Weeds

My Dad hated weeds, especially thistles. We had 160 acres and he would walk from one end to the other of our farm with his shovel digging up weeds. If he saw a farmer with one single weed growing in the middle of a field he would say, “he is going to go broke, anybody who would let a thistle grow in the middle of his field will let something else go, and then something else and pretty soon he is broke”.

Weeds choke out what is good, and keep it from growing. In the parable of “The Sower” Jesus said some people are like soil with weeds, the Word of God can’t grow because the weeds choke it out.  The biggest weed, like a thistle, in our life is our love of money. Most people wouldn’t describe themselves as someone who loves money, but we base our security on it and if something goes even a little bit wrong in the area of our finances we worry and get very anxious.

The Bible says that if we love the world or money the love of God is not in us. Put another way, “to the degree we love money we cannot love God, the two can’t co-exist in our mind and heart”.  In the Gospel of Luke Jesus says, “If you can’t faithfully manage your money, God will not give you important things to do with your life”.

Some basic Biblical principles on being a good steward of money is (1) Budget, plan ahead how you will spend every penny, eliminate impulsive buying from your life. (2) Be very cautious about buying things on time, going into debt. Some debt is going to happen, but pray about it for a week, and longer as the amount gets bigger. (3) And give systematically and sacrificially to God and His work. There is something very powerful and life changing about giving our money to our church, missionaries, and needy people. God blesses us, provides for us, we grow closer and closer to Him, and He opens up many doors for doing something with our life that really matters and makes a difference for all eternity.

Hearing Aids

I have a significant hearing loss, which seems to be getting worse. It is probably because of the hours I spent on tractors as a kid, running chain saws, and shooting guns a lot, all with no hearing protection. When I worked construction for a few years running a track drill to drill 100 foot holes in solid rock to blow up for asphalt plants I would put the filters off of cigarettes in my ears. There was a fellow worker who liked a particular brand of cigarettes but he didn’t like the filters, so he tore them off and gave them to me, they worked pretty good for reducing the noice of the drill that I ran all day. I went to an ear guy on Wednesday, had my ears tested, and ordered some hearing aids. They are pretty sophisticated, with a computer in them and everything. I think they do just about everything except make coffee. The ear guy kept repeating the line, ” you aren’t going to believe the difference”, every couple of minutes he would say it again. I don’t know if he was being truthful or not, but I got pretty excited after the 20th time he said it, it will be kind of nice to hear well.

The Bible talks about people whose hearts are dull of hearing. In Hebrew 4 the author says that he would like to teach them some really important information, but he can’t because they had become dull of hearing. When our heart has a hearing problem it means that we can’t understand the truth in Gods Word, it makes no sense to us, it also means that we are unable to sense the prompting of God as He attempts to direct our lives into His perfect plan for our lives. In Revelations 2 and 3 there are seven letters written to various churches, and in every one of the letters there is an admonition which says, ” He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to church’s. It is a sad day when we can’t hear What the Holy Spirit is saying to us.

Hearing aids will fix my hearing problems, but how do we fix a heart that can’t hear God when he calls, and can’t hear or understand the Bible when it is read, or can’t understand what the preacher is trying to say each weekend. Becoming dull of hearing is a judgment from God for failing to obey or to keep what we already know.

Serve the Bride of Jesus

I talked to a pastor of a church last year who had just celebrated his 50th anniversary as the pastor of that church. He is one of my main hero’s in life, a great man of character. He had started the church, and seen it through all of its stages of growth, and paid a huge price in effort and sacrifice over the years. I asked him what was the hardest part of the 50 years. He reflected for a few minutes on that, and said, “I know the answer but I don’t know how to put it into words”. He went on to say “I can’t remember ever doing anything or wanting anything in the church for myself, everything I have prayed for was for others, all the preaching and counseling was always for others, the work on the building, the lawn mowing, and the toilet cleaning, it was all for everyone else. I wanted to attract people to Jesus, I wanted to help them grow, I wanted for their marriages to be strong, I wanted their kids to grow up to be champions. Giving my life away, and serving everyone wasn’t hard, it was a joy, but what was hard, very hard was when those same people whom I had served for so long with no thought for what I wanted left because their needs weren’t being met. I got over it, and I knew it would happen again and again, but it never got easy, it never lost its sting. I guess that is what it means to give your life away, and to do all that you do for Jesus. Yep he is my hero.

Self-control

The weakest area of my life is self-control. I eat more than I should, though I don’t want to, I sleep less than I should and I have major goals to change, but I don’t, I don’t exercise as much as I know would make major changes in how I feel, I remind myself constantly of the benefits of exercising but I don’t do as much as I want. It is a constant puzzle to me how impulses in me that have no intellect or motive can override my will and true desires. It makes me feel like a crazy person .

1 Corinthians 9:24-27Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

“I discipline my body and make it my slave”, my oh my, I want to be able to say that. I constantly tell people that you change by training faithfully, not by trying harder. How could I train myself to have great self control? I finished my goals already, but I think I will add one more, “I will fast at least one day a week.”

