Monthly Archives: October 2016

The witness of creation

the Steens Mountains are incredibly beautiful, and with a foot of snow covering everything they ate even more amazing. Hiking around in the snow this afternoon looking for an elk I was contually reminded of some Bible verses.

Psalms 8:3-5When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!

Psalms 19:1-2. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.

Romans 1:19-20  because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

all day long as I walked it was like I was getting a great sermon on the person of God. The result was that my desire to know Him more intimately, to serve Him more effectively, and love Jim more passionately grew . A good day hunting even if I didn’t see an elk.

Elk Hunting

I am leaving at midnight with my son Seth for a 5 day elk hunting trip in the Steens Mountains in Southeast Oregon. We will be using ours muzzleloaders to hunt with. I am using a 460 grain 50 caliber bullet with 150 grains of black powder, and it kicks like a mule and is good out to about 150 yards. We will be camping at 8,000 feet elevation with temperatures around 10 degrees with snow. We have a good tent with a big propane heater and lots of food so we should be comfortable. I won’t have any cell service so this will be the last blog for 6 days. Hopefully the next one will include a picture of a nice elk. The tag is good for any elk, cow or bull. I would like to shoot a nice bull, but I am going for the first one I get close enough to shoot.

I have been hunting all of my life and killed my first buck when I was 12 with my Dad, and a high light of my life has been hunting trips with my kids and now grandkids. I am not sure of the reason, but hunting is one of the most enjoyable activities in my life. When I want to get renewed and refreshed from the grind of life and ministry nothing is quite as effective as a trip to the Steens with a Son, or Alaska, or Wyoming.

On most trips we don’t kill anything, but we try hard. We get up in the dark and cold in the morning, and hike for miles up and down canyons, and look for the elusive buck or bull and then do it again, and then on the way home we are planning the next hunt. I think the challenge is a key part of the enjoyment of hunting.

Challenge! That is what all of life is supposed to be. Now days people are inclined to call challenges trials, or problems, and avoid them if at all possible and feel sorry for themselves if they can’t. Challenges make us grow and make life exciting rather than boring.

Big Storm?

the big news last night and this morning was the super big storm coming our way.  As big or bigger than the Colombus Day storm! Yeh, right! I kept waiting but no super big storm ever made it to our house. I know most of the media is super exaggerating information surrounding the presidential race, but I didn’t think the same was happening with the weather. I guess that is the new norm because hyperbole sells. Oh well, no tree blew over on my house, The plastic that I had over my pickup didn’t blow away, and we were only without electricity for about an hour. Nice. I guess I will have to wait for the next big storm for my great adventure.

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Storms

One of our daughters, her husband, and three little kids live on the coast in Washington. Early this morning they got a tornado warning and were advised to go to the center of their house away from all windows, so they got the kids out of bed and sat together in a hall way until the warning passed. Not exactly your normal Friday night routine.  Sunny, comfortable weather is  nice. Windy, rainy, cold weather with tornado warnings is not. Though they are not always totally accurate it is nice to get a bit of a warning from the weather service about what is coming so you can prepare for it.

Life has storms of crisis, unexpected events, conflicts, financial, health, death. Most of the time there is no warning about this storm that is about to strike. Some people face it, deal with it, fix it, solve it, adjust to it and when the storm passes they are stronger, wiser, better equipped to face the next storm and to help others with their storms of life. These people are strong.

The admonition to “be strong” is repeated often in the Bible. That admonition  is not telling us to just grit our teeth, clench our fists and try not to worry. When David in the Old Testament came back to his city with his army and found that all the woman and children had been kidnapped, the city burned to the ground and his men threatening to stone him. It says “David strengthened himself in the Lord”, took charge went after the kidnappers and rescued all.

God gives strength to those who ask, seek, and knock often. Every time a negative, fearful, anxious thought pops into my head, even a little one, I immediately pray and ask God for His strength. If another one pops in 10 seconds later I ask again, and again, and again. Pretty soon the anxious thoughts are farther and farther apart, and I am experiencing the “peace of God”. Strong people aren’t strong because of big muscles, they are strong because they have trained themselves to automatically and quickly turn to God in storms in total trust.

Endurance

One of the qualities that is valued tremendously by God in us as He observes our life is our endurance.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

So many times over the last 40 years of pastoring at JBC I wanted to quit. I was discouraged, depressed, burnt out, and dry. One verse in the Bible spoken by Jesus was a key keeping me from quitting.

Luke 9:62  But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Now, as I think about how God has blessed I am so thankful that I didn’t quite . Another verse that impacted me was, Galatians 6:9  Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

But the key thing in my life that kept me from quitting was friends who encouraged me often to keep on running and not give up. Good friends who know the importance of encouragement are super important to being successful at life. I have been blessed with many.

Successful people part 20

According to the book of Proverbs the main requirement for success is wisdom. Solomon asked for wisdom, and God was pleased. God created the world and the universe using wisdom, God in His Word says that if we seek wisdom like gold, treasure, precious stones we will find it. Wisdom is knowing what  to do and say in any situation. I want to be wise and to always make wise choices. How do I get wisdom?

1. Read, read, and read some more. Our brain was created by God and was designed by him to function best with words. I faithfully read 20 pages every day.

