Saturday, January 30, 2010

fear of cornering

a new video series: 'bike ninja wisdom'! these are going to be short, 30-second-or-so, vignettes, featuring a young bike warrior and the always wise bike ninja. in this first episode, bike ninja helps the young one overcome his fear of cornering.

burying 2009's first six

riding in the snow is fun! i rode for just over an hour and a half. it was 9 degrees when i started, 19 when i ended. the sun is trying really hard to come out from behind the clouds. it is a beautiful, practically windless day in kansas! the perfect kind of day to pass a milestone. and that's exactly what i did.

after riding once around the holden nature center loop which had a little too much loose snow for my tastes, i decided to ride up and down hard packed main street in argonia for as long as it took to put on enough miles to top the mileage of the first six months of 2009.

so i rode back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, up and down the mile or so of main street. twice i rode out past the river south of town and back, but mostly it was back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, up and down the mile or so of main street.

when my odometer hit 16.38 miles, 1/100th past what i needed to bury last year's first half, i stopped. melvin was out shoveling snow. i shouted at him: " i just rode more miles in one month than i did in the first six months of last year!" that said, i rode on and on and on. i added another five miles before calling it a day.

now its time to go shovel my own snow. (21.45 miles @ 13.0mph)

Friday, January 29, 2010

beautiful kansas

i started a photo group - snapshot argonia - on facebook two days ago. it has grown to over 300 people already. more than 200 photos have been posted. yhought you might enjoy it. (i took this photo today. it will be on the group's page soon.)

bike ninjas everywhere

at kris r's suggestion, i started a group for bike ninjas on dailymile last night. five worthy men have joined already. perhaps you are man enough to become part of this elite riding force. maybe not. (check it out: bike-ninjas.)

what would eric do?

after pedaling through the snow, i sat in the bathroom and thought, "what would eric do?" remembering the disaster that followed a similar question concerning jeff, i hesitated when the answer came to me. such craziness could only end badly for me.

despite my fears, i headed west toward argonia's ambulance barn. (it's a metal pole building. i don't know what else to call it.) it was rough going at first, but i was able to pick up the speed after i tucked in out of the wind.

i have never sweat so much in my life. i had streams of the stuff pouring off my body. at one point i felt water running on my leg and looked around for the source. it was perspiration coming off my elbow.

and so i rode for 30 minutes and got in another 9.96 miles. finished, i wiped the sweat off of my face and returned home. as i walked in the door i thought, "i am a man. i will hide these trainer baby miles. no one will know." and by the way, eric is crazy! (9.96 miles @ 19.9mph)

what would jeff do?

i woke up early this morning and looked out the window. snow was everywhere. we'd gotten somewhere around two to three inches overnight. it was beautiful.

i thought to myself, "what would jeff do? moser would go riding." so i bundled up and headed out the door. it only took a short ride up the high school to realize clipping in was a bad idea. i nearly fell several times. so i turned around and came back home to change shoes.

with more sensible footwear in place, i rolled down my driveway again. this time i headed west to main street and then turned south. i had in mind to ride the holden nature center loop several times. i got to the southernmost edge of argonia and turned west onto the dirt road that heads west toward holden's.

the going was pretty slow, but it was fun. i spun in a lower gear like i was riding on sand and most of the time i felt pretty steady. i still slipped this way and that a time or two, but the gravel kept me going mostly straight.

when i rounded the corner and started up the hill toward the center heading north, i was creeping along. then my rear tire spun out. i tried to keep my balance, but i spun out again and came to a stop. looking at what i had left of the climb and knowing i would keep spinning out if i tried to start up again, i turned around and headed back to town.

the trip back was slightly less pleasant than the way out. the wind was more in my face and the blowing snow kept hitting me in the eyes, blinding me temporarily.

obviously i made it home in one piece. didn't fall even once. "i have a beard. i am a man. i went for a ride in the snow." i will not ask myself ever again, "what would jeff do?" jeff is crazy! (4.53 miles @ 9.7mph)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

getting no where fast

pretty much a repeat of this morning's ride only longer, colder and faster. i had to stay behind the shelter belt east of town. the wind was too crazy, the wind chill even crazier. so i just rode back and forth again. the worst part of this is that every time i turned around i had to climb. the middle of the shelter belt is the crest of a small rise. you wouldn't think that would be a problem, but it makes for tired legs.

there's no snow falling from the sky yet. it was supposed to be accumulating by now, so here's hoping it misses us. they're getting pounded a few dozen miles south in oklahoma. talked with some friends on facebook who said they were getting freezing rain. yuck! i'm glad argonia is least for now.(30.11 miles @ 16.4mph)

Me and Peter Fonda...

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Geneology - Free genealogy search

Who knew? Peter Fonda and I are twins! Check out the morph that proves the least when compared to a really old photo of me.

among the funniest

i have arrived! i am up with janeen on the 'funniest cyclists' list on never thought i'd make it. special thanks go to evil dog and eric.

january 28 = may 30

i had one goal today: ride 20 miles. not a huge undertaking i'll admit. lance could ride that far while taking a nap. but 20 miles is what i needed to pass another milestone. i have now ridden more miles - with today's 22.33 miles - in january 2010 than i had ridden by may 30, 2009. just over 60 miles until i'm caught up with half of last year. maybe i'll make that by month's end. maybe not.

to get my miles in today, i had to ride back and forth, back and forth, back and forth along the shelter belt east of town. i stuck to repetitive passes up and down this two-mile stretch of road because every time i ventured out from behind the trees, i was nearly knocked off my bike by the bitterly cold northeast wind that's blowing today. rather than freeze to death - it was 22.5 degrees when i left, 22.6 when i got back - i hid from the wind. (22.33 miles @ 16.1mph)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Power to overcome fear...

“On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

“Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

“‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’”
(John 11:17-27, NIV)

I love how John let’s us see the progression of Martha’s faith. She’s upset about her circumstances. She didn’t want her brother to die. That’s why she sent word to Jesus. She knew Lazarus was beyond her help. She needed God.

So when Jesus shows up days late, she expresses her frustration, but also her hope. “If you had been here,” she begins. She knows Jesus’ presence makes a difference in the most difficult situations. She believes he could have healed her brother. Then she says, “…even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Her faith is still in God despite the less than ideal outcome of her prayer to Jesus. She believes God has the power to do whatever he pleases.

I wonder if at this point she even remembers the word Jesus had sent back with the messengers. “This sickness will not end in death.” It sure looks like it has. Lazarus is dead. He was buried four days ago. In Jewish culture at that time, it was believed that a person’s spirit stayed near the body for three days. Reuniting spirit with body in that three-day window would not have been half the miracle it was doing it after four. Someone four days gone was really gone. Only God could raise someone that gone.

But we’re getting just a bit ahead of ourselves. Jesus says to his frustrated follower,
“Your brother will rise again.”

She, of course, knows this. She’s heard about the resurrection since she was a child. God had promised a bodily resurrection through the prophet Daniel.

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake,” the prophet had said, “some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:2-3, NIV)

The resurrection was a given. “I know he will rise again,” she affirms in good Jewish girl fashion.

Then Jesus reveals himself. “I am the resurrection and the life.” That statement changes everything. The resurrection isn’t some far off event. The resurrection is a closer-than-close person. God’s Son is the resurrection. He is the life.

