NOV 1, 2017 WAWA: “Howling at the Moon!”

We’ve had a great run lately, pun intended, with WAWA workouts solely focused on running the streets around Myers Park and Dilworth neighborhoods.  This week, we’re staying closer to home and re-visiting the parking deck stairs at Queens University of Charlotte.  It’s been way too long……!

Here’s the general framework.  We’ll meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready for a quick stretch.  Then we’ll run across the street to the Queens University of Charlotte “taller and newer” parking deck.

We’re planning a total of 8 sets.  Each set will take us UP the newer stairwell, then directly back DOWN.  Exit the stairwell and run to the “medium-sized” and older stairwell, and run UP that stairwell.  Exit the stairwell at the top to the parking deck.  Remember that this older stairwell exits to the open-air on top of the building!  Hello, moon and stars!

At that point, since it’s SET 1, we’ll complete 8 exercises as shown in the table below, 10 reps each.  Finally, we’ll run down the parking deck ramps, exit the deck and gather at the base of stairwell #1 for the next set.

Each set will drop the number of exercises by 1, but the number of reps might increase.  For example, SET 2 has 7 exercises, SET 3 has 6 exercises, …. SET 8 has just 1 exercise.

For the accountants and bankers in our group, each set has fixed exercises (stairwell #1, stairwell #2, and running down parking deck) and variable exercises as explained above!

This weekend, we’ll push the clocks back an hour which means we’ll (finally) have some daylight during the weekly Wednesday workouts.  But this also means it will be our last chance to see moonlight from atop the second parking deck!  Last chance to “howl at the moon”!

Weather this week will be slightly warmer than we’ve seen.  Temps in mid to upper 40’s when we start our workout.  Sunrise is around 7:45 am ET.

See you at 5:45 am, ready to stretch and burn off all the Halloween candy you ate the night before!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTION LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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OCT 25, 2017 Devotional: “Recalling the time when God wasn’t there….”

We’ve all grown up knowing the God is “omnipresent”, right?  He’s everywhere!  But what if I shared with you a story from the Bible where God was not there?

Really?

Yes….really.

Hang on tight because this week I’m going to send you some scripture right out of the gate.  Recall from 1 Kings, chapter 19, the story of Elijah:

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  (NIV, 1 Kings 19:11-13)

Did you catch it?  Elijah was looking for God in all the chaos of the earthquakes and wind storms and fires, but the Lord was not there.  Rather, God speaks to Elijah from the stillness of a whisper….

What can we learn from all this?

Raise your hand if there’s any amount of chaos in your lives right now?

Most of us, truthfully, can fit that description.  We are working too hard, volunteering too much, sleeping less frequently, and putting unnecessary stress on our lives.  Then, when you add family and friends into the mix, the chaos seems to multiply.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall at my house between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm during the week!  Bring your Kevlar helmet and battle armor!  I wish I could say that my wife and I have our boys’ routines on school nights down to a science.  We don’t.

If we’re lucky, we’ve got dinner at the table that includes some conversations like “how was your day”, “what did you learn in school”, or “who’s Georgia playing in football this weekend”.  After dinner, it’s a race to see which boy hits the shower first.  We have an “odd day / even day” plan in our house, where one of the boys will take his shower first if it’s an even number day.  And the other boy will go first on the odd numbered days.  Usually that starts out well, but ultimately the boys have to share the bathroom when it comes time for brushing of hair and teeth…and that’s usually where the chaos starts.

Boys will be boys….especially when they’ve had a long day with little sleep from the night before.

Still, before bedtime, there’s homework to check on, spelling words to call out, math problems to check, and notebooks to get organized for the next day’s classes.

And that’s half the battle.  You see, once the boys finally get to bed, my wife and I have our own tasks to occupy our time before we turn in.  Prepping for some volunteer activities, reading work emails, paying bills, folding laundry, etc.  It’s chaos … and it’s a repeatable process, not in a good way!

Can you relate?  Seems like the chaos will always be there.

At some point, however, we all need to realize that it’s the drifting away from the chaos where we are at peace.  Time and time again, Jesus would step away from the “noise” to find a quiet place.  And remember that verse about going up to your room and closing the door so you can be with God?

“When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you. “When you pray, don’t ramble like heathens who think they’ll be heard if they talk a lot. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  Matthew 6:6-8 

Why is this important?

God doesn’t want any of us to be distracted.  And when the noise is all around us, we can’t hear His voice or feel his pain.  We’re simply not focused.

Perhaps the title of this devotion is not fully true after all.  I probably set us up for that part.

God remains everywhere and IS omnipresent!  God was in the earthquake and in the wind, and even in the fire!  Maybe, Elijah was simply too distracted by the noise to even notice.  Butwhen the distractions disappeared, all that remained was the quiet, gentle whisper from the darkness and stillness of the cave.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

What are we doing here?

My prayer this week is that we all find those quiet places.  For in this world full of distractions, it’s the solitude that gives us peace.

Amen!

