Monthly Archives: June 2020

Bicycle Trip 2020 Day 8

We didn’t have any Wifi or cell service at the campsite we are in tonight so I walked up the street about half a mile until I found a little hamburger joint that has WiFi. The name of the place is “62 Burgers” but I am having chicken strips and fries. This blog won’t be long unless I get another order because the place is very small and busy.

We biked 77 miles today and it was all uphill as we followed along the banks of the Rogue River to a town called Shady Cove. Tomorrow will be a long day with about 90 miles and includes a lap around Crater Lake.

Over the years I have asked a lot of people why they think they are going to heaven when they die, and 90% say, because I believe in God. My response is, “the devil believes in God, but he isn’t going to heaven“. Sometimes I get some discussion, but usually not much positive response. Their thinking I am sure is “Leave me alone, I am comfortable in my simple, naive faith”. I am convinced that the reason there are so many people who fall away from the Lord is that their beginning with Him is based on a faulty definition of saving faith. A pseudo salvation has no real power to endure.

An interesting story in the gospels is when the rich kid asks Jesus what he needed to do to be saved. Jesus said, “Sell everything you have, give it to the poor and follow me“. That seems a strange answer in light of the Bible’s emphasis on grace, and a salvation that is free apart from any works. I think Jesus knew that if this dude made a commitment to follow him it would be with just half his heart, the other half would be trusting in his money to take care of him.

Saving faith is trusting in Jesus and believing that he is all I need, He is 100% my hope, my love, my commitment, and my Lord. In our culture we typically have a foot in two worlds, and when the going gets tough that divided commitment doesn’t work. Paul admonished the Corinthians to examine their life to see if they were really in the family of God. In light of our cultures bent toward easy believism, divided commitments, the prosperity gospel, “I believe in God”, and a dozen other substitutes for the real gospel it would be a very good idea for everyone to seriously examine their own heart before the day they stand before God and hear Him say, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” and we give Him the wrong answer.

Bicycle Trip 2020 Day 7

We are taking a rest day from biking today. Slept in, though 8 hours sleeping on the ground even on an air mattress is about max for me, so I didn’t sleep in much. We went out to a restaurant for breakfast and then went to a small local Baptist church. We didn’t know it when we went but they don’t have a pastor and there was a “pulpit supply” guy there from Grants Pass preaching. I don’t think he gets to preach much and he went for 90 minutes, and it was mostly stories that were poorly told and didn’t really connect much. I don’t like to fall asleep in another preacher’s sermon, but it was a challenge! But the worship time was great, and the small number of people that were there sang really loud and enthusiastically. I am spending most of this afternoon reading my Bible, memorizing Bible verses, and working on my sermon I am preaching next Sunday at JBC’s outdoor service at Lake Charles. I hope you all are going to come because it is going to be an awesome time of worshipping together as the “Body of Christ”, with a few baptisms in the Lake, and my sermon, entitled “Are You a Possum?”

Let me give you a preview of next week’s sermon.

I saw recently on Facebook the name of a person that I hadn’t heard from for probably 20 years, when they moved from Jefferson to another city. They had been very involved in the church, in my life, and were highly committed to following the Lord. I decided to reconnect with them and sent them an email which they quickly responded to and we “chatted” for a bit. I asked how they were doing spiritually and where they were going to church. They responded that they hadn’t gone to church in over 15 years, weren’t doing much spiritually, but that they still believed in God. I offered to help them via email to get back on track with the Lord, but I got no more response from them.

That happens a lot, people growing lukewarm, falling away from the Lord. Many people turned their back on the Lord in the early days of the church because of persecution and the writer of Hebrews writes the book to deal with that situation. There are 6 severe warnings in the book about falling away, and one of them is in Hebrews 3:12-14 ,

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,”

The reasons for people falling away from the Lord are many. The most recent reason is the governments command that that we isolate for the sake of physical health. Many Christians didn’t manage that well, didn’t compensate for it in a way that would maintain spiritual health through grace received from others in personal relationships.

The reason many didn’t make adjustments to changes is because we all are a bit haughty in our judgment of how vulnerable we are to backsliding. We are sure that we are solid as a rock and nothing is going to effect our walk and love for Jesus. The fact is, our spiritual health is much more vulnerable to sickness than our physical health is.

