Monday, March 28, 2016

Supes, Bats and Wondy

I like superhero movies. Just that simple. I don't need to criticize how the story played out or what the main character should have done to save the world or any of that. I just like to transport myself into that dimension. I'd love to be a superhero......what kid wouldn't......oh yeah.....I'm 50 now.....guess I should grow up. But I don't want to.

I was able to go see the new release this weekend of DC's Batman vs Superman.....I had a blast. It was a bit dark but they all seem to be that way these days. I don't try to compare one comic to another or judge it.....I just want to dive into to it and believe. I could watch these movies over and over again.

Of course it was not only exciting to see both Batman and Superman in the same movie but then you add Wonder Woman......of course all of us red blooded males out their was excited to see her. I don't think she received one negative review......duh, I won't have expected. It's all of us guys fantasy girl since a kid. We couldn't wait to see her come on screen. Even her theme music was hot.

Every time I go see one of these movies, I can't wait until the next one to come out. Gotta wait until 2017 to see Wondy again. Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg on their way too. I'd invent a time machine just so I could run ahead and see the shows quicker.....but then again.....I dream a lot.

Until next time my friends....don't stop believing.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Power of the SMALL

Notes from my sermon I deleivered today 3.27.16 at the Princess Anne Church of Christ.

It's the small things that make the difference
The power of ONE, The power of the SMALL

I want to share a few little things today. The message today isn't a big message. 
Its actually a little message. A small message. 
It's about how a little thing can become a big thing. 
It's about a few small things that can be added together. 

In itself…..a small thing might not appear as much. Drop eggs into jar.
But it's when a few things are added together over time…..they become a BIG THING.
Drop eggs into jar.

We think so often that we cannot make a difference with small things……and maybe in itself… itself….that might appear be true. 

Have you ever seen a drip of water make a difference? Have you ever seen a drip of water over and over and over and over make a difference? Persistence……a constant dripping water can wear away a hole in a stone. Have you ever seen that before? Drop eggs into jar.

You wouldn't think that a single drop of water would make a difference would you? But it is certainly true and real. Could you even figure out how many drops of water it would take to make a dent in the stone? I don't think you could really come to any real answer……but you know that something that small over time certainly can make a dent. Who could you go to ask that? Google provided no help…

It's like asking Mr. Owl…..”Mr Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?” 3…..Mr. Owl didn't even try.

Job 14:18-19 “But as a mountain falls and crumbles away,And as a rock is moved from its place; As water wears away stones,And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth;So You destroy the hope of man.

How many stars are in the sky?
How many grains of sand are on the beach?

Let's think about the stars……astronomers  estimate….that means they guessed……170 billion galaxies in the observable universe….stretching out over a radius of some 45.7 billion light years. Now there are giant elliptical galaxies that have over 100 trillion stars….and then there are dwarf  galaxies that have significantly fewer. Our Milky Way has 400 billion stars…….so if you multiply the estimated average number of stars in each galaxy…..blah blah blah.
it's a septillion number of stars. That's a 1….with 24 zeros behind……..THEY DON’T HAVE A CLUE! They must have asked Mr. Owl. Drop eggs into jar.

How about sand……well enough to make a beach.

Hebrews 11:12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

Isaiah 48:19 
Your descendants also would have been like the sand,And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;His name would not have been cut offNor destroyed from before Me.”

Okay let's break it down into something a little more manageable…..for me any way.
I've shared a little of my running journey……when people hear my story now and they can't even imagine. Just a few years ago I wasn’t even able to run to the end of the street without being winded. Most said that I probably couldn't do it. In actuality it is only one simple step at a time……that's it……if you put them together it begins to add up.
Each mile has 5280 feet…my stride is a little over two feet when I'm running.
Each marathon is 138,336 feet
In two years I've done 22……3,043,392 feet…..of races.
That's just races…..counting training I've done 2106 miles…….11,119,152
Small steps……continuous steps…..begin to add up. Drop eggs into jar.

Now if you would've told me two years ago that I would run 22 marathons and cover nearly 12 million feet during that time…….I’d tell you you're crazy. By the way…..that would be like running from here to Los Angeles. Drop eggs into jar.

Small continuous… savings account compound interest. What does it do?
$1 dollar a day…..everyday for 65 years……with only 1% interest……compounded nearly $33K
The power of ONE. Drop eggs into jar.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Drop eggs into jar.

These are all things that apply more to persistence. Let's add FAITH.
I love the story about Jericho.

Joshua 6:1-14 
Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 
1. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. 
2. This you shall do six days. 
3. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. 
4. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, 
5. and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 
6. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, 
7. and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; 
8. then the wall of the city will fall down flat. 
Drop eggs into jar.
No where in the scriptures does it ever say that all the people…..looked and said…..oh yeah that makes sense……I'm guessing that there were a few people that said, “What?”

The rest of the scripture tells exactly what they did.......
they only did part of it? 
No, they decided that five days was enough? 
No, not everyone yelled? 
No…..They followed the formula that God provided and it worked……just as it was told. Just as they were COMMANDED.

