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! .

Thursday, September 29, 2011


SYATP? What is that? It looks kindof like "shut up" - not that I would ever use those words. They're dirty in our house. But it does look like a gangster way to say "shut up." Say what? Here's what I mean.....I used to watch Bugs Bunny every single Saturday morning. What a great cartoon. There ain't nothin' like that anymore. I even ordered the DVD's and have introduced Bugs to my kids. They love it. It's laugh out loud funny to me. Yosemite Sam is my personal favorite, but they're all great. Except Pepe Le Pew. Never could stand him. One of my favorite episodes is when the 2 bad guys escape with Bugs but of course he keeps messing with them as they try to elude the cops. Anyways, more than once, one of the bad guys says "shut up rabbit." But it sounds more like "Syatp rabbit." Ok, that was a long way to get to that point, but that's what I thought of when I saw it. Again - I'm a little strange. Do you know what SYATP really stands for?

I heard about it on the news yesterday morning. I had already heard of it, but I did realize yesterday was the day. Apparently, on the 4th Wednesday in September, "See You At The Pole" happens all over the country....actually all over the world. It began as the work of a single youth group in Texas in 1990. It spread simply by word of mouth and today, several million around the country and planet participate. The advice is to gather around your school's flagpole (if you have one) at 7AM on that day to pray. It has met conflict of course. After several objections and lawsuits, any student can participate, but teachers cannot. The schools cannot encourage or discourage it. They must stay out of it. Like I said, I heard about it on the news today. They also discussed how some teachers must sign a card understanding they will face discipline if they participate. There have been instances right here in Tennessee where teachers and coaches have gotten in trouble for simply bowing their heads during a student-led prayer. I cannot comprehend how low and worldly our country and it's leaders must be to allow that to be ok. Government workers cannot even bow their head when they want to. That's not freedom! I will NEVER, I repeat NEVER work in a public school for that very reason. I will work at McDonalds (nothing against the fry guys out there - I worked there once) before I work at a place that won't allow you to pray, let alone bow your head.

I try to stay out of politics. I don't like it. I just try to serve my God. He's told me and I know that this world is evil. Things like this are going to happen. The world won't cease to be evil. We can try to make it better and we should, but it will never be perfect. Oh believe me, I'd love to do something about this. For some reason, hearing this on the news this morning made me angry. Most government things don't. I know a lot of people that complain about the government, the economy, Obama. Whatever. That's their right. But not me. Maybe I should care more but I just feel that complaining does nothing. Actions do I guess. But I honestly don't care. Our country is never going to be "right" or "perfect". It will never be where everyone is happy. So I don't care about the politics and government stuff. Maybe that's wrong and maybe I should. I'm just trying to continue my path to Heaven and bring as many as I can with me. That being said, this prayer thing did make me upset. Maybe because it's more spiritual centered and not just government centered. I don't like anybody messing with anyone's spiritual practices. And I wish there was something I could do...we could do. There has to be enough people out there that agree that teachers should be able to pray if they want. That they should be able to participate in SYATP. There has to be more that agree than those who don't. Right? Maybe not, but I think so. I'm not sure what I can do. I know I can pray. And I will. My prayer today is that God will allow people to talk to him publicly if they want to and not feel threatened if they do. My prayer today is for those teachers, coaches, and government workers who have to hide who they really are and whose they really are. My prayer is that they stand up for their beliefs and rights....that they stand up for God. I know God says to follow the government and abide by the rules, but not when it takes Him away, right? As Christians, we shouldn't stand for that.

I feel very very blessed to work in a place where I can say all day long who I am and whose I am. And I can tell others about it and try to bring them along for the ride. I don't make any money, but I don't care. Being allowed to proclaim my faith is worth more than any salary I could ever make. And I will never give that up. Maybe this is more of a soapbox than it should be but it just got under my skin a little so I thought I'd share. If you are reading and your rights are limited.....if you are reading and you are threatened for serving our God......if you are reading and you're not allowed at the pole.....all I would say is stand firm. Look for a way out if possible. If not, look for a way to fight this ridiculous injustice. I'm on your side. God is too. Rest assured that one day soon, you'll be in a place where you can stay at the "pole" all day long. Forever. You see, I'm thinking that maybe God has a flagpole right in the center of Heaven. I'll be there singing His praises. Come join me.

See You At The Pole!

