What can I say? I love to run. I've run 4 full marathons and 6 halfs. But I love God more and I'm determined to run this race of life for Him to receive the ultimate prize of Heaven. I'd like to share my thoughts with you. You can agree or disagree. Comment or don't. You can read or not read. But it's here if you want it. Enjoy! .

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Line

I am in Heaven! Well, actually not yet but I'm pretty sure I'm in the closest thing this side of the real Heaven. I'm in a Raddison. The hotel. And it's U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E! Max and I are on a church mission trip this week in Durham, NC and somehow we got a really good deal at a Raddison hotel. Not only that, but the church here and the Raddison apparently were so excited we were coming that they've gone all out. Here are just a few of the fine amenities we are enjoying (compared with some of the slightly less than fine amenities of the past on this mission trip in our Super 8 hotel when we went to Black Mt., NC)

1. Huge buffet breakfast every morning/no charge - tip even taken care of. We're talking sit-down service with waiters in tuxes. Tuxes! (At the Super 8, it was a bag of bread and some cereal that I'm pretty sure was made in the 80's. And tuxes? I don't think so. You just hoped the food got replenished by someone wearing appropriate clothing.)

2. Sleep Number beds!! Let me say it again.....Sleep Number Beds. Like you get to pick your number. The bed moves. It inflates. It deflates. It's incredible. My number is 45 for those interested. Max has half his bed on 5 and half on 15. Dont ask. (At the Super 8, it was regular mattresses and they were only deflated, not inflated.)

3. When we arrived, the church had arranged for these huge buckets to be sitting in our rooms full of candy, chips, gum, snacks with 12 canned soft drinks as well. At first I told Max to stay away...those things will be $10 each. But NO, they are free. As in no charge. Arranged by the hotel and church. (The Super 8 had ice buckets.)

4. I could live in the shower. It is by far the BEST shower I've ever been in as far as pressure and comfort. When I went to turn off Max's shower this morning because he said he was finished, he was sitting on the ground in the shower just getting drenched and loving it. I understood. It's that good. (The Super 8 had a shower at one point but time had taken its toll and the water wouldn't quite all make it to the shower portion. It was now a half bath, half shower. It was a bower.)

5. Huge fitness room. I spent an hour in there this morning. I'm not going to run at all this week. I'm just going to go to this room. HDTV's at every machine. (The Super 8 had a fitness room, but there was a guy named Bubba standing in front of it. He was 350 pounds and said "Get Out of Here!" every time you came near.)

6. Huge flat screen TV's in the room....that I'm not using, sweet wife who's reading this. (The Super 8 had a big window in your room and there was more action outside than would ever be on any TV show.)

7. USA Today on the floor under our door each morning. Love that. (The Super 8 had sour milk on the floor each morning which smelled up our room all week. Not kidding.)

I could go on but I don't want to brag or anything. Actually, I guess I do a little. Let's just say it's a little nicer than the Super 8 where we've stayed the last 10 years. In fact, if this hotel is Heaven, then the Super 8....well, I won't go there. (I have to say that we loved Black Mountain, the place and the people and the experience, but the hotel was just another story.) When we get home, I'm going to ask Susan if we can sell our house and move to a Raddison. Oh yeah, I think we're going to do some mission work while we're here too. :)

By the way, meant to talk about the hail in my last post. The biggest hail I've ever seen in all my life. I was at church last Thursday working and I knew it was about to storm, but then I heard what sounded like gunshots on our roof. I ran to the window to see that it was hailing. Small at first but it gradually got bigger and bigger. When it reached golf ball, I was already thinking that it was the biggest I've ever seen. But then it got even bigger. I kid you not I saw 3-4 pieces that were BASEBALL size. We all stood at the glass doors of the church watching. I was amazed and awed by the size and power of the storm but at the same time I was looking at my car and thinking....'this is gonna leave a mark'. It did. Several marks. And a shattered sun roof. My car will be in the shop for 6 weeks. 6 weeks! Apparently they are backed up. But it was an awesome storm. One I'll never forget. God is so amazing and I'll take a busted car to see His power, might, and control.

