Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chase after the good stuff...

Yesterday the Kings' dog (no royal blood in this mutt, trust me) missed a bite of ankle meat because when I rode by on my bike, he was off chasing some imaginary critter. I saw him snapping at the air and pushed a little harder so that by the time he spotted me, it was too late. He couldn't have caught me if he wanted to. Ha! Stupid dog! I win again!

In life, it's not unusual for people to miss the best stuff in life because they're off chasing things that don't matter. Some people work long hours to get more money so they can buy more stuff they seldom use and miss out on their kids' ball games and school concerts and birthday parties. Some people sit in front of the tube all evening long watching mindless drivel and miss out on conversations and close relationships. Some people string together long lists of religious dos and don'ts thinking they can please God on their own terms and miss out on a personal relationship with their Father who loves them. What they want could be theirs if only they would believe on Jesus.

What foolishness are you chasing after? Stop snapping at the air and chase after the good stuff!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

.38 Special

With apologies to the Can't Keep a Good Man Down. This Travelin' Man's last .38 miles today were special. They were extra, unneeded, excess, superfluous, nonessential! I made my goal this morning! I was A Long Time Gone - 2 hours, 32 minutes and 33 seconds - but I made it 39 miles. When I reached my goal just before 10:00am, I stopped on the side of the road, stepped off my bike, threw my right hand in the air and cheered. Woohoo! It's tradition. I do it every year when my goal falls. I just have to Tell Everybody. Who needs Four Wheels when you have two?

So now What Can I Do? I can take a few days off. It's supposed to be cold, wet and windy for the rest of the year. I hate being wet while I'm riding. I like cold just slightly more than I like wet and windy...yuck! So I'll leave my bike in the garage until January 1, 2007, then I'll Find My Way Back to my trusty steed and I'll start chasing again. 2007 will be another Long Distance Affair. Bring It On!

Oh, and I met my other goal for the year too. I started 2006 with a 16.6mph day and decided that morning to see if I could keep my average above 16.0mph for the year. I did that. In fact, I kept my average at or above 16.6mph for all but three days this year. My ending average over 3650.38 miles...16.6mph! I am Chain Lightnin'. Woohoo!

(If you don't get all the italicized words, visit .38 Special's website.)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas traditions...

My side of the family is together again for Christmas this year. That usually means people puking. No kidding. It's a tradition. It started back about 13 or 14 years ago when we were all together at my parent's home - they were living in California at the time. Don't remember who started the party, but soon everyone was throwing up. My brother's family had to stay an extra day because half his family was down with the bug. Our family made it to the airport and onto the plane before the fun began. Barf bags are useful afterall - and not just as collector's items. Every time we've gotten together for Christmas since then has been the same story. Someone gets sick and then the rest join in.

This year everyone was sick a week or so before our gathering. Brother Jon stayed home from church with something yesterday, but he didn't lose his cookies. So there's still hope! Here's to good health and great times and broken family traditions.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Call me crazy...

Just got back from a cold 10 the dark. I had ridden almost 18 miles earlier today and needed another 10 to catch up - again - with my goal. wife and children in bed with visions of sugar plums and such, I jumped on my bike and took off. I do have a headlight and a bright LED taillight, so don't worry, I was visible. Besides that, every piece of clothing I wear while biking has a reflective spot somewhere. I'm .38 miles ahead of my goal now. Ten days left in the year. Just under 100 miles to go. Yikes! I'm cutting it close this year. Last year at this time I had 600 more miles.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I'm 2.15 miles ahead of my biking goal now! I started the day planning to ride about 50 miles. That would've cut my goal's lead drastically. I ended up riding 90.41 miles. Don't ask how that kind of thing happens. It just does. I get to my turn around point, feel good and just keep going. Not that I ever really felt good today. It was cold. (Started at 32 degrees.) It was windy. My first 40-some miles I only averaged 12.7mph. I picked up quite a bit of speed over the next 40 miles - the wind at my back - then lost a tenth at the end. Who cares! I made it! Woohoo! I hope the weather holds long enough for me to get in a few miles tomorrow so I don't fall behind again. It's supposed to be nasty! Cold and wet! Yuck!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Freedom is just around the corner...

