#Hangover#GoodOne

Written by cycleguy on February 23rd, 2020

Every Sunday I go through it. I call it a hangover. I’ve never had the other kind.  Kind of hard to do that when you don’t take a drink to start with. 🙂

I had one yesterday. I went to the Y early (8:00) to work out and when I was done I had the hangover. It was the good kind. You know…the adrenaline is pumping and you feel like something good happened.  I even joked with someone who was just getting there about feeling good I was done. I had reached my limit physically for that workout and there was a settled feeling that came over me. Shower. Eat. Study. Nap. Oops where did that come in? 🙂

I’ve have one when my bike ride is finished. An a-a-a-a-a-h feeling.  A sense of accomplishment. An adrenaline rush from having spent myself. Shower. Eat. Work. Nap. Again, where did that come from?  🙂

I get one every Sunday. I expend myself emotionally. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. Eat. (No shower needed). Study. Nap. Well, sometimes but not today.

I’m a bit melancholy right now. I’m not sad from any event. I’m not down from life. I expended a lot of spiritual energy this morning after preaching twice and I think I know what it is.

The subject matter. Heaven is fine to preach on. I’m not a fan of preaching on Hell. It isn’t because I pound the pulpit and scream and froth at the mouth. I don’t. But I’m melancholy because I have this sneaking suspicion there were some there today who needed to come to Christ but will keep putting it off.  It’s days like today that I wish I was like the Hulk when he grabbed Loki,  slammed him back and forth a few times, and then said, “Puny god.” Loki just whimpered. That was after Loki tried to tell the Hulk he was a god.

There are people I just want to grab and say, “What are you waiting for? Don’t you realize you are playing with your life, taking a risk that you really don’t want to gamble on?”

When I feel like this I can only imagine what God must be feeling after waiting and waiting.  The Bible says that God desires all men to repent and to come to a knowledge of the truth. His heart must break when time after time people reject Him.

I’m not concerned about my eternity. I know where I will be. I do get melancholy over others. May I never lose that fire for the lost. May I never lose that desire to see people come to Jesus. May I never lose that hunger to feel God’s pain.

I closed the sermon with this song. Hope you enjoy it.

 

#WorthItAll#Waiting

Written by cycleguy on February 21st, 2020

In 1970 a young woman, a teenager, named Joni dove into shallow water and came out a quadriplegic. This past October 15th she celebrated her 70th birthday. She is also a two-time breast cancer survivor.  I once read a book she wrote where she was asked and answered a question: “Would you do anything to change your life if you had to do it all over again?”  Her answer astounded me. “No,” she said, “I wouldn’t change a thing.” 

I have to admit I am amazed by her attitude because, frankly, I’m not sure I could or would say the same thing.  Getting hit by a hit-n-run driver in November of ’17 and then doing an endo coming down a hill in February of ’18 convinced me of the sanctity of life and how much I valued my ability to get around.

But one thing I do know is this: if either of those accidents had ended my life, I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I WOULD BE SPENDING ETERNITY. There are only two places possible: Heaven or Hell. One good; one bad. No in between place. And despite popular opinion of some very liberal “churches” not all people will be in heaven. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.” I know what Universalism teaches-that all will be saved. But that is a lie from the pit of Hell and smells like smoke.  (Rob Bell take note).

I conclude this version of a “Truth” series this week before I start a new one on the book of Colossians next week. I could think of no better way to do that than to talk about our eternal destiny.  I look at this sermon two ways: One, like D.L.Moody once said, “No preacher should ever preach about hell without tears in his eyes.” And two, talking about the joy of heaven.

I’d appreciate your prayers this Sunday. The last thing I want is to come off as though I’m glad people are lost and going to Hell.  On the contrary, I want to show how Heaven is such a great place why would you not want to go there? Thanks for praying.

 

#MonsterQuote#HearIt!!#Review

Written by cycleguy on February 19th, 2020

I just finished reading a really interesting book called A War of Loves by David Bennett.  It is subtitled The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus. 

Question: What would it mean for an atheist gay activist to become a Christian?

Good question. No…great question. One David answers fully. At 14, he came out to his parents. At 19, he encountered Jesus Christ. At this moment his life changed forever. But…and this is key…that change did not happen overnight.  This book is his journey…and a well-traveled and documented journey it is. Throughout the 250+ pages of this book you will ride the highs and lows with him. You will tear up (your eyes); you will want to tear him up due to some of his actions and reactions (to the Bible when his mother read it to him after his moment of salvation, for example).  You will travel with him to France and his native Australia as he seeks God and more education. You will identify with his sin struggles (not necessarily his homosexuality, but sin that lingers).  And you will find your heart and mind stretched as he “fleshes” out his beliefs and his faith.

