AUG 31, 2016 Devotional: Stairway to Heaven….Rise over Run!

I remember back in middle school, one day Keith Jernigan and I decided we were going to try and hear some secret messages in the Led Zeppelin song, “Stairway to Heaven”, by playing the record backwards.  We raced downstairs to the basement of his house, took the Zeppelin album, pulled out the LP record and put it on his parents record player in the downstairs family room.  We dropped the needle on the record and spent the next hour trying to decipher some messages by turning the record in the opposite direction.  Nothing…..we heard absolutely nothing and it ended up being an hour wasted.  Bored, we left everything in the basement and instead went outdoors to shoot baskets in Keith’s driveway.

Now if you’re under the age of 30, you probably have no idea what I’m taking about….this concept of “backward masking”, where you play a record backwards.  And even if you did, good luck finding an old record to try and hear what I’m taking about, much less find an actual copy of that Led Zeppelin album.

This morning at our workout, we did one of my favorite exercises…running up and down the stairwell at the Queens University parking deck.  And while the workout was challenging, have you ever walked up or down a set of stairs and found them to just not be quite right?  My father-in-law likes to complain about the somewhat new stairs at the golf course. He swears they are not done to code.  So what exactly is “code” for making stairs?  Well, it’s commonly referred to in the industry as “rise over run”.  Some of you might recall that from high school geometry classes.  In construction, it’s the vertical distance between steps (called the “rise”) and the horizontal distance on each step from front to back (called the “run”).  The standard ratio for the construction of stairs is 7 to 11.  In easier terms, it’s 7 inches of rise by 11 inches of run.

Now getting back to our Zeppelin song, I’m sad to report that there actually isn’t a “stairway to heaven”.  You can’t go down the block or around the corner, or even to another country to find some magical set of stairs up into the clouds.  How do we know that?  Well, the Gospel of John reminds us that there’s only been one person to every descend and ascend into Heaven….Jesus!  Check out John 3:13

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.”  (NIV, John 3:13)

So without a secret stairway to heaven, does this mean we’re doomed to stay down here on earth?  No way….!  Figuratively speaking, I say we just need to remember the code for the correct stairwell….Rise over Run…..  Earlier I gave you the dimensions for building stairs.  The number “seven” is our figure for the rise….and in Biblical terms, “seven” also signifies perfection and completion.  This best example of this is in the story of creation where it took seven days for God to form creation.  As for the second number, the number 11, there’s a wide array of explanations and theories about what “eleven” means.  For me, I think it’s very simple.  Looking at the number 11, I see one person standing in front of another person…..and Biblically speaking, perhaps this symbolizes the day when we will ultimately be judged by our Creator.

So use that simple expression of “rise over run” as you consider how you should be living your life.  Are you seeking perfection and completion?  And are you ready to be judged when it comes your time to stand face-to-face with our Creator.


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AUG 31, 2016 WAWA: Back to School Means Back to Stairs!

This week officially marks the beginning of all the private and public schools around the Charlotte area.  Did you hear the glorious anthem of parents around the city singing “hallelujahs” that kids will finally be back to a normal routine??

Back to school also marks that time of year when we roll-back our WAWA start time to a little earlier than the summer months.  Beginning this week, we’ll meet at 5:40 am and will finish up each week right at 6:30 am.

We’re back to a run focused workout out this week, but it’s more of the vertical kind of running….as we’ll tackle the Queens University parking deck stairwell.  And to make it a little more interesting, I’m bringing along several weighted backpacks that participants will “wear or share” as we tackle each set!

Meet out front of The Cornwell Center, ready to go at 5:40 am!

The Workout:

Warm-up and Ballistic Stretching

Easy jog over to Queens University parking deck (bottom level)

Participants grab weighted backpacks and adjust them to individual bodies.

Main Sets:

Set 1:  Run up one set of stairs.  At the top, complete 20 pushups.  Then run down the stairwell and take one lap around the soccer fields track.

Set 2:  Run up one set of stairs.  At the top, complete 20 walking lunges then continue to run down the parking deck, zig-zagging your way to the bottom.  Take one lap around the soccer fields track.

Set 3:  Run back up the parking deck, zig-zagging towards the top.  Stop at each landing and complete 25 jumping jacks.  There are four landings!  At the top, run down the stairwell and….you know…..take one lap around the soccer fields!

Set 4:  Participants will partner up, “two per team”.  First team member will run up to the first landing while team member two assumes a plank position at the bottom.  First team member runs back down to the bottom and switches out with team member two.  Each team member will complete three “laps” up and back the landing.

Set 5:  Run up the stair well, drop backpack, complete 10 pushups, run down the parking deck.  THEN turn around, run back up the parking deck, complete 10 pushups, grab backpack, and run down the stairwell.

Once everyone is done, we’ll drop our backpacks and jog back to The Cornwell Center.

Cool down and Devotion

Workout Leader:  Mike Lenhart

Devotion Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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AUG 24, 2016 Devotional: Clint Eastwood and the Golden Rule

This week’s WAWA was an individual competition where we “measured” how many times participants could do a circuit of exercises under a specific amount of time.  The idea of measurement is a common way that we can judge if we’re hitting the mark …. or way off; if we’re putting too much of something into a recipe…or not enough; or if we’ve cut something exactly right….or, unfortunately, cut it too much!  How many of you have heard the saying, “Measure twice, cut once“?

Last week, the men’s Bible Study group that I lead on Friday mornings wrapped up a short 2-month study on the book, “The True Measure of a Man” written by Richard Simons.  As we wrapped up the book, we listened to a podcast from a guy named Jerry Leachman, who also wrote the Forward section of that same book.  In that podcast, Jerry shares his thoughts from the Gospel of Mark:

“Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given to you.”  (Mark 4:24)

There’s that word again….”measure“.

