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.
Got to talking with my son Seth and son in law Thomas tonight as we watched the Warriors beat the Grizzlies in NBA Playoff basketball about “End Times”. I said I believed that Christians would be raptured by Jesus and taken to heaven before the Tribulation started which will last for 7 years and than Jesus will come back and us with Him and set up His Kingdom on the earth. Jesus will be King of the whole world and we will rule with Him. What started the discussion was talk about present conditions in the world which seem to be getting worse by the day. I said that it is going to continue to get worse and worse until Jesus is King and that the Tribulation described in the book of Revelation is literal and makes today look super good by comparison. I said I don’t know when but at the present rate of decline it can’t be to far away. My guess is that the rapture will happen on my 80th birthday. 😄I will plan on it and that means 13 more years to work for Jesus. It is going to be so cool to hear the Trumpet of the Lord and then His voice saying loudly to me, “Come up here”!
Many times in life you will see people in need and are drawn to help them. Sometimes it is pretty simple and the help needed is small, and other times there is a significant sacrifice needed on your part if you get involved to help. My brothers and I spent Monday building a deck for my Mom, and though we took the time to help her it really turned out to be a fun time that wasn’t really any sacrifice to speak of. Then there are those situations that you wish you could do something but there really isn’t anything you can do. Those are the times that I help by devoting time to praying that God will bless and work and make His presence felt powerfully. My associate pastor Mike Dedera’s Dad is not doing well and is probably close to death. I remember when my Dad was there. I wish it were possible to drain off some of the pain and carry it for Mike and the family but there is not. I sincerely believe in God and that He answers prayer that is prayed in His will. God will always give peace and strength and joy when we ask for it, and most definitely God loves it when we carry someone else’s burden in prayer, and He will give peace and strength and joy to those I pray for. I believe that with all my heart.
Went to a Urologist at OHSU today. They ran a bunch of tests on my bladder. He had mentioned earlier a number of different surgeries that were possibilities so that my bladder would function correctly again. The tests were for the purpose of giving information so we could decide which of the surgeries were the best for my situation. After the tests we had our little conference and bottom line was there nothing that would fix my bladder. It was dead and there was no hope of resurrection! I was going to have to continue to catherderize myself three times a day until Jesus came back. I was depressed most of the car ride back home as Patty drove. By the time we got back I was good again. It was a major bother but there are so many people in way worse situations than I am. My own son-in-law who is stuck in a wheelchair. So I decided to rejoice and be happy and set my mind on heaven even more then I have been doing. The upside is that I can go pee when I want to, you all have to go when the urge hits you.
I periodically get really tired and have thoughts that it sure would be nice to retire and take it easy. As soon as those thoughts pop into my head, I pray, “Lord, would You give us 2020 people coming each weekend by the end of the year 2020. Lord, Your desire is that none perish so please use me and our church to reach lost people and to make disciples. O Lord, please give me increase and bless the work of my hands. By focusing on the need and the vision expressed in a clear goal I get motivated and passionate about working and doing whatever it will take to accomplish the goal. I pray, “Lord, I can’t do this in my own strength, would You fill me with Your Spirit, please and give me the strength to do all I need to do to be a growing church. Give the wisdom to know what to do and say in every situation You Sovereignly put me in.
My three brothers Cliff, Matt, and Jeff and I built a deck for my Mom today. That is the first time we have done a project like that in a lot of years. We worked together all the time on the farm when we were kids putting in hay, milking cows, and building and repairing farm buildings and equipment. Quite a bit different now that we are all old guys, but it was a lot of fun, especially in that the deck turned out nice and my Mom loved it. I actually spent more time drinking coffee talking than I did building but it still only took about 4 hours to finish it. It is always fun to spend time with family. My sister was there as well and her family. The ladies made coffee, lunch, and took pictures of the fine deck as it progressed. I made a goal to call my Mom once a week at the first of the year but have been very unfaithful in keeping that goal. I remade it today while talking to Mom, and I am determined to be faithful to keep it. Giving my Mom time each week is very important, and I will do it.
This weekend at JBC I preached about the incredible, amazing, power that God has given to parents through much prayer. When we pray for our kids everyday God works in their life doing things that we could never do. We can accomplish much greater change in their life through prayer than anything else that we do. In order to be faithful at daily praying for our kids we really do need a prayer journal where we can write their story as we shape it through our praying. I have a photo/journal App for my iPad that I can put lots of pictures in and type in as well. I spend 15 minutes each evening praying for my 8 kids, 6 son in laws, daughter in law, and 22 grandkids. 15 minutes doesn’t seem that long, but done daily 365 days a year it makes a huge difference in their lives. I pray that God will work in their life and produce the character of God in them, I pray that God will protect them from the devil, I pray that God would fill them with a knowledge of His will for their life, I pray that they wouldn’t sin and I pray that God would meet all of their needs.