i started this morning with a 6 am men’s accountability breakfast at Shari’s Resturant in Salem and then moved to another breakfast with a pastor and then to office stuff. At noon 8 pastors came for three hours of mutual accountability and me teaching. Then several meetings topped off with a Leadership Two class that I teach on Thursday night from 6:30 to 8 pm. Then at home reading and praying for the people in JBC for three hours. It is so rewarding to sit back in my chair and feel very tired knowing that I gave my life today to being a servant of Jesus. I will sleep well tonight and I am looking forward to this weekend when I preach on the Gospel of John.
i am taking my oldest grandson who is about 14 fishing with me to the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska this coming July for sockeye salmon. We usually limit out every day with 3 to 6 fish and then catch and release for hours. It is unbelievable fun. I bought him a medium weight 8’6″ spinning rod at the Sportsman’s Show for only $30.00 this last week. It must have had a defect or it got stepped on or something on the ride home in the back of the pickup because when Josiah took it out to the field next to the house to practice casting the end of the rod broke after a couple of casts. He felt really bad because I think he thought I spent hundreds of dollars on it. After calling the company up in Washington and finding out the hoops I was going to have to jump through to get a new one I decided to just buy another one. I got a nice Lamiglass medium/light 8’6″ steelhead spinning rod on eBay sitting in my chair tonight. I spent a little more than $30.00 on this one. I had so much fun shopping on line for the rod for him. After looking at dozens and dozens of different rods and then deciding on this one after reading dozens of reviews on the various rods and tapping the buy button on my IPad I felt a special joy knowing the fun he was going to have with this, and that he was going to have that fun with me.
my faith in the reality of Jesus Christ has grown steadily stronger over the years especially since my 40th birthday when I had a time where I could have gone either way in my relationship with the Lord, a sort of crisis of faith where I really doubted all that I had been taught and what I was teaching. It was a second go round for me in this, the first being when I was a Freshman in College. The first time I nearly turned my back on my faith in Jesus took several months to work my way through, in 1989 it took just a couple of days. Since then there has been no looking back or second thoughts or any inkling of doubts. Today my faith is rock solid, very strong and growing at an accelerated rate to the point that most of my thoughts during the day revolve around the Lord, my service for Him and my eternity with Him. The strength of my faith that Jesus is very real and that heaven is very real and very wonderful has fueled my passion to attract more and more people to Him. I grieve over the number of people who have little to no faith in Christ and seem totally unreachable. My main tool it seems that God has given to me to make a difference is preaching, and I have become increasingly obsessed with getting better at this skill, and receiving more supernatural anointing from God. I spend hours every day praying for those I preach to and for myself pleading with God to please speak through me with more power and clarity so that people encounter the living God and know it with out a doubt when I teach His Word. The number of people who visit JBC and then don’t come back, and the number who have attended for years and then drift away is so depressing to me. If I could just get better, if God would just empower more, everybody who heard the Word of God from me would believe and become fully devoted followers in Jesus Christ. Oh well, I guess not even Jesus was able to pull that one off. But I will keep working hard and praying long that more will happen.
yesterday I preached about bitterness and the consequences of it in our own life. It was one point out of 7 so it was only about 5 minutes that I talked about it, but I received so much response. I said I believed after almost 40 years of pastoring That bitterness was the worst sin possible to commit, not because of what it does to others but what it does to ourselves. It is like eating a spoone of poison every day. Forgiving anybody of anything, no matter how awefull what they did is or how often they have done it is absolutely essential for our own soul health. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we condone what they have done or that we ignore behavior. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work at helping others to change and grow and to be part of the solution to conflict and injustice. What I do when someone does something or says something that hurts me or violates my rights or someone’s that is close to me is to pray, ” Lord, I choose to forgive this person for what they have done because You have forgiven me of everything I have ever done or will do, please help me Lord, to not be bitter and to forget this offense quickly”. When it pops back into my head and it always does I pray the same prayer again and again and again until it is gone, and if I am faithful to keep praying the prayer when ever the bitterness returns it always goes away. It is hard to put into words the feeling of being free from all resentment and bitterness in my heart. Some would say it is not possible but it is very possible for the person who has experienced forgiveness from Jesus and thanks Him daily for that amazing grace.
day and night, summer time and winter time, sunny weather and rainy weather, good times and bad times. Life. I Sure like the sunny weather and the good times. Makes me smile😄 interesting to think about why God in His infinite wisdom made life like that. There are lots of reasons I am sure, but I wonder if one of them isn’t the principle of contrast. When the kids were little we would put a piece of black construction paper in the freezer if snow was in the forcast, and if it did snow we would take the black construction paper out of the freezer and let some snow flakes land on it. Because it was cold the snow flakes wouldn’t melt right away so we could look at them in detail. Against the black they were beautiful and incredibly intricate and of course all different. A major reason that we will appreciate heaven with God for eternity, something we didn’t earn nor deserve is because of the winter, and the rain, and the night, and the hard days of this life. Our memories will be perfect so we will always remember this life and rejoice for all eternity for the great gift of eternal life with God because of what Jesus did for us.
i used to want some kind of “Experience” that would really help me have greater faith in God, Jesus, and the Bible. My number one choice would be a trip to heaven and back. The Apostle John got to, so did the Apostle Paul, why not me. Now, I have come to the conclusion that my experience with God in my soul is as real and strong as any that I could have with eyes, ears, or physical touch, and that my faith at this point in my life is very strong and influences every aspect of my life and the decisions that I make.
Tonight in church as we participated in Communion together was for me a very real experience with God. The sense of His presence in my life was as real as if I could see and hear and touch Him. I don’t use the words “real, profound, and supernatural” lightly in an attempt to impress anybody, . but that is what tonight was for me. I truly hope and pray that my time with God tonight was duplicated by others there tonight and that tomorrow morning is even better. Looking forward to it.
tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and tonight I took Patty out to a scrumptious steak dinner with an unbelievably good band that played 40’s , 50”s, and 60’s music. She had a wonderful time and I earned lots of wonderful husband points. I have been preaching for 38 years but I truly believe that I can learn and grow and became literally twice as effective at preaching the Bible as I presently am. I know that the better I get at this skill the more impact I will have on people. I also know that even though we have been married 46 years I can easily become twice as effective and smart as a husband that loves his wife the way Christ loves the Church. I believe that the key to getting better at preaching the Bible and getting better at making my wife the happiest woman on the planet earth is to be obsessed with growth and improvement. I fear complacency and contentment as a servant of God. I want, really want, want more an more. Want until it hurts. Please help me Lord.