February, 2019

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DrawingPeople

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

My last post was sort of snarky in that it was tongue-in-cheek. It was either not read much or people just chose not to comment. (Can I hope for the latter?)

Anyway, I thought I would use a quote I read from Scott Sauls’ book from Weakness to Strength. I highly recommend it especially for anyone in leadership. In a chapter he called Opposition: The Unlikely Pathway to Neighbor Love, Scott used this quote:

We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it. Madeline L’Engle

There are some people who see it as their mission in life to tear down other people. I know there is a need for discernment when it comes to cults, false teachers, etc. But I’m not sure there is value in name-calling and “demonizing” someone due to their choice of lifestyle. Please don’t misunderstand me here: I believe the so-called “alternate lifestyle” is sinful, but they are still people. I used to be one of those preachers who said “I tell it like it is and if you don’t like it argue with the Bible not me.” I now realize that was and is the wrong approach.

Scott summed up Madeline’s words with these:  “No amount of cultural opposition stopped Jesus from working to change the world through love.” I can’t argue with him.

All that to say this: perhaps instead of being hateful and judgmental toward those who oppose us, maybe we can take the position of lovingly disagreeing while maintaining our Biblical stance. It doesn’t mean I am compromising; it means I am trying to reach people with the message of the love of Jesus with honey instead of vinegar.

What are your thoughts?

 

Pendulum

Monday, February 25th, 2019

So…Martina has watched the pendulum swing and hit her smack dab in the face.

I try not to write posts which have any kind of snarky attitude to them. I must confess: this one is different.  I have never been a Martina fan. And seriously, it has nothing to do with her lifestyle choice, i.e. coming out as gay. I was seriously loyal to American athletes, hence I rooted for Chris Evert. Funny, I don’t give a rip about tennis. So, what I’m saying is my failure to cheer for Martina was not in any way linked to her lifestyle choice.  As years have gone by she has not been on my radar at all. I can’t even say when the last time was I even heard her name being used.

Until last week. I didn’t know it but Martina tweeted in December of last year that she advocated standards for transgender athletes (male identifying as female) that would disqualify them from competing against women in athletic events. The firestorm hit! She withdrew her tweet the next day saying she needed to study the issue some more. Well, last week she came back to the fray convinced even more that transgender males have no business competing in women’s sports! Her reasons were sound. They were spot on. But I don’t even think Martina was ready for what hit her.

Her words:

“If anything, my views have strengthened. …A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her.  It would not be fair.”

She’s right. Hormones and biology prove her right.  There is a lady in the church I pastor who is a powerlifter and last week won her age and weight class for the state of Indiana. While I know she could outlift me, there is no way she could compete with a lifelong male who has been lifting as long as Valarie has and has trained as she does. The testosterone won’t “bow down” to the estrogen in strength.  I would hate to see a trans boxer against a similarly trained female. The sight would not be pretty.

But Martina is now finding out about the intolerance of the so-called tolerant.  She is now antiquated, outdated, out-of-tune and being black-balled for her stand. Welcome to our world Martina!  Chris Pratt and other followers of Christ in Hollywood are being ripped apart because they attend what are being called “anti-LBGTQ” churches.  Why is it that just because we do not affirm the alphabet lifestyle we are called homophobes or whatever other name they want to pin on us? I personally do not believe the Bible approves the homosexual lifestyle but I do believe God affirms all people as having value and try to follow that same stream in my actions.  I’ve gone on long enough. All I will say is this…

Hey Martina! Welcome to our world-the world of the Christ-follower and Biblical churches who try to love and stay true to the teachings of Scripture.  Intolerance strikes all who disagree.

Choosing

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

You have probably heard Robert Frost’s opening lines to his poem The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

As I was studying for Sunday’s sermon I came across this three-line ditty by Dante in his Divine Comedy work:

Midway this way of life we’re bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, Where the right road was wholly lost and gone.

Both poems say virtually the same thing only from a different perspective.  Life is filled with choices. We choose whether to get up in the morning or not. We choose whether to eat right or not. We make both big and small choices every day. We must also choose the path we will choose to walk-the path of the godly person or the path of the ungodly. The distinction is sharp.