Jesus is still the resurrection and the life today. If you believe on Jesus, you have life. Even if you die, you live. Why? The resurrection and the life is in you. God’s Son, by his Spirit, is in you. You cannot die. You have the resurrection and the life.

Again we see that there is no reason to fear. Death cannot win. Life is on our side when we believe.

And Martha, bless her heart, she believes. Her affirmation of faith is so beautiful.
“You are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world.”

Why did Jesus come? We don’t have it here, but John’s already recorded the good news for us. When Jesus was talking with Nicodemus, he revealed this truth.

“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.” (John 3:16, NIV)

Jesus, sent to earth by God out of love, came that we might have life, eternal life. And he is that life. If you have Jesus, you have eternal life. You cannot die! Why are you afraid?

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16-18, NIV)

Put your faith in Jesus. Find peace in him. Do not fear. He is with you. No harm can come to you unless he allows it for your good and for his glory. If you die, he who is in you is the resurrection and the life. You will not die!

And just to prove that Jesus is who he says he is, let’s jump to the end of the story.

“Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ he said.

“‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.’

“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’

“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’

“The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’”
(John 11:38-44, NIV)

The resurrection and the life! That’s who Jesus is. And he is the one who watches over you day and night. The same power that raised Lazarus from the dead is being exerted to protect you. That power is in you by the Holy Spirit. Praise him! Live for him! Do not be afraid!

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one last beautiful day

had someone covering for me on ems and almost forgot. i got to mayfield and realized i was in trouble if i didn't book it home. rode hard and pulled into my driveway with 15 seconds to spare. that's what i call cutting it close. the medic who'd been on call for me drove by and waved while i was still in the garage.

the ride itself was beautiful. the sun came up from behind a bank of clouds to the east just as i was beginning my climb up antichrist hill. the wind was next to nothing. the sun felt good even if the temps were in the 30s. you couldn't ask for a better day in kansas.

it's too bad this is going to be the last day like this for a while. a winter storm is supposed to hit overnight, dumping ice and snow on us. the southern most counties (that would include mine) will be hit the hardest according to this morning's report. what am i going to do without a trainer?

i'm hoping i can get in at least 20 miles over the next few days. that will put me above the number of miles i got in the first five months of 2009! (25.56 miles @ 17.2mph)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No need to fear...

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’

“When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’

“‘But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?’

“Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.’

“After he had said this, he went on to tell them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.’

“His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’

“Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

“So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’

“Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”
(John 11:1-16, NIV)

Let’s make sure a couple of things are clear before we talk about anything else.

First, you have to know that Jesus loves Lazarus and his sisters. He cares deeply for them. He wants to help them and he does. He sends them an encouraging word: “This sickness will not end in death.”

Who wouldn’t want to hear that? And he adds that God’s going to get the glory for all that happens.

Jesus loves us the same and cares for us in a similar way. Any time you’re going through a difficult situation and a verse or passage of Scripture lifts your spirits, that’s Jesus. He’s expressing his deep passion for you and offering you his peace. He’s doing in you what is necessary to help you and to bring glory to your Father in heaven.

Second, we need to note that Jesus waits purposefully after he’s received the message from Mary and Martha. After John confirms Jesus’ great love for these sisters and for their brother, the apostle intentionally inserts the word “yet”.

“Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, [Jesus] stayed where he was two more days.”

Despite Jesus’ love or, dare we imagine it, because of Jesus’ love, he delays his answer to their desperate plea for help. You’ve experienced this “yet” in your life too. You’ve prayed to God with as much faith as you can muster and the answer is slow in coming. You wait, patiently at first, then less patiently. You keep praying. You keep seeking God’s mercy and there seems to be no change in your situation. Do you ever think in those circumstances that God is working on the answer that will bring him the most glory? I don’t always. Most of you probably don’t. We just wonder why God is letting our troubles go on so long.

The answer to that question is: he’s doing it for our good. He knows that we grow most during hard times. We are more dependent upon him then. We learn trust then and when he sees us through our trials he gets glory as we tell of his goodness.

If you aren’t concerned about God’s glory, but only about your own comfort and ease, this isn’t the answer you were looking for. But God’s glory matters. It matters more than my pleasure in life. When he is glorified, men are drawn to him and they receive eternal life. That’s more important than any discomfort I may endure.

Now that we’ve been assured of God’s love for us and of his Son’s desire to bring him glory, let’s talk about fear.

After two days have passed since the arrival of the sisters’ prayer, Jesus says, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

That’s where Jesus had just come from a few days earlier. While he was there, a crowd had tried twice, unsuccessfully to stone him to death. The story is in chapter 10. We won’t get into it much here, but I’ll say this much. Those who were ready to cast the first stone understood correctly Jesus’ claim to be God’s Son. That’s why they were ready to kill him. He was, in their eyes, a blasphemer, a man claiming equality with God.

The disciples remember this incident really well and they question Jesus’ sanity. “‘But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?’” They think he’s lost his marbles.

Then Jesus speaks some really profound words. “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?” he asks. “A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”

Kind of cryptic, but Jesus is saying something important. He is speaking to his fearful followers and saying, “If you are following me, you will be protected. As long as you’re doing my Father’s will, you have no reason to fear. It’s only when you ignore his direction or disobey his commands that you will stumble.”

Let me explain using a story from my own life. Almost every time I’ve been to Africa, there have been people in the church who have been concerned for my safety. The questions concerning safety were especially pointed when Susan and I were gearing up to take our kids with us in 2004. “Is it safe?” was the question some asked.

My response to those questions, which I understood to come from genuine love and concern, just as the disciples’ question to Jesus did, was this: “It is safer to be in Africa following God’s will for my life than to be in Argonia ignoring his direction.”

I believe those words with all my heart. God watches over and walks with his own. God gives his children comfort and encourages them when life is at its toughest and most dangerous.

That’s what Jesus is telling the twelve. “While you’re walking through this world, you’re not going to stumble beyond recovery as long as you walk in the light. Why fear men? They can’t harm you unless I allow them to and I will only allow what will cause you to grow. I will not permit something that will not, in the end, bring glory to the Father.”

Friends, you have nothing to fear! What’s the worst someone can do to you? Kill you? Then you’re with Jesus! So fear God and love Jesus and follow the Spirit’s leading. You cannot die until God says it’s your time to die.

Jesus walked away from those who were intent on stoning him. They could not harm him because he was doing his Father’s will and it was not his Father’s will at that time that he die. The same is true of you. No harm can befall you unless it is approved for your benefit – so that you can grow in your faith – by your loving Father.

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meeting new dogs

met some new dogs today. they were friendly. they just watched me ride by as they nosed around in the ditch. i waved and kept riding.

it was much less windy today, but the cold conspired against me. my legs were like lead on the way out. they did better on the way back. pushed hard for the last three or four miles and got my average up. (21.32 miles @ 16.7mph)

Monday, January 25, 2010

What do you fear most?

What do you fear most? Failure perhaps. Or rejection by friends. Many fear loss of a job or a home. Some are scared to death of death. What is it that causes your knees to knock together? What gets your heart thumping? What gives you sweaty palms?

Whatever your greatest fear is, aren’t there are times when it nearly paralyzes you? In some cases, that paralysis isn’t a big deal. Your family wants to visit the herpetarium at the zoo. Your fear of snakes makes your blood run cold and you miss out on a few minutes with your 3-year-old who giggles with her grandpa as she points at the “pretty” hooded cobra behind glass. A small loss in the long run.

