2016 Rock the Park 5k, 10k, fun run POSTPONED

We are very sorry to have to announce that the 2016 Rock the Park 5k, 10k, and fun run has been postponed.

Due to unforeseen circumstances completely out of our control, the race originally scheduled for October 1, 2016 is being rescheduled, likely in 2017.  Refunds to those already registered have been completed.

As of now, there is no additional information available regarding a reschedule date.

We genuinely appreciate everyone who signed up for the race, all the volunteers, vendors and supporters.

We look forward to an awesome race in 2017!

Brian Grubbs, Race Director
Jamie Walters, Co-Race Director

 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I believe this is truly a great quote, one that teaches an important lesson. It is often attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt, though I’ve not come across an authoritative source other than the internet (so it much be true, right?!).

Often this quote is understood in terms of external comparisons; but I think its valuable for internal comparisons as well. I’ll explain.

So often we do compare ourselves to others, what I call “external” comparisons. For example, we may look at someone else and think, wow, they have a bigger house, nicer car, fancier clothes, etc. Often this does little but breed discontent in our lives, making us wish for “more” instead of being grateful for all we do have. Certainly this type of external comparison can cause challenges.

But I think “internal” comparisons are similarly bad. By internal, I mean something like this: just recently, I had what was the best run I have ever had. Ever. It was awesome. I really enjoy trail running, and I was able to run my favorite trail in the area. It was cool, and rainy. The trail was muddy, and not another person in sight. I ran 5 miles with what felt like little effort. It was just an awesome all around run.

Then two days later, I went for another trail run. This time it was a trail closer to my house, which I don’t like nearly as much. Running was much more laborious; not nearly as effortless feeling as the previous run. I only managed 3.5 miles. It just wasn’t as good a run.

But then I got to thinking, perhaps I wasn’t doing the second run, or myself, justice by comparing it to the first run.

After all, I have definitely come to learn that not all runs are great. They just aren’t. Some days you feel better than others; some days you’re more tired. Some days it’s more miles; some days its less. Some faster, some slower. Preferred places to run, and paths that simply suffice.

And so what I’ve learned is that by comparing them, it takes away from the not-great runs. But why should it? Shouldn’t I be thankful that I was able to get out and run today? Grateful that I have the leisure time to do so in the first place? Grateful that I have a park just a few minutes from home where I can run? Grateful that I am healthy enough to run 3.5 miles? Grateful that I could enjoy being outdoors, the trees, the woods, the breeze, the sun and clouds? Grateful to be in God’s creation?

Yes. Yes, I should be grateful for all these things. I should learn to take the great runs, and be thankful for them. But I should also take the not-so-great runs, and learn to be thankful, and content with them as well, even though they weren’t as good as others. No matter.

Yes, I believe that comparison is the thief of joy. For if I were to have dwelt on the comparison of the great run versus the not-so-great run, I wouldn’t have enjoyed not-so-great run. I wouldn’t have been nearly as thankful for it. And I wouldn’t have been content. This type of internal comparison would have stolen the joy found in having a run that was just ok.

Comparison is the thief of joy. So much of our lives is simply learning to accept our present circumstances, be content in them, and focus on God’s joy instead of external realities.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

How was your Easter?

cross-luke-6-46_640pixabay“How was your Easter?”

That was a common question I head this week.  My response has been “Well, Resurrection Sunday was wonderful, and I am STILL enjoying Easter.”

For the secular part of society, Easter is a single day that is marked by the Easter Bunny, Easter egg hunts and chocolate.  And maybe church.

But in the church, Easter isn’t a single day, but rather a season that lasts 50 days, until Pentecost.  Pentecost was marked by the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the faithful.  It was at that point the church began to grow exponentially.

Now, even in the church there is far more attention given to Easter Sunday itself; and that is understandable.  It’s the day we recognize and celebrate the single most important aspect of our faith: that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

The entire faith hinges on the resurrection.  If there was no resurrection, nothing else matters.  Indeed, as the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17-20, “17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.  20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.”

In fact, 1 Christians 15 is one of the most amazing testimonies in the entire New Testament.  It is a great portion of scripture to read when we have doubts, which we all do from time to time.

