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“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Standing Firm

Welcome to the Lord’s Gym Ministries’ blog. Here you will find updates on the good things God is doing in Cincinnati and the Greater Tir-state area. You’ll also find words of encouragement and learn about how you can have a part in God’s grand plan for our community.

Scott’s YRA Recap: Week 4

Journal May 27, 2021: Feeling grateful

Take-a-ways 

1 – You can learn A LOT from other riders. 

2 – Make it a point to talk to strangers and ask them how they are doing. They are on a journey too.

3 – Addiction is precedent everywhere, even in the most rural parts of America.

4 – Listen to your senses, God may be trying to get your attention. 

5 – Calves are kind of cute.

How God showed up

1. Meeting and riding with Scott W. from Columbus, Ohio, after having ridden with David and Sam in weeks 2 and He has walked the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Northwest area. He knows a thing or two about this lifestyle. His awesome wife, Mary, joined us a few days ago, via car, and is following us. She plans to drive and meet us every day at the end. Her support provides an added measure of safety and encouragement as we prepare to trek across Kansas and Colorado with less available shelter on the route. I also got to meet two lovely people, Mike, and Mary, from his church who took some of their vacation to meet up with Scott and follow him for a few days.

2. The cooler temps made for better climbing. Peddling the Ozarks seems like continuous up and downs. Had it been as hot as the previous week it would have been even harder.

3. Protecting us while riding some very busy back roads over Memorial Day weekend.

4. I made a wrong turn, and I sensed something very quickly that it did not seem right. I stopped and rechecked my bearings on the map and sure enough I was off course. I had gone less than a quarter mile, so I was very thankful. I really think it was God heightening my senses to hit my pause button and recheck my heading. I am trying to better recognize such senses as there have been others too.

Overview from week 4 on the TransAm

Leaving Carbondale, Illinois with a fully functional bike was a great start to the week. The climbing leading into the Ozarks necessitated the lower gear range. Arriving in Chester, home of Popeye the Sailor man fame, I caught up with Scott W., a retired IT exec from Honda, where we decided to ride together. I found I was learning a lot from him just watching him approach the rigors of bike camping. The guy was a tried-and-true hiker of the AT and Pacific NW. His spirit and internal clock were hardened to living the salty trail life. He and his wife, who arrived later, have been very gracious in permitting me to ride along. There is a solid benefit in riding in pairs from safety to encouragement. After each solid day of climbing, we fist bump and hi-five in celebrating the day’s achievement. We thank God for His traveling mercies, our stamina, lodging, and for the numerous people who are praying for us.

The Ozarks are the third mountain range we must cross. The Appalachian Mountains, in Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, had steep, long, and recurring grades to negotiate. I did my share of walking my bike up some of them. Hey, it’s the forward progress that counts. Also, the dogs were a very real threat that stopped in their tracks at the sound of my bear horn. The Ozarks, while not as consistently steep, are brutally repetitive seasoned with some more gentle rolling flats. Letting Mary carry our gear in her car made the last third of crossing the Ozarks more tolerable. I have said that I am more curious as to how the Rockies will feel on our legs and lungs.

As I have met other westbound riders, I try to capture their phone numbers and then text everyone every other day to check in. Our little traveling text community has become helpful in sharing tips on where to stay and how people are doing. The four levels I talked about last week are so evident. One of the two young women who were traveling together had to depart temporarily due to a family emergency. The remaining woman, Lauren, was able to text the group and catch up to another rider.

After one month of riding, I sense my spirit, mind, body, and heart crossing a very, yet unexplainable, threshold as we prepare to crossover into what is referred to as the middle third of the TA. The first third brought an in-your-face welcome and orientation period to awaken, or reawaken, your senses. Seeing the beauty, topography, and sometimes despair of the ruralist parts of America from the saddle of a bicycle is a memorable experience. I am in heaven when I get to pause and capture an image with my iPhone 11. (I only wish I could have brought my better camera gear and could spend more time stopping for shots.). But I will take it, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be out here and have one month of riding under my belt. 

