Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Personal connection to ABC's Extreme Makeover

ABC's Extreme Makeover, Home Edition just wrapped up a project here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. I know Bob (owner) and Seth (owner's son) who operate the painting company selected for the job - in fact, I used to work for them a while back. Seth is finally able to start blogging again and he has posted a few pics of his crew working on the makeover site.

Ever since I've known him, Seth has had a huge heart for spreading the gospel and practically loving others. I am happy he's been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance Christ's kingdom. I know he made the best of it.

Seth...I am proud of you! Good work! When you get a chance, blog about some of your gospel reflections from the past week on the set.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Grand Psychosis

"Sin is the ultimate disease, the grand psychosis. You cannot escape it or defeat it on your own. Look around and you will see its mark everywhere. Sin complicates what is already complicated. Life in a fallen world is more arduous than God ever intended, yet our sin makes it worse. We deal with much more than suffering, disease, disappointment, and death. Our deepest problem is not experiential, biological, or relational; it is moral, and it alters everything. It distorts our identity, alters our perspective, derails our behavior, and kidnaps our hope. As Moses noted when he described human culture before the flood, "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" (Gen 6:5). This is what sin does to us. It is the ultimate disease!" Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Pages 12-13.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Psalm 119:71

Psalm 119:71 just blows my mind!
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.

Read all of Psalm 119.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thank You!

Inline skating is a minuscule slice of my life but for the last five months I have been pretty focused on it. I achieved my goals but not by myself.

To everyone, family and friends and anonymous donors, who all extended support, gave encouragement, listened to my training stories, read my blogs on inline skating, gave me money to buy skates, asked me how training was going, and so on.

To you all...Thank You!

Monday, August 20, 2007

St Paul Inline 2006 to 2007 Rankings Comparison

The official results have been posted. I am very happy with my results - being that it rained the entire race.

I did a little placement comparison to last years results. Last year I finished in better time but this year I ranked higher in placement.



Age Group Place:

53 out of 115

18 out of 51

Overall Place:

222 out of 489

148 out of 367

Gender Overall Plc:

286 out 881

177 out of 630

So what about the rain! I improved and I had a blast!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

St. Paul Report and Results

I've spent most of today drying out and warming up. I skated the St. Paul Inline Marathon this morning in the rain. It rained the entire distance. My finish time was 1:52. I am very happy with that time considering the weather conditions. You've probably read in earlier posts about my lofty goal of 1:30. I still think I would have been under 1:40 on a dry surface.

Like last year, the best part of the whole experience is working with others in pacelines. I was in a group of fifteen to twenty skaters for all but three miles of the race. My group was a mixture of men and women. I have to say I am so impressed by a few women in our group who did most of the leading and setting our pace. Also, I traded spots often with one women who I believed was in her sixties. She was a very strong skater. Stay tuned and you'll read about how I accidentally goosed her.

There was a stretch where I got a little cocky and separated myself from the pack by skating out a head of them about one hundred yards. I kept this up for three miles then I realized how foolish I was being. I really wanted to catch another group but I soon realized that would take me another three or four miles. Skating alone really is not fun and it is a lot of work. I let up and wait for my old group to catch me. They did and they all welcomed me back with a few verbal jabs. I told them I was trying to increase the pace and was waiting for them to catch up. They all laughed and mocked my skating foolery. I was glad to be back. I remember a moment of cruising along with my group, rain falling everywhere, wheels swooshing across wet pavement and thinking "This is great! I am having a blast!" Seriously! I loved it!

As mentioned I accidentally goosed the sixty year old woman in front of me in our paceline. In a paceline when someone near the back gets moving faster than those skaters in front, the faster skaters give a little nudge to the person in front of them instead of breaking out from the line and passing. This keeps the group together and spreads the workload of keeping the pace. Because I was a little faster downhill I needed to reach out and nudge the sixty year old woman. She was standing upright so I pointed my finger in the direction just above her left hip. My knuckles were an inch away and she went back down into a tuck position. Her hip disappeared and her buttocks moved into the position my hand was going. There was no turning back now, my hand pushed into her backside. She responded with "Ooooie, I felt that goose!" I apologized and tried to explain what I tried to do. From there on out whenever she touched me, she gave me a warning, "pushing". Soon the whole group was doing it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Port-a-Potti Switcheroo - Watch more free videos

(HT Mom)

Mentally Ill Americans

Yesterday Joey at Wide White linked to a commentary at WorldNetDaily on mental illness in America. Since mental illness is a topic I blog about often I want to post the link as well to get it in my archives.

