Friday, April 30, 2010

Moab Day One

On Thursday, April 29th, I flew down to Salt Lake City where Brian Visser (Josiah's father-in-law) Mark Filicetti, Chip Gallagher and Terry Pape picked me up at the airport amidst a mild snow-storm.

From the airport we drove south towards Moab, Utah and stopped on the way for a short ride out to the Klondike Rocks. You can view a Picasa web-album here.

Check out the dinosaur tracks too!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The Muslims have their "Mecca", the Jews have their "Wailing Wall" and mountain bikers have their "Moab, Utah."

Next week I will be travelling down to Moab with four MTB brothers from Boise to enjoy the world-renown trails, slickrock and vistas of Moab. Those of you who know my past ER history (and care to join Ellen in her supplications) might want to begin praying right away for my safe-return. I promise to behave and (as we say) "ride my age."

And, for the record, it is at my dear wife's insistence that I am making this trek; yet another indication that I "married well." (Thanks honey!)

Here is a sampling of the sights. Enjoy:

Band of Brothers

Man, I love this clip.

Sad, Sullen and Seldom Engaging

Even though I don't always agree with his outlook, I've long enjoyed the storytelling prowess of Garrison Keillor. But occasionally he "hits one out of the park" in both regards. Here is a witty and insightful article on distracted, incommunicative young men. Enjoy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Like a Bridegroom

Here are a few pictures our sun, courtesy of NASA's new space observatory:

Modern science has a nasty habit of confusing measuring/describing with knowing/understanding. But measuring is not knowing, and describing is not synonymous with understanding. Someone could measure, photograph and weigh my wife, Ellen, but still not know her. (Trust me on this one.)

The sun sits a comfortable 93 million miles away from modern scientists and laughs at them. The sun is the biggest tease in our galactic neighborhood. "Go ahead and take picture of this..." she says as she lifts her solar-skirt just above the knee, "...but remember, you can never touch it. Ever. But go ahead, keeping looking."

For all our solar probing and picture-taking, measuring and musing, there is still a universe of mystery here. The energy (the ability to do work) stored in your little mouse-clicking finger was graciously generated on this beautiful ball of fiery wonder and lovingly beamed across the vacuum of space, through earth's atmosphere, crashing into the lush green leaves of an apple tree that absorbed and then repackaged the energy, and pushed it out to the branch tips where it was transformed once last time into the tasty little chunks of vigor that you ate in your Waldorf salad two nights ago!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


You train. You get up early and you stay out late. The training is actually a part of the race. But it’s the portion of the race that no one but God sees or appreciates. You train so that you can finish the race and not be the guy at mile ten that the EMTs were loading into the aid-van.

Race day arrives and you realize that your training was totally inadequate. You didn’t eat right, you were undisciplined, unfocused and now you are unprepared. So you pray confessing your sloth and indolence and throwing yourself wholly upon the mercies of the One who made your legs, ligaments and lungs.

You run a course that has already been marked out for you. There’s very little mystery here and except for some small maneuvering from side to side when passing, there is absolutely no room for creativity. For the most part the route is clearly marked and at the points where there might be some doubt as to where to go, a smiling volunteer waves his arms and directs your feet “in the right paths.”

To deviate from the race course is to be disqualified. You can train, run, and cross the finish line. But if you don’t submit yourself to the map and instructions they emailed you, and follow the course they marked out with orange cones and yellow tape then your “finish” is recorded as a "DNF" (did-not-finish) and there is no prize for you.

You don’t run alone. You are always in sight of other runners. Sometimes you use the person in front of you to help you run a steady pace. And sometimes the person directly behind you is using you for the same. Sometimes you are spurred-on to catch up with the person in front of you. And sometimes you run faster to stay ahead of those behind you. It changes from minute to minute. But you are never running alone.

It hurts to run the race. And the hurt keeps moving around. Sometimes it’s your feet. Sometimes it’s your calves. Sometimes it’s your side. And sometimes it feels like your whole body is one big knot-o'-pain. But you keep running because this is why you trained. You trained so that you could keep going when your body says “enough.” You trained so that you could keep chugging away even when your tortured limbs are begging you to quit. You keep running because you want the prize.

You are the recipient of many kindnesses. Grace permeates the race. The course is dotted with people, some whom you know, and some you’ve never met. They give you water for free and Gatorade at no cost to your sweaty little self. And at the half-way mark they give you a small squeeze-tube of chocolate energy-gel. And always with a smile and words of encouragement: “Good job!” “Keep going!” “You can do it.” By the looks of these folk, they are racers too. But not today. Today they want you to finish your race and are glad to be there for you. They’ll race next time.

Music is critical. I am carried and calmed, energized and enthused by the words and music thumping in my ears. I cannot imagine running without music and stare in disbelief at the music-less runners around me. My iPod is strategically loaded with music to pump me up and prod me on. I find my slackening pace quickening to the likes of: “It’s all God’s children singing Glory, glory, hallelujah He reigns...Feeling stronger everyday…Route 66…I’m traveling down the road and I’m flirting with disaster…Life is a highway…C’mon and take a free ride…Roll on down the highway…Kryptonite…Vertigo…C'mon baby finish what you started…Smokin’”.