I am so very grateful to my FOCAS/Lord’s Gym Ministries board and staff who are permitting me this time away; and I am so very grateful to the generosity of those who invested in this experience for me. It’s also wonderful that I get to bring awareness to our ministry and fundraising event, the Youth Resiliency Adventure which people are responding to. They are taking photos of my Jersey. I pray that you will too by checking out the website, www.YRAdventure.com and share within your social media network AFTER you have taken the 21n21 challenge for me.

Until next week. Stand firm.

Scott

Scott’s YRA Recap: Week 3

Journal May 17, 2021: Adapting to Bike Life

I sit here in the Saluki Laundromat in Carbondale, Illinois. Once again God shows me kindness through the owner of an apartment complex. I Googled nearest laundromat from my hotel, and it brought me here to learn it’s for renters only. I went to their office and explained my situation and the owner gave me a key to their very nice facility. She even helped me with some photos. I asked just in time as she was getting ready to leave. I told her I would be working on my blog, and that she would be in it. Immediately she asked me for the website. Alas one of the challenges to the nomadic lifestyle. 

The Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Emotional

Now that I have been at this nomadic lifestyle 3 weeks, I believe I am starting to adapt to my surroundings. One can prepare, practice, and participate in extended bike camping and excursions; however, there is still an orientation and adjustment period one must go through. 

Having one quarter of the TransAmerica route completed, I can say that the experience thus far has been exhilarating. The experience taxes one from four dimensions which I believe are the Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. Without defining each dimension, I will use my blog to point them out. For me, the Spiritual has been amazing as I have seen God show up time and time again, and He influences the other three dimensions. It seems to me that the other influence is our personality or how we are wired. I have met people, like me, who have planned their trip out with precision and cost. Others have just shown up and let the wind, the sites, and weather direct their pace – time is not an issue as to when they will finish. Still others are enduring grueling paces to cover a set distance every day.

While I am enjoying seeing the landscape of our vast and magnificent country, by far, meeting other riders and people along the way is the most enjoyable part of the experience. 

The end of week 2 and start of week 3 began in Paint Lick, Kentucky where I got to see Betsy and spend the day with her at a charming BnB that we highly recommend. It was fun to introduce her to Mark and Pat a couple riding the trail and David.  The ensuing week would introduce me to Sam, Lauren, Sasha, and Scott. 

Upon departing Paint Lick and meeting 27-year-old Sam, I experienced a bizarre bike failure at mile 26 for the day. After departing a refueling stop, and pushing down on my pedal to start accelerating, my front small chainring collapsed. It literally folded over on itself. The teeth from the sprocket were biting into the tube that supports the seat. I had to use my pliers to bend the folded sprocket back and free it so that the top, or larger chainring could rotate freely.

Sam immediately located the nearest bike shop in Danville about 16 miles away off route. The bike was ridable, there were no other options, so I thanked Sam and said goodbye. The bike shop owner in Danville said that he did not have the parts to fix it. He said my best bet was to coordinate a fix via the manufacture in Carbondale – which was about 375 miles away in Illinois. Not exactly your flat cruising terrain. I would not have my 11 lower gear ranges to take on the climbs. Sparing you countless details and the swirling thoughts racing around inside my head, I called Jim’s Bicycle Shop and Jim and MaryAnn coordinated the repair details with Doug, at Phoenix Cycles in Carbondale. Jim had the parts to get the bike repaired. I just had to ride there.  Fortunately, I took a detour to get back on course and caught up with Sam to finish riding most of the week to Illinois. 

 

Milestones for me, are a big deal and satisfy my mental and emotional state. They are starting to put gas in my tank that sends me those self-talk pep talks that I can do this. Once I passed the 1,180-mile threshold, completed 3 maps, and crossed over into Illinois, my confidence piqued to another level on the spectrum. Factor in the grueling mountains of the Appalachians and an overzealous Jet Stream, the milestones resonate with a more satisfying tonality all their own. It’s why I am beginning to describe this attempt at riding across America as exhilarating and amazing. The four dimensions collectively reach down inside you and ping your soul. (Oh yeah, they ping your legs too.) But when God shows up through people and circumstances, your soul rejoices at the caress of God’s hand. Consider my God moment with Joyce and Ronnie below.

God Shows Up

1. Having your wife show up at the end of week two is a special moment to share in the rhythm of the trip.

2. Having Sam there at the moment of the bike failure was extremely helpful in locating a bike shop and thinking through some critical decisions in a short amount of time. I also appreciated rejoining his company later.

