June 17, 2013
Excerpt from The Daily Journal June 13, 2013
Fourteen volunteer workers were in seven RVs on the site of the new Risen Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manteno, IL on June 12 when what they say was a tornado leveled the 5,800-square-foot structure that cost $175,000 to build.
The flattened building was part of the damage left in the wake of strong storms that swept across the Midwest and left 15,000 Kankakee County residents without power.
“The siren didn’t go off, and we thought we were all right,” project manager Tim Brettin said. “But we weren’t all right.”
The new building was 75 percent completed, and the volunteers who call themselves Laborers for Christ were nearly ready to start working on the interior. Fortunately, there were no injuries on site.
A couple miles north, more than a dozen firefighters worked to save trapped horses from a collapsed barn at 1500W and 12000N roads, northwest of the center of town. Those on the scene couldn’t confirm that a tornado touched down, but they pointed to a line of debris that usually indicates a twister was on the ground.
The Kankakee County Sheriff’s police reported three tornado sightings via its Twitter account, the first of which, spotted between Essex and Bonfield in the western part of the county, set off sirens at about 6:48 p.m.
Carolyn Werner was at the Manteno church construction site when she said she heard the destructive freight train sound of a tornado.
“At the time, I thought that’s the train,” she said, “and I was standing in the middle and I thought that’s it.”
WBBM Chicago reported a funnel cloud in Wilmington, in Will County, just after 6:30 p.m., and softball-sized hail fell in Limestone and other parts of The Daily Journal coverage area.
Uprooted trees, downed power lines and flooded underpasses were reported on social media networks. At least one car was completed submerged under the Broadway Street viaduct in Bradley.
In Chicago, the storms grounded more than 400 flights and caused delays on the city’s public transportation lines. The Chicago White Sox canceled their game against Toronto early in the afternoon, well before the severe weather even started.
May 20, 2013by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author
It’s a new year and depending on where you reside a new RV camping season is upon us. When you hit the open road one very important aspect to keep in mind is RV safety. Safety is paramount when it comes to using and enjoying our RVs. From pre-trip inspections to setting up and actually using the RV there is always an element of RV safety involved.
Let’s take a look at my top RV safety reminders for a new camping season.
Number one on my list is tires. I could easily write an entire article on this topic alone, but I will try and sum it up in a few sentences. There are many reasons for tire failure on RVs. In addition to overloaded and under-inflated tires there is the concern for aged tires. Tires are designed and built to be used. The rubber used in tires ages faster when they are not in use, so more use results in longer tire life.
The problem is lots of RV tires don’t get used as often as the tires on our automobiles do. When tires are manufactured compounds are added to help protect the rubber from weather cracking and ozone damage. For these compounds to work effectively the tire needs to be rolling down the road, heating up and flexing, so the compounds can work their way to the surface of the tire and help protect the rubber from damage. When tires sit idle for periods of time they start to dry out, causing them to age faster. If your RV tires show signs of weather cracking or checking, or if the tires are more than 6-years-old you should have them inspected by a tire professional. A simple tire inspection could save you lots of time, money and headaches.
Number two is weight issues and concerns. This is another topic I could write an entire book on. Lots of RVs traveling down the road are overloaded, especially older motorhomes. To avoid becoming a statistic in relationship to overloaded RVs it is important that you understand how to properly weigh your RV. Always keep in mind that weighing your RV is a snapshot in time. Weights can and do change according to how you load and distribute the weight in your RV, and based on many other factors. You should get in the practice of weighing your RV periodically to stay within all weight ratings, and whenever an overload condition exists resolve the problem before using the RV.
The easiest way to sum this important safety topic up is to direct you to a site where you can download some informative brochures with easy to understand worksheets on weighing your RV. Go to www.bridgestonetires.com and click on the “Brochure & Catalogs” tab and then on the “For RV Owners” tab. Now you can download the PDF file and head to a set of scales.
