MAY 16, 2018 WAWA: “Morning Mint Run”

We’re heading back to the Eastover neighborhood this week, which means we’ll journey close to the Mint Art Museum (most likely).  Burt Phillips will lead the run; Mike will provide the end of run devotional.

Meet outside the Cornwell Center, ready to go at 5:45 am.  Distance will be 4.0 + miles.  Recall that since last week’s WAWA, we’ve entered a “build phase” in our running workouts for the next several weeks.  Meaning, we’re adding distance to the runs gradually each week.

Temps will be upper 60’s at run start.  Slight chance of rain but otherwise will be overcast.

See you in the morning!

WORKOUT Leader:  Burt Phillips

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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May 9, 2018 Devotional: “We All Need a Little Fortnite in Our Lives!”

If you’re the parent of a middle-schooler or high-schooler, especially boys, then you undoubtedly know about the “free” video game called “Fortnite” that’s sweeping the country….literally!  “Free” to download to your child’s Xbox, iPhone, iPad, etc….but certainly not free from the headaches that will ensue.  Trust me, from personal experience and the many stories from fellow parents, this Fortnite has been a nightmare!

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Fortnite generated $223 million in March 2018 alone, mostly attributed to V-bucks which is a currency that players can purchase to buy things like “skins” (ie. character uniforms) and other cosmetic items.  Fortnite is also one of the latest trends of social experimentation where players can play along side friends in virtual settings while communicating via headsets, Facetime, alerting other players about upcoming threats in a particular game, coordinate strategy, or even talk “smack” to one another.  Believe me, if you’ve heard the screaming of “give me bandages” from your living room during a son’s game, then you know what I’m referring to!

Another positive is that while the game does involve shooting weapons, the graphics are free from blood and gore, unlike another video game series, Call of Duty, which was just the opposite.  Lastly, there’s research to confirm that action video games cultivate spatial skills needed in advanced math and engineering.  Maybe I should have played more video games before “Plebe” math at West Point?

With all these positives, how can Fortnite be bad, you might be asking?

One word….”addiction”.

Just the word alone conjures up images of someone who’s lost control and cannot make decisions without some assistance, either it be counseling, prescriptions, or going “cold turkey” altogether.  There are stealth habit-forming features in this new game such as the element of “luck” that, by human nature, keep players coming back for more.  Players need that “hit” or the “high” or the “rush” with the belief that good fortune is just around the corner.

That same NYT’s article explains the adrenaline rush that comes if you almost win.  Players will feel like they have to play again to try and overcome that near win scenario.

My wife and I have found ourselves struggling for ways to apply some controls around these video game sessions.  There are days, especially on the weekends, where our living room if filled with a half dozen boys.  I’ve seen some pictures of multiple monitors and devices where teens are playing Fortnite.  Recently, we purchased an Eeros system for our home which creates a “network mesh” for our WiFi.  Every device on the home wifi network has a profile to which a schedule can be applied.  So, the boys’ Xbox is one profile and during the school nights, the Eeros system will shut down the Xbox from the network between 5:30 pm until 6:30 am the next day.

We have another schedule on the weekends where the Xbox shuts down between 10 am and 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ingenious?  Maybe….but even the Eeros as a means of our sanity has created an uproar from our two sons.

“What are we supposed to do until 3 o’clock on a Saturday,” was one response from our oldest son when we were explaining the rules one evening.  It was a literal melt-down.  As a parent who was himself raised doing chores around the home on weekends, and mowing lawns around the neighborhood to earn some extra spending cash, the “what are we supposed to do” response did not sit well with me.  A conversation about responsibilities around the home quickly followed.

Now I’m not writing today to say we have it all figured out.  In fact, it’s just the contrary.  We are still struggling.  And many of you are too.

What are the “Fortnites” in your lives?  For me, it’s my aspiring love of playing golf.  I’ll have a terrible round and I’m ready to throw away my clubs, but then magically, I’ll hit an amazing drive straight down the middle of the 18th fairway, and I’ll turn to a playing partner to say, “Man, I love this game!” or “Isn’t golf easy….?”.

Some might call that my addiction.  There’s an element of the “rush” or “hit” in my golf game too, isn’t there?

Addictions are not always the historical ones of drugs, alcohol, or other vices.  We live in a new age where everything in excess can become addictive.

There’s a biblical message for all of us, especially as it relates to Fortnite.  The video game, although caustic as times, has become a focal point for conversations.  I’ve learned to be a little more patient.  Learned to keep to my word as it relates to the Eeros schedule.  And I think we’re talking more as a family.