Why so many Americans today are 'mentally ill' is a fantastic commentary even thought I don't agree with the premise that people are born with a "good side" that we just need to listen to more often.

Heads are turning, people are seeing more and more that pharmaceutical treatment of mental illness has horrendous side effects - the wonder drugs are not all they are cracked up to be. There is another explanation for all our psychosis and thus another answer. The WorldNet commentary provides another perspective.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Prayer and The Sovereignty of God

Wack! Wack! (Fists to forehead)

I struggle to remember key theological truths in the midst of my daily toils. I often find myself thinking I've read a lot, I love the process of researching, I am interested in almost everything and I want to keep learning more...and more! But I am starting to shift my passion from always learning more to being skilled at remembering always what I've learned.

Case in point. I've read much on Prayer and I've read much on God's Sovereignty and how the two work together. In order to tell you about it though, I'd have to take some time to refresh my thoughts. This pains me! I just want to know and be able to answer effectively and immediately - for my own sake and for the others I love.

I am always having to remind myself of the answer to this question: If God is Sovereign, Why Pray? Some will scoff the question off and ridicule my theological immaturity. Some will say who cares, it is such a huge question and I don't want to argue with anyone. I believe the lack of understanding of the question and correct answer is, however, at the forefront of why I don't pray enough and why others I love don't pray enough.

The question can literally be approached from many angles. I need to stop gathering information about all the angles and simply answer the question, memorize the answer, and let time help me rework it.

Pulpit Magazine recently put together a series on the very topic of Prayer and the Sovereignty of God. I found it helpful in answering the question Why Pray if God is Sovereign?

There are four parts (Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4) in the series and the answer to the central question is spread across four reasons:
  1. God has commanded us to pray.
  2. Jesus modeled a life of prayer.
  3. God is able to respond to our prayers.
  4. God actually does respond to prayer.
  5. God has ordained prayer as a means by which He accomplishes His eternal purposes.

Facebook Group Growing

Some people I invited have joined Facebook. I am hoping for more. I've also set up a group for Faith Community Church of Hudson, WI and sent invitations to join.

Join Facebook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Where's Pat Waldo?

Photo's from Hayward. Can you spot me? I am in one of the pictures. I am wearing black shorts, gray shirt, and orange helmet. Which photo is it?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Help Understanding Biblical Counseling

The Christian Mind, a great blog that often posts on biblical counseling and psychology, links to a very helpful article defining Biblical Counseling.

The article covers an interview conducted with four seminary scholars all providing deep insight as to what exactly is Biblical Counseling and what distinguishes it from all other counseling.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Next Year at Hayward I Will Skate The 39 Mile Challenge

The world of inline speed/endurance skating is expanding I will be there all the way! The new thing now is longer distances. I am reading more and more about events with 39 mile challenge
races (a.k.a. ultra marathons.) Hayward had one this year - next year I think I will give it a try.

This from an article on about the new trend of ultra marathons:

Why Ultra?

Co-director Prois believes the longer length Challenge race will prove to be particularly appealing to the sport's growing number of strong athletes in their 40's, 50's and even 60's.

"As athletes age, they don't develop more speed, they develop endurance," said Prois, one of a number of inline skaters with bike racing backgrounds. "Why are inline races of 26.2 mile-lengths, an arbitrary distance used by runners? Other endurance sports, like bike racing or skiing, use longer distances to test the endurance limits of top performers. Two hours of top effort is a more typical test. That translates to more than 26 miles for inline skaters.

"That's the type of racer we're trying to attract," he said. "These races should be a challenge."

I will not, however, skate a challenge in my current condition. I have much work to do and a year to accomplish it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What is Biblical Counseling?

