ShoutOut

Written by cycleguy on January 14th, 2019

I began Cycleguy’s Spin in February of 2008.  From the very beginning Ryan Spires (he calls himself techgeek in the comments) has been there. He helped me get started. He helped me launch it. For the past several years he has even gone above and beyond by designing my header and also various banners for sermons. I owe him a lot because he has done it all as a friend. He keeps telling me this is not his forte’ but as i was at his desk at home one evening before the end of 2018 and watched him do stuff to make my other blog, LivingintheShadow happen, I sat amazed. Forte’ Smorte’. Sure coulda fooled me!

One of the saddest days of my time here in Spencer was the day he told me they would be moving to another town which is close by but too far for them to make the trek here every Sunday.  He played bass on our worship team and is sorely missed there as well. The good point is that we have maintained contact and gone out to eat a few times as couples and as a family.

Ryan was part of my group of men whom I recruited to be a part of a daily walk through New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. He was the steadiest contributor (almost every day) and now continues commenting on Living in the Shadow. I welcome his input and insight into things.  Ryan made a commitment to start journaling which has honed his contributions even more. Now…he is putting them to good use by starting his own blog.  He is calling it Reflecting the Light. I’d like to encourage you to go here to check it out. I have put it into my Feedly and will get a new thought each day. I’m asking you to do the same. Thanks.

Remember that is Reflecting the Light. (How many times should I repeat that to sound like a commercial?)

 

ONE

Written by cycleguy on January 11th, 2019

This has nothing to do with song from the 60s by Three Dog Night (even though I liked it and still do).

The movie Seabiscuit was the story of more than a horse. It was also the story of a jockey named Red; a trainer whose time as a cowboy had long been up; an owner who lost his only son to an accident and found himself divorced, lonely and lost until he met and married a young lady who turned his life around; and they, in turn, bought a horse who was considered a runt. They had to retrain what Seabiscuit thought about himself. Then they had to train him how to run. The rest was up to him. During a race “the Biscuit” (as he was called) was virtually on his own. It wasn’t the ones behind him Biscuit concerned himself with. It was the one ahead. He became singularly focused.

Most of have at one time or another been guilty of tunnel vision. We see nothing around us, sort of like the horse that runs with blinders on.

In Psalm 27:4 David says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” In David’s day, the temple (tabernacle) was where God lived. David wanted to be in God’s presence. But notice what he said about it: It was his one desire!

My sermon Sunday is entitled My One Thing. It will be a challenging message for me. For those who listen. I am challenging myself to take stock of what my highest priority is. What is My One Thing?  My prayer is that we will all be challenged to answer that one question. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

I will also be showing this video to go along with the message.

 

Shameless

Written by cycleguy on January 8th, 2019

Shameless plug here. I make no bones about it. I’m not going to call it something else. I’ll call it what it is. 🙂 I wrote the following at my other blog, LivingintheShadow:

Ever since I read Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur in 1993-1995 for the first and second time, I have always been stopped by Psalm 13. There was a scene in the book where Yoma (a wise old man) led Jason (the main character) through this psalm. No matter how many times I read Psalms, I ponder this chapter because it made things so clear to me years ago and still does. Here is how it breaks down:

For the rest of the post and my thoughts please go here:

I would be honored if you would check out my other blog and consider subscribing. See the side bar for a direct link to LivingintheShadow. Thanks.

 

January??

Written by cycleguy on January 7th, 2019

If I lived in Arizona as several of my online friends do, what I am about to write would not sound too crazy. If I lived in Florida, where some folks from the church are visiting and some old friends from the church now live, you would not think I sound crazy.

It’s January here in Indiana. January 6th (yesterday) to be exact. You know…the land of cold and ice and snow. Not like Norway, Sweden or even Canada. But the land of cold and ice and snow. (Cue Led Zepplin here)

I rode my bike yesterday. I rode my bike Saturday as well. 14. 5 on Saturday. 17.5 on Sunday. What gives? A bike with snow shoes or ice crampons? A road bike with huge treaded (not a word) tires made for mountain biking? Wrong on both counts.