Some might wonder why I am recommending this book, and for those who don’t know, why I am reading so much on this topic and have more in my cue).  The little town of Spencer has a very active, and at times militant, PRIDE group led by a young man (as in according to my age) who was raised in the local Nazarene church but now identifies as an atheist. And yes, that breaks my heart. I want to know how to reach him with Jesus.

This did not start out to be a book review nor an endorsement…although it has turned out to be both. I wrote down several quotes in my Moleskine and want to share just one of them. I plan to use the others in future posts.

If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.  John Stott- quoted on page 123

What Mr. Stott says is true. No matter the topic or thought. We should not come to God’s Word with our minds made up or with preconceived ideas and then look for proof. No….we read and allow its words to become our standard. To quote Bennett: “God does not discriminate, but He calls believers of all kinds to a standard.” (quote from p.242)

I’d like to recommend you read this book, not for fodder, but for a better understanding of the “gay” mindset if we are ever to reach them with our friendship and with the Gospel. You will also deeply appreciate his two appendices.

A War of Loves: The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus

 

#SufferingHappens#Inevitable

Written by cycleguy on February 15th, 2020

 

Life is filled with joys. It is also filled with tragedies. No one is immune. As I wrote the introduction to this week’s sermon, it was two days after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and others in a helicopter crash. We are, of course, drawn to the death of a celebrity. Recently actor, Kirk Douglas, died at 103. On the death of Kobe Bryant (January 26th) thousands of loved ones across the globe suffered the same kind of tragedy.

Let me give you an example. On November 22, 1963 what happened?  If you stated that was the date of President John F. Kennedy’s death you would be 100% correct. But did you also know two other very significant men died that day? Aldous Huxley, who wrote the futuristic novel Brave New World, was one of them. Another one was C.S.Lewis. Ever heard of him?

Tragedy, suffering and trials are all part of life. They are inevitable. I mean, it’s not like anyone sits there and says, “Bring them on Lord! I’m ready!” but they are a fact of life. For someone to say the follower of Christ is not to suffer or should speak them out of existence has something stamped across his forehead: FALSE TEACHER. 

I’m continuing my year-long TRUTH theme with a sermon called Suffering Happens. Not only is it inevitable, it is something we need to realize tests our faithfulness. I tire of those hucksters who say, “Christians should not suffer. If they do their faith is not strong enough.” Hogwash. Hogwash. And more hogwash. Please pray for me and for us this Sunday. It will be much appreciated.

 

#Valentine#Valentine’sDay#Love

Written by cycleguy on February 14th, 2020

Okay, so in order not be to shot, filleted, hung upside down by my toenails, or any other violent act you can think of, I thought it would be wise to talk about my valentine. Strangely enough, it would not be her who would do all the above-said violence. She is a very non-violent person (except if I come to bed with cold hands). I just don’t understand how her love turns so deadly when I come in and want to hold her hand or put my hand across her body so it doesn’t hang in the air at a weird angle while I’m laying on my side. Sheesh! You’d think I put my hands in the freezer before I came to bed. Come to think of it I am pretty sure she thinks I do.

We have been married 46+ years…47 in June. We had our first vacation away from anyone who knew us just 3 years ago (2017) thanks to the graciousness of a couple who had a timeshare and gifted us with a week.  And we had the vacation of a lifetime last September when the folks from the church sent us on a cruise to Alaska. (I would go back in a heartbeat but I wonder if she got tired of me. She doesn’t want to go back this year).  Well, Lord willing, maybe 2021. I hope, I hope, I hope.  Our almost 47 years have not all been smooth sailing but one word never escaped our lips. Not it wasn’t Love silly; it was the “D” word.  Never an option.

She blessed me with two wonderful daughters who have turned into wonderful young ladies, both of whom I am totally stoked about and so proud of my buttons pop (and no it is not from weight gain).  Their lives have not been easy from the start. I mean, a Pastor’s Kid? How radical is that? It is like they have targets on their backs. They have gone on to college and done well in spite of the tests that come from growing up (and growing older). Ha. And they think I’m old.

But Jo has stuck with me through all the ups and downs of ministry life. At times there were far more downs than there were ups.  We have laughed together (if she could roll her eyes she would do that often). We have cried together. We have lamented together. We have hurt for others together. There is one thing we won’t do together…play games. She thinks I cheat at Backgammon or Scrabble. I don’t but she doesn’t like me putting her in the middle in Backgammon or using words she doesn’t know in Scrabble.

