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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Two things are inevitable: Pursue God, and you will find Him; find Him, and you will be exposed and challenged in one area of your life or another. And sometimes three!

I have been pursuing God for some time now (credit to Him, not me – for too many reasons to list here). The closer I get, the more exposed and challenged I feel. I understand this is normal, and it may be, but it is still uncomfortable.

For this edition of the Newsletter, I have been encouraged to confess three areas of my life in which I am particularly challenged and troubled. I trust the Holy Spirit will use my confession to encourage, edify, and equip you in some way. Praise God, we are in this together.

First, there is the matter of agape. Agape is what most of us know of as “God’s love”. It is the love God has for us and we are commanded to have for Him, the brethren, and our neighbors. For too many years, I understood and lived from the understanding that “God’s love is unconditional”. Several years ago, I discovered that God’s love is better described as sacrificial. John 3:16 is a great proof text for this.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

For several years now, I have chosen to keep this understanding at arm’s length. It is much easier to love unconditionally than sacrificially. Putting up with someone’s faults and foibles is simply not the same as dying for them. The Father has called me on this, and so I am confessing it to you now. Read the rest of this entry »

God has blessed me with the desire and health to ride a bicycle. Cycling is not only a great way to stay healthy; it is also a fantastic way to meet with God. Exercise, being outdoors and communing with the Creator – what better way to spend a couple of hours?

Cycling is a joy to me. So, when I get the chance, I like to share that joy with others – helping them learn to ride. In the process, I have learned that learning to ride is a transformative experience.

  1. You must get over your fear of riding. Whether you are just learning, or venturing out on more trafficked roadways, fear will take the fun out of cycling. In fact, fear is a distraction that can make your ride less safe.
  2. You must learn, not only how the bike works, but how it works for you. Get caught in the wrong gear while climbing a steep hill will leave you walking. Shifting in anticipation of a change in terrain will become natural over time – but only with practice.
  3. You must trust your bike to get you home. A bicycle is meant to take you places – new places. Time spent on the bike builds trust in its dependability.
  4. Going with others is more fun; and it is safer. Finding a good riding partner – or better yet, a group – simply makes cycling a more enjoyable experience. As it is with most activities, there is safety in numbers.
  5. The more you ride, the stronger you will be; and the farther you will be able to venture out. The only way to get cycling strong is to cycle. The reward is an expansion of adventure possibilities.

I think it is fair to say that the kingdom of God is like learning to ride a bicycle. When God calls us to a new assignment (and He does so more often than we realize), the Holy Spirit commits Himself to our transformation. He becomes our cycling coach.

Read the rest of this entry »

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