But there are other times when your “freeze up” can be a major problem. You watch as your friends torment the geek in the hallway at school. You want to speak up for him, to tell them to stop, but you don’t. You’re afraid you’ll be ridiculed or rejected, so you remain silent and the harassment continues. The young man grows up and becomes your hard-to-please boss.

You sense God prompting you to pray with a hurting coworker. You want to, but company policy prohibits unsolicited religious expression. You don’t want to lose your job, so you pat her on the shoulder and walk away. You’ll just pray silently, you think as a tear slips down your cheek.

A Sunday School teacher starts spouting off false teaching. You know what he’s saying is bunk, but you don’t want to rock the boat so you just quietly slip away to another church. Your faith and doctrine are still intact, but a dozen biblically illiterate folks are led astray. They will spend eternity apart from God’s blessing because of this man’s teaching and your unwillingness to confront.

Fearful failure to act when courageous conduct is called for can have terrible, even eternal, consequences.

So what do you do when action is called for and fear strikes? Or maybe the better question is what can you do when action is called for and fear strikes?

The quick answer is trust God and move forward, but that’s easier said than done. I mean why should you trust God? Yeah, he made the universe and all that, but can he handle every difficulty you face? Does he even care enough to step in when you’re stressed about a situation?

The answer to both those questions is, I assure you, yes! He can handle your current troubles and any future problems that arise. And he does care enough to step in when fear grips your heart or mine. He always acts in his children’s best interest. He is doing what’s going to make you most like Jesus. That’s why sometimes he allows fearful situations to come our way. We grow most when life is hardest.

God is with you today. Trust him no matter what situation may arise. Pray when things are tough. Praise when God sees you through.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

parable of the lost bike

there was a man who owned a bicycle. he rode it nearly every day. he kept it clean and cared for it, because it was special to him.

one day he was out for a ride and the bicycle's rear tire flatted. it was an awful flat. no air remained in the tube. the man lovingly removed the offending wheel and prepared to fix the tire in the wilderness.

just then a kind samaritan came by and offered the man and his bike a ride to town in her subaru. the man was grateful for the kind gesture and accepted quickly, but when he went to place his bike in the back of the car, alas, it would not fit. he turned it this way and that, but the frame was just too big for the tiny car's cabin.

the samaritan suggested hiding the bike in the ditch until the man could return with a larger vehicle. the man thought about her idea and with some fear and trembling, agreed. he hid the bike in the tall grass in much the same way that miriam had hidden baby moses among the bullrushes. then the man left, promising to return.

the trip to town with the samaritan woman was a quick one. the return to the site of the flat even quicker. the man was anxious to have his bike back in his garage, anxious to fix her flat and get out riding again. the man pulled to the side of the road and sprung from his van. he ran to the ditch and began his search for the bike.

he did not see it. he walked up and down the ditch. it was not anywhere he looked. the man was frantic. he looked again, then returned to his car and drove the rest of the way up the hill he'd been climbing when he flatted. he scanned the ditch and the field as he rolled slowly along. not once did he catch a glimpse of the bike.

he returned to his home, angry and frustrated, tears streaming down his face. his bicycle had been stolen. he was sure of it. he called the sheriff's office. he called his friends.

"help me find my bike," he pleaded. "i think it has been stolen."

on facebook and dailymile the word went out. local friends and those far away suggested nasty ends to the man who would take such a precious possession from a man who just wanted to ride.

the man responded to many of the comments, but wasn't satisfied sitting still waiting for the long arm of the law to catch the thief. he had to do something. so he jumped in his van and returned to the hill where he'd left his bike.

when he arrived the samaritan's subaru was driving slowly up the same hill. as he stepped from his van into the ditch once more, her car circled around and headed back toward him. he was just a few yards away from his car when she stopped on the road beside him.

"i've found your bike!" she shouted. "it's further up the road!"

the man was beside himself with joy. he ran back to his vehicle and slammed it into gear. he followed the slow moving subaru closer and closer to the summit of the climb and then he saw the most beautiful sight - shiny metal in the grass. he braked quickly and dashed up the steep ditch to the bike that was lost, but now was found. he lifted it up and brushed off the weeds that clung to it. then he joyfully carried it back to his car and drove it back to his home. there he called all his friends and updated his status on facebook and wrote a note on dailymile.

"celebrate with me," he said. "my 'stolen' bike has been found!'"

i tell you. as much rejoicing as there was over the lost bike that was found, there is more rejoicing among the angels in heaven over one lost sinner who repents.

have a great sunday worshiping the one who searches for all the lost! the man and his bike are going to rest.

wind advisory in effect

i woke up to a wind advisory flashing at in my computer task bar. what does that mean? in the weather service's own words: "winds of 25 to 35mph with gusts to 45mph will occur." the advisory is in effect from 9:00 this morning until 6:00 tonight. i decided an early morning (before 9:00) ride was in order. i called and got someone to cover for me on ems for an hour and a half, dressed quickly and got on the road by 7:20. i rode out ten miles at 13.9mph. turned around and raced back. i got back to town earlier than i expected, so i added two miles by riding north on argonia road for a mile and then heading home. and that's about it for today. got to get to work. (22.01 miles @ 16.1mph)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The parable of the lost bike...

There was a man who owned a bicycle. He rode it nearly every day. He kept it clean and cared for it, because it was special to him.

One day he was out for a ride and the bicycle's rear tire flatted. It was an awful flat. No air remained in the tube. The man lovingly removed the offending wheel and prepared to fix the tire in the wilderness.

Just then a kind Samaritan came by and offered the man and his bike a ride to town in her Subaru. The man was grateful for the kind gesture and accepted quickly, but when he went to place his bike in the back of the car, alas, it would not fit. He turned it this way and that, but the frame was just too big for the tiny car's cabin.

The Samaritan suggested hiding the bike in the ditch until the man could return with a larger vehicle. The man thought about her idea and with some fear and trembling, agreed. He hid the bike in the tall grass in much the same way that Miriam had hidden baby Moses among the bullrushes. Then the man left, promising to return.

The trip to town with the Samaritan woman was a quick one. The return to the site of the flat even quicker. The man was anxious to have his bike back in his garage, anxious to fix her flat and get out riding again. The man pulled to the side of the road and sprung from his van. He ran to the ditch and began his search for the bike.

He did not see it. He walked up and down the ditch. It was not anywhere he looked. the man was frantic. He looked again, then returned to his car and drove the rest of the way up the hill he'd been climbing when he flatted. He scanned the ditch and the field as he rolled slowly along. not once did he catch a glimpse of the bike.

He returned to his home, angry and frustrated, tears streaming down his face. His bicycle had been stolen. He was sure of it. He called the sheriff's office. He called his friends.

"Help me find my bike," he pleaded. "I think it has been stolen."

On Facebook and DailyMile the word went out. Local friends and those far away suggested nasty ends to the man or woman who would take such a precious possession from a man who just wanted to ride.

The man responded to many of the comments, but wasn't satisfied sitting still waiting for the long arm of the law to catch the thief. He had to do something. So he jumped in his van and returned to the hill where he'd left his bike.

When he arrived the Samaritan's Subaru was driving slowly up the same hill. As he stepped from his van into the ditch once more, her car circled around and headed back toward him. He was just a few yards away from his car when she stopped on the road beside him.