Are you holding a grudge against another? Hanging on to their offenses? God has the power to heal you, to take away the anger, the bitterness, the pain. Trust me! I know. God not only saved me when I believed on Jesus, he set me free in a powerful way.

For years I focused on the pain one particular man inflicted on me. I would not let his offenses go. I became angry and bitter. Depressed. I was in bondage. Then God spoke to me and my life changed.

I was reading in Matthew one day when I ran across these words of Jesus: "...if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:18) I immediately sensed the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my heart: "You've held onto your hatred long enough." I knew I had to let my "enemy" off the hook right then and there. I didn't want to do it. But God had spoken clearly. So I chose forgiveness. It was an act of my will, completely devoid of feeling, possible only with my Father's help.

That day my healing began. My anger slowly disappeared. The fog of depression lifted. God worked in my life and freedom came. I began praying for this man. Saw him as one in need of God's grace. I continue to pray for him when God brings him to mind. I hope one day that he and I will bow before Jesus and worship our Savior together. My tears - they still come from time to time - will be forever wiped away. I won't remember my past with him then. Before heaven's throne we'll just be two men grateful to the God who had mercy on us. "O please come, my friend! Receive God's forgiveness! You already have mine!"

It's your turn now. Believe on Jesus for your salvation. If you don't do that first, you'll have no power to do what comes next. You need God's help to forgive your "enemies." So believe and forgive and find freedom too amazing for words. It's waiting just around the corner. Go find it.

Envelope please...

No crows hopping by today. No fearful date. (See Ominous.) Just an envelope with test results. The verdict. I have high cholesterol...again. Not as high as it was a few years ago, but high nonetheless. I guess I'll have to call and see what the doctor wants to do about it. And start eating right again. More fruit. More veggies. Fewer bacon cheeseburgers and fries. Maybe less Pepsi.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just about missed it...

In all my hurry to make up miles before the end of the year, I almost missed a major milestone this week. Some time during my ride Tuesday, I passed my lifetime (on this bike since purchasing an odometer) 13,000 mile mark. I've worn out a number of rear tires and one front tire in the three years it's taken to get to this point. (I've only had four flats.) I've also replaced my chain (thrice), both my front (once) and my rear cassettes (thrice) and my rear brake pads. Oh, and my seat. The first one developed a hole this summer. Good bike! Thanks for all the fun!

Speaking of fun! I missed by just a teensy-weensy bit a double bold red letter day today. I averaged 17.9mph (needed one measly tenth more) and maxed out at 34.2mph (eight tenths shy). Oh, well! Double red is good too. Today makes three in a row.

(See Chasing hard... for complete red letter rules.)

Born alive...

In all the millenia of time, only one child has been born alive. Adam and Eve were created alive, but they ate the fruit and died. Their children were born dead. Cain. Abel. Seth. And every child born since the fall – all except one – have been born dead. You. Me. Everyone we know. Dead in transgressions and sins. (Ephesians 2:1) By nature objects of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3) Hostile toward God. (Romans 8:7)

But Jesus. He was born alive. Born in the likeness of sinful man to be sure. He was human. But born without man’s dead spirit. He was God with us. Emmanuel. Full of life. Full of grace. Full of love. He chose to die in our place. A sin offering. He made a way for us through faith in him to meet the righteous requirements of the law. And be born again. Alive!

Now that’s worth celebrating.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ministry students...gotta love them

This week I've sat under the ministry of two ministry teams from may alma mater, Barclay College. What a blessing it has been! The team of Youth Ministry majors that led our junior highers tonight were great. I really appreciated their sacrifice of time during finals week to come to Argonia. Thanks guys! The team that came Sunday night worked hard to put together a good worship service. You were awesome. The message Sunday and the lesson tonight were both good reminders of what Christmas is all about. Worshipping Jesus and thanking him for coming to save us. I'm so excited. Godly men and women are being trained to lead Christ's church - men and women who are going to make a difference for the kingdom. Thanks Herb and Jared and Justin and Skip for sending great teams our way this week and in the past. I look forward to future cooperation.