But there is one thing we will do together. (Get your mind out of the gutter people!)  We will continue to love each other for as many years as God gives us together.  🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day Honey! I love you.

Now if I can just her to read this I will have won another year of life without buying flowers.

 

#Quote#Darkness

Written by cycleguy on February 12th, 2020

Quite honestly I have never been one to listen to sermons or podcasts while I drive. I don’t know if you would say I am a typical male or whether it is just me, but I have trouble doing two things at one time.  Even reading more than one book at a time is hard, especially if I find one of them more interesting than the other. So I tend to be a “one-tasker” (as opposed to multi-tasker).  Driving and listening to a sermon is not on my radar for obvious reasons. Hint: you have to think while listening.

But lately I have found a couple podcasts I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to. One is Carey Nieuwhof’s leadership podcast, as well as Craig Groeschel’s. Another is Hole in my Heart with Laurie Krieg. Her husband, Matt, and friend, Steve, often join her. I have personally met Matt & Laurie and had them as our weekend guests here at OVCF. Laurie has what she calls “broken sexuality” (Same Sex Attraction). But her podcast has not focused on that alone. She did have one guest whom I really enjoyed listening to concerning his SSA but also his conversion to Christ. A recent guest, Sheridan Voysey, talked about the struggle he and his wife had with infertility.  It was during a “side road” Laurie took Sheridan on that he said something I wrote down (after I got back to the office).

This very darkness you are going through and your waiting and hungering and hoping for that new birth or rebirth, God can be doing things under the surface without you even realizing it, which is all part of Him making you who He called you to be.

I sent that to someone I know who is going through a really tough time right now. Short thought: nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy. His plan is sometimes curvy; sometimes uncomfortable; sometimes painful; but always with purpose.

I leave this quote with you for your perusal. If you care to comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

 

#GlorifyWhom?#YouWantMeToWhat?

Written by cycleguy on February 7th, 2020

Talk about worship and you are sure to get a bunch of different ideas. Some of our ideas will be determined by our generation. Some are determined by our likes and dislikes and preferences. The struggle was so intense several years ago they called it “the worship wars.” Imagine fighting over worship. But they did. It started with the music. Hymns were replaced by worship songs and choruses. Admittedly some of them were cheesy and mere fluff and extremely repetitive. The battle intensified when the whole seeker-sensitive approach hit the fan. Preaching was replaced by “talks” and drama. Worship music was replaced by pop songs and shallow songs pushing horizontal type of worship. There was more “me” than there was “Him” in our singing.

But IMHO that all missed the mark of what should be our focus: the worship and majesty of the Holy One, Jesus. God the Father and God the Son. (I’m not into worship of the Holy Spirit since the Bible tells us His purpose is to bring glory to Jesus). A church that worships is a church that is pleasing to God. Not for the purpose of self but for the purpose of lifting up and glorifying the only One worthy of it.

John MacArthur calls worship the ultimate priority. Chuck Swindoll calls it the irreplaceable priority. In other words, it is important and cannot be downplayed. That is the topic of my sermon this Sunday as I continue my series on Faithful. I’ve titled it Glorify Whom? My prayer is to lead us into a higher view of worship this Sunday. I’d sure appreciate your prayers.

 

#Miraculous#PrayerAnswered#Astounded

Written by cycleguy on February 4th, 2020

I don’t normally “cross dress” my two blogs. As many of you know, I have this one (Cycleguy’s Spin) and another one-a devotional blog called “Living in the Shadow.” I decided to bring “Shadow” to this one today. Not many read “Shadow,” but I believe someone who reads this one may need to hear this today. So I share it with you here.

There has been and always will be a battle between seeing and believing the miraculous and being so jaded that even the miraculous is seen as mundane. Skepticism seems to rule so many peoples’ thinking.  Over the past 45+ years as a pastor I have had the blessing of seeing the miraculous. I’ve seen God work in ways that astound. I know some question the use of the word “miracle” and want to confine it to the NT days, but I’m going to use it to describe some recent events I have been privileged to witness:

