Written by cycleguy on March 6th, 2014
This past week I read an excellent post by a new blogging friend. It strikes at the heart of many of us.
I remember when Tami was in the 7th grade and came to me with a question: “Dad, will you help me with my homework?”
“Sure, honey. What is it?”
“Oh man. I think you have the wrong father. Math is not my thing. I suggest you ask (_________). He knows Math.”
So she did. Never to ask me again. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know my daughter had passed me up in the Math department with one fell swoop. I felt…well…not very smart.
One thing served me well though. Don’t compare myself to someone else. No matter who they are or what they do.
Those are my words to you this weekend. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else…under any circumstances…for any reason.
Do you have that trouble? What are some of the things you compare if you do?
Please check out my other website to know how to pray for Sunday. Thanks.
Written by cycleguy on March 5th, 2014
Several months ago i was asked to consider being a board member for New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center (NBPRC). Less than a month ago I went to my first board meeting, and this past Saturday spent the day with many of them in a Strategic Planning Session. With everything on my plate, it is easy to ask why in the world would I take on something else? For one reason and one reason only:
I BELIEVE IN LIFE
NBPRC is the renamed Crisis Pregnancy Center. It was done because they do so much more than just crisis pregnancy. Yes, they do pregnancy tests. Yes, they counsel against abortion. But they also give out clothes, cribs, help with needs, teach moms (and dads) how to take care of a baby, and a bunch of other things. But the biggest, without question, is my values line up with theirs:
I AM 100% FOR LIFE!
I’m happy to be associated with a compassionate group of people in Spencer, IN. After our board meeting last night, I went home tired after a long day. Imagine my surprise when I opened one of the blogs I read and found this video. Not only is this girl beautiful, she is a darling. I dare you to watch it and not smile. No, I double-dog dare you.
What are your thoughts?
Written by cycleguy on March 4th, 2014
Several posts last week (here and here) I alluded to the book entitled Not Marked by Mary Demuth. I had hoped to finish it last week and post a review for you, but life happened.
I know the subject of sexual abuse is not a popular one, nor is it a “fun” one to write or talk about. After being a pastor for more than 40 years, I know ugly things exist, but often find myself uninformed or unable to help. Sexual abuse is an example of both. There is so much to consider, so many ramifications of it, so many manifestations, so many “angles” to consider in helping, I find myself struggling to know what to say or what to do to help. Mary’s book is the first book I found so practical in so many of those areas. She writes from experience. After being repeatedly raped at the age of five by two brothers and then betrayed by her babysitter (the mother of the boys) when she told her, Mary hid the act for 10 years. This book fills us in on what happened in her personal journey; how coming to Christ didn’t solve the issue; how speaking about it didn’t resolve it; how getting married didn’t stop the unwanted feelings; and more. What I really liked was hearing Patrick’s (her husband of 23 years) take. His input was valuable.
I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. I wish I had had this years ago. I was in my early 30s when I heard a lady speaker say to a group of pastors (I was one) that statistics reveal 2 out of 3 women in our churches have been molested, sexually abused in some way. I scoffed until within a week after the conference I had 3 women tell me in confidence they had been. My eyes were opened wide. Sadly, I had little knowledge and little I could help them with. While I would still fall woefully short, I have found a good resource to help me understand their pain.
One last thing: hurting people hurt people. One thing Mary points out is the tragedy of passing pain along and the need to stop the cycle. If you are a pastor, you must get this book. (I just bought 2 copies to give away and 3 to keep on hand). If you are a friend to someone who has been abused, you must get this book! If you have been abused, you must get this book (and some help). Well done Mary!!
Written by cycleguy on March 3rd, 2014
I never saw myself as the cowardly lion type. Check that. I might fit that bill when it comes to bungee jumping or sky diving. I am not afraid of heights but I don’t do fast drops very well. However, an incident happened to me Monday afternoon which has got me thinking that I might be more of one than I thought. I’d like to give you the scenario and then get your take on it.
