Monday, December 28, 2009

warning: hill

i encountered this sign on my ride today. it's one you won't ever see in kansas.

goal accomplished

i made my goal today...and then some. out in the middle of nowhere maryland, i passed 3650 miles for 09. yahoooo! lots of hills on this route. riding it alone and in the wind cut my speed a bit, but i don't care. i reached my goal! (30.40 miles @ 14.6mph)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

two-man bike club ride

got a great ride in with my brother-in-law after church this morning. it was a cool 45 degrees with a brisk wind that hit us off and on. there were plenty of tough climbs throughout the ride including a bear of a climb near the end.

i felt pretty good most of the time. i only got near my redline on two ascents.

the route we took wound through delaware, pennsylvania and (briefly) maryland. it's the wednesday night ride route that the white clay bike club takes.

my favorite moment in the ride was chasing down a couple of locals on one of the worst climbs. i greeted them warmly as i rode past. then at the top of the hill, at the stop sign, i dropped the fact that i was from kansas where there are no hills. (30.50 miles @ 14.8mph)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

a long wet ride

a steady, soaking rain is falling in delaware today. all morning i could hear eric's voice in my head saying, "you're not going to let a little rain keep you from riding are you?" i'd look out the window and sigh. still raining.

eric's voice finally won out around 1 or 2pm. i grabbed my biking stuff and headed out. i invited my brother-in-law to go with me. he declined. so i rode alone.

it didn't take long for my clothes to reach the saturation point. i was soaked. but i was happy too. no more stewing inside with nothing to do.

all the snow was gone so my fear of sliding sideways took a back seat as i plunged down hills. my climbing legs were stronger. i had less trouble ascending than i did on wednesday when we arrived here. my heart and lungs need just a little more training and they'll be on board too.

tomorrow, my brother-in-law says it will be a nice day. we'll go riding then. here's hoping for company.

as for my 3,650 mile goal for the year: i passed the 3,600 mile mark today. less than fifty miles to go. (19.90 miles @ 15.7mph)

Thank you for the magi...

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’

“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.

“‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: ‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”’

“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
(Matthew 2:1-12, NIV)

Father, wise men bow before your Son. Kings and rulers and sages cannot stand in his presence. If it was true at his birth, how much more now. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. At his name your word says, “…every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

I give you glory today and confess your Son as my Lord. Thank you for giving me grace enough to bow in his presence. I don’t have much gold and no incense or myrrh at all, but what I have I give you. I give you me. Do with me as you please. I love you.

Your child, Mike

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Friday, December 25, 2009

the rider

just finished reading the rider by tim krabbe. an awesome story, written first person, detailing an amazing race that krabbe, if this isn't just fiction, took part in back in 1977.

the rider is full of intensity. i was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole way through the book wondering if mr. krabbe would win. the ending was amazing.

every cyclist should read this classic.

short christmas ride

after opening gifts i had just enough time to squeeze in a short ride before christmas dinner. (read: i was allowed to have 45 minutes only!!!) i raced around the main portion of vickie's loop. (see yesterday's post.) i enjoyed most of it. my legs felt better climbing today and i didn't try the really nasty one on papermill road. i did, of course, have to conquer beech hill. there's no riding here without taking on beech hill. i turned on to beech hill feeling good and climbed hard. i climbed around 11mph rather than the 8mph i was doing just yesterday. it was a wonderful 40 degrees out with just a little mist in the air. the roads were wet, but not icy. still, i held back just a bit on the descents. didn't want my center of gravity flying off the bike. a good fastest since arriving here in delaware. (11.92 miles @ 15.8mph)

Thank you for the Holy Spirit...

“When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.

“When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’

“The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
(Luke 2:21-35, NIV)

Father, you are too good.

You allow your children to see things that others miss. Simeon was so close to you that he heard your whispered promise: “You will see him.” And when the child was in his arms, the man recognized your gift.

I thank you for giving discernment to your children, for allowing us the privilege of hearing your voice. I’m afraid I don’t listen very carefully at times. I know I miss your promises and your instructions. Help me to be still and know you. Let me hear your voice again and again. Thank you for speaking to me and to your church through your word. Thank you for the Holy Spirit’s help in understanding. Thank you again for Jesus.

Your child, Mike.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

vickie's loop

vickie's loop in newark, delaware, was created by my sister-in-law based on a route she usually does with a few added miles to make the 20 miles i wanted today.

i started out following the map and then started improvising. i came back to the house at 31.49 miles and no one was there, so i went out again, reversing part of the route to see if climbing the hills would be better going the other way. it was, but i understand now why vickie avoids left turns here. it was kind of crazy trying to cross traffic.

enjoyed climbing beech hill twice. made up it all the way up without stopping both times, but it was painful. i'll take l'alpe d'anville over the hills around here anyday.

glad i'm here. it's 31 degrees and sunny. very little wind. back home in kansas it's 19 degrees with 25mph wind and snow. (43.55 miles @ 15.0mph)

Thank you for the shepherds...

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
(Luke 2:8-20, NIV)

Father, the angels said it all: “Glory to God in the highest!” You deserve all the praise for what you have done. You have brought peace to men. Real peace. Forever peace for those who believe in your Son and follow him. Thank you.

Thanks, too, for bringing the shepherds in on the secret. They are my heroes. They saw the baby and spread the news! I imagine people thought they were crazy. “Angels? The Messiah has been born? Come on!”

They weren’t discouraged by the doubts of those who heard. Thanks for telling Luke to write about them. I need to be more like them. I need to tell the good news to more people. “The Savior is born!”

From the bottom of my heart, thanks.

Your child, Mike.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thank you for Jesus...

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
(Luke 2:1-7, NIV)

Father, tears of gratitude flood my eyes as I write today. Your Son, a tiny, little baby. Imagining what it would’ve been like to be there with Mary and Joseph gazing at Jesus overwhelms me. The song says of Bethlehem: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” (O Little Town of Bethlehem) They sure were that night.