Number three on my list is Carbon Monoxide safety. Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas is invisible, odorless, and deadly. Carbon Monoxide is created when any fuel is burned; this includes gasoline, propane, natural gas, wood, & coal. It is extremely serious when combustion by-products are not vented outside. Carbon Monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States each year. As for RVs CO gas can result from exhaust leaks from the vehicle engine or generator, improper use of portable gas powered heaters, improper adjustment of LP gas fired appliances and/or somebody else’s vehicle or generator when camping in close proximity to you.
Some important reminders about Carbon Monoxide:
• Inspect the generator exhaust system before using the generator, every time.
•Avoid leaving windows down and roof vents open when in close proximity to vehicle and/or generator exhaust.
•Follow all directions and safety cautions and warnings when operating gas powered heaters.
•Never use the range burners or oven to heat the RV!
•When cooking with the range burners use the range fan & always leave a window cracked open for fresh air and ventilation.
•Have the LP gas system inspected by a professional annually, or whenever a repair is made to the system.
Number four on my list is RV fire safety. For starters it’s a good idea to have more than one fire extinguisher available in your RV. I keep an additional fire extinguisher in an outside compartment of our RV just in case. Try and get in a habit of inspecting your fire extinguishers periodically and before each trip. Look to see if the arrow is pointing in the green area in the sight gauge. If it reads empty or needs charging replace it or have it recharged immediately. Inspect all components of the extinguishers to make sure they are in proper operating condition. Inspect the safety pin, handle or trigger, sight gauge indicator, inspection tag, hose or nozzle, tank, and labeling. Once a month you should turn dry powder extinguishers upside down, tap on the bottom of the extinguisher and shake it so any powder that settled on the bottom is released. If the powder is packed in the bottom of the extinguisher it may not discharge properly, or at all, when you need it.
Some important reminders about RV fire safety:
• If a fire starts get everybody out of the RV and away from the fire safely and have someone call 911 for help.
• Most importantly, do not risk your personal safety. If you cannot extinguish the fire in the first minute or so let the professionals handle it.
•Remember the word PASS. PASS is an easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher, especially during an emergency. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
• In the event of a fire always remember you save lives first & property second!
• Test smoke alarms monthly & before each trip.
• Replace the battery in smoke alarms twice a year when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
• Instruct everybody in the RV on an emergency escape plan in the event of a fire.
Number five is LP gas safety. Your RV has an LP gas leak detector to assist in leak detection. LP gas leak detectors are located close to floor level because LP gas is heavier than air. Before each trip make sure the LP gas leak detector is operating properly.
If you ever smell LP gas or if the leak detector audible alarm goes off you should:
• Extinguish any open flames & pilot lights.
• Do not smoke or touch electrical switches.
• Evacuate the RV & turn off the main gas supply.
• Leave the door open & do not return until the odor clears.
• Have the system checked out by a qualified technician before using it again.
Number six is your emergency escape plan. What do you do in the event of an emergency and everybody has to get out of the RV quickly and in an orderly fashion. The National Fire Protection agency requires that RV’s have emergency escape windows. Make sure everybody knows where the escape window is located and how to use it. It’s a good idea to practice using it so you are familiar with how to get out of the RV in case of an emergency. You should have an emergency escape plan for the front of the RV and the rear of the RV.
Emergency escape plan safety reminders:
• Time is your biggest enemy. It only takes one minute for smoke to fill the RV.
• Design an escape plan specific to the needs of the individuals in the RV.
• Sketch your plan on paper and indicate which windows and doors can be used to escape.
• Review the plan with everybody.
• Instruct people on where the emergency escape window is located and how to use it.
• Practice your escape plan so everybody can get out of the RV in case of an emergency.
• Designate a meeting place outside where everybody will meet.
Last but certainly not least you need to thoroughly understand and practice these safety tips and reminders. In an effort to assist you with your RV safety training we are offering everybody a free 13 minute RV safety E-Course. Click here to access the free online RV safety training program.
Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
May 13, 2013
Devotion for May 13, 2013
Worship: Mary’s Song
Read Luke 1:39–56
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Luke 1:42
Today we start a section on worshipful prayer in the New Testament by looking at one of the most beautiful and joyful passages in the entire Bible. Elizabeth and Mary were women whose lives were undergoing massive tumult as the result of divine activity. When these two cousins met, they worshiped God.
Mary departed quickly to visit Elizabeth, giving the impression that there had been time for little or no communication before she arrived in Judea. One can imagine Mary wondering how on earth she was going to tell her elderly cousin that she was going to bear the Messiah. It must have been an incredible blessing when, prompted by the leaping baby in her own belly, Elizabeth confirmed everything the angel Gabriel had told Mary.
Often called the Magnificat or Mary’s Song, Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting has been repeated in Christian worship for centuries. Mary’s words echo Scripture, drawing deeply from the language and theology of the Psalms and providing a parallel to Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2. Mary’s praise begins with her own experience, but quickly links this with God’s character and actions in the past and then with His promises regarding the future. Instead of focusing on the child she was to bear, Mary focused on the Father who was working this miracle within her.
Mary’s worshipful song is exemplary. We can see Mary’s familiarity with Scripture and her spirit’s joyful submission to God’s will. She also demonstrates the posture of worship—looking beyond one’s own experience to focus on the big picture of what God is doing. In this case, she looked beyond her own impending parenthood to the good news Jesus Himself would bear.
Elizabeth’s praise encouraged Mary, just as Mary’s praise encouraged Elizabeth. Worshiping with others can be a faith-building experience. This can happen between two friends who spend time worshiping God together. Congregational singing of hymns and praise choruses is another excellent example of the benefits of public worship.This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
April 24, 2013
by Rex Vogel
Vogel Talks RVing
More than 282 million people visited America’s national parks in 2012, an increase of more than 3 million over 2011.
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.
It was the sixth highest annual visitation in the history of the National Park Service, despite nearly 2 million fewer visitors as a result of park closures caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Since 1916, the National Park System has recorded more than 12 billion visits.
“The National Park Service strives to represent all that America has to offer,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
“People come to national parks for many reasons—for recreation and to learn about American history by strolling through a battlefield. They come to listen to a park ranger at Independence National Historical Park and marvel at the Continental Congress. And people come to national parks for old-fashioned enjoyment of the great outdoors.”
National parks capture the story the United States, from its earliest days to the modern era.
Jarvis said, “The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial and the opening of the César E. Chávez National Monument in 2012 help us to continue to explore how our nation of many faces and many voices has developed.”
The challenges left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will become part of American history, too. The storm slammed into 70 national park sites from North Carolina to Maine. Some parks closed briefly, others for weeks while the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York remain closed for repairs.
“The Statue of Liberty will reopen by the Fourth of July,” Jarvis said.
“It’ll take longer at the Ellis Island Museum. As we rebuild we keep sustainability front of mind. It is clear that our changing climate will bring more severe weather events, especially to coastal areas, and we must repair our iconic national parks to survive future storms.”
There are familiar park names in the Top 10 lists.
Gateway National Recreation Area in New York lost nearly 1.2 million visitors from 2011 because of Hurricane Sandy yet still made the Top 10 list of most visited National Park Service sites.
Most Visited Places of the National Park System (2012)
1. Blue Ridge Parkway (15,205,059)
2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (14,540,338)
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)
4. George Washington Memorial Parkway (7,425,577)
5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (6,285,439)
6. Lincoln Memorial (6,191,361)
7. Natchez Trace Parkway (5,560,668)
8. Gateway National Recreation Area (5,043,863)
9. Gulf Islands National Seashore (4,973,462)
10. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (4,970,802)
Most Visited National Parks (2012)
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)
2. Grand Canyon National Park (4,421,352)
3. Yosemite National Park (3,853,404)
4. Yellowstone National Park (3,447,729)
5. Rocky Mountain National Park (3,229,617)
6. Zion National Park (2,973,607)
7. Olympic National Park (2,824,908)
8. Grand Teton National Park (2,705,256)
9. Acadia National Park (2,431,052)
10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (2,299,722)
You may leave a comment below.