3. Meeting Robert and Candace at a restaurant in Springfield. They offered me their side yard to pitch my tent and tell me about the rich history of their property. It belonged to the pastor who married Abe Lincoln’s parents.

4. The heat and humidity descended on our riding by 10:00 am most days where it was 80 degrees. By 1:00 pm it was even warmer. With my bike’s inefficiency, it made my energy output all the more intense on this 64-year-old body. Sam had ridden ahead. I was already at 60 miles for the day and praying for an alternative to my camping arrangements in Eddyville. I had just walked my bike up a very steep graded hill for about one-third of a mile and downed most of my Gatorade and a Starbucks cold brew. I still thought an ice water sounded good. I hopped back on my bike and had ridden about one mile when I rounded the bend and saw a woman mowing her grass. 

I rolled into her driveway and immediately got her attention. You can imagine how a guy on bike loaded down with big red bags on his bike might pique one’s curiosity. “Hi”, I said. Would you be able to fill my water bottles with ice water?, was my follow up remark. She said her name was Joyce and her husband was Ronnie. Come over to the house and sit in the shade. She brought out a bottle of cold water and a cold wet towel. The towel was really a nice touch. We started to talk, and I answered all her typical questions. She was a retired underwriter from Peoria who was here with Ronnie taking care of a family heirloom – a really old house. 

She offered me another bottle of water which I gladly accepted and thanked her multiple times. She paused, and then suggested that I could stay in their unoccupied house for the night. AC, a kitchen, and a bathroom – offered to a complete stranger. I accepted her offer.

For me, I view these encounters as direct answers to prayers of all the people praying for me. When Robert and Joyce offered their hospitality to me it blesses them, as much as it blesses me, to accept it. It’s humbling and teaching moments for me. Sitting here in this laundry mat, as my clothes require another.25 cents to dry in delicate mode, is a blessing from a business owner to a guy on a bike. Kindness trumps just about anything. 

5. Back to the bike. At FOCAS/Lord’s Gym Ministries – our culture can be simplified to a formula of E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Objective). My objective is to ride across the country. That didn’t change. The event was the bike failure which I have no control over; and blaming, complaining, or disparaging wasn’t going to help. The only thing I could control is the “R”, my response to the event. I had to keep moving, making adjustments, and make the best of the circumstances.

Take-A-Ways

My laundry is just about done so I should wrap this blog up with my take-a-ways from week three:

  1. God is paying attention.
  2. He does not owe me answers to my trials.
  3. Keep moving toward your objective, even if you must change your pace.
  4. Enjoy the view, it will likely change.
  5. Accept the blessings from other people. Who knows, they might be an angel!
  6. It’s okay to ask for help.

Blessings and Stand Firm

Scott

Meet Chaplain Danny, Director of the Family Activity Center

Chatting with Chaplain Danny...

Chaplain Danny loves Lord’s Gym Ministries’ “Christo-centric culture.”

“This culture is the essence and DNA of compassion,” he said. “We show hope and mercy to the most vulnerable people in Cincinnati. I love seeing how people can be restored and transformed through the power of the Gospel of Christ.”

Danny, 49, has served with Lord’s Gym Ministries for a year and seven months as the youth chaplain. He is part of The DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, an intensive 15-month faith-based leadership development program for urban youth workers. Each year, approximately 60 urban youth workers from five select U.S. cities are accepted.

Danny was recently named the Director of the Family Activity Center.

“I feel fortunate, grateful, and blessed for the opportunity,” he said. “I also feel a great responsibility to continue with the mission and vision of the organization of transforming lives changing individuals, families, neighborhoods, and generations for the glory of God, and live a life worthy of the Gospel.”

According to Danny, Lord’s Gym is a “ministry of presence.”

“We go to the people in need, our building is a light on the hill,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having the building remodeled to reach and impact more people throughout Price Hill so our light can shine even more.”

His top three goals are to:

  • Increase the collaboration with churches, ministries, and addictions and recovery organizations.
  • Establish a mentoring and tutoring lab for kids.
  • Establish an athletic program/calendar for boys and a ballet ministry for girls.

Danny came to a saving knowledge of Christ when he was 18 years old.

