Friday, August 22, 2008


Each night for the last couple of weeks, my family and I have been getting to bed rather late. It is not a burst of youthful enthusiasm that has us awake past midnight but a passion for the competition of the Olympic games is enough for us to keep vigil into the early am hours.
It has been such a thrill to watch Michael Phelps surpass the bar set by Mark Spitz (who I am old enough to remember seeing) and win eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing. Two of his medals came in electrifying fashion with come from behind victories and fraction of a second margins of victory.
I have enjoyed watching the gymnastics with a special interest in the women this year. Shawn Johnson has an incredible talent for gymnastics as well as an attitude that has been as gold as the medal she won on the balance beam. She also has the cuteness factor to the extreme. Her teammate Nastia Liuken has been thrilling to watch also. The men were awesome in their medal performance in the team competition as well.
I enjoyed watching Usain Bolt, the Jamaican speedster win his matches and as of the writing of this article, he may win more in these games yet. It is impressive to see him sprint out in front of the fastest athletes in the world and then relax and jog to the finish and set a world record in so doing.
I am not a big basketball fan but because we will never see the players on team USA play together again it has been interesting to see the "Redeem Team" set the bar of play way high and win what will almost surely be a gold for the US. These games have had it all. World records aplenty, thrilling victories, heart-rending defeats and controversy have all played a role. The Chinese have done a remarkable job hosting the games and hopefully the games and those who have traveled there will leave a permanent mark of progress on the Chinese political and religious landscape as well.
It is also cool to realize the connection between these games and the ancient version of the Olympics begun in Greece in 776 BC. The apostle Paul would have been familiar with and perhaps even a fan of the games. It was the Olympic games to which Paul alludes in I Corinthians 9:25 where he says,
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict
training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but
we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
Let these games remind us that we are running a race as well to use Paul’s analogy. We must never lose sight of the prize that lies before us. Our prize worth so much more than any gold medal is our home with God in heaven.
How is your race going?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back From Vacation

We had a wonderful 10 day vacation. We went to Paragould, Arkansas to visit family there. Lenore and I also took the opportunity to take in a Family Ministry Conference in Phoenix, AZ. It was a great time of refreshing and renewal. The Family Minstry Conference is an annual conference put on by the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries (AMFM). They are an oganization committed to building strong Christian marriage and family ministries across all denominational lines. Though the planners and presenters attend churches with names that include Baptist, Bible Church, Community Church and the like, there were obvious marks of the work of the Holy Spirit in their ministries and their messages. Lenore and I gained a great deal from their insights and ministry experiences and I know the Family Ministry at Northeast will grow as a result. One of the most interesting classes we attended was a 2 session series on Marriage Ministry. This church (The Scottsdale Bible Church) has a marriage ministry that includes a pre-marital class, a marriage counseling ministry, a marriage mentoring ministry and a marriage outreach piece. I think Lenore and I would like to start with the marriage mentoring ministry and build a similar multi-faceted marriage ministry from there. Pray for me as I move forward with this. I really don't feel like I have time to add something else to my schedule but I also think this is a core concept for any Family Ministry and it needs to be in place. Pray that I can be more disciplined with my time and do this while not letting other facets of my ministry suffer as a result.

We took some new family pictures in Arkansas. To see them you can go to my facebook.