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OCT 25, 2017 WAWA: “Looking for Robin Hood Run”

For this week’s WAWA run, we’re heading down and (later) back up Sherwood …. avenue not forest!  So I’ve called the route our “Robin Hood Run“, tongue n cheek!

Planned distance is 4.3 miles.  Easy pace!  Finish as a team.  Most challenging part of the route will be a steady, 2-mile climb between miles 1.0 and 3.0, roughly.  About 100 ft of climbing over that stretch.

Weather will be low 40’s in the morning.  Remember to wear some bright colors, reflective gear, headlamp….or all of the above….since it’s still fairly dark this time of year for our morning runs.

Here’s your run route for this week (click here).

Meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready to go!

We’ll see you then!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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OCT 18, 2017 Devotional: “Finding My Way by Being Lost”

Have I ever told you my three favorite stories from the Bible?  Maybe I have…but let’s assume that I haven’t so humor me while I share some thoughts.

Here’s my three favorites:

First, I love the stories about shepherds and sheep.  Maybe that’s because I a self-proclaimed “urban chicken farmer” here in Charlotte….and when I read about a shepherd going out to find one sheep who’s missing, it really strikes a chord with me:

 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ …” Luke 15:4-6

Next, I love the story about the prodigal son, but not from either of the sons’ perspective.  No, I like to think about the story of the father, how he missed and loved his lost son so much that he went running across the field to wrap his arms around him.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20

And finally, my third favorite story from the Bible is that of Jesus’ miracle of loaves and fishes.  And just like the prodigal son story above, I like to look at this story from the perspective of the young boy, who gives up his lunch of sardines and rolls to Jesus.  In the gospel of John, we read:

“One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, Here is a boy with five barley loaves and two small fish. But what difference will these make among so many?”  John 6: 8-9

While all three stories have different meanings, there’s one common thread that weaves the passages together:  Each is the story of one or more people getting “lost”.

The sheep and shepherd one is pretty straight forward.  Jesus says the shepherd will leave the 99 while he goes out to find the one lost one.

And the prodigal son….is that not a story of a “lost” son, who’s found his way back home?

And finally, in the loaves and fishes story, at one point a disciple encourages Jesus to tell the large crowd to go home for they are gathered in a “desolate place”.  No one would go to such a place unless they were lost…both figuratively and literally!

But think about the flip side of each of these stories of being lost.  A shepherd finds the abandoned one and says His father in heaven would likewise rejoice when we come back home after going astray.  A lost son squanders all his share of the family fortunes, gets “lost” but finally finds his way through forgiveness.

And then there’s the crowd of over 5,000 who’ve gathered to listen to Jesus.  The people need to eat but there was nothing readily available much less any wages to take down to the local catering company.  The crowd is “lost” in a desolate place; lost in the physical sense and lost in the spiritual sense as well.

Jesus has a plan but turns to Andrew as if to say “what would you do, Andrew?”.

I have this vivid vision of what happens next.  A small child reaches over to Jesus’ cloak, tugs on it and says, “Here Jesus.  You can have my meal.  It’s not much….but it’s all that I have.”

Sometimes, we get lost thinking we have to make huge strides and changes in our lives in order to get God’s attention.  In actuality, that’s not even close.  God wants us to make changes, that’s true.  But He’s willing to see the small gestures that demonstrate our faith, trust and belief in Him.  Simply put, God wants our heart.

Pretty simple stuff.

A little boy gives up a small meal.  And thousands are nourished.  Did they have their own provisions and food all along and were just hiding it?  Perhaps being selfish?  After all, who would go off into the wilderness without some snacks for the journey?

We all get lost in our ways.  My prayer this week is that we find ourselves, make the small gestures in the right direction towards our heavenly father, and get on the proper path.

Remember its okay to be lost.  For it’s in being lost, that we ultimately find …. ourselves and our way … home.

Amen!

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OCT 18, 2017 WAWA: “Not Lost….Looking for Lyndhurst”

If you follow this Wednesday workouts site, you might recall that we missed a turn a couple weeks ago on an early morning run.  That “miss” resulted in nearly an extra mile to our planned run route!  Yikes!

That mysterious street name is Elmhurst Road….and I found out later that it actually doesn’t directly connect to the road we were running on, and that’s why we missed it.  Long story…..

This week, we’re running a 5.3 mile route that includes a street named “Lyndhurst” which must be the older brother of Elmhurst, but clearly more identifiable along our route!  I promise!  I actually drive past this street most days on my way home from work in Uptown Charlotte.

Here we go….this week’s planned route is at this LINK.

Generally speaking, we’re going to wind our way down Queens Road West to East Blvd.  Then we’ll run about a mile and a third into the Dilworth neighborhood, turning left onto LYNDHURST AVE.  From there, we’ll wind through Dilworth (west) along Lyndhurst, left onto McDonald, right on Park, left onto Princeton….and finally turn back towards the Cornwell Center.

Tomorrow morning will be a little chilly.  Temps in the mid 40’s so dress warm, keeping in mind that we’ll be feeling fairly “warm” about a mile into our route.

Meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am ready to go!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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