Wisdom Seeking

Those who seek wisdom like gold, silver, or great treasure as a lifestyle will find it. The most powerful source of wisdom is the Bible, the Word of God, which is the very mind of Christ. The Bible declares and promises that those who faithfully and systematically read, study and memorize it will be wiser than their enemies, their teachers and the elderly. A key aspect of wisdom is knowing what is true, and in our day where so much information is flying around that is not true, being able to quickly discern what is true and false is a great blessing. Those who faithfully read, study and memorize the Word of God develop an inner lie detector that really does work and is very accurate. When someone hits a wrong key on the piano or sings a little bit flat singing a special in church I hear it immediately, and I am not particularly musical. The discord causes a little shiver to run up my spine. Jesus says in John 8, “If you continue in my Word you are true dIsciples of mine, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”.

Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge

The ability to think clearly, logically, without prejudice, or bias, is rare. Most people think about a problem, or difficult situation with a host of paradigms that have been programmed into their thinking for a bunch of years by a bunch of different people. Thinking is a discipline. Most people think in reaction to their circumstances, and their thinking is not proactive during most of their day, that is they aren’t thinking about solutions to the problems that have come into their life, instead their thinking is simply a conversation with themselves as spectators of events around them. This self-talk generally moves quickly to self-pity, blaming others, and becomes circular rehashing in their mind of the events and how bad they were. Most think like this because that is the default setting that we were born with, and to change that kind of thinking into wise, positive, focused on others kind of thinking takes major, big time discipline and self-control. To be a wise person we have to constantly listen to our thoughts, and ruthlessly identify foolish thinking, that thinking that has been programmed into or brains by many other people who are fools. The discipline of being a wisdom seeker, one who thinks like God, is a 24/7 kind of lifestyle. When I listen to sermons and read books, at the beginning I am asking the question, “is this speaker or writer wise or are they just giving me the stuff that is the most recent fad that sells”. Once I arrive at the firm conclusion that the speaker or author I am engaged with is a truly wise person I read or listen to all I can find that they have authored.

Selling my 1949 Ford pickup

one of my goals every year is to “do something I have never done before”, and also to “learn something I have never learned before”. 10 years ago the new thing to do and learn about was to totally rebuild and restore this 1949 Ford Pickup. I read volumes on how to restore old classics, and I learned how to do every aspect of the restoration project including the body work and painting. I have learned how to keep bees and had two hives for several years before giving them to my son -in-law, and grandson. I learned how to make soap using honey, goats milk, oat meal, and olive oil. I learned all about aquaponics, built a greenhouse, and had 300 tilapia fertilizing grow beds with spinach. This year I am building a 24 foot dory boat to fish in the ocean with. One of my rules is that when I add new things I have to get rid of old things. I want my adventures, projects, and challenges to be renewing, not burdensome or a drain on my time or finances. So, though it was a hard decision to make I am going to sell my F1, at least try. If I can’t sell it for enough to help out financially with my new projects I will keep it and make it my daily driver, it really is a fun rig to drive.

We are created in the image of God, so much about us as people is almost infinite in potential, but it is easy to fall short of that potential through apathy, laziness, and indifference. I have purposed that I will be a lifelong learner, and new projects established by goals keeps that desire to learn new things hot inside of me. In our day and age with the internet, You Tube, and Kindle a wealth of information about anything is readily available to anyone who wants to seek for the information, and spend time reading, listening, and watching. Life is so much more enjoyable to the person who is mentally growing stronger, embarking on new adventures and challenges, and becoming a stronger and more mature person through learning.

Leaders who do greater works

I aspire to be an influencer of people so that they believe in God to the point that they want to serve and obey Him, that they believe in Jesus, not in the historical person, but Jesus the Son of God, who is God, who became flesh, who took our sins upon Himself and died for them, died for us, so that we might live with Him forever. I want, really want to influence many, many people so that they turn away from the world, turn away from selfish living, turn away from the carnal pull of their own heart, and turn their lives over to Jesus Christ as their Savior and King. I am consumed with becoming a person who is an influencer of people to the degree that many choose to change and be fully devoted followers of Jesus.

Any person who truly wants to be, can become such a leader by a series of choices, sacrifices, and disciplines. The choices and disciplines needed to become a great person of influence require much sacrifice, diligence, faithfulness, endurance, and passion to the level that very few choose to take the journey to become a world changer. The greatest barrier for most to even begin this journey is the shear volume of issues, conflicts, and problems in our world today so that our thoughts are, “who am I in the midst of all this, I have virtually no chance of making even a little dent in what is happening, I can’t fix anything, change anything, my voice will be totally drowned out by the noise and chaos of our world, I think I will just watch TV.”

Jesus says in John 14:12-14. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” So I can do greater works than Jesus. What does it take to accomplish these great works? (1) Truly believe in Jesus and follow Him as Lord of my life. (2) Have a very strong desire, a burning desire to do something that matters, that will make a difference, a huge difference. (3) Have the faith that I can indeed be that kind of leader who does greater works than Jesus. (4) Pray everyday and ask God for the strength, the desire, the vision, the passion, the endurance, the faith, and the wisdom to change the world. He promises to answer that kind of prayer.

