Welcome back to the journey, Everyone! I have passed the halfway mark (over 2 million footsteps) as I now enter into Sioux City, IA. I plan to pack this post so I hope you enjoy all of it from some new pictures, videos (and some captions with the videos), new maps of my location, and a 'Challenge' that I am going to issue to all of you too!
The Two Million Step Challenge
There are things that I struggled with before embarking on this journey. I am hoping that through this trip, and by the power of prayer and God's grace, to grow in these weaknesses or shortcomings. I don't mean to preach but rather to challenge you too on some of these things. And so I am challenging you to consider the following observation that I have seen on this trip (this is something that God has made crystal clear as an area that I can grow in):
In the first two million steps of this trip I have met people from all walks of life, and have come to find that sometimes I get caught in what I call my "Christian comfort zone". What I mean by this is that I would tend to only praise God's name when I was comfortable talking with someone of similar beliefs, but am I really doing what Christ calls me to do? This verse comes to mind:
Mathew 6:46-47: For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
Throughout this trip many people have come out of their own "Christian comfort zones" to help me. I am sure it is not easy to walk up to a guy that smells from about 30 feet away and looks dirty from head to toe... But their taking action to come out of their "Christian comfort zone" has had such an affect on me! Just like the song that I posted earlier, we do not know what our actions can do. So, I challenge you to grow in this area along with me. Maybe not always in speaking, but in our actions as well. So lets get out of our "Christian comfort zone", and truly start striving to act as Christ did!
I met some fellow Americans who were also crossing the country. One couple was going West to East, and as I was talking to them it just so happened that another biker going
from East to West across the country stopped and talked to us!
A very intense storm in the heart of 'Tornado Alley'. "The voice of the Lord is power;
the voice of the Lord is splendor." -Psalm 29:4
the voice of the Lord is splendor." -Psalm 29:4
Morning planning with a nice and hot cup of joe.
Now Some Videos
Meeting the fellow 'country-crossers'
When I came into a small town I went to a small bar to get directions. Four nice guys bought me a cold drink and soon after one of them offered his farm as a place I could rest up/shower etc. Thank you so much for your Nebraska generosity! God bless you guys and gal!
Quite the storm!
Sounds of God's might (trying to weather a storm in my tent which nearly came apart... I had to pack it up so not to lose my tent for good).
After singing 'Amazing Graze' I caused the cattle to stampede. It works every time (it goes to show you what the quality of my singing voice is...)
Surprise appearance from some friends from MN! Thank you Dann and Nina!
Dann would be too humble to tell you himself, but he serves our country in the military. God bless Dann for his selfless vocation of serving our country. The fact that he would come to visit me and walk 20 miles by my side on one of his days off goes to show you what kind of great men we have protecting our Nation.
Some Maps etc.
Also, here is the latest SPOT tracking beacon link of my location: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0RqaCWQXIjE7D4bXX0MBtk3Xsm7XdnCAL
Some Things to Reflect on From Mass Today
Sunday (June 23): "Who do you say that I am?"
Scripture: Luke 9:18-24
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?" 19 And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say, Eli'jah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen." 20 And he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God." 21 But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." 23 And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.
Meditation: Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed that Jesus was truly the "Christ of God". No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God. Through the "eyes of faith" Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for "Christ" in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for "Messiah" – both words literally mean the Anointed One.
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? They were, afterall, appointed to proclaim the good news to everyone. Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early chuch father, explains the reason for this silence:
There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father. He utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a seasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion. (Commentary on Luke, Homily 49)
Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God's work of redemption might be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard this word. How different are God's thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). Through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the "cross" that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses with God's will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strenth we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and the power to live the gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?
"Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever."
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where no water is.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
5 My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
6 when I think of you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
God bless you all,