Saturday, July 25, 2009


"Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom."
-2 Corinthians 3:17

Some of you may remember that Dan and Cindi Webber gave me ten chicks for my retirement. My assortment includes two Red Sexlink Chickens, four Rhode Island Red Chickens, three Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens, and one Speckled Sussex rooster. It turns out that we also have one more rooster that, I think, is a Rhode Island Red. All ten of these chickens have been handled, passed around, petted, and hugged by six grandkids. Some have even been named. I named the rooster Solomon because of his many wives. Now that we have another rooster, Gideon, Solomon has to share. I'm not sure how he feels about that but he'll get over it sooner or later. The grandkids have been naming the hens and so far only two have been named: Freckles and Caramel. I realize that those are not biblical names but Freckles and Caramel really don't care. Neither do the grandkids.
Anyway, Thursday I called Dan to find out whether or not he had allowed his chickens (from the same group) to go outside. The outside I'm talking about is outside without being in a wired and protected area. It's the outside of hawks, dogs, and wide open spaces. He said that he had turned his loose from time to time so I decided to give my chickens some freedom as well.
Then the fun began! I opened the chicken coop door and thought I'd see a ten-chicken mass exodus. Not exactly. For a short time they stood and looked at the open door. When they did decide to check things out Solomon showed his masculinity and stepped up to the door and looked outside. About three seconds later he turned and ran full speed to the other end of the coop. Again he came to the door and ran to the back. Several more times he came to the door, looked at freedom, chickened out and ran for it!
Soon some of the hens did the same thing. It must be a The Sky Is Falling kind of chicken instinct but they all did it. Maybe they knew what could be out there and were simply trying out their speed in case it was needed out there in the wilds. I laughed and thought they would never exit the coop.
Finally, Solomon emerged from the coop and stayed on the front step. A hen joined him but they would not leave the step. Solomon cautiously peered over the edge of the step until he finally had enough courage to take the leap. As soon as he took the plunge for freedom others followed.
Some of the chickens just would not come out so Trey, one of our grandsons, decided to help. He would go into the coop, pick up a chicken and take it outside. Several times he took one chicken out and two would run back inside. This was getting funnier and funnier as the chickens would run inside to the shelter they had known since they moved in on Monday, April 20th.
Today is three days since the herd was given freedom. Since Thursday things have changed a bit. The herd now goes farther from the coop but they still stay close retaining their herd status. Maybe they somehow know that there's strength in numbers but they're still a bunch of chickens, right?
This reminds me of some of us who call ourselves Christians. Sometimes God throws open a door and we stand back and look at it. Even as we get closer to the open door we still just stand there and look. Remember Moses in Deuteronomy 34? Moses went up to Mount Nebo and climbed Pisgah Peak. From there he saw the whole Promised Land. God said to Moses in verse 4b, "I have now allowed you to see it, but you will not enter the land." Sad, isn't it? The problem for Moses wasn't that he wouldn't go through but he couldn't go through. What makes it worse is the fact, according to verse 7, that, "Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever." He was in great shape too!
Wouldn't it be something to be in great shape at 120 years of age and have God open a door to a brand new adventure? Sad thing is, for many of us, even if we could go through we wouldn't. What if the age was 18, or 24, or 37, or 49, or 61, or 80? Would we still stand at the door of security and safety and say no to the freedom and adventure God reveals?
Think about it. As a teenager, David's door was opened when he went to the battlefield. He ran through it. Nehemiah's door was opened when he took on a project of mammoth proportions and he wasn't even a general contractor: he was a king's cupbearer! He went through the door and rebuilt walls and gates. Gideon was hiding in a winepress when the angel of the Lord called a coward to become a commander. Timidly and with testing he went through. Paul was blinded but still went through his door. Elijah was an army of one but went through. Noah had to build a boat for a storm that was in the forecast. He probably didn't have a clue about what rain was but sink or swim he went through. Mary was a teenager when her door opened to the voice of, "Fear not, Mary . . ." She stepped through and in a barn one evening presented the world with the Savior.
So what's your door? Is there an open door before you right now? Maybe it's a move, or a job, or a mystery. Maybe an adventure, or a relationship, or a difficult challenge. Are you gonna stand and look at it? Are you gonna turn and run for the safety of the comfort zone where you've lived for so long? What's it gonna be, a great adventure or business as usual?
The truth is, God sets before us open doors from time to time and we back off. The thrill of the adventure is pushed aside and in its place we take, everyday, routine, boredom. Maybe it's easier, safer, and makes more sense to go with the common routine of everyday life but that's not always God's plan. All you have to do is read the Bible and you can see the men and women who went through God's open doors. They were anything but routine! They were giant slayers, wall-builders, fire-walkers, lion-tamers, boat builders, water-walkers, miracle workers, loners, and run-of-the-mill folks who took Door Number One!
Jesus said to his disciples, "You are truly my disciples, if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 3:17, "Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom."
There you have it! God opens the door, freedom to do his will is out there, and we stand and look! C'mon, what's it gonna take? Begging, a push maybe, or a tackle and drag? Well it's not going to happen that way. It has to be an individual choice. Otherwise . . . you know, it won't happen.
Is the door open? What are you gonna do?