Thank you for giving your Son to us, a gift wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is to me more precious than all others. I love my wife, my kids, your church, but Jesus! Thank you for Jesus!

Your child because of Him, Mike.

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beech hill

bitterly cold here in delaware. 30F degrees. we arrived at my bro- and sis-in-law's around 2pm and i got on my bike around 3pm. rode mostly in my in-laws' development because it's icy elsewhere. kind of boring riding around and around, but i got to do some hills. beech hill is an especially nasty thing. the climb is only 1/3 of a mile, but it averages 12% grade. one portion is 16%. i only did it once. reminded me why i love the hill - descending - and why i hate it - climbing. imagine living in a development where every day, no matter where you go or how hard you work, you know you'll have to climb this beast. i don't envy my bro-in-law and nephew.(23.09 miles @ 14.6mph)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

fast and furious forty-four

my legs felt great when i got up this morning. i was ready for a first-day-of-vacation long ride.

i took off to the east feeling pretty good. my speed was decent for riding into a northeasterly crosswind. i turned at the anson road doing 17.3mph.

the next eight miles were not enjoyable in the least. the wind slowed me way down. i was often creeping along barely above 13mph.

when i reached the halfway point of my ride my average had dropped to 16.3mph. the next fourteen miles were marginally better than the eight i'd just completed. the wind wasn't as helpful as i had hoped. i only gained a tenth of a mile per hour before turning south at mile 36.

the last eight miles, ah, they were bliss. i turned onto argonia road and before i reached the crest of the rise for the descent into town, i was over 20mph. i accelerated hard and was soon over 30mph. i maintained near that for about half the ride south. i didn't drop under 20mph until i slowed for the turn back toward home. my average when i pulled in the driveway...17.4mph.

i'm so glad i had time for this ride. i moved up to second place on my dailymile leaderboard. it puts me in much better shape to reach my goal for the year. 143 miles to go! (44.50 miles @ 17.4mph)

Thank you for Joseph...

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.’

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
(Matthew 1:18-25, NIV)

Father, you did it again!

You really know how to pick them. Joseph was the perfect man for Mary. He was honorable, humble and courageous. It had to cost him his reputation when he took pregnant Mary home as his wife. He did it anyway. His quick obedience to you is such a good example.

Thank you for choosing a man like this to be your son’s stepdad. I hope that I can be like him as I follow you. Only with your Son’s help!

Your child, Mike.

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descending is dangerous

Los Alamos Rd. from Hooligan Cyclist on Vimeo.

evil dog liked this video. he thought the ending was especially good. evil dog is evil afterall. he laughs at others' misfortune. he bites when he should lick. dumb dog. hope hooligan heals quickly.

Descending is crazy...

Los Alamos Rd. from Hooligan Cyclist on Vimeo.

This is a video that one of my DailyMile friends shot. A great road to descend on. Wish I had hills like this around here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thank you for Mary...

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’

“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’

“‘How will this be, Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’

“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’

“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’

“Then the angel left her.”
(Luke 1:26-38, NIV)

Wow Father! What a godly woman you chose. Her heart was set on you. She desired only to please you. How did you ever find her? I know you know all hearts, but there aren’t many women – or men for that matter – who would accept your will so readily. Most would argue with you like Moses when you called him to go back to Egypt. Fear would’ve caused a lesser virgin to turn away from your offer of blessing.

Thank you for loving Mary before this day. The love she experienced in the years leading up to this point in her life made her ready to trust and obey.

Thank you for your love for me. I want to be as obedient as Mary. I thank you for your help.

Your child, Mike.

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shooting while riding

recovery paced ride today. it was a cold 25F degrees, but without the wind, it didn't feel too bad.

i stopped several times to shoot footage for a new film i'm working on. this one doesn't involve evil dog whom i avoided by riding east today. (not out of fear even if i found out he's a pit bull. it was the wind direction that sent me away from his house.)

here's a hint about the upcoming movie's theme...

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 sits 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 cemetary hill. an old graveyard is at its crest. black dog hill is a few miles further out. a lazy, old black dog that barks but does not bite or chase bicyclists like evil dog lives at its peak. 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.

the hills to the north, south and west also have names. you'll have to wait for the film to learn more.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The road to evil dog...

I'm keeping most of the evil dog stuff on DailyMile and my new Evil Dog Bike Log site, but I couldn't resist posting this video here. Hope you have as much fun watching The Road to the House Where Evil Dog Dwells as much as I had making it.

Thank you for the prophecies...

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14, NIV)

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2, NIV)

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV)

Father, thank you for sending word ahead of time through your prophets that Jesus was coming. Thank you for telling us who he was and what he would be like, for letting us know that he was God with us and that he would reign on David’s throne forever. Thanks too for the confirmation centuries in advance of his birthplace and of his mother’s purity.

Some say the virgin birth isn’t important, but I know that it is. If Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin, he is not the one you said would come. Fulfilled prophecy is proof enough for me that he is who he claimed to be: your Son. I’m glad you told us before hand so we could recognize him and put our faith in him. And thank you for the justice and righteousness that Jesus has established. Your wrath is satisfied. I have a right standing with you. Thank you.

Your child, Mike

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

the road to evil dog

this is the real deal, the full documentary...

"cyclists and dogs do not get along. dogs must chase cyclists. cyclists hate being chased. it's not a good combination. in 'the road to the house where evil dog' dwells, mike n faces off with the fierce evil dog."

Friday, December 18, 2009

a teaser trailer

cyclists and dogs do not get along. dogs must chase cyclists. cyclists hate being chased. it's not a good combination. in the soon to be released documentary - the house where evil dog dwells - i face off with the fierce evil dog. this is just a teaser. more to come.

youtube too!

evil dog (i think he doctored this new photo) is getting around. don't know who's bright idea it was to give him access to a computer, but he's on youtube - (i've gained access to his log-in info, so i may be posting video there to taunt him as well. shhhhh.)

