I finished today teaching for about 15 hours in our annual seminar for pastors and church leaders about prayer and leadership for three days at JBC. It was a great time. So many different people in our church stepped up and worked hard to make this a wonderful experience for the 200 or so that were here. This was truly a “Body Life” event. After it was over Patty and I left for the coast with friends Gary and Lynda Brown for some rest. We went to a very nice restaurant tonight and I stuffed myself on a “Sea Food Platter”. We plan on sitting around reading, sleeping, eating, playing cards, and sleeping some more for the next couple of days, and then back to work. I enjoy working hard and I also enjoy resting and getting energized to work hard again. Nothing is quite as rewarding as doing some significant work for God. Thank You Lord for giving me a Nobel task to do, and thank You for such a great church family that provides the perfect environment for this teaching event.
God has made me a teacher, and it is always quite amazing to me how I feel when I am doing that especially over a long period of time. Today I taught for about 4 hours in our annual seminar on prayer and leadership. It started today at 1 pm and all morning I felt very tired and wimpy. I anticipated a very hard day, but as I got rolling I felt better and stronger by the minute, and tonight I was on a major “high”, and now it is exactly midnight and I am feeling very awake and energized. Tomorrow I teach all day starting at 8:30 am but I am thinking it is going to be a good day with God working in and through me in the lives of the approximately 200 people who are at the seminar. God has given all of us a Spiritual Gift or ability to do something that blesses others and causes them to grow. It is so much fun to function in the area we are gifted in. If I didn’t know what mine was I would pray, get counsel, experiment, and be relentless in self examination until I discovered what God had made me good at.
JBC had a poker night in our gym on Friday night. It looked like there were about 60 or 70 people at it. When each person got there they picked up an assigned number of chips from the table as you entered along with a table seating assignment. There were lots of great snacks so that was my first stop. There were a number of people at the table I was at that I didn’t know so we spent a little time getting to know each other. Each person played until they ran out of chips then they were done. After that you could sit and watch and eat snacks or just head home. Each table started with 8 people, and as the number was reduced as people ran out of chips and went out tables were combined. This continued until only one player was left as the winner. There were prizes for the top four finishers. I went out when there were about A dozen people left so I did pretty good for a rookie player. It really was a lot of fun and the bluffing aspect of poker adds a special element to the competition. I enjoy spending time with people getting to know them having fun. This event happens a couple times each year and is sponsored by JBC Men’s Ministries as a time when we can invite friends who don’t attend church at JBC so they can meet people,who do and then feel comfortable coming back to a regular service. I enjoy being part of a church family with people who enjoy having a good time with each other and care about others.
Patty’s birthday is today, and she said that she wanted to go see Star Wars with me for her birthday so we went last night. I didn’t like the movie. Oh, I enjoyed the special effects and the general theme and acting, but I left the theater feeling sad by the ending. I like happy endings in movies. Life has a lot of sad things that happen and it seems strange to me that a made up story in a movie can’t give joy instead of sadness given the choice. Our life is full of trials, difficulties, and sadness, but it is going to end with great incomprehensible joy. I don’t mind sad things in the middle of a movie but I like it to end happy, like the first Star Wars movie. And then there is my favorite story when Jesus was crucified on a Friday but then Sunday came and He rose from the grave. That’s my kind of story.
Death is an unpleasant topic for most. The literally thousands of deaths that most see on Television and movies does not make death more of a reality , but less of one. Our own personal death is ignored in our own thinking and we become anesthetized to death by seeing so many on the screen. When we get news of possible cancer or other life threatening illness to ourselves or a loved one anxiety to shock hits us. The Bible teaches that the fear of death is the soil for all of our fears, and that it controls us and holds us prisoner. The Bible also teaches that Jesus, God’s Son died, was buried and rose from the dead 3 days later and is alive today, and that those who believe that He died for them to pay for their sins and follow Him are set free from the fear of death. In the Bible death is compared with sleep in a daily demonstration of the grace of death and the seamless transition from this life to the next. Every night when I lay down I say, “this could be the last night that I fall asleep before I am with Jesus with my new glorified, wonderful body. I am working at setting my mind on life after death a lot, in fact every time something the least bit irritating happens. I am building my anticipation for the incomprehensible joy of the next life and eliminating all fear of death and therefore the seed bed of all other fears in my life. Thinking a lot about the finish line of my life motivates me to live life to the fullest to accomplish as much as I can and to become as much like Jesus as possible in the time left to me.
A good day fishing is amazing and a bad day of fishing is still better than just about anything else in life. Today on the Alsea River it poured rain but I had very good rain gear, and I was dressed warm, and I had a full thermos of hot coffee, and I had lots of snacks, and I was was fishing with a good friend and a great guide, and we caught 3 steelhead. Even though fishing in the cold and rain, standing in a drift boat all day constantly casting and retrieving is tiring I came home all energized. It is kind of funny how that works, but it is nice to know that it does. A good skill to have in life especially pastors is knowing how to tell when your gas tank is getting close to empty and how to fill it when it is.
I had a steelhead fishing trip arranged for tomorrow. I called the guide that took my two sons last week and they landed 8 steelhead and brought home two that were hatchery fish and booked a trip with him. Looking at their pictures and listening to their stories got me all excited about going. Then the guide texted today and said that there was a chance we would cancel tomorrow because the forcast was for a lot of rain tonight and the river would be out of shape.I started hoping that it would rain because I was feeling tired and really didn’t want to get up at 4:30 and sit in the cold all day. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have been hyper about going steelhead fishing. He texted a few minutes ago and said the trip was a “go”, weather was fine. I let out a big sigh, and if Patty had heard and asked what the problem was I would have said, “I have to go fishing tomorrow”. She probably would have laughed thinking I was joking. I am pretty sure when the alarm goes off in the morning I will jump out of bed and that I will have a great time tomorrow. This feeling of “dread” has become more frequent of late. I love preaching but I find myself dreading the study and preparation for the next weeks sermon. It usually starts on Sunday afternoon. I love speaking for two days at our annual seminar at our church on prayer and leadership, but right now I am dreading it. It is easy to see why some when they get older tend to sit a lot, watch TV a lot, and are fairly inactive, it just feels good. But I am determined to sprint across the finish line of my life so controlling my self talk is super important. I will write tomorrow about my trip and tell you how many fish I caught.