I can understand that people are going “Huh?”. In cycling terms, drafting makes riding easier (read prior blog, to better understand drafting Caught in the Draft). In cycling, you can train and ride alone, but during any competition you will be at great disadvantage without people riding around you. Many Christians are living their lives on their own. We may attend “church” but little interaction with others, let alone real communication. The New Testament tells us that “iron sharpens iron”, meaning that interaction with one another makes us better. These include times of fellowship, prayer and conversation. Cycling at its heart is actually a team sport and your life with Christ will go easier if you have others around you. Getting and giving instruction, prayer and encouragement is all part of being on the team.
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A Steve Parable: Bear with me, at least it’ll be new and not about farming (even though those are good too). This year, I have been doing more cycling than ever before, at least twice as much! Milea had encouraged me to enter into the Senior Games and race in the cycling portion and yeah, if you youngsters want to race I’ll give it a shot and we’ll see… I have rarely ever ridden with others, usually fitting in a ride on my way home after work or early on Saturdays as my schedule allowed. In cycling, as your speed increases, air resists your movement making it feel like the wind is always against you (You can feel this same effect while in you car. Stick your hand out the window going 10 mph feel the breeze gently going through your fingers, now increase your speed to 30 mph, feel the difference? Imagine what you would feel if your whole body were outside the window and not just your hand. That is what a cyclist feels all the time, unless they are pedaling with the wind and going relatively slow or better yet, in a strong wind and only going one way!) Ever see a group of cyclists together? Done right, the first rider is moving the air forward and around the other rider(s) behind, thus causing the riders behind him/her to expend less energy to obtain the same speed, as the number of riders increase so does the effect. It has been estimated that the second rider has a 10% drop in effort and as the number of riders increases (under the right conditions) the effort for riders down the line can be as low as 65% of the first rider. In my Senior Game races they allowed no drafting except in the longest race. Being already tired from the previous two races I hoped to get into a drafting situation. I didn’t believe I could handle staying with the fastest of the riders. I got behind them at the start and looked to find at least one other to ride with. For the first three miles I found one other that stayed right behind me, as I tired, I pulled out towards the middle of the road (a way of saying “Okay, its your turn”). At this point I was half thinking it was over and I was going to have to slow down. My breathing was hard and my legs felt heavy. As he took over the lead position and I got behind him, I found that within a mile I was breathing normally and I was feeling much better, even though we were maintaining the same speed as when I was in the lead.
Since the race, God has been talking to me about drafting in His Kingdom. There is a verse in the New Testament that I have never really liked. Paul writes, “Follow me, as I follow Christ”. I have always thought, “No, I want no man between Him and me. I will follow Christ.” Paul is actually talking about drafting! He is saying, “I will cut the way through, you keep going after the Christ but, do it right behind me where you won’t receive all the resistance that I do.” Now here is the key. Go after Jesus! Don’t make the person you are following your god or idol! Look at their life, what they do and how they do it. Use the good, throw out the bad. If there is nobody with spiritual energy around you, maybe you should just consider that it may be time to find someone ahead of you and catch up or just maybe, its your turn to draft for others. Two times, in my race, the guy I was riding with took off when it was his turn to lead and left me tired and behind. At the time, I called him a bugger, and had to decide to grit it out and catch up to get the drafting benefit, even though I was tired and did’t feel like putting out the effort.
Come with me and lets break the wind together for the benefit of those that will follow!
Today in church, our pastor was preaching on ridding yourself of those pesky, pesty thoughts that come shooting in, you know the type, I’m sure. As we turned to Peter to look at the verse that says “to gird up the loins of your mind”, I felt like I needed to look up the Greek word that was translated “loins”. One of the explanations of the word was that the loins was considered the procreative center. By plugging that definition into the verse, it would read like this, “strengthen the creative portion of your mind”! In today’s world we get distracted by our Facebook, computer games, texting, tweeting and then there is all the “normal” distractions of life. Creativity takes and is resigned to a long sleep in the back seat. As I pondered and talked to Milea, I could see that the Father wants us to be creative, because in those creative moments He can step in and help us in the native creativity that each of us are gifted in. It may be writing, art, music, cooking or inventing (or any number of things).
We often look for Him to step into our circumstances and help us in our life or money making activities, but reject a possible route for Him to get involved. How do you strengthen your “loins” (creativity)? You use it! You practice it! I know that the more I write, the quicker and more diverse ideas come. Pondering on ideas, for me anyway, brings better and sometimes unique solutions.
Exercise your creativity!