I had set out six traps after the gopher that was plowing up our front yard. I would rake down the mounds of dirt and set the traps in the freshest mounds each time using a little different technique and then this morning as I walked out to check my trap line I could see one of the gallon cans that I had the traps tied to up on its end. I let out a whoop of conquest and drug the little critter out of the hole. I have 4 different kinds of traps and I have caught every one of the gophers and moles that I have trapped in the same kind of trap. It is called a “gophenator trap” and I found it and bought it on-line. I am ordering 2 more. One of my life motto’s has been, “Man was created by God to find a cave with a bear in it, drive out the bear and live in the cave”. I am changing it to “Man was created by God to capture every mole and gopher on the planet earth and destroy them!” Some days are bad days, some days are so so days, and then some days are super! Today was a super day. I am going to bed knowing I have conquored my mortal enemy!
It is estimated that 50 to 80% of those with Parkinson’s will develop Parkinson’s Dementia, and that it will begin about 10 years after the beginning of Parkinson’s. That gives me 4 or 5 more years possibly of clear thinking. That would certainly have an impact on the quality of my preaching to the point that I would have to give that up. I am motivated by a good fight so I am going to fight real hard to win this battle. My strategy is to memorize the Bible for at least 30 minutes every day, and I am going to jump it up to 45 minutes and then to an hour each day by the end of 2015. The mental discipline and exercise of memorizing will keep my brain sharp and healthy and the power of God’s Word will not only heal my mind but develop my character and heart to be like God’s. I am using an app for my IPhone and IPad called Scripture Typer that has been very effective and motivational. Another thing about it that I like is that of the 70,000 or so people who use this app that the top 2500 are ranked in order as they earn points for verses memorized and for the number of times that the verses are reviewed correctly. I am currently in 450th place and working hard to get in first place though the person who is in first place has over 9,000 verses memorized to my 365 verses. I totally trust the Lord with my life, but that doesn’t mean I will sit around and do nothing.
I drove to Portland today for a lunch meeting to talk about a prayer event next year in Portland for world missions. Yesterday, knowing that I was going to have two hours by myself as I drove to Portland to think and reflect I came up with a couple of questions to ask myself to facilitate self examination and honest inspection of my character and motives. There were two recent events where I shared some information about myself that made me look good. The question that I asked myself was why did I do that? I was thinking at the time that I was attempting to be a model and encouragement to those I was sharing with. 1 Peter 5 says, “proving to be examples to the flock”. I really take that role of Pastoring seriously, but could it be that my pride snuck in there and I was being motivated by my desire to be admired and well thought of, being a people pleaser to receive praise from men. I memorized and meditated on Matthew 6:1, “beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them, otherwise you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven”. My conclusion after thinking about it was that the more spontaneous my “boasting” was the less apt the motive was pure, and information that I shared having thought about it and having crafted the wording prayerfully in my mind and on paper so as to be a good example of right living to others was usually from a pure heart and therefore would be blessed and used by God. As I reflected I was again impressed with how thin a line there is between right and good motives and those driven by pride and desire to recieve glory from men. Doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons is so easy. Another verse that I memorized and pray daily is Psalms 26:2, “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart,” and also Psalms 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be some hurtful or wrong way in me”. I believe God will answer that prayer.
I have a gopher making a mess in my front yard. I wonder, are golfers part of “The Curse” brought on by Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit? When Jesus sets up His kingdom on the planet earth will there still be gophers? Golphers are my enemies and I take on the role of “The Sniper” in my war against them. I gas them with sulphur, trap them with the special, never fail “gophernator” trap, I wait patiently for a small movement before I blow them away with my 12 gauge shotgun. I will win! I will conquor! No stupid little rodent is going to get the best of me!! I think golphers are the physical manifestation of demons! I am going to send them all to the “Lake of Fire” reserved for the devil and his demons!
Monday’s are typically the day I take off from Pastor stuff and stay home and do things around here. I finished the upstairs bedroom that is going to be Courage’s room. Sherri and Patty did all the painting and I put the flooring down and did all the trim and finish work. Turned out pretty good. Shot my bow some with my son Sam who also helped on the finish work in the bedroom project. I need to do a bunch of shooting with my bow before hunting season this Fall. Worked some on my aquaponic project as well. That is always fun. I took a break about every 30 minutes and sat in my chair and read, drank coffee, and took several short naps. On days like today I work hard at reflecting and thinking about my life and thanking God repeatedly for all His blessings to me and I also confess any sin or mess up that I can remember, and I also think about areas in my character that need work. A very relaxing, refreshing, fill up my gas tank kind of day. I am ready for a good day tomorrow bearing fruit and making a difference in people’s lives.
We had a Bunko party tonight at JBC, and we had about 50 show up with lots of snacks. Bunko is a great game if you just want to fellowship and have a good time getting to know people, and did I mention lots of snacks? Fellowship is a great word and a very central word to the church being what it is supposed to be in God’s eyes. To fellowship basically means to experience great joy from others because of the quality of the relationship. The Bible has a collection of “one anothering” commands that make the quality of any relationship very high. “Be kind to one another”, “be tender hearted toward one another”, “forgive one another”, “love one another”, “accept one another”, “serve one another”, “meet one another’s needs”, “don’t judge one another”, “comfort one another”, “encourage one another”, and “pray for one another”. Wow, that would be a great relationship and would bring super joy to all involved in a fellowship like that. That is the goal of JBC.
Every year for 37 years I have taught a “Men’s Leadership Class”. It starts in September and ends towards the end of May. We meet every Saturday night for one hour from 5:30 to about 6:30 pm. I teach principles on how the men in the class can be leaders in their families, at work, and in our church. I have a lecture each week, the men read 50 pages in assigned books, they listen to sermons on their smart phones, they write personal goals, and do other assignments. The goal that I have for the men each year is that they would lead their families well as the spiritual leader, that they would take over leadership of ministries in the church that already exist or that they would start, and that they would be a bright light of influence in their neighborhoods and at their work places and attract people to faith in Christ. At the end of the 9 month class each man preaches a 10 to 15 minute sermon at one of our services. Tonight 4 of this years class preached and tomorrow the rest of the guys will preach. The guys tonight did incredibly well. It is so encouraging to see and hear men who are sold out for Jesus and willing to pay a price to serve him. I am looking forward to tomorrow with great anticipation. As a pastor my greatest sense of accomplishment comes from teaching this class each year.