What can we do to maintain spiritual health and vitality during these changing times? Come gather together as the church this next Sunday at Lake Charles, and I will tell you.

Bicycle Trip 2020 Day 6

We are camped near Cave Junction, Oregon tonight in a nice campground with lots of shade, showers, electricity, and a nice “club house” to sit and read and write in once the bugs come out.

So, instead of a travel log in tonight’s blog I thought I might pose a theological question. I think about these kinds of things as I ride along on my bike. I am not saying what I believe to be true, just asking the question to prompt some thought. My brother Cliff has had two flat tires and his wife Kathy has had two, and I have had none.

So the question, “Did God cause the flat tires, or does He just let some things happen”? If God is all sovereign, is there room inside His sovereignty for natural cause and effect? If God is Sovereign over some things, but not all things, where is the line? I buy “Gatorskin” tires for my bike which are extra thick and use extra tough rubber with Kevlar liners and extra thick tubes that have stuff in them to heal puncture wounds. They are also extra expensive. If God decides who gets flats and who doesn’t I could just buy cheap tires and tubes.

So, let’s just say for discussion sake that God caused Cliff and Kathy’s flat tires. Why did they get flat tires and not me? Maybe because God likes me better 🤣 I like that answer! Maybe because he has sinned more, I am sure he has, but is that the reason for the flats? Does God have a quota of bad things that happen to each of us, and I will get mine tomorrow?

I said I wasn’t going to give my opinion, but I will give a short answer that really isn’t an answer at all.

I am accountable before God to live my life responsibly, with wisdom, and in obedience to him. I change the oil in our cars faithfully every 3,000 miles, I have fire insurance on our house, I don’t eat sugar, and I exercise an hour every day. But I also trust God that He is going to take care of me, protect me, and guide me into His perfect will, so I am not a fanatic about controlling every detail of my life. I ride down hills on my bicycle at 50 mph, I go sky diving, and I go rafting down class 4 rapids. I am not worried or afraid of getting the Corona Virus, of getting cancer, or of dying, but I am not going rock climbing up El Capitan at Yosemite with my son in law, Aaron.

How it all fits together, I have no clue, but I do know that I love life, have a ton of fun, have great peace, worry about nothing, have a joy that only occasionally turns to depression, set goals and work as if everything depends on me, and trust, love, and worship God as my Sovereign King.

Bicycle Trip 2020 Day 5

Today I set a personal best for speed on my bicycle. We climbed this humongous hill just South of Gold Beach and the rule is what goes up must come down so the humongous up hill resulted in a humongous down hill, steep, long, fairly straight, and smooth. While flying down the hill I knew I was going fast but I didn’t take my eyes off of the rode even for a second to look down at my speedometer. When we got into camp I looked at my little bike computer on my handle bars and scrolled through the information until I got to the category of “fastest speed for the day”, and right behind it was 50.4 mph! Whoooooeeeeeee! That beat my old record of 42 mph by over 8 mph, I was flying. We rode a total of 70 miles today and we are scheduled to do the same tomorrow with about the same amount of hill climbing. Tomorrow we end our coast riding and head Northeast towards Crater Lake. Today was a pretty good day, all the muscle pain in my legs is gone, my feet didn’t hurt, my neck didn’t hurt, just my butt is hurting, but I bought this stuff at a pharmacy that is a local pain reliever, and it worked pretty good, so life is good😀!

Someone in our group said that today was “heavenly”, and I responded that I hoped heaven was going to be way better than this! This campground that we are in tonight doesn’t have a shower so this will be a handi-wipe night. They actually work pretty good if you have enough and I have a big package! Well, I better go take my “shower”, set up my tent, and fix dinner.

Bicycle Trip 2020 Day 4

Today was 85 miles of bicycling, and over 5,000 feet in elevation gain. Lots of going up and then coming down, we could call today “roller coaster” day. This trip is only 12 days long so we are now a third done. We are in a KOA Campground tonight and they had a big hot tub that felt soooooo good after 85 miles of pedaling a bicycle. Tomorrow we will bike 65 miles to Harris Beach Campground in Brookings. 65 miles will seem like a piece of cake compared to 85, but we have over 6,000 feet of elevation gain which is a super lot!