“In full rebellion with God, I went to a youth retreat at my church and His Holy Spirit made me see who I was – a sinner – and who He is – a holy God. God confronted me, broke me, and redeemed me.”

His go-to verse is Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Scott’s YRA Recap: Week 2

Journal May 10, 2021: Scott's TransAmerica Trek continues

General Observations

After two weeks, 13 days, of riding I have ridden 784 miles and climbed/descended more miles, over two mountain ranges, than I thought possible on the human body. It’s still early in my journey, but I have been so impressed and encouraged how God has shown up through people and places. It is good to have two of the twelve maps completed and to be due south of Cincinnati after riding 13 days. I am having to reassess my itinerary and the distance I can ride each day based on the terrain and weather. 

Passing through the tiniest of rural communities via bicycle and talking with the neighbors has been a delight and education. While I see routinely the work of the Holy Spirit in Greater Cincinnati via the Lord’s Gym Ministries, I am reminded of the depth and breadth of His omnipresence in the lives of people I am meeting and experiencing their kindness. Some things do not change – in one town, where I met a music teacher who works with youth, he told me about the pervasive drug problem with kids who learned the behavior from parents and grandparents. He called it an epidemic. The theme would be repeated with other communities I rode through. As a result, people have been receptive to hearing about the Lord’s Gym Ministries and the Youth Resiliency Adventure. 

 

The mountains, to me, are a unique place to live and etch out a living. Conversely, I imagine mountaineers would say the same thing about me not living in the mountains. Hanging out at my first of many hostels with a cast of eclectic Appalachian Trail hikers I was awarded my trail name of “Spokes”.  It’s a fun story that deserves more text. 

Also impressive is God’s timing as His Spirit watches over me with each day’s provision, especially during a very cold and wet week at elevation in the mountains of Appalachia.

Lastly, I have to add the privilege of beholding God’s handiwork in His physical creation of Virginia and Kentucky. So far stunning vistas, valleys, farms, and streams. I can only imagine what week 3 will have in store for me to experience.

How God showed up

  1. I had some bike repair issues at the beginning of the week that affected the bike’s stability. However, in my repair kit I found the items (spare bolt and Velcro) that corrected the situation. 
  1. Wednesday brought a drop in temps as I was climbing through mountains. Then it Started to rain, sleet, and snow. Temp dropped to low – mid 30s according to attendant at gas station where I had to stop to warm up after hours of riding in it. Forecast was for rain lasting an hour. I still had two significant climbs. At the top of the second climb, at about 3,700 ft, there was snow, which a hiker later verified. He and his team were caught in it hiking the AT (Appalachian Trail). Hypothermic conditions for sure if I did not act. The route and weather were too unpredictable to chance continued riding. A short day in the saddle and somewhat of a delay in my mind. I had to remind myself that God is in control here and His itinerary. According to Enneagram enthusiasts, this is hard for 1’s to accept since they lean towards the perfectionist side and like to be in control of the outcomes. My Intended destination was shelved, instead riding/climbing another 8 miles to Troutdale Baptist Church’s Hostel for Hikers and Bikers. 

Got to get a hot shower and dry my clothes. One of my dear supporters purchased a compression bag for me. I used it to pack and stow my Down-filled jacket just in case the temperature dropped. It was 28 degrees the following morning. 

Throughout the rest of the week, as my itinerary changed daily, God provided a church bikers’ hostel for me to spend the night in and get out of the cold temps. PTL. 

Really impressed how God has orchestrated my accommodations, especially through churches with hostels. One Methodist church, 1788, left instructions on the door and the church unlocked. For 40 years it has operated this ministry in such a trustworthy fashion. I sort of felt like the guy who was beaten and taken to the Inn in the story of the Good Samaritan. In this case, it was a church showing unconditional love and trust to complete strangers. Oh yeah, you could help yourself to whatever food was in the fridge, freezer, or pantry – which I did. What was also nice about these very timely and uniquely located shelters, was that they were available during a cold snap when camping would have made my situation all the more challenging. I was warm and dry for most of week 2. 

