Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why a bean burrito is not a wise choice, and other lessons I learned from my first 5K

As part of my training program for the Chicago Half Marathon I am supposed to run a 5K. However, where it falls in my timeline, happens to be when I will be in China. I don't think they have 5K's in China, so I decided to just find one on a random weekend when I could make it work and DO IT. I decided not to tell anyone, because of the VERY HIGH probability that I would do one of the following:

1. Show up 10 minutes after the "ready set go"
2. Not show up at all
3. Show up at the wrong place
4. Fall directly on my face
5. Pass out
6. Finish very last
7. Run 20 steps and turn around and walk back to my car

I could go on. But basically i figured, if it goes well, I will say "Surprise! Look what I did today!" and if it was a disaster, I would keep it to myself and pretend it never happened.

As it turns out, I showed up at the right place, on time, didn't forget anything, and felt REALLY good when I sized up this competitor

but then I overheard she was only going a little way and then coming right back.....slacker.

So, I was ready to run and to be honest I felt pretty good about it......until the guy said "ready set go"......and I went. It was downhill.....nope uphill........ from there. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned:

1. When "they" say eat something the night before that will "stick with you" and don't eat anything on the morning of the race, THEY DO NOT MEAN A BEAN BURRITO. And a soft taco. Just trust me. Seriously. Please.

2. When your friends tell you that running on the treadmill is very different than running on the roads.....believe them. And don't make your first time to run on a road EVER also your first 5K. As soon as I started running, my joints started screaming obscenities at me.

3. Don't assume your running shorts have the handy dandy key pocket inside that you have never had to use.

4. If your running shorts don't have the key pocket, and you can't fit it in the key in the teeny tiny pocket on your handy sports arm band phone holder situation, then inside your sports bra is NOT your next best option. Not. Pin it to your number......learned that after the race.

5. People who say they have a beer the night before a race "for the carbs" apparently are joking. And even if they aren't....it is A beer. One.

6. If the race starts at 7am, and you figure it will take you 30 ish minutes, don't plan to be somewhere by 8:30. They have to tally up the results, and at this particular race, give out many, many "door prizes" some of which included a coffee mug, a kids over the door basketball goal, and a flashlight......with no batteries....which I am proud to say I took home.

7. It is really hot outside. A really really lot hot.

8. I hadn't thought about the high probability that on any 5K course, there will be a few hills.

9. I hear most "real" races are located in places where you have to use port-a-potties and possibly have to wait in long lines. I am eternally grateful that was not the case at this race.

10. If you run a race that no one else runs, you have a really good chance of placing and winning a super sweet......... certificate. Printed on blue paper. Card stock. And a flashlight too....... if you are really livin' right. ; )

So, I finished in 31:15 and actually got 3rd place in my age group. Don't ask me how many people were in my age group. I am actually pretty happy with this time especially considering I walked up EVERY hill....and a couple of slight inclines that I decided could pass for hills.

Friends, I have a LONG way to go....and right now, all of my joints from the waist down hurt. BUT, I am going to keep on keeping on, because this cause is worth it, and that is the ONLY reason I am doing this!

Please consider donating! My MAIN MOTIVATION is the fact that I am GOING TO raise $2,000 for Project Hopeful, AND spread the word about this wonderful cause......and by raising it $20 at a time, I am locking arms with so many friends in the process!

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is click the logo below, click on "donate" above my name, and it will take you directly to Paypal! SO EASY!!!!




Sunday, June 10, 2012

Forget about the Gospel, just get 'em to church!

Let me say right off that I KNOW I am going to step on some toes with this post. It is in no way my intention to hurt anyone's feeling or offend in any way, but God has heavily laid this burden on my heart over the past few weeks and I know it won't go away until I do what He says! Plus, only 30 people actually read this blog, so here it goes! : - )

During the course of our meetings to prepare for our trip to China, our leader has had a HUGE emphasis on the Gospel. At first, I honestly thought "We are all Bible believing, Christ following, mission trip going adults, we got this Gospel thing, lets move on and focus on the details of what we are going to DO on this trip". However, my eyes have been opened to a number of things as she has stretched us all in our ability to share the Gospel in a variety of different contexts, as well as how to most effectively share our testimonies.