Fat Cyclist rides with TRS...

I love this video. Eldon (not sure of his last name), the "Fat Cyclist", got the chance to ride with Team RadioShack after he raised over $100,000 for LiveSTRONG and another charity of Johan Bruyneel's choosing. This video covers his climb up Mt. Lemon with (well, sort of) the team. An amazing chance of a lifetime for him.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

evil dog stalks dailymile

imagine my alarm when i logged into dailymile this morning and found evil dog there! his snarling visage sent shivers down my spine. his message: 'it's much easier to chase mike if i follow him on daily mile...' his motivation: 'i'll beat you...woof woof woof, woof woof...' thankfully, i noticed at the top of his profile that evil dog hasn't started training. whew! that's a relief! (thanks to my dailymile friend, kris, for bringing evil dog to life online.)

Evil dog bike log...

I've been thinking about doing this for quite some time and yesterday I did it. I started a bike log. The Evil Dog Bike Log will feature mostly reports on my daily rides, but will include humorous anecdotes and a few rants. I've already posted five times. Check it out! Grrrrr!

To whom shall we go?

Take a look at Jesus at the end of John 6. Many of his followers have just left him. Perhaps a little dejected, he turns to the Twelve and says, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’

“Then Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)”
(John 6:67-71, NIV)

The Twelve heard the good news and found life. They reacted to Jesus’ words and believed. They received the salvation the crowd rejected.

Jesus has the words of eternal life for you and me today. To whom shall we go if not to him? He is the Holy One of God. There is no other who offers life.

Leave your religious works. There is no hope in man’s goodness. Leave your chasing after miracles. There is no salvation in the fantastic. Leave your “Jesus was a good teacher” falsehood. There is no rescue offered by anyone but the Son of God. Leave your conviction-dodging ways. There is no eternal life for those who refuse to repent of sin.

Have you believed? Will you believe? When? What are you waiting for?

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windless awesomeness!

windless awesomeness! that's the only way to describe a day like today. a day when the wind is under 5mph is a rare treat in kansas. in the summer, when my muscles are warm, i'd hammer out a 19mph average on a breeze-free day. i'm pleased with today's 18.1mph. it's only 31 degrees out after all. oh...and i scored a triple bold on my personal log at home - bold red for an average over 18mph; bold blue for a temp below freezing; bold black for passing another hundred mile mark. no dogs to report on. just beautiful sunshiny bliss! (25.72 miles @ 18.1mph)

my evil dog evading machines

this is my first 'real' bike - a giant sedona. i got it back in 03. i rode it more than 5,300 evil dog free miles one year. i seldom ride it more than a few miles now. it's my ride-around-town-with-the-family vehicle. it isn't fast, but it is trustworthy.

i couldn't get away from evil dog or any other four-footed beast of prey without my trusty trek. i picked up this swift steed in 08 just after completing emt training. it's fun to go fast on my 2.1...except when evil dog is chasing. then it's sheer terror.

what's in a name?

when i decided to start a cycling blog, it didn't take me ten seconds to decide on a name. why? there's this big black dog that lives about eight miles from my house that haunts my every riding minute when i head west. he's at that point in the ride where i'm either ready to push on for greater mileage or ready to turn around and head back home.

i met him for the first time this year. i'd been riding past this house forever it seemed and never seen a dog. i bet i'd passed by close to a hundred times before, out of no where, comes this black blur of muscle and meanness. i was going about 12mph into a strong headwind at the time, so there was nothing to do, but hope for kindness. i got none from this hound of hell. he barked and snarled and lunged at me numerous times. i tried squirting gatorade at him, my standard trick for distracting dogs. most dogs think i'm marking my territory and stop to smell while i sprint away. not this one.

i survived this first run in and a couple of others since. after one particularly bad 'attack' - the stupid mutt ran with me, lunging, snarling and barking for a half mile! - i dubbed him 'evil dog' in honor of his character.

so 'evil dog bike log' was my first and only idea for this blog's moniker. so be it! may this blog's namesake be hit by an eighteen wheeler! grrrrr.

'facebook' for athletes

i discovered, quite by accident, a great social networking site for those who like to log their workouts and encourage others in their pursuit of fitness. there are specific communities for athletes, runners, cyclists, triathletes and walkers. you can post a goal and work toward it. log on to and add me - openmikey - as a friend. the widget in my sidebar will always have my latest workout and you'll find some of the info here too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

almost 3,400 miles this year

wish i could've waited until noon to ride today. it would've been considerably warmer. that's how it goes when you're a volunteer emt and you can only find someone to cover for you earlier in the day. the wind was a bit on the rowdy side, but not unbearable. rode out at 15.7mph. picked up some speed on the way back and ended at 16.5mph. not bad for this time of year. less than two more miles and i would've been at 3,400 for the year. i'll get those miles and then some tomorrow. until then, happy trails to you! (20.16 miles @ 16.5mph)

cattle trucks

i suppose i should have started this blog with a post about riding past 'evil dog' my friend, but he hasn't bothered me for a few days. instead, i'm going to rant a bit about one of the worst highway hazards for bicyclists of all: cattle trucks.

i'm convinced that drivers of these massive rigs undergo extensive psychological testing to weed out the sane folks. i don't know how many times i've been buzzed by a bull wagon. it happened again today. i'm scared spitless every time.

would someone please tell these guys to move over or SLOW DOWN?!?!

New Sherwood film announced...

The makers of Facing the Giants, Fireproof and the lesser known Flywheel, announced recently that they're beginning work on a fourth movie.

Courageous will focus on the honorable role dads play in their children's lives. The story will revolve around four fathers who are all in law enforcement, who protect and serve together. When tragedy strikes close to home they begin to look at their roles as fathers. Together they challenge and encourage one another to fulfill God's intention in the crucial role of father. From their struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. Proverbs 27:17 is a key verse for this story. "As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another."

Watch the announcement and visit for more.

