2 Days with Rob Bell Part 2

This is part two of a whole series of posts I’m doing on my trip to go hear Rob Bell in February 2014. If you want, you can start at the first post.

The day that I was to fly down to Orange County my road was snowed in by an epic winter storm, unlike any seen in the Willamette Valley as long as anyone remembered. Churches all over had cancelled services and I had a 4 wheel drive truck with chains on and I was still spinning out. Thankfully Russell, who is the best Oregon winter driver I know, came to my rescue. I actually had to walk down to the main road with my luggage and meet him as he came down the ruts and drove me down to Eugene. The main roads were totally fine, but getting to them was basically impossible. Then when I was at the airport, all sorts of flights were being cancelled because of thick fog! When our plane landed it was awesome and people were clapping and stuff – this is what it is like to fly out of Eugene. When I got into PDX, we were so late I had to run to catch my connector so I didn’t get to enjoy the most beautiful carpet in the world.

The coolest part of my trip was after I landed in Orange County, I used a company called Lyft to get a ride from the airport to my hotel. The company is set up as an app on my phone that you use to call for a ride and a guy shows up with his car and drives you. It’s terrible for cab companies, but a riot for people who think technology can bring us together! It was cool to be able to try out because I don’t live in a big enough city to have Lyft. Considering the safety factor, I imagine it’s easier for a larger man to try it out, but the company has done a good job ensuring safety and professionalism. To get back to the airport on Wednesday, I left before Lyft was open (they went 24-7 only recently), so I used a different app called Uber. Had another great experience and got to know another stranger!

I also got to go for a run Monday morning that was simply amazing – up to the top of the hills in Laguna Beach. 1,000 feet of elevation gain in 2.5 miles! It was so rough I had to walk a bit, but the views from the park at the top of the hill were superboss.

the $12 million view

This is all preamble to an awesome two days, but it’s so much fun to be alive at such an incredible time of transition in our world. Everything we thought we knew about how to function in society is up for grabs – which is so terrifyingly awesome. There’s a lot of opposition from the structure that built the culture we live in, but to hold on to it is to deny the very spirit that built it. It’s not about staying at some kind of pinnacle, it’s all about taking the next step, going to the next level. Really, this is why I went to 2Days with Rob Bell, so, in a way, I got started before I got started.


Jurek, Eat & Run

A friend of mine read this book by ultra marathon runner – and winner – Scott Jurek and suggested it to me. Jurek writes about how he ended up becoming an extreme runner and, in the process, became a vegan as well. So, when I saw it at the local library I picked it up and loved it! It’s a great story, an easy read and really encouraging.

I tend to think that I would love to run a particular distance and go out and run as far as possible, over-train and end up hurting. Jurek’s first advice on running to readers makes a lot more sense, “Go 50 yeards if that’s all you can handle. Tomorrow, you can go farther… Don’t worry about speed at first or even distance. In fact, go slow…Do a combo of running and walking if needed. Don’t be afraid to walk the uphills.” (p.15)

One hard part of the book is learning about how Jurek’s marriage fell apart. He is open and vulnerable, and it’s such a raw part of the book. I am constantly reminded of how those whose lives are consumed with some expression of greatness struggle to lead and keep their own families. It’s a sad reality that is far too common. It really makes me even more amazed at great men and women who achieve in life – and keep their families a priority.

If you run, you will love this book, if you don’t, this book could be a fun inspiration for you. He isn’t asking all of us to run ultras and become vegans; he encourages us to go further than yesterday. and live healthier than yesterday. Things that all of us can do today!


13.1 Things I Learned Running My First Half Marathon

A couple weeks ago I ran in my first half-marathon, The inaugural Albany Half-Marathon, knocking that off my little bucket list from a couple years ago. Much thanks to Bryce Bennett and all the volunteers that made it so much fun. It was a really cool experience getting ready and teaching my body to do more distance. I managed to do it in two hours, which is what I hoped for and I am most definitely going to do that again, after I rest my shin splints and learn to ramp up my training slower so they don’t come back. So, after a little reflection, here’s 13.1 things I learned!

