So it begins!

*LotR: TT playing in background* “So it is before the hall of UNL the doom of my time will be decided!”

yep that’s right, I will spend and have spent almost every waking hour studying for the four tests and two papers I have to write this week. All this is in addition to the other obligations I have this week. Needless to say, I have only to survive Tuesday before I can perhaps finally have enough light to see the end of whatever this is that I’m in. But, for the sake of narative, let me chronicle what I must do this week.
First, the week starts on Sunday. Not a whole lot there, just church, which I get to do, and work in the servery for 4 hours. It wasn’t so bad, but I was quite bored out of my mind. The folks were doing stuff when I got home, so I joined them, having studied as much as I could for the test I had today.
Day 2, Monday: Go to my world history class, taking notes and trying to ignore the sound of the professor’s voice, which sounds like a bellow because she yells at an auditorium full of students instead of using a microphone. Next, I hang out in front of a student owned and operated coffee shop in the CBA building, reading my Bible and preparing for the Navigator bible study I lead. A quick glance at my notes from the past five weeks of Jewish History and I start my first test. I took 53 out of 50 minutes to complete my exam and I feel okay about it. It’s not going to get an A, I don’t think, because the time limit didn’t allow me to expound upon my points very well, but since I don’t know by what standard they will be graded, an essay that I think is only average for me may meet my professor’s expectations. Next, I biked home and ate before getting started on my coaching paper due tomorrow, reviewing my bible study preparation, and studying for one of my tests tomorrow. Lastly, of course, I bike back to campus to lead the Nav study.
Day 3, Tuesday: A date which will probably live in infamy, September 30th is when Ironman comes out on DVD. But I won’t be watching any movies Tuesday. My early class, food science, has an 85 question test planned (fun!?) then my coaching class has that paper I’ve been working on due. I possibly can take a break for lunch (or study) before my geography test at 2:00. I work as a floater ’til nine and will be much too exhausted and suffering from scrambled (or fried) brain.
Day 4, Wednesday: Nothing as yet is due wednesday, except that again I have another test on Friday whose studying has been put on hold because of everything else this week, and I have that other paper I need to read the material for still. The evening means Royal Rangers registration, which will be fun (In all seriousness), but perhaps will also tire me out.
Day 5, Thursday: normal class load except for the 2nd paper due and studying for world history test on friday. There is a chance some coaching asignment will try to sneak its way in there, as they seem to have the habit of doing. In the evening, worship practice happens, at which time would be a much needed renewal of strength.
Day 6, Friday: Essay test in world history which I’ve hopefully had a productive time studying for by then. Once I turn that blue book in to my TA, I could care less about what happens, because the guantlet of tests and assignments will be over. Halalujah! Jewish history lecture will be a nice change forom the tense moments of test taking, and I might enjoy it more than usual (if that’s even possible).
I would put in a word about God showing me something through this (which he has) and make this post just like my previous four, but I would only be repeating what I’ve already told most of you. The bottom line is I’m busy busy busy, but if I do find time I can take out to hang out with folks, I trust it will be refreshing and worth it for all.

JA Menter
Now back to studying! :p

Growing Pains

In less than three weeks, I will be twenty-two, but I feel old.  Before the older folk chime in with “No, you’re just a young thing!” let me explain. I have a reputation for being a very active youngster in his prime who goes on long runs and bikes everywhere. While this is true, I only bike because I must, and running seems to be a must as well, even though it really hurts most times.

Since I was in middle school, I’ve had pain in various areas of my body. In seventh grade, pain in my lower back and hamstrings kept me from participating in PE class, even though I thoroughly enjoy playing sports, running, etc. I had really weak ankles and twisted them almost every time I played pickup games with my siblings. These problems plagued me on into high school and when I played football at East, my ankles continued to bother me.  Over the course of lifting weights for football, my shoulders weakened and the joint is now only tentatively in its rightful place.  During track my senior year, I developed shin splints running hurdles and doing long jump, because I have a high arch and that puts added stress on my legs and knees, neither of which could really handle it.  Since I started my final growth spirt, my back has been unhappy at best.

When I coached track as a college freshman, I played soccer with Royal Rangers and injured my right big toe, the turf toe variety (Ie tearing ligaments that help your big toe balance your weight). Now, granted I’m not a weighty fellow, but because of my high arch, most of my weight and thus balance is on my big toes, so even today, I still feel a sharp sting of pain shooting up my leg when I walk, turn, or jog a certain way. For a reference on how long ago I injured it, I was 18 and a half.

Now, I’m sure you are wondering why I would chronicle all these aches and pains that I’ve experienced, and I assure you there is a point to all this (As there usually is when I blog). No, it’s not to complain or beg for sympathy or make an excuse for not helping out as often. Even in the midst of all this pain, I still was able to run no less than six miles at a time quite often this summer and continue to go on runs and bike to school. So why do I do it, if it hurts so much?