What is Biblical Counseling?

I used to think it was what a Christian Counselor does. Or, a counselor who is a Christian. I used to think it was done by a pastor who knows how to apply scriptures to real life in an systematic way to help people solve problems. Biblical counseling can be all of the above but it is much more. Ed Welch, one of my favorite Biblical Counselors, explains Biblical Counseling here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Hilly Hills of Hilly Hayward

I finished the hilly Hayward Marathon today in 1 hour and 49 minutes. My goal was simply to participate. I would have liked, however, a time under 1 hour and 45 minutes. I make no excuses but I didn't skate my best because of a myriad of factors.

Rain was pouring heavy right up to race time at 7:30 am so I got started really slow and stayed slow for the first 10 miles. Puddles everywhere and some spots on the course were like grease patches. This was really disappointing. But in hindsight, this was probably a good thing because of the cold I had this last week I needed to take it slow. The last half of the marathon was fantastic though.

Hilly Hayward
Another factor in my slow time were the hills. Hills everywhere! The whole stinking course was either uphill or downhill. This type of terrain taxes the legs and I am feeling much pain in my legs and feet as I type this.

There is one infamous downhill that lasts close to a mile and a half. This hill starts with the biggest decline I've ever skated on. There were reports after the race of average speeds between 40 and 50 mph. Amazing!

Skated Alone
This was a very small field of racers - I think less than 200. Because of this I found myself alone most of the time on the course. Not being able to draft really slowed me down as well. I learned a valuable lesson. I need to position myself better at the starting line. This race was a mass start and I was near the back of the pack. I never gave myself a chance to skate with better skaters and there was no way I was going to catch up in today's conditions. At St. Paul I am going find a lead position in my wave at the start.

39 mile challenge
Get this! Along with the marathon there was a 39 mile challenge race. All the pros skated this. The guy who came in first finished in 1:56! Thirty nine miles in 1 hour and 56 minutes! I did 26.2 in 1:49. These guys averaged 20.7 miles over the 39 miles. They are inspirational phenoms!

In the end
It's bittersweet but I am satisfied with my results at Hayward. I was humbled in some ways but also my resolve was strengthened to keep getting better at this inline speed skating thing.

St. Paul is next Sunday.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I want to try something here. I have created a group on the social networking service Facebook for attenders of Faith Community Church and whoever else who wants to stay connected.

I think it would be great if people signed up. It is an experiment. I've been on Facebook for a little over a few months but I am connected to very few people. I want to learn about how to use Facebook because I hear and read so much about it.

What is Facebook? First things is not like MySpace, Facebook is much better. Here are more complete answers - here and here. It's all free too.

First thing to do is to register and open an account at Facebook. Then, we have to get connected. You'll need to do a group search for FCC to find the group and request membership, or you can leave a comment in this post. Let me know you are on facebook and I will search for your name and invite you to the group. Beyond those basic instructions, you'll have to tread through learning all about facebook just like I am doing.

I Need It Everyday

I need the Gospel of Jesus Christ everyday. I forget it often - everyday!

On one hand I am saddened and my pride is severely crushed by the reality that I even forget the essentials of the gospels, everyday. In a very strange way, on the other hand, I am grateful and praise the Lord that I get to hear the Gospel everyday.

To pursue Christ's reign in all of life starts with hearing the Gospel everyday. I am always looking for ways to apply the full extent of the Gospel to my everyday life - I need it every day!

Get it? I am talking about everyday!

Resources like the Gospel Driven Blog help me by reminding me quickly of the implications of the Gospel. This post, What Does Keeping the Gospel Central in Your Daily Life Look Like?, is a great summary of foundational gospel thinking and what it looks like in daily life. The blog post is long but contains essentials. Please read. Here are the four main points:
1. Keeping the Gospel central allows believers to be honest with themselves and God.

2. The Gospel frees us from a performance, duty-driven mentality.

3. The Gospel breaks the crippling power of false guilt and assures our troubled consciences before God.

4. Preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily gives us hope, joy and courage in the midst of our war with sin.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Next Year

I'm alive. This cold is running its course and I have some eucalyptus oil treatments planned for tonight and tomorrow (HT to Ron and Jen.)