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

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


Monday, September 26, 2011

A Welcome Thief

Ever been robbed? I haven't. Not personally. Knock on wood. And this is not an invitation to give me my first experience. My family was robbed when I was just a wee lad. I think I was 4 or 5. My dad, mom, older sister and me were on summer vacation. We were at some hotel heading for the beach. I guess we had stopped about halfway for the night. I don't remember much. But apparently, someone used a coat hanger during the night to open the back of our family truckster (a.k.a. station wagon). I guess since we were just stopped for the night, we had left most of our stuff in the back of our car. Don't do that by the way. Take it in. Anyways, they took it all. All our suitcases. The only thing I remember is sitting on the bed with my sister who was crying. On the other bed were my mom who was also crying I think, and my dad who was on the phone calling the police. That's about all I remember. I just remember thinking that something bad must have happened, but I guess I didn't really grasp what was going on. We ended up going on a major shopping spree, getting a new wardrobe and continuing on with our vacation. We never found our stuff. I think I lost a favorite Mickey Mouse shirt that night. I hope there's some criminal out there wearing a very small Mickey shirt who is very happy.

I know a good number of folks that have been robbed. It stinks. I hate hearing those stories. I think the worst part would be not necessarily losing your stuff, but feeling violated or unfairly treated. It's just not fair that people come in and take what is yours. It doesn't feel good and there's not usually much you can do about it. I have no sympathy for a thief. We had a student last week who walked up to another student at lunch, took his hotdog, and started eating it. When we asked him why, he simply said, "I just wanted it." Say what? But it's not your hotdog you big thief!! He took a hotdog that didn't belong to him. He just took it. No sympathy for that. He went way down on my favorite student list. I don't like thieves. Well, there's one exception.....there's only one thief that I like. In fact, I love this thief. I love Him more than my family. That thief is Jesus.

Jesus, a thief? What? Ok, so He's not exactly a thief, but the Bible says when He comes next time, He will come like a thief. He's compared to a thief. Just like a thief is sneaky and comes when you least expect it, Jesus will also. We don't know when He's coming back. That's God's plan. Would I like to know when He's coming back? Yes and no. Yes, because I would want to be ready and it would be nice just to know. But no because I want to be walking that narrow path at all times, not just because I know when He's coming. Plus, this world would be a much scarier place if everyone knew He wasn't coming back for a while. But the Bible does say he'll come like a thief. I Thess. 5:2 says....

2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

But when I read this the other day, I discovered the next few verses which I've never noticed or been taught before. Look at verse 4.....

4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

In other words, it SHOULDN'T be like a thief to us. I've always been taught that Jesus will come like a thief....when we least expect it.....you better be prepared......almost like a scare tactic. And maybe that's a good way to get people ready. But I read this scripture as something different. To me it says that if we're walking in the ways of the Lord, if we're "not in darkness" and we have the relationship with God we're supposed to, it won't be like a thief at all. We'll be expecting it at all times and it won't be a surprise. It will be just what we've been waiting for. I don't know about you, but I think of a thief as an unhappy thing. As a scary thing. I don't want to think of Jesus's coming like that. I want to be ready always. I want to be in light, not darkness so that His coming won't surprise me at all, no matter when it is. I would LOVE to be around to get to see that during my lifetime. What a glorious and most beautiful sight that would be! Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll already be with Him when He comes. But one thing is for sure....I'm going to live my life expecting Him to come at any second. I will always be ready. It won't be like a thief to me. If it is, it will be a welcome thief because I'll always be expecting Him and hoping for Him. And this "thief" can take anything He wants. Especially me. He will be the most welcome guest of all!

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

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


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bring on the Morning!

I want to run! A marathon. Really bad. Or at least a half-marathon. I just want to run. I'm not sure what is going on, but I have this strong urge to run again. It's been several weeks since I've run and I don't like it. And I think my body doesn't like it. I know my growing mid-section doesn't like it. I still have some heel pain in the mornings and I'm trying really hard to let that heal completely before I try running again. But it's just taking forever. And it's annoying. But I've pretty much decided that I'm going to run another race in the Spring. Something local and cheap but at least a half-marathon and maybe a full. I just need to have that race on the horizon to keep me motivated and going. I enjoy it too much to just give it up.

The last time I ran a race was March - a local half-marathon here in downtown Nashville. That was over 6 months ago! And it looks like it will be about a year before I get another one in. That's too long for me. I am seeing running friends run these races and make plans for marathons and that just makes me excited all over again to run again at some point. In the meantime, I think I'm going to get back to working out. I haven't done much of anything over the last 2-3 weeks. But Monday of this week, I discovered the new SAC here at Lipscomb Univ. Very nice! Brand new weight room that opens at 5:30AM. Perfect. I tried it the last 2 mornings and it was great. Only a few people there and lots of open machines. I'm going to try to keep that up most days if I can. It's a great way to start out the day. Which leads me to a question.....how do you start your day?

