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Test

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Although I don’t subscribe to everything in his books, my favorite of the ones he wrote was Wild at Heart. I’m speaking of John Eldredge and what became his seminal book. He had a statement that became a mantra for many men, me included, for a long time.

Every man has a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

The beauty to rescue is easy for me. It is Jo.  She is my #1 priority.

It is the other 2/3 of that equation which is my challenge.

I fight a daily battle with sin. Since I live on Planet Earth; I am a man i.e human; I am a sinner. True…a sinner saved by the merciful and powerful grace of Jesus, but a sinner nonetheless. I will battle my flesh til the day I breathe my last breath. (I don’t believe in sinless perfection here on earth).  Ephesians 6 is clear that my battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (6:12 ESV).

Every man has an adventure to live. It is easy to settle in. No excitement. No adventure. No challenge. While I love what I do as a pastor, I also realize there is “another part of me” that wants a challenge. I know not all men feel this way. Some are content…way content. I am content to a point. I love Jo. I love my girls, son-in-law and grandson. I love my brothers and their families. But those don’t count in the contentment scale.  Neither does loving what I do.  Some men hunt. Some fish. Some build things. Some snow or water ski. Some play competitive basketball or another sport. Me? I cycle. I love the challenge of climbing a hill (even if it is super slow). I love sweating. I love the euphoria of coming down a hill much faster than I went up. I love the tired feeling when I am done. It is a good tired.  I love it when my legs are toast after a ride and “toasty” for the rest of the day.

Maybe that is why I am challenging myself with the MS150 this coming Saturday. But I do know it was the reason I got up early to have my Quiet Time on Monday (a holiday) before I headed for Linton, IN on my bike. It was 15 miles of hill after hill. Then it got flat about 1/2 way through, but the 9 mph wind was against me for the next 15 miles.  It was a test. A challenge I wanted to take. Jo stayed with me as she followed me in my truck. And if the truth be known…it was for her too. I wanted her to be proud of me (it’s a man thing trust me).

I finished the 30.9 miles in 2:15. The heat index had climbed to 85+ by then (10:30) so I called it a day. I do have some sense about me still. 🙂 🙂  In my head, I passed the test. And yes…I was proud of that. We did go out to eat and then I took a nap in the afternoon. On purpose.  But it was good.  I could wax spiritual about all of this. But why? I found out something about myself…and the God to whom I prayed for strength. We did it.

YES…WE DID IT!

Direction

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Your viewpoint will often affect what you do. For example here are two pictures from my morning ride today. I got up, showered, dressed then sat down to do my Quiet Time (which involves my New Morning Mercies). Before I started I checked the weather on my phone and it wasn’t supposed to rain until 9:00. That was a change from when i went to bed (supposed to start at 3:00). So I did my Quiet Time, gathered my cycling clothes, came to the office to enter my devotion, then got dressed for a ride. Below are 2 pictures from my ride:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one on the left is a cropped selfie looking behind me. The one on the right is looking ahead of me. I rode anyway hoping the weather man (for once) was right.  I was going in the direction of picture #2. Even if he wasn’t right, I knew I could find shelter pretty quickly on my route or if I dared…make a dash for the office. I turned around at the 10 mile mark, rode another mile and a half and saw this:

Yeah, that was rain. Fortunately, it was more south of where I was riding. I’m glad I did not let the appearance of rain stop me from my ride. My blogging friend, Martha, wrote about directions here.  I’m reminded of the Scriptures in several different places:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

It is vitally important that we get our directions for the day from the correct source. I like to start my day in the Word. Today, may the Father be your guide. May His Word be your direction.

Did I get rained on? Well…there was a spit or two (rain not a driver) but it didn’t go any further. When I was done with my 20 miles, the only “wet” was my sweat. Now…time for a nap. 🙂

Refreshment

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

My idea of refreshment and your idea of refreshment could be is probably different. For some it is a sit down in front of the TV. Or maybe it is a lawn chair or hammock and a good book. For others it may be yard sales (can you say gag?). Or maybe it is a quiet evening with your spouse or children or someone you love.

Mine? Well can you spell B.I.C.Y.C.L.E? Yeah…I know. How can that be a refreshment? “That just makes me tired thinking of it.” I respect your wacky haywire feelings.  I really do. I live with someone who shares your thoughts. She would just as soon my bike would turn to be covered in mothballs as to be able to be ridden.

