one of my goals for this year was to go skydiving, and I did it today. My good friend Lloyd Smith and my son-in-law Luke Doughton and I drove to Molalla where “Sky Dive Oregon” is located and we jumped out of a really nice airplane at about 15,000 feet elevation and free fell for about a minute and then glided to the ground and landed like a bird, an albatross. This was my third time since the first about six years ago, and it is still just as exhilarating as the first, probably more so, because on the first jump the fear drowned out the exhilaration. I was still a bit of a chicken though because when the guy I was strapped to going down tandem with asked if I wanted to fly the chute I deferred to him getting us down safely in the field where we took off instead of in the highway. It really is a lot of fun from the perspective of excitement and adventure as well as the beauty of the scenery from that elevation. The first time I went it fell under the goal of doing something I had never done before as well as the goal to do something each year that moved me outside my comfort zone. Sky diving met those two criteria easily. Someone asked me Sunday if I wanted to go bungy jumping off one of the bridges in Portland. Now that certainly will be something I have never done before, and just thinking about it was way outside my comfort zone, so I guess I will probably give it a go, unless it doesn’t fit my schedule, I can always pray!
Occasionally I will emotionally feel very flat. Most of the time I can lift myself out of it by thinking about certain things, reading certain things, doing certain things and being around certain people. Over the years I have accurately figured out what those certain things are in each of those categories. But occasionally a blue funk I am in will defy my usual fixes, and I stay in an emotionally flat place for awhile. During these times the only thing that seems to work is time. It would be nice if during these times if I could go away to a secluded place where there were no people or responsibilities, and occasionally it works for me to do just that, but usually I have to keep doing what my responsibilities call me to. During these times I have to guard myself and put forth extra discipline so I don’t make a dumb decision often involving money I shouldn’t have spent, or say something to a person that is hurtful, usually a person I love. During these depressed times I exercise more, read my Bible more, and pray more. When I am feeling totally unmotivated it is very hard to read more, pray more, and especially exercise more. The accountability groups that I am in each week are the key to me being faithful and disciplined. Let me know if you want in one.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
These two verses in the Bible are a couple of my favorites. I remind myself daily that this could be the day that Jesus returns. I am going to preach on these verses this weekend at JBC, 7 pm Saturday, tonight, 9 am and 10:30 am on Sunday morning, tomorrow. Our building has a great air conditioning system in it and it is going to be hot. Why not come and be blessed by the teaching of God”s Word and be cool.
Men’s ministries of JBC put on and hosted a Poker night at our church tonight We had a free hot dog dinner at 6 pm and then Poker at 7 pm. There were 36 people playing and it was a lot of fun. Lots of people came that I didn’t know but we wore name tags so I met at least a dozen people that I didn’t know. It was a great time of fellowship and making new friends. One of the really cool things for me is the number of ministries in our church that are started and run by non staff people, and also the number of ministries that have as their goal providing an event and opportunity that people who don’t normally come to church would enjoy and that people in our church could invite them to and feel confident that they would have a good time. I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ, that He is God’s Son, became flesh just like us and died on a cross to pay the penalty of our sins. I also believe strongly that God has given us the responsibility to influence people towards faith in Jesus so they could Live with God forever. So an event like tonight’s that influences even just a little bit makes me feel very good about the people at JBC who love people and are trying hard to draw people to a faith in Christ.
watched the conclusion to the Men’s Decathlon tonight, and I guess what I heard them saying tonight is that he gets the unofficial title of the world’s Greatest athlete. What if I decided tonight that I was going to compete in that event next Olympics and my goal was to win the gold medal. Upon hearing of my decision you would probably make disparaging remarks about my sanity. But pretending that I have made that an official goal of mine, a BHAG of the BHAG’s, (big hairy audacious goal) what would I do in the morning? The size of that goal would control most of my thinking, my time, even my money. Most people never set a goal so big that it controls most of who they are and what they will become. I always set at least one like that, i’s crazy, impractical, but so much fun. August 27th is the official starting date of writing my goals for the next year and October 27th is the official day I start after my new goals ( my birthday). The two months that I spend writing my goals are a lot of fun as I imagine, and think about what the desires of my heart are.
Now today was a fun day. A bunch of the kids and grandkids came over and we picked all of our apples and made apple juice. We rented a grinder and press and made about 100 gallons of juice. We started by picking all the apples on our trees and putting them in wheelbarrows, buckets, and boxes, everybody helped. The youngest ones threw the apples into the grinder and Sam and Seth turned the crank on the press. I bought some big, plastic garbage cans with lids that snapped shut, we filled up three of them. Tomorrow I will siphon the juice out of the garbage cans, leaving the sediment in the bottom, into plastic gallon jugs, and everybody will take some home. After we got all the grinding and pressing done and everything cleaned up, we barbecued and had cake and ice cream for one of the grandkids birthday. When our kids were younger, babies through high school we used to have “Monday Work Days”. I would come up with the project and then we would work on it together most of the day. Sometimes the project was to have a big clean day, and we would pick up all the garbage and junk, put it in a little trailer and take it to the dump. The fun part of that project is that on the way home we would stop off at “King Kone” and everyone would get a huge ice cream cone. We always had a fun thing at the end of the project as a reward for working hard. We did painting projects, getting firewood projects, building chicken house projects, and many more. Because we had our 8 kids in the private school that our church ran we could keep them out a few days if we wanted, and they stayed home every Monday. Our parenting goal was to teach them how to work and to enjoy working hard. It was the best part,of their education. Today was just like one of those days, and it was so much fun for me.
interesting book I read a while back on being a leader that creates unity in a team, a work place, a family, or a church called “The Blame Game”, talks about the fact that people blame others for the problems and short comings of the group and in their own lives, and that it is pretty much universal. If you have a bunch of little kids playing and all of a sudden the group begins to fight, shout and cry, and you the parent or supervising adult wade in to bring order you hear every kid yelling at another kid and pointing. As the character traits of self worth, dignity, and wisdom decline in a group of people whether it be as small as that of a marriage or as large as a nation like the United States of America, the volume and the intensity of the blaming goes up. It is interesting to listen to politicians, media people, and leaders of various groups talk, speak, and write today, and ask the question while listening or reading, “what is the wisdom and positive character level of this person, or people. A law of God as irrevocable as Gravity is that we blame others in an attempt to preserve and build our own sense of self worth, but when we verbally tear down another person our own sense of worth and value goes down not up, and a coralory to that is our own worth and value in other people’s minds goes down as well when we blame another person for our problems or that of the group.
1 Peter 3:8-12
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For,
“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile,
“He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”