I have made it a habit over the years on my bike tours that are a week long + to attend a local church if it’s possible. Having spent the night with the Rieke’s, it was great to go to the Hood River Alliance Church today.
Pastor Steve Grace (yes, that is his name) shared about “Epic Failure” using the story of Paul the Apostle. He was zealous to defend his faith, Judaism, against the new “Christians.” He thought he was honoring God and doing 100% right, but he was 100% going in the wrong direction! Jesus himself appeared to him as recorded in Acts 9. Following are highlights from the sermon:
Acts 9:3-6- Paul had an agenda and a plan, but God initiated a divine intervention. Sometimes our failures are God’s way to stop us in our tracks; don’t run from these moments. Linger there and let God minister to you. Generally when we fail, we look to blame others or run away. We need to be asking, “what does God want me to learn in the midst of this? God is working on our story and we want to deflect it to “what about them?”
Paul said. ” it pleased God to reveal His son to me” “he took hold ( seized) of me”
Paul realizes in this moment he thought he was on God’s side, and realizes he was on his own side. We are great at creating our own false narratives.
So if you didn’t get to church today, there you have it!
After church, we went back to the house and had a bite to eat, then I got to ride bikes with Mylee before hitting the road.
I headed out of town at noon and had to get on the freeway for a dozen miles, but thankfully there were wide shoulders and…wait for it…wait for it… I HAD A TAILWIND!!!
I got off on Wyeth Bench Rd, had a steep climb, then headed down to Cascade Locks. Two years ago, I was in this same spot, doing a bike tour to try to save Yucaipa Christian Elementary School. I’m thankful that Yucaipa Christian Preschool and Kindergarten continues on doing eternal work in little lives, even though we made the tough decision to close down the elementary portion. But God has moved me on to ride for my new school, Liberty Christian School of the Tri-Cities. Liberty is an amazing school that is moving forward, educating the next generation to impact their world for Christ!
I got on the Historic Columbia River Highwat State Trail- a beautiful stretch of mixed bike path and old Highway 30. At one point there is a stairway with a wheel groove built along the side to push your bike up- but it was a bear with a fully loaded outfit- I needed an elevator!
The route parallels the river and takes you through full canopies of foliage:
At one point, as I was transitioning through a freeway exit, I observed a couple flagging cars down and asking for tools. They weren’t having any luck, so I stopped to see what they needed. I had a crescent wrench and small channel locks that was just what he needed. So I hung out for a while and he was able to get the car going. It was able saying to be able to help a motorist with my bicycle supplies!
After about 15 miles of following the State Trail and Historic Highway, the road turns upward and climbs to the rim of the gorge, the highlight being the Vista House:
After topping out on the rim, it was a quick descent through little hamlets of Corbett and Springdale and finally flattening out back at River level in Troutdale. I am staying tonight with a good family friend, Terri, and her son Malachi. Actually, I’m hangin’ with Malachi and watching “Everyone Loves Raymond.” When I arrived, Terri handed me a couple slices of (really good) pizza, then headed out for her 12 hour work shift, doing care for the elderly. We will visit when she gets back tomorrow morning before I hit the road again.
What a Sunday: Fellowship with new friends and sit under a teaching from God’s Word; reflecting on its application as I pedaled throughout the day, especially as I crossed paths with my route from two years ago; helping a stranded couple; reconnecting with old friends; praising God for the spectacular beauty of His Creation; and thanking Him for a healthy body and the ability to have this experience…just a typical Sunday.
The lives that you encounter and can share Jesus with too. How cool!