Jesus: Son of God...

People today are fine with Bible talk as long as Jesus is made out to be a good teacher or a legendary miracle worker or something tame like that, but call him the Son of God and insist that they believe and they’re gone.

Jesus said plainly to the people of his day and ours, “I am the bread from heaven that brings life.” He is the food that they must eat to receive everlasting life. His blood shed for them because of their sin is their only hope! Jesus’ broken body and shed blood is our only hope! We too must believe. If we do not, we are dead in our sin.

Ephesians 2 begins with a description of our condition apart from Jesus and ends with a call to receive salvation by faith.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV)

How do you react to these words or to any words that convict you? Conviction is intended to point you toward your need for a savior. It shows you to be a sinner in need of saving. It exposes your guilt and calls you to believe and be forgiven.

But some, I hope none of you, hear God’s convicting voice and turn away from Jesus rather than to him. They slam their Bible shut. They turn off the radio. They reject their Christian friends. They walk away from the church. They deride the pastor who preaches the truth.

Paul predicted this reaction to the gospel in his second letter to Timothy.

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NIV)

There are “churches” today that water down the truth. Their “preachers” say what pleases the people to keep their job and grow the franchise. There is little if any mention of the serious and eternal consequences of sin. The blood shed for us on the cross by Jesus is rarely spoken of. And thousands, maybe even millions, are being damned to hell because of this milquetoast message.

Friends, Jesus is the one and only Son of God. You are a sinner who must believe on Jesus or be condemned to eternity in hell. Don’t walk away from Jesus or from his message of hope. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. The good news is you can come to the Father through faith in the Son. Those who refuse to believe are condemned forever. The good news is those who believe in Jesus are not condemned. Believers receive eternal, everlasting, forever and ever life.

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Does he have a pulse?

ATLANTA — Atlanta Fire Rescue opened an internal investigation this weekend after video surfaced of rescuers looking at a fatally shot man and then walking away without checking to see whether he was alive. The department said it would review a surveillance video of the Dec. 4 shooting at Moreland Package Store.

TV station WGLC, the CBS Atlanta news station, posted video showing two paramedics and a firefighter looking over a store counter, supposedly at the spot where Martez McKibben had fallen. In the video, they walk away after a few moments. Police said McKibben, 21, was shot by one of two men who entered just before 10 p.m. Store owner Shaun Yu came out of the back with his own weapon and shot the gunman twice; both suspects fled and were later caught.

The three rescuers who arrived on the scene "just looked at him, didn't even reach down and feel for a pulse," Yu said of McKibben. "When police asked us to leave the building, he was still breathing."

Rhonda Cook
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Copyright 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do you have life?

The folks who’ve followed Jesus because he fed 5,000 people with a small boy’s message try to dodge the truth by asking the Master for another miracle.

“So they asked him, ‘What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’

“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’

“‘Sir,’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’”
(v. 30-34, NIV)

Everyone’s waiting on breakfast, or maybe by this time lunch. “Come on, Jesus! You fed us yesterday. Do it again!”

Jesus, in response, insists that he is what they want. He is pointing them to the truth, showing them the way of salvation. And they’re not getting it.

They say, “Give us this bread,” but they don’t know what they’re asking for. They don’t understand that it is the man talking to them who is the bread that gives life. He’s talking about eternal life for those who believe in him and they’re thinking a crusty loaf that sustains for only a moment.

That’s what seeking salvation by religious or benevolent works or chasing after miracles is really. Dry bread that cannot truly satisfy. These things do not lead to eternal life. Only belief in Jesus brings eternal life.

Are you hearing what Jesus is saying? Life is found only in him. Do you have life?

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Contador: Astana a weaker team...

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador admits his Astana team is weaker with Lance Armstrong’s departure and the exodus of riders who followed the Texan to Team RadioShack.

“I know that right now we’re not at the level of Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack, but the atmosphere is great and the desire to work hard is there,” Contador said at a preseason training camp Friday, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport’s Web site. “Let’s discuss it again in a few months.”

Contador wasn’t interested in rehashing his intra-squad rivalry with Lance Armstrong.

“I’m focused only on 2010. The past is past,” he said. “I’m not interested in the polemics.”

Of Astana’s nine-man team at this year’s Tour, eight left for Armstrong’s new Team RadioShack squad. Contador’s team includes Alexander Vinokourov, who is back from a two-year doping ban, and 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro.

Armstrong’s top teammates include Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden.

Contador said Andy Schleck was the “one who made me sweat the most. But I’m going to keep an eye on Leipheimer.”

Former Astana team director Johan Bruyneel also moved on to Team RadioShack, and Contador did not appreciate how Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong plotted their new team throughout last season.

The Spaniard said he would prefer a transfer system similar to that in European club soccer, where teams pay transfer fees to acquire players.

Contador said he would make his 2010 debut by attempting to defend his title at the Tour of Algarve in Portugal in February.

Source: The Associated Press (Reported on


This is one of the silliest things I've ever seen. Ben Stiller, friend of Lance, is being nutty for a good cause. Check it out! Then hear what Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel have to say in response. (I'm pretty sure all of this is tongue-in-cheek.)

The work of God...

"Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'" (John 6:28-29, NIV)

Here are a bunch of people asking about how they can earn God's favor by works. They want to know what religious ritual will get them in God's good graces. They want to know if their alms giving and fasting and praying and what have you are enough.

Jesus' answer corrects the error of their thinking. He basically says, "There is no way religious works are getting you in the door of Heaven. You must believe in me."

Belief is the work God requires of all. Without belief in Jesus - the one God sent - there is no salvation.

John records Jesus saying basically the same thing in a number of other places. This is important truth. Listen to Jesus.

In John 3:16-18 he speaks of the necessity of belief in him. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (NIV)

In John 14:6 the Master says he's the way, the only way, to the Father. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NIV)

The work of God is to believe in Jesus! There is no escaping this truth. It is the overarching theme of all four gospels and each and every letter that the apostles write to the churches. Believe and be saved. Refuse and be damned.

