Celebration!

Written by cycleguy on October 20th, 2017

Who doesn’t like a good celebration? Or for that matter, who doesn’t like a good reason to have one?

This Sunday, OVCF will celebrate our 13th anniversary. We have not gone overboard with it. That will be saved for #15 I suspect. Our plan is simple: have one service that morning. Follow that with a pitch-in dinner hopefully using the shelter (if the weather cooperates). Eat until we can’t eats no more!

Ryan and I will be presenting our Mission and Vision. We tag team well and it makes for a nice break. They don’t have to listen to me ramble on. Nor do they have to listen to Ryan do the same. I’ll talk about the Mission (To Connect People to Jesus) and the first two points of our Vision: 1) To be passionate pursuers of Jesus, and 2) To be models of truth and love.  Ryan will pick it up from there and talk about 3) To be involved in the community. He has a Power Point presentation of the teens helping at IDES in Indy just last week.

Then we will answer a few questions the people posed to us about your future building and our current construction. All in the purpose of update and accountability.

Looks to be a great day! I’d appreciate your prayers for us as we celebrate what God has been, is doing, and will do.

 

Awakened

Written by cycleguy on October 19th, 2017

Several years ago I reviewed a book by an online friend. It was called Shaken Awake by Allen Madding.  Since it was before I met many of you here, you can read my review of that book here. Several weeks ago, Allen contacted me and asked if I would review his newest book, Awakened.

Product Details

Shaken Awake was centered around a snow storm which hit Atlanta and literally crippled the city. After all, since when has it snowed like that in Atlanta? You can read my thoughts on Shaken Awake by reading the review.  Allen follows on the heels of that book with a sequel, which he has entitled Awakened.

The sequel follows the soul-stirring result of Pastor Sam and one of his leaders, Phil, as they are both moved to the depth of their soul because of the snow storm. Not only that, Pastor Sam is deeply rocked by the death of a homeless man on the steps of the Peachtree Church which he pastors. The church is in dire straits financially, as well as morale, and “what will we do about our future?” Pastor Sam comes in contact and befriends Fred, Miss Gladys, Lewis Davis and other homeless people in his continuing journey to come to grips with the homeless population and how he can help. We also meet others who are not part of the homeless community- community leaders, movers and shakers- who take an interest in the homeless of their city.

Eventually Pastor Sam and Phil hear of a community in Austin, TX (a real-live one in real life) called Community First! Village and its corresponding outreach called Mobile Loaves and Fishes, which has done an amazing job of listening to and addressing the needs of the homeless in Austin. That real life ministry is led by Alan Graham. After a visit to Community First!, Pastor Sam and Phil know they have their work cut out for them. Community First! is a planned community designed to address homelessness. (I have Alan’s book in my Amazon cart).

I don’t want to say any more about the gist of the book because I would have to put up Spoiler Alert! all over the place. So let me just encourage you to buy Allen’s book. I had trouble putting it down, but forced myself so I could go to bed several nights in a row. My reading time was limited so finding the time to read was a real struggle but I made time after I started reading. 10 minutes here. Half hour there. An hour or two here. That is how caught up I was in this book. My emotions were all over the place. My mind raced to make application to my little town. I want to do something to change this whole situation. I believe you will also be stirred by reading this book and may even want to become locally active in addressing the homeless situation in your community.

Allen has written a great book and has presented a doable challenge to all of us.

 

Politics

Written by cycleguy on October 18th, 2017

I’m not big on politics. Frankly they turn my stomach. I simply refuse to preach politics from the pulpit. I won’t endorse any candidate from the pulpit and seldom say much on a more personal level of discussion. But while the following article from Chuck Swindoll might be speaking of politics to start, it switches gears quickly and speaks about an even more insidious cancer which eats away at pastors, churches, and people in general. Here’s Chuck:

I see it every night on the news. The politics of backslapping and handshaking and making sure “so-and-so” isn’t turned off—it’s maddening! (We call it “smoke-blowing” here in Texas.)

At the end of the political rainbow the pot of gold is “favorable public opinion.” Period.

If we’re not careful, we can let politics work its way into our churches. And even worse, into our pulpits. In fact, the pastorate is a breeding ground for this sort of thing—maybe more than most professions.

I love the way the apostle Paul keeps our motives clean and focus sharp:

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4–5 NLT)

People-pleasing is a very tempting allurement, especially for people in ministry, because most of what we do gets done through people.