  1. In Elkhorn City, I met the Mayor, Mike Taylor, and he let me sleep in City Hall where he has permitted other cyclists to do the same for the last 15 years. When I met him, he was cleaning the building and preparing care bags of food and materials for people in his community. COVID-19, it seems to me, only exacerbated communities with an already struggling economy. His leadership impressed me along with his servant heart as mayor. I asked him about it, and he said God has blessed him to be a blessing to others. 

     

  2. Upon leaving Elkhorn City I met another person, David, traveling the trail and later in the morning I met a husband-and-wife team too. We all rode together to Hindman where we spent the night in a church hostel. David and I rode onto Paint Lick just 10 miles west of Berea, Ky where Betsy was waiting. David, a trainer and endurance athlete, was able to coach me and suggest raising my bike seat to get more extension out of my legs for climbing. He helped me with breathing technique too for those steep and never-ending climbs. His advice was a God send. As we rode together, I learned he was a believer. As we rode, we talked and prayed.  In one town, he felt led to get off his bike and pray for an old church and the community. Later, in Booneville, we would meet the pastor whose family went to that church.

We have now all separated due to separate agendas, and I will resume a solo ride tomorrow on Wednesday. Since we are all about a day apart it’s my prayer that we reconnect on the trail as it is such a joy to ride together. 

5. Many of these back roads have been narrow with minimal to no shoulder. Kentucky has the added distraction of loose dogs who do not know how to welcome friendly cyclists. (If they chase me, I give them a blast from an air horn I am carrying. Seems to be working.) So, I am grateful for God’s traveling mercies and ask for your continued prayers. 

Take-A-Ways week two

1. God is amazing and has shown me considerable grace and mercy.

2. The Holy Spirit is at work in the most remote places.

3. Kindness and generosity are two powerful attributes of the body of Christ.

PS – My Garmin devices get confused, especially my watch. After a long day of rigorous riding in the mountains of Virginia it still tells me to get up and move if I sit too long during a rest stop. However, both my watch and navigation device still send me encouraging comments and congratulatory graphics. 

Blessings and Stand Firm,

Scott

Party in the Park

From Chaplain Danny...

What a blessed day, long but blessed!!!!!. We were able to impact hundreds of people in Price Hill not only with food boxes but with the powerful word of God that transforms and restores individuals, families, and generations. Big thanks to our ministry partner Revive City Church and its Pastor Kirk Kirkland for hosting this event and to all of their volunteers. Special thanks to our brothers from Madison Place Church who were present and were of great help and blessing.

Scott’s YRA Recap: Week 1

Journal May 3, 2021 starting in Yorktown, VA.

Recap week 1

One week ago, I set out from Yorktown, VA at 7:30 am to begin my bicycle trip across the United States via the TransAmerica Bike trail which is also known as Bike Route 76. The route consists of 12 maps. Because I am traveling westbound, I begin with map number 12, which is mainly Virginia. I will format my recap in sections for ease of reading.

General Observations 

Seeing Virginia from the intimacy of a bicycle is wonderful and physically demanding. I have met other solo cyclists as we intersect at stops along the way. It’s been like riding through a history book of our country with all the signage and monuments from our earliest settlers in Yorktown, our various wars, and efforts to move west. The MANY battlefields and cemeteries were most indelible on me.  I couldn’t help but think that I was riding my bike across sacred grounds where people were fighting and dying. Farmland and roads had now transformed the landscape. I would like to ride with our youth from the Lord’s Gym on these historical routes. 

I have been blessed with nice weather, although chilly and windy, to experience the mountains in such vivid color. It made the challenge of riding up the countless ascents breathtaking. Seeing the decay and evolution of buildings, homes, and farm equipment pepper the landscape was a subtle reminder of riding through history. I kept trying to imagine what life must have been like in our earliest years as a country and community – especially in the mountains! 

As the week progressed and the terrain became more challenging my pace slowed down. As such, I am not as far along as I planned; so, I am having to adjust and trust the Lord for new daily arrangements. It’s day 8, 400 miles of riding, and my body is ready for a day of rest. I completed map 12 of Virginia yesterday, on Mother’s Day (yes, I called my mom and Betsy too). A day off each week is built into my itinerary, I would have liked to be further along in my progress on map 11. As the weeks, miles, and terrain progresses I pray that my body and legs gain in strength. 

God moments or “How God showed up Each Day!”