Have you done the work of God? Believe on him today and be saved.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Look up at the stars...

Tonight my family and I went out into the country a couple of miles to watch the meteor shower. We didn't see alot of shooting stars while laying on blankets in the middle of a field, but the stationary ones were gorgeous. Orion's belt was especially clear. Wish I had a camera that could have captured the beauty of the sky.

When spirits are low...

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Friday, December 11, 2009

TRS Madonne revealed...

The Team RadioShack Trek Madonne has been revealed. Not sure what to think. Colors are kind of dull if you ask me. Maybe they're going stealth. Won't matter what they look like if they win races, I guess.

A $500,000 ride...

This is what a $500,000 ride looks like. Amazing art by Damien Hirst. The butterflies on this bike made for LiveSTRONG's Bikes of Stages collection are real! (See more bikes from the collection at

Lance won't be top TRS rider...

The seven-time Tour de France winner, who this year returned to cycling after four years out, believes he is too old to take on the leader's duties.

Instead, Armstrong highlighted the potential of Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer as future team leaders.

"I'm 38 now, I'll be 39 this season - it would be irresponsible to build it around me," he said.

"Going into the Tour we have to look at Levi and Kloden, the tactics, the ideas that we use."

Armstrong rode for Astana and finished third in the 2009 Tour, his first since retiring following his unprecedented seventh straight win in 2005.

His comeback also made headlines following a public dispute with team-mate and eventual Tour champion Alberto Contador, culminating in the Texan announcing his departure from the Kazakh-backed team to create his own outfit, backed by American retailer RadioShack.

Eight Astana riders followed Armstrong to the new team, including German Kloden, runner-up in the 2004 and 2006 Tours, and American Leipheimer, who finished third in 2007.

Only Spaniard Contador remains on Astana's roster from the 2009 Tour and Armstrong believes the American team boast the strongest line-up in road cycling.

"If you look at the Tour this year, we (Astana) had the strongest team in the race," added Armstrong, whose team will make their debut in January's Tour Down Under in Australia.

"Of the nine riders from last year's Tour de France squad from Astana, eight are now on RadioShack. We took the vast majority of the riders from the team that we wanted, so it remains a strong team.

"We lack that super high level favourite like Alberto, but I like the chances with the strong guys we have."

However, RadioShack have yet to receive a formal invite for the 2009 Tour or Giro d'Italia.

BBC Sport

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Will you do my dog's funeral?

Mike Hazelwood from Meeker was the winner of the House FM's Minister Appreciation Contest in October. The station had Jeff Holt, his youth minister who nominated him, on the line with them. It's a rule that they never just tell someone they won...where's the fun in that? So they played a trick on Mike. Click here to hear how the call went down.

By the numbers...

Today's ride by the numbers...

1 hour on the bike. (Who cares about the extra 15 seconds?)
2 tires on the road.
3 areas of slightly exposed skin. (Two eyes and a mouth.)
4 gloves worn.
5 layers on top.
6 icy bridge crossings.
7 dog barks heard. (I made that up.)
8 articles of clothing on my feet.
9 days in December so far.
10 fingers lost to amputation. (I'm kidding!)
11 degrees at departure. (My coldest ride ever!)
12 "You're crazy!" comments expected on Facebook.
13 degrees upon return.
14 mph avg on the way out.
15 mph northwest winds. (Wind chills below 0F.)
16 miles ridden. (And 16.3mph avg!)
17 icicles on my beard. (I made this up too!)
18 friends who would not have ridden today.
19 ice patches avoided.
20 toes thawed in a hot shower.

Not one of us...

Mark 9:38-41 begins with this report from John: “‘Teacher, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’

“‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.’”

Let me take you back a few years. Toward the end of my time at the Friends Church in Arba, Indiana, a nearby church began to grow like crazy. People were coming to know Christ at Fountain City Wesleyan. Lives were being changed. This church was the talk of the town.

It was also the talk of the Christian community. A few grumblers complained that those Wesleyans were stealing sheep. “They’re just growing because Christians are changing churches,” was the common refrain. Church folks, those not affiliated with this thriving congregation, were, like John, perturbed that someone else was doing God’s work.

I tried to point out to those who spoke negatively to me that this was crazy talk. “We’re on the same team,” I would insist. “They aren’t the enemy! We should be celebrating their success!” My words often fell on deaf ears.

I hope your ears are not deaf today. I hope you will hear what Jesus says to his followers. Listen to him. “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

Any and every church that preaches the good news is a friend, not a foe. If Jesus is exalted and faith in him promoted by any local pastor, you and I should applaud. If any group of believers is doing something new that is bearing fruit, how can we not be thrilled?

Paul had to deal with envy and rivalry in the church. His take on this matter is interesting.

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
(Philippians 1:12-18, NIV)

Now, understand. Paul is not saying it’s okay for jealousy and competition to remain in the church. It needs to be dealt with, eliminated. It is not right. Even so, if the gospel is spread because of it, Paul is praising God. Praising God for the spread of the good news, not the jealousy. He wishes everyone was preaching without pride or selfishness. Since they aren’t, he’s looking at the bright side. At least people are hearing about Jesus.

Do you not like something another church or pastor in your town has done? Are you praying for that church?

Jesus is the head of his church. If something different needs to happen at any church, he will direct that church to do his will. He will correct what needs to be corrected. That’s true every church. It’s true of yours.

So when we see something that isn’t quite right, we pray. Prayer will accomplish abundantly more than gossip or strife or complaining. And if they were wrong in any of their actions, so what? (Isn’t that what Paul said? He said it plain as day. “…what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

God will make things right in every body of believers that calls on his name. It may take time, but he will make things right. So if you don’t like the actions of any church – your own included – pray! Ask God to correct what needs to be corrected then trust him to do what’s right in his time. Even if things don’t change quickly, praying about the situation will change your attitude. Your heart will no longer be filled with resentment, suspicion or distrust. It will instead be filled with love and concern for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First among friends....

