Archive for June, 2013


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The brochure for the Clarksville (Tennessee) Sunrise Century Bike Race read like a dream come true.  “Forget hills…With a steady carefree effort the ride will slide by like magic”.  The brochure then went on to describe a virtually flat course with fast times and an easy ride. After riding my bike up and down the hills of Middle Tennessee, I’ve got to tell you that a ride with no hills sounded like something I wanted to be a part. So a while back, several of my riding buddies and I rode the 100K (62 mile) course.

Be careful what you pray for! Here’s what I learned:A ride without hills isn’t what it is cracked up to be; without hills you have to constantly pedal.  There is no coasting without hills.  I quickly realized that I actually missed the hills. I wasn’t expecting that, but here’s the deal.  Every time I conquer a hill on a bicycle I get instant gratification in two distinct ways. First, a sense of accomplishment and secondly, the adrenalin rush of speeding down the backside. Both of those elements are pretty cool and were missing on the so called flat ride.  Flat is pretty boring actually.

Just like the idea of the flat bike ride sounds great, the concept of a life without hills and valleys has a certain appeal to most of us.  But would we really want that? I doubt it. Most growth as human beings comes in the slow, arduous pedaling through life’s steepest hills and precipices.  The climb is where character is developed; that is where values are forged. The climb is where many of us first realize our need for God.  More often than not the climb is our opportunity to become whole.

Speeding down the backside of a hill on a bicycle feels good for a little while, but it is in the burning thighs and the pounding heart of the accent where lasting change occurs. So it is with life.  The earth’s hills make us better cyclists; life’s hills makes us better people.  Thank God for both.

 Something to think about

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Virus Alert

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

A while back I walked into McDonalds and there were about 20 little kids on an end of school outing. They were having the time of their lives. The teachers were doing their  best to keep them quite, but without success. While watching I concluded that God and the teachers have something in common. God is talking, but many are not listening.

God tells us not to lie, cheat and steal. He says not to covet our next door neighbor’s Lexus or his wife. Repeatedly he tells us not to envy and what he puts together is not to be broken apart.  Yet over half our marriages end in divorce. God tells us to always have class and never let our pride and jealously get the best of us.  Jesus, who was the greatest of teachers, boiled all the do’s and don’ts down to the simplest terms when he said just love God and love others.  He tells us to extend that love to our enemies and to forgive folks for the trespasses they commit against us.

I used to think that command was all about the other guy. Why should I forgive the man who abused me? Why should I forgive the guy who swiped my stuff at the gym? Why should I forgive the degenerate who stole my Bobble Head Jesus right out of my church office? Rule of thumb – never steal Jesus!  Why should I forgive anybody for anything?  Why not just hold their feet to the fire, be just as mean and nasty, be classless, make their lives miserable and hate them for the next twenty years?

Two reasons:  First, God gave us ears so we are supposed to be listeners.  Second, it doesn’t work; it is in our best interest to love, forgive and get on with our lives. We are hearing a lot lately about the West Nile Virus after several batches of Music City mosquitoes tested positive. The truth is the world has been in the clutches of a deadly virus almost since the beginning of time. It’s the super germ of resentment. Cain’s resentment killed Able. Resentment has wounded your soul and robbed your happiness time after time.

For thousands of years God has screaming at the top of his lungs, “Guys and gals listen to me.” He loves us and because of the depth of His love, He’s gone to considerable trouble to figure out the perfect plan for you and me to get the most out of life. If you want a better life simply follow His instructions.

Something to think about.

Only Eight Percent

Friday, June 14th, 2013

I had lunch with a friend today that had failed to call his elderly mother for a couple of days. Bright and early this morning she called him. The first words out of her mouth were, “What’s wrong son?” He assured her that nothing was wrong.

Mom’s are that way.  People worry about all kinds of things. Beginning as kids, our worry engines fire up as we fret about such things as the Bogyman, getting our share and if tomorrow will be a snow day.  Once turned on, worry probably never completely shuts down as long as we are breathing. The Bible instructs us not to worry as does Doctor Phil and at least a zillion self-help books. However, most of us seem to roll right along with our worry engines firing on all eight cylinders.

When I was a kid, I remember my mom worrying about what people at church would think when my number one brother, Bill, was hauled to juvenile hall on multiple occasions. As I recall, I think I worried about that too. I also worried when number two bro, Eddie, regularly said that my head was pointed.

I once had a friend who constantly worried that he might, in his words, “look stupid”.  Perhaps his biggest worry was that he was going bald. His wife told me that he obsessed  to the point that he was driving her crazy. Even though he was one of the most naturally talented and gifted people I have even know, he so fixated about what might someday happen on top of his head that he actually threatened to give up his very public job if his hair kept falling out.  All that worrying for naught; yes, his hair is still falling out, but bald is now sexy. He is still at his job and apparently doing quite well.

Here is what one study has determined that you are apt to worry about:

  1. Things that never happen: 40 percent. That is, 40 percent of the things you worry about will never occur anyway.
  2. Things over and past that can’t be changed by all the worry in the world: 30 percent.
  3. Needless worries about our health: 12 percent.
  4. Petty, miscellaneous worries: 10 percent.
  5. Real, legitimate worries: 8 percent.

Only 8 percent of your worries are worth concerning yourself about. Ninety-two percent are pure fog with no substance at all.

 Something to think about.


Three Fish Stories

Friday, June 7th, 2013

1…This 1,323-pound shark was caught off California’s Huntington Beach this week after a battle which took more than two-and-a-half hours.

2…Several years back my son and I, along with a friend caught a 54 pound catfish on a trotline in the Buffalo River near Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

3…A while back a luxury sports car pulled in front of me causing me to have to swerve. Like so many of us, the guy was on a cell phone. I doubt if he ever saw me. His license plate read “Big Fish.” I had to laugh. Many of us might think that we are big fish or wish we were, but not quite narcissistic enough to put “Big Fish” on our license plate.

I expect that if we are honest, in our heart of hearts, most all of us at times have longed to be a big fish.  God instilled in humans the need for acceptance and for significance. The truth is, who really wants to be a minnow?  Yet, most of us don’t actually wear the Big Fish sign.  We are more subtle.

When I was in my twenties, single, living in Atlanta and on the hunt, I bought a cubic zirconium pinky ring. It looked great. Just like the real deal but actually it was nothing more than a Big Fish sign.  After a few days of incessantly admiring my new, sparkling pinky, it occurred to me that there was a distinct disconnect between my “diamond ring” and my lemon yellow Pinto.  I elected to take the ring back and keep the Pinto.  But I assure you that I’ve had other big fish moments since. What I have come to understand, albeit late in life, is that once I accepted myself, I no longer had a desire to wear Big Fish signs.

Something to think about