When needing volunteer positions filled—whether . . .

  • In the nursery
  • For a Sunday school class
  • Among the ushers
  • In our music ministry

It’s easy to massage our words and say more than we mean . . . or say something other than what we mean. (That’s called a lie.) The pastor must resist the temptation to flatter. We must refuse to play both sides against the middle.

Don’t go there. Why? Because once you start, it’s hard to stop.

When a pastor is a people-pleaser, he sits on the fence so as not to offend anyone. He remains neutral when he should NOT be playing it safe.

He tells people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.

That’s not pastoring . . . that’s politics.

Look at the apostle’s words one more time. I find myself both challenged and refreshed by Paul’s transparency:

Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.

—Chuck

I spent way too many years as a people-pleaser, i.e. playing the political game. As I got older I realized that was a losing game. So today, while I try to be sensitive to people and their feelings, I also realize sometimes “politicians” can be the biggest hindrance to the church being the church.

Are you a people-pleaser? Is your pastor one? Are you part of the reason he is? Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

 

Sunrise

Written by cycleguy on October 17th, 2017

One of the values of being on vacation is one has a choice: do I get up or do I stay in bed? Except for one morning, I chose to get up early. I got up, had my Quiet Time of reading my devotions, Bible and New Morning Mercies. I journaled so I could contribute to the online group “discussion” I have with 5 other guys, then I headed to the fitness center. I was impressed with the size and machines available. I didn’t get any pictures of my working out because I didn’t want anyone to be blown away by tested muscles…or by asking, “You work out?”  🙂

But what getting up early and heading downstairs to the center afforded me was opportunities to see scenes like these: 

And my favorite:

The latter was Sunday morning as we took our last walk on the beach before we left. We flew to Orlando on Monday, the 2nd, then on to Daytona Beach. But we needed to leave the timeshare by 10:00 Sunday and head back to Orlando. We were meeting old friends from OVCF, Caleb & Wendy Petree, for lunch. That was our timetable. The rental had different ideas as it wouldn’t start. So we waited for over an hour for a jump. We did get to meet up with the Petree’s.

I told the folks this past Sunday, “You can take the preacher out of his church but you can’t take the church out of the preacher.” So while we were walking the beach I had an audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah…they didn’t listen very well. I couldn’t even keep the interest of the guy riding his bike. They were, for the most part, ignoring me. Go figure.

As I mentioned earlier, we made our way to Orlando to meet the Petree’s and went to an Irish pub at Disney Springs. The food was okay but the entertainment was superb! I felt like I was back watching Riverdance. The three musicians were fantastic, especially the female fiddler. The 4 dancers (2 guys/2 girls) were absolutely phenomenal. We sat right by the stage and saw it all up close. Their feet moved faster than my eyes could take it all in I think!

Monday, the 9th, was monumental on several fronts. First, we flew back to Indiana. Second, it was my 65th birthday. I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than with my bride of 44+ years. We owe a debt of thanks to Jerry & Gail Horn who made it all possible with the gift of the timeshare. They have yet to realize the “salvation” they brought to me and Jo. After two bicycles wrecks, 2 surgeries, 2 brushes with death, it was much needed. So a very public thank you to Jerry & Gail. I kept their names quiet until after the fact. 🙂

That was our first walk on the beach. This is one I captured and I’m not sure she even knows.

And this tells our story. Tami says it is sappy. But…oh well…

Thanks for coming along on my journey. Hope you enjoyed it. I will be back to my regularly scheduled-type-of-posts in my next one.

 

Eatingandsuch

Written by cycleguy on October 15th, 2017

I’d like to continue my travelogue for a post or two more. Eating is a staple of any vacation…unless you are on a dieting vacation where you watch all you eat. That was my kind. I watched it from my plate to my mouth. Besides Aunt Catfishes we also ate at Joe’s Crabshack.

We have heard a lot about Joe’s but have never eaten there. It was a long walk down the beach to Joe’s but well worth it. I had shrimp and fish and Jo had fish and chips. Interesting fact: I asked our waiter if they had any hurricane damage and he said, “No. The windows are hurricane windows and stood the test.”  That certainly can’t be said of all the buildings around there.

