The Challenge

In the late 80’s I decided to start cycling as a sport.  I really didn’t know much about it.  I purchased a Road Bike from a friend who had just begun competing in triathlon’s.  (The frame was too big for him) My first time out on my bicycle some idiot guys came by and opened their car door on me.  They missed and I ran off the road.  I turned around, went home, and put the bike away until the mid 90’s.  Even then I only rode around the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when I had a moment or two to spare.

I was preparing to move to New Mexico when I began to get excited about Mountain Biking.  I began to ride more then.  But I never really got to a place where I felt like I was committed to the sport.  I was more committed to getting out and seeing the scenery from my bike more so than I was about the sport itself.  After a move to Kansas road biking became a focus once again.  Yet, it lacked the sustained commitment I needed.  I basically rode then in order to deal with the stress of working in a church.  I found cycling to be a great stress reliever! 

A couple of moves later and now I am back in Georgia.  After being here for several years I have been back on my bike now for over a year.  I’ve logged over 1,500 miles in the past year.  View from the SaddleI would like to say I am committed to cycling now… Finally at age 46.  Last year, I was challenged to enter into the  Bike MS150 Cox-Atlanta Ride 2011.  Training to ride in this event gave me the focus I needed to ride.  I kept at it through several set-backs from Shingles at the beginning of my training in February 2011 to numerous problems with my Centurion Accordors (the one I bought in the 80’s – and the one I still ride today).  I met my goal for that ride in September 2011… I finished.  Other benefits along the way were for my health.  My doctor took me off of my blood pressure medicine, I lost a little bit of weight, and I just felt better.

While on a recent ride, I kept hearing my “coach” (my step father) in my head telling me to focus on various things.  He wasn’t with me but several things he has spoken to me on some training rides kept coming back to mind as I peddled.  Then I began to think about the Holy Spirit and how He constantly brings the teachings of Jesus back to my mind.  I have also been thinking about the years I have been following Jesus and about my own commitment to following him.  I may not still be in “ministry” vocationally but my goal still is to please him and to follow him.  I want my relationship with him to be more than my desire to be vocationally serving him or a local church.  I want my commitment to him to be more than the scenery along the way.

As I have begun to be more serious about cycling, I have also begun to get more serious about my over-all health and the food I eat. (I do treat myself from time to time with a nice chili burger from Ross’ Diner… yum!).  I also read more about the sport and fitness trying to put those things into practice.  My good friend recently told me his plan is to just “ride”.  Taking his advice and applying it to life would be to just “live”. 

Maybe there is some truth in that.  It’s on that thought I will continue to be challenged… not only in cycling but also in following Jesus.  For me, the challenge each day is to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and his teachings. (Hebrews 12:2-3)  Too often I get my eyes focused on the “scenery” or the benefits of following Christ more so than on Jesus himself and his teachings.  I am reading in the Book of John in the New Testament now.  This is a quote from the Message found in John 6:45-46,

This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.

Today’s challenge is to walk faithfully with Jesus.  Inviting the Holy Spirit to teach and work through me.  To be committed to the life of a faithful servant.  To be like Peter when he told Jesus in John 6:68-69,

“Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”  (The Message).

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