Fishing

I went fishing yesterday for Chinook salmon on the Alsea River with 3 other good friends. We only got one salmon, a 20 lb chinook that was bright and fat. I am not sure what it is about fishing that I enjoy so much, but I do, even when I don’t catch a fish like yesterday. We rode around in a boat pulling spinners up and down the river. While we rode we talked about everything under the sun, we ate Oreo cookies, black licorice, jerky, cheese and crackers, and a variety of other heath foods, and drank lots of coffee. It was a long day, getting up at 4:00 am getting home at half time on Monday night football and seeing Drew Breese break the record for most Passing yards. After the game was over I rode my stationary bike for 45 minutes, then went out to my shop and punched on the heavy bag for 15 minutes, and then lifted weights for another 15 minutes, then went back in the house and ran on the tread mill for 15 minutes. I do that exercising just about every night for 90 minutes. I don’t enjoy it much, but I do read, listen to audio books and watch videos of really good preaching, so the time goes pretty fast. Finished all my reading, and praying goals, and went to bed at Midnight. It was a long, hard day, but so rewarding and fun. Today was totally different, began the day with a breakfast at Denny’s at 5:30 am with a group of 7 guys who share their goals and hold each other accountable, then at 6:30 I had another group,and then at 7:30 another group. Then I went to the Evangelical Church in Jefferson, set my alarm on my phone for 9:30 am, put my seat back and went to sleep for an hour. After waking up I went inside where we had a prayer meeting with people from the other churches in Jefferson for an hour. It was a great prayer time, and then I went to my office and wrote on my Hebrew messages for most of the day until 7 pm when I taught my “Leadership III class”. As I sit in my recliner tonight writing this blog and finishing up on my disciplines I can’t help but say, “thank you Lord for my life”, it is awesome.

Grow, change, improve, mature, get better

A major purpose of life is to become more and more like Jesus in character. That is a very hard thing to do because of our nature, the world we live in, and the devil and his demons who are very real and very evil, and who want to keep us babies. I can grow apples, that is I can do things that will facilitate the growth of apples. I can grow a puppy, that is I can feed it, give it water and care for it. I can grow myself, that is I can follow principles and rules that God established that results in a changed life. The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament says, “Let is press on to maturity”, The Apostle Paul says, “pursue righteousness”, Jesus said, “be holy as I am holy”. “Impossible”, say you, no, not impossible, very difficult and hard, but not impossible, it will require discipline, desire, help from others, prayer, planning, hard work, sacrifice, and humility, but, it isn’t impossible. I will not ever think that I have arrived, that I am good enough, that I am OK, or that I am better than most. I will never think statements like, “nobodies perfect”, “I am only human”, or “everybody is doing it”. I will listen to counsel and criticism, I will read my Bible everyday, I will pray everyday asking God for strength and help, I will set goals, I will be transparent, I will examine my life for character flaws, and I will confess all known sin to God, and experience His forgiveness and cleansing.

Dee’s Goals for 2019

Well, I got my goals all written. I had said I was going to do 50 goals instead of 70. I would usually write 70 because I am going to be 70 years old in a couple of weeks and that has been my commitment for the last 40 years, one goal for every year of life. This last year I only got about 50 of my 69 goals done so I thought I would scale back a bit. But once I got to writing them I couldn’t quit so I am going with 60 goals. I think I will get most of them accomplished this year. The key is to read them every day so I stay focused and mentally thinking about them and how and when I will accomplish them. A couple of them are two year goals so I am going to get started on them, but not much more. One of those big, 2 year goals is to put in a fish pond. The cost will be a major barrier, and might make it a 3 or 4 year goal.

Dee’s 2019 goals

1. I will read 14 chapters in my Bible everyday, majoring on Philippians and Colossians.

2. I will pray by myself for 1 hour every day using the App, “PrayerMate”.

3. I will read 80 pages every week in good books, some of that will be audio.

4. I will pray with Patty 3 times minimum each week.

5. I will write my blog every day.

6. I will ride my stationary bike, lift weights, punch the heavy bag, and run for for a total 90 minutes every day.

7. I will build a go-cart with James Duke and Will Doughton, two of my grandsons who are about 10 years old.

8. I will ride my bicycle on a 2,000 mile trip with Glacier National Park being the half way point, that will take 33 days to complete, and I will read and write each evening in camp, working towards the goal of having 30 messages from Philippians and Colossians.

9. I will enter and finish the “BeastMan Duathlon” at Sunriver on June 29th, bicycling 58 miles and running a half marathon.

10. I will take my dory boat Halibut and tuna fishing off of the Oregon coast.

11. I will learn how to weld using a MIG welder.

12. I will memorize the books of Philippians and Colossians well.

13. I will teach through the books of Philippians and Colossians during my Sunday 8:00 am and Wednesday night classes beginning in October, 2019.

14. I will pray for every person in JBC once each week, and maintain my prayer journal keeping current with names, pictures and prayer needs.

