Sunday, July 31, 2011

RAGBRAI Complete!

Friends - I finished RAGBRAI yesterday.  What a great ride across my home state of Iowa.  Awesome!  Here's a picture of me at the edge of the Mississippi River.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Citizenship is in Heaven

In an earlier post, I recommended this book: Same Kind of Different as Me.  Here are the final sentences of this great read: "The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain't no final restin place.  So in a way, we is all homeless - just workin our way toward home."

Hearing those concluding words, reminded me of one of Pastor Art's favorite Bible verses.  "But our citizenship is in Heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:20)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RAGBRAI challenge

RAGBRAI 2011 is not far away.  We're excited about the upcoming ride.  Total miles - 454 miles from Glenwood all the way to the Quad Cities.  Pray for the riders to have endurance and strength on the journey east.  Pray for us to hydrate well on hot days.  Pray for us to wisely apply lots of suntan lotion so we don't emerge as Red Lobsters after a week in the sun.  Pray that God will keep us safe.  Pray that God will provide for us, protect us, and make his presence known.

Pastor Rick
New Life
(Mere days before RAGBRAI)

Strong Enough - Great Song!

End of Trail

I took this photo a few days ago at the place where the Volksweg trail dead-ends in the water.  Lake Red Rock is a great place to ride but this section of the trail is often flooded.

Despite watery obstacles like this and the incredibly high temperatures, I've logged the necessary miles to prepare for RAGBRAI.  On Saturday, I topped 2,000 miles for my pre-RAGBRAI miles.  Feels good.  All this week, I've been dialing it down so that my legs are rested and ready for the big event.

The guys at the prison are praying for my safety during the ride.  They're also thankful for all the support we've received so they can benefit in a big way.  I praise God for all the financial support we've received so far.  With your help, New Life can not just survive but thrive in the prison where God has planted us!

New Life in Prayer

Yesterday we started a new video series in our Tuesday prayer group at the prison.  It's called Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.  So far so good.  

I find Francis Chan to be very engaging - he tells funny stories about children's books, brats, and Las Vegas.  In addition, he challenges us to live committed lives for Jesus Christ.  Here's what Chan writes in chapter one of his book on the Spirit: "We would expect our new life with the Holy Spirit to look radically different from our old life without Him."  

God is challenging us in our prayer group to become a united community.  God is challenging us to live a life of forgiveness.  God is challenging us to love our enemies.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would make change happen in the life together of the inmate fellowship called NEW LIFE!

Pastor Rick
New Life

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Life in the Word

This past Thursday at our New Life in the Word Bible study, we started something new.  We're doing a DVD series on the life of Christ called "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. So far so good.  The first video started out with Yancey at a Hollywood movie set of depicting the NYC Public Library.  His point was to challenge us to move from a 2-D caricature of Jesus to a fuller 3-D understanding of the real Jesus.  We had a great group meeting including praise songs, prayer, and small group discussions.  

God is good - He's growing a community of faith behind prison walls!

Pastor Rick
New Life

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stop to Smell the Flowers #2

Today I stopped to smell the flowers ... again.  And what did I see but a bunch of Black-Eyed Susans!

During my bike-ride today, God was giving me an eye-full and an ear-full.  Seeing the beauty of God's creation makes me want to praise Him.  But I heard things too.  On my way up a hill, I overheard a family conversation.  A Grandma was walking down the street when a little girl's voice shouted out: "I love you, Gramma!"  Grandma shouted back: "I love you too!"  Then a little boy's voice: "I love you, Gramma!"  Grandma shouts back again: "I love you too, Caden!"  I praised God for families and their love for one another.

Monday, July 11, 2011


RAGBRAI is less than 2 weeks away!  Many of you have already stepped forward to support our Pedal for Prisoners fundraising campaign.  If God is calling you to give, please consider doing so today.  It's as easy as writing a check & sending it to -

New Life
408 Maple Street
Pella, IA 50219

I've pedaled nearly 2,000 miles on my bicycle to prepare for this challenge.  Will you accept the challenge of supporting our prison ministry?

Potter Hill - RABRAI 2010 course

This weekend we were in Dubuque (IA) for the Dubuque Blowout - a soccer tournament.  My son John was competing in the U19 division for the Pella Soccer Club.  Meanwhile, I brought my bike for an early morning ride on Saturday.  Part of my 30 mile ride west of town was the legendary Potter Hill - part of the RABRAI route in 2010.  It was a great challenge but I made it up all the way without clipping out of my pedals.  After that hilly ride, I gained some confidence for RAGBRAI 2011 - it's less than 2 weeks away!

Ashton Kutcher

Movie star Ashton Kutcher is an Iowa-native.  He agrees.  The greatest resource of the state of Iowa is its people.

Iowa Resource: Corn!

A little while back, I wrote a blog article called: "Believe."  At that time, the corn was only a few inches tall.  The article used corn as a jumping off point to talk more about growth.  Believe

Well the corn is growing at a rapid pace at this stage of the game.  The hot & humid days of July are bringing about growth in a big way.  In places, the corn is now taller than me and beginning to tassel!

In geography lessons, corn is listed along with pork as two of the greatest resources of the state of Iowa.  However, I believe that Iowa's greatest resource is its people.  The people of Iowa are incredible.  More specifically, God has blessed New Life with incredible volunteers.  The Christians of central Iowa have been incredibly supportive of this new prison ministry.  As a result, God is growing this congregation of inmates behind prison walls.  To Him be the glory!

Pastor Rick
New Life

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stop to Smell the Flowers

I know that the latest and greatest British royal couple is in California right now.  But I caught a glimpse of homegrown American botanical royalty when I was riding my bike on the Volksweg trail.  Some may call it a weed but she's a flower to me.  It was Queen Anne's Lace -

I'm glad I took the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers.  RAGBRAI is only TWO weeks away but I feel like I'm ready.  Plus there will be many opportunities on RAGBRAI to stop and "smell the flowers."  One of the best parts of the trek 'cross Iowa is visiting the "pass-through" towns.  It'll be a good opportunity to enjoy the moment, meet the locals, and sample a delicious piece of peach pie!