Pastor Frank and Martina are currently on the road for ZIP THE ROCK 2.... You can follow their daily journey right here. If you would like to make a donation in support of building a zipline at Camp Lutherock, please go to: https://www.lutherock.org/zip-the-rock.

Day 10

March 26, 2019



Zip The Rock 2, the bike ride element, safely came to an end 4:30 this afternoon when Martina and I rode onto the Camp Lutheridge campus in Arden, NC. We are both elated and profoundly grateful that everything went extremely well. Just consider all these factors:


• We traveled over 900 miles, I pedaled 502 of them, and had no serious issues.

• Not a single flat tire or any other breakdowns

• No scrapes or breaks or body malfunctions

• No car or camper issues

• Martina and I both stayed healthy

• 10 over-night stops and each host site was very kind and welcoming

• We only had rain one late afternoon and I was ready to quit anyway

• Nobody attempted to run me over

• Donations are coming in


The list could go on and on of how blessed we have been throughout this journey; I think you get the picture.

The prayers of thousands of people have surrounded us from 10 congregations and the NovusWay staff.

Today was the most challenging day of uphill climbing. The climbs were longer and steeper as we got more and more into the mountains. The weather all day was very grey and foggy and the temps were in the 40s-50s. I was cold and wet. I’m not going to miss that feeling at all. I’m looking forward to Florida sunshine and temps.


When we arrived at Lutheridge they gave us a nice conference room where we could take a warm shower and relax before the 6 PM celebration. When Martina and I arrived at the “party room” there were about 20 NovusWay staff people standing in a big circle applauding and cheering us on. What a wonderful reception that was. To see all the good people together who are partnering with Martina and me to make Zip The Rock successful. Some are responsible for publicity. Some were responsible for the 9 church host sites being ready. Some were responsible for producing the campaign bulletin inserts and envelopes, some wrote the correspondence letters, some identified potential donors and made personal gift requests to them. Some have their work ahead of them because they will be responsible for the oversight of the construction of the zip line, others will be responsible for the safety training of the zip line attendants. Of course, the CEO of NovusWay, Bo Harris was also there. It was wonderful to be able to go around and personally thank them for their amazing support and most importantly their prayers.


The bike ride element is over, but much still needs to be done. It is still too early to know if all the money has been raised that is needed. We are very hopeful that more donations will come in over the next days and weeks.

I will make one last shameless appeal. This is all about our youth and connecting them with the love of God through the beauty and adventure that comes from nature. You should see how different are youth are when they spend a week in the mountains, away from challenges and stresses of our normal lives. They become more relaxed and peaceful and curious and communicative. They talk and laugh and play with each other without using some electronic gadget. They encourage and support and challenge each other. They listen to young adults share their faith stories which allows the youth to feel comfortable to express their own faith stories. I have seen this happening for over 30 years and Martina and I have invested a significant part of ourselves to see it continue. If any of this makes sense to you, if you love kids and want to see them grow in Christ, then send them to a NovusWay camp and please make a donation to Zip The Rock. You can do so through your own congregation or directly through Camp Lutherock at www.lutherock.org .


Thanks to all of you for your love and support and prayers.

Tomorrow we journey home to Juno Beach.


Love,

Frank and Martina Wagner


DEVOTION


2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Paul writes these words as he senses that his death is near. Though Martina and I are certainly tired, in no way do we think or feel that we are at the end of our days! We are grateful for this amazing experience but excited about returning to family, friends and church family and jumping back into our ministry in Juno Beach.

I believe Paul is making some very important concluding comments that we all need to be able think and feel as we go through life. As we review important seasons of our lives we hope that we can look back and say, “I gave it my best, especially when it got hard. I didn’t quit; I’m a finisher. I did what God asked me to do to the best of my ability.”

Paul was very clear throughout his writings that the reason he can say these words in 2 Timothy 4:7 is only because of the amazing gift of God’s grace which comes through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, and the tremendous support he received from others along the way.

Martina and I are both aware and deeply grateful for God’s grace and the tremendous support we received from so many.

May you dream big dreams and have high hopes. And when you can look back and celebrate accomplishments make sure you are aware of all the love and support you received along the way.

Prayer. God, thank you for always being there for us. Amen.