That's All Folks! . . . but just like the movies, we've got to roll the credits!

Comments of Encouragement, Prayers, & Humor!
(Not in alphabetical or any other kind of order.)
Marsha Hall, Rebecca Holder, Vicki Colquitt, Mike Dorough, Sharon Reid, Bill Goodling, Carly Decker, Margaret Shettel, Jan Jernigan, William Ricketts (Billy to me), Todd Anders, Sarah Milliner, Ericka Warren, Jessica Stephenson (Jess the Mess), "Piano Player", Beverly Miner, Summer Anders, Arlan Zimmerman, Doug Canup, Dwaine Flemmens, Thomas Weldon, Judd whose wife works with Sarah, Cheryl Waddell, Cindy Roberts, Carol Franklin, Jake Brindle, Nancy "Game Plan" Miller, Reg Gattie, Cathi Miller, Betty Bennett, Tom & Dottie Edge, Amy Frierson, Susan Bogardus, Evelyn Myrick, Connie Carmony, Tracy Thompson, Lesley Scott, Christy "Purple" Price, Alex Thaxton, Linda young, Lyndie Miller, Michael Shane Ash, Lori Gudde, Robert & Becky Konemann, Jeff Parham, Tierney (Duluth MN), Deborah Ingram, Jerry Haas, Sam Brittain, Jennifer Goins, George Paul, "Super Mom", Evelyn Hanes, Janet Swanson, Carol "Super Cooper" Brannon, Patti "TeaTime" Warren, Carey Stiles, Melissa Pepin, Bob Wentworth, Lisa Peacock, Richard Frierson, Judy Carter, "ana's world", Bill Carroll, Janice Ray, Pam Whitfield, Greg Ingram, Debby Weldon, Troye Sadler, Melissa Bone, Gail Mauldin, Kelly Brown, Thiago Gonclaves, Scott Willis, Peggy Ricketts, Sam Cash, Paul Miller, and Kimberly Dobbs (and anyone I missed).

Best Sci-Fi Comments!
Todd Anders (Lexington, Kentucky).

Doug & Paula Canup.

Surprise Pre-Paid Lodging!
Carol Franklin

Thule Luggage Carrier!
Billy Ricketts (We could not have transported all our junk without this).

Dwaine and Sarah Flemmens (Red Lion, Pennsylvania).
Jim and Joyce Goins (Xenia, Ohio).
Doug, Cindy, and Keith Dunkelberger (Bradford, Vermont).
Dave and Kim Clifton (Van Wert, Ohio).

Surprise Visitors Along the Way!
Carey, Chris, Ryan, Trey, Drew, and Maddie Stiles (Lone Prairie, Minnesota).
Lydia Parham (Lone Prairie, Minnesota).
Katie Milliner (Boston, Massachusetts).

Visitors Along the Way!
Sarah Milliner (Minneapolis, Minnesota).
Jim and Joyce Goins (Markle, Indiana).
Jane Clifton (Markle, Indiana).
Jennifer Goins, Lori and Carver Gudde (Astabula, Ohio).
Cathi Miller and Margaret Dixon (Findlay, Ohio).
Barry and Sarah Milliner (Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts).
Carly Decker (Boston, Massachusetts).
David and Judie Goins (Duluth, Minnesota).
Paul Miller (Boston and Salem, Massachusetts).
Donnie and Linda Shettel (Red Lion, Pennsylvania).
Bill and Joanne Goodling (Red Lion, Pennsylvania)

Cool Artists!
Dennis Roghair, World Champion Chainsaw Artist (Hinckley, Minnesota - Located between Taco Bell and the Dairy Queen).
Wallace "Wally" Keller, Iron Sculptures (Mount Horeb, Wisconsin).