April 12, 2013by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author
If I said it once I said it a hundred times, RV’s are a major investment like your house or automobile. To protect your investment and get many years of reliable service, and use from your RV, there are certain measures you need to take. One important measure is maintaining the exterior of your RV. As time passes the roof and exterior of your RV begins to show signs of wear caused by constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun start to take its toll, which is first evident by signs of fading paint. The ozone in the air also causes products like rubber and vinyl to dry out, crack, and begin to deteriorate. The UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. If at all possible you should try to keep your RV covered when not using it, to help protect it from Mother Nature.
Maintaining the exterior of you RV contributes to extending the life of the RV and protecting your investment. If you let your RV go, without cleaning it for periods of time, it can be very difficult to get that new look back again. Maintaining the exterior of your RV primarily consists of routine inspections, and cleaning and lubricating items on the RV.
To extend the life of the exterior wash the RV frequently using a mild soap and water solution. You should always try to wash your RV after returning from a trip. Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners. When washing the RV avoid spraying water directly into any appliance vents.
Metal sidewall finishes require routine maintenance to keep black streaks cleaned from the surface. If black streaks remain on metal sidewall finishes for prolonged periods of time it can be extremely difficult to clean or remove them. Use a commercial black streak remover. NOTE: Test all cleaning solutions on a small portion of the RV’s graphics before using them.
Waxing the exterior of your RV can be a difficult job, but it will help extend the life of your RV. Wax the exterior with a quality wax formulated for the type of exterior surface your RV has.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Exercise caution when waxing around graphics on the RV. You should wax the RV when water no longer beads on the wall surface.
Water damage on an RV is similar to progressive damage to a tire. The outside of the tire looks fine, but the internal damage over a ong period of time causes the tire to fail without any warning. The outside of your RV looks fine but the internal damage caused by water over a long period of time can result in the entire roof, floor or wall rotting away without you knowing it. Inspecting any and all sealants can help prevent expensive repairs caused by water damage.
You must look very closely for any cracks, gaps, and loose or aged sealants. Inspect the roof, sidewalls, end caps, moldings, windows, compartments and anywhere the manufacturer cut a hole in the RV. Inspect the interior for any signs of water damage. Look for discoloration or wrinkles in the wall panels or wallpaper and feel for any soft spots on the walls, around all windows, doors, vents, slide outs, or any other openings that were cut in the RV sidewalls.
NOTE: Always use the proper type of sealant to make repairs; if you’re not sure what type of sealant to use talk to an authorized RV repair facility. Have any water damage repaired immediately.
RV manufacturers use different materials to construct RV roofs. Consult your owner’s manual for the type of roofing material used and for the type of soap or detergent required to clean the roof. Keeping debris such as leaves, tree sap and branches off of the roof will help to the life of the roofing material. You should clean and inspect your RV roof several times a year.
Caution: Exercise caution whenever you are on the roof of your RV. A fall can result in serious injury or death. For RV roofs not designed to be walked on it may be necessary to use 2’ X 4’ or 2’ X 8’ pieces of plywood to help distribute your weight evenly across the roof rafters. If you are not comfortable working on the roof of your RV, have your roof maintenance performed by an authorized RV service center.
