Where Can I Get One and How Much Does It Cost?

Due to vision surgeries and other health issues that have arisen over the past few years I have begun cycling anew. No longer able to successfully deal with balance and energy levels required to ride a typical bicycle, I have taken the plunge into the world of recumbent trikes.

When I purchased this trike I was warned to plan extra time into my travels to allow for conversation, because people will want to talk about it, and they have. They ask about comfort, because it looks comfortable… and it really is comfortable. They ask about the steering because it does not have conventional handlebars like most people expect. They ask about climbing the many changes in elevation because we have those in Eastern Middle Tennessee. It climbs well. It’s not fast, but it climbs. If I get tired I just set the parking brake and sit there on the slope and catch my breath, starting again (even uphill) without difficulty most of the time. The point is that it is wonderful for me at this time along my journey.

They usually announce that they want one of these, asking:

  1. Where did I purchase it?
  2. How much does it cost?

They receive the first answer easily, the second… not so much. These cost significantly more than traditional cycles. When they hear the price point, they lose their interest, shrug their shoulders, and walk away.

I have seen the same response from people when they see the peace that comes from being an “All In” disciple. Calmness in the middle of life’s thunderstorms is attention grabbing because few people have experienced that in their own lives. They ask about it, say that they would like to experience it, then walk away when they hear the price.

“Denying self” in the process of “coming unto Jesus” for the “rest” He promises is a much higher price than most are willing to pay. I suppose that they just do not believe it can be that peaceful.  Perhaps they are just not “broken” enough to seriously consider it. They still think they can get where they want to go on their own. I did not consider the trike a good alternative until I became convinced I could not “do it” with a conventional bike. Now I wish I had upgraded to a trike years ago.

Upgrading to Jesus is well worth the price of total surrender of self. If you are interested, I can help point you in the right direction. My friend David has the trikes, but Jesus is the one with the “peace.”

 

Cannot Be Moderately Important

When we think of “distractions,” noise, telephones, texts, interruptions of other origins come to mind. We have, in our minds the schedule for the day even if the schedule is empty and un-demanding. It is my schedule and I do not like nor appreciate being distracted from it or having it “hijacked” by someone else. Perhaps you feel the same.

However, being a disciple of Jesus, a believer claiming Him as “Lord,” is much more than some religious statement or answer to a catechism question. It is a matter of becoming a “bond-servant” in exchange for all of the “spiritual blessings in the heavenly places” that God provides (Ephesians 1:3). “Exchange’ is not even a good word here, because it implies that I have offered up some item or service of value in the transaction… and I have not because I have nothing of equivalent value to offer.

The “bond-servant” decision has, at its core, the reality that my life is no longer mine, but His. My schedule, my desires, my joy, my purpose are all rooted and fulfilled in His scheduling, His desires, His joy & His purposes. My service extends not only to His interests, but to the best interests of those within reach of “my touch.”

The things I usually consider as “distractions” that fuel frustration in my life are either sent from the “deceiver, Satan,” to get me off course, or simply manifestations of my own “non-surrendered self-lordship.” Being an “All In” follower of Jesus is not just a more extreme way to follow Jesus, it is the only way Jesus accepts. Jesus said so Himself: “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” (Luke 9:23). I must stop thinking of distractions as such. I should think of them as redirection from my will to His will.

To quote C.S. Lewis, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

The Garbage Does Not Take Itself Out

A friend reported that her little girls had learned to say “b*#ch” in a foreign language. While that seems to be a rite of passage for children, it clearly demonstrates the aggressive proactive posture parents need to take in their children’s lives. Whether it is with their electronic devices, television shows, music preferences or “new words” they pick up, the garbage doesn’t take itself out now does it?

Adults must stay on the offensive to keep themselves pure as well. The great deceiver, Satan, takes every opportunity to chip away at our holiness and make us comfortable with that which we would not have tolerated in our own lives in the past. It happens so slowly that we find ourselves making justifying arguments based upon technicalities instead of godly principles.

Being God’s “All In” disciple has its foundations well before associated behaviors become apparent. We respond to life and situations from the depths of who we are.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

Being “All In” is not a religious hobby, it is a godly obsession.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11 ESV).

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The “Last” Ride

A retired truck driver/rodeo cowboy spent 18 years preparing for his funeral. Sounds a bit odd, wouldn’t you say?

The story goes that after his retirement, he began riding a motorcycle, trying to recapture the excitement of the rodeo. He liked it so much that he planned, negotiated, and accomplished a funeral complete with:

  1. his embalmed body,
  2. on his ’67 Harley,
  3. in a custom, see thru plexiglass casket,
  4. placed inside a custom, concrete vault,
  5. in a three plot burial site.

Billie Standley obviously wanted to impress his friends on his “last ride” to the cemetery. I wonder if he was equally concerned with pleasing the Creator of the Universe in the last few years of his life.

How easily we are distracted by our own goals when we should be focusing on God’s wants and purposes. It looks really foolish when I see this kind of distraction driving someone else’s life. The nagging question I need to constantly answer is: What does it look like when I do that?

As an “All In” disciple I don’t have to live like a monk, never smile, and never be light-hearted. What I do have to do is be ever vigilant and listening for the Master’s voice.

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To Vote, or Not To Vote?

In the dynamics of this unusual election cycle in the US there are celebrity types threatening a move if this person or that person is elected as the next POTUS. That kind of drama has become common place among the spoiled, brat-like dregs of society (even if they are in showbiz) we have birthed and reared over the past few decades. Those threats, whether or not they are carried out, are little more than the rants of people who have begun believing the press releases put out by their own publicists.

