Written by cycleguy on July 22nd, 2014

I know. All spell check monitors went absolutely nuts! :)

Holsom is a series of graphic novels., i.e. comic books

Back story: Several months ago I posted a review of a book on Amazon. The little company which published it saw that review and asked if I would be willing to review other material of theirs. “Sure! Why not? I’m always up for a good book.” My pickings (of what I was interested it) were sort of slim, but I decided to choose a book (which I have never received) and a series of graphic novels called “Welcome to Holsom. Population: Weird.” I received the first six books in the series. There is a total of 24 now.

Once I saw them I decided to take a slightly different approach. I’m not much of a comic book reader so I decided to ask two boys in the church to read them and give me their impressions. It has taken awhile but here is their “review” of the book. I am having to edit for word count.

The two boys were Noah and Cooper, ages 9 and 8 respectively.

#1 is about believing God, even when you don’t think He is there.

#2 is about trusting people.

#3 is about being friendly.

#4 is about being tempted.

#5 is about being better about telling your parents about things that they probably won’t believe.

#6 is about doing the right thing even when it’s tempting to do the wrong things.

Holsom was a town named after Horatio Holsom. It begins with a bully chasing some kids who hide in a barn and end up finding a robot. Through a series of adventures they learn some good life lessons (see above). Both boys liked the stories, although one thought they were too short and too quick to read. They both liked the humor in each one. They both liked that the stories had main characters who believed in God. One felt they were good reading, but not quite up to par with Tolkien (he is a LOTR fan) or C..S.Lewis. :)  As if…(my note)

The ultimate test? I had my 7 1/2 year old grandson read them to me last month. He liked them and even made me howl when he did the robot language. So I reckon it is safe to say they passed the test.

The also sent me two other graphic novels: one called “Beauty Queen: the Story of Esther” and “The Christ.”  Both boys liked the art work in them, as well as the story. The same artist did the Action Bible.

Thanks Noah, Cooper and Braden.

I was sent this material free of charge for the purpose of review. I was not required to give a good one.

I’m on vacation this week, but didn’t want to completely disappear from the blogosphere. So I thought I would publish something. If all works as planned, I will have met Larry and possibly Matt this morning for breakfast.



Written by cycleguy on July 21st, 2014

I’m on vacation this week with my family and wanted to leave you with a “daily something” which will stir you, inspire you or just to let you know I’m still alive. :)

A couple weeks ago one of our lead worshipers, Peter, introduced this song to our church. I love it!


Have a fantastic day!!




Written by cycleguy on July 20th, 2014

I’m on vacation but wanted to leave a “daily something” with you. One of our lead worshipers, Peter, heard this song at a conference and has taught it to the church I pastor. I heard it one time and was sold. After I hear it I have trouble getting it out of my head.


Hope you have a fantastic week!





Written by cycleguy on July 17th, 2014

I thought I would put together a post with a little bit of info for you. (Yeah, I bet you are waiting with baited breath for that)  :)

I had an updated experience Thursday. For 6 weeks in the summer, Ryan, our youth pastor, offers what he calls Summer JAM. It meets from 2-4:30 at a local elementary school. It is a time of play, some learning of various kinds, crafts (thanks to the local library), and some snacks. Ryan does the teaching part, unless he is gone…like he is this week. So yours truly was asked to teach. You know that part about “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” I have not taught Ages 5 through elementary in eons. The kids were fun- reminding me why I liked that age when I was a youth pastor-but also reminding me how old I now am. :)

I leave today (Friday) for vacation. We plan to head to Ohio and after watching our grandson play in two All-Star games on Saturday, head to Pigeon Forge on Sunday for a get-away with Janna (our youngest), Braden (our grandson), and Tami (our oldest) who will meet us there. Plans are to see a Smokies game (AA team), tour the Titanic museum, go to a zoo, hang out around a pool, and have a pretty loose schedule. Thursday we head back to Ohio and then will go further north to visit Jo’s sister. We will head back home Sunday. Lots of driving so I would appreciate your prayers. Oh yeah…a little bike riding will be in the mix. I hope. I hope.

