29 08 2013



Yesterday evening I went out for a 9 mile run. The heat index was 101 when I started with a humidity of 50%. I ran a single track dirt trail the entire distance. Because we had a fairly wet summer, the bugs were in full force: mosquitos, gnats, hornets, seed ticks, chiggers, biting flies, etc. It was miserable, but I finished. As I was running, I began to think about what it means to be tough. It was probably more stupidity than toughness that started me on that run yesterday, but once I was on it, I think it was toughness that saw me finish it. I was also motivated to go run yesterday because of an article that I read in Oklahoma Sports and Fitness online magazine entitled “What a Rush!” written by my good friend, Will Blanchard. The article was his review from running the Leadville Silver Rush 50. Yes, that’s a 50-miler! Here’s a portion of what he wrote…

A major determinant to finishing any ultra distance (any distance more than a marathon) depends on a person’s ability to keep moving forward and adapt to the inevitable highs and lows.

Will goes on to explain that he reached one of those low points at miles 37-40 on a steep uphill climb to 12,000 feet. He said that his body began to rebel and it took him 90 minutes to get that distance, but he kept moving forward. This is a great definition of toughness.

As I was running yesterday, I began to think about and pray for the missionaries I know and love. I realized then that these are some of the toughest people that I know. Not only is the spiritual battle grueling for them, but so is the physical battle. I have had the incredible opportunity to spend time in Colombia with an awesome team. These families literally live in the rainforest on the banks of the Amazon River. It is hot and muggy year around. When they go out on the river to the people they are working with, they must deal with the brutally hot sun, insects galore, the dangers of the river, etc. I have gone out on the river along with guys like Peter Davis, Jeff Crawford, and Ryan Martin, and we have seen how tough it is to just make it one or two nights. On the other side of the world in Central Asia, our missionaries deal with being cold all winter with little to no electricity, being isolated from the outside world for months on end, and dealing with some of the hardest hearts in the world towards the gospel. These missionaries are tough!

It is time for our American church to get tough, both spiritually and physically. One of the reasons that unreached people groups are still unreached is because they are difficult to get to. It takes a certain amount of toughness to get on a plane for 20+ hours and then a car ride on the worst roads known to man for another 6 hours. In Tanzania this June, our team found out that one of the reasons the Pare Tribe is unreached is because they live in a steep mountain range. It was hard getting there, and once there, it was hard just walking around along the steep trails. In order for someone to effectively go on one of these trips, they need to be physically tough. We have to realize, too, that this physical toughness does not just happen. It is developed through training. God gave us our bodies, and we are to be good stewards of them, not for the purpose of vanity, but for the purpose of completing the Great Commission which is a physically demanding task.


30 04 2012

My wife and I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon this past weekend. This was the first event of this kind that my wife has ever run, and I am so proud of her. This was my first long event since my back surgery last May. I don’t have to tell most of you, that when you get to age 38, it becomes tougher and tougher to get back in shape. One of the things that was so inspiring about this event for me was to know that you can do it and many others have and are getting into shape. There were 27,000 people running in this race!

As you know, most people can not just decide on Saturday to run a half marathon and actually run it on Sunday. There is a lot that goes into being able to do a race at this distance. My wife and I have read running magazines and web articles. We bought all of the right equipment, experimenting with many different kinds of shoes, shorts, shirts, water containers, food, etc. We ordered our life to be able to train – my wife ran in the mornings before the kids were up, and I ran in the evenings after they went to bed. We used a training program that told us how many miles to run on what day, and we used this program for months. Our next goal is to do the White Rock Marathon (full) in December. This will take even more training!

As I was thinking about all of this and considering 27,000 people at this race (most of whom trained and strategized just like we did), I began to dream of what it would look like if that many people put that much effort into reaching the world for Christ. Our one, most important job on this planet is to tell other people about Jesus Christ, and most believers either don’t do it at all or just shoot from the hip sporadically. We are not even talking about reaching a tribe that has never heard about Jesus! What might it look like if a church got serious about the Great Commission the same way we get serious about other things? How would your life look different if you began to train and strategize to reach a lost world for Christ?

If you can diet and train to get into shape, can you read a book about missions? If you can spend money on supplements, shoes, entry fees, etc., can you spend money to take a class on missions or go on a mission trip? Think about the possibilities of God’s people getting serious to train and strategize in order to reach the nations for Jesus! If I can help you to start somewhere, I would highly recommend you reading my favorite book on missions: A Passion for the Heart of God by John Zumwalt. It will cost you two trips to Starbuck’s and maybe a few hours of extra time. It’s not too late to start training!

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