I’m reminded of what Jesus once said: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”  Matthew 7:13-14

My sermon this Sunday is from Psalm 1. I’ve entitled it Choose Your Path. The line of demarcation in the psalm is clear. I will not veer from it. It will either be Life on the Right Path or Life in Fast Lane. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

Anniversary

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Oh, for the ease of emojis. It is not as easy putting pictures on a blog as it is to use an emoji while texting. If so I would find one that pictures a celebration.

Today is the anniversary of me starting Cycleguy’s Spin. February 20, 2008. This is post #2,837.

It is hard for me to believe I have been at this for so long. A lot has changed. A lot has happened. I have seen people come and go. Some who used to blog don’t any more. For what reason, I don’t know. Blogging used to be “the thing” but FB, Twitter, Instagram and all the other newer, shinier models have stepped in. I’ve stuck with blogging because I am not into social media. It used to be a joke in our house that Jo got to do FB because I had my blog. She originally connected to it to keep up with the girls, but she is hooked. Me? I am glad I never got involved. They say it would be better for blog traffic but I’m okay with that. They also say I would be able to keep better track of “my people.” That’s alright. They don’t need a hound dog. Besides, I have spies all over the place! 🙂

A lot has happened. The church moved its location from the sports complex to our own building (we bought an already existing one). That was in 2010. In January of 2011 I found out we were being embezzled. But God was more than sufficient.  In 2009 I was riding with a friend and a dog came out of the yard and took me down. I was hit by a hit and run driver in 2016 and in 2017 I had a horrific crash (which Tami was kind enough to remind me that this past Sunday was the date of my two year anniversary). I became a board member of the Owen County Chamber of Commerce about 6 years ago. The church has seen its ups and downs but God has been good. We paid cash for a renovation in 2012 and for a much-needed youth addition in 2017-2018.  Our sights are set on an adult worship center now.  We had our first Day of Service in 2009 and now partner with The Connection church for a semi-annual Day of Service (Spring and Fall).  Our 2009 launch of a now annual Thanksgiving Dinner was one of the best things we have done and it has morphed into a Christmas breakfast as well.

I started another blog, more of a devotional one, in 2018.  It was called Be Transformed and was focused around New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. I changed its name to Living in the Shadow at the beginning of this year and also changed my focus. I invite you to check it out here.

But through all of this and more, God has been the mainstay.  He has given me a love for the people of OVCF and for the community I never thought possible. I love living and serving here and honestly see myself nowhere else.

This is getting way too long so let me wrap it up. I thank you for being one of my readers. I appreciate it more than I can express. I know some of you are praying for me. That means even more. I’ll keep writing as long as I feel I have something to say. From the very beginning my guiding theme has been Live the Adventure.  I have received a few momentos along the way:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My firm belief and guiding principle:

And finally: I was listening to Switchfoot while working out yesterday and heard this song for the first time. It has been on repeat since then. It sums up my theme for my life.

Thanks for being a part of my life.  Live life well. It is an adventure.

Update

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

In yesterday’s post I told of the opportunity to pray at the Indiana State House of Representatives and I asked for prayer. I thought I would share an update with you since I know some of you prayed. It will also save me from responding to each comment (even though I normally do).  First, a picture.

That is me with Representative Bob Heaton. I’m the one in the tie. Oops…the one without a jacket. 🙂 Yeah…that tie is an anomaly. When I asked about apparel the lady I spoke to bust out laughing when my comment to me wearing a tie was “Bummer! I don’t even wear one of those on Sunday morning.”  When I was joking with Rep Heaton on Saturday morning about the tie, he said, “Yeah. They are kind of sticklers about that.” No way was I going to be a rebel. However, it is a cycling tie!  Bob is a super nice guy, one who truly cares for his constituents. He played ball at Indiana State University as a teammate to Larry Bird.  He is 6’5″ so I guess my doctor was right about my height. In college I was listed as 6’3″.

