Lauren asked me to write something about myself as a way of introduction for the blog… like everything, I prayed for help from God. I struggle with this kind of stuff, but I woke this morning prayed again and started with my wake-up routine… Coffee, email, Facebook and just muddling through the internet sites I enjoy.
This morning I stopped at my email. As I read and meditated on her request I read a K-Love verse of the day email that I received this morning. The verse was Ezekiel 36:26 and I read on through verse 27 and God had answered my prayer and gave me a plan for my story… this is the verse…
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NLT)
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
That is my story… That is me… Some would call this even a coincidence, but I do not believe in coincidence. I believe God puts things in our path to guide us and assists us and that verse gave me the story that I will share.
Up until the fall of 2008, I was a workaholic, biker, and a would-be musician. Nothing I liked more than riding with my brothers with my knees in the breeze and enjoying the brotherhood that I found there in the motorcycle life. I supported veterans and the POW/MIA issue, participated in and organized charity and veteran awareness rides.
In late 2008 I had my first stroke. They were called mini strokes and much of it was related to a short fuse temper. This stroke really messed me up. My balance was affected and although I could still ride I could not ride in a pack of bikes nor could I do the things I had done. I retired from my club and limited my involvement with them to public events. One such event was the funeral of my friend and brother Ponytail Bob.
I rode the bike to Whitley City, Kentucky for the funeral and visitation. My wife Pat followed in the car. We got there on a Friday evening and Saturday was the funeral. We hung out with my brothers during the visitation and after a good night’s sleep, Pat and I went to the funeral.
I never was a fan of funerals. Especially biker funerals because I felt like the preacher saw this as maybe his only opportunity to preach to a bunch of bikers and he was going to give it his best shot. This one started no differently. When he took his jacket off I knew we were in for a long sermon and he did not disappoint.
Bob was a member of the Vietnam Vets motorcycle club. He had been ill in the VA for a while. After his sermon, Bob’s aunt Floatie (I am guessing on the spelling), talked about Bob coming to Jesus while in the VA Hospital. She also sang some old mountain Gospel songs. Her testimony of Bob finding Jesus touched me.
We buried Bob on our own. That is something different when you throw the dirt in taking turns. It is hard to describe. It is different in a very good way.
When we finished, we headed home. I do not remember how many of us there were but we rode out as a pack. Pat and a few others followed in cars.
Holy Spirit’s Tug
Not too far down the road one of the bikes had an issue and we stopped to fix it. I did not realize then that the Holy Spirit was tugging on my heart, but I suggested to Pat that we try out a church. The next day was Sunday and there was one right down the road from us.
Pat was a Christian, but I knew who God was and was glad he was my savior, but I did not really pay much attention to him. To say Pat was surprised was an understatement.
So, we went to Church at Ninevah Christian Church in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky just 2 miles from the house. I wore work clothes, (I was an engineer and had casual business clothes), to this church. They were growing so they met in the basement fellowship hall… the biggest room in the church.
I felt very comfortable there… everyone was very welcoming… But then Terry Cooper, the preacher, started his sermon and the discomfort set in. He was preaching the same sermon as the preacher at Ponytail’s funeral. He used some of the same scriptures. I was convicted and ready to join the church that moment. I was overwhelmed and during an hour-long sermon, I was changed. After the service, we made an appointment to interview Terry Cooper… yes, interview. He was going to be filling an important role and we wanted to make sure he was a good fit. Needless to say, he passed the interview.
We joined Ninevah the next week. I was 52 years old and God had placed a new heart in me. I changed in the blink of an eye. But like a baby learning to walk there were a lot of stumbles and staggers. But God has lead me through a lot. I am nearly 60 now and I love God and am so thankful in every circumstance.
The Strokes Continued
In 2014 I had another stroke. But I was still a stubborn workaholic. I tried to push through and continue to work. I suffered from headaches and it became more and more difficult to speak or handle pressure, but I kept pushing until August of that year when I had to go to the hospital for what they thought may have been another stroke. That event was disabling. But what a blessing it has been.
One door closed and others opened
Gifts I did not know I had come rushing in. My whole attitude changed… and that stubborn heart became supple. God gave me an eye for photography and gave me a heart for His Holy Word and a desire to write; both I was encouraged to continue by my speech therapist because they worked my brain and would help with focus, (something I still struggle with). The physical therapist also encouraged the photography for the exercise.
Some would say I have had a hard time. I say I have been blessed beyond measure. I was forced to slow down and I cannot do what I used to do, but I now have a new normal and God is at the center of that.
I still love my brothers though I do not see them as frequently because of other health issues. I still see my old work friends too. But my new normal has brought me closer to my God and my heart bursts with a desire to share what I see in the study of His Word and the glory of His creation.
Why this blog
That is what this blog is about. I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I am a child of God. Maybe the best thing to say about this blog is something I heard from a radio preacher… I cannot remember his name. “I am just another beggar showing other beggars where to find bread… and that bread is the bread of life found in God’s Holy Word.”