Monday, May 28, 2007

Bolder Boulder 2007

I am now smelly because I just returned from the greatest 10K road race in the world. This was my 3rd consecutive BolderBoulder and my personal best at 54:15. Factor in the handicap for my being 35 pounds overweight and that's pretty impressive, don't you think? The post-race snack bags were better than ever and many thanks to the folks at Dreyers Ice Cream for the free giveaways. My faithful running partner and neighbor Bruce Stafford had a strong finish as well. New to the race this year was Canadian speedster Keith Anderson, who was right beside me throughout the race. If you have doubts about my time, ask Keith about it. We used his watch.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Superior Sonic

Well, technically it's a Broomfield Sonic, but it's less than a mile from my house and it opened just an hour ago! Popcorn Chicken, Tater Tots, Cherry Limeade...America's standard drive-in fare with a world-class mountain view. Next time you're on Coalton Road near the Chick-fil-A by Flatirons Crossing Mall, check out the brand new Sonic Drive-In.'s the little things that make life more...fattening.

Cheyenne, Wyoming

We just returned from a fantastic weekend in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We had a great time with Jon, Denise, Todd, Missy, Claudia, Don & Tonya, Bill and so many others! Thanks North Cheyenne Baptist Church for your wonderful hospitality and for extending the love of Jesus to our family. If you've never been to Cheyenne, check out these cool places:

The Union Pacific Depot is definitely the most beautiful railroad station between Omaha and Sacramento.

The Wrangler is the coolest western store I've ever seen. Ask Anna & Sophie to show you their hats the next time you see them.

Just across from Cheyenne Frontier Days Park is beautiful Lions Park with lakes, gardens, and a huge pool.

And don't miss the rocks at Vedauwoo, about a half hour west of Cheyenne.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Harry or Voldemort? Who's it gonna be?

I just finished reading the 5th book of the Harry Potter series. They keep getting darker, but the themes of love and justice are still there too. I must admit that during the climactic battle scene in this one, I started to feel as tired as I felt while I read the 5th book of the Left Behind series. When will it end!?! But it's a fun page-turner too. I'm starting to think that J.K. Rowling is going to kill off Harry at the end, as he lovingly attempts to save his friends from the Dark Lord Voldemort. What do you think?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Book Review: Finding Common Ground

Tim Downs asserts that there is a crisis in our communication with people outside the Christian Church today and that we have created that crisis ourselves. Rather than seeing the work of evangelism as an ongoing process, our results-oriented American mindset has focused too much on “the harvest” while tragically ignoring our responsibility to “sow”. Remember Downs’ syndicated comic strip Downstown? I don’t recall any explicit talk about sowing and reaping in Downs’ creative work on the funny pages, but looking back now I can see how he has been committed to what he calls “sowing” for many years. I also remember hearing Downs and his colleague from the communications center, Tim Muehlhoff, speaking at a Campus Crusade-Sponsored Spring Break Evangelism conference that I attended with a group of students from St. Louis in the late 1990’s. This book must have been in process then, because I as I read this book recently, I found myself thinking, “Haven’t I heard that illustration somewhere before?” Then I remembered that I had, while listening to Tim Downs and Tim Muehlhoff speak at the Big Break conference!

The thesis of the book is built upon Downs’ interpretation of Jesus’ parable of the soils.

“This book is a kind of soil analysis of the American Culture at the beginning of the third millennium. It’s a warning that our spiritual soil is being depleted to the point that it may be soon incapable of supporting life. It’s a call to a new generation of sowers to come and help reclaim our eroding soil and begin to prepare the harvest of the future. And it is a rebuke to the Christian world for encouraging the erosion to happen.” [19]

Downs’ warning, call and rebuke are helpful and needed. I’m not sure the parable of the soils should be stretched into a book of “soil analysis” but I think I learned a lot anyway, especially about the importance of balancing the biblical values of justice with love and truth with tact.

Downs is most helpful when he delivers a “wake-up call” to Christians, exhorting them to realize that:

  • The greatest attacks on Christianity now come through art, not science.
  • The most devastating blows to Christian belief are indirect, not frontal.
  • The most damaging assaults on the Christian worldview are gradual, not immediate.

Downs is an incredibly creative verbal communicator and is often extremely clever in his use of illustrations. Reading this book as an ex-Campus Crusade staff member, it appears to me that much of Downs’ argumentation is directed particularly toward the errors that he has observed in the philosophy of evangelism that Campus Crusade has adopted and promoted among evangelicalism over the past 50 years. Campus Crusade is an organization called to a ministry of evangelism and basic discipleship. It has an efficient organizational structure built for transferring ministry strategies in a consistent manner around the world and it measures its organizational success by criteria that focus on evangelistic presentations, professions of faith and new students and staff joining the organization. The organizational values of Campus Crusade are at odds with the values that Downs expresses in this book. Sadly, it’s not surprising that Downs influence within Campus Crusade through the Communciations Center seems to have faded. Happily, even while Downs remains a CCC staff person, his recent work in the world of the arts though the publishing of a number of novels provides us a great example of what he teaches in Finding Common Ground (see for more info).

