Cycling can be Spiritual

Cycling is a Spiritual experience for me. Not in the generic term of spiritual, that is so often times abused in our culture today. I am talking about how this is my time with God, not some ‘Koo-koo-ka-choo, I am the walrus’ thing where I am trying to transcend into a higher plane. If that is your thing then have fun with it.

For me, it is my time to clear my head of the garbage and focus on what God is doing around me and in my life. Just the fact that He has given me the strength to make the bike move is part of the experience. I put on some praise music and just go. Sometimes it is a quick ride, other times it is more of a challenge. Today I challenged myself.

I am located in the desert where it is relatively flat. However, there is one road headed out of town that is, from my house anyway, the most grueling incline on the routes I choose to ride. As I was riding it today, I experienced a Spiritual lesson from God. Not a new lesson, but one that I needed reminding of and now I share it with you.

On this route, I have about two miles of flat to warm up and then the grade begins. Once the grade kicks in, there is really not any recovery point until the top of the grade, four to five miles away, a stretch that generally cuts my average speed in half. If you are going this route, you are committed to it. Well, I guess you could turn around and choose another route, but where is the building up going to happen if turning around is an option. You just have to gear down and keep going.

Once at the top of the grade there is still no turning back, if you are committed to the journey. The rest of the route is a two-lane road with no shortcuts or turnoffs. You are committed to go the distance to the first road, a twenty-mile loop back to my starting point, or the second road, a twenty-six mile loop. I chose the twenty-mile loop today.

As I was trudging up the grade, God began to impress on me that this ride is like my Spiritual journey with Him. It is not going to be easy. There are parts of it that just slow me down. Battles and struggles that cut my forward progress in half, much like the grade slows my average speed. Nevertheless, I keep going! Spiritually, this is when I grow my faith in my Lord. I need to rely on Him to keep me moving forward and not turning around.

Sure, when I get to the top of the grade, there is a downhill section, but it is not an opportunity to just coast through, I still have to pedal because there is usually some form of wind pushing against me. This is where the Spiritual growth happens in our lives, after the hard work, in the consistency of moving along the route God has mapped out.

Then even when things are going smooth and you are feeling good with yourself, some form of discouragement can creep in. For my riding, and me this happens when an ‘old guy’ passes me. I am talking guys fifteen to twenty years older than me (I am fifty). However, I quickly realize that these guys have been doing this a lot longer than I have. They have been on the road more than I have. So I choose to watch them and try to learn something in their cadence and style. Just as we should with those who have been walking a Spiritual life longer than we have.

There are times when I tell myself, “If only I had an actual road bike instead of my Franken-Bike!” Side note – the bike I ride is one I built out of three or four other bikes. It works! One day I will graduate to an actual road bike and probably still complain when the old-guys pass me. One day I will be one of those old guys passing others! For now, my Franken-Bike and I will persevere.

That is what our Spiritual journey with God is about – persevering through the route. Not stopping; not being discouraged. Moving forward under the power He gives you at the time. Not looking for a short cut or thinking about turning around. Growing stronger and more consistent with each rotation of the sprocket or step.

Be encouraged today in your own Spiritual journey. No matter what you are facing, you are getting stronger in Him. Let God be your strength today and every day.

Oh, and if you can do it without wearing socks, go for it!

Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you.

Eeyore and Grace!

Do you have any Eeyore’s in your life?

The message God gave me for this past Sunday was on grace. I am a pastor for those who may not be aware. We are studying our way through the book of James on Sunday mornings at RC4SQ Church and had come to chapter four, verse six where James writes, “But He (God) gives greater grace.”

The definition of “greater” means that there is nothing better; nothing bigger; nothing grander; no-thing at all greater than the grace God gives to you or me. Grace is not a concept either; it is a Person, the Person Jesus Christ!

