i was talking with some people today about slow pitch softball and how much I used to enjoy playing when I was younger, and how good our JBC team was. Then the conversation moved a bit and we started talking for some reason about Christians who yelled at the umpire, yelled and got angry at the players on the other team and even at the players on their own team. As Christians we are supposed to attract people to our faith by our behavior, and the most powerful area of our example is how we talk to other people, and sadly it is also the most powerful tool of the devil to bring dishonor to the name of Jesus and the gospel. With our mouth we both tear down and build up people. The Bible talks about mature people and immature, calling them infants and babies in character. Nothing is a clearer indicator of our level of maturity than how we talk to others. It takes great self-control to always speak words that give grace, that are kind, that encourage, and honor others so that they feel good about themselves because of our words that were carefully chosen. Self-control is the result of godly character. In raising our kid’s we had clear goals and objectives, and a major one was that they would always talk nice to others. It was easy to know how we were doing, all we had to do was listen to them talk to each other. In our world and culture today getting angry, telling people off, slandering, gossiping, rudeness, and dishonoring people is the norm. As I examine my life for sin each evening before going to sleep, and confessing them to the Lord, it seems most of my sins are committed with my mouth. I desperately want to grow in this area because each weekend I speak, teach and preach the Word of God to people so they can grow close to God and grow in character. The Bible says that a spring of water doesn’t have both fresh and salty water coming out of it so how can I expect to speak God’s Word and out of the same mouth speak slander. So I will press on to grow in self control so that every word that I speak out of my mouth would be as it were the very utterances of God.
one of my goals for this year was to go skydiving, and I did it today. My good friend Lloyd Smith and my son-in-law Luke Doughton and I drove to Molalla where “Sky Dive Oregon” is located and we jumped out of a really nice airplane at about 15,000 feet elevation and free fell for about a minute and then glided to the ground and landed like a bird, an albatross. This was my third time since the first about six years ago, and it is still just as exhilarating as the first, probably more so, because on the first jump the fear drowned out the exhilaration. I was still a bit of a chicken though because when the guy I was strapped to going down tandem with asked if I wanted to fly the chute I deferred to him getting us down safely in the field where we took off instead of in the highway. It really is a lot of fun from the perspective of excitement and adventure as well as the beauty of the scenery from that elevation. The first time I went it fell under the goal of doing something I had never done before as well as the goal to do something each year that moved me outside my comfort zone. Sky diving met those two criteria easily. Someone asked me Sunday if I wanted to go bungy jumping off one of the bridges in Portland. Now that certainly will be something I have never done before, and just thinking about it was way outside my comfort zone, so I guess I will probably give it a go, unless it doesn’t fit my schedule, I can always pray!
Occasionally I will emotionally feel very flat. Most of the time I can lift myself out of it by thinking about certain things, reading certain things, doing certain things and being around certain people. Over the years I have accurately figured out what those certain things are in each of those categories. But occasionally a blue funk I am in will defy my usual fixes, and I stay in an emotionally flat place for awhile. During these times the only thing that seems to work is time. It would be nice if during these times if I could go away to a secluded place where there were no people or responsibilities, and occasionally it works for me to do just that, but usually I have to keep doing what my responsibilities call me to. During these times I have to guard myself and put forth extra discipline so I don’t make a dumb decision often involving money I shouldn’t have spent, or say something to a person that is hurtful, usually a person I love. During these depressed times I exercise more, read my Bible more, and pray more. When I am feeling totally unmotivated it is very hard to read more, pray more, and especially exercise more. The accountability groups that I am in each week are the key to me being faithful and disciplined. Let me know if you want in one.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
These two verses in the Bible are a couple of my favorites. I remind myself daily that this could be the day that Jesus returns. I am going to preach on these verses this weekend at JBC, 7 pm Saturday, tonight, 9 am and 10:30 am on Sunday morning, tomorrow. Our building has a great air conditioning system in it and it is going to be hot. Why not come and be blessed by the teaching of God”s Word and be cool.
Men’s ministries of JBC put on and hosted a Poker night at our church tonight We had a free hot dog dinner at 6 pm and then Poker at 7 pm. There were 36 people playing and it was a lot of fun. Lots of people came that I didn’t know but we wore name tags so I met at least a dozen people that I didn’t know. It was a great time of fellowship and making new friends. One of the really cool things for me is the number of ministries in our church that are started and run by non staff people, and also the number of ministries that have as their goal providing an event and opportunity that people who don’t normally come to church would enjoy and that people in our church could invite them to and feel confident that they would have a good time. I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ, that He is God’s Son, became flesh just like us and died on a cross to pay the penalty of our sins. I also believe strongly that God has given us the responsibility to influence people towards faith in Jesus so they could Live with God forever. So an event like tonight’s that influences even just a little bit makes me feel very good about the people at JBC who love people and are trying hard to draw people to a faith in Christ.
watched the conclusion to the Men’s Decathlon tonight, and I guess what I heard them saying tonight is that he gets the unofficial title of the world’s Greatest athlete. What if I decided tonight that I was going to compete in that event next Olympics and my goal was to win the gold medal. Upon hearing of my decision you would probably make disparaging remarks about my sanity. But pretending that I have made that an official goal of mine, a BHAG of the BHAG’s, (big hairy audacious goal) what would I do in the morning? The size of that goal would control most of my thinking, my time, even my money. Most people never set a goal so big that it controls most of who they are and what they will become. I always set at least one like that, i’s crazy, impractical, but so much fun. August 27th is the official starting date of writing my goals for the next year and October 27th is the official day I start after my new goals ( my birthday). The two months that I spend writing my goals are a lot of fun as I imagine, and think about what the desires of my heart are.
Now today was a fun day. A bunch of the kids and grandkids came over and we picked all of our apples and made apple juice. We rented a grinder and press and made about 100 gallons of juice. We started by picking all the apples on our trees and putting them in wheelbarrows, buckets, and boxes, everybody helped. The youngest ones threw the apples into the grinder and Sam and Seth turned the crank on the press. I bought some big, plastic garbage cans with lids that snapped shut, we filled up three of them. Tomorrow I will siphon the juice out of the garbage cans, leaving the sediment in the bottom, into plastic gallon jugs, and everybody will take some home. After we got all the grinding and pressing done and everything cleaned up, we barbecued and had cake and ice cream for one of the grandkids birthday. When our kids were younger, babies through high school we used to have “Monday Work Days”. I would come up with the project and then we would work on it together most of the day. Sometimes the project was to have a big clean day, and we would pick up all the garbage and junk, put it in a little trailer and take it to the dump. The fun part of that project is that on the way home we would stop off at “King Kone” and everyone would get a huge ice cream cone. We always had a fun thing at the end of the project as a reward for working hard. We did painting projects, getting firewood projects, building chicken house projects, and many more. Because we had our 8 kids in the private school that our church ran we could keep them out a few days if we wanted, and they stayed home every Monday. Our parenting goal was to teach them how to work and to enjoy working hard. It was the best part,of their education. Today was just like one of those days, and it was so much fun for me.