I don't believe in luck, good or bad. God's in control. But if I did give credence to chance, I'd be a bit worried today. You see a raven (okay, it was a common crow) hopped past my office window a short while ago, it's Wednesday the 13th (not as bad as the Friday variety) and when I called my doctor's office about test results from last week's blood work all they would tell me is, "There's a letter in the mail that will give you the details." I have a history of high cholesterol. They checked that last week. They also tested me for diabetes. Those are among the results I'm awaiting. I wonder what news tomorrow's mail will bring. Hmmm.

Chasing hard...

I’m narrowing the gap. I started this week 144 miles behind my mileage goal for the year. Having covered just over 86 miles in three days this week, the difference is only 78 miles today. Only 257 miles and 18 days to go! Will I make it? Only time will tell.

Two of my rides this week have been double red letter days. (See rules below.) I averaged over 17mph both yesterday (a hint for those still struggling with my word problem) and today and my max speed for both days was over 30mph. I’ve only had one quadruple red letter day in my life – it happened on July 23rd. That day I averaged 17.9mph over ten miles, maxed out at 36.1mph on an 80 degree day in Newark, Delaware.

Rules for red letter disignation in five categories:

1. Any total distance over 50 miles. (Bold red if over 100 miles.)
2. Any average speed over 17mph. (Bold red if over 18mph.)
3. Any maximum speed over 30mph. (Bold red if over 35mph.)
4. Any temperature over 80 degrees. (Bold red if over 90.)
5. Any city other than Argonia. (No bold red for location.)

Some of these may have to change when I get a road bike. They're probably too low. I'll keep you posted. (There are blue letters on temperature too. Anything below 40 degrees is blue. Below 30 is bold blue. I don't acknowledge slower speeds or shorter distances.)

God is in control...

Romans 8:9, "You are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." (NIV)

God, who lives in me by his Holy Spirit because I belong to Christ, controls my life. My sinful nature is not in charge of me anymore. Those truths hit home last night at BSF. (See Beware of Wednesdays.) Though I mess up all the time. I'm far from perfect. God is directing my steps. He is maturing me. I am being made more like Jesus every day by God himself.

Are you a believer? God is in control of your life! You are not controlled by your sinful nature. Live like those things are true. (They are! Hallelujah!) Quit trying harder to defeat sin. You can't do it by yourself. You've tried to control sin all your life. Before you were saved you couldn't do what was right in your own strength. You couldn't resist what was wrong. After you chose Christ, your flesh didn't get stronger. It's still weak. You still can't do what's right with out help. You still can't resist sin without outside intervention. Listen! Contrary to conventional wisdom, God doesn't help those who help themselves. He helps those who ask. So ask God for his help and he will, through the Spirit of Christ who lives in you and every other believer, make you more like Jesus.

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Beware of Wednesdays

I think I ought to warn you that I attend a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class at First United Methodist in downtown Wichita every Tuesday night. I love this class. The discussion in my small group always encourages me and Jim's lecture always challenges. I come home late filled up with new insights into God's goodness and mercy and power. Because it's late and have to hurry my kids off to bed - they attend too - I don't have time to write about what I've learned until Wednesday morning. So beware of Wednesdays. New challenges from God's word are pretty likely to hit this blog on that day each week. (I say that knowing that I won't be going to BSF next week or the next or the next. We're taking a break until January 9th. I'll miss it.)

Thanks Jim. You bless me every Tuesday night. Thanks Charles and Thane and Daniel and Delane and Woody and Dennis and Larry and Jim and Willard and Chuck and John and Jeff and Todd and Joe. Your insights help me grow. I love you with Christ's deep and wide love. Don't be discouraged in your struggle against sin. Ask God for help. Teach those God's given you charge over. Bless your kids. Oh, and Merry Christmas! God is with you!

If you'd like to join our class, assuming you live near enough to Wichita for that to be feasible, I invite you to start your new year out right and come to the introduction class on January 9th. It will start at 6:55pm in the sanctuary of the church at 330 North Broadway. (Parking is on the east side of the church on Topeka.) If you want more info on this class or want to know where you can find a class in your area (I know some of you don't live near Wichita), visit the BSF website.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A word problem...

As a service to all those math teachers out there who have run out of ideas for nasty word problems, I present this reality based puzzle...