After months in second place among friends on the "Where I've Been" trivia challenge, I have finally moved up to first place. Michelle Murray, my missionary friend in Cambodia, is in 289th place overall. I am in 288th! That makes me first among friends! Woohoo! (Of course, Michelle hasn't answered a question in months, so this is NOT a big accomplishment. I'm just making a big deal about it to be silly! You'll have to click on the picture above to be able to see clearly my ranking and Michelle's.)

An ode for today...

A friend posted the following poem as a comment on my Facebook status ("does not like freezing rain!) this morning. I thought it was pretty clever!

Mike does not like the freezing rain.
He does not like it; it's a pain.
He does not like it when he's riding.
He dislikes how it causes sliding.
He does not like it coming or going.
In fact, he'd rather see it snowing.
Freezing rain dims all Mike's smiles.
It keeps the man from racking up miles.

Thanks Paul! I think I'll go eat some green eggs and ham!

Why I am not riding...

The weather outside is frightful! Really! I nearly slipped and fell on my rear walking down the steps from my front porch. There's ice every where. I'm hoping it will get above freezing sometime today and melt some of this off. It's 27F at 10am - up from 23F at 7am. I want to ride my bike, but it doesn't look like I'll get the chance today.

A homeless God...

"As you come to Him, the living Stone -- rejected by men but
chosen by God and precious to Him -- you also, like living
stones, are being built into a spiritual house…" (1 Peter 2:4-5a)

Part of my roots are in the Charismatic movement. In that experience, I was repeatedly encouraged to seek God for a "visitation" from heaven. As a result, I harbored the illusion that if God visited our church, He was pleased with it. I later discovered that God is not looking for a place to visit. He is looking for a place to dwell.

The pages of history are littered with the sobering fact that God is no longer present in the places He once visited. Go to the landmarks of past revivals, and you'll quickly discover that the crowds have diminished. The joy is gone. The life has evaporated. In many cases, those places are but hollow shells today.

For me the intriguing question is: Why does the Lord leave? The answer is telling: because he was not completely welcomed.

He was allowed to visit, but He was not permitted to be head. That is, He was not granted the right to make the decisions.

Visitations bless us for a short season. But a dwelling place for God is something for His interest and His desire. Blessing is merely a byproduct. It's not the prime product.

Contemplate this thought: If God "visits" a church, it betrays the fact that it doesn't belong to Him. A homeowner doesn't visit his own home. He lives in it. In a divine visitation, God will bless His people. But He will eventually move on and search for a home that He can call his own. Thus if the headship of Jesus Christ is not fully yielded to any given place, the best of Lord can do is visit. He cannot take up residency.

Our Lord is in a quest for a place to lay His head, a place where His headship is operative, a place where He does what He wishes, a place where he can feel comfortable and find rest. This is the indelible mark that a particular church is in fact His house. Anything else is but a layover for Him.

Like any homeowner, God builds His house in His own way. If the home is His, He arranges the furniture the way He wishes, for He is the master of His own home.

In this connection, I want you to imagine countless living stones scattered all over the earth. I want you to see innumerable living stones living their own individual Christian lives. I want you to see scores of living stones who loved God, but who are isolated and independent of other living stones. Many attend religious services, but there is little to no "building together" among the members.

That is precisely the situation we find ourselves in today. And what is the net effect? God is still homeless.

The burning intent of your God is that all of His living stones be built together with other living stones to form His house. Not for themselves, but for their Lord. To be the house of God, by God and for God.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Ephesians 4:16)
Jesus Christ did not die and rise again just to forgive you of your sins. He died in order that His father could obtain a home. The Lord saved you and me for a high and holy purpose.

Without people who are being assembled together, God is a wandering, homeless God. And we are wondering, homeless Christians. Your Lord wishes to build Himself into a people, and He wishes to build a people into Himself. He is after a building, not a rock quarry. He wants a house, not a heap of stones nor group of scattered rocks. The Lord Jesus Christ is looking for willing vessels who will abandon their Western-style individualism and live a shared life with others under His exclusive headship. This is our high calling.

Guest Blogger, Frank

Maybe if the bricks weren't all black...

Put yourself in Jeremy Bell’s shoes. You’re a creative director at Teehan+Lax, a Downtown Toronto design firm and a lifelong LEGO fan. You’re having a quiet Tuesday afternoon at the office. Hey, you just got a custom BrickGun model kit of a semi-auto handgun in the mail. Why not build it at your desk? (I for one totally understand, I just did the same thing last week with the Space Police Smash ‘n’ Grab.) After you’re done, you show the model to a co-worker, he breaks it, you put it back in its box, then unwind with some co-workers by playing video games.

The problem is, handguns are illegal in Canada, and gun play at work is generally associated with disgruntled employee rampages, rather than good LEGO design. So that afternoon, a person with a condo overlooking Jeremy’s window office saw him assembling the model, thought it was a real handgun and called the police. (He has since apologize via Twitter, Facebook and a handmade sign put up in his window.)

About an hour after putting away the model gun, the gaming was interrupted by yelling in the hallway. Jeremy peeked into the hall and saw members of the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force with real big guns pointed at him. He cooperated, got ‘cuffed, told them to check out the LEGO gun in his office, and he was uncuffed in about 90 seconds. Done, right?

It became a slightly bigger deal because people in and immediately around the building were detained, had big guns pointed at them, the street was closed off by half a dozen police cars, a couple ambulances waited nearby, and a helicopter hovered overhead. For details on the basic facts of the story, the best details and perspective are in Jeremy’s blog, but also check out some of the local Toronto online news outlets like GlobalToronto and Torontoist, where I first ran across the story.

