Grace

Written by cycleguy on June 22nd, 2017

I have written previously about the book by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies. At this point, there are 5 of us guys who are using it each day and corresponding by email as to our thoughts. Starting next week, there will be 6 ladies (led by my wife)  taking part in a separate email strain of their own. My hope is to get more on board and start new strains. Anyway, on May 9th, Tripp made this statement:

I must always remember the grace I am daily given and extend that grace to the people in my life.

Anne Lamott, the author, once wrote:

I do not understand the mystery of grace-only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

And the rock group, U2 once sang,

What left a mark no longer stings, because grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

The last two quotes were from “Proof” by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones (p.9)

Grace-giving it and receiving it-are an essential part of our daily world. Sometimes we are called on to give it. Sometimes we are called on to receive it.

I love talking about GRACE. For at least the next two months that will be my focus on Sunday morning.  It all starts with this message on waking up to the message of Grace. We are all in need of grace in some way, shape or form. If you live close by, I’d like to invite you to visit. If you live away, or can’t make it, or just read my blog, you can still listen via podcast at the church’s website. In any case, I relish your prayers. Thanks ahead of time.

Any thoughts on grace you may have?

 

Sacred

Written by cycleguy on June 21st, 2017

I’m sorry if you get tired of hearing about this but something has been sitting in my lap for a few days.

Being a victim of a hit and run driver while riding my bicycle has been a tad bit unsettling. Very unsettling for Jo. A tad for me.

But here is what is bothering me. I have been speaking to others-cyclists and non-cyclists-who are appalled at what happened. “How could someone just do that?” “How could someone hit someone and not care?” In fact, just this morning at the Y (Wednesday), I was talking to a man who prefers mountain biking over road biking because he got buzzed on his last ride. His question: “How can anyone be so mean, so uncaring about another human life?”

That really is the crux of the matter, you know? How? How can someone do that to someone else? How can I get buzzed, throw my arms out in question, and get the “royal bird” flashed back at me? That tells me that he/she knew exactly what they were doing.

It comes down to this: Human life is no longer sacred. Human life no longer means much to people. We live in a throw-away society so life is the same. Can there be any other explanation for the pro-choice view of life? I’m going to borrow some words from Jared C. Wilson’s book Unparalleled: How Christianity’s Uniqueness Makes it Compelling:

 Human life isn’t sacred because we managed to be the experiment of nature that finally worked. Human life isn’t sacred because we are beneficial to each other or to society. Human life isn’t sacred when it is wanted or desired or loved. Human life is sacred because God created it in his own image. (p.78-79)

How can anyone read Psalm139:13-16 and not see that uniqueness, that sacredness? God has made us in His image; we are His image-bearers. That doesn’t mean because we are “useful,” but beautiful.

This post was in the germination stage but took root when I read this post by my blogging friend, Jay. Jay directed us to his daughter, Sarah’s blog, where she also included a homemade video.  Powerful stuff. Please take a moment to read both and watch the video.

I’d like to hear your thoughts.

 

Trials

Written by cycleguy on June 20th, 2017

Like most people, I am not fond of trials. I’ve had my share of them recently and I can honestly say, I’m a little tired of them. I know…I know…mine are not nearly as bad as many. I try really hard to guard against feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity. Sometimes I feel like this back issue is kicking my you-know-what all over the place. The MRI showed a bulge and possibly 2 nerve impingements. I go to a neurosurgeon on Friday, the 30th, for a consultation. Amazing what a car at 60 mph can do! ‘Course I used to tell people I’m alive and walking.  2″ more and one of those might not be a reality.  Anyway…

I read this from New Morning Mercies last Saturday:

Through difficult relationships and circumstances, God works to expose your heart so you will seek the grace that can be found only in Him…The trials in our lives exist not because He has forgotten us, but because He remembers us and is changing us by His grace.