A bicyclist rode 16.11 miles, pedaling 8.055 miles west and then returning 8.055 miles east. He finished the total distance in 56 minutes and 16 seconds. The first 8.055 miles riding against the wind, he averaged 14.6mph.

a) How much time in minutes did it take for this rider to complete his first 8.055 miles west?
b) What was his average speed for the 8.055 miles he rode east?
c) At the end of this ride, what was his cumulative average speed?

My apologies to any math students who have to solve this problem.

Speaking of houses...

They're digging holes in the wheat field north of the high school in Argonia. Digging basements. Basements for new homes. I can hardly believe it. More than two years ago the idea was put forth to start a housing development and three men took the bull by the horns and got to work. Last month saw the digging of part of the lake to be put in. The dirt from that excavation was used to bring one of the home sites up to grade. And now basements! Pretty cool...if you ask me. If any of you are interested, I happen to know that one of the homes being built is a spec home and it's for sale right now. You get the land free and, if you buy this home soon, before it goes to the realtor, huge savings in commissions. Visit to learn more.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Drafting houses

Some people sit at drafting tables and draw up plans for beautiful houses. I admire them. When I was a kid doodling while the teacher lectured, I imagined one day I would be an architect. Then I found out you had to use math. I hate math. So I don't sit at a drafting table and draw up plans for beautiful houses.

Instead, I sit on a bike seat and draft off houses. Not very often mind you. But every once in awhile I'll be passed by a little pickup with a flashing light on top and a "Oversized Load" banner draped across it's bumper. And occasionally, when I look over my shoulder to see if something large is about to hit me, I see a house. Half a house actually, but who's going to quibble over such a trivial matter. It happened today near the beginning of a half century (50-mile ride). The pickup zipped passed me and then two halves of a house (I assume they went together) overtook me. They used the other lane, gave me a wide berth, but they were close enough that for a moment their slipstream dragged me up to a higher speed. Like I said. I sit on a bike seat and draft off houses.

Now for the rest of the ride. I decided today was the day I would begin chasing my bicycling mileage goal in earnest. (Thanks for the encouragement, Mike.) I had some "honey do" stuff to do this morning, so I didn't leave until just before noon. I decided the wind direction lent itself to one of my favorite rides, a 49-mile loop from Argonia west to Harper (16 miles), then south to Anthony (9 miles), then east to Argonia Road (16 miles) and finally north back to home (8 miles). I wanted a half-century so I knew I'd have to add a mile somewhere. Not at the beginning though. The beginning is when I try to establish a high average speed. I got up to 17.6mph early on, but several miles of wind exposure slowed me to 16mph by the time I had covered the westward leg of my journey. (Made it safely passed a known felon's house...okay, he's just a mean dog.)

Then my average died. I started bleeding tenths almost immediately after turning south. I was down to 15.8mph after one mile. I dropped another three tenths in my second mile. In all, I lost 1.4mph on my average and found myself in Anthony averaging only 14.6mph. Did I mention it was windy? It was. Sometime today a gust of 29mph has visited Argonia. I think I met a gust or two near that speed while riding. My biggest frustration of the day wasn't the drop in average however. It was finding no money in my under seat bag when I stopped at McDonald's. I was hungry and penniless. So I had to make the last 25 miles on a single bottle of Gatorade. (Obviously I survived.)

Thankfully, the rest of my journey was aided by the wind - with the minor exception of the extra mile I put in before turning north. I picked up speed almost immediately. As I was leaving Anthony, I had already gained a tenth back and slowly, but surely, the bleeding stopped. When I turned north onto Argonia Road 17 miles later, I was at 15.4mph. Not what I would've liked, but pretty respectable considering the violence of the wind and the weight of my bike...not to mention my 190 pounds.

Turning north brought blessed relief...and speed. I picked up my pace and was able, before the 48-mile mark to get my average back up to 16.0mph. (The high speed downhill just before that point certainly helped...I reached 32.6mph. Wee! 16.0 was my ending average. I just couldn't get another tenth to tick over, try as I might.

A good day all in all. Wish you could've been with me. I would've drafted off you the whole way. Not really. I'd have given you a chance off the back when we turned north.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I sing to cows...

Of all my oddities, the oddest is that I sing to cows. I entertain my bovine buddies most often when I'm more than tired on a long, long bike ride. Somewhere after fifty or sixty miles, when my mind is numb from hours of spinning my legs in circles, melodies burst from my lips. I can't help myself. I make up new songs. "Hello, cows. How are you today?" I sing. Other times I sing well-known tunes in "moos" - The Sound of Music is a favorite: "Moo moooo moo moo mooooo moo moo moooo moooo moo mooooo."