Jeremy is now obviously being pestered by media all across Canada, and even by US LEGO nerds like me. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions:

The Brothers Brick: How do you feel about all this attention over a bizarre misunderstanding?
Jeremy Bell: I could do without the attention, but I do find the whole situation hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, guns in the workplace aren’t cool, and I’m aware that people have been killed over similar misunderstandings—luckily this event didn’t turnout the same.

TBB: What form has your LEGO fandom taken? Collector, builder, sets, your own creations, just looking?
JB: I’ve been a fan of Lego since I was a little kid, but it’s not something I spend a lot of time playing with now. That said, I’ll usually assemble actual kits and then combine the pieces with the rest of my collection and build my own creations.

TBB: Was the ordering of the custom gun kit a bit of lark? How did you find out about the kit? Was it any good?
JB: I discovered the BrickGun kit on a design blog (if I recall correctly), so ya… it was a bit of a lark. The kit had about 250 pieces in it, plus some elastic bands. Was it any good? Well, I got arrested… that’s gotta count for something I guess.

TBB: According to the other news stories, you’re the Creative Director at a design company? How has this affected your professional relationships, since this went down at work?
JB: Excellent question about the work side of things… no one has asked that yet. At the moment, all of our clients seem to think it’s pretty humours (although we haven’t heard from all of them yet). We’ll see how this shakes out next week.

TBB: How about your family?
JB: My family’s always known I was a Lego fan, so they weren’t surprised to see what I built. That said, my wife wasn’t so thrilled when she found out.

Thanks, Jeremy!

From looking at BrickGun’s website, they’re a little overwhelmed by the media driven orders because of this story, so if this gets you all excited to order something from them, good luck trying to get it in time for the holidays.

Free from infighting...

“They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, [Jesus] asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’”
(Mark 9:33-37, NIV)

Can’t get much uglier than that. Grown men, close friends even, jockeying for position in God’s kingdom. This is junior high locker room talk. Silly stuff. But it’s what happened and Jesus confronts it. The disciples are all a bit sheepish when he asks about what they were talking about on the road. They know intuitively that Jesus isn’t going to like what he hears. Never mind the fact that he already knows what they were grappling over.

Since no one will speak up, Jesus sits down with them and teaches them a lesson in kingdom greatness.

“If you want to be first, be last.” Don’t promote yourself. Don’t look for ways to be in charge. Don’t demand service.

“If you want to be first, be the servant of all.” Humility is the mark of someone great in God’s eyes. The greatest Christ-followers look an awful lot like slaves.

Is this a lesson each of us needs to learn? Yes! We need to train ourselves to take the low spot rather than the top. We need to train ourselves to look out for the needs of others rather than our own. We need to forget our fear of being trampled on and follow our Master’s directions.

Now, think about this for a second. If every believer sought greatness God’s way – by becoming a servant – every believer’s needs would be met. Needs for love. Needs for acceptance. Needs for compassion. Needs for tolerance. Needs for support. Needs for encouragement. Needs for companionship. Needs for grace. Needs for forgiveness. Needs for food.

If every believer served every other believer, there would be no fear or worry for tomorrow. There would be no want.

And when the Holy Spirit came, that’s what the church was like in the early days.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)

You can see why the church grew, can’t you? Why people believed? Love, the kind of selfless, serving love everyone longs for, was being practiced. The transformation brought about by the filling of the Holy Spirit was evident for all. Believing in Jesus made a difference and others wanted what the believers had. Not their physical possessions, but their life-changing God!

Is this a picture of the church today? Is your church like this? In some ways, it probably is. In other ways, maybe not.

Without pointing fingers at anyone but yourself, is there something you could do to make your church more like the attractive first church? How can you serve others? What can you give? Who needs what you have to offer? And don’t just think money or food or what have you. Think about your spiritual gifts. Use them for God’s glory and for the benefit of the church. That’s why you’ve been given them. Be the servant of all as you display God’s work in your life and bless others. Doing so, in complete humility, will keep your church free of jealous infighting.

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I want one...

"All I want for Christmas is...a GoPro Helmet Cam!" I watched some amazing video shot with one of these babies today. HD! Beautiful! Just think of all the crazy footage I could post if I just had a helmet cam. Please, Santa, please!

Team RadioShack kit...

Team RadioShack has just given us die-hard fans a sneak preview of its new jersey for our inaugural racing season and it looks great! Tell me Lance Armstrong doesn’t look great in that thing. Now before you go out and buy matching helmets, socks, gloves, water bottles, repaint your bike and get tattoos we have to place a cautionary note here – this is a working prototype of the jersey whose final design is not be revealed until the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia starting January 19th. However, it’s apparent that this design is pretty close to the real deal that you’ll be watching as the boys start to make their presence felt in the first race of the season. In fact we hear the boys are wearing similar kits right now in Arizona as they begin training as a complete squad riding in team colors for the first time.

They’re obviously as excited as we are about their prospects this year and it comes through in their explanation of the kit. Here’s the exact words from the official announcement, “It was our goal this year to create something visually distinctive and a look that was symbolic of what we feel Team RadioShack is all about: cutting edge technology, speed, strength, determination and a global message to LIVESTRONG. The experts at Nike and our partners at RadioShack helped to create this fast form-fitting design using various textures and patterns symbolizing the themes of new technology, global connectivity and community. We think it looks pretty damn cool.” A semi-swear word in an official announcement? Says one thing to me….they’re pumped!

By George Hurst, staff writer

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are you jealous?

Several years ago I learned a valuable lesson from God at a conference in Indiana that John Maxwell was leading. We – me and several hundred fellow pastors – had been listening to Maxwell teach on leadership for several hours. We’d laughed a lot at his stories of life as a pastor of a small town church in Indiana. Laughed because we could relate to the problems he spoke about, the people issues he described. We’d listened intently as he talked about how he was led by God to deal with situations very similar to our own. John is a very wise man and we were learning lots of good stuff from him about leadership and life.

I don’t remember whether break time was approaching or what, but our teacher for the day opened the floor up for questions. One pastor stood quickly and began describing to Mr. Maxwell some really great things that were happening at his church.