"I've found your bike!" she shouted. "It's further up the road!"

The man was beside himself with joy. He ran back to his vehicle and slammed it into gear. He followed the slow moving Subaru closer and closer to the summit of the climb and then he saw the most beautiful sight - shiny metal in the grass. He braked quickly and dashed up the steep ditch to the bike that was lost, but now was found. He lifted it up and brushed off the weeds that clung to it. Then he joyfully carried it back to his car and drove it back to his home. There he called all his friends and updated his status on Facebook and wrote a note on DailyMile.

"Celebrate with me," he said. "My 'stolen' bike has been found!'"

I tell you. As much rejoicing as there was over the lost bike that was found, there is more rejoicing among the angels in heaven over one lost sinner who repents.

Have a great Sunday worshiping the one who searched for us and found us when we were lost! The man and his bike are going to rest.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

not my day

as far as biking was concerned, today was not my day. it started out alright. i woke around 7:20. a quick peek outside revealed a cloudless morning. my weatherbug said it was 44 degrees and a bit windy. this is kansas after all. it's windy all the time. so i geared up for what i thought was going to be a half century on the anthony-harper loop.

i got out the door before 8:00 and headed south. i figured i'd get the headwind out of the way early in the ride, so i could enjoy the tailwind later. i rode out of town and over the chikaskia river bridges. soon i was climbing tracy hill. just before reaching the top of the hill, i felt that sickening thump, thump, thump that signals a flat. i stopped quickly and pushed on the rear tire. it was flatter than flat. i pulled out my spare tube and was about to begin the painful process of changing it out when a friend, a lady from my church, pulled up. she was on her way to town and wondered if i'd like a lift.

since i much prefer changing flats in the garage, i took her up on the offer. i popped the front wheel off the bike and tried to load the frame into the car. a trek 2.1 does not fit in the back seat of a subaru. i tried, but it wouldn't go. so we decided to hide the bike in the ditch. we tried one spot, but it was too obvious, so we moved it higher up over the lip of the ditch into the wheat field beyond. there was a bit of tall grass there and the bike was visible only from a few spots and then only if you were looking for it. satisfied that it would be there when i returned, i jumped in for the ride to town.

after i was dropped off at the house, i immediately started up our van and made the four-mile journey back to my bike. when i got to where i thought it was, i stopped and climbed up into the field. it wasn't right there, so i walked the ditch in both directions. no bike! i felt panic rising in my heart. could someone have stolen it?

i searched high and low. still no bike. so i returned to my van and drove to the top of the hill scanning the ditch and field the entire way. i did not see my bike. i snapped open my cell phone and called home. "has anyone stopped by with my bike?" i asked when my wife answered.

"no," she said.

"then i think it's been stolen," i said.

"no way!"

"it's not here."

so i drove back to town quickly and called 911. the kind dispatcher at the other end took down my info and promised a deputy would get in contact with me. i thought someone would come by in a car, so i ran to the convenience store to ask the clerk there to be on the look out for my bike. you never know, i thought, a bike thief might make a quick stop for some chips or a candy bar. that done, i returned home.

turns out, sheriff's deputies don't drop in. they call. i'd missed the call. so i dialed 911 again and told the still kind dispatcher that i was back and ready for a call. while i was awaiting the call back, i used my cell phone to call the farmers who lived near where i'd left my bike. three calls later - one went to the answering machine - i was still empty handed.

then the sumner county deputy rang. we talked for awhile. i gave him a detailed description of the bike - color, make, quirky things only i would know and the all important serial number. after giving my name, address, phone and driver's license numbers to the officer, we hung up. i made a quick call to the friend who'd picked me up. i'd given her name to the deputy and i didn't want her to get a call from the sheriff's office without a heads up. she was pretty shook up when she we hung up. her son-in-law is an avid cyclist too. she knew how much riding meant to someone like me.

i called 911 again. could they please make sure argonia's chief knew about this? i wanted all my bases covered. they assured me she would be notified.

i was restless after i hung up, so i decided to go out and look again. in a few short minutes later, i was approaching tracy hill from the north. at the top i saw a car driving slowly along the road. i wondered if they'd seen something, but was sure they were too far up the road. i stopped again where i knew i'd left the bike and began walking through the tall weeds. the car at the hilltop turned around and headed my way. as the car approached i recognized the subaru. it was my friend again. she'd been so upset that she'd decided to go out and look herself. she told me she'd found the bike.

"really?!?!" i asked. "where?"

"up toward the top of the hill. i'll show you."

so she turned around while i ran back to my car. i couldn't believe it. i'd driven all the way to the top of the hill earlier and seen nothing. i followed the silver subaru slowly past where i'd looked before. i hadn't thought i'd been this far along the road when i flatted. then, there it was. the glint of chrome in the grass. i stopped and ran to my bike. i pulled it out of the weeds and walked it to the back of my van. my friend turned around and drove back to me.

"i missed it that time," she said. (it was really well hidden.) we said our goodbyes and i turned back toward argonia.

back in town, i immediately called 911 to report the recovery of "stolen" property. i explained that a friend had found it and i had it back. they thanked me for calling back (fourth time) and the line went dead. i made a few more calls. i had to let the farmers i'd called earlier know that they didn't need to look any further for the bike.

the calling done, i headed to the garage. i had a flat to fix. i coaxed the tire off the rim and replaced the flattened tube with a new one. i was anxious to get out on the road again, so i aired it up and slipped it back into the dropouts, spun the tire to make sure it was secure and straight and headed out on the highway. three miles later, i had another flat. (did i mention this was not my day?)

i dug my cell phone out of my coat pocket and called home. my very patient wife promised to come get me as soon as she was done ironing her shirt. she did actually come get me. i loaded my bike up again and we returned home.

any sane person would have, at this point, given up. not me. i'm not sane. i tore into the rear wheel again and, this time, checked it over very carefully. something had to be causing the tire to blow. a few seconds into the search, i found the culprit. a very small, very thin, very sharp piece of metal wire was stuck in the tire. i took the tire in the house and removed the offending object with tweezers from the bathroom, then returned to the garage. i finished the repair and once again wheeled the bike down the driveway.

the craziness was over. or so i thought. i rode to harper and back, a considerably shorter distance than i had planned earlier in the day, but with the two shorter rides, it added up to a decent distance for the day, 39.32 miles. the wind was again a factor, so my speed was just 15.5mph.

when i pulled into the garage at the end of ride, i let out a big sigh of relief. i'd made it back in one piece and evil dog had not seen me going either way. (i was sure he'd see me with the way things had been going.)

i recorded my miles in my log, reported briefly on my ride and went to take a shower. that's when the last bit of pain was administered. reaching down to pull of my left shoe cover, my finger pressed itself into a very sharp sticker when i'd picked up sometime earlier in the day. it hurt like the dickens! i shook it off and finished undressing. then i realized i hadn't picked up the sticker. i searched for it and when i found it moved it to the trash can. i figured if i hadn't done that i'd have embedded it in my foot after i stepped out of the shower.

so there you have it. i flatted twice and "stole" my own bike today. i hope monday's ride is much more uneventful. (39.32 miles @ 15.5mph)

