One of My Favorites

There is a lightly traveled road in south Texas. It is one of my favorite rides. This is especially true in spring when the normally dry terrain turns a little greener and has relatively abundant color and fragrance. It is an up-and-back route from Lagarto, through Dinero, to Swinney Switch on FM 534. It is a 32-mile round trip of gently rolling hills, farm and ranch land, and Nueces River valley. Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to ride it and decided to post a few photos.

It didn’t take long to find a magnificent spring-time bloom.

Then, just for fun, a little camera play…

Here are some typical views of the road. Notice the lack of traffic, the lack of urban development, and the lack of billboards and ads. This is why south Texas, spring-time rides are great.

The approach to the turn-around point involves a surprisingly (for this near the Gulf Coast) challenging climb out of the Nueces River valley. It is one mile long with an average slope of about 5%. There is a short, relatively flat portion at the midway point so the two sloped sections are a bit steeper than 5%. At the top of the climb is a chance to catch your breath before heading back.

Besides the empty roadway, there are other things to see along the way. Here is a very large tree that has obviously seen a lot of history.

People in south Texas get creative with their ranch gates.

A common site in this part of the world…

The topography is definately rolling. In some places, the views extend pretty far. The bright spot in the second photo below is the morning sun reflecting off Lake Corpus Christi.

On windy days, this is another place to pause for refreshment.

Another common south Texas land feature.

When I see this sign, I know I’m almost done.

…and finally, the trusty steed. This bike really helps me get out and enjoy some of the natural gifts God has provided.

Another excellent day for a ride.

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Lessons Learned

The Bible class titled “Practical Christianity” has been completed. Some of us have been challenged to make changes in our lives. As if the word “practical” really means to apply the principles in our life. We have continued our private study and discussions of applications outside the classroom.

Someone suggested that we try to help other interested christians and that we find a way to concisely convey the lessons we learned. Here is my first attempt at a brief overview.

Our American culture (even within churches) and Jesus are much more different than we originally thought. Remember, the Jews didn’t get it, the multitudes didn’t get it, and His closest disciples didn’t get it. Does the description of the early church in Acts characterize us? Huge difference.

Our resources (money, time, physical energy, and emotional energy) are wasted on vain, worldly things. We are called to be good stewards and to bear fruit.

Drastic changes are needed in the way we live. We are called to be holy (set apart from common things for a special purpose).

Given our inherent limits, we must choose that which is better over that which is good. We are called to be wise.

Start small with a single step…and then take another. We are called to be like God and it requires that we learn about Him and, through a growing process, begin to think like Him and act like Him. If the box below represents our heart and the way we live, we’ve got to increase spiritual living and reduce worldly living.

To be the light of the world, we need to be very different from darkness. Get your sunglasses ready, I’m ready to shine.

Windy Days

The good news is that there have been three consecutive days of riding. The bad news is that the wind has been blowing…hard.

Pedaling into it has required real effort even to go slowly. It has been as if climbing mountains and quite a workout. I guess really, that is not bad news. It is good news, and I’m thankful, because…it was another great day for a ride.

A Few Bicycle-Related Photos

As suggested from the last post, there is more to report from the trip to north California. Today, it is a few photos of bikes…because they amuse me, that’s why.

Here’s one above the Olympic Bicycle Shop in Tahoe City, CA.

Also from Tahoe City, here’s a couple inside Rosie’s Cafe. There were bikes EVERYWHERE in Rosie’s. That is my kind of ambiance.

Finally, here is a sign in Walnut Creek, CA…right around the corner from Rivendell Bicycle Works world headquarters.

I didn’t get photos of the many cyclists seen in all of the locations visited. However, it was interesting to note that cycling seems more commonplace there than here. I wonder why that is…

Contrasts

There might be more to report later, but for now…a brief study of contrasts.

It was a business trip (mentioned in last post) that was extended by a couple of days. It allowed spending some time with my oldest daughter and accomplishing two of her objectives. One objective was to see some snow.

The other objective was to see the Pacific Ocean.

So with a single very brief trip, we were able to experience some major contrasts. We had cold and warm, high elevation and sea level, light and dark, and of course mountain snow and warm, west coast beach. So regarding the objectives, we have a “check” and another “check”…and a job well done.

Sacramento

Sacramento is the first phase of a business/vacation trip. After arriving and noticing a river and park next door to the hotel, preparation for tomorrow was delayed for 30 minutes. A little exploration seemed in order.

A bike path runs along the levee that parallels the river. I guess that is part of what they do with the high taxes Californians pay.

Down closer to the river a road runs through the park and trees.

A bridge crosses the river.

It was a great day for a ride. I could tell from watching the guys riding by. Their grins were bigger than mine.

Why…?

“Why don’t we do what we know we should do?”

…was a question that was asked repeatedly in our Wednesday night class on Practical Christianity. It was phrased many different ways to apply specifically to different aspects of living like God has told us to live. However, to summarize a key element of our study during the quarter, it essentially can be phrased as above.

Numerous answers were offered. It seems we kept trying to explain why or how what we have seen in others, and experienced in ourselves, keeps happening. It might be, for some of us, we seek to understand as a kind of rationalization of our behaviour…as if there is some kind of justification for what we do. There is no such justification.

To borrow a quote from Star Wars character, Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try”. This fictional example might help us step back from avoiding the real issue and into simple reality. Even more to the point, God Himself says,

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)

It is time to shift from analysis to action. It is time to set our minds on the things of the Spirit…and do.