After a minute or so, John interrupted the pastor and said something that stopped me in my tracks. He first commended the man’s success: “What you’re telling us is great news!” His support and encouragement was passionate. He was genuinely happy about what he was hearing. Then he gently reprimanded everyone in the room. “These guys around you should be applauding your success, but they’re not. They’re not because they think you’re the competition. They’re jealous.”

The room was silent. My heart was filled with conviction and sorrow as God exposed my sin. That sorrow quickly led to repentance. I decided then and there to celebrate the successes of other pastors and other churches whenever I could. I’m sure others made the same decision.

We were immediately given the opportunity to put that decision to the test as Maxwell broke the silence with an invitation to applaud the good things God was doing at this pastor’s church. The response was immediate and thunderous. We cheered and clapped like an arena full of rowdy college students at a home basketball game. It was crazy!

Every bit of good news shared by a pastor or leader from that point on in the conference was met with enthusiastic praise. The lesson stuck. It’s still with me today. I hope you will take it to heart and praise God for his work in all the churches around you.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Almost 100...

What a game! At half time the girls were up by 56 points - 66-10. The JV players got lots of experience. With their two quarters, plus about two and half quarters of the varsity game, they played more than the varsity starters. Pretty crazy!


It was such a blessing to be a part of the Gyms4Jesus rally this past Wednesday night in Oxford, Kansas. Worshiping God and hearing his Word with hundreds of teens was a blast. I'm sure Jesus was pleased with the hearts of those already given to him as they shared their stories and songs. And I know all Heaven was dancing and shouting as thirty-five kids decided at the conclusion of Zane Brooks' message to put their faith in the world's one and only Savior!

A big thank you to the five members of the Oxford Fellowship of Christian Athletes group who organized and sponsored this event! A small group can do big things when they partner with a great God!

I'm anxious to see what God will do in response to the preparations of Argonia's youth to host a similar rally. "Time for a Change" will take place on January 9 at 6:30pmin the Argonia High School gym.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Five hundred forty-eight miles...

My goal every year for the past six years has been to ride an average of 10 miles per day. If you're really good at math, you've already figured out that's 3,650 miles in a year. For the past two years, I haven't quite made that goal. I fell far short in 2008. Didn't even ride half that amount.

This year, I started out on target for a pretty poor showing again. I've only ridden 150 days so far this year out of 335. A couple of months I rode less than 100 miles. That put me way behind.

Something happened in July, I don't know what, that changed everything. I started riding consistently. I rode 15 to 20 miles nearly every day. The total mileage rose quickly. I put in hundreds of miles each month. In August, I logged 695.79 miles. And my average wasn't too shabby either - 18.3mph. In September, I rode 376.94 miles at 19.3mph! Since August 31st, my average speed for the year has been over 18.0.

I am now at just over 3,100 miles. I need just over 548 miles to make my goal. I'm going for it. I need about twenty miles per day. Track my progress at if you like. I need 572 miles in December to make 3,650.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Everything is God's...

“Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13, NIV)

David, in this song of thanksgiving, acknowledges God’s greatness. He honors the One who is ruler over all. And he confesses this important truth: “…everything in heaven and earth is yours.”

Everything! Wealth. Honor. Strength. All that we think we possess. God’s!

Look at the things you have. You have clothes – pants and shirts and skirts and blouses and socks and shoes. Some of you own jewelry. Your wallets and purses have money in them and a credit card or two. You have a coat to wear when it’s cold outside. You own a vehicle to get you to and from work.

All these things are God’s. They are loaned to you for your pleasure and for use in God’s service should he have need of them.

I know you know this already. I’m just reminding you of the truth. It all belongs to God. Thank him for his provision.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bohemian rhapsody Muppet-style...

This video made me long for the good old days when comedy was fun! Loved the Muppets and their zany antics.

Hope in crisis...

Just over a year ago, this country received the invoice, due and payable, for its years of overspending and excessive debt. Millions have lost jobs and many now live in fear that we are beginning what might turn out to be a rerun of the “Great Depression.”

Looking at the approaching Advent Season and Year-End Inventories, it seems to me that leaders must become “Dealers in Hope.” I want to give you some handles for hope as we move forward.

This may well be an exciting time when it comes to the advance of God’s Kingdom. During a previous steep recession (1973-1976) we saw the beginnings of some of the greatest churches and ministries in America. Willow Creek Church near Chicago began in 1975. So were the Vineyard and Calvary Chapel movements. A few years later during the 1979-1983 recession, Saddleback Church began. Down economic times have frequently been up times for the Kingdom of God. This is not a time to fear, but to hope, and to anticipate what God will do in our time. Did you know that charitable giving (including church giving) did not decline during the Great Depression? Again, down times can be up time for God’s work.

I know that it will be a temptation to stop tithing. It will be a temptation to retrench or at least to not move forward in generosity. I urge you to resist that temptation, and to trust in God. There will be a special temptation to reduce giving in anticipation of what might happen—not because our income has actually declined. Please don’t give in to that temptation to sin. It really is sin because it’s a temptation to stop trusting in God to provide for now and for the future. It breaks the principle of living on what God’s provided, and giving at least 10% of income to kingdom causes. (See Malachi 3:8.)

While none of us would have wished for this time of difficulty, there is an opportunity for us, as God’s people, to model to the world that our faith is not just a ‘sunny day faith.’ Throughout the ages, it has been during times of crisis that God’s people have had the most impact. Let me challenge you to model with your life and lips by:

  • Being a person of generosity while others are hoarding (John 3:16);
  • Being consistent in faith while others are fearing (2 Timothy 1:7);
  • Showing great love and concern for your friends and inviting them with you to church so they too can find hope (1 Peter 2:12).

Remember 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Jesus repeatedly reminded us to “Fear not!” This is a time to shine like beacons of HOPE in the midst of darkness.

Dr. David Robinson, EFC-MAYM Superintendent