Friday, January 22, 2010

double cross

i finished up all my work early again, so i decided to take a long cross-county ride. i began with the wind at my back riding toward the harper county line three miles to the west. this was the section that i was too tired to finish off the last time i tried to cross sumner county twice, so i got it out of the way first. it was easy going out. impossible coming back. i was quickly too warm in all my layers. so i stopped off at the house and got rid of my thermal tights and my base layer shirt. i took off my skull cap too, but brought it and my glove liners with me just in case.

my layers more appropriate for the near 50 degree trip, i headed back out. i'd be lying if i said i enjoyed the trek east. it was awful. the 15-20mph winds were out of the southeast. they were gusty and strong. i had to fight to keep moving forward and to stay out of traffic. when i got to the beginning of the nine miles of no shoulder highway, i was a bit nervous. people are not always kind to cyclists who are in their way.

i made it to oxford and on past to the cowley county line before 3:30pm, averaging 13.4mph. i turned around and immediately blessed the wind. i was up to 20mph right away and stayed near that speed the rest of the journey home. the only time i dipped below my average the entire way back to argonia was on the final hill before the turnpike outside of wellington. i was dropped into the 14s and once into the 13s on that one.

i got home by 5:30pm and showered quickly. the boys, i discovered, were playing basketball. all cleaned up, i headed up to the gym with my kids. ended up playing with the pep band. that was really fun. the boys won! the girls play in the championship game of the tournament tomorrow night in arkansas city. the whole family will be there screaming for the team.

so...i rode 75.47 miles, from one end of sumner county to the other and back, in just under five hours. (four hours and fifty minutes, to be exact.) pretty slow unless you factor in the wind. 15.6mph isn't bad when the wind kills every effort to speed up on the way out. thankful for the tailwind on the way back. my legs were hurting, so the rest was welcome. barely had enough gatorade. i'm over 400 miles ahead of last year!

okay, i'll stop now. not much else to say. (75.47 miles @ 15.6mph)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

mission accomplished

it was about 12 degrees cooler at noon than the weather man had predicted for today, so i was out on my bike with temps in the 30s again. the ride out was slow. i was pushing as hard as my frozen, fur-laden legs could push and i could only muster a 14.6mph average.

the ride back was much more fun. i was quickly up to 20mph and stayed at or above that for the majority of the return journey. i got my average back up to 17mph by ride's end. good enough for a cold day ride. (by the way, i figured out the average temp for my rides so far this year. it's all the way up to 37.25 degrees.)

the major accomplishment of the day was reaching my goal for the month. i have now ridden as far (plus a mile) as i did in the first four months of 2009. my mileage for 2010 at the end of this ride was 436.12. last year at the end of april i had 435.95 miles. 2010 is going to be a better year. now if i can just catch eric! (21.80 miles @ 17.0mph)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

night cap

no, i've not taken up drinking. i have taken up riding whenever i can. i went out after supper for another 6.35 mile sprint. i'm slowly eating into eric's lead. every mile counts when you're behind. for that matter, i suppose every mile counts when you're ahead too. duh!

so now i need to shower and get to a meeting in less than 20 minutes! (6.35 miles @ 17.8mph)

good afternoon

i had time for a short ride this afternoon. it was a balmy 45 degrees and my legs felt great from the get go. i took off to the west hoping that my new neighbor, wil, had taken a long ride at 2:00 and i would find him coming home. i rode out to the far edge of danville without meeting up with him, so i turned around and headed back toward argonia.

the wind was in my face on the way back. i had noticed that before i left, but if i wanted to see wil, i had to go west. the wind wasn't too bad, though, so i maintained a speed around 17 or 18mph the whole way back.

when i got to town, i rode straight on through. i wanted to see if i could add enough miles to get back some of the miles eric's added this week. he's been riding tons of trainer baby miles, so he has built up a bit of a lead in our "eric vs. mike" challenge. i was behind by 43 miles after this morning's ride and he was hoping to ride more this afternoon too. i hate to give him too much slack, so on i rode. i sped down part of mock hill and then turned for a sprint home. i was over 20mph most of the three miles back home. i was over that speed many times.

so by supper time i had 43 miles (total) under my belt. eric rode a few miles this afternoon, but i did a little catching up. yahoo! (21.72 miles @ 18.6mph)

Let it drop...

“The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.” (1 Corinthians 6:7-8, NIV)

Paul says two very pointed things here. First he says that when believers take each other to court it is a sign that the church is in trouble. There are no wise people able to bring about reconciliation. There is no love between brothers that seeks peace rather than personal vindication.

Second he says that sometimes the best way to handle a situation is to let the matter drop. Even if you lose in the short term, forgive your brother and go on. Some things aren’t worth the argument. Release your brother from his debt to you and let God deal with him in his time.

That’s a hard path to take. Everything within us rebels against it. But it is more often than we imagine the best path.

Two verses from the book of Proverbs show us the way.

Proverbs 17:9, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” (NIV)

Promote love by overlooking an offense or by going to your brother privately. Do not speak of your troubles to another until you’ve exhausted every effort to find peace one-on-one.

Proverbs 19:11, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (NIV)

Do take any fellow believer to court. Do not rush to take your differences to the church. Be patient and if God gives you the strength and the wisdom to do so, drop the matter even if you’re in the right.

Do you agree that these are the things God’s word promotes? Then live by them. Seek peace and pursue it.

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the sun came out

there is a sun! and it is shining in argonia, kansas. after days and days of dense fog, it was a wonderful treat to ride in the early morning light. the shadows cast across the road by stands of trees were amazing. the vista from clearview's peak was not drab and brown. a great day to be alive and riding!

on a more somber note: i found out that there is a dog that likes to chase cyclists on parallel road. a giant german shepherd spotted me and the race was on. a blew him away! (21.33 miles @ 16.5mph)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

rider in the mist

misty, foggy day. i took my snap on fender off my mountain bike and put it on my road bike and headed south. it was pretty slow going on the way out. the wind was more out of the south than the east. the weatherbug was wrong! anyway, i had a great time. the moisture kept me cool and the fog in the distance kind of made everything seem a bit surreal. it was cool!

the ride home was a blast. i love tailwinds. i was over 20mph most of the way back to town. over 30mph down tracy hill. no paparazzi today asking me what hill i was on. lol! (17.10 miles @ 17.5mph)

Which hill are you riding?

So I'm out on my bike just a few hours after I posted "The Hills Have Names" on YouTube and Facebook and less than a mile from town and a white van pulls up along side me, windows down. "Hey, Mike!" the driver yells. "Which hill are you riding?" I wasn't even on a hill. I thought the whole thing was pretty funny though! Word travels fast in a small town. I had several people comment on the movie at the basketball game last night, too. One guy told me that when they first moved to town years ago, they used to drive to Danville to cross the overpass just to see a hill!

God's peace plan...

In Matthew 18:15-22, we find Jesus talking with his disciples about working things out. Reconciliation is certainly the goal that Jesus has in mind when he speaks here.

“‘If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

“‘I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

“‘Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.’

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’

“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

When you read Jesus’ words, you can see that Paul is closely following his Master’s word on the matter when he writes to the church in 1 Corinthians 6. Jesus says to take disputes to the church. It’s the second stage in the process of peacemaking that he lays out. You see that there in verse 16, don’t you?

The first stage, the one that Paul doesn’t mention in his letter to the church in Corinth, at least not explicitly, is the private, no-one-else-allowed meeting between you and your brother. This is where the majority of disputes should end. There is no need for two Christ-followers to be so worked up about something that they can’t find peace on their own – on their own with God’s help, that is. The Holy Spirit inside both of them ought to win the day and restore their oneness through confession and forgiveness.