We’re learning to tackle problems head-on instead of festering in a back bedroom.  There are fewer slamming doors, fewer shouting matches, and, thank God, we actually have some quieter times in the evening after 5:30 pm.

Funny or not, I find myself talking to God on a daily basis….”Lord, just help me through this final 30 minutes of hearing Fortnite in the other room…!”

And the boys, well….they’re coming around too.  Amazingly, our youngest doesn’t treat the kitchen as his personal diner anymore, demanding anything and everything on the menu…..And I’ve even witnessed him wiping down the kitchen island with a damp sponge after taking his plate to the sink now.  Progress!

If there is a “Fortnite” in your household, consider yourself lucky.  Really….lucky.  Embrace it.  Monitor it.  Keep it in check.  Use it as a focal point to bring the family together rather than tearing it apart.

I’m learning.  And I know you can too!

Amen!

 

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MAY 9, 2018 WAWA: “One Mother of a Run!”

Mothers’ Day week so we’re inviting all moms to join us this Wednesday morning for a great run!  3.6 miles, so a little shorter distance than we’ve been running the last few weeks.  We’re back on a building phase for our workouts the next several weeks.  Look for gradual increases in distances ahead.

This week, we’ll head north and skirt by the Duke Mansion on Hermitage before taking a nice downhill run along Granville.  We will tackle half of the Sherwood hill as the final challenge of the morning, before turning down Queens/Selwyn and back to the Cornwell Center.

Here’s the full route.

Weather for the run will be spectacular!  57 degrees at the run start.  No rain in the forecast.  Sunrise is at 6:25 am, right around the time we’ll be back!

See you in the morning!  Gather at 5:45 am outside the Cornwell Center

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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MAY 2, 2018 WAWA: “Steady FIVE through Latta”

Back at it this week after last week’s rest period.  All WAWA-ers appear to be ready to hit the pavement tomorrow morning….that’s a good thing!

Planned route takes us through Dilworth, circling along lovely Latta Park at one point, before heading back to the Cornwell Center.  Distance is about 5.5 miles and, if necessary, we can break into two run groups to account for different paces.

Meet outside the Cornwell Center ready to go at 5:45 am.  Weather will be just under 60 degrees when we start with no rain within miles of Charlotte!  Sun comes up at 6:30 am, just as we’re making the final stretch towards “home”.

See you in the morning!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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APR 18, 2018 WAWA: “Suicide Hill Repeats on BBQ Hill”

Great run planned this week!  Longer total distance but about a third of it is for hill repeats.

Segment 1:  Run from Cornwell Center to bottom of “BBQ Hill” (behind Midwood Smokehouse/Park Road Shopping Center “Back Lot”):  2 1/4 miles

Segment 2:  Hill repeats.  Run half way up hill, then back down.  Run 3/4 way up hill, then back down; run all the way to top, then back down.  Three times.  Last time up to top do not go back down the hill.  2 miles of repeats

Segment 3:  Return back to Cornwell Center along a 1.5 mile route.

Total distance is:  5.75 miles

Run route at this LINK:  http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/fullscreen/2016149788/

Runners may shorten the number of hill repeats if necessary to reduce the total mileage.

Weather will be mid 50’s with about a 7 mph wind.  Great running weather!

See you in the morning.  Gather at 5:45 am outside the Cornwell Center!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

 

 

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APR 11, 2018 WAWA: “Running Like a Stallion”

This week’s running workout is our first in two weeks due to Spring Break / Easter Break here in Charlotte.  By popular demand, we are charting a course through the Eastover neighborhood.  Our route is approximately 4.0 miles, but that might change pending Burt Phillips’ participation!  : -)

Here’s the planned route:  ROUTE LINK

Meet outside the Cornwell Center ready to go at 5:45 am.  Weather will be great!  Slightly overcast by 50 degree temps.

Join us.  You’ll be glad you were “there”….I promise!  Unleash your inner stallion.  All “types” of horses welcome!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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MAR 28, 2018 Devotional: “The Legacy of Easter”

There are many thoughts we might have about the season of Easter.  Perhaps, it’s the end of 40 days of Lenten fasting.  What did you give up this year?  Or perhaps, it’s the vision of a stone rolled away, an empty tomb and an angel saying, “He’s not here….He has risen…”.  Or maybe, perhaps, it’s a long walk down a dusty road with a stranger who finally says something you remember….and poof… He’s gone.

All interesting yet positive thoughts, right?

What if I took you down a different path of Easter memories?  What about the betrayal in the garden?  What about the group’s leader who denies any knowledge of the Christ, three times over?  Or the brutal crucification?  Need we say more?

