Thursday, February 26, 2009

Whats in a Name

"The Giant" "The Brute," "The Giant Killer" "The Beauty" "The Monster" "The Beast" "The Gorilla" "The Thing" "Quarter Horse" "Barn Job" "the Turnip Eater" "The Hog Slayer" ....all of these were names of motorcycles from the early days of drag racing. Great names.... great bikes; many of them legendary. Seems that the drag bikes of today rarely get a name. That's a shame, I think, for it added a little personality to an otherwise cold chunk of metal.

Keeping tradition in mind, it would only make sense that if one were to build a nostalgia drag bike, they should name it. Of course one would not want to take one of those renowned names from yesteryear, at least not on purpose. No, what a person needs is a good period correct name for a period correct drag bike. More to the point, since I am building a nostalgia drag bike, I need to find a suitable name for it.

Now, if you have been following the saga of my vintage style drag bike build, you may remember I have already named it "Vinnie," short for "Vintage Drag Bike." And while that is a perfectly good "working title," it never was meant to be the kind of name you would paint on a gas tank. In fact, "Vinnie" sounds more like a name that would be attached to the vintage rider than to the vintage drag bike. So, I am going to be forced to appeal to you, my three or four regular readers, to come up with suggestions for a good nostalgic name for a good nostalgic drag bike.

So far Jane and I have come up with two possibles. One is "The Vulture" and the other is "Greased Lightening," but I am certainly open to suggestions. I may even be able to come up with a T-shirt or similar prize for anyone who submits a name that I use. So tell me .... what would be a good name for a nostalgia drag bike, 1950's style?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blessings of the Word

Our Church, ValleyView Baptist, is involved in a local ministry in which different area Churches take turns providing a worship service during the week at Friendship Manor, a local nursing home. It works out that the schedule puts us in Friendship Manor once every 6 weeks. I feel very blessed by God in that I have the opportunity to bring the message on the weeks that we are there.

This last Thursday was our week. As always Delores did a wonderful job on the Piano. Bob lead the singing, his wife Carol added her voice, and Susan sang a couple of solos. I am honored to serve along side these fine people. The text from my "sermon" is below:

Blessings of the Word

The Word of God. It may be impossible to overemphasize the importance of God’s Word. We find it referred to as the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, and the Good Book. We also find different sections of the Bible referred to as the Old Testament, The New Testament, the Law, the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Gospel among others. We also find the Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ. So much so, in fact, that in the Gospel of John we find Jesus Christ being referred to as the "Word of God."

John 1:1-4 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

We need not go far into the Bible to find the Word of God. Genesis 1 verse 3 starts out "Then God said...." Right there we see Jesus Christ’s part in creation. God said; God spoke; what did he say? He didn’t just make a noise, for that is not saying anything. When the Bible states that "God said", it is obvious that what he said was his Word. You cannot speak without using words. And God’s Word is Jesus Christ, as we find if we continue to read on in the Gospel of John. Verse 14: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

So if the Bible is God’s Word, and God’s Word is Jesus Christ, then am I saying we should worship the Bible. No! Heaven forbid! We may refer to the Bible as the word of God, but we do not refer to the Bible as Jesus Christ. The Bible is the written story of Jesus Christ, the record of what God has said to us.

For example, if your spouse is away on a trip, or even passed on before you, and you have a picture of them, you do not love the picture. You love the person that the picture represents. If you have letters from that loved one, you do not love the letters, you love the person who chose to communicate with you by them. You may cherish the letters, but you love the person. The Bible is the same way. We should cherish and respect the Bible, but we need to love the one they represent.

What a wonderful privilege it is to have God’s Word right here available to us, recorded in the Bible! Any time we want to speak to God, all we have to do is go to him in prayer. But any time we want to hear what he says to us, we need to read the Bible.
The Bible tells us that there are blessings given to those who study God’s word and love it.

Psalm 1:1-3 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

We see from Psalm 1, that the man who delights in God's word and meditates on it, will be blessed by God. In what manner will he be blessed? For one thing it says he will bring forth fruit. I cannot help but think that this fruit is the same fruit as that mentioned in Galations 5:22-23 which tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Those are some mighty fine fruits. And it all starts out with delighting in God's word!

Do you want the fruit of love? Delight in God's word and meditate on it. You'll find no greater love than that a man would lay down his life for another, as Jesus did for us.

Do you lack joy? Study the Bible, for there it will be found. What joy there is in singing praise to our Lord as was done with the Psalms.

