Archive for Recreation

Ride On…Q&A with Joseph Fehlen (Part 1)

josephfehlen-cover-thmbI have one brother.

I call him Joe.

But now that he’s kind of a big deal author, he likes to be called “Joseph.”

I refuse.

Joe currently is the associate pastor at Grace Foursquare Church in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Recently Joe wrote a book called “Ride On: A Motorcycle Journey to Awake your Soul and  Rediscover it’s Maker.” It’s available on Amazon: As well, you can purchase his book at his blog (www.agrowingfamily.com), or at West Salem Foursquare Church on the weekend of July 6/7.

 

I want to introduce you to Joe and his writings through this two-part Q&A. Enjoy…

 

JOHN:  As your brother, I know that you know nothing about mechanical things and you are not a gear head. What inspired you to write a book about motorcycles?

 

JOSEPH:  Yes, you are so true. The first thing you need to know is that Ride On is not a handbook on motorcycles maintenance, a travel book or an ‘I survived the Hell’s Angels’ memoir (I can neither confirm nor deny that I was a mole in a hard core gang). There are great reads out there on those topics.

Ride On is my story, which I tried to write in a fairly whimsical manner, yet straightforward story-telling mode, that explores my entrance into the motorcycle community and what I learned about life, faith and things that really matter. I was new to the community, in my mid thirties, and my eyes were aware of things that many may had forgotten after years of riding. Many had forgotten how and why they began riding.

It was at that point that I started to make these links between Jesus and motorcycles. The motorcycle became my vehicle to share the person of Jesus to others and give them tools to share Him with their friends. There were so many links that seemed obvious to me, but as I communicated them verbally to others they seemed to miss them. I knew at that point that I needed to write this book.

It was the bikers that followed Jesus that inspired me to get this on paper and ultimately to this point of a published book. They were asking me to help them share their faith in a real way to a community of people that many had pushed aside. So I immersed myself into the world and community of motorcyclist and kept my spiritual ears up for truths that could help them in their faith walk.

 

JOHN: What is the main point about the Christian faith you hope people would get from Ride On?

 

JOSEPH: I wanted to reintroduce (or introduce) people to a person named Jesus that we read about in the Bible. The problem is that for 2000 years we’ve added so much to Him and what He is about. I want to strip it back to the simplicity of who he is, what he did and what he said. Jesus is not some unattainable philosophy or a person that we have to completely figure out before we accept Him. He walked this earth telling people about His father and what life in this world is and should be like. He spoke in stories that had both practical and spiritual implications. So everyone that heard got something that could help them… and that is what I tried to do in Ride On.

You will notice in my writing I don’t have any direct quotes or indented scripture references. When I reference Jesus, He is just a continuation of the story I am telling. He is part of my story and I think He can be part of other’s stories as well. I endeavored to share about Him in a natural way because most people, when talking to their friends, don’t recite Scripture. No, we just tell the story of what Jesus did and what He is doing in our lives today. [I do have endnotes if people want to look further into what I am saying.]

So I guess the main point is… Jesus. Not religion, not rules, not your grandma’s church, but Jesus. He is the one wire we need to hook into to get our life on (or back on) track.

 

Be watching for Part 2 of this Q&A coming soon.

Jesus Did It. Shouldn’t We?

Solitay confinement“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place…” Luke 4:42

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12

Jesus knew how to take timely breaks to replenish his soul. He was the master at balance. He purposefully took time off, not based upon the calendar but for the condition of his soul.

From the above passages in the Book of Luke I see a pattern of health for the Christian believer.

Withdraw…in Preparation for…in the Process of…and Prior to!

First, notice the context in which Jesus withdrew in preparation for ministry to people (Luke 4:42).  This happened to be a time when his popularity was growing and his name was catching on. People wanted to be around Jesus – therefore he knew the value of first being with his Father.

Secondly, see how Jesus got away in the process of intense ministry (Luke 5:16).  Crowds, sick people, and draining ministry situations are all reasons to step back and quietly connect with God.  What are the pressing issues that you are facing right now?  Before going any further – go be with God! It will make all the difference.

