Father

Written by cycleguy on January 28th, 2018

A lot has been written about our earthly father and his influence upon our lives. You know…

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Positive)

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Negative)

“My father’s example was one I wanted to emulate.”

“My father’s example was not one I wanted to emulate.”

“I desire to raise my children the same way my father raised me.”

“I desire to raise my children differently than my father raised me.”

I could go on and on. Many people who are much smarter and wiser than me have said, “Your view of God is very often tied to your view of your earthly father.” In my case, I concur. Conditional love and acceptance. AWOL at times. Preoccupied with other things. I could go on but this is not a body slam on my late father.

I know some, many who have come to see me in my office or at a meal, who have screamed for a father who loved them. “What was wrong with me?” “Why couldn’t he just love me the way I was?” “Why did he try to live his life through me?” The litany goes on. Little girls especially need their father to be more than a biological necessity.

During Pastor Appreciation Month (which is also my birthday month) our worship leaders had this wood hanging made for me. I treasure it. I have it displayed on a table in my office. It just might be the first thing people see when they walk by or enter.

The song I’m highlighting today is one of my favorites from which this plague comes. Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

TrueLove

Written by cycleguy on January 26th, 2018

This past December Spencer’s own Community Theater did a play called The Velveteen Rabbit. It was written in 1922 by Margery Williams (aka Margery Williams Bianco). The book is subtitled How Toys Become Real. One of the most quoted sections of the book is this:

By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

As you know, love is more than a word. It is more than an emotion. There are two things which stick out in  Romans 12: 9-13.  True love lacks hypocrisy and true love discriminates (that will make for an interesting “discussion” among the people). But to put you at ease think “discernment.”

Love can be expressed in so many different ways. This passage in Romans presents 8 different ways love can be displayed. It should be a fun sermon to preach. 🙂  I’d appreciate your prayers for us this weekend. And if you care to listen to it, the podcast is put on the church’s website.

 

Shameless

Written by cycleguy on January 25th, 2018

It is called Shameless Promotion.

And so it is. I have another post coming out tomorrow morning for the weekend and wanted to fill in today so I thought, “Why not?”

Theology without love is simply bad theology.

To read the rest of this devotion, please head over to my other blog based on New Morning Mercies called Be Transformed.

I’d love to see you over there and hear your thoughts.

 

Religion

Written by cycleguy on January 23rd, 2018

One of the values of my new blog, Be Transformed,  is the emphasis it places on grace. Actually, since it focuses on the daily devotions found in New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, it is really only fair to say NMM places an emphasis on grace. I do invite you to join me there-not only in the discussion but also in the daily reading.

But this post is not a plug for Be Transformed.  It may appear that way, but it really isn’t. However…  🙂  Back in October I read a devotion by Derwin Gray called A Never-Ending Climb. I thought it was really good so I clipped it for future use. I saw it again today and decided it was a good one to use today:

Religion, or works-based righteousness, paints a picture of a god sitting atop a high peak, waiting for us to scale the mountain through our good behavior or adherence to religious principles. The more “good” we do the closer we come to approaching our god. If we do something bad, however, the god on top of the mountain turns Zeus-like and throws a lightning bolt to strike us and knock us back down the mountain. After the electric shock wears off and our singed hair stops smoking, we dust ourselves off, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and start the long trek all over again.

Long story short: the trek of works-based righteousness is a never-ending hill climb. One step up and two back. That to me is what religion is like. To give another picture it is like the hamster in the wheel. “‘Round and ’round it goes, where it stop nobody knows.”

Get off the treadmill. Be done with works-based religion. Get on the GRACE track.

 

Sea

Written by cycleguy on January 21st, 2018

It is easy to feel somewhat insignificant. I believe it is often at the root of much of what ails people, even to the point of taking their own lives. It is sad so many have gotten to the point of not caring. I ache each time I hear of someone who finds their life so overwhelming or so trivial or so uninspiring that they decide it isn’t worth living. Frankly, we haven’t helped that out very much. We idolize people who shouldn’t (like no one should be). We cast aside those who appear to be “less than worthy” of our attention. We lose sight of people being important, no matter who they are. We use people and then wonder why in the world they end up lost and in a world of hurt.

The Christ-follower has the greatest message in the world…the message of a loving God who gave His only Son to give meaning and purpose to life-to lives deemed insignificant. Sometimes I want to shout it from the housetops or take someone by the collar (in love of course… 🙂 ) or look someone straight in the face and say, “You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to feel this way. I know Someone who loves your brokenness and has a way to make you whole.”

For my song this week I want to share an old one from around 2003. I’m on a Kutless kick right now and if I was to choose my favorite song by them it would be the one I’m asking you to listen to. I hope you will take a moment to listen to and read the lyrics. YOU MATTER! YOU ARE IMPORTANT! BUT SO ARE ALL THOSE OTHERS IN THE SEA OF FACES.

 

RealYou

Written by cycleguy on January 18th, 2018

The late pastor/author A.W.Tozer once said,

Theological knowledge is the medium through which the spirit flows into the human heart, yet there must be humble penitence in the heart before the truth can produce faith.

What Tozer is basically saying is we need to be aware of our sin and who we are if we are to ever see the Word take root and the Spirit work through us. God can’t use a stubborn, arrogant person who is always getting in the way. Let me rephrase that since God can do whatever He wants. It makes it harder for Him to work since He has to sort through all the junk.