How do the cows react? On occasion, they stampede. So I sing more loudly as they flee. But mostly they just stare. I don't know if it's because they can't quite make out what I'm saying or if they think I've gone mad. (There's a joke about mad cows in there somewhere, but I can't quite hear what the voices in my head are saying.)

So anway, I re-discovered this morning a long lost friend - a website that, several years back, made me laugh till milk shot out my nose. It's the site for a Swedish milk company and it is hilarious. Check it out in English (unless you know Swedish) right away. It's an "udder" delight to hear my moo-cow friends singing their favorite heavy metal, hip hop and disco hits. I think I've milked the cow puns for all they're worth now, so what are you waiting for? Fire up the Milko Music Machine.

If we believed...

"The greatest difference between present-day Christianity, and that of which we read in these letters (of the New Testament), is that to us it is primarily a performance; to them it was real experience. We are apt to reduce Christian religion to a code or, at best, a rule of heart and life. Perhaps if we believed what they believed, we could achieve what they achieved." - J. B. Phillips (in the introduction to his New Testament translation)

This quote caught me off guard just two days ago. I challenged me. Do I view my faith as an act or a show or as a genuine experience? Perhaps, as Phillips suggests, the reason I, and so many other Christians whom I know, see so little of God's power is because we don't believe, in practical terms, that his power exists. I pray it isn't so.

Veggie Freak

I have to admit it
No use to deny
I love to watch Veggies
I'm that kind of guy.

Bob the tomato
And Larry his bud
Make me laugh harder
Than any old spud.

So when you eat carrots,
Or celery or leeks,
Remember to pray
For me...Veggie freak.

The Happy Face Song

(Click to hear the song sung by the original artist - me. It's only 10 seconds long, but you can play it repeatedly if you need background music for a wedding reception or soiree or something.)

Does everybody have a happy smile on?
Does everybody have a happy twinkle in their eye?
Does everybody have some happy snot in their nose?
Does everybody have some happy ears that wiggle?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The hills have names...

In Kansas most bike riding is a matter of pushing hard on the flats, but there is an occasional rise in the road. I don't remember when I came to be persuaded of this, but some time in the past three or four years I decided that every incline I encountered on a regular basis needed a name. So every slope within nine or ten miles of home has a special Mikey-given moniker. (No one else would give them names. Some wouldn't even recognize them as hills.)

The first hill to the east is Mock Hill, named not because it's so awful that I feel it jeering my futile efforts to maintain speed, but for the folks whose house sit atop it. Mock is their last name. The second slope is Bruce Hill. Same reason. Both these hills are within five miles of home. The next closest hill to the east is Dog Hill. A dog lives in the house at the crest of it. Thankfully, a lazy, old dog that barks but does not bite...or chase bicyclists. Then there's Nine-mile hill. This one starts at mile eight and ends at mile nine. Couldn't think of anything more creative, so the name stuck. There are no more named hills to the east.

To the west I have only granted names to two hills. The first, starting about four miles out of town, is Drouhard Hill, named after the Drouhard family who live at the top of said incline. The second is the bridge over the railroad tracks at Danville. Must've been dreaming of the Tour de France when I named it L'Alpe d'Danville. My apologies to the French whose language I have slaughtered and to the majestic Alps who scoff, I'm sure, at overpasses and such. There are no further climbs to the west. At least none close enough to earn a nickname.

Why am I telling you all this? It's my blog. I can say what I want.

P.S. I seldom travel north and south, so all the hills on Argonia Road will remain nameless. Poor things.

I Am an Ethnarch

(To the tune of "You Are My Sunshine")

I am an ethnarch,
A mighty ethnarch.
I rule a people
Not a place.

I am a nice one,
a kindly ruler.
I don’t want my head
On a block.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Trouble in River City

Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
That rhymes with "P"
And that stands for Pool.

Got a pool table today! Brought it under cover of darkness. That's when my friends could help. It was a job and a half getting it down the stairs, but it’s there now, right under the light so we can see. Too close to the girl’s room to play late at night, but it should provide hours of pleasure when our family comes from far and near for Christmas.