Day 9

March 25, 2019


We started riding early this morning because we knew it was supposed to rain sometime.  By 7:30 AM we were pedaling out of Greensboro on our way to Hickory.  We went through Winston Salem and circled Salem Lake.  Martina rented a bicycle and joined me.  That was fun.  As we got closer to the afternoon the temperature began to drop in preparation for the rain.  Sure enough, when we got to Statesville it started to rain and never stopped.  I was only able to ride 47 miles today. 

The highlight of today was arriving at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC where Chris Webb is the Pastor and Van VanHorne is the Youth and Family Ministry Director.  Along with them Sandra Holland of Novus Way, Wade of Holy Trinity and Barbara Maunke all came to greet us as well.  What is very interesting is that for the past two weeks Barbara and her husband Pete have been worshiping at Holy Spirit in Juno Beach while they were on vacation.  Barbara was very kind and arranged dinner for us this evening.


The people of Holy Trinity, like so many of the other churches that hosted us, were so kind.  And I think kindness is a very important evangelism tool.  We live in a world where unfortunately kindness is not sincere, rather a sales tool or gimmick, or kindness is fake.  People don’t want to take the time to be kind to each other.  I know that I’m guilty of doing that.  Kindness has been replaced with sarcasm and criticism.  It is very important that Christ followers and the church excel in sincere and genuine kindness.  It will grab people’s attention and leave a lasting impression.  I know our church stops on this journey have certainly demonstrated that.


Tomorrow is our last bike riding day.  


We are off to Camp Lutheridge in Arden, NC.


DEVOTION


Romans 12:6 In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

Martina always tries to put me on bike trails whenever she can find one. They are always much safer than riding on the street and certainly more beautiful. When you get to a bike trail they have a Trail Head which gives you important information about the trail. It’s your starting place. It welcomes you and says, come and explore. Once you go down the trail then there are so many interesting things to see and hear that make the journey richer, deeper, and more enjoyable.

I hope your experience of the church and God’s people is like that. The church is the Trail Head. It’s the welcome center that has its arms and doors wide open and says, we’re glad you’re here, come in and explore. Then you begin the journey in the church and you meet God’s people and they are all a different expression of God’s unique creation and love. Then you participate in a ministry here and there and experience God’s Holy Spirit at work. Hopefully these experiences of God’s people and ministries enriches your faith journey and leads you into a deeper and more enjoyable relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

When a person meets you and spends time with you are you aware that they are on a faith journey and that your impact on them can have significant faith value?

Prayer: Father, thank you for your church and for your people. Please use me and my gifts and abilities to be a positive influence to help others grow in their faith. Amen


Day 8 - March 24, 2019

This morning I had the opportunity to speak to the wonderful people of Christ Lutheran Church, Charlotte before Martina and I departed for another day of riding.  Pastor Scott Suskovic invited me to give a brief presentation about Zip The Rock during the announcements prior to the service starting at 8:45 AM.  (see the picture).  What a magnificent sanctuary.  The chancel area, the stage, is bigger than our entire sanctuary at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church.  If you’re ever in Charlotte, go visit Christ Lutheran Church.


Today we rode 63 miles to First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, NC.  Another amazing Lutheran campus.  The church has been around for 110 years and has changed locations 4 times in those years.  Dan met us as we rolled in at 6 PM.  You can tell he loves this church.  He has been worshipping here for 30 years and he is on staff now.  I can tell he is a real asset.

Spring flowers were all around us as we were riding.  I have included some pictures.  Living most of my life in Florida, I’m not used to such strong seasonal changes.  Seeing all the flowers, trees and bushes pushing out new leaves and flowers is spectacular. 


Today I heard that our Bishop Suarez and his wife Aura were in a very serious car accident.  I don’t have any more information than that.  Please keep our Bishop and his wife and family in your prayers. 

Today, as I was riding I passed many, many churches that were worshipping.  It made me realize how very fortunate I am to have such amazing support from the people of HSLC for me to be away from our church to do this bike ride fundraising effort for Lutherock.  I am also grateful that I have such reliable staff who carry on very well when I am not there.  I missed being with all of them at worship today.


Tomorrow we ride to Hickory, NC to visit Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.