I am feeling somewhat down about having a cold. I can't believe it! I skated two miles this morning just to stay loose and my lungs were on fire. How in the world will I do 26 miles in two days? I know I will do it, I just like to go to worst case scenario first and then work up from there.

For instance, I've already set my goals for next year. One goal is to skate at least four marathons: Ashland, Baxter, Hayward and St. Paul. Plus, Lord willing, I (somehow) will have earned and saved enough money to meet all my family's financial obligations and have enough left over to get these rockets:

I need to dream! I will skate four marathons and we'll see about the skates. Sitting here with a splitting sinus headache, this is how I pump myself up and get ready for Saturday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

UPDATED: Onward To Hayward By Way Of Bemidji

Because of the risk of getting home too late Friday night, Bemidji has been called off for me. I am glad. Also, this cold is making its way through my body and I need sleep!

Tomorrow morning I leave to Hayward. But it is not exactly a straight shot.

Yes the Hayward marathon is not until Saturday but I am going to Bemidji MN for a couple of days for work. I will spend tomorrow and half of Friday in Bemidji. I am parking my car overnight at another customer's location in Anoka MN. So Friday night I'll be heading from Anoka to Hayward. I doubt I'll try to push the distance from Anoka to Hayward.

Thankfully my mother lives on the way in St. Croix Falls so I am planning on sleeping there Friday night. However, it is still two hours from Hayward and so I'll need to leave St. Croix Falls at 4:00 am to get my race packet by 6:00 AM. I could go a little further and stay in Spooner Friday night but I don't want to waste money a hotel room.

Did you follow all of that? You tracking with me?

I think I have it all planned out. If nothing else laying it out in this post helped me see how insane the distance is going to be.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dad I Have A Question

Wait! Two ABs (at bats) in a week? Seriously Babe I am not changing the focus of this blog to compete with you.

A conversation with my son this morning on the way to summer school:

Josh: "Dad, I have a question"

Me: "Yes, what is it? Go ahead ask away"

Josh: "Dad, did you used to be all muscular before you got all fat? I mean what did your body look like before you got fat?"

Me: "Yes Josh, I looked like He-Man and right now I am making a come back."

Of course I've never been sculpted like He-Man and I don't aspire to freakness...but what would you have said?

P.S. I laughed as I told Josh I loved him when he was getting out of the car for school. He said, "You're going to write about my question on your blog aren't you."

Down With The Sickness

These past few weeks my family has been tossing about a nasty flu bug between each other. Carla and Josh were hit hard last week. Yesterday I started to feel the initial signs of a sore throat and plugged sinuses. Five days before Hayward! Wheee!

When I feel a cold coming on I don't sit back though, I attack. My favorite are zinc lozenges. I scarf them down like Peanut M&M's. They are incredibly effective at cutting the duration of the common cold by three days (you were looking for the ad link weren't you?)

Also, I am going for the extra dose of extra powerful stuff from Kristi. She's always got the stuff. Not sure what it all is but I'll take whatever she gives me. Last night she gave me three bottles of stuff. I will nuke this cold and it will be gone by race time.

A few other physical challenges

This last weekend my foot got pinned underneath a chair leg. My oldest boy was rocking forward in our chair at the computer and I walked by at the precise moment he rocked back to the floor. Intense pain! I dropped to the floor. At this point there is minor bruising and slight pain. Obviously it won't keep me from skating! But I expect some discomfort in my skate boot. I am skating this morning and we'll see how things feel.

One of the reasons I started skating a few years back is because I get very bad shin splints if I run (because I have flat feet.) I didn't expect this but my shins are acting up. I think it is because of the sole inserts I've been testing out the last few weeks. I will remove them from my skates this morning.

Finally, I've managed to bang my left knee cap on my flat workout bench two times in one day. Walking through my weight room in the dark is obviously foolish. No big deal but again some more irritating pain to deal with.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Book Recommendation: A Journey Worth Taking, Finding Your Purpose in This World

Charles D. Drew writes about Calling in A Journey Worth Taking. This book is worth the money and the time. I've read it twice now and it is a top-notch book on the topic of purpose and meaning in life.