Of course, she and I disagree. Good thing love overcomes HER crazy thinking. You know? I have tried to get her sane but no-o-o-o-o-o-o. I think I am getting an award for being the most patient person when it comes to listening to others’ thoughts about me riding a bike. 🙂

I rode this morning (Tuesday). It has been sweltering…like in the 90s with humidity in the stratosphere. I went to the Y yesterday because I knew I planned to ride today. I rode early this morning because I was heading to our church camp where we had 18 campers and faculty involved in camp and wilderness camp. I left at 6:15 as soon as it was light enough to safely ride so I could back to the office by 8:00 then head home for a shower. About 7 miles into the ride (about 6:45) I took these pictures. I took them while riding so they aren’t the best. And yes, I was on a back road where I saw no traffic. There are some simple pleasures an early morning ride gives. Some refreshment one can miss. I saw this and thought of Lamentations 3:22: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your way of refreshment? What time of the day is your favorite?

Invasion

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Mention history and ask for examples of invasions and one is likely to hear about Normandy, an invasion so horrific the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan and other movies like Band of Brothers cannot do it justice (although they tried).  over 150,000 troops were committed to the initial invasion, employing 6900 vessels, 4100 landing craft, and 12,000 airplanes flying 14,000 sorties. The death tool was astronomical.

History is filled with invasions like that. In one sense, the great invasions of history are analogous to the way in which God chose to deal with the enemy’s rule over the earth. He invaded, but not with guns and ammo and an army trained and armed to the teeth. Instead, He chose a different kind of invasion. One of the HILLS of our faith is God became flesh and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ (Christmas). Then He lived a sinless life only to find Himself being led to a cross where He would die for the sin of the world and then raise from the dead (Easter).

That is one of our Core Beliefs, a HILL we will die on defending. Your prayers are much appreciated

Released!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Needless to say, after this post, I’ve been waiting for this day.

WEDNESDAY

MARCH 1

1:20 P.M.

After having the 22 staples removed, a series of x-rays to check on healing, a chat with the doctor, a visit to the therapist (physical smarty pants), I was released to go my own way! I will check back in at the end of the month, but for the most part I am free and clear. The only restrictions are physical pain and movement. I’m allowed to return to the Y (but I have to be smart obviously). No incline bench presses. No shrugs. No…no…no.  I have to be smart he says and I hear the peanut gallery (composed of my wife) saying, “No. No. No.”  🙂

It felt good to be released. To be able to drive my Frontier to the office without being chauffeured. To experience that sense of well-being which comes from something new.

There have been several “something news” which have come as a result of this accident. I’d like to share some of them with you in a future post or two. But time has run out for me on this one. I have a bike to ride.

OOOPS JUST KIDDING.  🙂

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is the xray of the repair. I think it is safe to say no airport security line will be safe for me.

Swallowing

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

I’m having an affair.

Now…before you get your undies all in a bunch or gasp and say, “Not another one,” please hear me out. I have this love affair with food…certain kinds of food especially. One rhymes with pizza. The other rhymes with ice cream. I have slowed down on the pizza eating. Rumor has it my age has something to do with that. 🙂 I can remember in day’s long past when I ate pizza every day for a week. I can also remember when I would eat a whole large pizza at a Pizza Hut buffet. Yeah…those days are l-o-o-o-o-ng gone. Ice cream is a different story. My philosophy is “there’s always room for ice cream.” I confess to liking at least a small bowl in the evening (emphasis on “small”).

I also get up around 3:15 each morning and ride my bike indoors for at least 45 minutes in order to enjoy that bowl of ice cream. I suspect it is really not doing me much good, but try to convince my taste buds that!

They say “you are what you eat.” Well then I’m a ice cream-loving-Italian and don’t regret it. Except, of course, when I don’t ride and step on a scale or a doctor tells me like one did several years ago: “your cholesterol is high and you need meds.” When I said, “No” he said, “Okay then. Lose 15 pounds and lower your cholesterol.”

I was what I ate alright. I immediately changed my eating habits.

I am what I eat spiritually as well. So are you. Feed ourselves “light junk” and we will be a lightweight. Feed ourselves “heavy junk” and we will find ourselves out of touch. I go back to this quote from the previous post:

Faith is to the soul what swallowing is to the body-and the health of the body is largely dependent on what is swallowed.  “Moorings in a World Adrift” by Clayton Bell-p.3

I don’t eat pizza and ice cream like I used to. Least not the quantities. (I do still like my chocolate). My 63 year old body can’t absorb what it used to. So I had to change my eating habits.

My reading and study habits have also changed over time. I want my faith to be firm, vibrant and alive. I need to feed that desire. What about you?