As I was putting together my notes and power-point during the week I had run across this posting on Facebook…

“One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends. And they never expect him to pretend to be happy, they just love him anyway, and they never leave him behind, or ask him to change.”  (I added the picture)

eeyoreHaving been, and sometimes still feeling like Eeyore, I thought this statement was fantastic especially when looking at grace as the Person of Christ. You see, Jesus is that friend who invites me along for all the adventures and shenanigans. YES! It is OK to have shenanigans as a Christian, just within reason!

However, Jesus does not ask me to pretend to be something I am not, happy or otherwise. He does not leave me behind. He loves me anyway. As for change, He does that in and through me as He sees I am ready for it, then it is called growth and maturity.

I used Eeyore as my illustration because most everyone can relate to his situation. Tails fall off and we need help putting them back. Dark clouds do sometimes follow us around. People come into our lives that need help and have nowhere else to turn.

God even brought an Eeyore right through the front door of the church as some of us were still hanging around in fellowship. This Eeyore was in a mess. We helped how we were able. Did a follow-up this morning but cannot find the person.

What do we do? We stay available for the next time that tail falls off and we pray for God’s safety to be around and with this person. In short, we love this person anyway.

Look for the Eeyore’s in your life, love them anyway.

Oh, and did you notice…Eeyore does not where socks!

Update on settling in…

Well, the settling in is progressing here in Ridgecrest. We were able to find a nice house with a long lease option that allowed us to get out of living in the travel trailer. We moved our belongings and stuff, but it is still just taking up space in the garage and storage shed. It is interesting when you live in two places for a time and one of those is a travel trailer, we discovered there are things we do not miss or really need on a day to day basis. There will be a large donation made to the local thrift very soon, well as soon as we are motivated to go through it all. While most of the country is enjoying the onset of autumn while here in the RC we are still experiencing upper ninety-degree days. This does not bode well for wanting to sort through boxes in a hot garage!
My Honey is working part-time as a shift supervisor with a local pizza parlor. We are both still taking online classes while balancing ministry. RC4SQ (our new church home) is moving along slow and steady. There is a great core group of people here and we have some good friends who moved here to join us in ministry. They even have shared the experience of living at the church in our trailer! I think that will be the new training ground for anyone wanting to go into ministry; it really builds your faith in God while also building patience in His plan. (They get to move into their new home tomorrow.)
There have been some difficulties with settling in. One thing we are noticing, even though this is a close-knit community and the people are great, we are still the new folks. We have to remember what it was like when we moved to the Kern Valley. We spent almost twenty years there raising children, ministering, and owning a business. We cannot go anywhere up there without running into several people we have shared life with in one way or another. We are making good strides in building relationships with people and have some great neighbors too.
Our fur-babies are happy to be out of the trailer/church living environment also. They have a large yard to romp and play in but they are not very sure of the increase in jets flying overhead. Living in a town with a Naval Air Station brings a renewed sense of patriotism to me but my dogs prefer to bark more when the planes are active.
Another great thing that has happened since being here is our sixth grandchild arrived three weeks ago, another little girl! I have more in common with my son-in-love now that he too will be raising three girls. I am feeling my only grandson’s future troubles as well, him growing up around all girls; he is going to need to be tough!
Even though this community is bike friendly, I have not been as active as I would like. It could just be the heat of summer, but I have gotten out for a few rides and managed to reach a goal for one of the few hills we have here in the desert. I just need to plan on the extra time to get to places or meetings and force myself to go on two wheels!
Another discipline I will be working on is writing more. My class this semester was English Comp and it has been very insightful, helpful, and extremely challenging. The assignments have revived my inner writer so I will be trying to stay up on my posts.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a few moments out of your day to read my musings. Remember…if you cannot do it without socks, it may not be worth doing!

Living in two places…

Ya know, I really like to travel. In fact if I could get paid to do it I probably would! Technically I am getting paid to travel between our permanent home and our temporary home ~ our 26ft travel trailer parked at our new church home RC4SQ Church. But that kind of travel is different.