This made me realize a few things. First I realized that when I was growing up, we never used the word testimony in our church (I think that was simply a "Baptist" word so we skipped that whole part). We also talked very little about the Gospel. I know that sounds crazy that a church could talk very little about the Gospel, but it is true. Mind you, I knew all of the facts of the Gospel, it just was never packaged in such a way that is was something that stood alone, much less something that should be shared.

I was taught to invite people to church. And to VBS. And to "gospel meetings" (ironic). I knew all the appropriate answers to why we didn't have instruments in our church (don't get me started), why we did communion every week, how short your shorts can be and still get into heaven (side note: most of the ones I have seen IN CHURCH lately don't make the cut...but I digress), and how dancing causes you to have a baby. I knew that between the ages of 9ish and 13ish all kids should get baptized or else your parents would start to worry about you. I knew all of the details of every child friendly part of the Bible, memorized hundreds of verses and could say the books of the Bible at warp speed. But there was SO MUCH that we missed.

The honest truth is that until about 2 years ago I could not have effectively shared the Gospel with anyone, because I had never learned how. If you asked me specific questions, I could have answered them, of course. But if I was faced with a person who had never heard of Jesus, who needed to know the saving truth of the Gospel, I truly don't know what I would have told them.....I probably would have said "You need to find a church".

If I walked up to most people I know, my friends, I wonder how many of them would be able to effectively share the Gospel on command. With no practice, or time to study. Would you?

So, I am going to share my version of the Gospel with you (all 30 of you), and maybe we will all be better equipped....because the simple truth of the Bible is that all the world WILL HEAR this great Gospel.......the question is, will you and I be a part of sharing it with the world?

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:14

The Gospel: "The Good News". There is only one true God and He is a good God. He has always been and He created the world and everything in it. He created everything you see. He created me, and He created you too and He loves us. When God made Adam & Eve (the first humans He created) He gave them one rule, one command, and they broke that rule. This first sin is what separated us from God. Almost the entire Old Testament of the Bible, is the story of God trying to draw His people back to Himself. But people kept sinning. Since God is also a just God, there had to be payment for that sin. So God sent His one and only Son to this earth, to live as a man, just like you and me. Except he was a perfect man. He has no sin, He made no mistakes. And God chose to pour out all of His wrath, for my sin and for yours, on His only Son Jesus. He allowed Jesus to be brutally killed, so that our relationship with God could be fixed. And because Christ died on the cross for our sins, we are now able to be reconciled before God and He forgives us of our sins. All of them. But the story doesn't end there! Unlike every other man in the history of the world, Christ died, but He did not stay dead! He rose again after being dead for 3 whole days. Now, if we put our faith in the one true God, and His Son Jesus, then we can spend eternity forever with God. We must turn away from our old lives and our old selves, and trust God with our whole life. We must allow Jesus to do what we could never do on our own, which is to make us right before a Holy and just God. Jesus came to this earth once and die and to save us from the wrath that is due our sin, but when He comes again, He not. On that day we will each be responsible for whether or not we decided to put our faith in Him, and where we spend eternity will be based on that choice. Will you put your faith in Jesus today?

The 5 Threads of the Gospel (David Platt)

The Character of God (Romans 1:18-20, 2:1-16, 3:22-24; Isaiah 43:6-7)
The sinfulness of man (Romans 1:21-25, 3:9-20, 3:23, 6:23)
The sufficiency of Christ (Romans 3:21-26, 4:25, 5:6-10, 5:18, 8:10-11)
The necessity of faith (Romans 1:17, 3:20-31, 4:22-25, 6:11-14, 8:10-11)
The urgency of eternity (John 3:14-16, 36; John 10:27-30, 17:3; I Timothy 1:16-17; Hebrews 9:12; I John 5:11-13)

Ok, so that it my version of the Gospel, in my own words, plus the 5 threads of the Gospel (make sure you don't miss any of them), now it is off my chest, and in your hands.

Bear in mind that many people, all over this earth are sharing this great Gospel, some at the cost of their very lives. But, we in America have the freedom to study to Word and to share the Gospel freely.....and now that we are equipped to share it............will we?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 
Matthew 28:18-20

(I feel better already)