In his later chapters, Downs stretches the sowing metaphor a bit too far, making the sower’s goal the same as a vine-tender. The Biblical parable speaks of the seed that the sower sows being the word of God in Mark 4 and the word of the Kingdom in Matthew 13. Downs overreacts a bit too much to the harvest-only culture of Campus Crusade and others. The work of evangelism involves communicating God’s words about the good news, which at its essence is propositional, verbal, knowable content about the work of Christ and not just our efforts to build bridges of goodwill.

I loved and learned much from Downs’ references to the puritans and his rebuke of our pragmatic, results-oriented understanding of the harvest.

“To most evangelicals, who are very action-oriented people, the true sign of God’s presence is results. Where God is, things happen, and when there is no action, God is obviously at work somewhere else…Was God at work in the life of John the Baptist, or did the real work only begin when Jesus arrived on the scene? Was God more at work in the life of Isaiah, who saw results, than in the life of Jeremiah, who saw none?”[178]

In his concluding chapter, Downs’ says “a basic maxim of ministry is: If you work in ministry, you must be willing to accept the fact that you will never know exactly what you are producing.” [187] In this and in many other ways, Tim Downs gives us a helpful lesson in sowing and trusting the Lord of the Harvest with the results of the harvest.

Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate with Those Outside the Christian Community…While We Still Can, Tim Downs, Moody Press, Chicago, 1999

Monday, May 14, 2007

Some of My Finer Moments as a Dad

Over the past few months, Anna has begun talking with Megan and I about baptism. Since she first professed faith in Jesus as a 3-year-old during the Psalty the Singing Songbook concert during the Louisville Billy Graham Crusade in 2001 (no kidding), we've been praying that God would mature Anna's faith. God has been answering these prayers lately as Anna and I meet to study the Bible together and talk about the gospel and baptism. God has given us some great help through the ministry of Children Desiring God and their booklet, "Preparing Young People for Baptism." Anna and I enjoyed another Bible Study earlier this evening at Serrano Coffee. We rode over on our bikes together, got ice cream and cookies and went through the gospel again. She definitely understands what sin is and why Jesus had to die and what we must do to be saved. Check out and look for the "Who Will Be Your King" version for kids. The conversations that Anna and I have been having lately about the gospel have definitely been some of my finer moments as a Dad.

"We will not hide them from our children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done." - Psalm 78:4

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Reminder from Matthew 13:44

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." - Matthew 13:44

God's Kingdom is of such incredible value that it is worth giving up all that we have to get it. All things whatsoever. When God allows us to percieve the infinite value of His kingdom, we are filled with joy and trade everything we have to get it. Praise to the King! May His kingdom come and his will be done in all of us today.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Black Pearl Finishes 7th!

Oh, my aching back. I foolishly joined 5 friends from Rock Creek today for the 97.3FM KBCO/Miller Lite 28th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Challenge. Our team finished 7th in the race, but scored 2nd in the parade, 2nd in style, 1st in sculpture and 3rd in engineering. Our craft was a slow but seaworthy all-black pirate ship, complete with cannons. Smooth sailing for the most part, except for the melee between our pirate crew and a group of leprechaun competitors. Check and for possibly incriminating evidence.

Update as of 8:00pm Sunday, May 6th:

Those requesting photos may check here:

or here:

or here:

These links are mostly of parade photos, but you won't see me in many since I was in Western Colorado that day.

The Leprechaun's were no longer mad when we saw them at the award's ceremony today.

We won "The Big Picture Award"! The trophy will be touring Rock Creek over the next several weeks. Look for it on my mantel soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Reflections on Friendship

My thoughts have turned to the nature of friendship tonight, as I have been reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry and his closest friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ron and Hermione, are struggling to maintain their friendships during an extremely stressful term at the school. Obviously, I'm not for banning the Harry Potter books, but I'm also not for consulting J.K. Rowling for direction in life either. So again tonight, as I think about my friendships, old and new, I turn to the Bible and find these reflections there:
  • A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. - Proverbs 17:17
  • A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24
  • Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. - Proverbs 17:6
  • All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved and turned against me. - Job 19:19
  • Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend, and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away. - Proverbs 27:10
  • A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. - Proverbs 16:28
  • Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
  • Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. - Proverbs 22:24-25
  • The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. - Psalm 25:14
  • O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend. - Psalm 15:1-3
  • Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. - Psalm 41:9
  • For it is not an enemy who taunts me -- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me -- then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng...My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. - Psalm 55:12-14, 20-21
  • You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them...You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness. - Psalm 88:8, 18
  • Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. - Proverbs 27:9
  • The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." But wisdom is proved right by her actions. - Matthew 11:19
  • You are my friends, if you do what I command you. - Jesus, John 15:14
  • I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. - Jesus, Luke 12:4
We live in a fallen world, yet still bear the image of our glorious creator God. Like Harry, Ron and Hermione, we all struggle in our friendships. Yes, friendship is very hard at times, but we were made for it. And it is worth fighting for.