'If' by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, 

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 


If you can make one heap of all your winnings 

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 

And lose, and start again at your beginnings 

    And never breathe a word about your loss; 

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you 

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 

    If all men count with you, but none too much; 

If you can fill the unforgiving minute 

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Simplicity, Minimalism, Mr. Money Moustache and Financial Peace

This past weekend, we held a garage sale at our home.  The main purpose was to clear out stuff that we don't use, can't use, never used or just don't want.  That was the goal, and it was a success.  "One persons junk is another's treasure."  We cleared about $300, but the main point was to cleanse.

Lisa and I are in the midst of living in to a newer lifestyle.  During our sabbatical, we had a chance to investigate a relatively new phenomenon called "Minimalism."  The chief spokespersons, though there are many are two 30 something guys called "The Minimalists."  The best summary can be found in the the film Minimalism.  The trailer is below.

I commend the film to you.  You can find it easily on Netflix.

But this is not something new, as Richard Foster, the Quaker theologian, reminded us in his book The Freedom of Simplicity.  I stumbled upon it in a used book store, or was it a leading of the Holy Spirit or a form of Synchronicity?  Foster doers an excellent job of laying out the biblical and the historical precedence for a life of simplicity.  In short, this is our heritage as followers of Yahweh, Moses, Jesus, St. Francis, Luther and King.

A fellow pastor mentioned Mr. Money Moustache as a contemporary guy who is living in to this simpler lifestyle.  He's a quirky character, who made his bucks in Software Engineering, and now lives off what he made, BUT he only spends $23,000 - $27,000 a year.  

But, it was Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University that has helped me most with a plan.  Dave is an aggressive guy, and his theology is a little simplistic (big on Proverbs, short on New Testament) but his money planning is very clear.  I've found him helpful.  He doesn't mess around, largely because he encounters lots of people who don't take financial planning seriously.  I commend the course to you, with the warning that Dave makes lots of assumptions about couples being heterosexual, as well as his gender norms can be off (women like to buy clothes, guys like Home Depot)  A good summary of the course can be found in this profile article.

All of this has been put into a blender that mean's we are focused on paying off debts, saving for the future, simplifying our lifestyle, going to the library, getting rid of crap, spending time and money on people and experiences, oh, and enjoying the opportunity to be outrageously generous.

There is indeed, freedom in simplicity.


Four Ways to Increase Giving

Last Saturday, I spoke to the churches involved in our year long Stewardship training program.  That inspired me to make this short video summary of some of the major points.  I hope it is helpful for you as you work to help people be generous.

Four Ways to grow your generosity and stewardship in your church. I highlight four important tips for Christian Stewardship.
Subscribe to BISHOP ON A BIKE Here: https://www.youtube.com/bishoponabike

Resources mentioned in this video include:
Ask, Thank, Tell by Charles Lane  http://amzn.to/2q29q0w
Not Your Parent's Offering Plate By Clif Christopher http://amzn.to/2q02uTD
A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen http://amzn.to/2qNV4Uf
Enough by Adam Hamilton http://amzn.to/2pZLEEw

Bishop James Hazelwood on Social Media:

DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, We’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for the support!

About this video:
In this video Bishop Hazelwood from Bishop on a Bike describes four ways congregations can grow their financial stewardship and giving, by helping people be more generous.

Talking Holy Spokes with Rev. Laura Everett

In this episode, I meet Laura Everett, author of Holy Spokes. We talk about her book launch party, Norwegian weather and bicycling in Boston. https://www.facebook.com/events/17608...

Launch Party is April 21 6-9 pm at the Dorchester Brewing Company

Buy her book Holy Spokes  http://amzn.to/2oskchF

Bowdoin Bike School http://www.bowdoinbikeschool.org
Rev. Laura's Blog https://reveverett.com/book/

Buy her book Holy Spokes  http://amzn.to/2oskchF

Subscribe to BISHOP ON A BIKE Here: https://www.youtube.com/bishoponabike

7 Mistakes During an Interim via Thom Rainer

www.thomrainer.com is a source of good church info.  I subscribe to his email.  This was today's and I thought I'd share it with you.

