Hope

Written by cycleguy on April 20th, 2014

Just wanted to touch base with you on this Resurrection Sunday evening (and Monday). I used the following “ditty” near the end of my message and wanted to pass it on to you. I’m sure you have heard it, but it won’t hurt to relay it again;

It has been said that a man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but not one second without hope.

The whole Easter story is a story of hope. You see, if all we live for is this life, then there is no hope. Whether we literally feel life isn’t worth it or if we think we have it made, they are both devoid of hope.

I Corinthians 15 says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” That is our hope, an endless hope.

So…how was your Resurrection Day gathering? Anything exciting to share? We met at the Tivoli theater for one service and had a really good crowd. The music was good. The fellowship was good. The sermon was dubious. :) (It was also not recorded so you will be unable to check it out). :(

 

Discovery

Written by cycleguy on April 16th, 2014

It is not a shock to anyone associated with the calendar what is significant about this weekend. I’m not going to get into the old “it’s-not-really-the-right-time-of-the-year” argument concerning the date. Gregorian calendar. Gregorian chant. Makes no difference to me at all. This is a special time of the year for all who follow Christ and even those who don’t.

For those who don’t: the merchants will profit and others will see it as a way to get some time off. My wife’s work closes on Good Friday and pays her for it. Not to celebrate too much: she works Saturday. :)

For those who do follow Christ: it is a time of celebration. Some will argue Easter should have more significance than Christmas. Makes no difference to me. You can’t have Easter if there is no Christmas. No death and resurrection if no birth.

I like this time for several reasons (and none of it involves candy even though I love chocolate):

The cross is the launching pad into an existence Jesus modeled and told us we had access to.

The cross is only beautiful because of the empty tomb.

We celebrate His death because of His resurrection.

The power of love is perfected when sinners become saints.

The whole point of Jesus’ death and resurrection was that we would encounter love and become love.

I borrowed the above highlighted thoughts from Prone to Love by Jason Clark (p.166)

I’m going to be taking some time away from here over the weekend. Jo has Friday off and I have already been “encouraged” to spend the day with her. Friday evening we are having a night of worship. Sunday we will be together as a church body for one worship experience at the Tivoli theater. I am preaching on John 11.

Have a great Resurrection weekend. See you back here later Sunday night or sometime Monday. I hope to hear some of your resurrection day victories.

 

Valves

Written by cycleguy on April 15th, 2014

We all have “go to” valves we use when needed.

We lose focus.

Hope.

Enthusiasm.

Desire to go on.

Energy.

(Note: I’m not necessarily talking about depression because I know that is a multi-layered malady which sometimes needs more than a “walk in the park” or a “walk around the block” to get back on course.)

The “go to’ valves are many and as varied as there are people. It is pretty easy to know what my “go to” valve is. My blog isn’t called Cycleguy’s Spin for nothing. :) I read an interesting quote the other day:

“When work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1896

I have to admit doing this very thing without even knowing there was a saying by a well-known individual to “justify” it. Some knit. Some play video games. Some do puzzles. Some exercise. Some get out on their Harley. I ride a bike…just a different kind.

That is a little thing. Sadly, there are people who try everything but the kitchen sink to satisfy their longings, to get out of the mundane and monotonous, to find hope. We are about to celebrate the ONE ACT that gives hope a capital “H.”

What are you hoping for this Resurrection Weekend? For yourself? Family? Friends?

 

NeverDone

Written by cycleguy on April 15th, 2014

I had one of those days yesterday…busy beyond belief. It started early and ended up really late. They were good things…I am not complaining.

An elders meeting that was very positive.

A longer than normal Building Team meeting which was a definite “upper.”  Plans are beginning to add some much-needed space. All that to say I failed to write a post. So this morning I came to the office a little tired but also anticipating the day with some expectancy.

Then I read this post which really got me thinking about second chances and hope. I’ve said many times (and still believe it with all my heart) that no one is beyond hope. No one is beyond being loved. No one is beyond the reach of God’s arms. The cross proves it. The resurrection seals it. Lives changed demonstrate it.

My mind gravitated to this song. Hope it provides you with some hope and reassurance today.

