Recognition

Written by cycleguy on March 4th, 2015

There are times that totally surprise the daylights out of you…you know? Last night was one of them.

Every year there is a scholarship offered to the senior students of Indiana schools. It is called the Lilly Endowment and it is a really big deal. I believe it pays for tuition for all four years…as long as the student attends an Indiana school. That is a huge deal since many of the Indiana schools (Rose-Hulman, Taylor, Butler, Anderson and others) are super expensive schools. So tons of students apply but only a few are chosen.

Tuesday night the finalists were introduced to a large group of people which included family, friends, and interested community members. They tell a little about themselves purely as information. The finalist will not be revealed until May 6th. One of the finalists invited Jo & me to attend.  We were quite honored to be asked.

What surprised me though was one of the speakers talked about his church and specifically introduced me. I have to admit I was stunned. I didn’t pay him…honestly!! :)  I never even knew I had that much of an influence on him, so I am still, even this morning, somewhat taken aback by his recognition. Not that I’m complaining (unless he wanted brownie points from God because he mentioned a pastor). ;)

My point is not to boast, because I certainly hope it is not taken as that. My point is the influence we have on people when we don’t even know.  It has often been said that no matter where we go someone knows us. I would go further to add: no matter whom we come in contact with we have an influence. Good or bad.

Just think about it.

 

Idolatry

Written by cycleguy on March 3rd, 2015

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Last week’s discussion about Bobby’s book touched on idols. I used Bobby’s definition of idols and said an “idol is a God-supplanter.” Since that is such a broad subject, and I didn’t have enough room last week (the post would have been way too long), I thought I would finish the topic this week.

The question we are all faced with is this: what are some of the contemporary idols we struggle with?

#1: Stuff

#2: Cash

#3: Sex

#4: Technology

#5: Beauty

#6: Entertainment

#7: Success

#8: Religion

Quite a list Bobby has made up. I chose not to go into even minor details about each one because I don’t think there really is a need to. You know what they are. You know what they stand for. You know their power. If not all, then part. You probably could add more if given a chance (and you will).

So, what’s the secret to defeating these idols? According to Bobby it is craving God. (P.82). Can’t say I disagree with Him. If an idol captures our heart, then giving our heart to God is the antidote. What that looks like?????

Let me ask you: would you add any idols to the list? And what does craving God look like to you?

 

Predictable2

Written by cycleguy on March 2nd, 2015

Previously on Cycleguy’s Spin

“If you, as God’s child, will simply claim healing, prosperity, and the filling of the Spirit-claim it aloud in the name of Jesus, and keep claiming it over and over-you WILL move the hand of God. God WILL heal you! God WILL prosper you! Just claim it in the name of Jesus and it is yours!”

I’m opening up a can of worms here.

Those words from dogmatic men women shysters are so common that they have become a bedrock of belief for many throughout the church worldwide.

But honestly…I have yet to see how someone who claims to study the Bible, can seriously believe that garbage! Take a look around people!! Methinks those who spout off that poppycock like the lining of their pockets.

I have some serious questions to ask: Is God that predictable that He would guarantee all blessings, equal blessings, to all people? Is He so predictable we think He can be manipulated into action on our behalf?

It is true God is predictable. “He is the same  yesterday, today, and forever” we are told. His character is predictable. He is holy. Loving. Merciful. Full of grace. Truthful. And more. But never are we told God makes everyday life smooth. And prosperous. And well.

What is predictable is God has promised to go through whatever storms life throws at us…with us. I’ll listen and hang onto that truth far sooner than I will lies of prosperity and wellness.

I love it that God is predictable…in who He is. That makes all the difference in the world.

 

Predictable1

Written by cycleguy on March 1st, 2015

They got it right!

Unfortunately.