They wanted it brief (3 minutes or less) and even without knowing that, I was already there.  I thought I would let you see what I said and prayed:

“In the OT book of I Kings there is a story told of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Two woman had a baby and came to him because one of the babies died and was switched with the other. They came to Solomon and his test was to divide the baby in half. The one mother said, “Oh no don’t do that!” while the other said, “Go ahead. He shall be neither of ours.” Solomon wisely knew who the real mother was. My prayer for you is a prayer for wisdom. On that note, let’s pray.

“Father, you are the giver of wisdom. We thank you for this day you have given us. We thank you for the opportunity to meet on this day which honors two of our greatest presidents. I thank you for each man and woman present in this room today. I pray for wisdom in their conversations which must take place. And I pray for wisdom for the decisions which must be made today. Give each of these men and women a heart of discernment for right and wrong. And help them to make decisions which will benefit the citizens of this great state of Indiana. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.”

There you have it. Why not take a moment and pray for your legislators and senators and the leaders of our country right now?

Two insider pictures of the “floor.”

 

Opportunity/Request

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Nothing earth-shattering in this post today. I’d just like to ask you to pray about a unique opportunity I have today. Even if you get this “after the fact” I’d still like to ask you to pray.

I moved to Spencer to pastor Owen Valley Christian Fellowship in November of 2005. I wanted something different…for my life…as a pastor. In some ways I guess you can say I was tired of playing it safe. I had been a pastor for 30+ years and it was time to get out of my comfort zone and to put “feet to my faith.” As time moved on I tried to do that. Some intentional; some not. I dreamed of the church being involved in the community so when a question came asking if we did anything for Thanksgiving, I said, “No, but we will.” So within 3 weeks we started serving a Thanksgiving dinner. From Day 1 it was a success.  If we did something for Thanksgiving why not Christmas? So we started a Christmas breakfast. The traction has been slower but we had a good turnout at the Lions Club (we use their building since it is in town) this past Christmas and also delivered over 60 meals. In time I found myself involved in different organizations in our community. Due to the need to cutback some, I am now involved as a board member of the Owen County Chamber of Commerce. Three years ago they were looking for a venue to host what are called Legislative Breakfasts. One year there are three of them on the 3rd Saturday of January through March; another year there are four of them. This is our third year hosting the meeting.

Through these meetings I have had the opportunity to meet some local politicians who truly care and have a heart for their districts.  One such man is Bob Heaton. He played basketball at Indiana State with some other guy named Larry Bird. Bob is a Christ-follower with a heart for truth and for the people he represents.

Now comes the part where I tell you of my opportunity and request.  NO IT IS NOT RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE. I would not even consider that in any way, shape or form.  It is something I consider much more important. Bob asked if I would be interested in opening the session at the Indiana House with prayer some day. I said, “Yes” (with a little bit of fear and hesitation).  Lo, and behold, I got a call asking me to open the session of the House on Monday, February 18th at 1:30. So today is the day.

I’d like to ask that you pray for me and that I might have the right words to say. Thanks.

Drowning

Friday, February 15th, 2019

It sounds somewhat presumptuous to say, “No one should worry.” Even as I write that or say that I feel like I should have a shield or some armor or at least plan to duck. Within any room; within any event; within any church, work, or school, there are worriers.  Research has shown that worry causes serious health issues: ulcers, colitis, nerves, sleeplessness, and a host of other ailments.

As I began working on the theme for this year (Unsinkable), I also began working on some sermon ideas. One of the ones I came up with was “Icebergs,” those things which can sink us or our faith.  It is common knowledge Titanic was sunk by an iceberg which was under the surface. Many people’s faith is sunk by icebergs under the surface.  One of the biggest, but one often given credence by us as “concern” is worry.

My sermon Sunday is from Psalm 37:1-11 and verse 23. This happens to be one of my favorite in the Bible so I’m looking forward to it. The writer of this psalm makes it really easy for even the casual reader by telling us what the solution to worry is by highlighting some words at the beginning of the verses: Trust. Delight. Commit. Be still. Refrain.  I’ll finish out by talking about “the steps of a man are established by the Lord…when he delights in His way.”

Thanks for your prayers.

It’s been a busy week so the blog took a backseat. Thanks for being patient.

