Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"From here to there to Scully Square. When I get back, I'll pull your hair."
-Our driver for Upper Deck Super Tours, when he was a kid, kids used this rhyme to choose who would be it for tag

"If at first you don't succeed . . . try playing second."
-Our guide at Fenway Park

"If at first you don't succeed . . . skydiving may not be for you."
-Our guide at Fenway Park

Because today was all tourism, I'm using a few of pictures of over three hundred pictures Sarah and I took. It was a good day but this tourism stuff is more tiring than pedaling across the United States of America. It's much busier too. Anyway, I'll let the photos speak for our day in Boston.
Jesus didn't have a camera but he sure used pictures to explain the principles of right living. In Mark 4:30, "Jesus asked, 'How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?'"
In verses 33 and 34, Mark says, "Jesus used many such stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they were able to understand. In fact, in his public teaching he taught only with parables, but afterwards when he was alone with his disciples, he explained the meaning to them."
Matthew 13:34 - 35 says, "Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these (see verse 33) when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled the prophecy that said,
'I will speak to you in parables. I will explain mysteries hidden since the creation of the world.'"
What were the results of the stories Jesus told? Look at Matthew 13:53-54, "When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was astonished and said, 'Where does he get his wisdom and his miracles?'"
I often wonder why we as church people feel like we need to always go deeper all the time. Jesus even taught that the way to the Kingdom was easily found only by those who came as little children. Wow, is it that easy? Can that be right? Doesn't he mean we need to believe and think as theologians? Certainly not as children! But that's what he said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).
Kids love stories. So do we. Think about the last time a principle of God really stuck in your heart and/or mind. I'm not a betting person but I'd venture to say a story was involved. Think about the last time you sat on the edge of your seat (or pew) in a church service, glued to the teaching. Was a story involved? Some of you, maybe many of you, answered yes to that little quiz, right? Stories stick!
I've heard of people criticizing preachers or teachers because the teaching was full of stories. Sounds like Jesus to me. Next time your pastor or guest speaker tells a story, maybe you should listen for the Biblical principle or application instead of looking for the deeper teaching. Most people who need more and more teaching usually don't do what is taught anyway. (The Pharisees knew very much about the Scriptures. Jesus blasted them in Matthew 23.) I guess my Biblical pet peeve is that we Christians don't do what we've learned no matter how deep we've gone. "Jesus took the complex and made it simple. We take the simple and make it complex" (Anonymous). Maybe we should work on the doing and forget about the depth.
I have taught students for years that we could quit studying the Bible today, do what we already know, and change the world around us. That would make a great story! It would make a great picture too.
Just do the Bible . . . the simple stuff.

