Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Hay is in the Barn

We are excited for those running the California International Marathon (USTAF Marathon Championships), the 12 Hour Treadmill Challenge, and the Dallas Marathon in the next 2 weeks.

Near race day, we often hear or say the phrase, "The hay's in the barn."

Congrats on enduring the training to raise the hay, swath the hay, bale the hay, and get the hay in the barn! 

However, hay left in the barn will eventually go to waste.

Those desiring the reward, a juicy prime steak, must diligently, persistently, and systematically have the passion to feed the hay in every type of weather conditions and circumstances imaginable.

Congrats to each of you on getting your Hay in the Barn! Now...Are you willing to do whatever it takes, go through anything necessary, to feed the hay and get the steak?!?!?

Remember, when you feed the hay through pushing yourself beyond previously known limits...trusting God; your abundant steaks feed many others, including those whom you have never met.

You will positively impact the world!

Does this sound exciting yet overwhelming?

Pray for wisdom and strength.

Trust God, Always!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bible Study: The Samaritan Woman

The Woman of Samaria

John 4:1–6
Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),

He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria.
So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

John 4:7-14
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

1.     Who are the Samaritans?
“For the thing shall surely come to pass which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria.” (1 Kings 13:32)


The history of the Samaritans is derived from sources that often conflict, or are polemically charged. Josephus is the principal source for Samaritan history, though his accounts are not entirely trustworthy. The Samaritans are first mentioned during the Persian period at the time of Nehemiah. Ezra and the Elephantine papyri reveal a schism between the Jews and the Samaritans during the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. Ezra 4 states that people who lived in Samaria opposed the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and the city walls (Ezra 4:17; Neh 2:10).[1]

Ezra 4:17
Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and in the rest of the provinces beyond the River: “Peace. And now (Ezra 4:17)

Neh 2:10
When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about it, it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.
“The Samaritans’ religious practices were similar to the Jews with a few major exceptions—mainly, the Samaritans thought of Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem, as the proper place of worship. The Samaritans, like the Sadducees, were more “conservative” than other Jews in that they the rejected the authority of the prophets and writings, and relied exclusively on their edition of the Pentateuch (Samaritan Pentateuch). The Samaritans also did not celebrate Purim or Hanukkah.

A primary difference between Samaritans and Jews is that they believed that Yahweh should be worshiped in Shechem rather than Jerusalem. The Samaritan Pentateuch declared that God’s people should worship Him in Shechem, thereby making the worship in Jerusalem illegitimate (Purvis, “Samaritans and Judaism,” 89).

2.     Why do the Jews avoid the Samaritans?
a.     Following the examination of a Jewish ruler, as a sample of the Pharisitical belief, the author now moves to a half-breed, Samaritan woman. As such she was typical of those who were dispersed, but worse in the eyes of a Jew since these northern tribes had intermarried with the Assyrians…During the captivity of the Northern tribes when Assyria took them off,” (Baylis, Charles Th.D., )
b.     “By contrast the Jews had been in Babylon for 70 years and had returned pure in race (Of course, Nehemiah and Ezra record that they really weren’t all that enthusiastic regarding purity as they intermarried with the neighboring Gentiles.)” (Baylis, Charles Th.D.)
c.     8:48. To call Jesus a Samaritan was to use a term of abuse, referring to a heretic or one with a faulty worship. [2]
3.     Who is He that speaks to the woman?
4.     What is the significance of the verbiage “gift of God”?
5.     Water: 478X in 428 verses in the NASB95 Bible (71X in 63 verses in NT)
6.     What is the purpose of physical water?
a.     Humans & Livestock
b.     Plants
7.     What is it to “Thirst”?
8.     What is Living Water?
a.     “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)
b.     And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. (Zechariah 14:8)
c.     “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38–39)
9.     What and Where is Jacob’s well?
10.  What is significant about the location and depth of Jacob’s well?
a.     “Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12:6–7)
b.     “Jacob, like Abram, purchased a portion of the land and there, like Abram, Jacob set up an altar (12:7) and named it El Elohe Israel (“El is the God of Israel”). In this way he acknowledged that the Lord had led him all the way back to the land.”
c.     Since Jacob’s well was so deep how could Jesus get this living water? Today this well is identified by archeologists as one of the deepest in Palestine. Are You greater than our father Jacob? she asked. In Greek this question expects a negative answer. She could not conceive of Him as greater than Jacob.[3]
11.  Why did Jesus choose to meet this woman at this location?


1.     Do you consider the significance of the intertwining of people, location, and timing of your interactions throughout your day?
a.     Prayerfully consider, “Lord, why did you have me and “so and so” me in this location, in this moment?”
b.     Do you inquisitively seek possible historical significance of people and location?
2.     Regardless of your personal and ancestral past, you are given the gift of Living Water found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.
3.     Do you recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in your day-to-day life?
4.     How are you responding to God’s gift of Living Water?
a.     Are you Sipping, taking an occasional Swig, or Gulping the Living Water?
                                                              i.     Prayer
                                                             ii.     Reading and Studying God’s Word—the Bible
5.     How does Knowing, Recognizing, and freely Drinking the Living Water affect your life:
a.     Physically
b.     Emotionally
c.     Spiritually?

[1] Maiers, B. (2016). Samaritans. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[2] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 306). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[3] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 285). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Did you Qualify? Did you get accepted?

Did you Qualify? Did you get accepted?