They said we were going to get 2-4″ of snow. They were right-only they missed (I am guessing) by about 4-5″. Snow started about 7:00 Saturday night (on that they were also right) and continued all night and it was still snowing when I woke up at 4:00. Here it is almost 8:00 and it is still snowing. We cancelled our first service last night and were going to have just one. With this much snow and the roads a mess we cancelled the second as well. In my 9 1/2 years here this is only the 2nd time we have had to do so.

The weather is so unpredictable. We had been having a really mild winter until just over a week or so ago. Then BAM! Our kids get two weeks for Spring Break-the first a built in snow day week; the second a set week. Reckon they will lose that first week now. :(  But that is Indiana in the winter time. No complaining here. I’ve realized I can’t change one thing about the weather-rain, snow, sleet, ice, sun-so why complain? All it gets is a grumpy attitude.

And I refuse to be a grump.  And I am thankful I have a 4×4. :)

I called this post Unpredictable1. It was not what I was planning on writing. That will come tomorrow in Unpredictable2.

Does the weather get you down or do you pretty much go with the flow?

 

Hypocrisy

Written by cycleguy on February 26th, 2015

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Name one thing which is considered to be one of, if not the most damaging chink in Christianity’s armor and I suspect you may get 9 out of 10 saying, “Hypocrisy.” Many lives have been derailed by exposure to someone who claimed to be what they were not or how they acted.

Hypocrisy is nothing new. While we tend to have blinders on at times, it is no should be no surprise hypocrisy was part of the early church as well.  “Well, of course,” you say. “Remember Ananias and Sapphira?” That pops to our mind readily. But not so readily is the guilt of the early leaders. Men who were “pillars” (Gal.2: 6 & 9) were also guilty. In fact Paul is pretty blunt in his assessment of Peter in  Galatians 2: 11-14. Paul was not a mess-around type of guy, especially when it came to the Gospel and telling the story to all.

Grace is for all people, all races, all nationalities, all persuasions. In the early church that meant Jew and Gentile alike.  The problem which developed determines how much you wanted to hold to tradition or be a “grace-giver.” Peter chose to hide. Paul chose to be up front.

We can learn several lessons from this small passage of Scripture (which I plan to share Sunday morning):

  • Anyone can fall, even those who seem to have it all together.
  • Right doctrine without right behavior always produces hypocrisy.
  • Truth is more important than outward beauty and peace.

Paul once told Timothy to “Watch your life and teaching closely.” (I Tm.4:16) It doesn’t matter who it is. Hypocrisy strikes all walks of life. All ages. All professions.

Sometimes grace rebukes. Ask Peter.

Your prayers are appreciated.

 

Quotes

Written by cycleguy on February 25th, 2015

Earlier this week I went with 5 other guys from the church to Catalyst OneDay. I wrote about that here.  I’m a still a little shell-shocked from the traveling, two late nights (for me), and a whole day of learning. Wednesday I spent some time in court (no I’m not in jail) so that always brings a certain amount of “nerves” and then release.

So I’m a little fried. I thought I would let others speak for me.

“The longer a church is stalled, the harder it is to break out.” CG  That sure says why some churches trapped in tradition for so long are often “dead in the water.”

“If you are not dead, you are not done!” CG  So true. How many give up without a fight thinking they are over the hill? Even though my age says 62 and I certainly don’t have the stamina I used to, I feel more alive than I ever have.

“We are not a megachurch. We are a microchurch with a mega vision.” CG  I like this one. A big vision helps expand the thinking of the church, and therefore expands the ministry of that church.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” David in Psalm 127:1 I am not one who calls the place of worship the house of God. I believe the Holy Spirit is present in each Christ-follower, making us His temple-His house. The church is the body of Christ, not a building. Unless He builds the church, we waste our time.

Any thoughts?

CG is Craig Groeschel from Lifechurch.

 

Idols

Written by cycleguy on February 24th, 2015

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I grew up in West Mifflin, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Can you say, “Steel(er) country?” More to my liking can you say, “Pirate country?” But I rabbit trail.