Weather in the high 40s/low 50s on Saturday. When I started on Sunday my truck thermometer read 60+ degrees.  I was wise. There have been times I have ridden and been under-dressed and shivered my way home.  I recently found out the gloves I bought for winter riding were only good down to about 30. After that…shiver me fingers. They hurt so bad I cut a couple of rides short. But Saturday I worked up a good sweat. Sunday I worked up a good sweat but was also smart in that I packed some liners for my short-fingered gloves and a headband for my ears.  It is crazy how quickly it cools off when the sun goes down.

I enjoyed my two days of decent-weather riding. Makes me long for warm weather riding which is just around the corner. (I’m an optimist).

Some things never change though. Thinking I was okay and forgetting that  in cold or warm weather proper nutrition is a must, I failed to hydrate and eat right when I was done. I paid the price during small group last night when an inner thigh cramp seized my whole upper leg and I had to get up and massage and stretch. Some things never change I guess. You’d think at the age of 66 and after years of riding I’d learn my lesson. Some heads are hard.

If I may, allow me a spiritual application. Learning from our mistakes is essential. Proverbs tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The moment I get hard-hearted or hard-headed, I’m in trouble spiritually. I’m convinced a follower of Christ is never too old (or too young) to learn. I pray I never stop learning. I’d like to stop learning from all the dumb mistakes I make, but you gotta stop making them and that might never happen! 🙂

 

Fear

Written by cycleguy on January 5th, 2019

I’m a little late to the party this weekend.  It has been a crazy, busy weekend with Tami’s surgery as well as some others having cancer treatment. But I guess better late than never!

My theme for 2019 is Unsinkable. My thanks to Ryan (techgeek) for the banner. I am a typical Sanguine. I have great ideas but my ability to follow through on some things is limited. Ryan, on the other hand, is fantastic!  Okay…that’s enough of that. I’ll blow his head up so big even his wife won’t recognize him. But then again, Amanda will bring him back to earth. 🙂

It was March 4, 1933 while the country was in the terrifying clutches of the Great Depression that newly elected president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made his famous one liner that is often quoted by others. Believing the greatest problem was not the absence of finances but the presence of fear, he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

There is no question we live in a fallen world. Look around if you doubt my words. At the same time we live in the fallen world, we also have a God of grace who meets his children in moments of darkness and difficulty.  I’m going to be in Psalm 27 for 3 of the 4 Sundays this month. Psalm 27 is a rock in an unsure world. It is a lifesaver thrown out to a drowning man. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” 

I’ll also be showing this video of CityAlight before I preach.

Prayers would be appreciated as I lay the groundwork for the rest of 2019 with this beginning message. Thanks.

 

Request

Written by cycleguy on January 3rd, 2019

This is a double request today.

First, at 11:00 EST our daughter, Tami, is having surgery. If you get this before that time, we would appreciate your prayers.  If after, then prayers for recovery would be appreciated. To put you at ease, it is not a cancer surgery. She is having a hysterectomy which we are praying will alleviate a lot of issues.

Second, for all of last year I wrote another blog called Be Transformed. It was my daily thoughts on New Morning Mercies. I’ve continued another blog but have gone with a new name and a new approach. I’m calling it Living in the Shadow. It is still my random thoughts and meditations on Scripture, or different devotions I may be using. You can access that by going here. I would appreciate it if you would give it a look and consider subscribing and ultimately join in the conversation. This past year Martha Orlando was a daily visitor and commentor, as well as Ryan, my resident techgeek. I’d love to engage your thoughts on the various topics. Here is an excerpt from today’s entry:

As I’ve been reading at the start of the year, one of the themes, one of the truths God has been drumming into me has been the Word. He wants me to see the Word in different ways. What I mean is this: go to the Word; study the Word; trust the Word; rely on the Word; handle the Word carefully. Now…that is not the book I physically hold in my hands, but the words contained in that book. Instead of blindly believing and accepting what is there, test it. Trust it. Investigate it. But, above all, don’t turn away from it. You can finish reading this entry here.

Thanks for your prayers for Tami. And thanks for visiting Living in the Shadow.

 

QuietRoar

Written by cycleguy on January 1st, 2019

A Quiet Roar: Sometimes Disruption Is Overdue

Over the years I have read a ton-and I mean a ton!- of books. As you might imagine, most are of the non-fiction type. After all, my work as a pastor requires I read, read, and read some more.