Seven Common Mistakes Churches Make When They Have an Interim Pastor

“Interim” sounds like a pregnant pause anticipating something down the road.

So when you put the adjective in front of “pastor” or “church,” it just feels like less than ideal.

It does not have to be that way. The interim period between two pastors can be a time of great benefit for churches. It is for that reason I encourage churches not to make mistakes common during this interim time. Here are seven of them:

  1. The church moves into a maintenance mode. To be sure, there are decisions and actions that need to be postponed until the new pastor gets on board. But neither the Great Commission nor the Great Commandment takes a vacation. There is still much work to be done. 
  2. The church allows the interim pastor to be a candidate for pastor. I know. I will get some pushback here. But I have seen so many disasters befall a church when the person in the interim pulpit gets favored status. The downside outweighs the benefits. 
  3. The process of finding a pastor becomes a “beauty contest.” Several candidates are paraded before the church or key groups in the church. Factions decide their favorite candidate. Tensions grow. Consider instead dealing with one or a very few candidates at a time. 
  4. The search process is handled poorly. To be fair, most church members and leaders have never been a part of a search process. They are doing the best they know how. Over the past several years, I have become a strong proponent of getting outside expertise and help. As William Vanderbloemen said on one of our podcasts, “The worst hire a church can make is the wrong hire.” 
  5. The church leaves personnel problems for the next pastor to handle. Don’t neglect making the tough decisions. If you delay these decisions, you are already setting up your next pastor to have problems and enemies at the onset. 
  6. The church fails to deal with sacred cows. Like the personnel issues noted above, don’t set up the next pastor for failure. If there are some sensitive issues to handle, do it during the interim period. Don’t wait. 
  7. The church fills key staff positions in the interim period. If at all possible, let the next pastor have an influential role in choosing staff members who will be a part of the leadership team. It is a much better alternative than moving forward and leaving the pastor with no say in one of the most important aspects of ministry. 

Simply stated, the interim period is a time of opportunity, not just a time of waiting. Make the right decisions and the church will be stronger in the near term and for years to come.

Sabbatical at Midpoint

I'm a tad beyond the midpoint of this sabbatical.  Refreshed and renewed, here are some random thoughts:

- Reading widely and broadly everything thing Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie to DT Suzuki's Introduction to Zen, plus Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, the blogs of Tyler Cowen and the Minimalists.

- I'm now at nearly Six months of regular morning meditation and Psalms.  It's a daily 15 minute pause after waking.  I meditate for 10 minutes, read one of the Psalms and pray for a person/place or three.  Eugene Peterson's translation of the Psalms along with the app Headspace have been helpful tools.

- Selectively reading newspaper's and journal's in an attempt to understand what is happening in our society/world.  Trump, nationalism, racism and economic dislocation.

- Hiking and Cycling in various locals.

- Eating the earth, especially the bounty that is yielded forth in this vally in Ojai where vegetables and fruits are plentiful.

I have no particular wisdom to share at this point.  It's all being digested.  I'm keenly aware of some changes I need to make, and am already making. I've observed several of my bishop colleagues needing to step away from this office.  Two this year have decided to return to the parish.  In the last four and a half yers I've watched a few others self destruct, and four choose not to run for a second term.  This has a sobering affect on you, especially for me as I enter my fifth year, turning 58, becoming a grandfather.  You start to ask different questions about life and work.  How do I want to spend my time?  Where can I make a difference?  What's most important.  These are question I continue to mull over as I move through this sabbatical.

The daily photo blogging has continued on instagram, you can follow me there.  I'll post here as I am moved.  I plan to regularly post to this blog upon return from this sabbatical, which concludes March 31.

La La gets headline but Coltrane stole the night

Today, Lisa and I ventured to Santa Barbara, where unbeknownest to us was hosting it's annual International Film Festival.  We found ourselves in the crowds, and saw the headline appearance at the Arlington theatre. But five blocks down at another theatre, we were able to attend a screening of "Chasing Trane" a documentary abut Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.  The director gave a talk, did a Q & A, and we enjoyed a delightful and, I might add, highly spiritual film.