Monday, June 29, 2009


"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had."
-Philippians 2:5

Surprise, surprise! When will the surprises end? Today the crew went to Logan International Airport to pick up Carly Decker and we did. Because of the traffic in Boston and because of being in downtown Boston we decided to take the subway system. Great idea and it worked well. At Logan International we waited and welcomed Carly when she arrived. Then the surprise . . . Katie, our granddaughter had come with Carly. Another reunion, another surprise! We have had a number of surprises and they have made the whole trip more special.
This was a tourist kind of day and we sure have done some tourist-ing. We did it the easy way too by purchasing tickets for Upper Deck Super Tours. All we did was get on board and someone else did all the driving, all the honking, all the parking, all the squeezing in and out of traffic, and and all the talking to us about Boston for the whole trip.
There is lots of history here. We visited John Hancock's grave, Paul Revere's grave, and the grave of Ben Franklin's parents. We saw Boston Commons, Chinatown, the Old State House, the Federal Reserve Building, Boston Harbor, Trinity Church, Old North Church, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Longfellow Bridge, Bunker Hill Monument, the Theater District, and Dunkin Donuts on every corner. (Dunkin Donuts here is like Starbuck's in Seattle!) I suppose the place that meant the most to me was the old cemetery where we saw the graves of great revolutionaries who fearlessly put their lives on the line to make us free. For me, it was a short time of standing on hallowed ground. For these men I am grateful. These men thought of more than themselves when they did what they did.
We finished the day, the seven of us (Barry, Sarah, Katie, Carly, Jonathan, Margaret, and me), by going to supper at Legal Sea Foods. The food was great and we had a fun time. On the place mats in Legal Sea Foods I noticed the restaurant's pledge. It begins with "We Pledge:"
To inspect and prepare the freshest, highest quality fish and shellfish.
To assure you of a clean and comfortable environment.
To promote diversity and respect for all human differences.
To provide prompt, friendly, and courteous service by a knowledgeable and highly-trained staff.
To be sensitive to special dietary needs and provide a list of ingredients upon request.
To deliver all foods and beverages, prepared to guest satisfaction, in a timely and efficient manner.
To feature a wine list that represents the best overall value in America.
To respond in a rapid, sensitive and non-confrontational manner to requests that will enhance your dining experience.
To provide you with an experience that will encourage you to return.
The Pledge was then signed by the company president, Roger Berkowitz.
I thought about that pledge as I read it and wondered how many Christians have some sort of pledge, some purpose statement, or some Biblical guidelines by which to live. What about churches? Do churches have some list of standards by which to live and interact with those outside the church? What if our purpose was to provide encouragement, purpose, love, and hope to enhance the living experiences of people who live around us? Even other Christians need that!
Philippians 2:1-4 sure could be the foundation of a Pledge for believers.
We pledge:
To encourage you.
To comfort you.
To provide spiritual fellowship.
To be tender-hearted and sympathetic to you.
To agree wholeheartedly with you, loving you, with one heart and purpose.
To be generous with all we have and are.
To make you a priority.
To be humble servants with willing hearts.
To think of you as better than ourselves.
To be sincerely interested in you and what you are doing. We'll even listen more than we'll talk!
To provide you with an experience that will encourage you to return.
I know what you may be thinking. That all sounds good but how do you do it? The secret is in verse 5, "Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had." That's it, that's the secret. Since attitude determines actions, if we change our attitudes that will change our actions. And, if our attitude becomes like that of the Lord Jesus the actions will do likewise. It's sure worth the try.
Someone once said:
"To live above with those we love, oh that will be glory.
To live here below with those we know, that's a different story!"
We all have folks in our lives who we have to love. We really don't want to love them, or maybe even like them but . . . if we adopt a pledge based on the attitude of Jesus, all that will change. Sure, we all have our list of hard-to-love-people, right? What if . . . we pledged? Is it worth the try? I believe it is.
And . . . when you think about it, you may be on somebody else's list.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


"Kindness is a sincere desire for the happiness of others; goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness."
-Jerry Bridges

"God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them."
-Author unknown, texted to me by Ericka Warren

"The red Sharpie line now goes completely across the United States of America."