What did Jesus say in response to Peter’s question about how many times he should forgive his brother? Peter suggested it would be generous to forgive up to seven times. Jesus said, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22, NIV)

At another time Jesus made it even tougher. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4, NIV)

If we all took reconciliation seriously, our one-on-one conferences about sin and offense would be the end of every matter. We would always repent. We would always forgive. We would always find peace.

But we don’t always do what’s right. That’s why Jesus offers his direction for the next stage of peacemaking – take it to the church. Why do this? Jesus says we take things to the church so that every matter can be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Jesus is creating a safe place for both parties. With others to witness their discussion you and your sister don’t have to fear false accusations or later misrepresentations of what either of you have said. You also have wise, Spirit-filled men and or women to help find a solution. That’s still the goal remember. The aim is not to be proven right, but to be at peace.

Anyone willing to argue that this isn’t a good plan? I’m so grateful to God that his shown us the way. I’m even more grateful that most conflicts can be ended either by a conversation between two friends or by a small group of believers gathered to work things out. I’m grateful for that, because the third step in the process Jesus lays out is awful.

When a man or woman refuses to listen to the godly counsel of other believers, leaders in the church, Jesus basically says, “They aren’t one of you. A believer would repent. So treat those who refuse to repent as if they have no faith at all.”

And how do you treat a “pagan or a tax collector”? You pray for them. You love them. You serve them. You tell them the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus.

This isn’t a hateful thing. Reconciliation is still the aim. Reconciliation with God and with Jesus whom the unrepentant sinner has refused by ignoring the correction of the body of Christ, the church.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

riding the named hills

inspired by the completion of my "the hills have names" movie, i decided to ride east and take in five of the hills i've named. before i even got out of town, a van pulled up next to me, windows down. the driver, a pastor at one of the churches in argonia, yells at me, "hey, mike! what's the name of this hill?" he'd seen the video on facebook. i had to laugh.

i spent the rest of the ride cruising along at a pretty decent clip, "writing" the words to a song i'm working on for a very special music video dedicated to eric m. it's going to be great!

other than that, the ride was uneventful. (20.12 miles @ 17.1mph)

When you are victimized...

A few years back, my wife and I were put in a rather difficult situation when the insurance trust we were a part of collapsed because of fraud just after we found out Susan was pregnant with our youngest.

You understand, don’t you, that there isn’t an insurance company in the world who will offer coverage to an expectant mother. They won’t cover her husband either, because if they did, they’d have to pay out on the baby after it was born. So we were suddenly without the safety net we had come to trust. We had to scramble to make sure the medical expenses we knew we would incur over the next nine months would not put us in the poor house.

Thankfully, we were able to enroll in a State of Indiana program that covered us for this time period and a little beyond. It was expensive, very expensive, but it was definitely better than nothing. The way things turned out in the end, we are extremely grateful that this option was available to us.

Our daughter’s pre-natal care and delivery were anything, but normal. She wasn’t growing in utero. She had to be induced early. Her lungs were not fully developed when she was delivered, so she was transported 80 miles to a children’s hospital in Indianapolis. She spent eight days in neo-natal intensive care there before we could bring her home.

If you’ve ever received a hospital bill in the mail, you know this kind of care wasn’t cheap. Tens of thousands of dollars were billed to us. If we wouldn’t have been under the state plan, we’d have had to file for bankruptcy.

Now I have a confession to make. I was really angry with the guy who put us in this bind. I was angry for a long time. He had added undue stress to our lives. He had created a situation we shouldn’t have had to face. And he was a church man, a member of the same denomination I belong to! My grandparents, my dad’s mom and dad, had known his family for years. I’d heard his last name all my life. It had always been spoken kindly. Now I wanted to spit nails whenever I heard it.

I have forgiven this man. Every once in awhile I wish I could talk with him and tell him what he put me and my family through, but I have no animosity at all toward him any more. I’m thankful for that. It is to God’s credit that he rescued me from the bitterness that could’ve destroyed my heart.

Perhaps some of you, as I was telling my story, thought of a similar narrative that played itself out in your own life. I’m sure I’m not the only person to have had fraud perpetrated against them, to have been robbed of peace of mind, to have been wronged in some way.

Maybe a neighbor stole something from your farm or your business. Maybe a friend’s unkind and untrue words damaged your reputation. Maybe a family member cheated you out of your rightful inheritance. I don’t know what you’ve faced in the past, nor what you may be facing now. Maybe my story has set you to seething about a current event. Maybe you want to jump up out of your seat and go set that cheat straight right now. Maybe you’ve been thinking about suing her socks off.

Before you do anything rash, let me talk to you about what God asks you and me to do in response to being aggrieved or victimized.

Paul has something to say about his matter at the beginning of the sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians. He’s been talking in chapter five about a pretty crazy situation in the church and reprimanding the church for not dealing with it properly. They’ve been ignoring sin and Paul tells them to get with it and judge rightly. In that context, Paul says this about lawsuits among believers.

“If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

“Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another – and this in front of unbelievers!”
(1 Corinthians 6:1-6, NIV)

Can we start with what’s really clear here? If I have a problem with a fellow believer, I am not allowed by God to take him to public court. A civil lawsuit among brothers is not an option. It is not right.

“But what if the other guy doesn’t make things right?” you ask. We’ll talk about that in another post. For now, all we can say is that lawsuits are out of order in the church.

Why are they out of order? Because people filled with the Spirit of God are competent to judge such matters. Why take matters to a pagan magistrate who may or may not have the Holy Spirit in him? Will he come to the right conclusion? Will you find resolution?

It is possible that a godless judge could execute justice, but then what good would that do? When his ruling is handed down, you and your brother are not reconciled. You are simply even and even is such a puny goal. Why aim so low? You can have peace if you will listen to God. You can enjoy a restored relationship if you will trust the church to help you work out your differences.

Look around you the next time you’re at church. There are some wise and godly people who worship with you, aren’t there? I would trust any number of the people I go to church with to help me work things out with a friend who’s done me wrong. In fact, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t trust every believer there to help me end a dispute.

What about you? Do you believe that another follower of Jesus is the better choice to go to when you hit a rough spot in a relationship? If not, perhaps you need to ask God to teach you to trust his Spirit’s ability to work in and through those children of his who around you. You know he can work in and through you. Why not extend that assumption to your brother or sister in Christ? Are they less filled with the Holy Spirit than you? Be careful lest your arrogance lead you to folly.

Even those men of little account in the church – not sure how Paul would define that – are able to make right judgments if they are trusting God to guide their decisions. You will get a better resolution if you seek the least of your brothers than you will in any court room anywhere in the land.

In no way am I demeaning the justice system or the fine people who serve as judges, but this is the truth. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a godly person listening to my case and to my opponent’s, than to have any unrepentant man or woman judging between us.

So we’ve concluded so far that when disputes arise, God’s plan is for reconciliation and judgment to take place in house. This allows for his Spirit to bring glory to God through the peace that follows. Resolution is what we’re after, right? Whether you’re the offended or the offender that ought to be your aim. It is God’s goal. So go after peace. Seek it with all you’ve got. Aim to end matters quickly.

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The hills have names...