Today as I rode along I thought about what my next years goals will be. I have a strong desire to do the “Transamerica” which is a 4,200 mile coast to coast bicycle trip from Newport, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. I have also been thinking about another bicycle trip to Fairbanks, Alaska. That was the most scenic of any trip I have down, and we saw 92 bears and hundreds of other wildlife including moose, elk, deer, caribou, wolves, buffalo, big horn sheep, and mountain goats.

The problem I am wrestling with is I love to fish, more and more all the time, and I have found some really good fishing places. Also I can take my grandkids with me when I go fishing. My grandson Courage is begging me almost daily to take him fishing. The more I bicycle the less I can fish. A ten day trip like this one would keep my bicycle juices flowing, and I could do some day trips around home as well. But another trip across the USA or up to Alaska would be a nice challenge. I have also planned out a trip 6,000 miles long that would hit all lower 48 States, as well as a 5,000 mile trip from the tip of Florida to Fairbanks, Alaska. Both of those trips would take most of the summer, and would probably be solo trips.

I set 72 goals this year which are designed to use up all of my time, so goal setting is a discipline of establishing priorities, I can’t do everything I would like to do, so I have to choose. How do I decide what is in and what is out? In the goals for next year I will have my fishing, hunting, and bicycling goals, but I also will have family goals, ministry goals, spiritual discipline goals, and “Patty goals”. The goal is to use my time up, and do it in as wise a way possible so that I bear as much fruit for God as possible.

Bicycle Trip 2020 Day 3

One of the questions that I ask myself every year on day three of the trip, and this is close to year ten of doing a long distance bicycle trip, is “why am I doing this?” The word that most describes me tonight is pain. One of the things I have done on most trips is to schedule a rest day on day four in order to recover and heal a bit, but because we only had time for a twelve day trip I skipped that normal practice. Whooooeeeee I wish I hadn’t done that! There are twelve reasons I do these trips each year, I have written them down so when I ask “the question”, I can read the answer.

One of them is to develop the character traits of endurance and self-control, which are two of the most important character traits needed if a person wants to accomplish a lot with his life for God. In the morning my alarm will go off at 5:30 am and I will say to myself, “I don’t want to get out of bed”, (a sleeping bag on an air mattress on the ground in a tent), but I do anyway. After I pack everything and eat some oatmeal I say, “ I don’t want to get on that bike”, but I do anyway. When the first big hill is looming in front of me I say “I don’t want to pedal up that hill, but I do anyway. Why? Because that is the goal that I made in a moment of inspiration, or maybe craziness, and definitely when I was feeling good. So because I made the goal, for whatever reason, I get on the bike and pedal 70 miles again, and again until the trip is over.

Here is an important principle that I believe to be very true. “People who don’t make goals to do something extraordinary or at least a bit over normal in their life, don’t accomplish much with their life, and those who make noble goals and then abandon them when it gets hard, accomplish even less”.

I do abandon some goals, but I do it because of circumstances outside my control. I do downsize some goals, also for the same reason. This years bicycle trip was originally planned to be 33 days long, but turned into 12 because of the Coved thing, and very few camp sights open.

Growing strong in character and accomplishing something with my life that matters is what life is about.

BicycleTrip 2020 Day 2

There are five of us on this trip. Myself, my brother Cliff, his wife Kathy, Terri, a lady friend of Kathy’s, and Jack, who is a guy my age who wanted to drive along as a support vehicle and have fun with us. Terri has never done any kind of cross country bicycle trip before, and I was a little leary of letting her come, but so far she is doing great.

We started in Jefferson yesterday, camped last night in Lincoln City, tonight we are in Walport, tomorrow we will be at Cliff and Kathy’s son, Eric’s place in Reedsport. We continue down the Oregon coast to Crescent City where we will sleep in a church, then up the Redwood Hwy to Crater Lake, then to Bend and then home. The trip is about 700 miles and will take us 12 days.