What are you thoughts on second chances? Do you have a second chance story? Why not drop over to Betty’s post and leave a comment?

 

WelcomeHome

Written by cycleguy on April 13th, 2014

You may heard it said “what we believe determines how we live. What we believe controls our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions.”

Take the parable Jesus told about the younger son who took his inheritance and ran away. Honestly, I have trouble calling it the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” I want to call it the “Parable of the Loving Father” or “The Good Father.”

Taking that opening statement and applying it to that younger son, we can see it. He believed he didn’t need his father. He didn’t need to be under his wing any longer. So he does what the old song says, “Go on and take your money and run.” He soon found out being on his own wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, especially when things got tough.

But he remembered one thing: his father’s house. His father’s servants had it better than him. So he packed it in and headed home. His belief about his father actually fell a bit short when you think about it. He was sorry for what he did. His father went a step further: he welcomes him home and back into full sonship.

We miss out on much when we forget our loving Father has such a huge heart.

What are your feelings about that opening line?

 

Immeasurable

Written by cycleguy on April 10th, 2014

When my girls were growing up we used to do a little thing from time to time.

“I love you.”

“I love you gobs.”

“I love you gobs and oodles.”

“I love you gobs and oodles and mucho.”

“I love you gobs and oodles, mucho and immensely.”

That is about where my use of adjectives ended.  :)

It was a fun game. Truth is: I love my girls so much no words could describe how I really feel. I have always told them they could never do anything to stop my love for them. I meant it then; I mean it now.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G they could do could every stop my love for them. They now live out of our home, in other parts of the country. One in Knoxville; the other in Powell, OH. I love them both equally, although each is my favorite. :)

I sense God’s love being the same way. Nothing I do could ever stop Him from loving me. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  Do I always do what is right? Guess again. But fortunately, His love for me is NOT based on what I do or don’t do. (Don’t let anyone tell you any different). His love for me is based on Who He is. His love is

IMMEASURABLE

Hold that in your heart today. Live with that truth this weekend. Have a great weekend.

For information about my sermon this Sunday, check out this post on my other blog.

 

Misplaced

Written by cycleguy on April 9th, 2014

Part of my Thursday will be spent at an Indianapolis hospital while someone has exploratory surgery for possible cancer. So I thought I would simply say something that has been brewing  in my thoughts.

With the plethora of “health/wealth” false teaching we hear today, we often look at God as the “Magic Genie”-the one who will fulfill our every wish/whim. We will love God because of what He can or does do for us. There is an old song with the words: “Lord, I praise You because of who You are, not for all the mighty things you have done.” If we only love God for what He can do for us, if our love revolves around needs met, our love is misplaced. It is no different than me saying I will love Jo only if she meets certain needs or wants I have. You would be correct in saying (if you say I have any love at all) that it is definitely misplaced.

The ultimate question that faces us is why do I love God? Do I love Him for what He does or gives or simply because of who He is? Your answer?

 

GriefRevisited

Written by cycleguy on April 8th, 2014

I mentioned in this post that OVCF would be hosting a Grief Recovery Weekend called “From Mourning to Joy.” We had several reasons for hosting this type of weekend.

One, there are so many hurting people in Owen County (just like every where else).

Two, a new small group ministry is beginning in Spencer called GriefShare.  OVCF is serving as the umbrella for the group, but it is meeting somewhere else.

Several points were highlighted with regularity and I thought I might share them with you and say a few words about each one.

1. Grief knows no bounds. That is a given. We focused primarily on death, in particularly death of a child and spouse. We left out, to my chagrin, death of a parent. I hope to remedy that next year if we do this again.

2. Grief is not limited to death. Again, I failed to really address this in the event and the publicity. Divorce is a grieving situation for many. Joblessness. Failing business. Runaway children/spouse. I’m not sure how to address all these life-changing events, but hope to do so somehow.

