Written by cycleguy on March 7th, 2017

If you saw the last post, it was a description of Sunday’s sermon: Black/white.

Well…it was supposed to be. Until that Sunday morning when God interrupts the thought-process and says, “I want you to go in a different direction.”

So “Black Hats/White Hats” was held over until this coming Sunday. God had other ideas. I want you to know I’m not really into that. I prepare for a reason. I study for a reason. I practice on Sunday morning to an empty auditorium for a reason. I am a firm believer that if people come on Sunday morning to hear “me speak” (to hear a word from God as He has taught me), they need to hear something worth listening to. Half-baked, half-prepared sermons which use the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an excuse for not studying and preparing tell the people they don’t matter and the pastor doesn’t care.  That’s not me. So when I no sooner begin my sermon and I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it all aside and talk from the heart, I don’t jump up and down like Horshack on Kotter saying, “Ooh ooh ooh.”

That is what happened though this Sunday. I no sooner made two comments:

“Along with the fake there will always be a real.”

“Underneath it all we need to see that Looks can be deceiving.”

At that point I told the people to put their Bibles and notes away. I confessed to them that for the past 9 months or so I have been wearing a mask. I wore a mask so when they asked, “How you doing?” my stock answer was, “I’m fine.” Problem is Bill wasn’t fine. Bill was running on fumes.  He was empty.

It took two bicycle accidents to get my attention. The first didn’t work because it wasn’t my fault and I was able to move on too quickly from it. But this second one was a doozy. I’ve written about it here. I’m healing physically, but spiritually is taking longer. If you would like to listen to the podcast of Sunday’s talk, you can link here.

Your continued prayers are very much needed. Priorities need realigned. Relationships need mended and realigned as well. Thanks ahead of time.


22 Comments so far ↓

  1. Glynn says:

    Praying for you, Bill.

  2. Jeff says:

    In 65 years God has never told me to go in a different direction. He has never told me anything. Did he call you on the phone, e-mail you, whisper in your ear? How did it happen?

    • Dan says:

      It’s kind of hard to hear someone who you don’t think exists! 🙂 I say that tongue-in-cheek, but I also say that as one who, although raised in the church all of my life, had my faith destroyed by well-meaning Christians, and went through a period of time doubting God’s existence.

      In answer to your question, though, God’s leading and direction can take a variety of forms. You and I don’t know each other personally, only through this blog, so it’s easy to dismiss my personal experiences. However, God has worked at various times throughout my life in miraculous ways (one of them being the reason we are now at OVCF). Sometimes it’s a whisper, sometimes it’s a heavy weight, sometimes it’s startlingly miraculous, and sometimes it’s a mystery. However, it was through these experiences that God restored my faith in Him after it had been destroyed.

      • cycleguy says:

        You took the words right out of my mouth Daniel. I would say the same to Jeff. How can you hear from someone whom you don’t believe exists? As for me, Sunday was one of those quiet whispers that started out as discontent while practicing that morning and slowly built until I had no other recourse but obey. I did not hear an audible; but I did hear a gentle tug in my heart that said, “I have some other words for you to say today. Just let me talk.”

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks for an answer. I am always curious how people imagine things. If I hear people, get emails, etc. I know they exist. I just have big doubts about hearts (mine doesn’t have ears) that hear things or whispers in someone’s head. I just don’t have that much imagination.

  3. Dan says:

    As we were driving home from church I mentioned to the kids that what they had just witnessed took courage on your part, as a pastor, to let your guard down. However, what you did gives all of us freedom to be ourselves. Hiding our struggles, doubts and uncertainties only isolates us from each other, while being honest and open gives us the opportunity to function as a Christian community, to pray for each other and to encourage each other. Other people may be struggling with the same issues, but if I hide it then I can’t talk through it, or work through it, with someone else. In an environment where grace and love are practiced, we as Christians should be able to encourage each other and be honest with each other. We are ALL on this journey together and we are all human. We are all recipients of God’s amazing grace (to use a cliche). I think back to something you said, “We don’t fully understand the grace of God until we see His holiness and our sinfulness.” I’m so thankful that nothing in all creation can separate us from His love.

