Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why Should I Want to be a Christian?

The transcipt can be found here.

Cry, the Beloved Country - Book Review

I have recently finished reading "Cry, the Beloved Country" which was written by Alex Paton in 1948 and is set in South Africa just prior to Apartheid. It is obvious to the reader that Mr. Paton looked around his nation and saw that things were not as they should be and that he felt that things would only digress if they continued on their current course. Later in the year that this book was published, Apartheid was instituted, making this book and even more poignant read.

There are many themes wrapped up in the storyline of the journey of an old rural priest travelling across the country to the great city of Johannesburg. Along the way, the changing countryside is vividly described, the people are characterized in a way that makes them very real and the unstable social climate is presented through various interactions. This book tells a story of adventure, loss, heartbreak, redemption, restoration, betrayal, faith, hope and love.

Above all, it is evident that the author had a deep love for his country, with an undogged patriotism that didn't grow faint in the face of extreme oposition. He felt compelled to write a story based in his setting, during his time, that conveyed the situation and raw emotions as he was experiencing them. Through his courage to write such a book and his talent to weave such a story, Mr. Paton has brought to life a time in history that most people in the world have never experienced. There is a very good reason why students around the globe are required to read this book.

I highly recommend "Cry, the Beloved Country" as a book that will cause you to stop and think about what is happening around you and how kindness and love can change the lives of those around you.

Here are two portions of the book that I found moving:
And money is not something to go mad about, and throw your hat into the air for. Money is for food and clothes and comfort, and a visit to the pictures. Money is to make happy the lives of children. Money is for security, and for dreams, and for hopes, and for purposes. Money is for buying the fruits of the earth, of the land where you were born. - pp 204-205
- This world is full of trouble, umfundisi.

- Who knows it better?

- Yet you believe?

Kumalo loked at him under the light of the lamp. I believe, he said, but I have learned that it is a secret. Pain and suffering, they are a secret. Kindness and love, they are a secret. But I have learned that kindness and love can pay for pain and suffering. There is my wife, and you, my friend, and these people who welcomed me, and the child who is so eager to be with us here in Ndotsheni - so in suffering I can believe.

- I have never thought that a Christian would be free of suffering, umfundisi. For our Lord suffered. And I come to believe that he suffered, not to save us from suffering, but to teach us how to bear suffering. For He knew that there is no life without suffering. - pp 260-261

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Giant Leap

Last night I was sitting in the white chair in our living room and Lydia crawled over to me and pulled herself up to a standing position, hanging on to the seat with one hand. She cruised to the end of the chair and then paused, with one hand barely touching the arm of the chair. At the time, Lisa was sitting at the end of the couch playing around on the laptop, unaware of what was going on. I said Lisa's name to get her attention and Lydia looked back at me over her shoulder.

I was afraid that my attempts to get Lisa's attention might have distracted Lydia from her previous thought. However, in a few short moments, Lydia let go of the arm of the chair and proceeded to walk, unassisted and unencouraged, from my chair to the edge of the couch, a distance of about 3 feet. She arrived at her destination safely and without incident and we all celebrated with clapping and cheering.

This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time that Lydia has walked from one place to another with someone encouraging her to do so. Look out world, here she comes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jesus' Miraculous Power

The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world of here it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that He has power but also wonderful foretastes of what He is going to do with that power. Jesus' miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.
- Tim Keller in "The Reason for God" (page 99)

I'll Cover You (Reprise) - Tuesday Tunes

Lyrics for "I'll Cover You (Reprise)" from Rent (Original Broadway Cast)

Live In My House
I'll Be You Shelter
Just Pay Me Back With One Thousand Kisses
Be My Lover
And I'll Cover You

Open Your Door - I'll Be Your Tenant
Don't Got Much Baggage
To Lay At Your Feet
But Sweet Kisses I've Got To Spare
I'll Be There - I'll Cover You

I Think They Meant It
When They Said You Can't Buy Love
Now I Know You Can Rent It
A New Lease You Were, My Love, On Life

All My Life
I've Longed To Discover
Something As True
As This Is

So With A Thousand
Sweet Kisses
I'll Cover You

If You're Cold
And You're

You've Got One
Nickel Only

When You're
Worn Out
And Tired

When Your Heart
Has Expired

Oh Lover
I'll Cover You
Oh Lover

I'll Cover You

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lydia Leigh's First Year

I put the following video together to celebrate Lydia's first birthday.
I am very happy with how it turned out.