Essentials

Monday, February 11th, 2019

There are two sayings I adopted years ago that to me still stand the test of time:

“In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things, love.”

“Where the Bible speaks we speak; where the Bible is silent we are silent.”

These two sayings would take care of a lot of “hills” people are dying on when they don’t need to.

My conclusion: We minor in majors; we major in minors.

Think that through. When it comes to doctrinal issues, there are some non-negotiables (I know that is not word but I still use it), some majors we simply cannot compromise on. The virgin birth of Christ. The divinity of Jesus-that he was fully God and fully man. Popular thought heresy says Jesus was born a man, became divine, but went to the cross as a man. (Can you say Bill Johnson?) The sacrificial, substitutionary, redemptive act of Christ on the cross for our salvation. The physical resurrection of Jesus from the grave. The ultimate return of Jesus to bring an end to life on this planet as we know it. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one. The Bible as God’s authoritative Word, inspired and inerrant. Those (and others not mentioned) are majors and should not be compromised on.

But our religious culture is fast pushing them to the side in order to major in minors.

While I believe homosexual activity is sinful and wrong, I don’t believe it is the unpardonable sin. I also don’t really make a big deal about the creation story. I believe very strongly in “In the Beginning God…”  If the creation of the world was 7 24 hour days or whether “day” was a longer span of time, is not a game-changer to me. “In the beginning God.”  He can do whatever He wants to do in whatever way He want to. But do I think it is a matter of salvation? No, I don’t. While I don’t think we ought to “uncouple” ourselves from the OT as Andy Stanley says we should, I also don’t believe we find our salvation there. The Law was given as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ, Paul says, so we can’t dismiss it. But I don’t go to the Law or the OT to find my salvation. I find it in Christ, in His story as told in the NT.  That is a major I can’t minor in.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just be kind. 🙂

 

Faith/Feelings?

Friday, February 8th, 2019

First, let me just say we needed Noah the past two or three days. It has rained like “cats and dogs.” So much so that school was let out early today (Thursday) and some of the kids were stuck at school anyway because the buses couldn’t get through. One school had all three access ways flooded. Oh…but tonight!!! It is supposed to go down to 18 degrees. Talk about a royal mess!

Anyway…now for my regularly scheduled post.  🙂

The battle between faith and feelings has been and will continue to be ongoing. There are many who doubt God’s faithfulness and love because their feelings have betrayed them. Enter Psalm 13.  I wrote about this psalm at my other blog here on January 8. When I decided to extend my sermon series on Psalms I decided to incorporate this Psalm into that series. I’m not going to reiterate here what I wrote there. I’d like to ask you to venture over there.

But one thing I do want to emphasize is what kept David anchored were his beliefs in the certainty of God’s character, based on the certainty of God’s promises, even though his feelings were all over the map. We would do well to do the same.

It has been a crazy week for me so I have not posted much on this blog. I do post every day at my other one since it is more devotional and based on my morning Quiet Time and journal. But I do covet your prayers this Sunday.

Over/Start

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Please tell me it’s over.

Football.

The Super Bowl.

To let you know how I feel, watch this clip.

Football season couldn’t end soon enough for me. Basketball might run a close second or maybe just ahead of football. But that also means that soon…

CYCLING SEASON WILL BE IN FULL SWING

As will

BASEBALL SEASON

We had small group last night and since I wasn’t planning on watching any part of the SB (not even the commercials) it gave me something to do besides watch NCIS: Los Angeles with Jo or read or ride my bike inside (which is another name for boring).  I took a peak at the score before going to bed and I laughed out loud.  All that hype for a 3-0 score at halftime.  I read where someone wagered over 1 million dollars in favor of the Rams.  I think he lost…big time. Anyway, this means that football season is about over except for minor stuff. Again…YEAH!

We had a big tease of a day yesterday. It reached 60+ degrees! All that after -35 on Wednesday.  I didn’t get a chance to get out and ride due to other commitments. That was a bummer.  Maybe it was better though.  A day like that and getting out to ride makes it even harder to get started inside again.  And I guarantee you we will have some more nasty weather come our way before winter is over. But hey…I live in Indiana.  Who knows?

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you have a good week.