    • cycleguy says:

      I’m honored Daniel that you first, told your kids what you did, but also that you feel I gave others the freedom to be yourselves. I guess we/I don’t think of things like that but if it inspires one person to be honest then i am saying it was worth it. I agree with all you say and especially that last sentence. Thanks for your comment but most of all thanks for your friendship.

  4. So I’m not the only one who practices in an empty room on a Sunday morning! Good to know that I’m not the only crazy person!

  5. Wow, Bill, what a testimony to how the Holy Spirit convicts us when we least expect it. I will definitely give a listen to Sunday’s sermon, and am continuing to pray for your full recovery, physically and spiritually, my brother!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for the prayers Martha. It will take some time for full recovery on both fields. But i am so grateful for your prayers.

  6. floyd says:

    Wow. That’s huge stuff, Bill. To be able to let go of your ego and pride and show the world who you are, shows how sovereign our Father is.

    Being strong in the flesh can only get you so far… when the hand of the Lord interferes. Takes a strong man to do what you did. A good lesson and example for all of us.

    Praying for you.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks Floyd. There is something scary showing who we are. But i am certainly grateful for your words. you realize it is not me but God.

  7. TC Avey says:

    My prayers are with you, Bill.
    It’s hard being honest with others…harder to be honest with ourselves. A few years back God had to REALLY humble me and isolate me before I would take a good look at what He was trying to show me…that I needed to trust Him more than I trusted in my own abilities. I hadn’t realized I was doing this, but God knew and He tried to gently speak this truth to me but I didn’t listen, so He broke me down until all I could do was look up and cry out.

    This season isn’t easy, but God has a plan and purpose for it. You and your family and church will be in my prayers.
    Psalm 91 & 121

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for the prayers TC. It is hard being honest, especially with ourselves. Isn’t it interesting how God does give up on us?

  8. Ceil says:

    Hi Bill! I did listen to your podcast and was so struck by your honesty, and how hard it was for you to share your anger at God and your questioning. You know what I learned? I learned that I can’t have a relationship with God if I’m angry at him. I never thought about it, but that’s really true. Anger denies and pushes away.
    May God continue to open your heart to instruct your flock, and heal your body and soul. You are an inspiration to me.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks you Ceil. That realization of anger with God was a huge eye-opener for me. I was trying to carry on this “relationship” with Him while angry. Yeah…didn’t work. Thanks for your kind words Ceil. I’m humbled you would think of me.

  9. Betty Draper says:

    I am still in the grip of some of that anger toward myself because of not heeding the warning signs sooner. Now for almost a year my life will be altered and I have to run everything I do through the state of my recovery. And to be honest it already has given me more time than I want to reflect on other heart issues, the spiritual ones. When one is busy most of the time you can kind of keep those issue tucked away in that, “I will get to that later room”. Well later has come. One that that has come up is my anger at God over this aging business, and that started before the heart surgery. There is so much I still want to do, yet my aging body and mind can’t seem to take the task on. Hard to lay down the passion to serve like I use to. Hard to be a listening ear to the God of the universe when for years we have been the mouthpiece. Yep, humbling has started and I know it is not over. Yesterday I had to listen to my husband about my lazy way of dealing with my meds. I mean does it really matter when I take it. Well before the heart issue,, no because nothing I took was as important as what I take now. My heart needs certain meds I did not need before and yes I must become a responsible adult and take serious this heart issue. I have stopped asking why, now I am at the begging stage, help me God. Praying for you Bill, I am sure we will write some great post on these wake up calls. My two adult children call them my come to Jesus post. They told me this heart issue should be worth at least a dozen post. They love to make me laugh. I needed to laugh…seriously brother, praying.

  10. Mike Shanta says:

    Hey Bill! I will be praying for you and understand what you mean about running out of juice and running on fumes. I give you credit for coming up with a message every week. I used to do a lot of messages and like you I wasn’t into fluff which makes it hard to continually come up with new hard hitting stuff. Even in writing I struggle with this. Anyway I will pray for rejuvenation, peace and good health for you.