While in Pigeon Forge I hope to meet up with Larry, the Deuce, and Matt, the Seeking Pastor.

Because of my vacation, I will be short on blog time. I have scheduled posts for next week, which involve videos, except one. I will apologize ahead of time for not commenting on your posts.

I hope you have a great weekend and a fantastic week ahead.




Written by cycleguy on July 16th, 2014

It should go without saying that Christ-followers should have higher standards.

What I don’t mean is a holier-than-thou-attitude. If you were sitting next to me at the moment I wrote those words you would have seen me shiver.

Nor should we ever give the impression we are above the fray. You know the old Hammer song: “Can’t touch this.” That is the quickest way to failure.

There is one standard we all need to work on. As a pastor, I realize I live under a bubble. A glass house so to speak. I know the danger of throwing stones. I am grateful for a wife and two daughters who never failed to remind me (in mostly subtle ways) that I am human. I am not into what I will call “pastor worship.” The very thought of that gags me and turns my stomach. The pastor has evolved from being a shepherd to being a CEO. I despised that evolution then. Still do. The church was never meant to be run like a business, and the pastor was never meant to be the “head” of that business. Frankly, and you can call me coward if you want, I don’t want to run everything. I don’t want carte blanche rights on all decisions.

And I certainly don’t want worshiped!! Please don’t PEDESTAL me. I’m thinking of the Old Testament story of the god Dagon found knocked off its pedestal and on its face twice because it was in the presence of the Ark (symbolized the presence of God). That god is me. That god is you. That god is any pastor who takes upon himself the mantle of preeminence.

Barnabas Piper (John’s son) has written an excellent article. Originally published in 2012 it has been republished here. I’d suggest you check it out. I’d also suggest you try to get it into the hands of your pastor (if you have one).

Meanwhile, cut out the “pastor worship.” If he is worth his salt, he won’t want it anyway. Plus he will say, “He must increase; but I must decrease.”  AND MEAN IT.




Written by cycleguy on July 15th, 2014

This is not a post on asking the question “Why?” when something goes wrong.

It really isn’t a post about motives (although that certainly can be included). I know I have been one of many who have voiced the question of “Why do we do what we do?”

Let me just give you something to chew on for a few moments. I read this in “Creature of the Word.”

Jesus was saying (Matthew 20:25-28) that His followers are to serve others not because it’s the right thing to do, not because we’d feel guilty if we didn’t, not because somebody else suggested it, and not because ’causes’ are the vogue thing of the day. We serve because Jesus has served us. His service should melt our hearts and cause us to serve others out of sheer gratitude to Him. That’s the appropriate response to His loving service of us. Churches centered on Jesus continually remind their people of this.

Just want to know what you think. If you attend church, does your church do this? If so, how well?



Written by cycleguy on July 14th, 2014

Over the last few weeks I have had the honor of hosting a guest series on Depression by Kari Scare. If you are new to this spot of the blog world, you can read her story here. Then you can read the other installments here, here, here, and here. I want to thank Kari for sharing her story and answering questions. I know by the response she has struck a chord. This is her last installment of the series, but I think the “reach” will go beyond my blog. She answers the most probing question for me today.

What can I do or say as a pastor (or anyone do) who has never suffered from depression to help those who do suffer?

While I was at my most depressed, I received little to nothing of what others said or did to try and help me. I just couldn’t see anything positive. Looking back, I realize that even though I didn’t think so at the time, having people just not give up on me even when I had given up made all the difference. No matter what I said or did, they always took me back and forgave me.

The best counselors and friends I had were the ones that simply listened but maintained boundaries in that they refused to climb into the pit with me. They were able to maintain mental and physical health in their own lives and

not let me pull them in the pit. So, I saw them as stable people that accepted me for where I was as well as for examples of where I wanted to be.

While some did suggest I simple “change,” for the most part the people in my life allowed me to be however I was going to be, not really accepting the behavior, but loving me regardless. And when they saw any positive, whether momentary or a step toward change, they latched on to that for as long as the wave existed even when they knew it would fade. This went a long way helping me make small, gradual changes that over time added up to make a huge difference in discovering victory.