So yesterday when we arrived at the Durham church, we began with class time together. The teacher of the adult/teen class was a very nice man named Mike. I have gotten to know him best this week and have really enjoyed his kindness and conversation. He's very funny and animated, but also very serious in his discussion and easy to talk to. He did a great job with class, was very easy to follow and had a very interesting topic. I agreed with most everything he said and appreciate the time he put into the class. But he made a point that made me think and I'm not sure I agreed with his viewpoint on this one item. His topic was "Worship"...what is it and what should it be? This is a touchy subject sometimes I know, but I find myself exploring it pretty hard as I don't think I've ever done it correctly. I've definitely been getting so much more out of worship and giving so much more to God lately than I ever have, but I still want to improve. Anyways, at one point, Mike was talking about how we typically in our churches don't want to be too showy or try to entertain or try to push the line and cross into pleasing people instead of pleasing God in our worship. I agree with that. But another gentleman spoke up and said something along the lines of.....but don't we sometimes go too far the other way. Don't we sometimes worry so much about "doing things wrong" or "being too showy" or "offending others" that we don't give God enough and we hold back what we could be giving to Him? I thought this was an excellent question and was a little disappointed when our teacher polietly brushed it off saying he didn't want to discuss it. The only thing he did say was that if the line is there (pointing on the ground), I tend to want to stay way back here and not even approach the line. This is what I disagree with.

Personally, and some may disagree (I'm sortof waiting for some disagreement and good discussion.....one of these days. :), I think we often worry too much about the "rules". We don't like change and don't want to do anything different than what has been done for so many years. And while I agree 100% that we need to worship the way God wants and instructs in His Word, I think there are many ways to do that and we don't have to worry so much about how others do it and offending too many people. Now I realize the Bible also says not to offend, but here's the bottom line.... Worship serves 2 purposes in my mind. 1 - to glorify God and 2 - to grow closer to God ourselves and strengthen our relationship with Him as we pay Him His due reverence and honor. There is no purpose that we are to please ourselves or to make us happy. If it offends, maybe we're focusing too much on what we want and not enough on God. There is nothing wrong with change as long as it follows His guidelines. I don't think it's wrong to approach and explore the line. I just don't want to live my life "being scared" of offending and worrying about whether it's right or wrong, offensive or non-offensive. I just want to worship God. I don't believe any church has it exactly right. But arguing about it isn't right just as much as refusing to discuss it isn't right either. Sorry - this is very jumbled and probably doesn't make sense. I know. But my main point is that for too long, I and I tend to think many others have worshipped in fear, worrying about things that just don't matter. This is just my opinion and I need to explore it some more. Like I said, it's something I've really been focusing on lately as my relationship with God has changed for the better. I'll continue to think and pray on it and may come back with a follow up later. That's all for now.

I love Griffin and I love God.

Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)



  1. Enjoy that nice hotel. That's some huge hail - yikes!

  2. Great post. I completely agree that too often we worship in fear.

    Perhaps Mike's "line" comment was one of those times that a teacher gets caught a little off guard and falls back to safe truisms instead of really exploring a topic openly. It takes a lot to openly talk about controversial topics extemporaneously. There aren't many teachers who are willing to open up to the class the possibility that they don't have all the answers. (*aside: this is why I start every class that I teach with statement that I don't have a monopoly on the truth and that I'm always open to learn from the class.)

    On the other hand, maybe when Mike thinks of worship, he views it in absolute (binary) terms. It's either right or wrong. That's a scary proposition when seen in the light of, say, Nadab and Abihu. I don't know his intentions, I'm just proffering my thoughts.

    I like what Bill said once about one of the seven churches in Revelation (Ephesus, I believe), "They were as straight as a gun barrel, doctrinally--and just as empty." I think both you and he are dead-on when you posit that things can be as scriptural as possible but still be displeasing to God. We should always be open to question why we do (or don't do) something in worship. After all--if it doesn't stand up to scrutiny, is it really worth doing (or not)?