The knee-jerk reactions that I find troubling are the “believers” who are saying they just will not vote this cycle. While I have no interest in dissuading you if you feel that God expects you to sit this one out, I can’t help remembering a teacher I had in the 1970’s. He had returned from mission work in Italy (I think) a couple of years earlier. While there, he had worked in the campaign for a communist politician during an election cycle.

You can imagine the reaction from red-blooded, redneck Texans he received after that announcement! After he let us vent the excess hostility that had immediately boiled up, he “justified” himself. The main thing that I remember about his explanation is that you must choose between what is available. The candidate he supported was less of a danger than the other one. After all, the purpose of government is to protect and defend the citizens. It is nice to think about governments being “righteous,” but that is not going to happen this side of eternity. There are too many people involved for it to be possible.

May I encourage every believer to vote. Choose from among those on the ballot. Do not murmur nor complain, but trust that God is not napping. You may find the outcome confusing, but do not assume God is not in it.

This is certainly a challenging part of being “All In” as God’s disciple.

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God’s Person and the Election Cycle

This is a tough one because so many are passionate about their politics. I too, have strong opinions about some issues, BUT… since I am God’s servant and not my own… Wow, what a pivotal perspective: God’s servant and not my own.

As God’s servant, I will stand for faith, justice, and mercy (among other things) but must keep a strong focus on God’s will and purposes, and the best interests of others. I have watched strong opinions that cross the line into personal defamation and belittling. That is not good no matter who is doing it.

Excepting God Himself, Jesus, there has not been a human, politician or not, that was all he/she should be. Nor has there ever been (including now) anyone operating with God’s full wisdom in pointing to THE one who was God’s choice to rule, without God revealing His choice to that prophet.

Since I am “All In” as God’s servant I will not have my voice for God be muffled by differences in political opinion. I may state mine, but I will also honor others to do the same. I will vote when the time comes and then sleep soundly because:

  1. I have confidence that God knows what His plan is;
  2. I have been obedient in voting (as God’s servant) for the person I think is the best choice among the rabble.

What I must not do is alienate people with whom I disagree politically, so that they will ignore me when I speak the name of Jesus into their lives.

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Capturing Every Thought

“Capturing every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) sounds overly optimistic, if not impractical… or does it?

Living for a purpose begins with our thought processes. Since we are expected to live for God’s purposes and the best interests of others, it must begin in our thoughts. Our perspective, goals, decisions are birthed and processed as thoughts.

James 1:13-15 makes it painfully clear that living for ourselves also begins in our minds. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

To avoid that “death” James predicted, every thought must be Jesus’. Otherwise it is impossible to be “All In” as His follower.

Jesus does give His disciples “rest” (Matthew 11:28). That is not the same as “time off.” If we are “All In” then we are just that, “All In.”

Are you?

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It Is Time To Be Still And Available

I’ve known Christians with their day planners so full that they could not get from one appointment to the next on time. I’ve seen evidence on social media that some wear “righteous” busyness as a twisted form of evidence of their spirituality. Is there no end to religious agendas and church programs that, no matter their intent, steal more and more time away from availability? Have we reached a point where God has to call and leave a message for call back in order to schedule an appointment?

Imagine the priest and the Levite passing by the man who had been beaten and left for dead in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Jesus did not let us in on their excuses like He did in the story of the invited dinner guests in Luke 14, but they were clearly preoccupied with something, even if it was the fear of missing out on “work” if they became unclean. They were not available for an assignment that God had scheduled for them. Whatever the details, their agendas were already full of their own plans for the day.

Jesus’ point in the story was that the Samaritan was responding to God’s purposes and not his own (the Greatest Commandment), as well as to the best interests of the injured man instead of his own agenda (the Second Greatest Commandment).

Allowing our own religious agenda, assuming it is religious, to steal our availability away from God is certainly an irony. It must, however, be avoided.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10) doesn’t really sound like a suggestion. It may be the only effective strategy to avoid this self-driven “righteous” busyness.

Being “All In” isn’t the same as being heavily scheduled. It is being physically, spiritually, and emotionally available for what God puts in our path. For that, we must be listening. To listen, we must spend time being still.

Be “All In,” not worn out.

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A Spiritual Being Living A Human Experience

Several years ago my princess and I headed west on a motorcycle. On that trip we experienced many things and places. One that rises in my memory is the stop we made in the Black Hills of South Dakota at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

During our visit, Crazy Horse was described as “a spiritual being living a human experience.” He saw himself as more than his flesh, with a higher calling than his personal well-being and comfort.

Isn’t that how God challenges us to think and therefor act? We are to think of ourselves as “pilgrims” here, like Abraham, looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. We are spiritual beings, temporarily wrapped in humanity, looking forward to going home.

That makes John’s encouragement (1 John 2:15) make sense: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We can not, after all, be “ALL IN” with God at the same time we are chasing the offerings of “the world.”

Keeping that perspective: “A Spiritual Being Living a Human Experience” should make my choices much easier.

Will you give it a go as well? How will that shift in perspective change your life?

Photo: Taken by Wayne Wells

No Fanfare Required

“The sunrise, of course, doesn’t care if we watch it or not. It will keep on being beautiful, even if no one bothers to look at it.” – Gene Amole

“Essence” is just that, essence. PR campaigns employ sophistry and repackage reality into fantasy, enticing others to buy in to the charade. “Essence” just is.

“What a man is” comes out, if not immediately, over time. Public opinion, reshaping reality, revisionist history doesn’t change who I am.

It usually required professional help to misunderstand the master: The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

Being “All IN” as God’s man begins on the inside. He will keep on being God’s man, even if no one bothers to notice.

Blessings

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