Wednesday, October 28, 2009


As a parent, one of the many lessons you hope your children learn is how to discern situations in which the best answer is "no". And as a parent, you hope to model this concept for your children. Well, on the eve of my 52nd birthday, I am still learning. I'm still trying to grasp the concept of saying "no".

A few pieces of information that will be helpful. I regularly ride my bike on Wednesday afternoons. 1:30, Wednesday, we ride. Last Thursday I began getting a sinus/chest cold. Congestion, coughing, drainage. My riding partner has had the same cold and a slight injury so he is not riding today. I will be riding by myself today.

My cold was much better. The sun was beginning to shine. No reason not to ride. I thought.

Now riding by myself is not that unusual. I have done it many times. My plan is to ride about 40 miles on a route I have done dozens of times. No problem. I thought. By mile 3 I have that sick feeling of weakness and light headed. Not the first time this has happened. I assumed I would get over it. By mile 5 my stomach is so upset I can hardly ride. I have to stop and take care of this. (No, you are not interested in the details of that.) Although I have ridden 5 miles, I am only 2.5 miles from my house. Do I continue to ride? You know the answer. I knew to say no and go home. Weak, sick stomach, lingering illness. Go home. But no, my answer was yes and I take off. Not toward my house, but continuing on the planned route.

Misery. That's what happens when you say yes when no was the best answer. Not just when riding a bike but in most all situations. I cannot describe the misery that ensued until I finally made it home. Because I had chosen a hilly route (Belgreen loop) the ride is difficult on a good day. On a day when I felt weak and my lungs were still not 100%, I suffered through 40 miles of misery. Every hill was a chore, every mile felt like 10. But I thought I could overcome. Energy gels and gatorade will fix anything. Not. 2 hours and 36 minutes of like, counting every second. Every pedal stroke until I turned into my driveway shear misery.

I knew better than to ride today. When sick, you not only do you have to get well, you have to regain strength. I forgot part two. I was well but not strong enough for athletic endeavors.

For me it was an experience of epic proportions. I love to ride. I did not love today.

When we don't learn to say "no" we only create misery in our lives. This applies to every area of our life. Moral/ethical choices. Scheduling. Temptations. Discipline. Sin. Saying yes = misery.

The question is, did I learn my lesson? Will you learn yours?

Probably not. I will pass it off as just today's situation. Tomorrow will be better. Maybe. I'll learn to say no. And avoid misery. Let's hope so. Time will tell. Or tomorrow will tell.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Bachelorette and Jesus

These shows evoke blogs like no other. They are full of life illustrations. This will be quick and to the point.

Jillian has told 3 men she loves them, they are perfect, they connect, and she could live the rest of her life with each of them. But she only gets to choose one. And she will. What is the lucky one to think? Will I really spend the rest of my life with Jillian? Will she leave me for the other? How many mistakes do I get?

Do we treat Jesus the same way? Tell Him we love Him, He is perfect, and we will give our undivided love to Him. Our actions then indicate we tell other "things" we love them, they are perfect, and we will give our undivided love to them. Then we do it to another and to another.

Jesus wants our undivided love. Are we willing to give it to Him?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brasstown Century

Ten days ago Buddy Perdue, Preston (my son) and I traveled to Helen, GA, to participate in a 100 mile bike ride. Now it was no ordinary bike ride. It's in the mountains of north Georgia and it finishes climbing to the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. Therefore, difficult is an understatement when describing the ride. Well, describing the last 20 miles. I'll not bore you with all the details, but to say in the final 20 miles there is a 7 mile climb and then Brasstown is 2.5 miles and over 2,000 feet of climbing. STEEP.

It proved to be the most difficult 20 miles I have ever ridden and in particular clearly the most difficult final 2.5 miles.

OK, a fair question is why would we drive 350 miles to participate? The physical benefits? Yes. The challenge? Yes. Bragging rights? Probably. But most of all, for me I have discovered a great gift in cycling that in 2 1/2 years has completely reversed my physical health. To put it another way, you may recall in the hymn "Amazing Grace" the line, "I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see." I once was fat and out of shape, now I'm a little heavy and headed toward cardiovascular health. I'm not where I need to be but I am much better off than I was 2.5 years ago.

Yet, as important as the health benefits, I realize that God is an awesome, mighty, powerful, gracious, loving and ever-present God. Some things are beyond human ability. All things are possible through Christ. I would have never dreamed I could climb on a bike over 2,000 ft. in 2.5 miles. Folks, just to be honest, I thought I was riding straight up. It gives me an opportunity to pause and give God a great big thanks every time I accomplish something that seems impossible. And I do that because God used a bunch of great people to orchestrate by love for cycling. To be honest, last Saturday when I finally made it to the top after almost 8 hours riding my bike, I wept, for joy. Its a long story for another post, but I just weep for joy almost every time I reach the end of a ride I couldn't have possibly done before.