  1. Even if you get a smashing deal on a great pair of running socks, they are no good for my feet after 6 miles. I picked up a pair of “special” Nike running socks and got a couple feet full of blisters for my race. I had run in them before, but not more than about 6 miles. It’s back to super thin socks for me. I’ll use those running socks for much shorter distances.
  2. If you can find someone who knows what they are doing and can run at a steady pace, you can just turn off your brain and stay with them. It worked for me, I followed an older guy for about 5 miles. It was awesome.
  3. When they guy you have been following stops to pee behind a tree, stop following him. Do not pee next to him. Find someone else to follow. Don’t ask me how I know this.
  4. There are some people who don’t run their hardest so that they can have a “kick” at the end and pass all the gassed people during the last mile and a half. It’s OK to hate these people. It’s not OK to trip them as they pass.
  5. If you are going to start slow, you are going to end up having to listen to the talkers. I don’t really need to know about your relationship with your father, your business plan, or your general running expertise when you are running in the back of the pack.
  6. If you are going to pass someone who looks like a talker on about mile 7, resist the vacuum they create. I had a talker try to convince me that we were friends. We weren’t, and he tried to slow me down, convince me away from my goals. It’s really difficult to get out of those conversations when there is no where to run off to and nobody bigger than me to hide behind.
  7. Running doesn’t have a lot of really big dudes. There were some tall ones, but not a whole lot of guys with mass. Apparently races are more of a lean man’s game. At least until they start allowing tackling.
  8. Stopping is really difficult. At the end, when they guy is trying to cut off your timing chip, standing still for 10 seconds is brutal. I was fighting as hard as I could to not fall over from the dizziness – after shuffling along for two hours, a sudden stop does not do the equilibrium any good.
  9. Someone who doesn’t look like they should beat you, is going to beat you. They are going to beat you by a lot. It’s because they did the work beforehand and you didn’t. The race is just a display of the miles that you have worked through in the months leading up. You cannot fake the training – this is the big difference I noticed between the half, and the 5K’s I’ve done. I can get up off the couch and finish a 5K; I can’t do that with a half.
  10. For someone else – you are that person that doesn’t look like they should be doing so well. If you finish ahead of anyone then someone is looking to you as their next inspiration.
  11. If you finish last, you are ahead of all the people who never started. For whatever reason, most people on this planet won’t take on a challenge that is too difficult for them. Most people want ease of life, not adventure of life. So, even if you crawl your last place behind across the line as they are cleaning everything up – you finished. That rocks.
  12. My favorite runners are the slow struggling runners. Before I ran regularly, I used to think the slow, out-of-shape runners were the worst. The truth, however, is that they were faster and more in shape than me, but I wasn’t willing to take step one, in order to get to step 26,201. Now, I love runners who are working hard – fast or slow, old or young. Moving forward is the point.
  13. You think that’s enough Vaseline, but it isn’t.

13.1 If you are wondering when the next race is, there’s always fliers in your goodie bag!


12 for 12: run

I think that if you just live life randomly, then what happens to you becomes your life. I only have like 75 years or so on this planet and I’ve already spent almost half of them. So I live to make them count. As Khobi and I always say in the mornings, ‘Let’s attack the day!’ I want to destroy every single day and let it know that I own it. I’m that disturbed.

For me, running is therapeutic and relaxing. More than once I’ve lost track of where I was going and ended up very far from home and had to run way further than I hoped in order to get back. It’s quite funny, until I have to tell my legs we’re an hour from home.

I’ve even done a few running races, which are quite comical because small children consistently beat me. I figure if we were allowed to tackle in these races I might fare better.

Since running is so relaxing to me, I have always thought it would be fun to run ultra marathons. How relaxing it must be to just run for 100 miles, right? It might be a fancy vacation to run the pacific crest trail as well, except for the part where a cougar would eat me.

So this year, I’m going to try and run a race further than 5K, which is what I’ve done in the past. I haven’t registered or anything, but it’s only the beginning of the year. Maybe I’ll even get one of those stickers for the back of my car that let people know that even though I’m driving right now, if this rig ran out of gas I can run so far that I wouldn’t buy the expensive gas nearby, I’d run all the way to Costco and save my wallet the 6 cents a gallon.

12 for 12: climb a mountain

I think that if you just live life randomly, then what happens to you becomes your life. I only have like 75 years or so on this planet and I’ve already spent almost half of them. So I live to make them count. As Khobi and I always say in the mornings, ‘Let’s attack the day!’ I want to destroy every single day and let it know that I own it. I’m that disturbed.