Some doubt the existence of hills in Kansas. The prairie lands that dominate vast portions of the state lead them to this mistaken belief. Hills do exist in Kansas and Mike Neifert, a cyclist who rides the hills near Argonia, has done the unimaginable. He has bestowed honor on every incline within ten miles of his home. He has spoken and the hills have names.

the hills have names

some doubt the existence of hills in kansas. the prairie lands that dominate vast portions of the state lead them to this mistaken belief. hills do exist in kansas and mike neifert, a cyclist who rides the hills near argonia, has done the unimaginable. he has bestowed honor on every incline within ten miles of his home. he has spoken and the hills have names.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

much warmer

today was much better. the temps were above 40 for once. my legs felt better and i even had to unzip my jacket on the way out to keep cool. rode to harper (ks) and back before the boy's basketball game. eric's lucky i didn't have more time. i really wanted to ride further, but my wife's honey do list was long this morning and i didn't get out until 1:30. pretty decent average for this time of year. (30.09 miles @ 17.6mph)

Friday, January 15, 2010

long cold journey

today's ride was by a few miles the longest cold weather ride i've ever taken. second place goes to december's 44 miles at 31 degrees. today i rode just over 54 at 36 degrees. it was mentally tough to keep going at times. i wanted to be warm. i really wanted to stop short of 50 miles, but i pushed past my street and kept going for another five plus miles.

i think i know now why trainer babies ride indoors. riding outdoors in weather like this hurts! i will thaw sooner or later though and i have the satisfaction of riding far enough that eric will be in tears. (54.66 miles @ 16.4mph)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

clear lens day

it was overcast today, so i got to try out my new changeable lens glasses. they worked great. kept the wind out of my eyes and helped me see more clearly. tried my new gloves too. they were perfect for the 40 degree temps. kept the wind off and my fingers warm. not much of interest on today's ride. didn't have a lot of time. just had to get something in so i don't fall too far behind eric. i did end with a respectable 18.1mph average. the best of the year. (20.05 miles @ 18.1mph)

fear rap

eric convinces mike to give rapping a try. when mike cannot come up with a suitable topic, eric suggests they confess their fears while "gettin' jiggie wid it." mike has a bit of trouble getting things straight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

windy and warm

the wind was kind of tricky today. it was definitely out of the south. no questions about that. i had to fight to first to stay out of the ditch then to stay out of the road. but as to whether it was a southeast or southwest wind, i have no idea. both ways felt about the same. thankfully, it was a warm 51 degrees! hopefully my mileage is enough to get ahead of eric and stay there for a day or two. just for info's sake, i have more miles today than i had on march 4, 2009. i'm over half way to my goal for the month. (31.10 miles @ 16.9mph)

All will be saved?

I read a book this past month that, had it not been co-authored by the pastor of a Friends church, I probably would’ve ignored. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have even crossed my desk if that were not the case.

The book, If Grace Is True, suggests that everyone will be saved in the end. It argues for the false belief that no one is going to hell, that a God who is love could not send anyone to a place of eternal torment. The writer then offers an alternative to what the Bible clearly teaches. People who refuse God’s offer of love in this life will be punished for a time, but not forever. They will be given opportunity to repent after death. Hitler will be in heaven eventually along with the Jews he gassed. Everyone of every religion will be admitted as well. Gandhi and all Hindus will be in heaven along with all Muslims, Buddhists, etc. Even atheists will be given a place at God’s table. When the authors of If Grace Is True say every person will be saved, they mean every person.

The problem with this message is that it contradicts God’s message given to us in the Bible. It ignores Jesus’ words. And Paul’s. And Peter’s. Taken as a whole, the message of God’s Word is that we are sinners who, without God’s loving help, will be condemned for our sins. An important part of the Bible’s message is that God loved the world enough to send his Son to die in our place. His sacrifice on the cross paid the penalty for our sinful nature. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him.

If Grace Is True’s authors offer teaching that belittles Jesus, makes him a mere man who lived as an example for us. They quote Scripture, but often stop just before whomever they are citing says just the opposite of what they want to prove.

False teachers abound in this world. Beware of those who teach with words that make the cross less important and our Savior less necessary.

“Whoever believes in [God’s Son] 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.” (John 3:18, NIV)

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God bless his church...

“It was he” – Jesus that is – “who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV)

There’s that word fullness again at the very end of the sentence – word number seventy. With words sixty-nine, seventy-one and seventy-two we have “the fullness of Christ.” I hope that phrase sounds vaguely familiar. The fullness in every sentence we’ve look at this week has been the same.

In chapter one, it was the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Who is that? God.

In chapter three, it was the fullness of God we were to be filled with.

In this passage, who is Christ? He is God. As I said, the fullness throughout this book and each of our sentences has been the same. It is the fullness of God that Paul wants his hearers, us included, to be filled with.

So what does Paul say here about the path the church must take if all its members are to reach maturity, to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ? It is must follow the path of allowing Holy Spirit gifted leaders to lead. It must walk along the path of appointing wise and godly teachers to teach. It must.

Why? Because that is God’s path. He has appointed some in the church to prepare their brothers and sisters for works of service. The good results of proper preparation of the saints for the work of God are many.

First, the church will be built up. That is, it will be encouraged by the blessings received when one benefits another through the use of God-given spiritual gifts.

Then the church will reach unity in the faith. That is, the followers of Jesus in any particular town will love each other and work together.

At the same time, the church will reach unity in the knowledge of the Son of God. That is, the believers will acknowledge in worship their common Lord.

Finally, Paul says the church will reach maturity and attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. That is, the people of God will live and look and talk and love more like His Son.

I want you to understand something. My deepest desire is for those I minister to, those I teach, to grow in your faith. I want you to become more and more like Jesus. I want you to serve each other in love so that your actions reflect his love for the world. I want you to serve each other so that, working together, we may be one. I want these things for you and for me because they are the things God wants for us.

I know that this is what God wants, because God’s Son prayed for these things and his words are recorded for us in John 17. The end of his prayer is for those who would believe because of his disciples’ preaching. We’re a long way down the line, but that’s us. We are believers because of the faithful teaching of Jesus’ disciples throughout the centuries.

Hear to your Savior’s heart for the church as we listen in to his prayer for us.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
(John 17:20-26, NIV)

May God do in us all Jesus has asked of him on our behalf. May we grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God. May we become a mature, unified, Spirit-empowered, others-serving church that has and shows the fullness we have in Christ.

God bless his church!

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film's release delayed

technical difficulties on xtranormal's site have pushed the release of the next "eric and mike" video back a couple of days. i had to retype the entire dialogue again this morning. it is saved now. i will post the video after i add the actions back in and fix a few glitches. the two kansas riders are going to dance in this one!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

stealth reporting

eric m is a sneaky man. yesterday he waited until after i had posted my mileage before planning his ride for the day. he rode 1/100th of mile further than me. so today, i'm going to trick him. i'm not posting this workout on on until after i'm home from the basketball games at the high school tonight. by then it will be too late for him to tailor his ride to beat mine unless he stays up really late. (i am much sneakier than he is!)

so how did my ride go? it was a good one. rode harder than usual and ended with a respectable 17.6mph average over 26.07 miles. the wind was from the southeast, but didn't really hamper a hard hammer fest going either direction. i was riding at 17.1mph on the way out. the worst part of the ride was the little stretch of road where they are working on the drainage ditch next the road to mayfield. there were clumps of dried mud all over the place on the shoulder. it was a bit bumpy for awhile.

temperature wise, today wasn't quite as nice as yesterday. it was supposed to be near 40 by noon, but the freezing fog hung around longer than predicted preventing much warming. it was only 29 when i left and 35 when i got back. (26.07 miles @ 17.6mph)

Grasping God's love...