Lastly:  Jesus took extra time with his Father prior to making a large decision (Luke 6:12).  Before he chose the twelve disciples he went away for an extended time to get the “mind of God” on that significant issue.  He ended up spending the entire night in prayer.  Do you have a large decision to make?  If so, follow the model of Jesus by getting away to pray prior to making that decision.

I encourage you to take some time to carve out a solitary place with the Lord.  It is a great way to prepare you for a season of ministry or hard work to come in the future. If you’ve been in the middle of a trying time, then perhaps a time away to pray and be refreshed is in order. Or maybe you have a large decision that needs to be made and you need wisdom from the Lord…find a solitary place to get his heart for your next steps.

Jesus did it. Shouldn’t we?

Because You Asked: Best Books

Whenever I meet up with lead pastors, planters, youth ministers, and other Christians the topic of “What are ya reading?” comes up. I then go into my deer-in-a-head-lights look because I have a horrible memory.  It’s not that I DON’T READ.  Far from it.

I read like a freak.

If I only read one book a year or even one a month, I might not have such a tough time remembering, but I’m always wading through piles of books. Here are some of the ones that have made it to the top of the pile. Some are newer, others are older. I encourage you to buy, borrow, download or whatever (don’t steal though).  Somehow, get these goodies in you.

Like I tell my kids all the time:  Leaders are Readers.

 

Messy: God Likes It That Way by AJ Swoboda

Anchoredman by Jason Graves

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Other’s Die by Chip & Dan Heath

Practice Resurrection by Eugene H. Peterson

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees) by Patrick Lencioni

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth by Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson

Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less by Dave Browning

Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page by Larry Osborne

Who Stole My Church: What to Do When the Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Century by Gordon MacDonald

It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the Desire to Influence the World by Hugh Hewitt

Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample

The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene H. Peterson

Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion by Wayne Corderio

Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper by Ben Witherington III

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins

Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard

What We’ve Learned from Eileen Fehlen

Since the sudden passing of my mom, Eileen Fehlen, I and the rest of my family have received literally thousands of messages, calls, notes and…the most prevalent of all…Facebook messages! We love Facebook.

Each message and memory posted has been special, but there was one that really captured the essence of my Mom. If you knew her then you’d probably agree with this list. If you didn’t then it’s a great glimpse of a great gal. The following was on Mom’s Facebook page from a wonderful woman named Molly Holknecht, who is a leader at Stanwood Foursquare Church.

Here it is:

• Everyone needs Jesus

• Pie and prayer restore body and soul

• When you see a need, find someone to meet that need

• Meatloaf can be edible

• It’s OK to come to worship with pink hair and a leather jacket

• When in doubt, call everyone “Honey”

• Expect the unexpected, then watch God work

• Hugs are always appropriate

• Love never fails

• Buy yourself a red, Mustang convertible for your birthday

• If you have leftovers and a package of noodles, you have dinner

• The garage is the perfect place to butcher a deer

• We were created in a garden, so plant, grow, harvest and eat

• The Good Samaritan is not a myth or theory, but something to be lived out

Good Flight, Huh?

On an Alaska Airlines hopper flight from Seattle to Kalispell, Montana I sat next to a kind, older gentleman. We introduced ourselves quickly and I found him to be a downright pleasant man. When the refreshment cart came to us he asked the attendant how long the flight would be roughly. She answered him, he pondered for a moment and then said, “Thanks. That’ll work…I guess I’ll have the complimentary beer then.” He didn’t want to be tipsy when he got home.

It made me chuckle.

He then asked me what my “e-lec-tronic thing” was. I explained that it was an iPad made by Apple. I think he was impressed…or, frankly, couldn’t have cared less. Not sure.

Then came the moment to settle in with a movie and my drink (no, not the beer…I’m a Ginger Ale man on flights). What followed was my universally understood (so I thought) indicator that I was not “open for business”; that I wanted to sit quietly and privately (as private as one can be in a cattle car)!

That indicator was the insertion of my earbuds.