Monday afternoon I visited the local Circle K (gas station/convenience store) to get Jo a Polar Pop and me a Rasberry Tea. (I’ve decided not to drink so much Diet Dr Pepper so I haven’t had one in two weeks). Anyway, as I was checking out, some loud mouth jerk began spouting off to one of his comrades, and after he shamed him into leaving, continued. In the space of about one minute he used the “F” word at least 6 or 7 times, a few other cuss words and God’s name in vain once. There were two employees (both females) standing right there. I know hearing those words is nothing new to either. Shoot, they ain’t even new to me.
I said nothing.
After I went outside, shame hit me. I went back into the store and apologized to the ladies. The one is older and had a child out of wedlock; the other was probably nigh teens/low 20s, so neither are naive. I told them: “That guy was a jerk and I hope you don’t think we are all like that. But I really want to apologize because I didn’t speak up for you and defend you, but this is your store and I didn’t think it would be cool to make a scene.” They thanked me for thinking of them. (For once I wish I was Chuck Norris).
But I still can’t get it out of my mind. I want to say, “Courage. I need Courage.”
So, I’m asking you. What would you have done in that situation? You ever have one like that? Was I a coward?
Written by cycleguy on March 2nd, 2014
Last week while I was preaching on Luke 5 (demoniac), I mentioned that I believed in demons. They are real. But I also cautioned the folks about seeing a demon behind every rock.
This past Wednesday my college and best male friend called cancelling our planned Friday Pizza Hut lunch due to a death in the family. We compared “war stories” about the havoc weather has played on our church gatherings. He drives an hour to preach for a little country church and has had to cancel twice. We have had to cancel once, and that was when snow started falling about 7:00 am and was dropping over an inch an hour with some of the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen. Then I told him this observation:
I believe I saw a demon behind every snowflake falling…laughing at me.
Well, it is Sunday morning, 7:00, and the demons are laughing at me again…even though I can’t see them just yet. Our county is under an Orange, which means only essential driving (work) and emergency vehicles on the road. They have had us under a Watch, then Warning, for several days, but have not been able to track its certainty or potential. Well, it hit us sometime in the middle of the night with freezing mist. I made it to the office at 4:00 and the main roads were fine. The sidewalks of the church building were also fine since we spread salt last night. Within two hours my truck had iced over again and the lot and walks were a solid sheet of ice. So we made the decision to cancel services today. I, personally, don’t want the responsibility of someone having an accident or falling and breaking something.
BUT I KNOW I SAW OR HEARD SOME DEMONS LAUGHING.
Every ice particle. Every icy glaze. Soon every snowflake (expecting 3-8″) starting about noon.
Frustration is an enemy who would be easy to have right about now. It has been the winter from you-know-where. Funny. Winter and hell don’t seem to mix. I’m not sure I have ever experienced one quite like this before. But such is life. And honestly, I am not complaining. I have learned it does no good to complain about the weather since I can’t change it or stop it anyway. Go with the flow. Encourage people to stay inside and be safe.
Nope, I am not and will not complain. But bike riding season can’t come quick enough. Then those stupid demons will probably laugh at the 100+ degree temps. “Get behind me!”
Have a great week my friends. How was your weekend weather? And yes, I give you permission to rub it in.
Written by cycleguy on February 27th, 2014
I read a really cool story recently:
James Thurber went to a dinner party after he had lost his eyesight and speculated to a friend that one of the couples there was on the verge of breaking up. Thurber’s friend objected, “That’s not possible! I’ve never seen such a friendliness and smiling.” “Yes,” Thurber replied. “You saw them. I heard them. A few months later the couple divorced.
I have talked to and heard people who say those without one of the senses tend to be more aware in the others. After all Daredevil fought crime even though he was blind.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have better sight spiritually. To have my eyes and heart more attuned to God and His plan. To have my eyes and heart more attuned to people and their needs. I admit I don’t see nearly as clear as I would like most of the time. The little glimpses give me hope that SOMEDAY…
I’ll be finished reading through Mark on Friday but as I read through chapter 8 I was struck again by the insight displayed there, especially by Peter in his confession of who Jesus was. I would say Peter was given some extra “sight” to respond as he did.
I’d sure like to have that kind of “sight.” Wouldn’t you? And so…where are you on the “sight” meter?
Please check out my other site, The Great Adventure, for insight into this Sunday’s message (if weather allows it).