Today we biked 50 miles and it was a great day. Pleasant weather, a tailwind, no bugs, no dogs, no rude drivers, no rumble strips, no monster hills, and beautiful scenery, doesn’t get much better than that. According to my bike computer I had a high-speed today of 38 mph, I Dont look down at the speedometer when I am going that fast. I did see a sign that said ”speed limit” 35 mph and wondered if I was breaking it.

It is 6:00 pm and I am sitting in a ”bar and grill” 10 minutes walk from our camp writing this blog, eating a double order of calamari. I planned to sit in here several hours and get all of my reading and writing done, and memorize some new verses, but they have so many tables blocked to maintain ”safe distance” there are only 5 tables in the place, and I can see the waitresses glaring at me as customers come in. I guess I could get another order of calamari!

So far the trip has helped calm me down from the agitation I am feeling from the mind control being exerted over the people in our nation, and the results. Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming soon, so don’t get so worked up, you are headed for heaven and King Jesus will be in charge. I say to myself often, “ You can put up with this stupidity because it doesn’t matter when you are gone to heaven”!

Bicycle trip 2020 day 1

We left this morning from Jefferson at 6:00 am and bicycled 70 miles to Lincoln City. We are now at the KOA campground, and I am getting ready to eat a Mountain House freeze-dried stew. The package is 2.5 servings, and I will eat it all. I am totally drained of every drop of energy that was in me, my legs are killing me, my feet are killing me, my neck is killing me, and my butt is double killing me, but I am having so much fun! The first day is usually like this, and the second day is worse, and then it gets easier as everything gets in shape. The weather was perfect, no headwind, sunny, but not to hot. The hill climbing wasn’t bad and the traffic wasn’t bad either. No dogs chased me, no bugs bit me, and I had no flat tires.

My goal on these annual bicycle trips is to get in a bunch of reading, study, and writing for future sermons and classes. Still, tonight I won’t get much done, except this blog and my Bible reading and a little scripture memory because I keep falling asleep even though it is only 6:00 pm.

My favorite part of all the bicycle trips I have done is the long hours during the day to think reflectively about who I am and how I am doing, my faith, my priorities, values, and goals. Today was a good day in that regard.

Well, I haven’t written anything to profound but my brain is turning to Jello so tomorrow.

Good Dad

Being a Father is a huge responsibility that holds eternal consequences and rewards. So much of what adults do, the choices they make, their attitudes, their character, and their way of thinking is a direct result of the parenting that they received. As I think back on the years of parenting our eight kids I can think of many things I would have done differently, but I also recognize some things I did that worked.

1. I loved their Mother and worked in unity with her as we set our parenting goals and methods of training. We parented and trained champions for Jesus together with one mind. Kids that grow up in a home where the parents are a team have a strong sense of security and a healthy sense of worth and value.

2. I prayed every day for each of our kids in regards to every detail of their lives. Patty and I prayed together for them as well. Parents have authority from God over the Kingdom of Darkness to intercede for their kids, and provide protection for them from temptation. We were like shepherds of our flock, protecting them from the wolves.

3. I was a voracious reader of books on parenting, we regularly went to seminars on parenting, and we were continually seeking counsel and advice from parents of well-behaved kids. We knew that being a good parent was super important for the sake of the eternal future and success of each of our children, and there was so much that we didn’t know, and they were growing up so fast, and soon our part would be over.

4. I was super busy as the Pastor of our church, and I was obsessed with having a healthy and growing church. I knew that I had a strong tendency to neglect my family for the sake of succeeding as a Pastor. To help maintain balance and right priorities in my life I made detailed goals every year of what I would do as the Dad of my eight children. I made goals on the amount of time I would spend with the kids, and then kept track of my use of time religiously. I did most of my study and sermon preparation at night, after the kids were in bed. I arranged my schedule so that I was at most of their sporting events, their concerts, and school events. Patty and I planned family workdays, family fishing trips, family hunting trips, and trips to visit extended family.

It is very gratifying to get Fathers Day messages from my kids expressing appreciation to me for the years and time invested into their training, but the most gratifying thing in all of life for me now is watching them in action, seeing them live their lives with wisdom, recognizing the strong character that each one of them have, observing the obvious love for Jesus that they have and the fruit they are bearing for Him as His disciples.