But every once in awhile I come across a fiction book that grips me and won’t let me go. Back in 1994 I read the very first book by Randall Arthur called Wisdom Hunter (WH). I read it one year later on a personal fasting retreat and wept through most of it because it was like looking into a mirror-seeing what I didn’t like-but wanting so badly to be what I read. WH was the final nail in my coffin of legalism. The follow up to that book was titled Betrayal, and once again I was filleted. Jason Faircloth, the pastor from WH made a very pointed appearance in Betrayal and once again pointed out the dangers of legalism. In between Mr. Arthur wrote Jordan’s Crossing, another Jason Faircloth book, only this time dealing with Jordan’s emptiness caused by liberalism. The final installment (or so I thought) was Forgotten Road, a novel dealing with the emptiness of the health/wealth (un)gospel. Jason made an appearance in that book as well.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when Randall Arthur’s publishing company announced a new novel! Man, I jumped on that like bugs on a night light. As it was I was #102 of 120 signed copies. I gotta tell ya! If you read no other novel this coming year, please please please read Quiet Roar. The main character is like a female version of Jason Faircloth. Take a hot topic (female pastors…which I am saying neither yay or nay to here); add in a lot of small town church drama; a mysterious woman; and even more mysterious benefactor; a dash of contemporary culture and world events (Muslims, the church not staying so “white”, and some other events); and I kid you not, you have a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights (or at least staying up past your normal bed time).  Right now it is only available from Amazon on Kindle. HOWEVER, you can purchase it directly from Randall’s website.  I personally know Randy and he is the real deal.

May I also suggest reading Wisdom Hunter and Betrayal (since renamed Brotherhood of Betrayal) as companion volumes? You can find all his other books on Amazon as well as his website. I GUARANTEE your life and faith will no longer be the same.

 

LeafTurning

Written by cycleguy on December 30th, 2018

The new year is about here and there will be a lot of talk about “turning over a new leaf.” I personally hope my life is more exciting than a leaf blowing in the wind.  🙂  Every year I post this video and want to do that again.  It’s one of those “traditions” you know? Besides, I have a much more important one to show later so I want to get the frivolous out of the way.  Click here to see the video.

I have never been one to go over the past year and relive good and bad memories. I came to realize that I couldn’t change what happened so why do that? In some cases it would be like torturing myself and in other cases it might be hard not to gloat or “wish for again.” I believe there are lessons to be learned if I look, but too much reflection can sometimes be detrimental. So I don’t take longing looks at the past.

I also take longing looks at the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” I take that to mean not to worry about tomorrow. Why should I when I can’t change things anyway? I have no control over them. But I know the ONE who does. 2019 is going to happen (unless Jesus returns first) so I can only prepare myself the best way I know how: spiritually.

I’m not a resolution-setter.  (Nor am I an Irish one). 🙂  I basically have one idea: How can I live my life with grace and honor God doing it? After spending two years going through New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp and all of 2018 blogging about it at Be Transformed, my heart and eyes have been opened and softened. The journey was not always easy. It was time-consuming and at times, inconvenient. But daily blogging was a discipline I am glad I did. My next attempt will be called Living in the Shadow and will take the place of Be Transformed in name and content only. It will be hosted on the same site but I do not plan on posting every day. I’m thinking maybe 2-3 days a week. I’ll tell you more when it gets underway.

But I want to close this post and 2018 with a song that has become a favorite and will be my focus for 2019. I hope you will join me in making this a reality.  Click here to listen to the song.

HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE END TO YOUR 2018 AND  A STELLAR BEGINNING TO YOUR 2019.

 

Shining

Written by cycleguy on December 28th, 2018

Well…happy after Christmas.  I’m guessing for you several things are true:

  • The Christmas “glow” is over.
  • A new year faces us in a few short days.

There are those who have already taken down their lights or have stopped turning them on at night. Leaving them up because of frigid weather is not an excuse around here lately. I rode 17.6 miles in 40+ degree weather yesterday (Wednesday).  But for most the season is over so why prolong it?

Others hold onto Christmas as long as they can.  I once read of a family who kept Christmas lights burning all the way through March because their son was to return home from the war and they wanted him to be able to celebrate his favorite holiday as though he never missed it.