Admittedly, I’m glad He remembers me. 🙂 But honestly?  I sometimes wonder if He could show it another way. You know what I mean?  I don’t mean to sound disrespectful of God and the way He works. Just showing my humanness.  I won’t stop trusting Him, I won’t stop leaning on Him. I won’t stop relying on His grace. I’d just like my memories to be just a tad bit more on the lighter side.  🙂

 

DAD

Written by cycleguy on June 16th, 2017

If you look at my new header one of the descriptions of myself is “father.”  I have two of the above pictured “hangy down things.” (It has a red string that allows it to hang).  They were gifts from Tami and Janna in 1986. Tami would have been 11 and Janna almost 7. They hang in my office on a file cabinet where I can see them and be reminded of the blessing of being a dad.

It has always been important to me to be a dad. I don’t mean this to sound crude, but anyone can be a father. But being a dad? Lifetime challenge. Being a dad shows it is more than a biological necessity. I didn’t have a good role model, so a lot of mine was trial and error. But I would rather err on the tried-it-but-it-didn’t work side, than on the side that never tried or did anything. I did make mistakes, but I had two very forgiving and loving daughters who chose to love their dad.

This week’s sermon focuses on “The Man God Uses.”  It is actually very practical. I’m not out to put dads into a tailspin caused by the overwhelming guilt of failure.  Here are the qualities I plan to emphasize Sunday:

Holiness

A Pure Heart

A Contrite Heart

Reverence and Awe toward God

Faithfulness

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, looking for men who are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chron.16:9

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU GUYS!!

Your prayers would be much appreciated for Sunday. And in case you missed the last post…today (June 16th) is my 44th anniversary to a wonderful woman.

 

44

Written by cycleguy on June 15th, 2017

 

Okay so this will post a day early. This weekend is Father’s Day (as you probably already know) and I plan to use the weekend post for my sermon.

However, Friday, June 16th is mine and Jo’s 44th anniversary. I’m not going to get all sappy on you. (I’ll save that for her).  🙂  We got married between our Junior and Senior years in college. We dated for just over two years before that.

I could tell you we used to hang around with a group of other students and did some things that we cringe at today. Like crawling through a cave at Carter Caves State Park. Filled with bat guana. Holes so small I wonder now “what were we thinking?” An adventure I’d “shoot” my girls if they ever did. Yeah…our parents never knew.

I played basketball. She tried out for the cheerleading squad but was never chosen. But she was one of the biggest cheerleaders there. She was mine our Sophomore and Junior year. (I didn’t play our Senior year. Thought I would concentrate on studying.  Didn’t help).

We have served in all sizes and shapes of churches. From vibrant to dead end. From pastor to youth pastor. I’ve been asked to leave a few times (no morals charge) and I have left on my own. Ohio to Ohio to Ohio to Indiana to Ohio to Indiana to Ohio and back to Indiana (where we are now).

She never complained. She never balked. She never left. She never left kicking and screaming. She trusted my judgment (Hmmmm) and more so, God’s plan for us.

She hates public speaking. She doesn’t sing solos. She doesn’t play an instrument. But she was and is a fantastic mom and mamaw. She shines in the latter. She does the Power Point each week, faithfully typing it even when we are going to be gone. She loves behind-the-scenes.

She loves me. I have seen how deep her love reaches the past few months as I have had to deal with the two bicycle wrecks, the one in February bringing me close to checking out (if not for my helmet).  She wants to do more and bristles when I do it myself.  Neither one of us looks like we did when we got married.  (I was 6’3″ and 170 lbs. I am now 6’5″ and 215 lbs. I value my life so don’t even ask about her. LOL

I could go on but this has gone on long enough.  Or I could ask, “How much time do you have?” She is my treasure. We have had our ups and downs but have never thought about closing the door. No…we love each other too much for that.  Besides, where else will I find someone who will put up with my cycling nonsense (some might say obsession) and weird humor?

I love you honey. Happy 44th.  https://youtu.be/PEENq0d6fWI

 

 

Messiahs

Written by cycleguy on June 13th, 2017

There are two sides to this post.