When cleaning the roof keep the sides of the RV rinsed off to avoid soap residue, streaking and any damage to decals, graphics or the paint finish. Never use containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric based acids on rubber or vinyl roofs. Cleaning the roof is only part of maintaining it. Every time you clean the roof you need to inspect the sealants around all of the openings and the seams on the roof. Water will take the path of least resistance and if there is the smallest opening it will find it. You need to thoroughly inspect the roof sealants for potential leaks and reseal any areas of the roof seams and around openings where you suspect a leak. Check with your RV dealer for sealants that are compatible with your roofing materia
Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
April 9, 2013
Contrasting Invitations of Wisdom and Foolishness
Devotion for Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still.
Imagine you’ve just received two invitations to dine at different restaurants. The first is from the best restaurant in town—outstanding food, great atmosphere, fantastic service. The second is from a dingy dive almost shut down by the health inspector with a reputation for surly staff. Which invitation will you accept?
Yet between the contrasting invitations of wisdom and foolishness in Proverbs 9, we too often make the wrong choice. As if Wisdom’s invitation in chapter 8 wasn’t attractive enough, this chapter reiterates the stark contrast between wisdom and folly. Wisdom’s invitation comes first (vv. 1–6). Personified as a woman, she invites humanity to a banquet at her house, the seven pillars of which most likely symbolize wholeness or perfection. The dinner has been prepared with the best food and wine, and all are welcome. The ignorant or immature will be transformed at her table.
Folly, or foolishness, is also personified as a woman but is characterized as undisciplined and without knowledge (vv. 13–18). Whereas Wisdom had actively presented her invitation from the highest point in the city, Folly lazily calls out to passersby. She invites humanity to a very different kind of meal, “stolen . . . food eaten in secret” (v. 17). Just in case we’re still not getting the point, we’re then introduced to her other guests—dead people! Wisdom’s invitation is to life, while Folly’s is to the grave.
The meat of this contrast is found in the middle part of the chapter (vv. 7–12). A wise person fears the Lord, accepts instruction and rebuke, and loves learning. A foolish person, by contrast, does not worship the Lord, mocks and insults his teachers, and responds pridefully to correction and rebuke.This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
March 23, 2013
by Joe Flahive
“Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done!” (from the song)
The lyrics of that old hymn, “Count Your Blessings”, written by Johnson Oatman in 1897, will undoubtedly stir fond memories in the minds of many RVers as they journey across America and beyond.
Whether “tenting” or enjoying the accommodations aboard any type of RV, there is a sense of freedom that exists within the hearts of the Camping/RVing Community. There are few experiences in life that give the participants such as sense of freedom as RVing.
We set many of life’s burdens behind while on the road – the seemingly unending list of repairs needed on our home, the landscaping project that has been put on hold more times than we can count, the responsibilities of our job which seems to demand more and more, to name just a few. Yes, RVing helps to, at least temporarily, provide a “time out” from the everyday stress and pressures we encounter.
During our travels we feel blessed to see new places and visit various RV campgrounds where we will make new friends and acquaintances as we share our faith-walk with God.
Many of these campgrounds will be forever etched in our memories as we associate them with the good times experienced in visiting the surrounding area. We’ll remember many details of the really good parks; the attractive landscaping, the nice wide travel lanes, the level pad sites, the friendly staff, the amenities (like swimming!) and fellowship with our neighbors.
An especially memorable experience that stands out among others is the rare RV campground where we have an opportunity to “Count Our Blessings” as we participate in a weekly non-denominational Sunday on-site worship service and/or Bible Study. Matt: 18:20 says that if even 2 or 3 gather together to worship, God is there!
It is often when the burdens of life are left behind that we clearly see the many, many blessings God has bestowed on us. It is then we have a strong desire to take time out of the week to acknowledge our thankfulness to Him. And it is then when on-site Sunday worship services at the RV campground are so timely and beneficial – when we can sing a few hymns, hear a sound Bible message and, along with other RVers of faith, express our thankfulness for all the blessings in our lives.
Oh, that God would raise up many RV campgrounds that offer perhaps the greatest amenity of all – a Sunday Worship Service – where we can take time to worship together, share our faith in Jesus and be an encouragement to those among us.