Lydia Leigh's First Year from Jeremy Walker on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Action Figures

Presenting the Objective: Be Ready to Act
Titus 3:1-2
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

Setting the Ground Work: Clean Up My Act
2 Timothy 2:21
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Building the Framework: Reinvent My Act
1 Timothy 6:11
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Learning Lessons Over the Miles

This past Saturday, Lisa, Lydia and I ran a 5k to help raise funds to build an elementary school in Haiti (www.growinghopeforhaiti.org). Actually, Lydia rode a 5k in her stroller, which I pushed the 3.1 miles. She was tired and crying just prior to the start of the race, but I decided to give it a try anyway. We ran toward the sun for the first mile and Lydia continued crying the entire way. When we finally turned the corner and the sun was out of her face, Lydia promptly fell asleep for the remainder of the race. It was about at this point of the race that the gentle downhill turned into a ever-increasing uphill run. Every time I though we might have reached the plateau I was greeted with another hill. Notice how great I look in the wonderful snapshot of Lydia and I crossing the finish line.

Here are some observations from my race:
Not all 5ks are created equal.
My first ever 5k was a totally flat course, based in a floodplain. The 5k we ran in the Spring had a large hill in the middle of the race, but then we turned around and had a nice downhill run for the majority of the back half of the race. The course this past weekend was downhill the first mile and then basically uphill the remaining 2 miles, with a brutally steep hill the last few hundred yards to the finish line.

You run differently when pushing a stroller.
This is obvious at a glance but becomes a harsh reality once you begin the race. As you attack hills, you find your arms tiring of the effort to keep the stroller far enough in front of you to allow you to drive your legs with power over the hill. This expense of energy takes a toll after several hills and your legs get tired much more quickly.

You breathe differently when pushing a stroller.
Being slightly bent over hinders your ability to grab a complete breath, especially when you are working your way up a hill. The downhill stretches become a respite where you can let gravity pull the stroller for you and you can stretch your arms out and relax your posture. These are the moments where you have to capitalize on catching as much oxygen as possible.

Your child's attitude/demeanor can and will alter your pace throughout the race.
I started the race a little quicker than I normally would, because I was hoping that Lydia would stop crying and fall asleep. Once I saw the turn away from the sun my pace quickened even more. For this particular race, this meant that my pace over the first mile was significantly faster than I would have run on my own or if she was happy at the time. While this mile was mostly downhill anyway, I burned a lot more energy and effort to cover it quicker than I would have otherwise. This led me to essentially starting the climb on the back two-thirds of the race slightly out of breath and with a higher heart rate than I would normally have liked.

I am not as young as I once was.
I ran my first 5k after 6 weeks of dedicated training. I ran the same flat 5k a year later having trained consistently for a month and then we had Lydia and I didn't run for 4 weeks leading up to race day. The 5k earlier this year and had run a couple of times in the month leading up to the race, but I wasn't consistent at all and wouldn't dare call it training of any sort. This was also my first 5k pushing Lydia, who at the time weighed in around 15 pounds. I had not trained or run at all leading up to this race and it really beat me up. Lydia was heavier (25 pounds) I was more out of shape and the course was harder than any I have run to date. My legs are about 90% today and it is the first day that standing up from a sitting position doesn't hurt.

Lessons Learned & Goals:
I want to run another 5k after training consistently for it.
I want to reduce my course time.
I want to own the course and not have it mock me.
I want to be able to walk normally without pain within 2 days of the race.
I should heed my wife's warnings and walk some of the course if I have not trained.
Enduring to finish comes at a steep cost when you aren't prepared for the race.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Take My Hand - Tuesday Tunes

Lyrics to "Take My Hand" by Shawn McDonald

Take my hand to the promise land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You

Na na na na na na na na na, I need You
Na na na na na na na na na, I need You

Without You I'm so alone
I am weak but You are strong
You pick me up when I'm falling down
And I am crying
Out to You inside of my heart
I need You, Lord, oh so, for the part
I want You to have my life, Jesus

I fall to my knees
And I'm begging You, please, oh, Lord
Won't You change me
Make me new from the inside out
I want to shout out Your name