Interestingly enough, Mark is reminding us that the first move in on us.  What we receive in terms of judgement, mercy, condemnation, and anything else, according to Mark, is derived by what we do first.  Part of me wants to believe the apostle Mark is the Clint Eastwood of the disciples, and he’s sitting back reminding us to make that first move….all the while saying “Do you feel lucky?”.

Then there’s the other side of me that takes the Hollywood characters out of the Gospel of Mark.  Put all those actors and actresses aside, and remind yourself of (perhaps) the other reason for this piece of scripture.  Ever heard the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Yup….that’s the Golden Rule.  See the connection?

Now, before anyone jumps up and down and says, “Wait one minute….our God is not one who has this quid pro quo relationship with us”.  Yes…I absolutely agree and that’s not what I’m suggesting.  I do, however, believe that there are checks and balances in our universe and this is one reminder of that.

Here’s a few extensions of this scripture that one might extrapolate out:

“Give nothing….and you will get nothing…”

“Do evil … and you will receive evil…”

“Do good … and you will receive good….”

Ultimately, we all have to make up our minds on what we have to do.  I think there are two paths we can follow.  One path is to believe that Mark is completely wrong…and there’s no basis for his measurement analogy.  Or another path, believing that perhaps Mark is right….and it’s better to follow the Golden Rule……

Either way…each of us will have to make up our mind on which path we will follow, how to live our life….and by what standard each of us will be … measured.

Go ahead……it’s your move!



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AUG 24, 2016 WAWA: There’s No “I” in Team!

A few weeks back, we did an interesting & challenging “team” based WAWA that had a series of exercises as part of a “set”  Teams had to complete a specific number of reps at each exercise station, complete the entire set, then mark a “has” on the whiteboard.  Rinse and repeat for a certain time frame.

Remember that one?

Each person will have a set of 5 exercises that must be completed in any order.  Once completed, the person will run over to the whiteboard, mark a hash beneath his or her name, then return for another round of the 5 exercises.

Rinse and Repeat, completing as many sets as possible in a given round.

Round 1 will be 15 minutes.  The individual with the most dashes at the end of Round 1 is the winner!

Round 2 will be 5 new exercises with the same interval of 15 minutes.

Round 3 will be 5 new exercises with the shorter interval of just 10 minutes.

WAWA Location:  The Cornwell Center, basketball court

Start Time:  6:00 am

End Time:  7:00 am

The Warm Up:

-Ballistic stretches

-3 laps round the basketball court

The Work Out:

ROUND 1 Exercises (15 minutes):

-Push Ups (x 15)

-Wall Balls (x 20)

-Stairs (x 3)

-Battle Ropes double-slaps (x 20)

-Step Ups x 20 (10 each side)

ROUND 2 Exercises (15 minutes):

-Jump Rope (x 100)

-Stairs (x 3)

-Battle Ropes, kneeling, single arms  x 20 (10 each side)

-Dumb bell lunges (x 20)

-Overhead Plate Presses (x 10)

ROUND 3 Exercises (10 minutes):

-Box Jump to Push Up (x 10)

-Stairs (x 2) with medicine ball

-Battle Ropes, wiggle-worms  (x 20)

-Get Ups (x 10)

-Dead Lifts (x 10)

Cool Down and Devotional:

Exercise Leader:  Mike Lenhart

Devotion Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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AUG 17, 2016 Devotional: “The Beginnings of a Joke?”

Starting this week, I ‘m going to attempt to publish a short message that summarizes the end of workout devotional for that particular day.  Today’s workout was titled “A Baptist, a Presbyterian, and a Methodist Go Out for a Run“.  Now, at first glance that might seem like the intro for a humorous joke, right?  But some from this morning’s planned 10 km run might argue that today’s tough run was by no means funny!

Truth be told, aren’t Baptists completely different from Presbyterians?  And likewise, aren’t Presbyterians cut from a completely different cloth than the Methodists?  And sure, let’s not even try to compare the Methodists to the Baptists.

Actually, those three segments of Christian faith though diverse in their denominations, are more alike than you might think.  Here’s one analogy to bring home my point.

Last night just as it was turning dark, I went out into our back yard to see if our five chickens had done their daily routine of migrating from their “free range” in the backyard into their hen house for the night.  You can almost set your clock to this evening ritual for the hens.  One by one, they head into the smaller door beneath the hen house, climb up the ramp, and perch up on their roosting rods for a safe night of rest.  My job is to close up the smaller door and raise the ramp once they’ve gone up so they can be safely buttoned up for the night.

This particular evening however, I noticed three of the hens, the white bantam, the cream-colored mille fleur, and the larger mixed colored Americana, were all out in the middle of the yard even though it was dark outside.  And when they saw me, they immediately ran over to me in a somewhat frantic disposition.  They gathered around my feet, one of the hens even pecked at my shoes as if to really get my attention.  It was then I noticed that the smaller door that is normally open in the evening was already shut closed.  I suspect that one of the kids that had been playing in the backyard earlier might have inadvertently closed the door, thinking they were doing me a favor.

The hens and I walked over to the smaller door and, once opened, they quickly ran inside and up the ramp.  I also noticed the remaining two hens, the Rhode Island Reds, had flown up into the raised flower box on the front side of the hen house, and were perched up there also waiting to get inside the upper room.

These five hens are different in size, shape and color….but they all wanted to get inside the safety of the hen house.  And they had all run to the “chicken farmer” since he was the one they trusted to put them back inside.

So true is it with our brothers and sisters of different Christian faiths, right?  Sure we may all look a little different and our feathers ruffle a little bit differently from time to time.  But we all want and need to get to the “Good Shepherd” to find our safe place.  We all want to get to that upper (heavenly) place for comfort.


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