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.

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!

Why did I wait ’til I’m forty-eight?

I hope that title is really making you wonder right now; Just what did he wait for?
 
Well, lets back up say thirty years to when I first did what I have waited for until now.
Have I got your attention? Good, it’s probably not what some of you are thinking.
 
Thirty years ago (almost thirty-one) was when I graduated high school. Now high school for me was anything but my favorite time, I struggled to even get by. I flourished in the classes I enjoyed, but it was those stinking required classes that were my downfall.
 
World Government was my worst, and we only had two choices in teachers. Both of whom were ultra conservative and used class time to “share” there political views. They would be surprised with me today to find out I now share some (not all) of their beliefs.
 
To the detriment of my senior year, I failed the class. I was also not allowed to walk in graduation even though I had already signed up to take the class during summer school with another teacher.
 
I managed to fly through the summer program, finishing in half the time scheduled. The teacher for that class just happened to be my drafting teacher whom I had for three classes my senior year, he was eager to get ride of me.
 
The following fall I enrolled in a junior college and began taking classes. It was far from my home town and friends. I was not enjoying my college experience. Plus I was living with my grandmother and her husband which was really not a good fit. So I dropped my classes and moved back home.
 
I had planned on re-entering academia but life got the better of me. I got married at eighteen, divorced by twenty with two amazing daughters. Re-married at twenty-three and life just kept on going.
 
In 1998 I did get an opportunity to take night classes through Golden Gate Seminary. The regional director came to our church and had asked the pastor to bring together a few men he thought would benefit from taking this new leadership program the seminary had launched. I was surprised at the invite and went to the meeting a bit apprehensive.
 
I took me until 2003 to complete my 24 units and earn a Diploma in Christian Ministry but I did it. In the fall of ’03, twenty years after finishing high school, I finally got to walk up and receive a diploma!
 
Now, eleven years later, I am pursuing furthering my education. First with completing my Associates with plans to move right into a Bachelors. Why did I wait until I’m forty-eight for this?
 
I really don’t know! I almost got discouraged just in choosing a school.
 
The trouble I have is that I want to take the classes that actually apply to my career choice of ministry. There will never be a time that I will use an algebraic equation during a sermon or counseling session…EVER!
 
I have found a Christian University that has just what I’m looking for. My paperwork is filled out, and my FASFA is complete! I’ll send in my paperwork and application fee on Monday.
 
So now its just a matter of being accepted and starting classes in June!
 
Life’s too short to wait for certain things, so don’t put something off that God may be asking you to do.
 
And remember…Life is also too short to wear socks every day!

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!

I have the faith to jump out of the boat, but do I have enough to walk on the water?

Mat 14:25-29 “Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”  “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.”

I admire Peter for his courage and faith to climb out of the boat in this situation. I too have been called by Christ to “Come!” into an area that seems to be very stormy and unsure right now.

Just over eleven weeks ago we sold our business to pursue the new calling God has placed in our hearts; Suicide Alertness and Intervention Training. My wife and I know this is what we are to be doing, we’ve heard the call and it has been confirmed. We’ve jumped out of the boat! OK, I jumped out of the boat and she has followed her crazy ‘dreamer’ husband once again!

Now almost twelve weeks into this new journey, the waves and wind are looking rather ominous! There is doubt that I can stay walking on the water, so to speak.

Mat 14:30-31 “But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I know that God’s plan takes His timing, and I see the unfolding of that plan transpiring…

But with faith comes doubt, just like Peter, I feel that sinking feeling and am crying out!

Jesus is saying to me also…”You of little faith…”

It’s a matter of who I am doing this for, this new journey and all. My Honey wrote a great post about this who, read it here.

I just need to remember that God has called me to follow Him, even if it is through stormy and uncertain seas, because with Christ, things work out…

Mat 14:32-32 “When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!””