Barry, Sarah, Jonathan, Margaret, and I are now in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. We just ate supper at Maggiano's Little Italy and I feel like I should probably ride my bike back to Washington state! I ate way too much!
Today was a good day but riding in a car on I-95 and in Boston makes me want to get back on my bike, find some back roads again, and pedal home! The pace is much slower on a bike and out in the country!
On the way to Boston we did some sight-seeing in Kennebunkport, Maine and Salem, Massachusetts. In Kennebunkport we ate lunch at Allison's Restaurant and went by the Bush residence. In Salem we ate ice cream with Paul Miller, walked around in Salem, Massachusetts (witch trials) and arranged to meet Paul for supper tomorrow here in Boston.
Now, here in the big city, with traffic noises down below and lights flashing outside the window I am reminded of an illustration Jesus used in Luke 15:11-24. You know what it is . . . a boy goes to his dad and insists on getting his inheritance now. The kid gets his share and takes off for a spending spree in what I believe was done in a nearby city. The Bible says the kid, ". . . took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living." Sounds like what a boy could do in a big city, doesn't it? I'm just imagining this, but where else would he go to spend what was most likely a large sum of money on wild living?
The young son has his day, flashes his cash, and is soon surrounded by fair-weather friends and good looking girls. When the cash runs out, so do his so-called friends. Now his money, friends, and pride are gone and he has nothing left, nothing at all. So a Jewish boy asks a farmer if he could be a servant and feed the farmer's pigs . . . a Jewish boy feeding pigs. This kid was so far down that even pig slop looked good enough to eat.
"When he finally came to his senses . . ."
He realizes he blew it when he left home and took off for the bright lights, loud music, and wild living of the big city and decides to face the music, eat humble pie, and head back home. Home. That's right, home.
The kid doesn't realize it but his dad is waiting on the front porch for this very moment. Dad is waiting to see his son walking down the lane toward home. When dad sees the kid, the Bible says, dad " . . . ran to his son . . . ." Because of his love for his son, this dad could not contain himself so he ran full speed to embrace and love his runaway boy. And the boy? After the hugging and greeting and loving he found everything he was looking for . . . when he got back home, when he got back to his Father.
I'm headed home. Fortunately I'm not headed home after blowing it in a big city. I'm not headed home after a disagreement with my dad. I'm headed home after a great adventure, the trip of a lifetime. But let me tell you something, everything I need is at home. There's nothing here in the big city or anywhere else that I need or even want. I'm ready to be home. My Father has provided everything I need . . . at home.
Eternally, I'll one day go home. When I do, waiting at the end of the lane I'll meet my Father who will welcome me with incredible, unconditional love unlike anything I have ever experienced. I'll never have a need again . . . when I get home. When I get to the Father.
Doesn't matter where we are, he's waiting for us.
All of us.

Pedal Day 52 - Photos!

Technology finally cooperated so here are some photos from yesterday's finale!

1 & 2 - Jonathan and I doing the traditional front-tire-in-the-ocean thing. We are happy campers (well, riders).
3 - Nancy & Cliff Kenney, owners of Cottage Designs in Ocean Park, Maine. You must go there. You don't even have to buy anything, just go to meet Nancy and Cliff.
4 - The bikes loaded and ready for a tune up and some rest. Jimmy and Sunshine Cycles, we're headed your way.
5 - The "Tourist Poster Child" at L. L. Bean.
6 - Downtown Portland, Maine.
7 - "King Lobstah" in the harbor, Portland.
8 - In the harbor, Portland.
9 - The foggy Atlantic Ocean at Cape Elizabeth.
10 - Waiting for our seafood at The Lobster Shack at Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
11 - Barry and Sarah came up here for two reasons: 1) to see us and, 2) to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
12 - Jonathan and the lobstah he's dreamed about for fifty-two days!

"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" (Philippians 4:8).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pedal Day 52 - Finish!

"The best things in life are the people we love, the places we've seen, and the memories we've made along the way."
-Plaque in Cottage Designs, Ocean Park, Maine

"Enjoy the journey. Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."
-Plaque in Cottage Designs, Ocean Park, Maine