2. Find smart, successful people , invite them to lunch, buy, ask really good questions, and take good notes.

3.  Find good, highly recommended seminars to regularly go to.

4. Write. Write in a journal, write a blog, write a book.,Writing is a major mental exercise that creates clear thinkers who will have lots of wisdom.

5. Spend 15 minutes each day memorizing the Bible. The Word of God is the supernatural Word of God so spending time hiding it in our heart and meditating on it works powerfully.

6. Find an opportunity to teach. Sunday school, youth group, whatever you can.

7. You write this one.

Successful people part 19

1 Corinthians 2:16
For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

when it comes to accomplishing a lot with our life that really matters, things that make a huge difference in people’s lives, and also personally growing every day to be more like the Holy God who created us in His image, nothing is as important as wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to think like God. Wisdom is knowing what to say and do in any and every situation God sovereignly puts us in. Wisdom is the ability to connect the dots between the words we spoke, the things we did, and all the thoughts of our mind  a year ago to the problems, trials and difficulties, and the victories, blessings and accomplishments that we are currently experiencing.

1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “we have the Mind of Christ”. What is the mind of Christ, and how is it that we have it? The mind of Christ is the Bible, the Holy, living Word of God. Psalms 119:97-100 says, “I understand more than the aged…I have more insight than all of my teachers…I am wiser than my enemies”. Why? “Because I meditate on Your Word”!

The Bible has been miraculously preserved over thousands of years as God’s great gift to us, the mind of Christ. If we read the Bible faithfully, diligently, seeking we will discover the knowledge of God. Memorize the words in it and ponder, wonder, and meditate on those words. The world has no clue what is right and wrong, what is wise and foolish, what brings the blessing or the curse of God. Those who spend time reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Bible will understand all things.

Successful People part 18

God’s ways are not man’s ways. God’s ways often appear foolish to people. Discovering what God blesses, making that your lifestyle and not drifting off of that lifestyle, but staying faithful . What we do matters very much if we want to grow and bear fruit, much fruit. It isn’t the one time choices it is the faithful, diligent, self-controlled routines and disciplines done every day over time that matter. I have established “A Daily Dozen Duties and Disciplines” in my life that I check off every day before I go to bed, and I don’t go to bed until they are all done. Growing up on the dairy there was a simple principle of success, ” you can never skip milking the cows”, morning and evening, every day, 365 days a year, that is just the way it is.

1. I will Read my Bible every day using my plan of 10 chapters each day.

2. I will pray every day for a minimum time of one hour, praying for lost people, family, church family, and needs as they occur.

3. At the end of every day I will examine my life, think about the day and confess all known sins to God.

4. I will begin every day by declaring Jesus as Lord of my life and committing to follow, serve, and obey Him for that day.

5. I will ask Jesus for strength and wisdom every day so that I can glorify Him, and accomplish His will for my life.

6. I will read my goals.

7. I will spend a minimum of 15 minutes every day memorizing and meditating on key Bible verses for my life.

8. I will record my use of time every day in great detail keeping a permanent record.

9. I will make a “to do” list for every day.

10. I will write in my journal reflecting on how I lived my life evaluating strengths and weaknesses.

11. I will write a daily blog of approximately 300 words with the desire of influencing more and more people to be committed to and love Jesus.

12. In will praise and thank the Lord for specific blessings experienced that day working at taking nothing for granted. I will do this in my prayer time, journaling and blogging.

Successful people part 17

As a Christian I believe God is orchestrating my life, that is the circumstances  that most often appear to be coincidental and random are  planned and controlled by God. In the midst of God’s sovereignty in my life is the freedom that He gives to people to choose, and their wrong, foolish and poor choices have impact on my life. The mix of God’s control and people in various levels of out of control living is a mystery to me, but I have a very strong trust in God’s wise, and loving  control, and protection of my life. In the events that unfold in my life on a daily basis are several purposes for me. A primary one is that the pressure, trials and tribulations that happen to me would make me strong and mature, and that I would grow to be more and more like Christ in character. I need to cooperate with God by not grumbling, complaining, feeling sorry for myself, or getting bitter. Another purpose of God is  In the midst of the events that happen, God puts opportunities to bless, serve and positively influence people. His instruction to me is to look for those open doors every day. I also believe that it is God’s will that I work at fixing, changing, and improving the systems around me that cause much of the pain, conflict, and problems in people’s lives.  Again, that opportunity to make a difference in the world is put there by God before me as a gift. I need to look for those open doors, really look in believing that God wants me to find them and press myself into using the gifts, resources, strength, and wisdom that He has given me to make a difference. As I aggressively do that I will grow. Grow, that is what I want to do, and to be a cause for other people’s growth, many other people.

Successful people part 16

i just finished reading a book by the title of “Emotional Intelligence” 2.0. The essence of the book is what I would say to my kids literally hundreds of times as they grew up, “You don’t have to act the way you feel”. You can choose to act responsibly. The New Testament book of Ephesians says, “be angry but don’t sin”, that is feel the emotion of anger but don’t punch anybody. Allowing our emotions to control our words, decisions, and behavior is to live our life out of control, and the more you do that the more out of control your life becomes. Self-control is the goal of every really successful person. Everybody and everything wants to run our life for us and often with ulterior motives. For me almost daily reflection on how well I lived my life is very important in not allowing my flesh, the devil and the world to influence me even a little bit. A great tool for reflection is my journal  where I write what I did and said with complete transparency and try to see myself as a third person.