Written by cycleguy on February 26th, 2014
Monday evening I was visiting with a family of various adult ages and was trying to illustrate the tie faith has with repentance, confession, and, ultimately, baptism. I used a practical illustration. I looked at the young man and said, “(His name), suppose you told (name of fiance’) you loved her, then hauled off and slugged her. Do you think she would feel your actions back your words?” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that.
Love moves to action. If I say, “I love you” my actions should (operative word) back what I say. If I say “I love Jesus” then my actions should put feet to my faith.
Then, as it would happen, I was on my way home from the orthodontist today (Wednesday) and this song came on my CD player. This song was written for “To Write Love On Her Arms”-a ministry to help those who “cut.” But the basic truth of the song is true for life: love is a movement. It is never stagnant.
The Good News of Jesus was never meant to be kept to ourselves.
I’m reminded of words Someone once said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” That verse speaks of love being a movement. We fail when we don’t.
Written by cycleguy on February 25th, 2014
Since we are all good at communicating with each other, I reckon there is no need to talk or write about it. But since there might just be one person, one couple, who does not have perfect communication, I offer this video. It is just under two minutes long.
I thought it was hilarious. Surprised?
Maybe many of you have already seen it. It still does not blunt the truth of the matter: communicating- whether as husband and wife, or as person to person-is not easy. It takes time. Hard work. Patience. A listening ear. Honesty. Oh…so many words to include in that list.
This hits me because I tend to be a “fixer.” As I have matured (okay so maybe gotten older) I have learned I cannot fix people’s problems. The pastor in me wants to. The husband and father in me wants to. The friend in me wants to. The reality is people will do what they want to do with or without my help. I can only be a voice trying to help.
But I still need to listen and listen closely to the heartbeat of that other person.
How are you at communicating?
Written by cycleguy on February 24th, 2014
You’ve seen and so have I:
ONE SIZE FITS ALL!
I don’t wear a “one-size-fits-all” shoe. Nor do I wear a “one-size-fits-all” pair of pants. (You might have trouble with mine). Not even my cycling clothes, helmet, gloves, or bike is a “one-size-fit-all,”
I have noticed (and unfortunately tried to do it) we often do the pigeon-hole exercise, i.e. what works for one will work for another. You and I both know that will not work…and yet…and yet…we try to do it.
First, we do it by judgment. That person is wearing a rainbow shirt so he/she must be (________). The girl has purple hair or that guy has tats and piercings so he/she must be a rebel. I have a member of the church I pastor who is the General Manager of the Bloomington Harley-Davidson. What does that conjure up in your mind?
By the same case, we tend to pigeon-hole people into “fixes.” What fixes one fixes another. We know that is not and cannot be true. In her book, Not Marked, Mary Demuth quotes Ursula K. La Guin:
A creative child is a child who survived. (p,97)
What she is saying (in relation to Mary’s book) is this: there is no way we can take the “one-size-fits-all” approach to people’s problems. What works for one may not work for another. Raising children is that way. Raise more than one and see if they aren’t different. Tami loved to sit and learn to read. Janna hated it. It was going to be at her own speed. Same parentage. Same womb. Way different girls.
Helping people come to grips with their past (or present) is not a mass market process. Each one is unique and individual.
Giving that God is the one who “fixes” not us, how do you approach helping people “right” their ship?
Written by cycleguy on February 23rd, 2014
I am a person of feelings. I make no apology for that. I sometimes have trouble making the separation between empathy and taking on the person’s pain. I’m a good listener (have become one over time), but sometimes not a good counselor because I “feel” too much. I sometimes get taken for a ride because my heart engages without the “discernment radar” going up.
That is not all bad. Nor is that all good. I need to find a balance.
I’m reading a book right now which I hope to tell you more about later this week. That will depend on how much time I find to read with a schedule which already looks like a blur. Anyway, I’d like to share a quote from that book which really got me thinking:
To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness it to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living. Dr. Irene Brown as quoted in “Not Marked” by Mary Demuth (p.66)
It would be dead wrong for me to try (I have) to turn off my feelings. I am an emotional creature. I engage in just about everything I am involved in. I very seldom take a sideline approach. That includes caring.
I can’t stop. I won’t stop. God made me that way.
What about you? Do you feel or are you more withdrawn?