Riding solo I find myself praying, thinking, meditating on scriptures, listening to tunes on those big climbs, and taking in the beauty of the scenery. I want to share 5 God moments.

1. On day one a rider came up alongside me. As we talked and he learned of my plans, he informed me about an unpublished route change on BR 76. If I followed the signs, and not the published routes it would keep me safer and off a very busy road. He was right! Had he not intervened I would have taken the busier road.

2. Towards the end of day 2 I experienced a significant thunderstorm with crazy winds. The wind was exceptional. As I prayed, I rode around the bend in the road in Bumpass to find a volunteer fire department and EMS. They were getting ready to launch due to downed trees and emergency calls. I pulled in and asked if I could get out the weather. It was 6:00 pm. Due to COVID-19 they said no, but I could hang out in the shed in the back. By the time the front passed, I was not comfortable attempting to ride to my intended stop for the night.  I later asked the young Fire Chief if he would let me sleep in the shed (translated large garage) for the night explaining that I had my COVID-19 shot – for good measure. He said that it would not be a problem and invited me to use their showers too, which I did. Hmmmm, I thought I should be able to make up the lost time.

3. Road Closed!  On two occasions I rode up on blockades to my route. From the previous day’s excessive winds, electric companies were out restoring downed lines.  I pulled up to a man who could pass as a twin of Burl Ives and asked if the crew would make an exception for me?  As he radioed in my request, I was counting on all the people praying for me as he smiled back and instructed me on how to proceed with caution. They basically stopped their work and lowered their booms as I squeezed in between the road’s gutter and their service trucks

At the other road closure, it was erected just in front of the turn off I needed to take. I managed to walk my bike around it and resume riding. The wind and rain again had done damage to the road. Had the blockade been anywhere else I am not sure what I would have done. 

  1. Day 3 had me climbing to 3,250 ft in elevation to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was my first mountain range to tackle. The views were spectacular.  It became apparent that I was not going to reach my intended destination as the day wore on and I got down to my 4th and final water bottle. Praying and reviewing my map, I saw a little dot that identified the community of “Love, VA,”. It was so small that I rode past it coming down a hill and barely saw the sign. As I turned around, it was then that I noticed homes through the trees and brush along the Parkway.  

Seeing an access road, I walked my bike to a locked steel horse gate. It was a ten-acre horse farm with a log house on it. I could hear a tractor, so I waited. I planned to ask for water. 

In about 5 minutes a lady came out of the house and I started to wave and shout hello. She walked about 100 yards across her field to meet me and ask me what I wanted. I introduced myself and explained my situation. Lynn, mid 70s, invited me to her home where she introduced me to her husband, Billy – pastor Billy. 

It’s here that I could write pages about their kindness and hospitality. I fight back tears-just recalling the experience. Lynn is a writer for two local pubs. She writes about the people, history, and culture of the mountains which she claims is being changed or lost over time. Billy grew up not far from their home, which he built and trimmed out.  He still has the 100 acres where he grew up that is still enjoyed by his family.

They fed me, let me use their home, camp outside in their yard, filled my water bottles with fresh spring water, and prayed for me, holding hands standing in a circle at Billy’s prompting, as I prepared to leave their farm. With my bike loaded, Billy helped me fix my kick stand that was loose.  They walked with me across their farm so we could have a photo op by the town sign of LOVE, which they so admirably showed to a stranger who they had no reason to help except by the grace of God. Because cell reception was so spotty, Lynn called Betsy for me on her land line to give her an update. Their last bit of advice was to be sure to eat at Gerry’s in Vesuvius where hikers and bicyclists sign the walls. We hugged and I was on my way to Gerry’s, where it began to rain for the rest of the morning. 

  1. On Saturday, I stopped for lunch on the outskirts of Troutville at the Greenwood Restaurant. Yes, much of the wood is painted green. With my itinerary turned on its head, I am still having to make new sleeping arrangements each day. I was seated in the center of this small family establishment. People immediately began asking me what I was doing. I felt the need to just introduce myself to the whole restaurant. In doing so, I explained that I was looking for a place to camp in Catawba. Tim, who introduced himself from the adjacent table said that Mountain View Baptist church was known for letting a cyclist camp in their shelter house. Again, God does not disappoint.  Later that day I rolled into the appropriately named church in time to meet the volunteer groundskeeper and his wife.