A major problem at this point is that we pray and ask God to change the world. He isn’t going to do it, He gave us the job. The promise of John 14:14 is that if we pray He will give us the strength and all that we need to do the changing. The promise is that we will do greater works than Jesus. We will do the working, we will do the leading, we will do the influencing, we will make the plans, we will do the teaching, and we will exert the effort. “If you ask me anything in My name, I will do it”, this promise to us is made in the context of us doing greater works than Jesus. I can become a Samson, I can become a Daniel. I can become a Paul, a Peter, or a John if I pray and ask God to make me a champion for Him. Greater works than Jesus, greater works than Jesus, greater works than Jesus, I believe I can do that.

25 Steelhead in One Day

My friend Matt Borg and I went steelhead fishing today on the Siletz River with guide Nolan Davis and we hooked up with and fought 25 steelhead, netted 18 of them, and released all but one of them. Matt and I were about even on the number of fish caught, which was a good thing because I didn’t want him staking claim to my self appointed title of being the world’s greatest fisherman. Nolan said we set the all time record for the most fish caught in a day in his boat, and it was a fun record to set, for sure. It was a cold and rainy day, and I would have been miserable if we hadn’t caught many fish, but because we were fighting fish regularly I hardly noticed the rain and cold, I felt great!!

One of the consequences of having Parkinson’s is an increased disconnect between my brain and my muscles. My brain tells my muscles to do something, and there is a time delay before my muscles obey. We were fishing with bobber and beads which is a relatively new method that works great. The bead just above the hook looks like a single fish egg, and it bounces along the bottom of the river looking delicious to an unsuspecting steelhead. Above it is a bobber that is red or bright green making it easy to see, so when it goes down the fisherman sets the hook quick before the fish has a chance to spit the artificial egg out of its mouth. I would see the bobber go down and order my muscles to set the hook, and they would say, ” who, me?” Which resulted in a number of missed fish, which if hooked would have resulted in an even greater record. When the bobber would go down and nothing happened on my part, Nolan would yell, “bobber down, bobber down”!!!!, and then would scold me for being so slow on the hook set. It was a bit embarrassing for me to be coached and scolded like a novice most of the day which I am sure I appeared to be. But the really embarrassing thing that happened because of my herky-jerky casting is that I hooked Nolan right in the ear, and it went in deep. We cut the line off of the hook and he left it in his ear the rest of the day fishing, and we all joked that it was the perfect ear ring for a fishing guide. I felt really embarrassed for having done it, there are dozens of stories and jokes about fisherman who do such things, and I felt really bad for him because of the pain he had from a sharp hook lodged in his ear. But he did say that I had another dubious record, I was the first one of his fishing clients to ever hook him with a hook and he has guided a lot of fishermen. So two records in one day !!

In my journal I wrote, God blesses the humble in many ways, and He must really want to bless me, because He gave me the perfect opportunities today to learn more humility. Though I was chaffing inside I think I responded to all mess ups and resulting scoldings with graciousness and humility. It was a very fun day.

Keep the Rules if You Want to Win

God the creator of everything that exists, the one who holds all things together by the exertion of His own power, all wise, all knowing, all powerful God. God is the rule maker, He is the rule enforcer. He created His rules to enhance life, to make us happy and fulfilled. Men like to make their own rules and ignore God’s, and to declare that His are old fashioned. God’s rules cause us to live life with freedom, confidence and success, our rules seem to be reasonable, but the truth is that they result in failure and conflict and remorse. One of God’s rules repeated numerous times in a variety of ways is, “honor the king”. The Apostle Paul wrote this command when Nero was the Roman Emperor, and he was one of the cruelest rulers of all human history. If there ever was a ruler and leader who would be fair game to slander and complain about it would be Nero. It has now become an American pastime that most participate in, to bash the President of the United States and other elected leaders in our country. To blatantly violate and break the rules that the God of the universe has made is the ultimate in foolishness, and will result in loss of joy, loss of peace, frustration, failure, and general misery in the midst of abundance. God’s rules are not burdensome, they are not intended to restrict our freedom, we are capable of keeping them because God makes us capable as we choose to obey Him instead of following the world and imitating them.

People

We came home from the Prayer Summit today, and the question among our staff was “what did you gain this year?”. I enjoy going very much because of the special kind of rest and renewal it provides for me. It isn’t the normal take a break, sleep more, and eat good food kind of rest, it is special, unique, spiritual, relational, and psychological kind of rest. It really is hard to understand and harder yet to explain, but it is very real and effective in my life each year I go. There are numerous ingredients in a Prayer Summit that makes it special to me; a key one is the prayer and worship we do together that results in a special sense of God’s presence that is very powerful and profound in its effect upon me. Another huge factor are the people who are there, each one coming as a seeker of God’s presence, blessings, grace, energy, direction, and joy. When you sit in a room with 50 other men who believe in God with all their heart, soul, and mind, who are all choosing to live for Him and serve Him with their whole life, with no reservations, it really does create a special kind of environment in which my soul seems to thrive in. There are all kinds of people there, young, just beginning in ministry, very naive, and some hungry to learn. Old, experienced, ready to retire or already retired, with all kinds of wisdom that they would love to pass on to those hungry to learn. Veterans who are tired and discouraged because of unrealized goals, dreams, and desires, who are really hoping for some new life, vision, and passion while at the Prayer Summit. Veterans who are faithfully serving the Lord, showing up for work everyday, running the race with endurance that God has set before them, enjoying the rest the summit provides, but ready to get right back at it when the summit is over. It is amazing how the intermingling of the various kinds of men at the summit produces this obviously supernatural mutual blessing and benefit between all who are there.