On Thursday we took the suggestion of one of the men from the church and visited Ponce Inlet. They have a famous lighthouse there, a beautifully build brick one as you can see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ponce Inlet is named after Ponce de Leon, an early traveler and founder. The lighthouse had 203 steps and in the 85+ degree heat neither Jo nor I were willing to tackle walking the steps, especially with the $7 each price tag. So I settled for 3 souvenirs I brought back for Ryan, Diana, and myself. Here they are:

They are to remind us Jesus is the Light of the World and we shine His light for Him to be seen. The above picture on the right tells you a little bit about the lighthouse.

We were going to eat lunch at…are you ready for this name?…”Down the Hatch” but it was closed due to the hurricane damage it sustained. They catch the fish and bring it in and cook it right on the spot. I was sort of disappointed but that’s the way it is.

We weren’t the only ones who wanted to eat. As we walked away from Joe’s I saw these birds lined up along the top of the railing. I don’t know if they were looking for some unsuspecting person to play “bombs away” with or whether they were looking for food to scavenge. I told Jo they looked like they were getting ready to pounce.

And finally, don’t let them kid you they don’t have something for everyone. We were able to get Braden a t-shirt which said, “Legends are born in October.” Don’t have a picture of that one. But I do have a picture of one made just for me because they knew I was coming!

I know…sick. But had to have some fun along the way. Tomorrow will be my last travelogue journey. We had a tremendous week. I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride.

 

 

Father

Written by cycleguy on October 13th, 2017

Like most dads, I’d like to believe I was a good father. I know I made some mistakes along the way (so they tell me), but all in all I think I was and still am a pretty good father. Here’s how I know. Besides, the normal things like laughing, playing, listening, attending their games, concerts and other functions (even though at times we were the parents who were “over there”), and being a support to them, I told them they could have whatever pet they wanted, just not a cat. I didn’t have to worry about a snake, turtle, and definitely not something in the hamster/gerbil family (they were too close to mice). And I was a good father/husband because far be it from me to laugh when they jumped up on the chair or couch or screamed their lungs out when they saw a mouse.  I could tell you more but it would make me look really good bad.

I’ve always said that it was too bad raising children didn’t come with an operator’s manual. Then again, it wouldn’t work since all kids are different. That manual would have to be bigger than a Family Bible! Being a father is one of the greatest privileges I have ever had. In fact, I would put it second to being married to Jo.

It is also pretty well agreed that our view of God is formed and predicated on our relationship with our earthly father. As part of this series, I have talked about God the Son and God the Holy Spirit but pushed this particular one- God the Father-to the end. So this Sunday I will be looking at God as

  • A Patient Father
  • A Forgiving Father
  • A Proud Father

Your prayers would be appreciated.

 

StormsaComin”!

Written by cycleguy on October 12th, 2017

Wednesday brought 25 mph winds and high surf. It also brought a fantastic view of a brewing storm. I’m going to put them one after the other so you can see.

Four different views but all of the same storm. The storm which never hit us. The first one was to my right and you can see the rain in the storm. The building is Joe’s Crab Shack. The other three were pictures of the storm as it developed. I’m not sure if it went north of us or if it just stayed out at sea. I never heard. But it was a powerful and beautiful sight to behold.  You can see how the storm out at sea kicked up the surf.

In that first picture someone asked if that was garbage. The answer is No. The stuff stacked to the right is some type of sea plant…seaweed maybe (?) left over from Irma’s surge. The white mounds were foam left when the waves came ashore, stopped and retreated.  The foam collected and then just stayed there. It was really strange.

Storms all around us but they never came at us. Sort of like life. There are times others are being hit by storms and we see the gathering clouds but then we find ourselves never being hit. Of course, there are time we are hit but that does not change the fact that God is in the whirlwind and the storm. Psalm 46 seems appropriate right about now, particularly verses 2–7.

Good lesson for us all to remember. “God is a very present help in time of trouble.”

Stay tuned next week for more pictures and hopefully more lessons. The weekend is coming and my next post will be about Sunday’s sermon. I know…you are waiting with baited breath for that one! 🙂

 

Seconds

Written by cycleguy on October 11th, 2017

Seconds usually means a person goes to the food table to get “seconds,” a refill if you will.  Our second day was not a repeat of the first day. Some friends of ours, Ryan and Amanda, who used to live in Florida told us we had to go to Aunt Catfishes  in Port Orange. After a ’round about way to get there (thanks to the voice in our head phone), we finally arrived at Port Orange…early. Like very early. They didn’t open until 11:30. We got there about 10:00 so we just drove around in Port Orange. There really wasn’t much to see in the way of sightseeing, although we did get to see left over damage from Hurricane Irma.  Many folks had furniture, etc piled near the road. I felt bad for them. Sort of made me wonder how many lost a lot…most everything…or very little. We saw houses damaged. Palm tree leaves were piled high in multiple places. But the hour finally arrived and AC opened. I think they cheated a bit. We were there on the tick and multiple people were seated.