15. I will study, write, and prepare teaching content and a syllabus for a seminar for church leaders in January 2020 on training leaders.

16. I will start 3 new men’s accountability groups, and hand off 3 of my existing groups.

17. I will start a satellite church in SeaTac, Washington, using a video presentation of my Hebrews Class.

18. I will work diligently with, and train well, Shane to be the campus pastor of the Satellite Church, so that it is a healthy and growing church.

19. I will work closely with and train well, Brandon to be the best “Follow-up, Assimilation, and Evangelism” pastor on the planet earth.

20. I will improve, revamp, and organize JBC’s “Home Group” ministry so that it is incredibly effective as a place where Biblical fellowship happens, and start at least 4 new groups.

21. I will work with Jason to help him produce a very good video of the existing ministries of JBC to use at a “New Comers” dinner 3 times each year.

22. I will plan, organize, and hold 3 “New Comers” dinners.

23. I will be faithful as a member of the Pastor’s accountability groups, and schedule and plan 3 lunches with them.

24. I will faithfully schedule, plan, and organize 20 staff meetings that will include training, encouragement, accountability, and prayer.

25. I will attempt to identify, and recruit from JBC a faithful, available, and teachable person, and to train them to be a volunteer staff/pastor.

26. I will plan and organize a one month camping trip to the Steen’s Mts during archery season, I will hunt for elk and deer, and fish in “Fish Lake”.

27. During my one month time at the Steen’s Mts, I will read and write for 5 hours each day working at getting 30 messages done from the books of Philippians and Colossians.

28. I will exercise self-control, and keep my weight under 200 lbs.

29. I will faithfully work on Scripture Typer for 30 minutes each day, and maintain a ranking of 200 or better.

30. I will increase the total number of Bible verses I have memorized well to 1,000.

31. I will plan and save for a rifle elk hunting trip to Wyoming.

32. I will go fishing in Soldotna, Alaska for 2 weeks in July, and will attempt to take a son or grandson with me.

33. I will study and write 4 really good lessons on marriage, and have them finished by April 1st.

34. I will, without a doubt, organize my shop, super well, and keep it that way. I will develop a specific time table with rewards and consequences for success or failure of that time table by January 1st, 2019.

34. I will reroof my shop, including the back lean to.

35. I will re-side the front of my shop with Hardi-plank and paint it.

36. I will begin the 2 year goal of putting in a fish pond on the front of our property.

37. I will diligently prepare to teach my “Men’s Leadership Class”, “Ladies Leadership Class”, “Leadership Class II”, and “Leadership Class III”, and I will work super hard to improve all aspects of all the classes.

38. I will take Patty on a date at least twice each month, and I will work hard at communicating well with her.

39. I will faithfully attempt to encourage those who have drifted away from the Lord using notes, emails, text messages, phone calls, and personal visits.

40. I will watch the instructional DVD on taxidermy that I have purchased, and do a full body mount on the mountain lion I killed. If it turns out good, I will put it in the house, and if it turns out bad I will put it in my “Man Room”.

41. I will write 50 hand written notes each week to people in JBC.

42. I will work to make the Wednesday night service an effective time, and will include in it 30 minutes of teaching the Hebrews lesson that I taught the previous Sunday, 10 minutes of worship, and 20 minutes of small group discussion on the Hebrews lesson to help people make acquaintances and friends.

43. I will pray through the JBC church family prayer letter each week, and transfer serious prayer requests to my “PrayerMate” prayer journal.

44. I will write in my personal journal at least twice each week.

45. I will religiously keep track of my time and record it each day in my iPad.

46. I will pray at a minimum of 3 corporate prayer times at JBC each week.

47. I will pray at least 40 hours in each of the 4 “Five Day Prayer Events” that are held at JBC.

48. I will begin every day with a prayer of commitment presenting my life to Jesus, declaring Him Lord of my life, asking Him for guidance and strength for the day to please Him in all that I do.

49. I will attend a major “Church Growth” seminar, and take at least one staff member with me.

50. I will give Patty and Sherri at least 4 hours of work on “Home Improvement” projects each week, and ask them to make a list at least one week in advance.

51. I will be in bed by at least 10:00 pm 2 nights a week, and by at least 11:00 pm 2 nights a week.

52. I will rebuild my 1986 Ford 4X4 pickup, and the 300 in-line 6 cylinder engine.

53. I will start on the project of building the XR3, three wheeled car.

54. I will pray for Patty, my Mom, my kids and spouses, and grandkids everyday.

55. I will pray for a list of lost friends, family and acquaintances every day.

56. I will pray for the staff at JBC, and their families at least twice each week.

57. I will listen to online courses on “Church Marketing”, and “Church Leadership” at least one hour each week.

58. I will use Facebook as a tool to connect with people, and I will write out complete prayers in response to problems or trials that I read about. I will keep close track of my time and will not go over 3 hours each week.

59. I will go fishing every chance I get.

60. I will make a 15X20 canvas wall tent.

61. I will read these goals every day.