This book puts a frame around what it means to live to the glory of God - that is our calling. Calling? What is it? What does it look like? It is much more than having the right job for your personality type and living a purpose driven life. All Christians are called simultaneously on three levels:

1) To deep relationship with God - knowing him better.
2) To faithful and joyful self-discovery.
3) To service - work that simply needs to be done in an imperfect world.

What I really like about this book is that Drew works out the implications of the biblical road map of four big ideas:
1) Creation - we were built with a purpose
2) Fall - because of sin we display that purpose in terribly wrong ways
3) Redemption in Christ - all things are made new and can be done to the glory of God
4) Consummation - what we do on earth matters because everything points to eternity.

This book is not a trite formula for a better life now. It is not a cute self-help gospel present wrapped with out of context scripture passages. This book is a display of heavy theological concepts welded together with everyday questions and answers about how Christians should live life and what to expect.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ah...hmmm...I Was In A Knife Fight, Yeah A Knife Fight

These type of posts are usually best left to the writing skills of my wife. But every once in a while I need take a swing. There is something manly in this story and it is about one of my boys, so I want to tell it.

Last night our 3 year old Nathan goes to bed all nice and fresh from a bath. This morning he wakes and Carla notices blood from a small laceration on his left cheek, just below his eye. Alright, laceration is too dramatic. It was more like a tiny paper-cut no wider than Nathan's pinky finger nail. Nevertheless, no blood at bedtime, then blood in the morning. Why?

I asked, "Nathan, what happened, how did you get that cut?"

Nathan, eyes rolling around as if he's turning the pages in his memory files, "Ah...hmmm...I got it in a knife fight."

"A knife fight?", I got down on my knees.

"Yeah, a knife fight, it was a knife fight."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Last Long Skate Before Marathons

Hayward is next Saturday and St. Paul is the following Sunday.

Ah...if only I skated one of the marathons this morning. I had a nice, long, slow skate. Close to perfect!

I couldn't help myself and skated 17 miles. I thought I'd have to skip training for the first time in 16 weeks because of rain. The roads were wet when I started but the sprinkles tapered off to nothing by the time I went my first mile. From there on out I just enjoyed the ride. I actually tried something new this morning, I went the other way on my training route.

Here's a few statistics I've been logging these past 16 weeks:
  • Total Training Miles Logged - 402
  • Body Weight Lost - 24 lbs
  • Average Pace over long skates - 15 mph
  • Best Mile Trial - 3:23 minutes
  • Longest Sprint at (roughly) 80% effort - 5 minutes
  • Top speed (on roughly a 20% decline) - 34 mph
I will skate two more times this week just to stay loose. I will do whatever I have to feel like I did this morning. Three key focus areas this week: 1) Sleep, 2) Carbs 3) Stretching.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ordinary Questions about the Bridge

iMonk posted a great blog today about the bridge collapse. There is time for theological questions in regards to the tragedy but now is A Time for Ordinary Questions.

A few tidbits:
It leaves me wondering if we are sometimes too God-centered?

One of the things that bothers me about religion in general and evangelical Christianity in particular is a tendency to change the focus of ordinary things to religious things. “So heavenly minded, they are of no earthly good” is a valid criticism.

What should happen with a God-centered mind is a redemption and elevation of the ordinary. God is pleased when engineers, politicians and road inspectors have a Christian testimony. He’s also pleased- just as pleased, but in a different way- when the engineer designs a safe bridge, when the politician funds a sufficient infrastructure and when the inspector is thorough and rigorous.

iMonk even wrote something that will (most likely) catch a nod from my friend Nehring:
There’s a time to judge a movie by the faith statements of the creators, and a time to judge a movie by the standards of good movie making.

Mohler's and Piper's Response to Bridge Collapse

Albert Mohler
"Lest You Be Consumed" The Tragedy in Minneapolis

John Piper
Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After The Bridge Collapsed