk the same path, he is surprised—and grateful. He is caught off guard when people speak warmly of his influence. He is so consumed with Christ’s glory that he hasn’t noticed that a little of it has rubbed off on him.
- Dr. Larry Crabb (The Silence of Adam)
This past Easter, a group of us woke up at four o’clock in the morning to take a two hour hike up the Hollywood Hills to the “LA Tree.” We wanted to see the sun rise from a mountain peak, and spend some time in worship as our Easter morning began. Were we crazy? Slightly. Anyone looking for an enjoyable Easter banquet probably would not have woken up at four in the morning to climb a mountain. But then again, we experienced something those sitting at Easter banquets didn’t–something incredible as we clambered over the rocks and through the brush.
The sky shone a beautiful color as the sun began to rise to its place. This particular mountain overlooked all of the LA metropolis and we stood amazed as we looked across the hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses that surrounded us. Homes and businesses of people we long to reach for Christ.
There was a romantic touch to the morning with the clouds hanging low causing mist in the air. The hillside was green and beautiful. The air was clear, and experience full.
The “LA Tree” is a tree that stands at the very end of the Hollywood Hills. It’s visible from miles around because it is surrounded by low brush and stands above it all.
We stood in a circle and sang resurrection songs. We watched in awe as the sun came into it’s day-time position. We praised the Lord and thanked Him for his victory over sin and death. And prayed together that we would be faithful in following in His steps. Everyone enjoyed the time. None of us regretted getting up at four because the experience was worth it.
But that’s not the whole story.
Some of us almost didn’t take the hike because it was too early in the morning to wake up in order to sing on a mountain. And when we did decide to hike, we nearly turned back, half-way up, because the hike was pretty exhausting. But Dad kept moving us forward. Dad was relentless in encouraging us all to reach the top of the mountain–to reach the LA Tree.
(A Dad is someone who moves his family in the direction he knows is best for them, even though the family may not be enjoying the journey)
We nearly missed out on an incredible experience. But because of someone who knew the end result was worth it, and loved it enough to risk rejection in order to try and persuade most of our church body to take the hike with him, we kept going. He didn’t know we would all go hiking with him. All he knew was he loved the hike and wanted his friends and family to experience it. So he invited us to hike it with him on Easter Sunday. And we did.
I often think of this when I think of my Dad. I could share many experiences with you where Dad was so excited about something and wanted us as a family to experience it, and we dragged our feet and weren’t always sure about it, but he kept moving us toward it and eventually we saw and experienced what he saw and experienced. In the end, we all knew why Dad wanted us to see it so badly and were grateful we got in on the adventure.
(A Dad is someone who moves us toward new heights, even when we’re okay with where we’re at, because he knows we’ll be better off for it)
Do you have someone in your life that takes you on journeys you don’t want to go on, but when over, you see growth in yourself, and depth that wasn’t there before the journey? I do. And it’s my Dad. Whenever I face a situation that I have the option of either remaining comfortable, or experiencing personal growth, I wonder what Dad would do. And I know the answer is always to experience personal growth. The inner quality that makes men try new things, take new risks, or stand for something no one else is standing for, but should be, has been modeled to me by Dad. And at increasingly more times, I sense that same energy rise up within me.
God made us men to remember Him, and move into the world on behalf of others the way He moved into ours on behalf of us. Any father who does this at all (even if it’s not done perfectly), is a father worthy of high honor and blessing because he’s fulfilling his God-given calling.
My father has done this for me. And I want to bless him today on Father’s Day.
Death is incredibly suffocating.
My wife and I recently watched the movie Hotel Rwanda which is more or less a docudrama based on real-life events of the Rwandan Genocide that took place back in 1994. We don’t watch a lot of movie’s, but some of my favorite movies are those that are at least close to portraying accurately what took place in real life. This movie is pretty graphic–not one I’d show to young children, or make a habit of watching a lot of times. But it gives a very authentic, first-hand picture of what it must have been like for people who tried to survive that horrific massacre.
It tells the story of a hotel manager, Paul Rusesabagina, who attempts to save his fellow citizens from death. The Hutu’s are in power and literally swiping out all Tutsi’s that walk. Paul is Hutu, but married a Tutsi. The scene is overwhelming as the UN and ally countries turn their faces and choose to not get dirty in saving lives, while the Hutu’s lay down all Tutsi people. Hope is gone. Thousands are dead in the streets. The Hutu’s are narrowing in on the hotel where Paul and his Tutsi refugees await their death.
It was in that moment of the movie where I saw the reality of evil: massacres, like this, show the epitome of evil–no hope and death. The human race, because of sin, has death as its destiny. As sinners, we have turned away from pleasing God and are choosing to live liberated from God (as liberated as one can get) and simply pleasing ourselves. You see, what begins as a small indulging of a simple pleasure will lead to rape if one continues in a life-style driven to please himself rather than God. What begins as misunderstandings within a culture leads to genocide if one group of people decides they want power and completely ignore God as they strive to get what they want.
But as we see in movies like Hotel Rwanda, this self-pleasure is not liberation at all. It is bondage and death. Horrific death!
The feeling I got, as I imagined myself in the scene as if I was Paul Rusesabagina, was a suffocating feeling–Where would I turn? What would I do? What would be the purpose of even trying to stay alive? We’ll all probably dye anyway.
Perhaps its not as big as the Rwandan massacre, but I’m sure we all have experienced something devastating enough that we’ve asked those very questions. I know I have asked these questions a lot in the last few months as I process my Mom’s death. What do I do now? What is life supposed to look like? Is there any purpose in even trying to go on?