Miles eleven, twelve and thirteen are brutal. But the knowledge that the race is almost over, the prize almost won and the pain almost relieved, keeps you going. The pain is now at its peak, but it’s okay. Rest, relief and the prize are now within sight. You pass two guys half your age and smile at what it costs them to be passed by an “old guy.” But, you see, the race doesn’t always go to the strongest. Quite often it goes to the ones who are most accustomed to suffering.

The home stretch is, quite appropriately, a bridge; a bridge that takes the runners up from the realm of pain and into the realm of bliss; up from the lowlands of Riverfront Park to what now seems like the Celestial City of Wenatchee. There is no coasting at the end of the race, no “resting on one’s laurels.” It is a “fight to the finish” and a test of the runner’s resolve right up to the last hundred yards. But a few strides after the crest of the bridge the crowd becomes visible and the sound of their cheers becomes audible. As soon as the finish line comes into view the pain recedes and then, a few moments later, is forgotten altogether.

As you cross the finish line (and this was quite unexpected) your name is called over the loud-speakers. Someone has been keeping track of your progress around the course. Someone in charge of the race knows who you are, and as your tired feet cross the blue pad calls out your name. And seconds afterwards you are greeted by people that love you and are there to rejoice with you at the completion of your race. Some are simply there for love’s sake, and some have already completed their races and lingered at the finish line just to see you cross it.

(2 Timothy 4:7-8) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Hey There Delilah!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Spurgeon Fellowship

20+ pastors, 13+ churches, countless personality differences, character flaws, and ministerial deficiencies.

1 Savior. 1 Mission. 1 Message. 1 King.

"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

(From the Grace Covenant Church website)

The Spurgeon Fellowship is a coalition of three churches in the Wenatchee area (Cornerstone Fellowship, Grace Covenant Church and Trinity Church) committed to encouraging biblical ministry in the valley. This past year TSF hosted three pastoral training events. Dr. Art Azurdia, author of Spirit Empowered Preaching, was our speaker for these three gatherings.

Please join us in praying that the Lord would use these times to equip His shepherds, encourage His people and advance the cause of Christ in the Wenatchee Valley.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stevens Pass Bike Park!

The Forest Service has approved the construction and operation of a mountain bike park at the Stevens Pass Ski Resort that some say will rival the world-renowned Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

According to the Wenatchee World, "The plan for the park includes seven miles of downhill biking trails that will originate just south of the Granite Peaks ski lodge. Trails will be between five and eight feet wide with natural berms and jumps. The trails will be reached by one of the same lifts used by skiers in the winter months. On one seat will be a bike and on the other will be the rider."

You can follow the construction process on the Stevens Pass Bike Park website here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Audience of One

“A preacher should prepare and deliver sermons for the benefit of the congregation – it is not pleasing to God for a man to preach as if no one is there. But he must preach in a way that first and foremost will be pleasing to the Lord, seeking His approval by being a faithful minister of His Word, before considering whether the congregation will like it or not.” (Richard D. Phillips, The Masculine Mandate, p. 27)

An Invitation to Receive a Gift

"The Gospel is an invitation to receive a gift. But many people hear it as a summons to do better. Paul makes it clear that the Gospel is not about something we do. It is about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ." (Sinclair Ferguson, By Grace Alone, p. 48)

Resurrection Whimsey

“When I was a little child, bishops expressed doubts about the Resurrection, and were called courageous. When I was a girl, G. K. Chesterton professed belief in the Resurrection, and was called whimsical. When I was at college, thoughtful people expressed belief in the Resurrection ‘in a spiritual sense,’ and were called advanced. Today, anyone who expresses faith in the Risen Christ is liable to be abused in no uncertain terms as a mountebank [a swindler], a reactionary, a tool of the Inquisition, a spiritual snob, an intellectual bully, an escapist, an obstructionist, a psychopathic introvert, an insensitive extrovert, and an enemy of society. The more things change the more they stay the same.” (Dorothy L. Sayers)

HT: George Grant

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ellen's Table

"Who can find a virtuous woman?..."

"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness..."

"Her children [and her friends] rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her..."

Joy Unspeakable

We Reformed-types have a tendency to twist and truncate an actual joy-filled relationship with Jesus Christ into a philosophical discussion of the same. The words of "the good doctor" (below) are a good remedy for such nonsense.

"Paul says that the love of God is "shed abroad" in great profusion, overwhelmingly, in our hearts. Now that is what we should seek. We believe in God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the doctrines of salvation. All right! But the question that confronts us at this particular point is not that of believing, but love! A belief that does not lead to love is a very doubtful belief, it may be nothing but intellectual assent ....

Here, then, is the question-to what extent do we know this love of God to us and how do we love God? We are meant to love him with the whole of our being and there is nothing that can make us do so but the love of God shed abroad in our hearts ....

New Testament Christianity is not just a formal, polite, correct, and orthodox kind of faith and belief. No! What characterizes it is this element of love and passion, this pneumatic element, this life, this vigor, this abandon, this exuberance - and, as I say, it has ever characterized the life of the church in all periods of revival and of reawakening." (Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable)

Cute and Cuter

'Nuff sed.