Gotta run! I need to practice before the big family tournament.

Keep it under your hat...

"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (v. 5-12, NIV)

Jesus condemns here those who do good for a show. Remember what he taught in the sermon on the mount? Don’t announce your good deeds with trumpets. Don’t pray loudly on the street corners. Don’t moan and groan about your hunger when you’re fasting. If you bring attention to your acts of righteousness and get the applause of men, that’s all you’ll get. You’ll get your 30 seconds of fame. Maybe a pat on the back. But nothing of eternal value. So when you do good, keep it all under your hat. Give to the needy on the sly and you’ll be rewarded by God. Pray in private and God will take notice. Fast secretly and you’ll hear God’s "well done!"

Why do you do what you do? Fame and applause are awfully alluring – even if they’re just local. Watch out! Seeking the approval of men is a devil’s trap. You will be destroyed by pride if you get caught.

So do your good deeds with one purpose in mind: that God will get the glory. "You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14, 16, NIV)

Do things God’s way and you’ll be rewarded eternally.

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Baby it's cold outside...

It's 35 degrees out right now with a southwest wind at 14 mph. (The wind chill is 26 degrees.) I just got back from a short lunch time ride on my bike and I'm sweating. Too many layers up top I suppose. Not much excitement today. The dog at King's was hiding from the cold. Silly dog! The 18.5 mph average I attained in the first quarter mile (with the wind at my back) quickly evaporated when I turned west and headed toward Danville. By the time I returned home - after a short 10 miles - my average had dropped to 15.4 mph. I've ridden just over 3300 miles this year. I'm hoping to finish out the year at or over 3650. Not sure now if I'll make it.

For those who care and since this is my first bike log type entry, my bike is a 2003 Giant Sedona. I've changed out the original pedals for clipless Forte Campus platforms and added a Polar heart rate monitor, Cateye halogen headlight and Planet Bike cyclocomputer to the handlebar. A Cateye LED taillight on my seat post keeps me from being rear ended. I run Kenda tires with a smooth tread since I ride mostly on the road. I'm saving for a road bike.

My Mission in This World

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them." (Matthew 23:2-4, Jesus speaking)

These verses scare me every time I read them. They put me on notice. If I teach God’s word and don’t live it, watch out! If I pile up loads of commands, but don’t help out, God is not pleased.

Several years ago I wrote up a personal mission statement: "To know the truth, to live the truth, to proclaim the truth."

I put the three in that order on purpose. I knew I had to know the truth first. I had to know Jesus personally. I had to be intimate with him. I had to study his words and the rest of God’s revelation in the Bible.

I knew secondly that I had to I live the truth I knew. I had to obey God’s word. I had to show Jesus’ love in practical ways. I had to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in my life or my words would mean nothing.

I knew finally that God had called me to proclaim the truth. I had to preach what I was living. I had to teach what I was learning. I had to use my gifts to correct and rebuke and encourage and train God’s people.

To know the truth, to live the truth, to proclaim the truth. Keeping those three things straight helps me avoid the pitfalls of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. They keep me from piling up loads on your backs that I’m unwilling to lift myself.

An Ode to Exculpatory Evidence

A thief was caught.
His lawyer spouted,
"This law he's broken,
Shall be flouted.

"The evidence I show
Will set my client free.
For the evidence I present
Is exculpatory."

The Penultimate Story

The penultimate dog bit the penultimate man while he was eating the penultimate sandwich.The penultimate man kicked the penultimate dog and threw his penultimate sandwich at the pooch.The penultimate dog ate the penultimate sandwich while the penultimate man ate the ultimate.The penultimate dog and the penultimate man, both satisfied, lay down together, keeping each other warm until the penultimate second.The ultimate.


I recently spent six nights at the Crown Plaza Riverwalk in San Antonio. When I arrived at the hotel, I stopped at the front desk and inquired about my room. I was supposed to be rooming with Matt Macy during EFM Board meetings, so I asked for his room.

When I got to room 1420, Matt’s room, I found that he already had a roommate – a fellow youth commission member, so I returned to the front desk for a new assignment.