Side one: those who have a “Messiah complex.”

Side two: those who put people on a pedestal which sets them up for a fall.

We all know about those with a “Messiah complex.” We usually associate that with a cult or some overbearing leader (usually religious) who thinks he/she is God’s gift to mankind. This person takes control and takes over peoples’ lives, pretending to care, but really seeking the opportunity to pounce. They had them in Jesus’ day. We have them today, most often found in legalistic churches, word-of-faith communities, and sadly, in the daily lives of many unaware people.

It is Side two which gives me greater concern. For some reason, we set people up as our “personal messiah.” What I mean by that is we put too much stock in one person; what they can/cannot do; how they can help us; meet our needs; answer our longings, etc. This can be seen in looking at another person as the one who can make us happy or fulfilled. The plain, rugged truth is only God can do that. If someone sets me on that type of pedestal, I am nothing more than a cheap “knock off.”  I was struck (I chuckled) by something from today’s New Morning Mercies: “Asking someone to be our personal messiah is “like requiring him to be the 4th member of the Trinity and then judging him when he fails.” {Note: substitute the female gender if you prefer}. It just can’t be. It can’t happen. No human can or should shoulder that responsibility. There is only one Savior and people “we aren’t Him.”

This is an important lesson to learn.  Bitterness and disappointment is the result of someone failing to meet our expectations. It is impossible for people to meet my needs. And it is impossible for someone to expect me to meet their needs. Not just impossible. Wrong. My focus, your focus, needs to be where it belongs…on Jesus.

 

Types

Written by cycleguy on June 11th, 2017

I am a leader. I have not always understood that. I have not always embraced that. And I most certainly have not always lived like it.

BUT I AM A LEADER

The important question to answer right now is this: What kind? Sunday’s sermon from 3 John has got me thinking about my leadership type/style.

First, I am not a hard-driver. I strive for relaxation in the office. I will not/cannot/won’t ride herd on the other two in the office. It just isn’t me. John Maxwell I’m not. Been there. Tried that. Failed that test. We laugh a lot. A LOT. Our staff meetings might be suddenly interrupted by a “video reference,” most likely by Ryan or Diana bringing up a scene from Big Bang Theory. I am more prone to music videos or YouTube.

Second, I am not wired tightly. I know that. I haven’t studied the Type A/Type B personalities. God has not made me wired like a guitar or tighter than a drum. I am who I am. I repeat: I would not do well in the Maxwell School of Leadership.

The three men mentioned in 3 John had different leadership styles…obviously. Gaius had an open heart and home. Diotrephes had a “Messiah complex.” Demetrius had a good reputation. Churches are not perfect. It is made up of humans. {Go figure} The early church had the same issues churches today have: Leadership. Love. Power. Conflicts. All imperfect. But God can still use the church…and does.

What kind of leader are you?

 

Candid

Written by cycleguy on June 9th, 2017

One of the hardest things to do is recognize that all is not as it seems. For example, if you follow a Christian singer around you will eventually find some inconsistency. When I was younger I used to idolize sports figures. It was devastating when I read or heard of their off-the-field antics. I cringe whenever I think of my rudeness and, sometimes crudeness, and how I brought reproach on the Name of Christ.

Hearing the truth is not always fun. That is especially true when hearing it about a church. It is even more “crunchy” when it involves leaders in the church. 3 John, the passage for this weekend, is just such a letter. It might be easy to say, “Hey 2 out of 3 are good ones!” and that’s a pretty good average, but John is not thrilled at all with the prospect. There are three men mentioned in this book and their names and attitudes form a natural outline.  Here is my outline for this week:

  • Candid Truth about Gaius’ Faithfulness
  • Candid Truth about Diotrephes’ Preeminence
  • Candid Truth about Demetrius’ Testimony

Three men. Three teaching opportunities for John. A 3-point sermon for me. 🙂  Your prayers are appreciated this week. This sermon concludes my series on “Branded!” 1-2-3 John. It has been a challenge. For podcast info you can go here and then use the left side bar.  Next week: The Man God Uses then I begin a summer series on Grace.