Running, I’ve found is the one way that allows me to take my mind off what’s going on in my life. This has some usefulness when I’m overwhelmed about things and stressing out, because when my mind is not on what’s going on in my life or the thoughts my introverted personality finds hard to communicate with the masses, it turns to my Creator and Lord.

Each run begins with the realization that I’m becoming overwhelmed by life, then I don the proper attire and start out. I tell God what I’m so stressed about and often find myself just praising Him for the beauty I see. If my focus weren’t on God, my legs would cause me to quit after a half mile, but instead I press on. The signals to stop are ignored as I’m completely invaded by Christ. You see, I’ve found that running helps me refocus and surrender my problems to God. Effective stress management, I believe, is not about relieving stress, but rather giving it up. Running is a time for me to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), Note: the rest of that chapter is pretty sweet too.

So what is the thing(s) you do to take your mind off things that stress you?

JA Menter

Is there a point at which commonplace profundity becomes shallow?

Battle before breakfast

“I know a battle is a hard thing to face, especially before breakfast!”

You all have heard me say this and I wish I could claim credit for saying it first, but it actually was said by a famous, or I should say infamous, Greek general.  It was a speech he gave to his men before a battle that he later won.  Okay, enough of the charade!

I came across it last spring while playing a computer game with interactive battle sequenses.  I haven’t had time to play that game since I started my summer job right after the end of the spring semester, but the quote has stayed in my memory.

My life this summer has provided a lot of spiritual meaning to this otherwise laughable statement.  Life in Christ is both a journey and a struggle, a battle if you will.  just as breakfast starts off a day and gives strength to meet the challenges of the day, getting into the Word (spiritual food) early in the day helps prepare for the daily struggle.  In Jason’s sermon on Sunday, he discussed seeking the Lord early (Psalm 63:1; “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”)

I have noticed the quote at the top to be true, that when I don’t get into the Word early in the morning, at breakfast time, the day doesn’t go as well and there is greater probability that I will become stressed out, discouraged, and fall out of the battle.  Many biblical figures can be used as examples of how this is true, but a prime example is Joshua.

I like Joshua, or Hoshea, not just because I share his name but for how his life has spoken to me.  A story outside the book of Joshua is in Exodus 33. Joshua, the protege of Moses, is seen lingering in the tent of meeting after Moses has met with God face to face and gone out to address the people.  I wonder what that was like and what God told him, but I would bet that it was along the lines of Joshua 1:5-9 and preparation for Joshua taking the mantle of leading the Israelites into the promised land.

Later in Joshua 5 before receiving the battle plan for conquering Jericho, Joshua is seen taking a step back and is met by the Commander of the Lord’s Armies. This can be contrasted with the defeat of the Israelites at Ai when the people didn’t consult God. This isn’t said specifically but if you read how God tells Joshua to do battle against them after the first defeat, it looks different than how the Israelites conducted the battle the first time. They tried to do battle before breakfast, if you will, and the people of Ai (try putting an -ian ending on that one :p) defeated them in battle. There are more examples in Israel’s history where the king didn’t consult God and was defeated, but though I won’t go into them, don’t just take my word for it.

“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” Spiritual energy and vigor is tied to seeking God first (Matt 6:33 comes to mind here). The renewal that inevitably comes strengthens and contributes to the victory of the spiritual life lived out each and every day.

JA Menter

“Effective stress management is not about relieving stress but rather giving it up. ‘Be still and know that I am God!’ Psalm 46:10″

Stadium Ruckus

Last Saturday, I went to the Nebraska-New Mexico State football game. I biked on to campus about four hours early to run some errands and pick up my ticket, which I bought from my cousin for $21.  I watched the end of the California-Maryland game and most of the Virginia Tech game, more as a scouting venture than anything else. Six o’clock finally rolled around and I made my way to the student section of Memorial Stadium.

I had been to the spring game the past three year, since students can enter for free with their Ncard, but this clash of football programs was nothing like the shows the Spring games always are. The Huskers came out onto the field after their tradition-rich tunnel walk, which put chills down my spine, and the game started. The entire student section stood for the whole game and made noise during every defensive series.  The only time we sat down was during halftime and any timeouts that were called. I stood and shouted along with the rest of them and pretty much lost my already embattled voice midway through the second quarter.

At halftime, I tried to hail the Valentino’s pizza vendor so I could have a little supper before the rest of the game, but I couldn’t get any words to come out.  In the third quarter, I looked on screaming loudly as a defense grew up and stopped a potent offense that was camped in the red zone for way too long (bad calls, penalties etc).  The crowd, myself included, cheered louder than we’d ever cheered before during that goalline stand and the defense fed off of it, to be sure. 

