Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line!

Pastor Joe leads the team back onto the Hudson Campus.
The Team crossed the finish line, completing their 400-mile challenge today at noon.  About 18 individuals joined the Team in Cleveland and at two stops along the way for the ride into the Hudson Campus of Christ Community Chapel.  About 50 family and friends welcomed the team back with tremendous enthusiasm.  Tony led the group in prayer, giving thanks for all of God's blessings through this challenge.  Below is a post that Tony wrote on the evening before the final ride to Hudson.

Responding to God’s Promptings

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

I have a confession to make.  I’m  shocked by how big this Micah 6:8 Bike Ride has become.  Pleasantly so, but shocked just the same.  That probably says a lot more about my faith than I would care to share, but there it is. 

I say that because I’m not really a guy who has a lot of great ideas.  I married a woman who has a lot of great ideas, but I am really more the kind of guy who lets other people think up ideas.  Even the story I have lived this past week was not really my idea, but I like it that God put it in my head.  Out of all the heads He could have chosen, I’m glad that He chose me. 

One of my favorite Joe Coffey sermon lines is, “Sometimes faith looks a lot like stupidity”.  I believe in the case of this bike ride idea it totally applies.  I want to tell you about it.  I hope, in some way, you find it inspiring.

Almost three years ago I hurt my back.  For you anatomy experts out there, I ruptured my disk between my L4/L5 area of my spine.  The injury resulted in a severe case of sciatica down my left leg.  I was in constant pain, which got progressively worse. To the extent that I could not stand for more than five minutes, and I could not exercise at all.   For over two years I tried everything to fix the problem.  Nothing worked.  This past December I had a neurosurgery procedure done to correct the problem.  The surgery followed nine months of inactivity from any physical exercise, and was followed by another sixty days of inactivity.  To say the least, I was grossly out of shape. 

In January God began to prompt me that He wanted me to ride my bike across Ohio and raise support for our local outreach partners.  I was a little confused.  It just didn’t make any sense.  Did I mention I was out of shape?  Aside from that, I didn’t even know if riding a bike might re-injure my back.  I didn’t know what roads I would use, and I didn’t even know if I could afford to take the time off from work.  Besides, I would probably only generate a thousand dollars in pledges.  So why bother?  This whole thing really made no sense.  It was a stupid idea.

God kept prompting.  Despite all the reasons listed above,  I became convinced that God wanted me to move forward.  So I did.  I won’t bore you with all the details of how this thing got to where it is today, but I would like to share a couple of thoughts. 

Before I do that, I want to say that every bit of praise, honor and glory for what has happened goes to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Frankly, I find myself getting more appreciation than I deserve.  I must admit I probably enjoy those comments more than I should, but really the only thing I did was move forward one step at a time.  And I can’t even take credit for that, because God was prompting and empowering it!  He continued to open doors.  All I did was walk through them, and He would open another.  Praise God!

Fast forward to this week.  After four hard days of riding I am convinced, that if I had done this alone I never would have finished the ride and nothing anywhere close to amazing would have happened.  Fortunately, God never had that in mind.  All He wanted was for His idea to get in motion.  He had the rest all planned.  All the reasons why I should not have moved forward didn’t matter a bit.

The scripture above calls us to be light in darkness.  I have to admit that I often feel my light is the size of a match.  Looking back it most certainly was in this case.  I never in my wildest imagination believed this thing would grow to this size.  What I did not see was that God was already preparing the tinder of all of your hearts.  When the match was struck, the blaze began.  And it has created a light for so many people. 

As I close I want to thank you all again for your tremendous generosity and faithfulness.  I cannot begin to describe how inspirational it has been to me personally.  I also want to encourage each of you to continue to be faithful to God’s call in your life, regardless of how small your light may seem or how “stupid” God’s promptings may appear.  If it is God’s calling, then He is in it.  And since He is in it, know that He is preparing others to respond and receive His light. 

In Christ’s love,



Jacquelyn Stager said...

To God be the glory! The whole thing was just amazing. May God bless every dollar that was given and extend His kingdom through these worthy ministries! I'm sure every one of the participants has a story to tell and I hope we get to hear some of them! God bless you all!!

Robert Stager said...


What a great object lesson your Bike Challenge has been for Pastor Mark Lile's sermon today! Mark likened our spiritual lives to kites that do not elevate through human effort. They only elevate when positioned to be lifted and empowered by the wind (God's Holy Spirit) to unexpected heights. It is indeed extremely humbling to see how God can use just a small idea or bit of faithfulness to achieve huge things for His glory. To Him be all the honor, glory and praise! Tony, thanks for being faithful, and willing to be lifted up, by our Mighty God!

Emmanuel said...

In Christ Alone!

Our God is an AWESOME God and we can do everything through Him who strengthen us.

God is good.

Mike Wise said...

Tony G, thanks for sharing. PG! So all we have to do is get the idea started and he'll do the rest? Well, we have to do the ride, too ;-)

Look forward to the "epilogue" in a few months...see what God did.

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