DEVOTION

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…


On the fourth day of the bike ride I started having serious pain in my left knee. That’s especially concerning because my left knee has always been my good knee. The pain got worse throughout the day and would be excruciating by the end of the day of riding. I was hoping that with a night of rest the pain would be gone and day four would be ok. But by noon time on Day 5 the pain in my left knee was stabbing. I could barely bend my knee. I pushed through because I had to. But I began to seriously wonder if I could even finish the bike ride. By 4PM we still had 10 miles to go before we reached Messiah Lutheran Church. I was considering going to an urgent care to have my knee checked out. After taking a short break I climbed up on the bike and said a short, but very sincere prayer, “God, there is no way I can do this bike ride with so much pain. It’s up to you. I’ll do whatever you want.” I kept riding. After a few minutes I realized I had no pain. I was in shock. Had God really taken my pain away after a simple prayer? Keep riding, see if the pain returns. We arrived at Messiah and still there was no pain. The entire evening, no pain in my left knee. I have had 3 more full days of riding since that prayer and the pain has not returned. I promised God I would let the world know and that I would give Him all the credit. 


Friends, God answered my prayer and removed the pain in my knee. There is no other explanation. He gets all the credit and honor. Please don’t ask me why this time. All I know is that God’s Spirit is constantly with us and at work on our behalf. Most of the time we are not aware of it, or don’t see it. Even though our awareness is so shortsighted the Holy Spirit is constantly at work in and through us and enabling us to serve God. What do I recommend after this experience? Be humble, be bold and ask. The Holy Spirit will do what is best according to His wisdom. 

Prayer: Thank you God for answering my prayers according to your wisdom. Help me to pray bold prayers and to trust the answers to you. Amen.


Day 7 - March 23, 2019



This morning got off to a wonderful start.  Since we knew that the journey from Gastonia, NC to Charlotte, NC was going to be shorter than usual we knew that we had some extra time on our hands.  We discovered that there is a beautiful botanical garden outside Gastonia.  So we rode 12 miles to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and took a break to wander through the gardens and see the spring show.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  I highly recommend the garden. 


We then continued our journey and road an additional 41 miles to reach Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte.  For those of you following us with GPS you might be wondering why it took us 53 miles to go this stretch when it should only be in the 30’s?  The answer is to avoid traffic.  Martina must often lead me on long detours to keep the journey as safe as possible.


Today we arrived at Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte and we were warmly greeted by Lead Pastor Scott Suskovic.  He gave us a tour and made sure we knew where everything was that we would need and then he turned over the keys to us and wished us good night.  You should see this church campus.  I felt like a kid at Disney World.  I may stay up all night and roam the campus.  Thank you Pastor Scott for allowing me to play and dream.  Sunday morning I will have the opportunity to speak to the 8:45 worship service before we start biking.  Thank you people of Christ Lutheran Church for your great influence for Jesus sake in the world.


Six days of bike riding is taking its toll on my “back-side”.  So, as of today I am now wearing three bicycle shorts all at the same time.  I need all the cushion support I can get!  Yes, it does look really funny, but who cares, I need to ride 3 more days.  For today, it worked.  That’s all I care about.  You do what you gotta do.


I want to end on this very joyful note.  About 30 minutes after we arrived at Christ Lutheran Church, while we were still unloading our supplies for the night, a car drives up in the church parking lot and two people get out and start walking towards me.  They recognize me first because they were looking for me.  I wasn’t expecting them at all, so I thought it was someone from this church.  When they were close enough I recognized that it was members of my church at home, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Juno Beach, FL, Dewey and Robyn Matthews.  They are traveling to Pennsylvania, they know our bicycle route and realized that they were going to be close by this evening.  So they drove over.  What a wonderful surprise.  We are so grateful for going out of their way to greet us and wish us well.  God is good!


Tomorrow we ride to First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, NC.

I think of you every day and pray for you often.


My love to you all.  Pastor Frank


DEVOTION

1 Corinthians 6:20

You must honor God with your body.

We have just completed the 7th day of our Zip The Rock bicycle ride. We are in Charlotte, NC. At this point I have ridden my bicycle several hundreds of miles. Out of care and concern many have asked me, “How are you holding up?” The answer is, for what I am putting my body through and for the age I am, I’m doing surprisingly well. I’m exhausted at the end of the day and I look forward to being in bed at 9PM so that I can get as much sleep as possible. When I wake up in the morning God has reduced my soreness and rejuvenated me enough that I am ready to do it again. All praise and honor goes to my Heavenly Father.


