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.

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Joining a ministry family…part three…

Well, my Honey and I had our meet-n-greet with Ridgecrest 4SQ Church our soon to be new home and family for ministry. It was a very nice and relaxed day with laughter and some tears thrown in for good measure!

We got over there about a half hour before the regular worship service and started chatting with some of the folks, shaking hands and saying ‘hi’ as people arrived. We were jokingly reluctant to pick a seat to sit in as we did not want to take anyone’s desired or preferred location. This happens a lot in churches unfortunately due to the fact that people are creatures of habit!

Well we chose a spot and as it turns out it was where one of the council members and his wife sit! Yeah, say to start out strong, right?
They were good natured about it but we will sit somewhere else next time.

We went out to lunch and shared some more of who we are with some folks, did some shopping, stopped by to see the kids and grand babies…it was a really good day!

Monday we set off to meet more of the big extended family…4SQ Connection 2015, our version of annual convention. Its been a really blessing worshipping with 4,000 or so family members, making connections and sharing our new adventure! This is gonna be a great new season of Gods work!

We know more each moment that where God is sending us is right where He has been preparing us to be over the past three years!!! We are being SENT…

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Some pain never leaves you.

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Pain is an interesting monster. Without it we don’t know we’re hurt. Pain from a cut finger or a broken bone can be mended.
Then there is the chronic pain of disease. I have a dear friend who suffers from the effects of MS. She is in pain, often excruciating, most of the time now. Through her faith in God, she seems to motor through. I know its not easy for her.
My own wife suffers from chronic pain from injuries years ago, she does not allow herself to be sidelined by them though. Again, an attribute of her faith in God.
Last night I heard a woman’s name mentioned at our Bible study and found out today that last week she succumbed to the pain she has had since her son died in a car accident a year or more ago.
That seems to be  a pain many people just can not motor through.
This woman could no longer face another day and ended her life.
Suicide is not the answer.
Now there are many people who are feeling a great pain in their hearts for this rather young and once vibrant woman. Pain that can not be healed without the proper medicine.
Let’s face it; death of a loved one, early in life, is not something anyone cares to face, especially the death of a child. But there are better alternatives than answering death with death.
I know first hand what it is like to face the darkness that surrounds suicide!
As a pastor, I have a duty to share the hope that is found in Christ Jesus. You may not be one who has a strong pull to know the love that Jesus has for you. You may be hiding behind pain that you believe no one else can understand.
Stop hiding, begin living!
Trust. Surrender. Believe.
Its not about a religion, its about a relationship.
A relationship that can heal every hurt and pain you face!
Believe that God really does have a plan and that He wants you to be part of the beauty He has established.
The Bible tells us that we can take the ashes of our lives and bring them
to God. He will then take those ashes and turn them into a beautiful thing!
No one else is able to do that; only God, through Jesus Christ can heal the pain you face today, or give you the hope to motor through.
Please, take a moment and give Him a chance to heal your pain!

Thanks for checking in.
Today is definitely a no socks day!
Shalom!

Searching? Look closer…

Have you ever been searching for something and when you finally find it, it was right there the whole time?
I’m not just talking about your keys (those are where you left them) or your glasses (check the top of your head), I’m talking LIFE stuff here!
 
Think BIG on this…stuff like who you will marry, where you will attend college, buying a home or the right car, seeking that new job, or should you make that move to another area… you know…life changing stuff!
 
We all spend a lot of our lives searching for things and sometimes we jump in with both feet only to end up with the dreaded “buyers remorse”, when all along what you were searching for was right under your nose.
 
Sure, this falls into the “grass is always greener” genre and is a bit cliche’ but then again…That’s Life! (Que Frank Sinatra sound track here!)
 
The BIG things we search for in life are not always in the immediate vicinity, but I’m finding out as I travel along this road and trust more in God everyday…He’s got a plan and He will give me the desires of my heart when I make my desires line up with His.
 
So, keep searching and try doing some of it without wearing socks!

I’m resting…just not like my dog does!

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I just read a really good post about busyness and it got me to thinking about what has been keeping me so “busy” lately. I seem to not be keeping up on writing here as much as I would like to.

It’s not that my schedule is overloaded anymore, in fact I have time in my day that I never had while running a business (please, don’t be a hater on this point), but I do find it a bit difficult managing my time more now than I did when I had a “regular” schedule.

Everything gets done during my “work week” now (for the most part anyway). I just have a more relaxed time frame most days.

For the longest time though God has been prompting or preparing me and my wife for more. My Honey even just published a post on more yesterday, maybe you read it. (The photo at the end of her post is when we were in Belize last November…I miss Belize!) 

I digress…

What made me think today about my own busyness is this; What am I doing of worth to fill my time?

Sure, I’ve spent great time in God’s Word and time meditating on it. I’m seeking His will in my life and ministry. I’ve had some really good conversations with my wife about life and where God is leading us. We have taken some time away that we were not able to do before. We are also getting caught up on the remodeling to-do list that has been on hold for quite awhile.

But what of eternal value has been taking place?

There was a time in my ministry with youth that God led me into a “desert” before He led me to where I am serving today. That time was very difficult. I had no idea why He had me leave a growing ministry to go nowhere at the time (and by growing I do not mean in numbers only, the students were actually retaining God’s Word and growing Spiritually). Looking back now I can see His hand preparing me to serve in a different capacity (just once I would like to have hindsight prior to anything coming…I know, that’s a pipe dream! Faith doesn’t work like that!)

So as far as eternal value as I wait on the Lord…He knows what He’s doing…He planned my steps before I was even born (see Psalm 139:16 for that eye opener!).

I’m trusting in Him that this is our “rest” from busyness before the next wave of ministry kicks into full gear, whatever that may be!