Oct 29

Thursday Morning Thoughts Week Two: Refusing to Conform

(Once again, while anyone is welcome to read this post, these Thursday Morning Reflections are meant specifically for those who are in the Bible study I am leading on Wednesday nights.  And thank you to those of you who come out–I love being there with you all on Wednesdays!).

Last night we were inspired by the courage of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three young men under incredible pressure to conform to the culture of Babylon.  In fact they were threatened with an excruciating death if they would not bow their knee,  Yet, they stood their ground and made one of the greatest statements of faith in the Bible: Our God is able to save us.  He is willing to save us.  And even if He doesn’t save us we are not going to bow!

Wow!  Where did this courage come from?  I believe it was rooted in their faith in God and supported by their knowledge of who they were.  Babylon had changed their names and tried to strip them of their identity.  The world could call them whatever it wanted to call them, but they knew who they were–they were Jews, followers of Jehovah.  When they were first taken as captives they made a decision and resolved that they would not defile themselves.  In a sense they drew a proverbial line in the sand and said they would not cross it.  That resolve was still evident years later.  They would obey God and God only, even under threat of death.  It is one thing to say “God I trust you.”  It is another thing to have actions which support that statement.  They knew they could trust in God’s goodness and power and his willingness to act on their behalf.  As you know from our study last night, God came through for them in a mighty way!  And also as we discussed last night, this God is the same God we serve.  And he is still good, he is still able, he is still willing to act on our behalf.  Have we drawn our line in the sand?  In the Old Testament, Joshua did this when he said that as for he and his house, they would serve the Lord.  In the New Testament, Peter and John did it when they said they would obey God rather than man.  It is our turn now.  We are the ones on center stage and we have incredible examples of faith to inspire us.  When our faith is rooted in Christ it gives us access to incredible courage in difficult circumstances.  Where is your line?  What is your statement?  Trust him and then let your actions fall inline with that confession.

As we closed last night there were two verses to consider memorizing.  The first one focuses on trust followed by obedient actions.  You might consider this one if you are up against some difficult situation and you are wanting to handle it God’s way.  Here is it:

Isaiah 26 8

The second one focuses more on the peace God provides when we keep our focus on him.  There is no Bible study next week so I am going to write a supplementary post next Thursday specifically on having peace in crazy or alarming circumstances.  You might consider memorizing this verse if you are currently in the midst of a trial or fiery situation and need peace.  Here you go:

Isaiah 26 3

 

 

Nov 15

Boston for A21: From Couch to 5k – There’s an App for That!

For those of you looking to do a 5k and especially those of you just starting out and looking for tools to support you in your training, there is an app for that.  In fact there are a few (thanks for the heads up on this Patty!).  While I have never trained with these I did look through what they offer and here are two to consider if you have an iPhone.  I am sure if you have a different type of smart phone you will find similar apps.

Go to the App Store and put c25k (stands for “couch to 5k”) into search and this page will come up.

5kApps

On this page are two different free apps.  I looked through both and they seemed very similar.  The first one is the c25k app.  Here is what it looks like when you open it.

Couch5kApp

The second is called 5K Runner and here is a pic of its screen.

5kApp

From what I can tell both programs provide a run/walk program with an audio coach which alerts you when to run or walk.  The training program is 8 weeks long with three trainings per week and each session lasts 30 – 35 minutes.  As you progress through the weeks the amount of time split between running and walking supports your increasing fitness level.  I believe you can also listen to your own playlists within the app and the audio coach will just speak above your music when it is time to switch from running to walking.

Overall they both look like great tools for starting out.  While we are still a few weeks out from starting our official Boston for A21 program I would encourage those who are doing 5K’s to test these tools out so you can find the one that works best for you.  If anyone knows of any better apps or if you try these and have comments please be sure to share your thoughts by posting a comment.  🙂

 

Nov 04

Empty Cups: Fighting Hunger One Cup at a Time

Cup one

Here is a unique fundraising event that raises both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger.  Students from APU and Citrus College have donated hand crafted ceramic cups/mugs to be used in an event called Empty Cups.  The cups are available for purchase on Friday night, November 8 from 5pm – 7pm at Classic Coffee in Glendora.  When you purchase a cup Classic Coffee will fill it up with a hot beverage.  Afterwards you keep the cup as a reminder of those whose cups are empty in our local community.  Each cup is unique and one of a kind. Here are some examples.

Cup 4

Cup 2

Cup 3I also attended their spring event, Empty Bowls.  Here is a pic of the bowl I purchased.

bowl
Proceeds from the event support local hunger relief programs including Shepherd’s Pantry, St. Vincent de Paul, & Glendora Police Department food vouchers. This event is hosted by First Christian Church of Glendora who also hosts Empty Bowls.  Other sponsors include Classic Coffee, Citrus College, and students of Azusa Pacific University.

I have held my 20/20 Bible study group at Classic Coffee for the last three years and really appreciate the heart of these folks and love their coffee! In many ways Classic Coffee is like my second office.  They are also the sponsors of the running club I am part of–Glendora Ridge Runners.  I will be down there Friday night supporting their event and I hope to see some of you as well.  Below are all the details in case I missed anything. 🙂

Empty cups poster

 

 

Oct 29

Yelow Jackets 101: What I Learned From the Attack

After yesterdays yellow jacket attack I decided to give myself a quick education on the little critters so as to keep from having another painful encounter.  And it was painful! My friend Amber and I accidently stepped on a yellow jacket nest (they build their nest underground) on Upper Colby and disturbed the colony.  Lest you think the way to avoid them is to stay off trails, think again.  Yellow jackets nest in lawns and gardens and are great lovers of picnics and barbecues.  I have been stung a few times by bees but it was nothing in comparison to the yellow jacket sting.  I was stung three times and Amber seven times (later that day she became sick from the venom) and all ten stings were through our clothes.  These little guys are aggressive!  So I thought I would post what I learned in hope that it would help someone else.  The following paragraphs in italics were taken directly from various websites with my comments following.