But whether lights stay up or stay off is not the point my sermon Sunday. One of the beautiful things about the Christmas story is that it doesn’t offer just my past forgiveness and future hope, but everything I need right here, right now. And I’m not talking about My Best Life Now g-a-r-b-a-g-e.  2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” How is it that the people to whom Peter was writing to were immersed in suffering and yet it also says God has given them all they need? I will be trying to answer that question this Sunday.

Along with that I am going to briefly mention the 5 things God has given us the power to break free from:

  1. Fear
  2. Regret
  3. Discouragement
  4. Denial
  5. Desire for control

Peter finishes his thoughts with these words: “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”  Prayers are appreciated as always. And thanks.

 

Afterglow

Written by cycleguy on December 26th, 2018

I’m going to put your mind at ease to start with. This is not going to be a super spiritual post about reviewing 2018. I trust you will do that sometime this week. My past weekend was the “Christmas weekend” which defies description. It was such a hodge podge of stuff. I look forward to going back to the office to get some rest.  Taking naps in my chair never sounded so good.  🙂 🙂

Thursday morning I worked at our local theater popping popcorn for a children’s movie for a group of school children. Later that afternoon I went to Spencer Elementary School to do my Real Men Read with Mrs. Lee’s kindergarten class. I left them with a treat bag of a gingerbread cookies (I read “The Gingerbread Man” to them), a candy cane, and a “3 Feet Please” bear.  By the way: would you like to have one? I will be glad to send it to you if you will use it as a reminder to pray for me.

Friday I had to take my truck in for service in Terre Haute (an hour away), which ended up taking much longer than they thought.  That sort of threw us off our game a bit since we had to do some shopping for our Christmas breakfast, but we also knew Janna (our daughter), Jason and Braden were coming in to spend the weekend with us.

Saturday I studied early, went to the Y with Jason and Janna, studied some more then met some folks at Abram Farm to set up. We had so many show up to help we were pretty much ready within an hour.  We had our family Christmas Saturday night.

Sunday I was up at the normal time to make my way to the office to study and prepare and to be at Abram Farm at 8:00. I’m not OC by any stretch but I did want things ready to go. We had a wonderful service!  I think people were pleasantly surprised I was done earlier than I normally am.  (They may protest in weeks to come for a return to Christmas!). 🙂  But the real surprise was I had planned on folks being back at 2:00 to put things away. Lo and behold, my early dismissal meant some could not get to their planned family reunion for at least an hour so they asked if there was anything they could do. They started putting chairs away and those standing around talking decided to help. When I left for lunch, everything was done! All I had to do was sweep (someone else did), pick up and load some of our own equipment and was gone by 3:00. That was fantastic because that evening we were heading to our local theater for a sold out showing of The Polar Express.

Monday we had our traditional Christmas breakfast of Jo’s sausage gravy and biscuits, eggs, bacon and friendly banter. J, J & B left about noon and we headed up to the the church building to prepare for the church’s Christmas breakfast at the local Lion’s Club.  Lots of moving and lifting and getting set up. Monday evening saw both Jo & me sort of collapse and not do much moving except to go to bed.

Tuesday morning we were there at 4:30 so Jo could get started. (That’s not counting the 3:10 wake up of “Bill, I think I forgot to lock the LC. And I can’t find the key.” So I drove there (it was locked) and in the meantime she found the key on the kitchen table underneath stuff. WHEW!The breakfast went well. We had 25 deliveries to people; over 30 to service personnel (gas station workers, sheriff and police, etc). We had about 15-20 who came in to eat. Interestingly, I heard several say, “I came for the socialization.” Cool! We took all the leftover food to the local EMT folks.  After cleaning up we went home. I spent some time doing my NMM, reading and then with a sunny 44+ degree day shining through my window I broached the “Is it okay if I go for a ride?” question. She must have been expecting it. She said, “Yes!” After 45 years together she still  says, “Yes!” (I am blessed). So I was able to get in a 14.7 mile ride on a beautiful sunny day on Christmas Day. Who woulda thunk it?

All of the above did truly happen.  And all of it while fighting flu-like symptoms that stole my sleep. Except for the ride of course. You know THAT made me feel better.

Well, sorry. This has got to be the l-o-n-g-e-s-t post I have written in a long time, maybe ever. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a whimsical look at my weekend. So…in a much shorter version…how was your Christmas weekend?