Thursday, July 28, 2011

blowing in the wind????

Last week I mentioned we had been on a four day motorcycle ride with some friends in Indiana.  This really is a great group to hang out with and to ride with.  One evening we were sitting and talking and Don had a recollection of a conversation he had been in with Ray.  Someone asked Ray, what was it that Ray liked so much about riding motorcycles.  What was it that kept Ray coming back for more on his motorcycle? (Don’t worry this is not going to be a motorcycle recruiting story)  Ray quickly said, “It’s the wind, really it’s the wind.” (not sure if I have the exact quote but close enough for MY blog)  I thought about that this past week as I got on my bike one day, leaving the church after VBS.  I had the opportunity to meet my wife and another person for lunch...I headed that direction...and kept riding...just kept going.  The thought entered my mind of how much fun it would be to just keep going one day...see where I might end up...(well if I did not take Barb, I would end up in big trouble:)  
Then I thought, it is the wind that makes riding so enjoyable, something about feeling the wind blowing and not being cooped up in a car that just feels so freeing.  I am sure there other things that you may do that gives you the same feeling...but too bad, this is my story.  Well, Sunday after church I had some down time to reflect...I so enjoy our celebrations when we gather to worship and enjoy God’s presence.  I thought about what is it I so enjoy about this time we gather?  I have been in hundreds of worship services of different kinds and I enjoy most of them for sure.  But I really enjoy our times together...the worship, the kids, the chance to teach, all of it.  Then the thought came to me, “It’s the wind...I enjoy the wind in our services.” 
Wind!!!??? Now you may think I have lost my last marble, but hear me out.  If you remember in Acts 2 as the spirit fell on the believers it said, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven.”  The Hebrew word “Ruah” is translated “spirit” also means, breath, air, wind...In John 20:22 “ And with that He breathed on them and said, “ Receive the Holy Spirit.”  The Spirit moves about and you cannot see Him...yet you can see the impact of Him moving on may even feel Him move yourself. I talked to a young guy Sunday, someone kind of new to our celebrations...he said, “I don’t get it...during worship I will just start reason...tears.”  Me too...I don’t understand everything that happens when He moves about...but I so enjoy when He does.  
Jesus talks to Nicodemus in John 3 and He then says, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” THE WIND BLOWS WHEREVER IT PLEASES. You hear its sound,  but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”’s the wind...I love the wind...But...but you know some people are not big fans (no pun intended) of the wind.  Wind messes up your hair...makes waves on the water...might cool things off a bit.  We have a willow tree in our front yard and if we get a big wind, our yard will be full of little branches that have to be cleaned me!  Hate it. 
Wind in the church has some of the same effects...can cause a mess...move things around...”Blows where it pleases” Jesus said. The Spirit moves about and can irritate know messing with schedules...sermon lists.  Moves where He wants...who He wants...when He wants.  I prefer the wind moving to a room filled with stale air...don’t you?  So I guess what I am saying is, when I invite the Holy Spirit to come, I am asking for the wind move across the room and rearrange things, if need be.  
So what is it about motor cycle riding that makes it so enjoyable??? As my old friend Ray says, “It's the wind, man, it’s the wind.”  What makes the church gathering different from any other type gathering?  It’s the wind...all in the wind.  Without the wind it is stale and boring...I like the wind.  Come Holy Spirit, come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