“If you’re stung by a yellow jacket, wasp or hornet, run! The insect may leave behind a chemical that marks you as the enemy, inciting other yellow jackets to attack. Don’t swat at the insects, just get away quickly.”  Yellow jackets can mark you with a scent!!!  It’s as if they paint a target on you.  This is exactly what it was like yesterday.  Once one stung us we were bombarded–swarmed.  We had been hiking up a steep section of trail but it was amazing how ones fear of falling on a steep section can be quickly overcome by fear of yellow jackets.  Picture two grown women running full speed down a trail letting out a scream each time they were stung and then laughing uncontrollably because it was so insane.  Incredibly horrible and incredibly humorous at the same time.

“Yellow jackets are more aggressive than other stinging insects such as wasps, hornets, mud daubers or bees. Yellow jackets can sting and bite. Since they don’t lose their stinger, they can sting numerous times, and will do so.”  Did you get that?  They can sting and BITE!  Unlike bees they do not die after stinging.  They just keep coming back for more.  In fact one hitchhiked under Amber’s pack on the back of her shirt and then, just when we thought we were safe and it was over–BAM!  Got her.  So perhaps you are thinking, “Kill them!”  Oh no!  Please read on.

“Don’t smash or crush a yellow jacket. They give off an alarm pheromone that alerts others in the area to attack.”  If you smash them, step on them, etc. the scent will call others to come and avenge their death!  What a crazy little community they have going on there.  I only hope I can be half as loyal to my friends as they are to one another.

“Avoid scented perfumes, hairspray, lotions and brightly colored clothes. Yellow jackets are attracted to them.”  Amber was in bright pink, I was in black.  She was stung seven times, I was stung three times.  I think I will be staying in black.

“Wear heavy clothing when walking in wooded areas. Lightweight clothing may not be tough enough to protect you from a sting.”  No kidding!  As mentioned before, all our stings were through our clothing.

So I learned a lot yesterday.  When it was over I told Amber that if we ever ran into a mountain lion or a bear I would stand with her, or anyone else I am with, to face it–and I mean that.  But when it comes to yellow jackets I am out of there–and I mean that, too!

Oct 09

Back to the Blog

I am sitting at a Starbucks on a fall afternoon in Connecticut and the trees are just starting to change.  It’s beautiful and a great environment for writing.  So its back to the blog.  I put the blog down after finishing Vineman knowing I would go back to it at some point.  I guess I needed a break from it like I needed a break from heavy training.  But like all good things that you love there comes a time to pick it back up again.  I am going to continue to utilize the blog to post the stories and pics from trail running adventures with friends (hint, hint to my friends that we need to plan some now that the weather is no longer 100 degrees!) and share pastoral musings from those experiences, but I am also going to use it as a place to coach, mentor and disciple the college students who I am working with in The Timothy Project.  So for those of you who are regular readers of the blog I thought I would write this quick post so you would know the context of some of the upcoming blogs that are marked #TheTimothyProject.

The Timothy Project is a 10 week journey supporting college students (age 18-23) from Faith in the deepening of their faith and the unleashing of their God-given potential.  So when you see a blog with #TheTimothyProject as part of the title you will know the post was specifically written for that group.  Of course you are more than welcome to read and comment on the blog, I just wanted to provide some context. 🙂

Jul 21

Opportunity to Win Some Cool A21 Gear…7 Days to Vineman!

Vineman is 7 days away!!  Seven days from right now (as I write this) I will be somewhere in the vineyards of Sonoma cycling 112 miles on my bike. 🙂 Truth be told, I am a little nervous, but also VERY EXCITED!  As many of you know I am racing this event on behalf of The A21 Campaign in their endeavor to rescue, rehabilitate and restore the lives of girls shattered by human trafficking.  I have personally visited the shelter in Thessaloniki and was so moved by the stories of the girls and their recovery.  It is an honor to be partnered with A21.

A21 also has some pretty cool gear to help spread the word about trafficking.  So here is what I am going to do.  Each person donating a minimum of $10 through my Crowdrise fundraising site http://www.crowdrise.com/dawnjackson/fundraiser/dawnjackson will be entered into a drawing to win A21 product.  (If you have already donated you will be automatically entered.)  To be eligible donations need to be posted into the Crowdrise site by 11:59 pm Sunday, July 29, 2012.  The drawing for the A21 gear will be filmed and posted on my blog and/or YouTube by Friday, August 3 (maybe sooner if I am not too wiped out from my race).  I will announce the posting of the video through Twitter @RunDawnJackson and Facebook.  I will also contact the winners to get shipping info and sizing if the prize is apparel.  Here is what I will be giving away:

Two “Because” T-Shirts

Three “Key to Freedom” Necklaces

Four of the new summer look “Because” armbands

I am also hunting for another cool shirt which I saw a few months back.  If I find it I will add it to the list.

When on my Crowdrise fundraising site they will add in a suggested processing fee.  You can delete that fee if you choose.

Evelyn will have access to my twitter account next Saturday and will be sending out pictures and updates all day long.  You can follow me on Twitter @RunDawnJackson.  It’s going to be a long day…and I greatly appreciate your support!