 

UpdatedLook

Written by cycleguy on June 8th, 2017

If this is your first time to my blog then you will say, “What’s the big deal?” But if you have been a reader of any length (one day counts) then you will notice some big changes around. Several things were in operation.

First, I tire of the same thing. I like change. Not just for the sake of change for change’s sake but if there is a purpose, by all means, CHANGE! I had long been wanting to change the look of my blog but had to find the time and give my mind a chance to form concrete ideas.

Second, I needed time to do it. I am technologically-challenged so I rely (very) heavily on Ryan (techgeek). Ryan and his family just moved about 1/2 hour away and while we have had a few meals together, finding an extended time to deal with the blog was an adventure in futility. Until last night when Jo, Tami and I went to their house for a meal and a visit. After the meal Ryan and I sequestered ourselves in his office (with one of his monitors as big as a TV screen. BTW: he has three monitors for his work) and pounded out the new banner and look. I had ideas and pictures; Ryan had the know-how and the brains.  That is how my Sanguine personality (ideas with no clue how things work) combines with his Melancholy personality (perfectionist given to details).

I wanted my blog to represent me more. I hope I am never pictured as a hoity-toity big shot pastor. Get that thought out of your mind completely. I’m an everyday “joe” (or Bill) who loves life and loves doing what God has called me to do. As the tag line says: I am a Christ-follower, husband, father, pastor and road cyclist. It is true the banner does hit more of the cycling and even some advocacy, but that is who I am.  If you want to know who I really am, click on the About in the right column. You will even see a picture of me and my lovely bride. She’s much prettier than I am. 🙂

On the right bar you will see three badges I am passionate about: OVCF (the church I pastor); RoadID (which was used in my second bicycle wreck); and 3FeetPlease (an advocacy for safe distance between cars/trucks and cyclists). Browse the sites. I’ve streamlined my blog for faster loading and have also taken out extra information no one really gives a rip about. 🙂

I hope you like it. But most of all, thanks for reading.  I have written over 5600 blogs. No wonder my fingers are beginning to curl up. They are tired. But, Lord willing, I plan to keep blogging for as long as God gives me ideas.

 

Quotes/Thoughts

Written by cycleguy on June 5th, 2017

I find myself today running in a few minutes to a hospital close to an hour away for a man in the church who is having a knee replacement so I have precious little time to write a blog. So I thought I would give you some of the quotes/thoughts from the New Morning Mercies devotional I reviewed last week here.

From June 1: “God’s care comes in many forms. He cares enough to break your bones in order to capture your heart.” Tripp closes his thoughts with this: “You care enough to give me what I need, not what I want. You care enough to break my bones in order to recapture my heart.”

Of course, that hit home for me. Once in November (which didn’t take) and then again in February, I had bicycle accidents. The latter broke a collarbone and 3 ribs among other injuries. I don’t believe God literally reached down with His finger and had that car hit me, nor do I believe He put His finger on me and then flipped it sending me to the pavement in an endo. But He can use events in our lives to get our attention. In this case, He used it to recapture my heart.

From June 3: “It would be amazing if a God of awesome glory recognized our existence, but for Him to welcome us into His family is grace beyond amazing!” I’d say John Newton used the right word. Don’t you think so too?

From June 5 (today): “God’s grace is active, rescuing, transformative grace. You celebrate this by being as serious about your need as the God of grace is.” It took me three times reading that until it finally began to soak in. God took sin-the Fall-seriously. So much so that He immediately meted out punishment and put in motion the wheels for our salvation. Sin is no laughing matter. Gal. 6 tells us, “God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that shall he reap.” Two words: not pretty.

Chew on those today and then let me hear your thoughts if you can to respond.