I’m really enjoying being in both places, yet living out of a suit case while not really traveling is getting a bit old. I told my Honey last night that this whole maintaining two households is not easy. We have to make sure we take all the necessary items with us rather than trying to keep both places stocked up. I told her I have no idea how people who lead double lives can keep it all straight! To which she replied, “They have wives!” Sorry, two houses, two families, and two wives ~ not gonna happen!

Just the maintenance alone is interesting. Having the tools needed to do projects at the new church and hoping I won’t need them at home…trying not to use two vehicles for traveling back and forth…making sure the schedule is updated often so as not to miss any appointments…having enough cloths at each location for the days we are there…oh and then there are the needs of our short hairy kids…

Tekoa, my boy, only really likes to travel in the back of my little Toyota pick up. He loves catching the wind in his cheeks and slobbering all down the side. Abby, my Honey’s girl, is pretty content in the back seat of our car, to the point of even trying to nap. Yesterday was travel day and I tried something different since it wasn’t too hot…I kept the back windows down in the car so Tekoa could get his wind therapy. He did pretty good and was a bit more content on the ride. Abby even tried some wind therapy too, something she really doesn’t do in the back of the truck.

Eventually the travel time will be getting reduced. We’ve been looking at houses trying to get an idea of what’s available and price ranges, along with area and neighborhoods. God will show us the place we are to land eventually. We are thankful for what we have in the meantime.

Living in two places isn’t really all that bad. I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about having multiple homes around the country or world…that would drive me nuts!!!

Shalom everyone!

And remember…in the Northern Hemisphere it’s summer…lose the socks!!!

Settling in?

Well, here we are, me and my Honey and our short hairy kids, 20 days into the transition of this new ministry opportunity and things are slowly beginning to feel like normal. Well, actually it has felt like we were supposed to be here all along. It was part of God’s divine plan for our lives. We know we are in the right place.

Several years ago a friend of mine began a new ministry in the Kern Valley (where we have lived for the past 19 years, and still call home even during this transition). The day he moved in, I think it was in June, it was the hottest day of the year so far at 110! Plus the humidity was up around 30%! For a guy who was moving from the Central Coast, he was ready to melt! Thing is, he was moving into a home. He had a place to get cool and could relax at the end of the day.

My honey an I have chosen (key word here) to “live” in our travel trailer until we can find an actual home to be in when we are over at the church for various functions. We can get cool where we are, sure, but its still a big metal box in the Mojave Desert! And yes, the church has cooling capabilities but no real place to just relax very well.

It’s been like camping with perks. We don’t have to shower in the trailer, there is a shower in one of the buildings making it feel like a campground shower. There is a kitchen where if we don’t want to cook in our trailer we cook in there, kinda like a KOA community kitchen, just without the other people.

Currently we are sitting in the fellowship hall both writing blog posts! Kinda like a community social hall at a campground only mid-week when nobody is around. We did have a spruce up day today here at the facility and it went very well despite the 100+ temperature! There were more people then sitting at the tables we are at, it was a good day!

We have plans on utilizing our ministry style – having an open home, both floor plan and hospitality, as soon as God opens the door for us. I for one hope it comes very soon. I’m looking forward to getting more plugged into the community and the neighborhood we are meant to be in. A pool would be nice too! (Jus’ sayin’ it would be nice God!)

All in all, this has been a good few weeks. Tomorrow is Father’s Day and some of my kids and grand-kids will be together at our oldest daughter’s house for a BBQ. Some good friends will be over to see us at church, and our new church family is very welcoming, accommodating, helpful, and excited about the future (and even some of the changes coming down the road)!

I’m still doing life without socks (except for today 8~\  only because of the work involved and being on ladders), so life is good!

I have a couple of friends who have lived in their RV’s for a period of time, one for over a year, the other for seven years!!! I don’t think I have that kind of stamina, but I’m not telling God “no” in this!

Shalom Y’all!