My sermon this week will be focusing on Romans 12: 3-8, a passage of Scripture which deals with who we are and what we can do as part of the body of Christ. As such there are three questions every follower of Christ needs to find the answer to…or know the answer to.

  • Who am I? This deals with our identity.
  • Where do I belong? This deals with our security.
  • What am I supposed to be doing? This deals with our significance.

My goal is to help people find the answers to those questions, or at least start seeking them. I’d appreciate your prayers as I continue the series “Transformed.”  Meanwhile, can you answer those three questions for yourself?

 

Choices

Written by cycleguy on January 15th, 2018

Life is full of choices. Some are easy. Some are hard.  Take for example these pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which one would you choose? The one on the left is from our (mine & Jo’s) vacation in October to Daytona Beach; the one on the right is from January 15, 11:00 a.m. looking out the back door of the church building. My truck has been sitting there for close to 5 hours. I have already shoveled once.

Or maybe you prefer the one on the left as to the one on the right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same vacation. Same time and place for both.

That is not a tough choice is it? Unless, of course, you love snow and are one of those adrenaline junkies who likes snowboarding, skiing, or the more sedate making of snow angels. I do like the warmer weather because I can do the one hobby I enjoy doing. But I also choose to live in Indiana where the weather does funny things.  Only in Indiana could it be snowing like it has since about 8:00 last night and then by Friday be sunny and 37.  (Least that is what they predict).

Life is a bunch of choices. Again…some are easy; some are not. Choosing to follow Jesus seems the most logical, but there are many who don’t. Choosing to have the promise of heaven and eternal life seems like a fantastic deal, but some don’t think so. I choose life. I choose love. I choose eternity with the Father.  How about you?

I also choose not to be miserable when faced with this kind of weather.  I can’t change it so might as well live with it. Correct?  And for your information: this picture is for Floyd. He made a comment last week about it being 77 where he lives. Talk about rubbing it in!!!  See what you are missing, Floyd, by living in Arizona and not Indiana?  🙂 🙂 🙂

 

All

Written by cycleguy on January 14th, 2018

Sunday I spoke about the need for surrender.

NOT CONFORMED…BUT TRANSFORMED

The more I study, the more I am convinced of something. You may disagree with me and that is, of course, your prerogative. 🙂 We hear a lot from people and yes, singers, telling us we need more of God. I have no qualms about craving God. He says, “Be still and know I am God.”  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Desiring to know God should be a daily prayer on our lips.

But what if we have missed the boat on this? Now…please hear me out. Maybe it isn’t so much of us needing more of God. Maybe it is God having more of us. Could this be the emphasis of surrender? I think there is validity to that statement.

So here is my statement in a nutshell: I don’t think it is a matter of me having more of God. It is a matter of Him having more of me. {Note: perhaps they work in tandem?} No matter how you look at it, it involves surrender. It involves a willingness to give it all to Him-my life, my thoughts, my mind, my will. In short: not to be conformed but to be transformed.  Or as J.B.Phillips put it in his paraphrase of the NT: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”

In this post I mentioned a song I was going to use before Sunday’s message. You can read about it there. But while riding my bike (inside) on Thursday morning I heard this song and was immediately struck by its meaning. I also “felt” like I ought to use it instead. So I did. Enjoy the song but please, please, pay attention to the words.

 

 

Surrender

Written by cycleguy on January 12th, 2018

The images will never leave our minds. What we were doing at that moment will always stick with us. The stunning news that a plane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in NYC on September 11, 2001 stopped us in our tracks. We wanted to believe it was just an accident. Then plane #2 flew into the other tower and we knew then it was not an accident but an act of terrorism. That fact was confirmed even more by the flight into the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. “Ground Zero” was established. A nation was galvanized. Politicians for one small moment put aside their party hat and all agreed this cannot happen.

Leaders were faced with making decisions none had thought of making. There were no contingency plans. How could we have conceived of such evil?

My sermon for Sunday is the first of a series called “Transformed.” I’m calling it All In. It reminds me of the story of the chicken and the pig discussing who wanted to start a breakfast featuring eggs and bacon. The pig said, “No.” When questioned by the chicken his answer was simple: “For you it is a donation; for me it is total commitment.” Following Jesus is just that and every Christ-follower must face the question: Am I going to contribute or am I going to commit?” My next four weeks of sermons will be from Romans 12 starting with verses 1-2 this Sunday.  I’d appreciate your prayers this week.

 

All In

Written by cycleguy on January 11th, 2018

My sermon for this Sunday begins a new series called “Transformed.” I’m going to be dealing with verses 1-2 this week…more verse 2 than the first.

NOT CONFORMED…BUT TRANSFORMED

I think it a vital and much-needed message for our day and age. When Tami (our daughter) saw my title and Scripture, she told me then texted me a link to a song I should use. I was going to until I was riding my bike this morning (inside) and was listening to Kutless on my Spotify playlist. I heard a song I am going to use instead. Actually, I plan to use that for my Music Monday post. But for this post, I want to play the song Tami suggested. Hope you enjoy it.  Click here to listen to it. And trust me when I say she and I DO NOT have the same tastes.

They are calling for some really nasty weather to come in later today (Thursday). I tend to agree with Doc Brown on this one: “Since when can the weatherman predict the weather?” Ice (1-3″) followed by the possibility of up to 9″ of snow. I HOPE THEY ARE DEAD WRONG!  But if not, not much I can do about it except stay safe and warm.

You do the same.