These questions are frequently tossed about by marathoners in late September regarding the Boston Marathon.

Registration for the Boston Marathon now begins in mid-September and ends within approximately 10 to 14 days. Registration ends once approximately 28,000 runners receive acceptance.
Everyone eagerly awaits the email determining one's Marathon fate for the coming April.

For comparison, I registered for my first Boston Marathon, booked a room at the Sheraton near the finish line, and began looking for flights in February 1995. The following year, the BAA increased the field limit from 10,000 to near 30,000 runners to accommodate the 100th Boston Marathon.

Today, acceptance into the Boston Marathon requires running an unknown margin beyond the qualifying time or buying an entrance through charity fundraising. In fairness, it’s the BAA’s race and they have the right to set whatever standards they choose.

Conversely, I am relieved that eternal life with God does not require certain standards nor can anyone buy God’s favor and their way into an eternal relationship with God.

Rather, when we recognize and repent of our sin, knowing that it is only forgivable through belief in Jesus Christ, including His death and resurrection.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)


Rather than looking for the famous BAA Boston Marathon logo and symbols, look for the cross to assure entrance.

You can do nothing to qualify for heaven on your own. Jesus Christ has qualified every person who turns to him for forgiveness of sins for an eternal relationship with God.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Through belief in and dependence on Jesus, the answer is always, "Yes."

Yes, you qualified and are accepted through Him for an eternal relationship with God.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Your Word is Your Worth -- August 2017

Your Word Reflects Your Heart, Your Character
 On a cold January night I suddenly stood in the kitchen with the telephone receiver in my hand visiting with my cousin Bruce. I did not remember hearing the phone ring about 11:00pm nor waking-up to take the call. About an hour earlier I had drifted into a deep sleep on the couch while reading an assignment for one of my college classes.

Bruce proudly shared that he and his wife, Janet, were new parents to Brent. After gathering my senses, I congratulated him on the birth of his son and thanked Bruce for calling. Bruce quickly acknowledged, "I told you that I would call. I gave you my word."

Yes, Bruce gave his word seven months earlier while we conversed in the middle of a cornfield. Upon hearing Bruce share the news in June that he and Janet were expecting their first child, I asked him if he would call me when the child was born. He replied "Yes".

His promise required nor received any future discussion until that frigid January night of Brent's birth. Over the years, Bruce has given his word on promises or commitments on hundreds of occasions, only one time for each promise. He fulfills his promises on time, whether hours, weeks, months, or years after the giving his word! Is it possible that he has made mistakes? Absolutely! I also make mistakes and I bet you do too. Yet his character results in consistent integrity.

Bruce is a man of his word! Are you a man or woman of your word? My grandparents, who welcomed the president of the world's largest seed corn company into their home to discuss business, would often say “a person is only as good as their word.” Your words reflect your heart, your inner-man, which is your character.

Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications (sexual immorality), thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (Matthew 15:15-16,18–20)

Bruce could have used a multitude number of excuses for not calling or offered no excuses and made no phone call.

His excuses could have included such things as:

¨ Forgetting,

¨ It was too late for a phone call,

¨ He did not know or lost my phone number

¨ He considered my request a joke

¨ I should not to have believed him in the first place

 After all it had been seven months since we stood in the cornfield when I requested this call.

If Bruce had been an attorney, perhaps he would have noted the absence of a signed contract mandating the phone call. He was not legally bound to place that call or to keep his word. However, Bruce intuitively knows he gave something more valuable and binding than a document approved by one thousand of the world's top attorney's.

Bruce gave his word.

Fulfilling your word reflects your inner-man, your character, your soul, your relationship with God. The prudence of a Christ-centered heart mandates seeking wisdom and discernment about a situation before we give our word.

Once our word proceeds from our mouth, our response correlates with the foundation our heart, our inner-man. Consequently, we seek and do everything that is legally, morally, and ethically necessary to deliver our promise.

Have you considered the binding power of Jesus’ spoken word? Jesus’ words healed the sick, blind, and paralyzed. Jesus’ spoken word rebuked the wind and the Pharisees. Jesus’s spoken word raised Lazarus from the dead.

Scripture does not state nor indicate to the wildest imaginations that before Jesus spoke miraculous claims he first said, “Hold on folks. We need to draw up a contract before the water becomes wine, the paralytic is able to walk, or the blind can see.” He simply spoke his word.

Yes, God did write the ten commandments on stones and He did speak through His people to write out the Bible. However, that was for the benefit of our memory and learning instead of the necessity for a binding contract.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Timothy 3:16)

Whatever you do in life do all to the glory of God (Colossians 3:17), which includes doing everything in your power to use wisdom and discernment in giving your word followed by everything in your power to keep your word. Yes, your power includes seeking God through His word and in prayer.

In my new book, Running on Faith: Timeless Principles for Winning Life’s Marathon,

I discuss the effect the value of your word has on your running.

 In my new book, Running on Faith: Timeless Principles for Winning Life’s Marathon, I discuss the effect the value of your word has on your running.

Available on Amazon:
 “Your words "We must remain..." will forever stay with me. Thank you for sharing these powerful words in your book.” 

“This book has challenged my thinking with new ideas, reminding me of forgotten principles, and recognizing lessons that I had not previously considered.” 

“I got your book on Saturday... There is much to think about and ponder…. Thank you for writing a book to challenge my faith and beliefs!”