I tried to drown out the engines roar and various conversations around me with my headphones. I wasn’t up for chit-chat, but my seat-mate didn’t get that memo. He would periodically ask me a question or make a general comment. I could have ignored him, but I chose not to. He was too nice of a guy. So I would pull out the earbuds, ask him to repeat himself, and then we would chat for a bit.

Rinse and Repeat. This went on for a few rounds until he wore himself out and fell asleep.

I was glad to see him dose off, until…

…he extended his right leg fully over the invisible barrier of my foot space.  I thought, “Hmmm, yep, that’s his blue jean covered leg touching mine; pressing me right out into the isle. I’m gonna loose a toe from a passing cart.”

I gave the leg a slight nudge with my knee but it didn’t budge. He was tired and so friendly, so I let it slide for the remainder of the flight. It wasn’t until we had landed that the leg wiggled it’s way back into its own territory with a stretch, a yawn, and a “Good flight, huh?”

Yep. Good indeed. 

As I reflect now, God was lovingly reminding me to be open to interruptions and encroachments upon my time and personal space. Ministry often happens in these simple moments. Joy is to be discovered in the mundane. Life is waiting to be exchanged in common and generic situations.

“Good flight, huh?” Yes, it was.

I learned to be more patient somewhere over Boise, Idaho, and by the time the wheels skidded into Kalispell, I wished I had been even more open and available to my flying partner.

Pretty sure I would have been the better man for it.

Christmas in the Middle of Nowhere

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Two Tents

kp09I’m writing this blog from a tiny “puddle-jumper” airplane – up around 30,000 feet in the air. It’s a beautiful morning as the sun is coming up over California, and soon, Oregon. Without question, my trip home to Salem is much better than the trip down to California. Not only did I have to blaze out of the 11 am Sunday service quite abruptly, but I then drove with great focus (ie: fast) to the airport. Then I ran through the terminal to get to my gate just on time…or so I thought…unknown to me, my flight had been delayed. There was no way I was going to make my connection in Las Vegas and get to a 6 pm event in California! I quickly switched airlines and destination airports…twice. Finally, with sweat on my brow, I jumped onto a California bound airliner and settled into the only remaining seat next to a young lad and his grandmother.

The young boy was quite active (and I know active ’cause I have three boys!). He was moving and shifting – always turning around to look at and talk to his parents in the seats behind him. This wasn’t a big deal until the drinks were served. He ordered hot tea first and then on the second round he got a glass of Coke. For about an hour those drinks sat precariously perched on the edge of his little tray…with his arms and legs moving wildly…papers and crayons shuffling around…twisting and turning. Now this wouldn’t have been a big deal except I was dressed to the nines, in full suit and tie, all ready to jump off the plane and be a part of a momentous event involving many highly esteemed dignitaries of our Foursquare family.

So there I restlessly sat. I could not relax. Wig-wam, tee-pee: I was two tents – get it, too tense?!? Every sudden move by Boy Wonder caused me to flinch and compulsively reach for the glasses before they could be dashed into my only set of clothes. Now, this story would be so much more dramatic if something legitimately had happened but alas, I made it to LAX without incident…and that’s the point of my story…

• How many times to we allow fear to rob us of our peace and joy?

• Why do we let the unknown drive us into worry and compulsion?

• How much of our life is shaped by unfounded fears – wasting time and energy?

You know, the Bible encourages us to not worry about tomorrow, because today is all we have. Live it. Don’t let fear control it. Let the boy play. Let the drinks spill. What’s the worst that can happen? So often we allow worry and fear to shape and control us rather than placing our full trust in the Lord. Today, perhaps you are facing something that is producing fear and worry in you. The situation may not change but our response to the situation can – we can hold tightly to the Lord – the one who says, “Do not fear, for I am with you.”

Winter “Wonder”land

I’m stuck at home. Roads are slick and snowy. I had lots of stuff to do today but it got modified by the snow. Sometimes I wonder if the Lord makes days like today so his children will just BE and not DO so much. I’m still in my PJ’s, ate breakfast late, writing some and listening to tunes. Let it snow. Thank you Lord.

Liquid Sanity