Related to this, those who did not try to force me to change were the ones I wanted to be around. I know most of them were praying for me, but they did not try and insist I change. They accepted me for who I was at the time. When I did reject them, which I did as intimacy of any sort was thin at best and impossible at worse most of the time, they did not take it personally. They knew, somehow, it wasn’t meant personally. They gave me the space I needed, even letting me be miserable, and were always available when I came out of the darkest corners of the pit for a while.

Generally speaking then, the people in my life who had never suffered depression, helped me by staying consistent with who they were, by accepting me for who I was and where I was, by seeing beyond where I was and to who I could become, and by praying for me.

My husband said he felt helpless when I was depressed, and I guess he kind of was. I assume that’s how many people who have not had depression feel. The odd part is that this is how people with depression feel too. So, realize that the helplessness you feel in not being able to help the person get out depression is similar to the helplessness the depressed person feels in being trapped in it. Interesting, don’t you think?

Thanks so much Kari for taking time out of your busy schedule to help out. Your posts have been a real blessing. How can this post help you help others?



Written by cycleguy on July 13th, 2014

I mentioned in this post that Jo & I went to the local County Fair. We went three straight nights so we were “faired out” by late Thursday. One of our young ladies gave a speech at the Fair and after listening to it via Jo’s FB account, I wanted to share it with you. Her name is Kelci Wood, a 13 year old at Owen Valley Middle School. She won Grand Champion in her division and Reserve Grand Champion overall. She had 3 champion hogs, one 3rd place hog and a 1st on her Holstein cow. She also received Grand Champion modeling her consumer clothing, with Reserve Grand Champion on both her consumer clothing notebook and religion poster. Her consumer clothing will go to the state fair as well. She is representing Owen County at the State Fair in August where she will give her speech again. She was beaten by a Senior in the speech so she received Reserved Grand Champion with a special mention from the judge. Here is her speech:

I challenge you, as an audience, to think of someone you know of who has made an impact on this world. (Pause)

People such as Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr. might have crossed your mind but what about someone like Adolf Hitler who unfortunately impacted the world in a negative way?

My name is Kelci Wood and public speaking is one of my favorite projects so let’s talk about speeches in general. Ghandi, King, and Hitler all gave speeches. These speeches were made to persuade the masses of their own perceived truths. This spring, I was fortunate enough to attend a function with speeches given by Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Locally, I got to hear Medal of Honor recipient, Sammy Davis, speak twice. Also recently, my father had me watch a speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. All of these men had important messages to give but if their speeches would have been horrible, no one would have listened.

I learned a lot from each of these speeches. In particular, Admiral McRaven’s speech spoke to me personally. He expressed in the commencement speech to the University of Texas graduates the 10 factors needed if you want to change the world. I feel these are important enough to repeat today.

1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed every day. By doing this, you have accomplished at least 1 task a day and hopefully most days that will be the 1st of many accomplishments.

My Dad thinks I should make my bed every day because of McRaven’s speech.

2. Find someone who will help you paddle. You cannot change the world alone.

In 4H, we are surrounded by people to help. You cannot have a club by yourself. You cannot have a fair with just one person. Therefore, you cannot have 4H without a group of people to paddle the boat.

3. Meter a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their feet and flippers.

I am a swimmer so I understand the flipper part well. Not just in swimming but many times, someone with heart will succeed over someone who may be good at the task initially or possibly stronger.

4. Push forward even if you do not like the task at hand. Many times, I have to shovel the pig pens. I do not like it but it has to be done!

5. Realize you will fail.

Last year, I failed by misreading the public speaking time limits, but I learned from that. We will all fail in 4H, in school, and in our lives but we have to overcome those failures and learn from them.

6. Sometimes you have to slide down obstacles head first!

This is coming from an Admiral who was a Navy Seal. Obviously, most of us will not have to slide down obstacles head first in our lifetime, but in order to make a difference, we might have to go out on a limb and it might seem scary!