I used to start my day a lot differently than I do now. Getting up each morning was a chore. I dragged out of bed and slowly made my way to the shower. It was the only way I knew to wake up. Then I would get dressed, read the paper, and head off to school. That was it. Same boring routine every day. I see now that's no way to start off a day. Now I do all of the above but I add some time with God in the mix. It's like a new surprise every morning. New sunrise. New things to see in His creation. New scripture and words from God each morning. New things to talk to Him about every single day. It has given me a new appreciation for mornings. I actually look forward to my mornings. A lot. It makes me hop out of bed a little quicker and peppier. (is that a word? It looks like a spice.) I still hobble a little b/c of my heel but I'm definitely happier to be awake. And now that I've started working out in the mornings, I enjoy them even more. I wait on the shower and I use the workout to wake me up. It's a great way to do that and it makes me feel good and a little proud all day long since I've gotten it done. So I've started using my mornings for some physical exercise and more importantly - some spiritual exercise. Morning is very quickly becoming my favorite part of the day, although it's got some tough competition with my family in the evening when I get home.

So how do you start your morning? I'm not saying my answer is perfect or I have it all figured out, but I can't argue with how I feel. Starting off the morning right seems to make each day so much better. It's becoming a habit for me.....a very good habit. And I love it. I would love to share my morning with anyone if you're interested. The physical exercise part or the spiritual. Just let me know. At least try the spiritual yourself....even if it's a few minutes.....it really will change your day and most importantly change your life. It has mine.

Hope everyone has a good week!

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

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


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Teaching A Class Full of Innocent Children

I was standing up in front of my class. It was a little after 8AM. I don't remember what the students were doing, but they were working on their own. I was just standing there watching them enjoying the day. It was my 26th birthday so I was determined to have a good day and then go home and enjoy celebrating a little with my family. I happened to look over into my office. I had positioned my computer screen a long time before so it was facing out. I could always tell when I had a new email because it would highlight in blue. I happened to notice that I had a new one. Some, including my sweet wife, might tell you that I have a little email OCD. I can't stand letting my emails pile up and like to check them often. Sometimes too often. Ok, often too often. But since my students were working quietly and I wasn't actually teaching, I decided to see who the email was from. I'll never forget walking into my office and clicking on it. It was from another teacher, Darrell Blankenship in the high school. It was one sentence. It said..

"Two planes have just hit the World Trade Center in New York."

That was it. It wasn't signed. There was nothing else. I remember thinking....that has to be wrong. He's mistyped it. There's no way it's TWO planes. Maybe one plane, but not 2. I then walked toward the television in my classroom. I wanted to see if it was on the news. I remember thinking that it had to be a small plane....like a traffic reporter or something. There's no way a commercial airliner could accidentally fly into a building. I still thought it was just one plane. I turned on the TV and the image was immediately there. The World Trade Center....both buildings....on fire. I had been at the top of the World Trade Center before. I had been to New York with my family and had gone to the top like a lot of tourists do. It was a great view and a fun experience that I wouldn't forget. I couldn't believe that they were now BOTH on fire. It was true! 2 planes. A couple of the kids looked up from their work. "What is that, Mr. Thweatt?" I didn't answer. I just told them to keep working. Yeah, right. Not 10 seconds after I turned it on, the announcer broke in and said.."We are going to switch to a camera in Washington where we've just learned that a third plane has gone down into the Pentagon." What? My heart started beating faster and I got nervous immediately. Now I realized what was going on. It's funny. I didn't realize it with the first 2 planes. I guess I didn't really have time to process it all. But when I heard "third plane," I knew. I turned it off. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to watch. Badly. But I didn't know if I should. Should I be showing the kids those images? And I had a lesson to teach. It was a normal day, right? If I just turned off the TV, it would just go away. Maybe that was my hope. But it didn't go away. I couldn't get it off my mind. I tried to teach, but my mind was a million miles away or I guess a thousand or so.

The rest of that day is kind of a blur. I remember several things....calls I made to family, seeing people crying, a special chapel service, going home and being glued to the tv, going to my masters' class that I couldn't believe was still meeting, and participating in a special church service that evening. But for some reason, the few minutes when I first found out are so much more vivid. I will never forget that morning....the events, my thoughts, the looks on people's faces, words that were said. It all plays in slow motion now.

The first time I heard the Alan Jackson song "Where were you when the world stopped turning?" I got chills. One of the lines from that song is "teaching a class full of innocent children." That's where I was. Those kids were innocent and their world was forever changed that day....as was all of ours. God created a beautiful world, but it's far from perfect and far from innocent. It can be scary. It can be evil. It can be horrifying. It can be sad. I pray we never experience anything like 9/11 again, but I know that doesn't mean we will escape frightening times. God tells us through his Word that there will be suffering. But he also gives us a promise of a place with no suffering. Why anyone would jeopardize their chance to go to a place like that is beyond me. Heaven is for real. Hell is for real. This world can be rough sometimes but it's no hell. Hell will be worse. Those are facts. I want Heaven. I want it now. I'm willing to wait until God's ready for me but oh how I long for it.