God can be discovered in so many different ways and circumstances. Even on a bike.

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Organic Jesus, Savior

I am learning that Jesus the Savior is ever growing, ever changing, ever different, in every situation and circumstance. Jesus the Savior is constant in some ways, for example, as the Lamb slain for my sins. But in many, many ways, He is different in form and function.

As Ross Parsley sings in the song, "Savior," He is Redeemer, Restorer, Defender, Healer, Rebuilder, Refuge. Just to name a few. And He is much more.

See, Jesus is organic. He is planted in our life and grows to be more and more as we allow Him to be manifested in our life in different ways. As our needs change, our organic Savior touches our life in different ways. So cool. In a sense, we never know who Jesus is at a particular moment in our journey. We call it faith. We believe Jesus Savior will be just what we need Him to be without us directing it. Faith. That's it. Faith. Organic. Savior.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Learning from ESPN

ESPN. Entertainment Sports Programming Network. ESPN2. ESPNU. ESPN Classic. ESPN Deportes. ESPN News. ESPN Radio. ESPN Mobile TV. Ten delivery systems for sports from one piece of the Disney family of networks (which includes ABC). Six broadcast TV options. One radio option. Three internet options. And there are options within the options.

Do you remember when it all began? Take a guess. I would tell you to scroll down but this is not an email. Ready. 1979. On a limited basis, ESPN as a lone entity began broadcasting 30 minute shows with the sports news of the day as well as events never seen on TV before. In 1980, they went to 24 hours a day 7 days a week. And from there it has grown into its present form covering every sport, professional, college, and high school. It has been an amazing 30 year growth curve. And many asked, "Who wants to watch only sports 24 hours a day?" And this is only ESPN. There are four or five more networks devoted to full time sports programming. Why so many?

The church needs to be on the same type of learning/growing curve or we will not be delivering our message in enough ways to reach a variety of people with differing needs. There are so many ESPNs because there are so many people wanting sports and the "suits" at the network have decided there are essentially 10 ways people want to receive sports. Live. Delayed. Reruns. Etc.

Jesus modeled many different ways to deliver His message. He told stories. He physically demonstrated the message. He used parables. He sang. He prayed. He preached. He had so many people to reach and He counted each one as the most valuable person alive. He didn’t want to miss one. So He developed as many delivery systems as possible.

We must ask two questions. Are we delivering the message of Christ in a variety of effective ways to reach the maximum number of people? How are you allowing the message to be delivered into your life.?

We then ask two more questions. Where does the church need to learn/grow in relation to its delivery systems? Do you need to be open to a new delivery system so that your relationship with Christ remains fresh and alive?

And two final questions. What will you do to grow/learn in relation to the above questions? Who will emerge as leaders of a movement? The answers help determine the future of Christianity.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Madness - College Basketball

This is most definitely my favorite sports time of the year. I enjoy college basketball more than any other sport. (FYI: I can't/don't watch or follow any professional sport.) I am playing 3 bracket games. Heading into the Sweet 16 next weekend, I am in last place in one and first place in the other two. Makes little sense, I know. It can only begin to make sense because the brackets were not exactly alike. I made a few changes on the games that were close. But those minor changes made a BIG difference.

Life seems to work that way. We can make minor changes in attitude, outlook, commitment, etc., and it will often times make a monumental difference. We can go from the bottom to the top with minor adjustments. More importantly, if we make changes, big or small, in our relationship with Christ, in our love relationship with our Heavenly Father, we can radically change our life. From hopeless to hopeful. From despair to delight. From bottom to top. Find that small change to make a BIG difference.

Monday, March 9, 2009

American Idol - Why Change? What can the Church learn?

I watched American Idol last week and noticed several things, all of which involve change. They added a fourth judge, changed the way the final 24 were selected, added a "wildcard round," and finally allowed a 13th finalist.

Why would American Idol change anything? We are talking about the show with the largest viewing audience in the history of network TV. Only the Super Bowl has attracted a larger one night audience. It is off the chart in popularity and without question, successful. Why change? Seems absurd, doesn't it?

American Idol introduced change because the producers understand a simple principle: changing and improving ahead of the moment of necessity creates a healthy environment for growth. In our culture, its too late to change when you have to change. In American Idol's case, they will have lost viewers if they wait to be creative when ratings are low. They will have already switched to the next entertainment excitement.

Apply this to the church. We wait to take a risk, we wait to try something new, we wait to change. We wait. And we wait. We wait until attendance is poor, until income drops, until fear and panic take over.

The church should be ahead of the curve in an effort to be relative. The church should always examine the ways it is offering hope and help, of sharing good news. Waiting is death. Creativity is birth. We are people of the Resurrection. We are Easter people. We are about birth.