Surprise!

Written by cycleguy on April 23rd, 2014

Most of us like surprises. They may give us a heart attack from time to time, but most surprises are good.

“Guess what honey? Surprise!” (First one was Alpha. Second one was Omega. Third one is Upsilon…sounds like Oopsilon).

“Surprise! Happy Birthday!!” (as we pick our heart up off the floor).

“Hi daddy. I made you a surprise. Here. Take a bite.” (Gulp)

There are also bad surprises. Yeah…not so good.

Then there are those kind which come from God. Let me explain: Monday I received a text from my wife to call someone at my first opportunity. I did.

“(Realtor) Hey Bill. Have you ever thought about selling your home?”

“Actually, no it hasn’t been on the radar really. Why?”

“I know someone who wants to buy it. They actually want all three properties. (My note: the two on either side…to put it mildly…pull my house value down.) It is all contingent on your house though.”

Talk about surprised! I met with him Tuesday, saw the comparisons, and made an offer today (Wednesday).

What is surprising about all this is I have been praying about lessening our debt, especially my truck. We owe only on my truck and the house. We have no credit card debt. Jo is retiring on May 3rd so it weighs on me, especially the truck.

Could this be God’s answer? We will have to find a place to live and there are not a lot of places in our town. But then again, if God can surprise me with this, He can surprise me with a place.

So…I am blown away by God’s surprise. Now I wait…and that is a whole ‘nother subject as they say. :) I would appreciate any prayers you may want to throw up on my behalf.

Meanwhile, have you ever been surprised by God?

 

YourTurn!

Written by cycleguy on April 22nd, 2014

One day last week I wrote a post about Second Chances and referenced Betty’s Wise Hearted blog about the second chance offered her son and his wife Gracie (they were marrying each other again). It turned out to be one of those posts which struck a chord in some and spiked a wild hair in me.

So I wrote a few personal emails to some fellow bloggers (because I know some of their story) asking them to submit a post on when they were offered a Second Chance by God. They have all agreed to do so. But then I thought it would be really cool to ask for any of you to write about your Second Chance. It may be recovery from an addiction; a second chance at love; a second chance at ministry; or some other event in your life.

I’m going to start it with one of my own Second Chance stories next week. I will intersperse the guests with my own posts throughout the next couple of weeks. If you would like to write a post on your Second Chance, please let me know. You can contact me in the comment area or send me a personal email at pastor@ovcf.org. I’ll send you the guidelines (all two of them). :)

I’d love to hear your story if you care to share it. And who knows? Maybe someone else will benefit from your story.

 

Track

Written by cycleguy on April 21st, 2014

I am honored when asked to read and review another blogger’s work. I give my space to one today.

As an athlete I enjoy reading books on sports. When I was a boy growing up, one of my favorite series was the Chip Hilton series by Clair Bee. Chip was a multi-sport star and his adventures fueled my desire to be athletic. Baseball. Check. Basketball. Check. Football. Well not so, but I still read them. In high school I read biographies of sports personalities I followed. Even today, I enjoy reading a good book on cycling or baseball, and especially like watching movies which are sports related.

One sport I can attest to only a passing glance at is track. It never captured my fancy on any level, although I have attended plenty of track meets the young people in the church were/are involved in. Enter On Track-Life Lessons from the Track & Field by Jon “Stretched” Stolpe. Jon is one of my blogging buddies who also happens to live in the great state of Pennsylvania (I grew up near Pittsburgh). Tragically, Jon is from the other side of the state where that other Pennsylvania baseball team comes from.  :)   But I promise not to hold that against him in this review.

Three words came to mind as I read his book: Simple. Practical. Applicable. But don’t misunderstand the words.

Simple. Easily understood. Some write long tomes destined to confuse people. Not Jon. He writes simply. He interweaves Scriptural thoughts with life on the track. You don’t need a theological degree to understand it.

Practical. His book is divided into chapters which focus on different aspects of track & field. Not earth-shaking rocket science, but down-to-earth illustrations that even a novice to track & field can appreciate.

Applicable. This is where Jon shines. With chapter headings like Starting Blocks, Hurdles, Long Jump and more, Jon applies the events of a track meet with daily life lived as a follower of Christ…without being preachy.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in sports, but especially someone who is into Track & Field. There are a few young people I will be making sure get a copy of this book.

I downloaded a preview copy of the book but was not required to give a good or favorable review. I was glad to do so. You can order his book from Amazon here.

 

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?