There are times when we feel as if we’re suffocating. Losing one parent is a tremendous loss, but then I think of my Petersheim brothers and sisters from Pennsylvania who recently lost their Mom to cancer. They’re without both parents now, because their Dad died less than two years ago. Young people, children–without either parent. I’m sure they wrestle with the lethargic pull of depression as the two most important people of their lives have been amputated out of their lives and now they learn how to move on in life without them. I weep with them.
…and all those who are right now, in this present moment, staring death in the face. In that spot, there really is no hope.
I think about some other friends, Don and Marilyn Showalter, who, too, are waiting for the inevitable as cancer continues to weaken Marilyn’s body. It looks that a full life of marriage is coming to a slow and painful close… How is Don supposed to operate without his wife? Where does he turn? What is his purpose now? My own father continues to face these very questions…
How does life go on? What does life look like now?
For years, I thought to have eternal life meant that I’ll live forever. But recently I learned that eternal life isn’t just found in that I now have life that won’t ever end, but it means that I can know God and Christ Jesus. . . all the time.
And this is eternal life: that people can know you, the only true God, and that they can know Jesus Christ, the one you sent.
I can have relationship with God through the horrific experience of death. When there is no hope I can have life because while I still am I can know Jesus Christ personally, and when I die, I will go and know Him more. (Phil 1:21) In the middle of confusion and grief and tragic loss, I can know God, and that’s the promise of eternal life. There is life that I can have now…even when everything appears to be purposeless, I can fellowship with Jesus and that is eternal life.
My circumstances may not change, but I can still know God. The pain may not go away, but I can still walk with Him. The death still takes place, but He carries me and makes a way one step at a time–even when I don’t feel His presence beforehand.
If I stick close to Him, and rely on His grace for each movement I make in this time of confusion, loss, hurt, and uncertainty, I am promised that I can know Him… And that is eternal life.
Sometimes all we can pray is, “God, keep us!” The pain is so strong at times, God feels so distant and seems not to answer our cries. Scripture that used to hold so much meaning, seems totally meaningless now and we wonder if God even cares. Has He forgotten about us?
It’s in those moments when, out of something deep within–something completely unexplainable, like a deep assuring impression–that all there is to pray is, “God, keep us!”
You see, I have not experienced anything, yet, that has proven to me that God isn’t there. It is true that I’m not currently experiencing conversation with Him–the reality of Him being there isn’t very strong right now. But I have experienced conversation before; I’ve sensed Him very near at other times in my life. I’ve watched Him answer prayers in incredible and unique ways. I know He’s there. And although the accuser desperately tries to make me doubt, because He is silent now, I’m convinced His promise that He is “near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” is true.
I fully believe He will one day speak again. I’ve been through periods like this before and He spoke again after those, so I know He’s there. But my faith is so weak. And so I cry out, “God, keep us!”
It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
(2 Tim. 2:11-13)
In order to rightly discredit someone, you have to first prove that he’s never done before what he said he would do. If I give you one hundred dollars to help with a financial need you’re experiencing at that time, but later, when you’re experiencing another financial need, I don’t give anything or even talk with you about it, that doesn’t mean that I hadn’t given to help with the earlier need or that I don’t see your need now and that I won’t, in some way, help. In the same way, just because God isn’t speaking now doesn’t mean that He didn’t speak before or that He won’t speak again. He sees a far greater picture than I do.
I don’t understand why certain things happen and I don’t know when He’ll speak again, but I do know He sees me (El Roi–Gen 16:13-14) and I can hope in Him (Miqweh Yisrael–Jer. 17:7-8, 13) because He promises to be with me (Emmanuel–Ps. 34:18) and He has never failed in any of His promises (Josh. 21:45).
Until then, God, keep us!
Words have seemed very few lately. Many thoughts, but few words. Is that possible? I guess, for me it is.
My journal continues to be filled, but much of it would look like rambling to the average person. Somehow, I think there is some cord of consistency through it all–some line of plot that isn’t visible at this point in the journey. . .
We talk about “the journey,” but I was recently struck by how often I don’t share from within my journey. I often like to share about things from the perspective of having ended the journey. Even if I really still am in the middle of the journey, I usually talk as if I’ve passed through it and have already learned the lesson(s).
Some parts of the journey have no lessons to be learned. If you’re like me, you like to achieve. Goals and accomplishing them almost bring a surge of adrenaline as we move toward them. If I’m not accomplishing something, it’s pointless, right? If I am not always learning something new, I feel as if I’m wasting my time.
Many parts of our journey through life include days, weeks and months when we are seemingly not learning any kind of meaningful lesson. Don’t get depressed over it. It’s a part of the journey. It doesn’t mean God wants us to close down–fear ourselves to be failures and either quit sharing our stories, or desperately scramble around in our situations trying to get something good out of it.
Nothing “good” has to be happening in order to share a story of where we’re at in the journey. Life isn’t just about accomplishments. In fact, life is made up of millions of lives who are smack in the middle of a part of their journey where nothing makes sense. So let’s not act as if ours is going fine and keep our “nominal” stories hidden.
I guess this is where I’m at in my journey. To be true, I am learning some valuable lessons. Not easy ones! I’m seeing parts of me that are intensely ugly. I see attitudes to be changed by God. Wrong motives. Ambition. Lust for attention. Self-pity. A heart that worships things other than God. All of these are realities I’ve had to face up to recently. And while I don’t know how it’s changed me yet, I know that even this part of the journey is changing me–by the power of Christ, I’m being made more like Him from glory to glory.