The bikes are now loaded on the Explorer waiting for the ride home to Georgia. Like horses that have been ridden hard, they are now headed for the barn for a well-deserved grooming and rest. My bike will go directly to Sunshine Cycles in Athens for a major tune-up when I get back. I have a feeling Jonathan's bike will show up there as well.
Our ride this morning was about ten miles longer than expected thanks to Maine D.O.T. (They don't spend a whole lot of money on road signs here.) and Google.maps. It was still a good ride even though it got us to the ocean about an hour later than planned. Ocean Park is the town where we finished the ride.
At Cottage Designs, a great gift shop in town, we met Nancy and Cliff Kenney who own the shop. They were very interested in our ride so we talked for quite some time. They gave us a super welcome to the Atlantic Ocean and Ocean Park, Maine. Thank you.
Jonathan, Barry, and I cleaned the salt water off of our front tires, loaded the bikes, and came back to the Wyndham Hotel in Portland to get cleaned up and off to lunch and whatever else we decided to do today.
Today we visited the L. L. Bean Outlet in Freeport. Wow, is that a big place! They have anything a person could imagine too: canoes, bikes, shoes, knives, guns, shirts, candy, rope, whatever! We did buy a few things and the prices would make you envious.
This evening we went to The Lobster Shack on Cape Elizabeth. It's a small, small place right on the ocean but the crowds are large and the food is some of the best we've had. Jonathan has been talking about lobster for the whole trip and tonight he met his match. He and Barry took on the challenge of eating lobster and they enjoyed each and every bite! I think when we get home we may all sign up for Weight Watchers!
Sometime tomorrow we will drive to Boston for a few days and then zigzag home through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky (and all the states in between).
Today I thought about the ride and all the things for which I'm thankful. There are many things on the list. Everything from pedaling through God's creation to the people we've met. There's also food, fun, mountains, oceans, wildlife, snow, your comments, and the list goes on almost without end! It will be an extremely long list whenever I do it.
"No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Sorry, no photos this evening. The technical stuff is not responding. I'll try later.
Be thankful. I am.

Pedal Day 52 - ATLANTIC!!!!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish."
-Hebrews 12:1-2

At somewhere around 9:50 A.M. Jonathan and I dipped our front tires in the Atlantic Ocean at Ocean Park, Maine. I will give you all the details later today after we go to lunch, do some sightseeing, shopping, and go to supper (We sure do eat a lot, don't we?). You are loved and appreciated!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pedal Day 51 - MAINE!

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
-T. S. Eliot, texted to me by Ericka Warren

"Worship is not just what I do at church -- worship is what I do."
-Rick Warren

"And I suppose that if all the other things Jesus did were written down, the whole world could not contain the books."
-John 21:25

"Wow! I believe all those books are in heaven . . . and if they aren't, I'll ask Jesus!"

We're in Maine, less than 23 miles from Old Orchard Beach where we'll put our front tires in the Atlantic. I can smell the ocean already! Needless to say, I am thoroughly excited and a bit overwhelmed. We are with Sarah and Barry in Portland (Maine) for tonight and tomorrow night. We'll do some sightseeing and eating before we head Boston on Sunday. I think Paul Miller is going to meet us in Boston and be our guide to good food and sightseeing. We are looking forward to seeing him and having a super weekend.
Jonathan and I started pedaling around 7:00 A. M. and arrived in Sanford at 12:05 this afternoon just in time to meet Margaret at Jerry's Cafe. We pedaled 63 miles today. After we ate lunch we packed up the bikes and gear and headed to Portland.
The roads today ranged from extremely smooth to brutal! We are not sure whether or not to award the Worst Roads Award to Illinois or New Hamphire. Even Maine gave us some major craters!
Our license plate count went up by one today. We found a New Hampshire tag. We also found a Maine tag but it was so beat up we didn't take it. We are getting picky, aren't we? We still need Idaho, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Maine!
This evening we ate at "the good table restaurant" in Cape Elizabeth. We had the best time of any meal on the ride. The owner, Lisa Kostopoulos, and our waitress, Mellissa were absolutely the best anywhere. Lisa kept checking on us and talked with us about our trip. (Barry had to correct her New England pronunciation of Vidalia.) Mellissa kept us in stitches while she served our table like we were the only people there. And . . . to top things off, the food was incredibly good! If you ever get to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, you must eat at "the good table."
I believe the reason we had such a great time is that Lisa and Mellissa love people. I'm sure business is important to them but I came away feeling like we really mattered. It seemed important to them that we had not just a meal but an enjoyable dining experience. We did! Lisa and Mellissa made our day and we want to say thank you!
When I think back over this evening's experience it all reminds me of Romans 12:9-11, "Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the lord enthusiastically."
People from all professional backgrounds could learn much hanging around "the good table." The folks there love what they do and do what they love!
It shows!
Oh . . . the bottles on the table? Root beer!