7. Don’t back down!

There will always be people telling you that your ideas won’t work or you are not good enough. Don’t listen. Just keep SWIMMING!

8. You must be your very best in the darkest moments.

As many adults in this room can attest to, not every moment in our lives are going to be full of sunshine. We have to learn to overcome in the dark moments as well.

9. Believe in the power of HOPE!


10. Don’t EVER give up!

4h teaches us many of the points that McRaven touched on in his speech and that is why I have shared with you today.  His speech ended up being shared all over the world because of modern day technology and will end up making an impact on many young people’s lives.

On a smaller scale, 4H allows us to make an impact on younger youth and in our community. Thank you!

I know this post is longer than normal, but I THINK IT IS WORTH IT! Well done Kelci. You know you will have at least one member outside your immediate family rooting for your trip to the state. :) I made no changes except a few grammatical ones and spacing to fit the blog.

What do you think?



Written by cycleguy on July 11th, 2014

It was a long day on Thursday. I don’t regret it. It was for a cause I truly believe in.

I am on the board of the New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center. It used to be the NB Crisis Pregnancy Center but the feeling among the board members (before I arrived and with whom I agree) was not all pregnancies were a crisis. Hence the name change. With the Owen County Fair happening this week, we decided to have a booth at the fair. I volunteered (and Jo says I volunteered her also, but she really wanted to spend the time with me) to work Thursday evening from 5-10:00. It was a long but fulfilling evening. I saw a ton of people I knew and met some new ones. Jo looked at me once and said, “I don’t know how you do it all the time. I need my alone time.”  I told her I get mine on the bike. :)

But she is right. God has gifted me as an extreme extrovert. I love being around people. Talking. Laughing. Sometimes crying. And what made it even better last night was that it was something I was passionate about.

I am all about life. I believe in what New Beginnings is all about. I love being able to celebrate life. I loved being able to tell folks who asked what NB does for new moms/dads. For parents of these new or soon-to-be new parents. I was excited to talk about NB expanding to a new facility which will allow expanded service, while keeping the old place for a Baby Boutique where clothing, layettes, diapers, etc will be available.

You see…I think it is one thing to say or preach for/against something. It is another to make sure there is an alternative. NB is FOR life. We need to make sure we do that which supports it.

Last night was tiring to this old man. But it was also very fulfilling. I’ll take that any day.

What do you do to support life?  Do you support your local “life organization?”




Written by cycleguy on July 9th, 2014

This week is Owen County Fair Week.

It tends to be one of the hottest, stickiest and, at times, wettest week of the summer. So far the first two days haven’t been real hot or real sticky. It has been wet since we got a ton of rain on Monday afternoon and a nasty storm hit early Tuesday morning. Jo and I went Tuesday night and even though it was hot (in the 80s) it wasn’t totally unbearable because there was a fairly good breeze. We walked through all the animal exhibits because we have some young people who have horses, cattle, sheep, chickens, and hogs. We stopped and talked to some of the folks who have animals there.

I am amazed at their dedication- youth and parents!

The young people put in hours (or are supposed to) in taking care of their animals as well as training them for show. And some of those animals are downright ornery. In fact, just last week a cow, which was to be shown, knocked down one of the girls and stepped on her causing some ankle damage. Needless to say they put the cow out to pasture. :) Pretty expensive venture for mom and dad!

During Fair Week everyone is involved. One family I talked to was there from 9:00 to 9:00. I can think of things I’d rather do than sit around a fair all day. But they do it for a reason:


For many of these young people/families the fair is the consummation of a year long commitment to being ready. Late nights. Early mornings. Cold days. Hot days. When they don’t feel like it. When the animal doesn’t feel like it. Joy. Frustration (since animals are like people). But they do it for the Fair results.

Oh, I can’t forget those who do displays for 4-H: drawings, hobbies, baking, sewing, etc. We will be seeing those tonight. It takes dedication and commitment on their part as well.

I’m extremely proud of our young people. I’m equally proud of the parents who support them. Takes dedication on the part of both.

Need I make a connection to our spiritual lives? I think not. It is obvious.