This is what I think everyone needs to understand, the way God made my body to work allows me to push myself in this way. In fact, since God has gifted me in this way, it is my obligation to use this gift for His Kingdom purposes. That’s what Zip The Rock is all about. There is a Kingdom need to reach children and teens and young adults with the love of Jesus Christ. Outdoor ministry is one very effective way to do that. I am using my body with this unique gift to do Kingdom work.


What is also very important to understand is that it is my responsibility to take care of and nurture this gift God has given me. If I were to neglect or harm my body then this gift God has given me would be greatly diminished. That would dishonor God. I have an obligation to take care of my body in order to praise and honor God.


Everyone’s body is a gift from God. Are you taking care of yours so that it is ready to honor God doing some type of Kingdom work for Him.

Please keep in mind, Martina and I are doing this bicycle ride because we are not able to write a check for $140,000 and pay for the zip line. But because we believe the zip line will be a very valuable tool for ministry we are using the gifts God has given to us to raise the funds.


Maybe you can’t ride your bicycle to North Carolina. But perhaps you can raise funds another way. Perhaps God has blessed you with the ability to write a check.

How has God blessed your life? Use your blessings to do Kingdom work.

Prayer: The life of a child will be forever transformed if they know Jesus. Lord, show me how I can use my gift(s) to help a child come to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and friend.

Amen


Day 6

March 22, 2019



Today was fortunately uneventful so that leaves me a few minutes to rant. I have been doing these long distance bike rides now for 12 years. One thing hasn’t changed, the road conditions for Georgia and South Carolina are the worst. They are awful. For people driving cars it is probably no big deal to you. Thankfully they make cars so comfortable today that when you ride over potholes and cracked streets you don’t think too much of it. But I’m pretty sure that those terrible road conditions are playing havoc on your tires, suspension, steering and general car wear and tear.


Obviously my rant is because for the past four days I have been driving with my bicycle over those roads. It is so dangerous for bike riders. That explains why I saw less than 3 bike riders in four days in those two states. There are extremely few roads that have even six inches on the right side of the white line for a bike rider to use. For many of the roads, right of the white line has crumbled away. Substantial potholes and cracks in the road are enough to knock a bike rider off their bicycle. Many, many of the roads have divots pressed into the white line making it impossible for the bike rider to ride on the far right side of the lane, therefore forcing the bike rider out further where the cars drive. And believe me the car drivers hate it when the bikes are out in the lane forcing them to have to slow down and go around the bikes.


There is so much more I could say, but you’re probably bored already. Today, I crossed into North Carolina. Immediately the road conditions were much better. This is a public leadership decision. Everyone suffers from bad roads. People’s lives are at risk.


Are you in a leadership position? Make sure that the people you are serving are safe and properly cared for. I’m done with my rant.


Today we rode 68 miles from Mauldin, SC to Gastonia, NC. We arrived at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. A beautiful church in the heart of town. Ellie Holloway, the Church Administrator was very gracious to come in the evening and welcome us, show us around and help us to get settled. Holy Trinity Church is also involved in the Family Promise Ministry and so they are very used to welcoming strangers to their campus and making them feel welcomed and comfortable. Thank you to the wonderful people of Holy Trinity for graciously opening your campus to us. Tomorrow we ride to Charlotte, NC to Christ Lutheran Church.


DEVOTION - DAY 6


James 1:12  God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.  Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

 

I have been frequently asked, “Why my bike?”  My bike is not what people expected me to have for such a long road trip.  What they are expecting is one of those super light weight bikes that you can lift with one finger.  The tires are very thin.  You sit leaning way over the front handle bars.  And you ride about 20-30 mph all the time.  Those are road bikes and they can cost $2000 - $15,000.  My bike is none of those things.  My bike is a hybrid, a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike.  My bike is quite heavy.  You sit almost upright.  I have fairly wide tires with heavy duty tread and extra thick tubes.  My speed is usually between 10-20 mph.  So, why don’t I use a road bike.  Because I’m not trying to win;  I’m a finisher.  I want to finish well.  Ask anyone that knows me, I love to win!  But this particular Zip The Rock effort is not about winning, this is about finishing well each day.  Spending 10 hours a day for 10 days sitting on a bike riding on awful road conditions does not allow for a road bike.  The bike would get destroyed and so would my neck and back.  I would not finish.  I would not achieve my goals.  The hybrid can withstand the road conditions far better and is more comfortable for me to ride all day.