 

CrossCountry

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

I’m a little behind with this post. When I thought I would have time to write I was waylaid. I was waylaid by a trip to the eye doctor and then a Cross Country meet. Going to the eye doc is always an effort in futility for me. I already know they are going to tell me my eyes are bad. I am reminded each year by my girls after their check-ups that they inherited my eyes. I feel bad for them. Anyway, I had my eyes dilated and this is one time I can look like a drugged out freak and not get into trouble. (Not that I’ve ever been a drugged out freak before).

My mistake was going straight from the doctor to the CC meet. Fortunately, I had those stylish sunglasses they give you to block the sunlight. I stood in the shade at the meet but had to look into the sun-drenched field to watch the last part of the race. I watched a wonderful young lady, Kelci, run a good race, wind up second, all while suffering from a cold. Pretty remarkable if you ask me. Oh, I watched her younger sister, Katie, run in her Middle school CC race last week. She ran a good race as well…coming in first for her school, third overall. Mom and dad have two wonderful young ladies on their hands.

You know the lesson. Training. Sweat. Tears. Long days and short nights. Boring tiring training. But they both ran good races. Check out I Corinthians 9: 24-27.

Okay…I’m tired just writing about this. Think I’ll go take a nap. 🙂

Medicine

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Meals on WheelsTITLE: MEALS ON WHEELS

So I have strange friends who decide to give me a chuckle. Obviously photo-shopped but who cares? It is still hilarious. First, you would never catch me riding with snow on the ground in my bib shorts and short sleeve jersey with no knee or arm warmers or jacket. Second, it is going up hill. I. WOULD. BE. HIS. MEAL.  At my age (62) and my weight (204) I don’t climb as fast as those young bucks who only weigh 130 pounds. So I am bear food. Third, some people have a weird sense of humor…and I LOVE IT!

My buddy, Jim, sent this to me. We used to ride together until health issues have taken him out of the cycling picture for several years. However, I love Jim’s comedic relief. I also tell him I don’t have to beat the bear. I only have to climb faster than him. 🙂

Hope your day shapes up to be a good one. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about this post unless I made you laugh. Then it can be said, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Pr.17:22

NOPE

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

I was visiting a couple last night after my “66” class (Route 66 where I take them through the books of the Bible. It is a two year series of lessons).

My daughter texted me. “No blog post?”

“Nope.”

“Everything okay?”

“Yep. Just busy.”

Crazy busy, actually.  We have been hosting Systems of Care (a group consisting of multiple organizations directly involved in getting youth help) until their new building is finished. I’m involved. That happened yesterday. After that I needed to go home and cut grass before the rain hits for several days in a row. Otherwise, I would need a farmer to bale it. (I even passed up a ride!). I had several other things to do and before I knew it, it was time for Prayer meeting and then 66. And the visit afterwards at their house.

I’m not complaining, even though the past few weeks have been like that. I’d rather be busy than bored.

However, there comes a time we all need to slow down from the busyness. I know I do. Every time I walk into my ManCave my bike is crying and calls out my name. I get a towel, wipe it down and hold it. (Not really but you get my drift). 🙂 Tomorrow is my day off. See the smile???

We all need to slow down. We all need time off. Take it and don’t feel guilty. What about you? Are you getting your time away from the busyness?

Hydration

Monday, August 25th, 2014

I rode today. In fact, I rode 20 miles.

I know…you are saying, “Big deal.”

Well…it kinda was. I think today (Monday) was one of the hottest days of the summer. Temps in the 90s with humidity close to 100%. I ride with insulated bottles- one of water and one of Gatorade (G2). Needless to say they were both drained by the time I finished. I don’t know how many of you are athletes-cyclists, runners, team players, marathoners-but one of the essentials is hydrating. An athlete who doesn’t hydrate is asking for trouble. I can remember a Tour de France several years ago when Lance Armstrong got dehydrated during a Time Trial. He lost power. His lips and mouth had a white chalky substance around them (salt). He was in bad shape. I’ve seen guys working on roofs who fail to get out of the heat and get plenty to drink end up with heat stroke.

Once or twice I have bonked and it is a miserable state to be in. It is hard to focus on task. It takes everything within you to (in my case) keep pedaling. It takes recovery time, and depending on the severity, possibly several days. Unless…nah never mind.

I can’t help but think of this principle spiritually. As I was riding today a verse of Scripture came to mind: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1-2

A more dire strait (no not the musical group) is seen in Jeremiah 2:12-13: “Be appalled, O heavens, at this: be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

I’m going to be honest: I’ve sort of gone through a mild dry season- not a famine- just a dry season. I’ve allowed my spirit to get a bit dry.  Not parched, but edging that way.  Reckon it is time to head back to the old watering hole.

Where are you at these days? How is your spirit?