How can that be? How can that help? That just doesn't make sense in my mind?

There are a lot of things that we really don't have a clue of…….if I told you that there was a building down town that they didn't to drop and these were the instructions to take for demolition….would you do it? Probably not…..because it doesn't make sense………it makes FAITH.

When soldiers march in three files over a bridge, they generate a rhythmic oscillation of sine waves on the bridge. At a certain point, the bridge would start oscillating to the same rhythm as that of the marching steps.
This oscillation would reach a maximum peak when the bridge can no longer sustain its own strength and hence collapses. Therefore, soldiers are ordered to break their steps while crossing a bridge. 

It depends on the bridge. Albert Bridge in London is known to resonate at marching pace and has signs ordering troops to break step.

And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.” So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp. And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.

Joshua 6:15-21 
But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

Pound on the bottom of a building. Okay well that's science……Who made science?

We don't understand the power of the SMALL.
DAVID AND GOLIATH Drop eggs into jar.

How can getting wet really help? How can getting baptized save my sole?
I take a shower every day….I take a bath…..I think I'm good….NO…..YOU DON’T STINK EVERY DAY! Your neighbor appreciates that.
You get baptized so YOU DON’T STINK FOREVER!
You get baptized….exactly the way you were told….the way you were commanded….and the OUTCOME WILL BE JUST AS PROMISED.

Would you really want to risk it?

So how does this all apply to us? What does the little things do to contribute to our faith?
I feel in today's microwave society we don't have patience…..especially for ourselves.
We stand in front of the microwave yelling “hurry up”, because honestly 35 seconds just isn't fast enough.

I am a terrible reader. I've always struggled since a child to read. But I've committed myself to read just a little bit of the bible each morning.

What if you read a single scripture a day…..each day…..what would it do?
First, Have you ever read the entire Bible? There are 31,102 versus. You would have to read until you were over 85. There are 1189 Chapters in the bible. If you read one chapter a week…..22 years. One chapter a day…..3 ¼ years. That's only about 7 minutes a day.

What could that do for you?
Matthew 6:11 
Give us this day our daily bread.

Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded more noble (Old King James) than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

2 Timothy 2:15 
Be diligent study (Old King James)to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Hebrews 4:12 
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Drop eggs into jar.

What if you committed to prayer everyday?
Psalm 72:15 
And He shall live;And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him;Prayer also will be made for Him continually,And daily He shall be praised.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Ephesians 6:10-20 
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Philippians 4:6-7 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

it's pretty well understood that you'll gather a better knowledge of our Christ. You'll develop a better relationship with him. THAT’S NOT NEW….YOU ALL KNOW THAT.

We consider The BIG THING is to get baptized. Once you get wet you've accomplished all you need. Well folks that is just the BEGINNING.

COMMERCIAL: If you only had to eat one piece of broccoli or do just one push-up…….If only it was that easy.

If you said I LOVE YOU on the day you got married but never said it again or showed it again…..what would that say? HOW WOULD YOU EXPECT YOUR MARRIAGE TO BE?

The first step is baptism. 
Acts 2:38-39 
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Without baptism it's like running a marathon without a race bib…..without a timing chip.
You are running aimlessly without a purpose.          Does that even make sense?

And then it's just one step at a time. And that is how you need to look at it. Not all 58,000 steps to get to the finish line….but just the step that is right in front of you.
Watch your steps…..try not to trip or stubble……but that's okay if you do….just get back up and continue down the road.

It won't happen instantaneously. 

Okay Eugene you ran a marathon……you’re done…..NOPE….I've just begun. Drop eggs into jar.
Okay Eugene you read the entire bible…’re done…..Nope….I’ve just begun. Drop eggs into jar.
Okay Eugene you said a prayer several times…’re done…..That's silly…..hey would I ever want to stop talking with my Lord. Drop eggs into jar.
Okay Eugene you told Regaina you loved her……I'm not even going there!!!!! Drop a bunch of eggs into jar.

You're jar is full…..there isn't any more room for more.

Its time to trade in my jar. My jar just gets bigger.
How are you filled up with the spirit? Do you want to be overflowing with the Holy Spirit?

I ask you today…..not tomorrow…..not later in the week…..not next month….next year…..BUT TODAY! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? 

Going forward is always so intimidating….to everyone. We don't like to share our failures with others. Our struggles, our faults, our temptations, our transgressions, our lack of ability…..guess what…..we are all SINNERS! Everyone of us in here today. We all need salvation. 

So this morning I want the barrier removed. Today we have a jar full of steps (steps-not sins)…..a jar full of commitments that we are ready to take. You know what they are. You know what you need to work on. Unless you have not one sin in your life you don't need an egg. But I'm guessing you might be like me and need a few…..maybe a handful.