Which leads me to my greater point.

Many, if not most of us, joyfully celebrate Resurrection Sunday.  And we should.  As I said, it’s the single most important component of our faith, upon which all else hinges.

We joyfully proclaim to BELIEVE that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the grave.  He was dead, buried, and rose on the third day.

But how often do we really, seriously contemplate the impact of what we are claiming to believe?

Because… think about it.  It is an astonishing claim.

It is a outlandish claim.

It is a radical claim.

That a man predicted he would be killed, and then come back to life after three days.  And in predicting these events and then doing so, he proved HE WAS GOD.

This is NOT a claim to make lightly.

Still with me?  Still believe?

Good.

Let that sink in a moment.

And once the gravity of that claim, of that belief, has sunk in, allow yourself time to reflect on the following question, which Jesus himself asked of his followers in Luke 6:46.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?”

Think about that question.

If we truly believe what we claim to believe, do we live our lives as such?

If not, why not?

April 1 – Scripture of the Day

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This section of Judges contains the familiar stories of Deborah and Gideon. It is the story of Gideon that reminds me of the interesting relationship we have with God.

The Lord calls Gideon to lead Israel against the Midianites and Amalekites. But Gideon is surprised by this call, because as he reminds the Lord, “My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manassa, and I am the least in my entire family!”

But the Lord reassures Gideon that he will be with him.

Understandably, Gideon is unsure, and requests assurance from the Lord. We read of these requests in Judges 6:36-40. 36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, 37 prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” 38 And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” 40 So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.”

This is the relationship we can have with the Creator of the universe!

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Today’s reading: Judges 3:31-6:40
Tomorrow’s reading: Judges 7:1-9:21

January 9 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that stood out to me today was Genesis 25:27-34. It reads:   27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) 31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” 32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”
33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.

 Have you ever done something in haste, without thinking the consequences through?

Sometimes we say or do things out of anger, frustration, impatience…. whatever the case may be … that we later come to regret.

Sometimes we simply don’t fully appreciate the consequences of our actions.

One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t do something permanently stupid because your are temporarily upset.”

This passage of scripture reminded me of that.

Instead, we should focus on the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 25:27-34; 26:1-35; 27:1-28:5
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 28:6-22; 29:31-30:24

 

January 7 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that spoke to me today was Genesis 22:14 which reads, 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

This verse comes from the story of Abraham being obedient to the Lord and preparing to sacrifice his son Issac. Once the Lord saw that Abraham was willing to give his own son, the Lord provided a ram for the sacrifice in the place of Issac.

The message here to me is very simple, and is contained in verse 14: the Lord will provide.

God loves us and will always give us what we need.

We may not get what we want; but we’ll get what we need.

In our society of mass over consumption, we often confuse wants with needs.

We need water, food, shelter, clothing and love.

Once those basic necessities are met, pretty much everything else is a want.

We should work to continue to grow in our faith, knowing and trusting that God will provide everything we need.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 21:8-34; Genesis 22:1-24; Genesis 23:1-20; Genesis 11:32; Genesis 24:1-67

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 25:1-4; 1 Chronicles 11:32-33; Genesis 25:12-18; 1 Chronicles 1:28-31; 1 Chronicles 1:34; Genesis 25:19-26; Genesis 25:7-11

January 6 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that spoke to me today was Genesis 18:13-15 which says: 13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”

Isn’t this just like us?

Too often we are too small minded to believe something that appears to be impossible from our perspective. Sure, if we were about 100 years old, and to that point had never been able to have children, we might find it hard to believe that we’d have a child, just like Sarah.

But how often have we not believed something, for this reason or that, and then seen it happen?

And how often have we kicked ourselves after?

A life of faith is often difficult and challenging.  But it is exactly that… a life of faith.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Let us have faith in that!

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Today’s reading: Genesis 18:1-33; Genesis 19:1-38; Genesis 20:1-18; Genesis 21:1-7

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 21:8-34; Genesis 22:1-24; Genesis 23:1-20; Genesis 11:32; Genesis 24:1-67