We at RVchurchesUSA are continually adding campgrounds that offer on-site church services to our searchable database for RVers and Campers.
If you know of such a campground, please let us know below or email us.
March 18, 2013
Uploaded on Oct 12, 2011 to YouTube by Bob Marshall
From the 2011 Passion live album “Here For You”, this is Chris Tomlin singing “Lord I Need You” – sort of a modern-day version of the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour”.
Written by Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, and Matt Maher.
Yes,we “do” need Him. Without Him we have no hope, and we have no promise of salvation.
March 11, 2013
This spring Revive Our Hearts and Nancy Leigh DeMoss are hitting the road and traveling to eight different cities. Why? So you can learn more about the mission and message of Revive Our Hearts, be part of a recording session . . . and more!
In each city there is a two-day schedule featuring several events. A general schedule is below. See each particular city for more detailed information.
Date & Locations:
March 19–20 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
March 21–22 Houston, Texas
April 16–17 Chicago, Illinois
April 18–19 Grand Rapids, Michigan
May 14–15 Indianapolis, Indiana
May 16–17 Cleveland, Ohio
June 18–19 Lynchburg, Virginia
June 21–22 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
At this free evening event, you’ll hear stories of how God is working and changing lives through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Shannon Wexelberg will lead in worship, and Nancy will share a message from God’s Word that’s on her heart. “An Evening with Nancy” is open to the public, so feel free to bring your family and friends.
Revive Our Hearts Radio Recording
9:00 a.m–12:00 p.m. (doors open at 8:15)
Be a part of a free half-day recording session. Hear Nancy’s teaching months before it airs, and see how a radio program gets put together from the ground up. (Open to women.)
If you’re a women’s ministry leader, register for a special luncheon where you’ll be encouraged to continue reaching and connecting to other women. (Cost: $15 – open to women serving in leadership capacities)
For more information contact email@example.com
March 8, 2013
A routine morning in a small fishing town. Two brothers. Fishermen who had a poor catch last night.
They have no idea that they’re about to encounter a man who will change their lives forever. This stranger is different, simple, wise, vulnerable but strong… and he turns their world upside down.
Full of surprises, questions, confusion, pain, joy, and miracles- the story of Jesus and the disciples has fascinated us for two thousand years. Fish Eyes is a poignant and humorous look at how this God-man affected the world through two very human sets of eyes- Peter and Andrew.
“Humorous and insightful!”
“Once in a while something comes along that you connect with deeply and you wish everyone could experience that same thing. This play is that thing”
“This is great! Funny, interactive, and touching! I enjoyed the talk back with the actors after the show!”
This production is presently appearing at the Provision Theater in Chicago.
Moments from Fish Eyes, the play written by Lee Eshleman and Ted Swartz as performed by Rod Armentrout and Mark Demel. No complete show video is available of these two actors, however, they are available to perform Fish Eyes live for your church/organization, contact them at FishEyestheplay.com.
Please feel free to comment below.
March 4, 2013
St. Charles, IL man to run across America to give Kenyans water
When Steve Spear runs, he spends a fair amount of time thinking about how much he hates it.
His level of disdain is probably about a 6 or 7 on a 10-point scale. To block it out, he tries to let his mind fade to a state of nothingness where his body simply takes over in a machine-like state of efficiency.
In November 2010 something invaded that state of nothingness.
“I was on an innocent 15-mile run in the hills of the Ohio Valley,” the St. Charles man said. “I’m on like mile five. As I’m running, this notion drops into my head: ‘You are to run across America for the good of others.’ That freaked me out. I thought, ‘What the heck was that?’ I just took that thought and left it there on the pavement.”
The thought didn’t stay there. It lingered with Spear. It felt like a task placed upon him, something that would eat at him forever if he didn’t do it.
In April, Spear will begin his trek across the continent. The “good of others” segment of his task is a plan to raise $1.5 million that will bring clean water to a community in Kenya. That’s the driving force.