Right or wrong….good or bad, there’s a legacy that comes from the Easter story?  A legacy….you know….something that makes a mark, takes a stand, and postures itself for the future.  That’s my definition.

Here’s another definition I found from a blogger’s quote:

“Legacy is about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future.

Where do you think it’s best to plant a young tree: a clearing in an old-growth forest or an open field? Ecologists tell us that a young tree grows better when it’s planted in an area with older trees. The reason, it seems, is that the roots of the young tree are able to follow the pathways created by former trees and implant themselves more deeply. Over time, the roots of many trees may actually graft themselves to one another, creating an intricate, interdependent foundation hidden under the ground. In this way, stronger trees share resources with weaker ones so that the whole forest becomes healthier. That’s legacy: an interconnection across time, with a need for those who have come before us and a responsibility to those who come after us.”

Susan V. Bosak, Legacy Project

I’ve come to realize over the years that Easter is all of those things I mentioned above, but more importantly it’s the fulfillment that Christ said He was going to do.  For those who followed and listened to His teachings, the Easter resurrection story is about the legacy Jesus set forth from the start of His ministry.

The deck was certainly stacked against any prospects of Jesus laying the groundwork for a legacy, however, especially during those final days.  Pontius Pilate, who served loyally under the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, could find nothing gravely wrong with Jesus that merited the outcomes that would ensure.  Still, the crowds yelled, “Give us Barbarous…” and “Crucify Him….”.  Rome was going to make a statement at Jesus’ expense.  The sign at the base of Christ’s crucification read, “Here is your king….”, a certainly mockery to the Jewish people, reminding them that any rebellion against the Empire would be struck down, and struck down in a bloody, cruel manner.

Disciples scattered.  There was no legacy forming.  No preaching Christ’s word.

They hid in an upper room.  Locked the doors.  Feared for their lives.

No learning from the past.  No living in the present.  And certainly, no building for the future.

But….Christ came (and comes) during the darkest hours.  And when still those doubted, He showed them the physical pains and scars of His earthly disposal.

If we’ve learned nothing more from our Savior’s story, it’s the message that God has plans on a much grander scale than we can ever imagine.  His plans can overcome our short-mindedness of how the story….the legacy….could and would unfold.

Last week, I was fortunate to attend a men’s prayer breakfast where the keynote speaker, Bishop Claude Alexander, energized the gathering of just under 250 men.  Claude right out of the gate started his sermon by talking about the disciples.  Now, as many of you know from earlier messages, I have just recently finished a study following the book, “12 Ordinary Men”, which chronicles the lives of the apostles as twelve “no-bodies” who became “somebodies”.  I looked over my shoulder and smiled at one of my Friday morning fellowship brothers as Claude was sharing a story about Peter and James, two opposites in personalities, but together carried out Christ’s message.

Claude reminded the gathering that all mentions of the apostles in the Bible are made by suggesting at least two or more were working together.  And you know there’s only one place in the Bible where a single apostle is mentioned alone; the story of Judas Iscariot.  Left alone, this Judas neglected his beliefs, and soon betrayed Jesus.  Claude reminded us that “left alone, we can all fall prey to the devil”.

So how was the legacy of Jesus carried out …. and prospered?  Not alone, but in pairs, in groups, and teams of disciples.  In this way, our earthly doubts of the Easter legacy, continue to connect with God’s heavenly promises.

Claude used one more example that will sit with me for a long time.  Redwood trees….. you know, huge enormous 300 foot tall trees with massive trunks?  You might think they have deep, deep root structures.  “Not so fast”, said Bishop Claude.  Instead, these massive trees have shallow roots that barely extend down below six feet in the ground.  So what makes them stand tall in the weathers of life?  Those same roots are interconnected with the roots of other redwood trees around them.  It’s through this interconnections that the trees survive.  It’s the relying on others that the trees remain strong.

This year, as you think about the Easter story, think about how the legacy of Jesus was able to be carried out despite all that could have gone wrong.  Here on earth, it was the faith of a band of brothers, yes…but it continues to be the leaning on one another, the trust in our Father in Heaven, and the interconnectivity of anchored beliefs that has spread Christianity throughout the world.

The Easter story is one of our Savior sacrificing all for our sake.  Remember that it’s also about the legacy carried out by the disciples rather than letting Christ’s efforts slowly die away, one by one.

My prayer this week is that we remain mindful of Christ’s teachings applied in all aspects of our lives, and that we continue to be a part of the chain of His legacy.

Have a blessed Easter.

Amen!

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