To that end, I sat down and decided on 12 things I will do this year and thought I’d write about them on the old blog. (Blogging is a book in a twitter world, it’s so quaint to put together multiple sentences and publish them online.)

South Sister

South Sister

I love the idea of climbing mountains. I love climbing mountains. I love the view at the top of mountains. I hate climbing down mountains. It takes hours; it is an extended depression. Life is so good on top of a mountain and so sore when you get back down.

I went up the South Sister probably like 4 years ago and I’d like to do it again. That time we were with some high school students and we didn’t go round the rim to the peak, this time I think I’d like to. We were going to do it last year, but the weather didn’t cooperate and I don’t own the equipment to deal with snow (or the desire to deal with snow). So, this would have been a goal for last year, but now it’ll have to be a part of this year.

I’m going up South Sister.

If the snow is bad again, I might try to convince the people I want to climb the mountain with to try out some volcano running and run around the base of the three sisters. Sound stupid? It is. That’s why it’s a good idea.

Check-in September 22, 2009

weekend in review: Amazing weekend.  We had a super picnic for the North Albany community, hosted by the Grove.  I was super amped because of the number of new folks from the community and by the way that launch team members were friendly and open to bringing those folks into the Grove family.  The Grove is a pretty tight group – there’s a lot of love in the launch team – so one of my big prayers for us has been that we’d be open to new unbelievers coming into the Grove.  To see it happening brings me so much joy!  So, much props to the Missional Pathways team and especially to Tiesha who leads that team.  They’ve done an excellent job of giving the Grove a reputation for being a serving church in our community!  We love Albany!

on my list this week: Sunday is our next and last preview service.  I couldn’t be more excited.  This week we are working on making it smooth, with a focus on the load-in/load-out systems.  I’ve got a load of studying to do as well; trying to calender out my preaching.

current books: still reading Surprised by Hope, by NT Wright.  It is just so stellar.

current writing: sermons, systems and emails. We’re trying to have written down everything we are doing so that it goes smoothly.  same deal, but slower because I am ill.

culture that’s caught me: This week I am spending time learning on stewardship and financial systems for churches.  Interesting stuff, with many different views.  It’s a big subject to handle with people because our treasure is where we find our hearts.

how i’m feeling about this week: I’ve got LJ’s cold, so I’m dizzy when I move too fast.  Thankfully, I’ve got a lot of “butt-in”chair” work for this week.

quote for the week:“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” -Albert Einstein

running report: none. But I got a boot to help heal my tendons.  They are doing so much better, I should be able to run by time it starts raining again!

MMC – June 8, 20009

weekend in review: Good times this weekend – did the regular pattern of graduation parties.  As God has grown the youth ministry here at SACC, I have more and more parties to be at.  This weekend I actually missed one because I was at others.  I felt bad about it, but its a great problem to have.

Also had the final meeting for the Vancouver missions team – we’ve got a great group of kids this year.  It should be great for what may be my last.

on my list this week: I have a long list, stuff every night and I’m preaching this week.  Should be a great week.

current books: Still reading ReJesus (close to finishing, it’s not been a lot of newness for me) and Brother Lawrence too (just 10 more pages). Finished up Church Unique, so I’ll blog it here.  Can’t wait to pound out ReJesus, it’s feeling tedious.

current writing: The Grove’s website and a sermon.

culture that’s caught me: This interview with the author of The Shack, W. Paul Young, is outstanding.  It’s from Canadian television, so its a bit different culturally for my American friends.

how i’m feeling about this week: Pretty good.  St. Theresa’s Prayer was on a friend’s blog this morning and it’s ministering to me in a great way.  Gotta love good saints with good prayers.

quote for the week: double dose!:

  • I’m a Canadian, not a Republican.” ~W. Paul Young, author of The Shack, answering if he considers himself a Christian
  • Martin Luther King didn’t coach t-ball; neither did Ghandi. Start a revolution if you want, but that’s not a price that I’m willing to pay.” ~Tony Jones

running report: after two weeks of a break, which sucked, I got back out this morning.  It’s so good for me to run.  It feels so good to be out and alone and just drive out miles.  I am loving running because of what it gives me.  I’m turning into an addict.