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV)

I love Paul. He packs a so much into every sentence he writes. This fifty-six word prayer is full of good stuff.

What is his desire for the saints? That they will be rooted and established in love. That at the very core of their being – as a church – there will be nothing but the love of God. The love of God at the heart of every gathering and love feast. The love of God in the reaching and ministering hands of Jesus. The love of God pouring forth from mouths in fervent, passionate prayer. The love of God guiding the teaching and preaching of the elders in Ephesus.

Every church, every gathering of saints, must have love at its core. And let me up the ante. I don’t think I’m going to far when I say that the church is either rooted and established in love or it is not the church.

Listen to what John wrote concerning this matter in his first letter to the church. John agrees with Paul saying, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7, NIV)

A few verses later there’s this: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

And finally, John says, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, NIV)

“And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:21, NIV)

You and I are rooted in God’s love. We are established in his love. We are his church.

Paul prays about the roots of the church, love, then he asks God to help every saint, together “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

He wants the church to understand how amazing and expansive God’s love really is. I would venture to say that even if we put all of our ideas of God’s love together into one pot we would still have plenty of room left to pour in more ideas. God’s love is far greater than you or I will ever know in this life. It is, as Paul said, a love that “surpasses knowledge.” It is beyond us to comprehend God’s love, but we ought to try to know as much of it as we can.

Reading words about his love helps.

Romans 8:38-39, “…I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)

Psalm 103:8-12, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (NIV)

1 John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (NIV)

Can you sense God’s Spirit using those words to help you grasp how large, how infinite is his love? If not, grab your Bible, turn to the concordance and start reading every reference to our Father’s love. Read until the joy of your salvation, purchased by Jesus who loved you enough to die in your place, returns. Read until you know this love that surpasses knowledge. Read until you know it in your own heart and know it is real and it is directed toward you.

Being rooted and established in love. Grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Knowing his love that surpasses knowledge – that is how you and I together can “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” When you grasp a little more of God’s love, it changes you and you love me better. When I know more of His surpassing love, it changes me and I love you more like he loves. When we are together then, we are filled up more with God’s love, with God himself really, because God is love.

I urge you once more. Go after God’s love. Try to grasp how wide it is! And how long! And how high! And how deep!

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Trash talking online...

A few days ago, my friend Eric Mason and I started a video trash talking war on (Okay, I started it. But he joined in quickly enough.) Anway, rather than keep our non-DM friends in the dark concerning this feud, we decided to move it to a blog everyone could enjoy. If you're up for a good laugh and some "mean-spirited" banter, head over to The Kansas Riders blog and watch the most recent episodes created by me and Eric on

Monday, January 11, 2010

warmer weather

went to work early this morning so i could ride a little longer at noon. glad i did. it was in the 40s by 11:30 when i left. a beautiful kansas day. not a cloud in the sky. a light northeast wind at 7mph. bliss!

i left the house feeling good. rode pretty hard for the first few miles then leveled off a bit. at the six mile mark, i had to stop and take off layers. i was too warm. after i shed a jacket and changed gloves, i rode on to mayfield road before turning to come back.

the ride back was awesome! the wind at my back pushed me back up over 17mph! the first time this year. this was also the first time the temps were above 24 degrees. felt great to be warm! tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer! can't wait to ride again. (23.99 miles @ 17.1mph)

New year's challenge...

A little late...

Twelve months ago did you know what you’d be looking back on now? Of course not! None of us know what the future will bring, good or bad. We live one day at a time, remembering the past, but knowing only the moment.

Some of you, because you don’t know what the coming months hold, worry. Perhaps something terrible has happened in your past and you’re afraid of a repeat this year. Who’s going to die? How much money will I lose? Which class will I flunk this time?

Others of you, wondering about the near future, anticipate good times. Your outlook is sunny. No worry clouds darken your mind. You dream of promotions and prizes. And why not think that way? That’s what your life has been full of so far.

Whatever your attitude, I want to ask you just one question: Do you trust in God? Those who live in fear have a trust problem, but some who live blissfully do too. They depend on themselves, on their good luck, with little thought of God.

To the worrywart, God says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Isaiah 42:1-2, NIV)

To the self-confident, God says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV)

Put your faith in God. He will be with you no matter what happens. Fear not! Receive his peace. Boast not! Give thanks.

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The church reveals God...

"And God placed all things under [Jesus'] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians 1:22-23, NIV)

Look around you on any given Sunday during worship. The people you see, those who are believers, are Christ's body. Together those whose faith is in Jesus express the fullness of God - to each other and to the world.Isn't that amazing? Think about it for a second. The church expresses the fullness of God! When people look at a community of believers, they see the Father. When you are around other Christians, you experience the fullness of Jesus. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in each follower of Christ, I experience the fullness of the Father when I am with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Through his Son's incarnation, God revealed his great love. He continues to reveal that love through the church.

To his disciples, Jesus said this: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35, NIV)

His words of command are for us now. Don't miss this. Jesus has loved us. He laid his life down for us. He paid the penalty for our sin. Then, after he died and was buried, he rose from the dead. A few days later, after appearing numerous times to his followers, he rose back into heaven. He said it was for their good - and ours - that he return to heaven. Only if he ascended into heaven could the Father send the Holy Spirit to help all of us. All this has been accomplished!

The Holy Spirit is in each and every believer. By his power we love each other. By his power we are patient. We are kind. We do not envy. We do not boast. We are not proud. We are not rude. We are not self-seeking. We are not easily angered. We keep no record of wrongs. We do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. We protect and trust by his power. We hope and persevere, too.

And by our love, His love flowing out of our hearts really, all men know that we are his followers. And they will know Him. They will see all "the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." That ought to amaze us all. God uses little old me and little old you to show himself and his love to the world. Wow!

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Armstrong-Contador rivalry...

“It’s going to be Ali-Frazier come early July”. This statement, made recently by Lance Armstrong, makes cycling fans around the world begin to get giddy with excitement. The rivalry between Armstrong and Alberto Contador was so palpable during last year’s Tour de France that it kept fans glued to their TV’s, watching to see who would make the next move. In the end, Lance maintained his support role for Contador and helped Contador take the Maillot Jaune.

In December, Lance released a statement saying that he would not be Team RadioShack’s main rider. He stated that it would be “irresponsible” to build the team around him when Team RadioShack has such high caliber riders as Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden. Many wondered if the Armstrong-Contador battle would ever come to fruition.

Now, according to Armstrong, he “will be ready” for the challenge to take on Alberto Contador. While Armstrong may have publically stated he will not be the main rider for Team RadioShack, if his aim is to beat Contador, then what other role would he be taking on?

In addition to the desire to beat Contador in this year’s Tour de France, Armstrong has recently stated “I’m more excited than I was 12 months ago today. I feel good about it, I really believe I can (win the Tour de France).”

Cycling fans and Lance Armstrong supporters across the global must be rejoicing, seeing the will and determination to win coming alive again in Lance. Win or not, watching a battle between Armstrong and Contador could be historic for the cycling world. This battle could easily culminate into a media frenzy that will be one of the most anticipated Tour de France’s in decades.