For the things that really matter:

  • Our relationship with God through Jesus Christ
  • Our relationship with our husband or wife
  • Our relationship with our children and grandchildren
  • Our relationship with our parents and grandparents
  • Our relationship with our friends
  • Our careers
  • Our health
  • Our finances

It is important that we ask ourselves and the Holy Spirit, what’s most important, winning or finishing well?  God has won for us the most important thing of all, life eternal with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for wining for us what we could not win on our own.  Give us your wisdom to know when to win or when to finish well.  Amen

Day 5

March 21, 2019




Day 5, March 21, 2019

 

Today we traveled from Suwanee, GA to Mauldin, SC.  Mauldin is very close to Greenville.  I rode my bicycle 61 miles.  Once we drove out of the Atlanta traffic Martina put me onto beautiful rural roads and we enjoyed most of the day out in the country.  I included some pictures of flowers, goats and long-horn bulls.  Unfortunately I had to deal with some unleashed dogs that just love to scare the you-know-what out of you.  Three of them were Pit bulls.  One came right up to my bike and looked like he was going to bite me.  I have a special very loud boat horn to scare them off.  I keep it in my pocket.  When I tried to reach for it I couldn’t get a hold of it because I was wearing an extra pair of gloves to keep my hands warm and I could get them in my pocket.  So I screamed real loud and it fortunately scared him off.  I learned my lesson.  Now the boat horn is in a much bigger pocket.


We arrived at Messiah Lutheran Church and was greeted by Pastor Michael Sherman and his son.  A member of the congregation also came shortly after to welcome us and learn more about the ride.  We took a picture together at the church sign.  Over the course of the next hour more people dropped by.  What was really nice is that some of the members had cooked dinner for us and provided breakfast supplies and put it all in a box for us.  


After the members of Messiah left to other commitments our friends Mark and Eileen from Lavonia,GA drove over and we had dinner together here in the gym at the church.  It was a wonderful end to the day.  God is taking such good care of us.  We are blessed.


DEVOTION


Hebrews 13:7

Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God.  Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.

 

As of this evening we have past the half way mark, not based on distance but based on the number of church stops.  And one of the things that I have noticed at each stop is that everyone is interested in talking with me about the bike ride and are impressed with my ability to ride so far.  What no one seems to understand is that if it were not for Martina I would not be arriving right on time as was planned.  In fact, if it were not for Martina we would still be in Juno Beach, FL and the bike ride would not be happening.  Martina is the leader of the Zip The Rock bicycle ride.  She plans the routes that we take each day.  She got the van and camper travel ready and packed with all the supplies for a 10 day trip.  She packed the suitcases.  She arranged all the food.  Do you know what I do?  I get my bicycle ready and I ride.  Martina is the organizer, the strategist and the manager.  She is always looking after me to make sure I am safe and have what I need to be successful with the ride.


I want everyone to understand this not just for Martina’s sake but because that is what Biblical leadership is all about.  It’s not tooting your own horn.  It’s not seeking accolades and recognition.  It’s not seeking the spotlight.  It is making sure that the mission is successful and that all the deserving workers get the praise and thanks.

What kind of a leader are you?  What kind of leader(s) do you work for?  I hope they live according to Biblical leadership principles.

 

Prayer:  Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for humble selfless leaders.  Help me to be that kind of leader at home, at work, in school and in the community.  Amen.



Day 4

March 20, 2019




Day 4, March 20, 2019

 

Well, I have made a firm decision.  It took me about 3 seconds to come to this conclusion.  I am not doing another bike ride north of Orlando in the winter.  Martina and I left Pastor Fritz’s home this morning at 7:30AM and it was cold, 33 degrees.  Sorry you northerners,  but I have lived most of my life in south Florida for good reason.  I don’t like be cold!  Even with several layers of clothes on the cool wind found a way in.  My muscles stayed tense from the cold all day.  And sucking in cold air all day was harsh.  I’m sure I’m burning way more calories as my body is trying to stay warm.  Like I said, no more winter bike rides!


We rode 53 miles today.  Riding from Peachtree City to Fayetteville, to Decatur.  Once we got to Decatur the traffic was so bad and most of the Georgia roads don’t have bike lanes that Martina drove me out of the worst of it and I rode the final 10 miles into Suwanee. 