They opened the church to let me use the building facilities. The temperature was dropping and suggested a nearby hikers’ hostel just a few more miles away across hill and dale. I called them and decided to go for it. I stayed at the Four Pines Hostel primarily serving hikers on the Appalachian Trail. People could get out of the elements, sleep on a bunk or couch, and share a common area to include one bathroom and shower. Modesty and privacy were not a hallmark of a large space accommodating about 16 people. 

I was asked my trail name to which I replied, Scott. They dubbed me “Biker Scott” and then changed it to “Spokes” by the morning. It was a great experience, again I could write more pages. After I had my oatmeal and instant coffee a person named Care Bear helped me get underway.

 Take-A-Ways week one:

  1. God is in the details of our lives. 
  2. There are my plans, and then there are God’s plans. He is in control.
  3. Remain flexible and adaptive.
  4. From Lynn, keep at it long enough, and things get done.
  5. Kindness is a big deal.

Blessings and Stand Firm,

Scott

Join the #21n21 Challenge

What is the Challenge?

Come alongside at-risk youth and young adults in our community who are actively fighting addiction. This spring join the #21n21 challenge in preparation for the Youth Resiliency Adventure in October.

#21n21 is a virtual athletic challenge (much like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) where you commit to walk, run, or bike 21 miles in 2121 now through Sept. 30 to raise awareness to the risk of addiction. Or donate $21 to the cause.

Then throw down the gauntlet to your friends and family, challenging them to do their #21n21 or to make a donation in support of youth addiction programs in the Greater Cincinnati Tri-State Area.

What Gives You Hope?

A Message From Scott as He Begins His Trek Across America...

What brings you hope?

That is the question I’ll be asking “America” as I make my way cross country via bike over the next three months.

Webster’s Dictionary defines hope in two ways. No. 1, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Secondly, it defines hope as “a feeling of trust.”

In Romans 15:13 – my mantra for this journey –  Paul writes: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Isn’t that, as children of God, what our hope is about. That’s something I’ve certainly learned these last 20 years in ministry at FOCAS.

On this journey I’ll be much in prayer, not only for you and this ministry, but also my next 20 years in ministry, if you will. I want to give the Lord a chance to speak to and prepare my heart for what He may have in store for years to come.

I also want to bring awareness to the Youth Resiliency Adventure (www.YRAdventure.com), which is pushing back on the devastation of addiction. This virtual athletic event is held in October to raise funds for addiction prevention programming targeting at-risk youth and young adults in our community. The goal is to bring hope to our youth and to stand by those who are so resilient in the battle against addiction.

My goal is to report in each day to share a fun story and encouraging word. You can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scott.bowers.9693. Also, please be sure to get updates via our FOCAS/Lord’s Gym social media connections too. Jump on to https://lordsgymministries.org/blog/ for a weekly overview each Tuesday.

Lessons From Tie-Dye T-shirts

A Message From Chaplain Danny...

Last week the kids at the center were able to do a different activity thanks to the donations of our college volunteers. They really loved it. They made tie-dye T-shirts! In past weeks we talked about how sin dirties our hearts, our thoughts, and our attitudes. Several of them told me they could understand and relate the teaching through the paint applied to the white shirt.

 

Isaiah 1:18 (…)”Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; 

though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 

Celebrate Recovery Event

A Message From Tom Lipsey...

This past Saturday the Lord’s Gym Family Activity Center collaborated with others to kick off the introduction of bringing of Celebrate Recovery to Price Hill with a party in the park next to our facility at Olden Park.  

Scores of folks joined us (including motorcycle riders) from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and other states.  This was inspired about 9 months ago when a group of us began training to see this dream come to fruition by going through the Celebrate Recovery Step Studies together.  There God began to mold us into a group as each of us was helped tremendously by the CR material and focus and DNA.  

The essence of CR is that every one has suffered from hurts, habits and hangups the keep us from moving ahead in life and reaching our God given potential.  Thus we need the steps and community of Recovery to reach our potential.  

Our team is super excited to launch this much need ministry and focus in our community where pain abounds and hope is much needed. Join us Monday evenings starting with dinner at  6 til 9 at the BLOC Church at 931 McPhearson.  You won’t be disappointed!   

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