lessons on a motorcycle

Oh boy it has been a while again, not sure anyone minds though.  Lots of fun stuff going on this summer.   Also I have a few ideas on things I want to write about so I need to begin writing helps me, for sure.  I think today I will write a motorcycle leadership story.  Even if it is not good it sounds kind of cool.
Last week Barb and joined four other pastor couples for a 2 day motorcycle ride in southern Indiana.  We absolutely love riding with these couples and look forward to it when we make plans to ride. One couple is usually in charge of the rides we go on, making the plans for the routes we take and places to stop and visit.  We stayed in an awesome retreat center south of Indy and that was our home base for three nights.  It was great!  What I am going to write may come off as criticism of my friend the leader but it really is not, it is just how things struck me and how the Spirit had me apply the lessons learned.  I believe pretty much everything we do, even motorcycle rides, can be teaching and learning moments.  
Anyway after our first hot day of riding our host decided to take us to a restaurant that was on a lake.  It was beautiful and well worth the ride.  As we were leaving there it was looking like rain...our plan was to leave there and head downtown Indianapolis and ride around there and then head back to the house.  So we hit a four lane highway for a was getting dark and there was a lot of traffic.  Barb and I were the third bike in line as we rode towards what I thought was downtown.  We then got on a three lane road and were working our way through traffic...the leader wove in and out and we were following.  Finally I kind of gave up trying to speed through the traffic...trouble is the other two couples behind me stayed behind me as we watched the lead bikes kind of disappear over the horizon.  Now right here I have to confess I was angry and frustrated...I kept waiting to see the lead bikes pulled off the side of the road waiting for us...those who were following...nothing. The longer I road the more frustrated I got (my problem I think) not being able to figure out why, if we were going downtown, the leader would not make sure we were all there.  What is a leader without followers?  Finally I pulled off the highway to get gas and the others followed me I am the leader?  As we talked I discovered we were not going downtown after all but back to the house we were staying at...might have been nice to know that...turns out we were the only ones who did not know...nice.  Also turns out we were only about 15 miles from home and through the wonder of modern technology and cell phone GPs we knew how to get there.
As we headed down the road towards our destination we came to our road to turn off the highway on and there sat our leaders...waiting....miles ahead but waiting.  We got back to the ranch and I expressed my displeasure to the leader and he explained his thought process...I did not agree but at least I knew he remembered we were riding with him...kind of!  So we rode the next day and everything was fine...but I thought a bit more about the situation and these are some of my thoughts...the thoughts of a regular guy.  
First I must state the are not a leader if no one is following.  A leader leads someone, somewhere...If you go off and leave those following behind figuring they will catch up eventually...not least in my mind.  If they know where you are going sure...but if they think you are going one way and you end up going another...does not work.  If we knew we are heading back to the house it is much different, but I thought we were going to a new we had never been before...and the leader was no where to be found...hmmm.  
So the next lesson was one on communication, making sure everyone was on the same page...included in the discussion.  I felt totally lost and then discounted when I found out I was the only bike who did not know the change.  There were only five bikes total, should have been kind of easy to see that we all knew the destination.  If you are making changes...significant changes...communication is kind of important...too important to not try to make sure everyone knows where we are going.  If I have been to our destination before I might be able to find my way there...if not I am lost!
Then the last thought I had was as a leader...I have to make sure I care about those that are following...that I want them to get to the destination...with me.  I have to confess I could not have felt less cared for or about as I watched the tail lights disappear in the dark.  How could they not slow down?  Surely they will stop...nothing.  A leader, at least a leader in the church, has to care about those following.  Sometimes you have to look in your rear view mirror and make sure they are still there, following.  If they are not you have a choice to can stop and wait...or you can speed on ahead letting them figure it out as they go.  I hope I would stop...even go back if need see how they are doing.  
I was told we were trying to beat the rain back to the house...and we did!  Well truth be told I am pretty sure it has not rained there yet!  Probably could have walked back and beat the rain I guess:)  I think again as leader there are things out there, signs we read that may try to force us to move faster, to get ahead.  Well not at the risk of leaving people behind...again at least in the way I think...not saying I am right. Our leader is an excellent bike rider, way better than I, can go faster, turn quicker...all the  more reason to know who is following.  
He was excited about us being there...passionate to show us around...wanting us to have the best time possible...and we did...really.  Along the way I had a moment to learn a life lesson about leadership...maybe more than leadership it is about my role as a is just who I am...oh well.