3. There are certain things to say and not to say. I could go on and on about this. Maybe in a future post I will.

4. It was an emotionally draining weekend. We did a Friday night and Saturday (9-2:00). That may have been too long. I was wiped out (and still am to some degree). My anti-draining activity? Since I didn’t have to preach Jo & I went to Captain America. Yowzer!  :D

5. Grieving is never over. Everyone who spoke made sure this point was made. You still gotta move on though and not be paralyzed.

I honestly believe people were helped and given some hope. That is all we can ask for. Now for God to continue growing the seed of hope placed inside them.

Too all of you who read my post and said you would pray: Thanks. I believe your prayers were answered.

Any thoughts on what I wrote?

 

Precipice

Written by cycleguy on April 7th, 2014

I am honored when someone asks me to do a review of their book, even though it is a mass mailing. :) I have been blogging back and forth with TC Avey for over a year, I suspect. and I was in that mass email asking for help in getting the word out about her new book , The Precipice. Here is my review:

Futuristic. When I hear that word I think of something akin to Hunger Games or Divergent (to name a couple of movies). I am guessing when the “brains” behind Back to the Future-Part 2 were brainstorming about 2015, I doubt they really thought about the reality of Hoverboards or Power Laces. (Nike has announced Power Laces may actually be available in…of all things…2015). But when I speak of futuristic, I am not referring to any of the above examples.

I am referring to a new book by TC Avey called The Precipice, subtitled “When Everything We Know Ends.”  When I signed up to help with her book launch, I had no idea what to expect. I knew TC had a burning ache for our country. I know she kept up with the political realm. I also know she is a follower of Christ. But I honestly had no idea what she had in mind when she wrote her book.

The Precipice is easy to read. It is actually three short (futuristic) stories, but not what you might think. They are not about a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion or robots (ala Transformers) or the need for SuperHeroes to come to the rescue.

Instead, The Precipice is three short stories about the future of America, specifically in relation to the “public” nature and expression of our faith. Here is a brief summary:

The Innocent and Simple: A man (David) invents a “big brother” type of device-a recorder which reads people’s thoughts. The only salvation from the recorder is a metal helmet called an “inoculator,” which protects against the air drones the government-the elites-has policing everywhere. The helmet blocks the thoughts of the person, but the helmet is ruining lives. David, the inventor of the recorder, wants to find an antidote. His suggestion? Well, you need to read the story.

The Price of Truth: A forbidden journal. An illegal religion. Government internment camps for Christians (known as “educational facilities”). Archaic biblical beliefs. Rations. Curfew. Media silenced from telling the truth. The solution? Well, you need to read the story.

What Would You Do? Going to church is illegal. A roster indicates who is a Christian. A sign on the church door says: “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK: DEATH TO ALL WHO DISOBEY!” Dying for their faith. A real twist at the end. Well, you need to read the story.

I have to admit: at first I wanted TC to continue the stories to their conclusions, but then I realized there really is no conclusion. The reader makes his own.

TC also includes a Reality Check and Discussion questions after each story. It is my humble opinion you ought to buy The Precipice; read it; find some others to do the same; discuss it with them; then take a good long hard look into the futuristic mirror. Well done TC!

You can purchase TC’s book from her website or from Amazon.

 

Secrets

Written by cycleguy on April 6th, 2014

Not everyone can keep secrets.

Perhaps you have heard the story of the three pastors who got together to talk. They decided full honesty and transparency was necessary as they talked about what besetting sin they struggled with.

The Baptist pastor admitted he liked to take a drink of wine when he came home at night to relax.

The Methodist pastor admitted he would sometimes watch a movie that was risque’.

The Pentecostal pastor admitted he struggled with gossip.

We may chuckle at that, but unfortunately we don’t have to be talking about pastors to see the difficulty with failing to keep secrets. I read of one musician who put the following words in a song: “Tell me your deep dark secret/ and I will tell you mine/ Is that your deep dark secret?/ Oh well, never mind.”

My very first mentor once told me one of the secrets to longevity in ministry is being able to keep secrets/confidences. He was trying to teach me early on I could avoid a ton of heartache if I learned to keep my trap shut. I finally learned.

Someone trusted me enough to tell me something. I ought to be trustworthy enough to keep it to myself.

How about you? How well do you do in keeping secrets/confidences?