Great Food!
Stephen Prosser (Fountain City, Wisconsin - served us rhubarb crisp and ice cream for breakfast. Also bought us lunch after riding with us for twenty-five miles).
Donna Biggins (owner of Brass Rail in Grandy, Minnesota).
*Lisa Kostopoulos (owner of "the good table restaurant" - Cape Elizabeth, Maine).
Shafer-Saloon & Pizza Grill (Shafer, Minnesota).
Gateway Cafe (Plummer, Idaho).
Doxie's Diner (Wilber, Washington).
Greg and Rochelle Parl (Chevron Station, Twisp, Washington).
VIPS Family Restaurant (Watseka, Illinois).
See blog posts because I'm sure I missed many others like Eugene's Pizza in Glasgow, Montana!

Carman's Ice Cream (Chocolate Peanut Butter) & Gingerbread Waffles!
Nelda Flemmens.
Dwaine and Sarah Flemmens.

License Plate Contributors!
Bill Goodling (Pennsylvania).
Jane Clifton (Ohio).
Todd Anders (Kentucky and Florida).
The Guy on the 2nd Floor Porch (Maine).
The Guy at the Yard Sale (Vermont).

Bike Shops You Should Check Out!
Pro Cycle (Mount Horeb, Wisconsin).
North Division Bicycle Shop - Michael Conley - owner (Spokane, Washington).
Bicycle Butler - Tim and Kathy Arnold - owners (Spokane, Washington).
*The Bike Shop - Sarin Molnar - owner (Okanogan, Washington).
Knicker Biker - Travis Feller (Great Falls, Montana).
Bill's Bike Shop (Mendota, Illinois).
Bicycle Mechanic - Tom Connolly (Harris, Minnesota).
Competitive Gear (Erie, Pennsylvania).

Best Bike Shop of Them All!
Sunshine Cycles - Jimmy Marbut - owner (Athens, Georgia).

Great Directions and Routing!Bold
Jim Goins (Xenia, Ohio).
Barry Milliner (Bogart, Georgia).
Noma Wyllson, Support Specialist, Tonasket Police Department (Tonasket, Washington).
Lee J. Turner, Postmaster (Shafer, Minnesota).
Ron and Marjoe Richards (Coulee Dam, Washington).
Chris and Debby Weldon, (Snoqualmie, Washington).

Seattle Tour Guides!
Chris, Debby, and Thomas Weldon.

Best Rainy-Day $4 Sweatshirt in America!
Heidi Henkes - The Marker on Main (Cochrane, Wisconsin).

Total Ride Planner, Driver, Packer & Unpacker, and Everything Else!
Margaret Shettel

Assistants to the Total Ride Planner, Logistics and Lodging!
Carey Stiles
Sarah Milliner

Jonathan Wentworth.

Support Team!
Prince Avenue Student Ministries (Bogart, Georgia).
Prince Avenue Baptist Church (Bogart, Georgia).

Special Creative FX!
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!


  1. I truly will miss the blog! You always seemed to make me smile, laugh and even cry each day that I read it. I'm so proud of what you accomplished. I hope you get do another bike trip in the future! Mom sure was a great travel director and I know that you two had a great time! Love you!!

  2. Ditto what Sarah said! It was so much fun starting my day reading of your adventures from the day before and getting my devotion in at the same time. I really learned alot. I looked forward to it each day. Mom and I enjoyed visiting with you all in Findlay and enjoyed meeting Jonathan. We love you guys and look forward to our next visit.


  3. Hey -- After reading the chicken blog -- I thought that meant you would keep writing! Come on, your youth group just expanded - to a larger age group with no limits! (or budgets, committees, or calendars) Don't stop your blog! Seems like some wise retired youth pastor once said, "Is the door open? What are you going to do?" Chicken??? Love you all! Gale

  4. Who knew Mom was a heckler?!? She HAS been hanging out with Dad too long! However- she has a point! Blog on, Barry L! Blog on!

  5. Love the credits Barry! You're so creative!

  6. Like everyone else, I will miss the blog. Maybe you could just do it like once a week for a couple of months to wean us off gradually instead of having to go cold turkey.