When we arrived at Epiphany Lutheran Church Keith Trout of NovusWay was there to greet us.  Shortly after Pastor Chris Hermansen arrived with ice cream and waffle bowls for Sundaes.  That was  brilliant, because free sundaes will about guarantee that there will be a big crowd to stay after Lenten worship for my presentation.  I would like to think that everyone who graciously listened did so because they were eager to hear from me and Martina about our bike trip and about Zip The Rock 2.  But, I’ve been around long enough and have played a few pastor tricks myself to know why they were really there. 

The people of Epiphany are very friendly outgoing people.  Definitely a reflection of their pastor.  They have been long-time supporters of Camp Lutherock and they are definitely generous supporters of Zip The Rock 2 because one of their members is offering a $1000 matching gift!


Tomorrow we are off to Greensboro, SC.


Pastor Frank

Day 4 Devotion

1 Peter 3:8:  Finally, all of you should be of one mind.  Sympathize with each other.  Love each other as brothers and sisters.  Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

 

While riding on one of the bike trails, which was 29 miles long, I noticed all these yellow markings wherever there was damage on the bike trail.  Where there was a pothole there was a circle around it. (see the picture)  If there was a crack in the blacktop of if a piece of the edge had broken off there were yellow stripes before and after.  The whole purpose is to warn bikers of the hazard.  As I was riding I noticed that the whole 29 mile stretch was marked.  I was curious who did all that work.  It turns out that it was a group of volunteers.  Once they marked all the defects then the county comes and makes all the repairs.

It made me think, what a wonderful and humble service they were offering to all of us bicycle riders.  I greatly appreciated what they did because I personally benefitted from it.  I will never be able to thank those volunteers.  They won’t know my appreciation.  I hope they know what an act of loving kindness they offered.

Think about it, what selfless act of kindness are you doing for others, and they may never be able to thank you for it?

 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son Jesus who demonstrated humble loving service for all.  Through your Holy Spirit open my eyes to see and hear the needs of others and then inspire and encourage me to do something about it.  Amen

Day 3

March 19, 2019

Day 3, March 19, 2019

 

I am so exhausted today that I can barely keep my eyes open.  And it’s not because I had to ride many miles.  Today we had to travel from Longwood, FL to Peachtree City, GA which is a 455 mile trip.  No way can you ride a bike that far in one day.  So we had to get up at 5:30 AM, pack up the camper, have breakfast and be on the road at 7 AM so that we could drive to Peachtree City and be at Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church by 6 PM to meet with some wonderful folks from the church.  I was able to ride for only 2 hours and because it was so hilly, I was much slower.  Today I only actually rode my bike 16 miles.  My son-in-law AJ is going to give me a lot of grief for calling this a bike ride and then I spent most of the day in the car.  So, between the hills and the cooler temperatures my body is fading quickly.  Tomorrow morning when I start riding to Suwanee, GA to be with the people at Epiphany Lutheran Church it is supposed to be in the 30s! 


The joy and highlight of today were the wonderful people of Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church.  Pastor Fritz Wiese invited two families from the church to join us as well as Debbie Lundell who is on staff with Novus Way and her husband Joe.  One of the families was the Youth and Family Ministry Director Melissa Jacobson and her husband Scott and their son, and the other family was Shelly and Eric and their two sons.  I was honored that on a Tuesday evening these kind folks would come to dinner for strangers.  It’s not often that you find that kind of welcome and friendship.  This congregation is very supportive of Camp Lutherock, sending many children each year.  They are very hopeful that the zip line will be available this summer.


We were invited to stay overnight in the beautiful home of Pastor Fritz and his wife LuAnn.  It sure beats having to set up and take down the camper.  God is amazing!

Day 2

March 18, 2019




Day 2, March 18, 2019

 

Day 2 started off with some unplanned excitement.  We were sleeping in the Fellowship Hall at Christ Our Redeemer on air mattresses.  That’s a lot easier than opening and setting up the camper.  We like easy at the end of the day.  At 5:30 AM a man came walking into the Fellowship Hall and I think we scared each other.  No way we are going to fall asleep after that so we might as well get up.  We drove out of Temple Terrace because the traffic was so bad and it was dark.  


We then rode 76 miles to St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Longwood, FL.  If you look at the picture we included you will see Pastor Peter Morey and the Church Council President Shirley.  To the right in the picture you might recognize some former members of HSLC, Larry and Kitty Atkins and their granddaughter Maiah.  They had just moved to Sanford 2 months earlier and are now worshipping at St. Stephen.  It was a wonderful surprise to be able to spend a few minutes with the three of them.