But the mission is not one he cherishes. Unlike Forrest Gump, Spear never just feels like running. He ran his first 10K nearly 30 years ago at the invitation of some friends.
I hated it,” Spear said. “I hated the training. I hated every part of it.”
Spear continued with his life never intending to enter another distance race. In 1996, he became the pastor of a regional congregation of Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington. It was through that line of work he first became connected to World Vision, a Christian nonprofit that focuses on global poverty, when another friend lured him into running once again in 2007.
“My friend said, ‘You’ve got to run this thing,’” Spear said. “And I was like, ‘No, I don’t. I hate running. I have no desire to run.’”
But Spear spent a lot of time as a pastor encouraging people to try new things. And the run would benefit a good cause. He was soon sucked in again.
“I just told myself I needed to surrender to the inconveniences I was associating with running a marathon,” Spear said.
He had no dreams of glory. His first goal wasn’t even to finish the race.
“I just wanted to hate running less each time I ran,” Spear said.
He also wanted to remain dedicated to his training to the point he felt he could both stand at the starting line and cross the finish line before organizers closed the course. He also wanted to help World Vision with its fundraising goals.
On race day, Spear reached all his goals, including raising $1,000 for clean water. It costs only $50 to bring clean water to one person in Africa for his or her entire life. Spear’s $1,000 would go a long way. It was a satisfying accomplishment.
But when the marathon rolled around again in 2008, Spear wasn’t only running in it — he’d recruited 50 other people into joining him. That was even more satisfying.
Spear’s effort drew the attention of the higher-ups in World Vision. They invited him to go to South Africa to associate some faces with the cause. But it wouldn’t be a leisurely journey. Again, Spear was called to run. This time it was the 2009 Comrades 56-mile Ultra Marathon.
With no hesitation, Spear rejected the invitation.
“I don’t like running 26 miles,” he said. “I certainly didn’t want to do 56 miles. Why would anyone run 56 miles?”
Then came two questions that changed not his hatred for running but his outlook on the task. The first was obvious: “Why wouldn’t you run 56 miles?”
“Fear,” Spear said. “Fear of the training. Fear of the run. Fear of the fundraising. Fear of how it’s going to disrupt my life.”
Then came the hook. “Other than fear, what’s holding you back?” asked the Team World Vision leaders.
“It shook me,” Spear said. “Fear has to be respected. But fear should never be something that holds any of us back. I was in.”
One plane trip and 56 miles later, Spear had raised more than $100,000 for clean water, enough to give 2,000 people clean water for the rest of their lives. It was a year later that the thought of running across America crept into his thoughts on that Ohio Valley run. He was so afraid of the notion he didn’t even tell his wife, Frances, for two months.
When Spear finally told her and they researched the idea, they both freaked out. It’s only been accomplished 262 times since 1909. In comparison, more than 5,000 people have reached the summit of Mount Everest.
But the idea wouldn’t die. Whenever it crept into Spear’s mind, thoughts of the time away from work, his wife and the rest of life followed. Again, there was fear.
In April 2012, everything began to align. His wife supported it. World Vision got behind the idea. A few local sponsors got on board.
In about six weeks, Steve Spear will leave the comfort of his St. Charles home and head to the Santa Monica pier in California. From there, he’ll begin a 3,243-mile run to where the Atlantic Ocean meets New York.
He’ll have two RVs and a car that will follow him, assuming he can get a sponsor to donate the RVs. He’ll live in one with his wife. The other RV will be for his road crew (medical, communications, etc.).
The plan is to step out of the RV each morning and run 35 miles a day, five days a week. He’ll consume about 6,100 calories a day while doing it. By the time he reaches New York, he’ll have completed more than 120 marathons.
Spear hopes to collect donations and sponsorships along the way to raise the $1.5 million for water.