So while we are singing the invitation song…..I encourage you to come forward and grab a handful of eggs. You can grab a few and then return to your seat…..the eggs will represent what steps you yourself are about to take to be a better Christian. After the song, we will ask our brother to lead us in a prayer focusing on allowing us to be consistent in taking each step daily.

Let us stand and sing.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Marathon #22 was Vicious

When you wake up in the morning and it's raining outside....pretty heavy.....and it's dark outside....pretty dark......and it's cold outside....pretty cold......who in the world wants to go run a marathon in that stuff? Well Sunday morning was just that. I really thought that rolling over and going back to sleep would be a better idea......but noooooooo! I had to get up.

52 degrees, heavy to light rain fall and winds around 20 mph was sure to make a really ugly day for a run. I always do great at the J&A Shamrock race but today I felt that just finishing would be acceptable. Facebook already had people deciding not to run it because of the conditions. Blah.....I got ready. Tried to figure what to wear. I really don't have rain gear that would work for 26.2 miles.

I bundled up, wore a trash bag and my wife dropped me off at the race so she could go on to church. I asked for it acceptable to ask for prayers for a self inflected run on a cold day and to miss morning service for it? I'll let you answer that one on your own. I did make it to even services that night.

I found a place in the stairwell right near the start line to hide out for a while beforehand. I chatted with serval other refugees from the cold and windy frontier talking about the normal pre-race developments. I try to be outgoing and encouraging to the others......I guess I can consider myself a veteran now. It is always good to share why I'm running so many marathons. Run Eugene Run. I can't wait to get my shirts made. One by one I bid them good luck and to have a FUN RUN..... Yeah How so in these weather conditions.

Well five minutes to start time and I jump out of the concrete cave and hit the restroom. Good has stopped raining. Still cold and windy but hopefully the running will keep me warm. The race route has become a familiar one and I know where each of the hurdles will lie......that is always helpful. Unfortunately no soldiers out today at Camp Pendelton.....I didn't expect any. That is always a great boost to give them all a high five and thank them for their service. There were two.....I don't blame them for not coming was crazy cold.

Back over the bridge and turn the corner at the boardwalk and headed straight into the wind. Before I was running between a nine and ten minute pace......with this headwind I slowed down by several minutes per mile. It was just rough. No choice but to keep running. I was going to be facing these winds for over ten more miles.

At this point I was running pretty strong. Probably faster than I should be but I was worried about the weather and the cold. I felt it was better to get in as much time as possible before it started raining again. never rained again until right after I finished the race and had hopped in the car.

Push push push. My breathing was rough. I saw the 4:45 group pass me......REALLY!? I was running that fast? And then the worst......I thought I might be able to squeak out a sub 5 hour race as well as I was doing.....or at least a PR which would have been below 5:09......but then I saw the 5:00 pace group come up beside me at mile 19.......CRAP!

I ran with them for several miles and tried to focus my mind on maintaining the pace. I was just getting really tired. I kept pushing....kept running....maybe. But they slowly pulled ahead of me.....that is always the saddest thing. At mile 25 marker I reached the 5:00 close. A little more push and I would be done. I turned the corner back onto the boardwalk around 37th street and I knew I only had a few more blocks. I could see King Neptune waving me in to the finish line far ahead. I picked up the pace to push these last few feet.....a good sprint towards the end always makes one feel accomplished. I finished......5:16.....I guess not bad for the weather. My second fastest marathon. Once again I do my best here at the shamrock.

Looking up I see my wife, daughter, grandson, my son and daughter-in-law all there cheering me on and congratulating me on the of the best feelings of the day. So glad they came out to watch. 

Home food.....just warmth......I need to get warm and climb in bed. So I do.

That's my day my friends. 22 marathons in 26 months. Yes crazy.....but if I can do this with can do much more.

Have a fun run....until the next time

Eugene Thompson
Run Eugene Run

Monday, March 14, 2016

One City is my 21st Marathon

Sunday I ran my 21st marathon in just over two years. Twenty-six months to be exact. I'm always so excited leading up to the beginning of a race.....that is until you wake up at 4AM on daylight savings change over. Ugggg. The second annual One City Marathon in Newport News is a very well supported run with lots of community involvement. Even being a small race that makes all the difference in the world.

I have found out that the best races are the local community organized events and not the national chains. It seems they are bigger but not really better. More about the money. At least in my experience. One City has certainly got the neighbors along the route to join in and cheer on the runners. You don't know how much that helps.

I had higher hopes for this one as I've rested nearly two months since the Disney Dopey challenge but the heat must have gotten to me. Or maybe it was the time off from running as much because it was too cold. Not sure. I'll need to improve my time and my focus if I plan on continuing. I'd like to get under the 5 hour mark consistently. That would make me feel accomplished.

There's my update friends. More pictures coming soon......Oh the race had a finish video. I thought black me looked slimming! Well I'm FAT IN BLACK TOO!

Have a fun run my friends. Enjoy the day and enjoy the road!

Eugene Thompson
Run Eugene Run