Martina put me on a several beautiful bike trails today that just happened to be going in the right direction, towards Longwood.  The problem was that the wind was not at my back.  Come on people, you have to pray harder!  The wind blew most of the time right at me, 10-15 mph out of the north.  Ugh!  On top of it, it was a cool breeze.  Temps were in the 50s and 60s and grey skis.  That’s why in the picture you see me wearing multiple layers, to break the wind and keep me warm. 

The views along the way were so beautiful, forests, canopy over the trail, marsh land, farm land, grazing cows, deer, lakes.  When you see all that beauty, do you know how offensive it is to suddenly see litter. (see picture)  Who does that kind of thing?!  I hope none of you.


The bike trails along Old Hwy 50 through Groveland, Claremont, Ocoee and Winter Garden were amazing.  No traffic, peaceful and lots of uninterrupted nature.  Young families, downtown Claremont has a big outdoor splash pad right on the lake that I so wanted to play in.  But once we got out of Winter Garden the last 16 miles of riding were harsh, bad roads, no bike lanes, lots of traffic.


The people of St. Stephen were very welcoming and accommodating.  This is our third time staying overnight at St. Stephen while on a bike ride. 


All in all my day was exciting and challenging.  I hope yours was tool.

Martina and I are very ready for a good night’s sleep.


God is good!

Pastor Frank

Day 1

March 17, 2019




Blog

Zip The Rock 2 bicycle ride has finally started.  We were supposed to make this ride in September of 2018.  Due to hurricane Florence impacting the Carolinas and Georgia our plans were postponed until now.  This is the first long distance bicycle ride that Martina and I have made in the winter months.  We are used to riding in summer temps of 70s - 90s, but now it looks like 30s – 60s is what we can expect.


Today was a very easy day as far as bike riding is concerned because I didn’t have much time to ride.  We needed to be at Christ Our Redeemer Church in Temple Terrace, Florida, which is a suburb of Tampa, by 6 PM.  I didn’t finish worshipping at Holy Spirit Lutheran in Juno Beach until 1 PM.  After a wonderful send-off by our church family I raced home, ate lunch with family, changed into my biking clothes and began the journey.  Martina had the van and camper all prepared and loaded up so we could leave immediately.  She is amazing that way!


The departure from home was amazing.  My son and two grandsons (3 and 5 years old) rode with me for the first 4 miles.  I hope you get to the see the video attachments. 


Once the family returned home then I continued on for a little while until we realized that we needed 3.5 hours to cross the state by car and we had exactly that much time.  We loaded up and drove so that we could meet Pastor Eric Friedrichs on time at Christ Our Redeemer.  We are very grateful to Pastor Friedrichs and the people of COR for their support of Camp Lutherock, Zip The Rock 2, and Martina and me as we make this journey.


Tomorrow morning we will depart early for St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Longwood, FL.  Please keep us in your prayers.

 

If you would like to make a donation to support the Zip The Rock 2 campaign you can go to www.Lutherock.org and it will direct you or you can write a check to NovusWay and mail it to

NovusWay

P.O. Box 830

Arden, NC  28704

Memo:  Zip The Rock


Devotion

1 John 4:7  “Dear Friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.”

 

If being loved by friends and family is a measurement of being blessed, which I certainly believe it is, then I am a very blessed man.  It was amazing, the outpouring of love that Martina and I experienced today from our family and friends as we began our bicycle journey for Zip the Rock 2.  We shared at all four worship services that today we would begin the trip.  Following each service so many people came to express their well-wishes, their concerns for our safety, and their hope for our success.  One likely reason is because we are both over 60 now and they think we are really too old to be making this kind of trip.  When we got home for lunch and to ready ourselves for departure we were surrounded by the love of family and friends who either were at the house or they contacted us.  When we started the journey my son and two grandsons (3 and 5 years old) rode their bicycles with me for the first 4 miles.  We couldn’t have asked or hoped for more.  And when we arrived at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace, FL Pastor Eric Friedrichs was there to greet us with open arms.  And the best ending to the day was to have dinner with my son and daughter-in-law who live in Tampa.  It is my sincere hope and prayer for every person that they experience God’s love through the people they are surrounded by.  I am very grateful to God for the amazing people He has placed in our lives.

 

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for the love that I receive from family and friends.  May my life be a conduit of your love to my family and friends.  Amen.