Friday, July 15, 2011

Bike Ride for MS

Dear Family & Friends,

As most of you know, my precious Kimmy was diagnosed with MS fifteen years ago--it's hard to believe so many years have gone by! And while she's done very well over the years, we know that this disease could take over her body in any number of ways in no time at all. A couple of years ago a friend of ours went from walking, to a cane, to a wheelchair, to assisted living in the space of six months. For years he had functioned with the disease as well as Kimmy. We don't dwell on this kind of thing but we know it can happen and therefore we want to do everything we can now to stop the disease for Kimmy and the countless others who suffer with it.

Therefore, as we have every year for the last nine years, Kimmy and I have registered for the Bike MS: Star Tribune The Ride Across Minnesota 2011, or TRAM for short. TRAM is a 300-mile bike ride that will take us through Minnesota's Southeast bluff country and will raise over $1 million for MS research and programming along the way. This year Kimmy was asked to be the TRAM ambassador which means that she'll be speaking in various venues, she'll be featured in major and minor media, and she'll be riding with Julie Guthrie from the "Amazing Race" who's joining us for a couple of days this year to raise awareness and money. We're very excited about this opportunity, please pray that Kimmy will be bold and share Jesus through her suffering.

If you would like to help support us in this effort you can pray or give or both. Your tax-deductible donation to the MS Society on our behalf can be made via this link, or you can send a check (made out to the MS Society) to the Handrens at 8195 Parell Avenue NE, Otsego, Minnesota 55330. If you feel led to pray for us, please pray for boldness, physical strength, healing for my achilles heel which was strained a week ago, safety on the road, and hearts that will never forget Jesus or others who need a loving word or touch.

Thank you so much for your time and for your friendship. Many of you have walked through this with us for years and we love and appreciate you! May the Lord richly bless you for your love toward us.

With hope in Jesus Christ alone,

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Le Tour de France Has Begun!

 Three weeks. Over 2,000 miles. Twenty-two teams of nine riders each. Six ways to win something. Here are my predictions:

Yellow Jersey (overall winner): Alberto Contador (Team: Saxo Bank Sungard) though I'm pulling for Andy Schleck (Team: Leopard Trek).

Green Jersey (best sprinter): Thor Hushovd (Team: Garmin-Cervelo)

Polka Dot Jersey (king of the mountains): Contador or Schleck thanks to the new rules.

White Jersey (best young rider, 25 or younger): Robert Gessink (Team: Rabobank).

Best Team: Leopard Trek

Stage Winners: Each day of racing is called a stage and one rider wins each stage. Since there are 21 stages I will not make lots of predictions here but I will say that I expect Philippe Gilbert to win Stage 1, HTC High Road to win the Stage 2 Team Time Trial, Contador or Schleck to win the majority of the mountain stages, Mark Cavendish (the fastest man in the world at the moment) to win at least 5 of the sprint stages, and Fabian Cancellara to win the Stage 20 Individual Time Trial.

I also have high hopes for the following Americans to have a great Tour: George Hincape, Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, Tyler Farar, and Christian Vande Velde. George Hincape, Lance Armstrong's most reliable and loyal right hand man, has now tied the record for participations in the Tour at 16--truly amazing! He's not a threat to win anything but he's one of the most respected riders in the peleton and without a doubt the most honorable American.Chris Horner, though he's getting old (pushing 40), has the best chance for a top 5 overall finish and perhaps even top 3.

Barring a crash or some type of unexpected difficulty, this year's Tour is a two-man race. The drama is this: who will be first and second? Contador topped Schleck by only 38 seconds last year and given that he raced in, and won, the Tour of Italy just several weeks ago, he may not have what it takes to grab that first spot again. The secondary drama is this: who will finish third. There are probably 5 riders who could take that final podium position and it'll be fun to see who asserts himself and takes it. I'm pulling for the old guys, Chris Horner of Team Radio Shack or Cadel Evans of Team BMC.

Le Tour--there's no sporting event quite like it in the world and I'm so glad the 2011 edition has begun!

Friday, July 01, 2011

To be Missional is to Do Only what we See Jesus Doing

Here's a devotional I wrote for our church's weekly e-newsletter. 

In last week’s devotional I said that God Almighty has planted and rooted Glory of Christ Fellowship in this city that we might give our lives—our everything—to exalting his glorious name in Elk River and beyond. And I said that this lifestyle of exaltation must begin in our hearts and homes, then in our Community Groups, then in our church as a whole, then through strategic partnerships with other God-centered, Gospel-loving movements in our city, state, nation, and world.
Of course, in the ebb and flow of real life, we will be developing a heart for local missions in several spheres at once, but I am convinced—thanks to Asa Veek—that we must build the structure of mission from the inside out. That is, we must start with the heart-home and work toward the other spheres of mission. It may be helpful, then, to envision these spheres as concentric circles: heart-home, Community Groups, all-church, and strategic partnerships. Our plan is to patiently develop a Christ-enthralled passion for missions one sphere at a time.
Therefore, this week I want to begin a long series of devotionals that focuses on the how of all this. In other words, I want to suggest a path by which we can develop this passion and actually engage with Jesus and one another in the mission of Jesus in the world, namely, to make disciples of all nations.
So here’s the plan for the devotionals in the coming weeks: (1) Seek to share the heart of Jesus for the lost and the “least of these.” I’ll be writing two or three devotionals on this topic. (2) Learn the practical skills necessary for being on mission with Jesus. I’ll be writing many devotionals on this topic, probably too many! (3) Put these skills into practice and learn to live a “missional” lifestyle. I’ll also be writing many devotionals on this topic, Lord willing.
For today I just want to say two more things. First, I know that word “missional” is a bit controversial in our circles but I must admit that I like it. By “missional” I simply mean a Christ-centered passion to be on mission with Jesus. Jesus himself said that he only did what he saw the Father doing. To live a missional lifestyle is to die to our way of life and do only what we see Jesus doing. It’s to join our Father in his work.
Second, to prepare your heart for the next few devotionals, please take some time to meditate on John 17, Matthew 9:35-38, and Matthew 25:31-46. As you read, ask the Lord to reveal his heart to you and form his heart in you. The key to being on mission with Jesus is conforming to his heart, so let’s pray that he grants us this grace.

Longing with you to do only what we see Jesus doing,
Pastor Charlie