I was moved to a room with an amazing view on the 18th floor, the Executive Level. I had it good there. Opening the door, I discovered a bathrobe laid out neatly at the end of my bed. A sachet with ear plugs and a sleeping blindfold lay on top of it. Seven pillows were piled at the head of the bed – feather pillows and foam pillows. On both beds I found two fancy chocolates. I was wasn’t going to have a roommate until Friday, so...I ate all four that first night. I shared later. Really, I did. Every morning when the maids cleaned my room and made my bed, four new chocolates appeared on the night stand.

Even with all these amenities, I was ready to leave when it was time. This place was nice, but it wasn’t home. It was just a temporary dwelling place.

You know what? Way too often, I forget that this world is not my home. I’m guessing you do to. It’s a natural human tendency. You and I get to thinking about the stuff of this life and forget what really matters. We focus in on the things that make us cozy here and now. We look for security in bank accounts and investments. We depend on our jobs for peace of mind. We chase after temporary happiness with our credit cards. We seek pleasure in entertainment and recreation. We run after fitness and health in diet and exercise. And we find none of what we long for. No real security. No enduring peace of mind. No true happiness. No lasting pleasure. No perfect health.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Solomon, Israel’s wise man, warned us. After years of seeking pleasure, he wrote these words.

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 2:11-12, NIV)

And he says the same thing over and over again throughout this book of his. "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" (12:8, NIV)

There is only one thing in this life that truly matters. That one thing is your relationship with God. Only this one thing will last forever. Your marriage, as important and valuable as it is, will end when you die. Your kids will grieve your passing, but they will go on with their lives. Your friends will miss you for awhile too, but not forever. Your bank account will be emptied and spent by someone else. You employer will find someone to replace you soon after you’re gone. Your stuff will be left behind to rust and rot and, at the end of all things, be burned up.

So how is your relationship with God? Is your faith growing? Are your actions and attitudes becoming more like Jesus’? Do you hear God more clearly than you did last year? Are you longing for more?

Let me spur you on. Go after God. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30, NIV) That’s the first and greatest commandment. It’s a call to abandon yourself to God, to give yourself completely to him. It’s a call to wholehearted devotion and unconditional obedience.

God can and will take care of your temporary needs if you’ll follow him. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and he’ll clothe you and feed you and satisfy your thirst. He’s promised to meet those needs. Trust him and go after the things that will last.

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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Biking in Kansas

Top Ten Ways to Tell if You’re a True Kansas Cyclist

10. You check the National Weather Service website for wind speed and direction before every ride.
9. You know it will take two hours to reach the grain elevator you see on the horizon.
8. The nearest "hill," a highway overpass, is seventy miles from home.
7. You worry as much about cows in the road as you do about dogs.
6. Your experience tells you the flat earth folks might be right.
5. You’re 1500 miles from an ocean, yet you’ve ridden through 10-inch deep sand. (See #3.)
4. You feel a bit woozy after negotiating the curve in the road to Wal-Mart. (See #2.)
3. You know which roads near you are great for "off-road" riding.
2. You laugh at cyclists who train for their first century ride. That’s just a trip to Wal-Mart and back.
1. You passed a tree once on a ride two years ago and have been trying to find it again ever since.

Artsy humor

Mr. and Mrs. Doore were frantic. Their little girl’s favorite doll was missing. Normally this wouldn’t be cause for a call to police, but Sally’s raggedy toy was special. It was stuffed with wadded up $100s and $50s. The yellow-haired, smiley-faced doll was worth thousands and since the Doores distrusted banks, it represented a significant portion of their life savings.

When Detective Monday arrived on the scene he went straight to work. He examined the girl’s room, scribbling notes on a legal pad. When he was done, he approached the Doores for an interview. Questions flew. Where had the doll last been seen? Who had access to the room? Who would’ve known that the doll was worth a fortune? What did the doll look like? When he was done, Monday thanked the couple and headed back to the station to examine the evidence he had collected.

Two days later, the detective received a call. A SWAT team raid had yielded a large stash of stolen goods – stereos, plasma TVs, computers, you name it. His unmarked car sped to the scene. When he strode into the house, his eyes immediately fell on a tattered rag hung limp over the edge of the desk in the corner. A single strand of yellow yarn clung to it.

“Oh, no,” he muttered. “Sally Doore’s Dolly.”