Is it peace you crave? You will never find it anywhere else but in the Holy Scripture. It all begins with peace with God. The Bible tells us that we are all enemies of God in our natural state. It is only after God has done his work of salvation in us that we can have peace with him.

Are you not as patient as you would like? That is one of the virtues that God's word teaches us. The longsuffering of Job through his trials is legendary, even among those who are barely familiar with the Scriptures .

Would you like to be known for having the fruit of gentleness? The Bible often describes Jesus as gentle. The key to becoming more like Jesus is found in the Word.

Meekness is a trait often spoken highly of in Scripture. Moses is described as being the meekest of all men on the face of the earth. He is an example we should study.

Would a little more self control be in order in your life. The Bible tells us that temperance, or self control is also a fruit of the Spirit. Self control is a hallmark of God's people.

Goodness? We would all like to think we are good people, but Jesus said there is none good, but God. The only goodness we can lay claim to is the goodness that God has imputed to us.

Do you lack faith? The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

All of these fruits are available to, and we might even say they are traits of the true Christian. As Psalm 1 says, these fruits are the result of delighting in God's word, and meditating on it. And the delighting and meditating all begin with reading God's word every day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Views of Life (part 3)

Here is part three of a three part poem by my great grandfather L.J. Schlattman, from his book of poetry "Gleanings from Life". For part two click here, or to start at the beginning click here.

Views of Life

Scene III. - With God

In my chamber I am sitting,
Darkest hour of silent night,
And the clock is ticking, ticking,
Cinematographic clicking
Films of time and human life.

And I see how nature showers,
Wondrous gifts to mortal man;
Fields and forests, fruits and flowers,
Life and love and mental powers,
To enjoy them as he can.

Ah, I see man climbing upwards,
Shunning vice, deceit and lust,
Climbing higher, growing better,
Breaking sin's abnormal fetter;
Striving to be true and just;

Virtue, honor, truth and justice,
Are attained by mortal man;
Helpful service, righteous living,
Asking naught, but ever giving,
Help and comfort where he can.

Yet I see man sometimes falling,
Pleading sin at mercy's shrine;
Sick and sinful he is calling,
"Help me, Master, I am falling."
And I hear Him gently calling,
"I've redeemed thee, thou are Mine."

Oh, the joy of godly living,
To accept redemption's cost;
Death and sin and fear are shriven,
And to man again is given
Back the Paradise he lost.

All ye peoples, every nation,
"Peace on earth, good will to man,"
Is the slogan of creation;
War, the curse of sin's damnation;
Stop it? Yes, with God we can.

Life is love, is joy, is pleasure,
Life is God's productive mine,
Yielding happiness and treasure,
Pearls and diamonds without measure,
To mankind who lives divine.

Silently again I'm sitting,
Beams of sunshine gleam above;
And the clock is ticking, ticking,
And the cinema is clicking,
"God is mercy, God is love."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Knucklehead Lightening

OK, sure, its a play on words. The original Knucklehead "Lightening cam" has pretty much passed into the realm of legend; at least among those of us old enough to remember such things. This post has only a tangential connection to those camshafts from the 1930's. It was once common knowledge that you could identify a Lightening cam by the "lightening holes" drilled in the cam gear. I am about 95% sure that was bad information. I think most of the cam gears (as well as circuit breaker drive gears and idler gears) were drilled in the same manner on all pre 1940 Harleys. Whatever the case, the idea of reducing weight to add performance is certainly a valid one.

When I first prepared to go drag racing back in the winter of 1984-85, things were still transitioning from the days when the racer did most or all of the modifications himself, to what we have now; where exotic materials are used on custom manufactured pieces to lighten the bike. I have bored many of my friends with the tale of how I had no drill press that first winter, and used a 3/8" Black & Decker electric hand drill to lighten most of the parts on that bike. I would drill holes until the drill was too hot to hold, put gloves on, and continue drilling until the drill was burning my hands through the gloves. Then I would let the drill cool off and start over. Yeah, a lot of stock parts with a lot of holes.

In the spirit of that early experience, I am approaching the build on "Vinnie", my nostalgia drag bike project, in much the same way. Nothing fancy. Just a lot of holes. Thankfully I have both a drill press and a mill to aid me now, since I doubt that anyone currently makes a hand drill that would survive the abuse like that old Black & Decker did.

Vinnie's rear wheel. Vintage rim with original spokes from my wife's '47

Vintage brake backing plate, well ventilated

New Repop hub with Repop brake drum, also well ventilated