9/11 was suffering. We will all have to endure suffering. But only for a short time if we truly give our lives to Him and prepare ourselves for Heaven. Please join me in preparing so we never have to experience a 9/11 again.

May God bless all the families directly affected that day. May He bless our service men and women. May He bless our leaders. May He bless our country. And may He bless you and me as we give our lives for Him.

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

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


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Hand

Since this blog began as a running blog, I guess I should give some running news occasionally. I try to do that, but my personal running has taken a backseat. I'm not where I was a year ago at this time. One year ago, I was preparing to run the Chicago Marathon in a month. I was also looking ahead to the Disney half and full marathon is a few months. Currently I'm looking ahead to diddly-squat. No, that's not a local race you've never heard of, although that would be a great name. That means nothing. Nada. I have no races on the horizon. I'm still nursing a slightly sore heel. I've been running occasionally with my CC team and I think that has kept the heel from healing completely. My plan is to keep doing the occasional run (about 3 times a week) with the team and then take a long break after the season through Christmas. After the holidays, I'd like to really get back into running and put a half or full marathon on my calendar. I just have to have a race on my agenda to keep my motivation to run. And I'm not ready to quit running. I hope I can keep it up for years to come in some form. My CC team had their first "meet" yesterday although it was a scrimmage race. It was officially the wettest race I've ever coached. It was yucko. Everything and everybody was soaked, but I still enjoyed it and saw some great performances out of my runners. Can't wait for our first official race next Tuesday.

So I was leading singing in chapel last week. I also decided to show an inspirational video. It's the one here.

I had seen it before but it had been a while. Actually, I remember when this happened. But I showed it and made the point while "not giving up" is a great lesson from this video, the lesson I took even greater was that OUR Father is always there to hold us up as well. He doesn't even have to come out of the stands....He's already beside us in tough times....and in good times. It was inspiring to me and I was hoping to the kids as well. After I made the few comments, we sang the song "How Great is Our God"....one of my favorites. That's when I saw the hand. One hand sticking up. One hand alone. One student was praising God with all her heart and felt the need to reach up to God. Now I was the one who was inspired again. What boldness! This girl wasn't reaching for God for show. She wasn't trying to be funny. She was reaching for her Father as she sang to Him. Her eyes were closed. Her mouth was wide open and full of song. It made an impression on me.

Raising hands used to be weird to me. I remember the first time I really saw it was when I visited a girlfriend's church in high school. The hands weirded me out more than the band. I just wasn't used to it and people all around were doing it. I didn't understand it. But I have totally different views about it now. I know some people wonder about it. Are people doing it for show? Are they sincere? What's the point? I honestly don't think that's for us to decide. I'll tell you this though. There have many times when I have been so moved and inspired in praise that I've wanted to reach toward God myself.....especially during these last several months where my relationship with God has grown immensely. But I often just keep my hands in my pockets. My excuse? I don't want to offend. I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable. But is this the right attitude? I honestly don't know.

I heard a great sermon a week ago or so at church from Acts 3 when Peter and John healed the crippled beggar. What did he do when he was healed? Did he sit quietly and say "thank you"? Did he go home and celebrate in the privacy of his own home? NO.....he went jumping and leaping through the temple praising God. He didn't worry about offending anyone. And Peter and John sure didn't try and stop him. The point was made that maybe we need to be more active and vocal while praising God. I agree 100%. Shouldn't we be bold in our praise of God? After all, it's the least we could do after all He's done for us. I'm not sure the reaction if I jumped and leaped while I sang praises. I'd do it if I didn't think I'd give some people a heart attack. But can I at least raise my hands toward my God if I feel compelled and led to do so? Chapel girl did. She didn't care what anyone around thought. I believe she was sincerely praising God and I was moved by her example of worship. I admired what she did for her Father. And I told her so later.

I want to be bold for Christ. Jesus himself said, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven." Matt. 10:32. We have to be bold and show others where our dedication lies. We can't be afraid of criticism, dirty looks, embarrassment, or maybe even offending others. Isn't acknowledging God more important than offending others? If there's nothing Biblically wrong with reaching toward God, isn't it ok to do if it's part of my worship? After all, the Bible says we are to lift hands in prayer. (I Tim. 2:8) Or am I wrong about all this?

I hope not. I want to give God my best. My full praise. My sincere worship. And I really don't want to be distracted while I'm doing it thinking about if I'm being offensive to others. This is something I've been thinking about lately and would be curious of anyone's thoughts. All I know is I need to care more about what I'm doing to serve and praise my Heavenly Father and less about what others think. That can't be giving God my all. And God deserves my all.

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

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