The first stretch will take him along Route 66 from California to Chicago. It’s not the shortest route to New York, but Spear said he wants to run along Route 47 and Route 64 through St. Charles, the city he loves. He hopes to hit that stretch of the run by the second or third week of July.
The plan is to complete the run by the end of August, just before his dad’s 90th birthday.
The pitfalls of injury, general fatigue and road mishaps await him, as does his hatred for running. That’s when Spear will remember a recent visit to Kenya.
There he met a young girl named Winnie. She and her mother take two three-mile trips every day to fill old fuel cans with brown water from the nearest river. When full, the fuel cans weigh about 50 pounds.
Winnie uses a harness secured by a rope that goes around the top of her head to hoist the can. Because she spends so much time getting water for her family, she can’t attend school.
When Spear thinks of that, making it to the next light post on his run doesn’t seem so hard. Neither does making it to the next light post after that, and so on.
“I don’t even have to walk a yard to get clean water,” Spear said. “Water is the basis of hope. We take it for granted. But when clean water can be provided to a community, then young women can start thinking about schools. Everything gets better from that first building block of clean water.
If Spear is successful, the $1.5 million he’ll have raised will build a clean water system for Winnie and her community. That means helping 30,000 people have clean water for life and the opportunity to improve their futures as well.
“I know there will be dozens of moments on my run where I start off thinking, ‘This is going to suck,’” Spear said.
“In those moments, I’ll run for water.”
For more on this story, click here to watch a video
December 25, 2012by HLB
Contributor and author of Knowing His Name
She called me out of the blue,”Girl, you have been on my MIND! Let me pray with you. “He told her, half way across the country, that I needed more of Him.
He is Awesome.
I told her I just wasn’t feeling t. Christmas
Not because of the shopping, stress, busyness. Not that. Worse, my heart wasn’t in it.
And her text with the Truth that took me back thousands of years started to bring me into focus. Into marvel,really.
Luke chapter 2 tells the story about the shepherds in the fields, minding their own business of watching sheep. I thought about it. Not the most interesting work in the world. I mean, they’re sheep; how exciting could that have been?
So, there they stand, probably just as distracted and, dare I say it, checked out as I was … am. And, uhh…hello! An angel shows up, surrounded by “the radiance of the LORD’s glory”.
That’s what hooked me in. That’s my struggle, really. I want to see Him and His radiance. To see beyond the boring, the mundane, the restrictions of the box I live in, to see past the migraines, and to be struck in the middle of nowhere with the radiance of His glory.
He is Glorious.
Can you even imagine? It says they were terrified. Uh, yeah!?! The angel brought “good news” that will bring the people “great joy”. Well, the way they showed up would certainly give lowly shepherds good reason to believe their good news must really be good news!
It’s amazing, really. That the messengers about Jesus’ birth came with His radiance, glory, and fanfare. Yet, the Savior of the world, Who offers us freedom over sin and the opportunity to live with Him in eternity – He comes into the world as a baby, in a barn, in a manger. Humility I’ll never be able to relate to.
For us. For me. For you.
He is the Savior. The Messiah. Jesus.
He wants our attention. My attention. Your attention.
So that we can hear the good news that He came down to save. To love. Us. Me. You.
To do for us what we could never do ourselves – make us right with a perfect God whose radiance is so intense it causes people to drop to their knees.
Here it is: That great joy the angel talked about comes when we just believe that He came down to save us from ourselves, and that choosing Him as Savior is the only way to be right with God.
Even in my mundane, little box of life, I can have great joy if I focus on His radiance and the Truth that He came for me. For you, too. Seriously, it’s hard to grasp.
But, I grasp it with whatever part of my mind I can, fall to my knees, and praise that God-baby Who grew into a God-man Who hung on that cross for my sins, and Who rose from that rocky grave and now sits on the God-throne, and Who, someday, will bring me to Him for a life of radiant glory with God-Himself.Thanks, Sister. You know who you are. Will someone please praise His name with me?
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