The food was everything Ryan and Amanda said it would be. I had salmon and a great salad bar! Jo had a hamburger. Yeah…go figure. 🙂 They had damage from Irma but largely due to a broken window that allowed 2 feet of water in. They just ripped out the carpet and went back into business after about 2 days.

We headed back to the timeshare and the following pictures will tell you enough of the day. Let’s just say 25 mph winds can kick up a surf.

Stay tuned tomorrow for what happens when a storm rages at sea within camera range.

 

Firsts

Written by cycleguy on October 10th, 2017

As many of you know we took the past week and headed off for our first “alone” vacation. That means we went where no one knew us and we saw no one we knew until Sunday afternoon when we went back to Orlando to turn in our rental car.  I also confess I broke my “internet darkness” when I checked my email but that was it. I read two novels and started a more “serious” book. You can read about the “why” and the “how” of the vacation here. But I thought I would take a few posts and just show you a little bit of what Jo and I experienced.

First look:

First meal:  (Can you guess where?)

First morning (Tuesday):

I took this after working out at the fitness center. I was treated to beautiful sunrises every morning. (Jo was sleeping…which was her goal).  Here is another from a straight on angle. It would be left of the previous one.

As I said, I was treated each morning to a beautiful sunrise. It made me marvel at just another part of God’s creation which I have never seen before. I’ll add more pictures each day this week. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderful week. Hope you had a good week but I hope this one facing you is even better.

 

RestAway

Written by cycleguy on October 1st, 2017

This has been “one of those years.” I’m not complaining, mind you, but informing.

November 5th: my first bike wreck. I was hit by a hit ‘n run driver on my left cheek. The lower one. 🙂  Seven weeks were spent sleeping in my recliner because I could not lay down.

February 17th: my second bike wreck. This one I have no clue about except it ended up in a broken collar bone, 3 broken ribs, a face plant and a split helmet. Yeah…thank God for the helmet.

February 22nd: surgery to repair the collarbone. More sleeping in the recliner.

July 24: Back surgery to correct back from November 5th hit ‘n run. The previous 2 months I was unable to sit in a chair or couch except for the dining room table. I slept 2 hours at a time then roamed the house between sleeping spots.  The surgeon cleaned out arthritis, shaved some spurs, shaved the disc, and found a bone fragment resting on a nerve. A sweet relief almost immediately. I still have some residual (and may always have it) but least I can sleep in bed and sit in my recliner!

Enter a friend. “Bill & Jo, (name of husband) and I, would like to give you a gift and hope you will accept it. You have been through so much and we feel led to offer you a week at a timeshare. You pick the time and the place and we will make the arrangements (and pay).” She hands us this h-u-g-e book of possible places-from Alaska to Hawaii and from coast to coast- and says, “Choose.” Since Jo has never seen the beach (except as a little girl) and it doesn’t matter to me (I wanted Alaska) we chose Daytona Beach after our first choice of Destin was not available.  I told someone several weeks ago we were going to Florida “if it was still there.”

We fly out Monday morning, October 2nd from Indianapolis, and will come back home Monday, October 9th.  If something good can come out of something so ugly as two bike wrecks and 2 surgeries, it has. Jo & I have reconnected in a way we have not known for some time. Like many marriages, we had allowed things to build up and take the place of meaningful communication and time with each other. We loved each other but had allowed other things to take precedence.

People have asked us, “What are your plans this week? What are you going to see? Where you going to go?”  The answer is easy: we have no clue. We have no agenda. No preconceived plans of where to go and what to do. Rest. Reconnect. Relax. Restaurants. Read. That’s it. If something strikes our fancy…then we will do it. It will be the first time in 44+ years of marriage we will be taking a vacation where we know no one.

So…I am unplugging all week. I’ll see you when I get back. I am unconcerned about things back here. Ryan and Diana will be fine without me. Ryan will be preaching Sunday. Until then…I will see you later…here or in the air.