Pittsburgh, if you check the history books, was a melting pot of nationalities. The promise of employment in the steel mills brought people from every nation on the planet. Polish. Greeks. Czechs. Slovaks. Italians. Negro (as they were called). You name it, it was there. So telling jokes on each other was par for the course.

So was religion. You name it, it was there, except for the prominent cults today (JW, Mormon), who were minor players back then. I grew up in a large Catholic area. When I thought of idols I thought of statues made of stone or metal. Idols bowed down to and worshiped. Idols on car dashes.

It is easy to dismiss “idol talk” being personal if that is the only picture one gets from idols. “I’m in the clear! Whew!!” But, as you know, an idol is more than a statue of stone, or a carving of some kind. An idol is a representation of what we honor, esteem, pay allegiance to, or worship. (p.73). Good definition. A definition which leaves none of us out of the discussion. An idol is something which attracts our attention and motivates us. I won’t lie. Basketball was, for the longest time, an idol to me. I have to watch cycling does not become that, especially in the summer.

Bobby says, “An idol, at its core, is a God-supplanter.” (p.75) I’m not sure one can find a better statement than that about idols. It takes the place normally reserved for God and places Him in a lower position. You know what?

GUILTY AS CHARGED!

The real Game of Thrones is who will we place on the throne? Any thoughts? What idol do you struggle with?

 

More

Written by cycleguy on February 23rd, 2015

I wasn’t going to post anything just for the sake of posting. However, I have this song (among other things) running through my head this Monday morning.

I was first made aware of this song by one of our worship leaders, Peter, who has had to take a hiatus from our band due to temporarily moving to Nashville, TN for his wife, Stephanie, to take care of her ailing mother. Her mother went to be with Jesus a couple of weeks ago but since  Peter does tile work and had made commitments to people through April, he/they will be staying there until his projects are finished. He most certainly will be welcomed back. He/they are missed.

If you prefer something with a bit more pep, check out this Martin Smith song.

There. A song to make you think. Pray. Long for.

A song to tap your feet to. Enjoy!

 

Missing

Written by cycleguy on February 22nd, 2015

I’m posting this Sunday night like I always do. (I post at 8:00 the night before and posts run all day).  But this post comes with something different.

Monday, Ryan (our youth pastor) and I head to Catalyst OneDay in Lexington, KY with four other guys for a one day lesson in Leadership on Tuesday. Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley are the featured speakers. I have attended 4 OneDays so far and have come away enriched in leadership each time. I look forward to it this time and what makes it better is five other guys will be going with me.

The difference? I will be unable to respond to this post past 10:00 Monday morning and none at all on Tuesday. So rather than just post something for the sake of posting something, I will be missing in your inbox on Tuesday. I know that makes you extremely disappointed.  :)  I will post something Tuesday night which will run all day Wednesday (which I will be able to respond to).

So I give you this video to watch, listen to, and be inspired by.

 

Commendation

Written by cycleguy on February 19th, 2015

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Our recent paper had this to say about someone chosen to serve our local government:

“The retired Infantry Captain with the Indiana National Guard was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for service in combat in Iraq and received four Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, and was awarded the Order of St.Maurice by the National Infantry Association. Airborne qualified (name) served as company commander in Iraq, responsible for 131 men and $38 million in government property for one year. His background also includes serving as a human resource officer for 700 soldiers and he managed three unit bank accounts.”

That is some commendation and list of commendations!  And I have absolutely no problem with that.

My problem comes when we make a big deal of things in the church. You know…our own pews, our own chairs, name plates on communion trays or offering plates, naming buildings after people. Somehow I have trouble seeing Paul wanting the church addition honored in his name. :)

One of the problems the American church has (and probably all really) is believing-or at least practicing-that one person does all the work. The pastor or youth pastor or whomever is looked up to as the Grand Pooh-Pah of all things holy in the local church. Dangerous business if you ask me. It takes more than one or two individuals to make a church “work.” It takes a team.

That is the theme for this Sunday’s message from Galatians 2:1-10. Your church needs YOU!