The whole rest of the game, I stood and yelled, getting excited about what was happening on the field below me. I participated in a wave during one of the timeouts that traveled around the stadium five times and was only stopped by the resumption of play. We made noise down to the last play with two seconds left when the game was already well in hand because we supported our team.

As I was biking home from campus on Monday night, I thought more about what I had done and was challenged by it.  I made noise and was willing to risk losing my voice (something I would need in order to sing the next day) for a football game that really means little in the grand scheme of things, yet when I go out to walk and worship the Creator of all things, the One to whom all praise is due, I’m not bold enough to let people I meet along the way hear what I’m singing. Has the individuality and personal-ness of my relationship with God become an excuse to shrink back and only live my Christian life in a closet? As much as it is personal and between God and I, the world needs to see a God who is real and people bold enough to show Him to them.

JA Menter

“I know a battle is a hard thing to face, especially before breakfast!”

Born Supremacy

My vision flashes from color to blackness. 

My mind races, pictures wheel, and voices yell.

I toss and turn, shivering as sweat pours down my face.

My head swells as the pressure builds, pain throbbing…throbbing.

Events flash with vague familiarity; I’ve been there before.


I hear three voices, each a different persona of my being.

Their shouts make my throbbing pain worse.

“Remember how you handled this in the past?”

One voice declares.

“It didn’t fail you then and nothing’s changed.”


With a past I largely can’t remember, I don’t understand.

I’ve never experienced this before

Though my mind constantly tells me I have.

I recall places I’ve never been

And forget what happened yesterday.


One of the three voices I can’t afford to hear.

It speaks only of death and its greedy desires.

It plots openly the destruction of its host.

Virus-like, yet killed long ago

It just doesn’t seem to ever let go.


The third speaks righteousness to me, soft words of truth

If I take heed, it promises life and preservation.

“I will rid you of the virus and its deeds.

All I ask in return is a life without religious adultery.”

Yet too often, I just listen to the first voice.


JA Menter


Faith is taking seriously what God obligated Himself to do, to take you from where you are to where He wants you to be.


My second week of this fall semester has come to a close.  Homework and assignments are already piling up and I’m struggling to get back in the routine of sitting in boring lectures and waiting on campus for the next thing to start.  Some days are packed with things to run to and others, like today, finish early in the day and leave me time to do things. 

One thing I’ve had time to do so far is eat a lot.  Over the summer, I didn’t really notice how much I ate because the sandwich I ate for lunch was incredibly filling, but already these past two weeks, I’ve noticed that I have eaten a lot of food.  It really started on Saturday when I went up to my aunt’s birthday party.  Parties with my extended family are always like Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one.  There’s enough food to feed an army, all of the half million men.  This, of course, is split a limited number of ways and the big-eaters (No, not the former nickname of the Cornhuskers–They are the BUG-eaters) are encouraged to eat even after they really can’t.  We always come away from these shindigs wishing we hadn’t eaten so much, but enjoying the company while we did.

 Sunday, we had my mom’s tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches after church.  i most certainly ate two sandwiches made from mom’s homemade bread (larger than store bought loaves) and several bowls of the soup.  The afternoon’s project was roofing the house and I spent perhaps five hours on the roof.  I was graciously served supper from up there, which was an incredibly delicious chicken and pasta concoction my sister cooked up and a large portion of leftover lasagna.  When I got down off the roof, I went on a run and ate the rest of the leftover lasagna when I got home, another portion silimar to what I ate for supper.

Monday, We did more work on the roof and went to Valentino’s for lunch as a reward. Again, I ate quite a bit, perhaps eight pieces of pizza, a plate of salad, and four glasses of wild cherry coke.  Tuesday, I ate at the campus dining centers twice.   Each plate was loaded with food and I ate my fill. Wednesday was more the same, only I went to Selleck dining only once.  This time, I had a full breakfast and lunch at the same time.  Thursday, I again ate lunch at the dining hall, this time with my dad. Again, I filled the space on my tray with plates and bowls loaded with food.

All this may seem strange to everyone, but it reminds me of a period of my younger years.  From the time I can remember until I was about sixteen, my metabolism was such that I could eat four helpings of food at each meal and it would only maintain my weight. For a few years, my activity level slowed down which, in turn, caused my metabolism to slow down. I gained a little weight while I lived on campus when my activity level dropped to an all time low. No biking to school, no extra-curricular sports, no running just to run. At the very end of that span, my basal metabolic rate, or the amount of energy my body needed just to function, was almost 2000 Calories. Imagine what it must be when I’m running regularly, biking to school everyday and sometimes even twice a day, and walking about an hour every morning.  I think it’s safe to assume I need more than 2000 Calories each day, but I think I’ve gotten that this past week.

I suppose I should use this energy to write the three essays and read the several hundred pages due next week.  I’ve added two paragraphs to my story so far this semester. YEAh!!!

JA Menter