  • A 13 y/o healthy young man finds himself suddenly fighting for his life. In just a matter of  days, he goes from healthy to life support. Prayers bombard heaven endlessly. “Miraculously” he goes from death’s door to home in a matter of weeks. He still has a haul but there is much to marvel at. Aslan was on the move!
  • A 20 month old boy born with a heart defect (left artery totally closed) has another surgery as a “last ditch” to get some blood flowing. Not only are the doctors able to open his artery 2mm (needs 10-12), but-and here is the absolutely incredible, “miraculous” element-he goes home less than a week after surgery! There is no other explanation except God’s hand. Aslan was on the move!
  • A man who does not acknowledge the God of the Bible has health issues. Heart. Feet. Heart supposedly has bacteria on his valves but surgery is risky because of infection in his foot. A cath late last week shows his valves are clear with no bacteria; his foot is healing; and he has heart surgery to replace two valves this week. The whole scenario is nothing short of incredible. And even though his idea of God is warped, prayers have been said on his behalf. I’d like to believe it is so he can hear about and respond to the true God of the Bible. Aslan was on the move!

Those are recent examples. It is easy to write them off as “the doctors did this” or “modern medicine did that,” but I believe differently. I’d rather say it is-if I may borrow Paul’s words from Ephesians 2: “But God.” Man may have knowledge (ironically given to him by God) and may even acknowledge it is limited; man may say, “If it hadn’t been for the doctors;” but it goes much, much deeper. Man’s limited knowledge shows God’s limitless power.

“Father, skeptics can be cast aside. They will never accept nor understand Your unlimited-dare I say miraculous?-power. Limitless. Powerful. Able to astound. Help me to never take that power for granted, nor take your wonder working power for granted.”

 

#Trust#FulfilledProphecy

Written by cycleguy on February 2nd, 2020

In my last post I wrote about the sermon I was preaching this weekend.  As I write this post, it is Sunday morning and I am in a “holding pattern.” I am transitioning from studying and preparing myself to waiting. I thought I would share something that really struck me as I studied.

There are several reasons why we can trust God’s Word to be authoritative. One of those is fulfilled prophecy. I’d like to comment on that in this post.

I once had a man who was trying to defend his unbelief. When I asked Ken about Jesus and the fulfilled prophecy in His life, Ken’s answer was classic.  He said, “He was just the right man born at the right time and in the right place.” I wasn’t very knowledgeable at the time (and still have a huge lack in that department) and so my answer was simple: “Seriously? All those prophecies and one man filled them all in just the right time and just the right place?” Since then I have learned more. (Good thing since my answer was so weak). Here is just one thing I have found out:

There were 55 OT prophecies He alone fulfilled. One mathematics professor studied just 8 specific prophecies and his research was staggering. Just 8 prophecies and he found the possibility of one person fulfilling just those 8 was 1 in 10 with 17 zeroes. In a journal called Science Speaks this man said, “Suppose that we take 10 with 17 zeroes and had that put into silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep.  Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.”

That sort of puts it all into a different light doesn’t it?  Which is harder to accept-that Jesus was Who He said He was or that He was a man born at the right time and in the right place and just happened to fulfill the prophecies? I know where I will stake my sword.  And you?

 

#Trustworthy#Foundation

Written by cycleguy on January 31st, 2020

Ideas on the Bible are mixed, even within the “church.”

Group 1 will say the Bible is just another book. You know…it has some wise sayings here and there.  It is mixed with a lot of genealogies, myths and other crazy visions.

Group 2 will say, “I know the Bible is important- at least my pastor thinks so. He’s always referring to it.” But they have no working, first-hand knowledge of the Bible itself.

Group 3 would align themselves with other Bible believers. It is true. It is God’s Word. It is infallible. It is without error. It is inspired. It is more than just a guide to life; it shows how to find real life.

Where do you stand? Group 1 stands for many in our culture today, even in the “church.” Liberal churches are teaching the Bible is just another book and it is being taught as a good guideline on how to treat people; how to be successful, etc.  Group 2 is a picture of those who might grow up in the church- might even still be in the church- but are really not convinced of its importance in their own life. Group 3 represents those who firmly believe in the importance of the Bible. Men of God are called on to preach the Word of God.  Paul told Timothy, “Preach the Word.”

That is all well and good if the Word is trustworthy. It becomes the foundation upon which we build. My sermon Sunday is entitled You Can Trust It!! It is getting more and more scarce to see and hear and meet people who firmly believe the Bible is trustworthy and are willing to teach it and preach it with authority.  My goal is to show why we can trust the Bible and MUST use it as the foundation of our faith and practice.

This is not an easy topic to make interesting because of the amount of information to be dispelled. I’d certainly appreciate your prayers for me and for those who listen. Thanks.