this year for our annual salmon fishing trip to the Kenai River in Alaska we made a rule, “no trash talking”. When you have over a dozen guys living together in cramped quarters, fishing together, eating together, getting minimal sleep, getting really tired and possibly grumpy, some catching more fish than others, everyone having their opinions on the best way to catch fish, and on and on, words are often said that irritate, hurt, and offend. The goal was that everyone would work hard at being nice, kind, gracious, patient, and extremely self controlled. It was a great week of fishing and fellowshipping because everyone did indeed work hard at speaking words that edified and gave grace. It didn’t mean that we didn’t talk about things that we felt strongly about, and we did talk politics, we just recognized that the strength of our relationships that we had was very important, and we could communicate what we believed was true without damaging those relationships. I find it so easy to slip into a “worldly” way of talking in my attempting to make a point. Every night when I review the day and confess all known sin to God, I find most of what I confess are words spoken to others. Dear Lord, please help me to speak words of grace always.
I am laying here in my own bed thinking about the last week of fishing, thinking about my Mom recovering from hip surgery and heart surgery, reading church prayer requests, reading Facebook entries and issues and struggles people are having in life. I continue to have emphasized to me the fact that a main role that God has for me in this chapter in my life is to pray and intercede for people. If you were walking by a burning building and someone inside screamed for help and you ran in and rescued them from sure death, afterwards you would feel a strong sense of having done something noble. I feel that when I pray. I have a growing faith in the fact that when I Pray God listens and acts and things change for all eternity. The great challenge for me right now is to manage my life and time so as not to let all the fun things, the busy things, the mundane things suck up all my time. Exercising self control over the pull of my flesh, the temptations in the world, and the responsibilities of life is the the discipline that I need.
This picture is a portion of the sockeye salmon that we caught today. This year the fishing is very slow compared with previous years. Two years ago in the same amount of time that we fished today a dozen of us would have had 72 fish. But it is still a lot of fun, and for me it is the experience, the challenge, the getting away, the fellowship that makes the trip not the fish. We are going to fish for about 15 hours straight starting tonight at about 7 pm. If the fishing is super slow we may go back to fish camp and sleep from 1 to 3 am the only “dark” times. We head back home Friday morning, for normal life once again. For the couple of hours each day that I am not fishing, eating or sleeping I read my IPad. Emails, Facebook and messages keep me up on what is happening in the rest of the world, especially my family. I read the news, sports news, fishing reports, weather, and my Bible. I use my prayer App on my IPad to pray for family, friends, and church .
Run a marathon, do a Olympic distance triathlon, climb Mt Adams, ride a bicycle across the USA are a few of the challenging things I have done over the years and in fact I have done each of those multiple times, and considered each one, each time fun in a different sort of way., many other people have done the same and much harder. We fished until midnight last night and then got up at 3 am this morning to go again and we fished until noon. We are going out again this afternoon and if there are fish in we will fish all night until noon tomorrow. My hands hurt terrible bad because of all the scratches from salmon teeth received while removing the hook, and filleting the fish and the fish slime causes them to get infected. But I am having so much fun, strange huh. Challenges inspire us and motivate. Spending hours standing in the water, in the rain, for so long your back is aching terribly, trying to catch a big salmon, and then fighting it, is much more than just trying to have some tasty salmon to eat, it is the challenge, the conquering that we were created to do.
I have been fishing on the Kenai river in Soldotna, Alaska for the last couple of days, and we will fish until this Friday. We are fishing for sockeye and King Salmon. So far the fishing has been slow. The limit is six a day, but I have been catching about 4 every day. We are hoping the main run will happen very soon. About all we do is eat, sleep, and fish, and last night we got to bed about midnight and got up this morning at 3 am. If the run comes in today we will fish all night, and enjoy it. The highlight of the trip is having my oldest grandson with me. He caught a really big King salmon on the first day. There are about a dozen of us fishing together and they are all really nice guys so the camaraderie is great. I am starting to fall asleep while I am writing this so I think I will call that good for today.
is it all right to want more of God’s blessing in my life? How about wanting more righteousness? I think it is ok to want more of God in that we know Him more, we please Him more, and it would be right in line with John 15 to want more fruit or results from our life. My daily prayer is “Lord, I want more fruit in the next ten years than I had in the first 40 years I pastored here at JBC. One of the really big differences in people that I have observed is the difference in size and passion of their wanting more. I am consumed and driven by my desire for more. Many proactively work hard at “mellowing” their wanting more so they can relax and not feel like a failure when their fruit production for God is mediocre. Very few traits in a person make as much difference in what they accomplish with their life than their want and desire to accomplish more each week, each month, each year of their life. Those who want the most pray the most. Those who want the most work the hardest. Those who want the most are the ones most faithful to read the Word of God. Those who want the most write goals. Those who want the most get counsel from others.
sometimes it is hard to tell what is the right thing to do in a situation, especially when what you want to do and what is the expected behavior are opposites. It is also interesting that people are so different in crisis situations in how they deal with it. My Mom was having a hard time breathing tonight so they took her by ambulance to the the hospital and she is in ICU. My wife Patty in these situations automatically Morphs into Florence Nightengale. She starts making phone calls finding out how everybody is doing, she starts reading medical journals and calling the doctors to tell them what to do ( just joking on that last,part) and then she suggests to me that we drive up,there tonight. What I would like to do is get in my 1949 Ford pickup and start driving by myself anywhere, it really doesn’t matter, until I got sleepy, curl up on the seat and sleep,until I was cold and then drive some more. I wouldn’t tell anybody where I was and I wouldn’t call, in fact I would throw my cell phone away. I would stay off the grid as it were until it was all,over one way or another. Doesn’t seem like what strong mature, responsible people do, especially pastors, but that is what ai want to do. I always wish that I could have been on a missions trip for the last two years of my Dads life. He was such a picture of strength and wisdom for me all my life but the last two years he was so weak and frail. Several years ago Mom and Patty and I went on a two week trip to Fairbanks Alaska camping along the way. Mom and I went to a commercial gold mine for a tour and they let us pan for gold. Mom was so into that and had such a good time. I wish that was the last memory I had of her. I don’t want to see her in a hospital bed with tubes, all white and frail, but I guess that is life.