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.

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!

Don’t call me if it’s broke, go to the Manufacturer!

Not long ago I read an article entitled, ‘When Life Cracks You Up’ by the inspiring author Rachel L. Proctor.

The link is having some issues at the moment or I would post that here. The message I receive is, “Something is amiss…one of the servers is crying out for help…investigating and resolving…blah, blah…”

The gist of the article was that her phone screen had cracked, and as she began to worry about the ramifications of screen leakage, cutting her ear on the glass, cost of repairs, etc. She realized that the protective adhesive cover was doing its job by holding things together and covering the damage, just as God protects us.

The following week after Rachel’s article was published, my Honey and I were blessed with a pastors retreat at Hume Lake Christian Conference Center. Hume is a purposeful place to relax and refresh. The staff is amazing, the food is very good to outstanding (better at some conferences than others), the weather is always accommodating, and cell phones do not work there! And a deafening silence fell over the crowd! 

Not being one who wears a wrist watch very often, my phone is my timekeeper. My protective case was getting worn and tattered and would sometimes catch on my pocket. Most times I was able to hang onto the phone. If it did fall, it was on a soft surface or the case took the brunt. Not so at Hume! My phone did a belly flop directly on the cobble stone walkway. Just like the proverbial ‘butter side down piece of bread’!

My reaction…”Oh man, cracked!”

The words of Rachel’s article were fresh in my head, but I had no protective film on my phone, and this was the third phone I have had since December of last year. (Other technical problems on those phones.) The crack wasn’t all that bad, I’ve seen worse, so I’ll just live with it!

When we got home from Hume my Honey did some account searching and alas, none of our phones were up for renewal. OK, I’ll just live with it, no worries. She even looked up repair centers and buy back programs…not worth the hassle.

Then I took a moment and did a search for DIY repair kits! For just under $60 I was able to get a new and more protective case. And from iCracked.com I received my replacement screen, handy dandy tool kit, and step by step Repair Flowchart!

The kit arrived yesterday and the first step on the Flowchart was to STOP and download the instruction video!!!

My Honey, ever one who encourages, told me when I ordered the kit, “If you can rebuild front gears on a 4X, repack wheel bearings, and figure out so many other things, you can rebuild your phone!” She sometimes forgets I have meat hooks for hands!

The paperwork said to take your time, it should take about 45 minutes, the screws are small keep them organized (small is an understatement!), note the placement of parts as you are disassembling your phone! I got this! Video on laptop, jawbreakers for energy, hands clean, tools laid out, Flowchart set…

Let’s do this!!! It wasn’t that bad, even for a guy with meat hooks that fit better on a wrench than minuscule screws!

I now have an intimate understanding of my phone that did not exist earlier today. I know it literally inside and out. Much like the relationship my Heavenly Father has with me…

To quote my Honey’s favorite passage:

Psalm 139:13-18 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” (emphasis mine)

I thought of this passage as I worked on my phone. I thought of how God knows me so intimately. I thought of how He knows that I am ‘cracked’ and still chooses to use me. I thought of how He will restore me better than new someday. I thought of how, even through my toughest times and now, through my journey with depression, He still has precious thoughts for me!

Don’t worry if you are cracked or struggling…God’s not surprised by it!

Stigma shmigma!

Stigma shmigma!

More Hostage Negotiations Underway!

Well as it turns out our internet was only up for a little while today. The cell tower is “very dilapidated” according to the rep I talked with.

Word on the street (ok, dirt roads) is that one of the towers was struck by lightning last week causing problems all along the line.

I’m thankful it’s only been a few days for me, some folks have been without any cell/text service for over a week or more. I’m hooked into the campground next door to our church building right now, so each afternoon I will be able to check in for updates. The signal is weak from my office, I could go outside and it would be stronger, but sitting in my truck is not as inviting as my office!

It’s kinda like during hostage negotiations when the pizza delivery guy finally shows up with food for us hostages!

I’ll keep you posted as I can!

Has this become the “norm”?

This post definitely falls under my “random crap” category! Allow me to go ‘off reservation’ for a moment and pull out my soap box…

Has this become the norm? Seriously, what is it about these things that they have become acceptable for public attire?

Really?

Really?

Or how about this?

Seriously???

Seriously???

I know, I know, some of you are wanting to stop reading or are maybe considering dropping me from your reader because I may have struck a nerve. Bear with me and feel free to comment below.

It’s summer time, kids are out of school, the schedule is more laid back for many folks, but COME ON! Have some dignity when you go out in public. They are called P-A-J-A-M-A pants! They are meant for lounging or wearing to bed! But, Oh No! Follow this link and see how these things are advertised. They try to make them look sexy! And what’s with the Jeans style??? REALLY??? We are not fooled!!!!

Most people who wear these things are not built like all those models, but do they think they do when they put them on? I know I don’t!

Don’t get me wrong, they are very comfy! I have my favorite pair, but I don’t wear them to the store even for a quick trip. I didn’t even wear my favorite pair of basketball lounge shorts yesterday afternoon to our local market. And they are still in decent shape even though my dog has drug them outside a couple times and thrown them around. I just couldn’t do it!

Now please keep in mind, I have had my share of clothing fads. I was born in the sixties, grew up through the seventies, came of age in the eighties and nineties. We had Hang Ten, Boot cut jeans, Angel Flight Disco Bell Bottoms, Ponchos, and can anyone ever forget Parachute Pants? Then there were the designer sweat pants with matching jackets! Gag me!

I’m sure hoping this is just another fad that doesn’t come around again until my grand-kids kids have kids. That way by the time I’m really old, grumpy, and bit senile, I can wear mine to my great great grand-kids wedding and be in style!

Thanks for checking out this Shepherd’s Stance for today!

Soap box stashed away, comment box open…