Monthly Archives: December 2016

Integrity

Proverbs 20:7 A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him.

This verse and others like it was a major focal point as we raised our 8 kids. Many preachers that I knew growing up had rebellious kids, and it puzzled me why that would be. When I became a preacher and we had our kids I came to the conclusion that if what they saw at home was different than what they heard me preach, the Word of God would lose it’s validity as I lost my integrity.

Integrity is me being the person on the outside that I am on the inside. It is easy for preachers to project an image because of their position. Once a person starts down that road very far it is tough to come back. You put a mask on and pretty soon even the one with the mask isn’t sure what is real.

One of the first things Adam and Eve did was hide. We pretend with others, than with ourselves and then with God. Every night without fail I examine my life and behavior for that day and confess all known sin to God. I pray and ask Him to show me the things I am not seeing. Journaling is a very helpful exercise for me to look at myself as another person as I work at discovering who I am, why I do what I do, and what needs work.

The daily discipline of practicing 1 John 1:9 helps me relax in regards to my character weaknesses, mess ups, and poor choices. I am not excusing them or taking them lightly, I am just recognizing that I am in process and will be until the day I die. When I accept myself as a person in process, on a journey towards Christ likeness I quit trying to project an image of a super saint to those around me, and be real. Being a man with a mission and a purpose that drives me, but being relaxed at the same time is one of my life mottos.

 

 

 

2017

well, I have 69 goals written and my calendar pretty much filled up for 2017. I am going to drive up to Trout Lake and visit my Mom 10 times, I am going to travel and speak in other churches 10 times, I am going to go to the Kenai River in Alaska and fish for 2 weeks, I am going to spend 500 hours in prayer, I am going to spend 500 hours riding my bicycle, I am going to take a bunch of grandkids to the Brownlee Resevoir for a week of camping and fishing for Crappie and Catfish, I am going to spend 300 hours reading my Bible, I am going to teach at JBC for about 200 hours, I am going to go to Wyoming elk hunting for a week with my sons Seth and Sam, I am going Shad fishing for a day, over size sturgeon fishing for a day, tuna fishing for a day, steelhead fishing for several days, jack rabbit hunting for 3 days,and deer hunting for a week, I am going to write a book and write my blog every day, I am going to counsel for about 50 hours, go to various kinds of meetings for about 250 hours, I am going to go to church and worship Jesus for about 100 hours, I am going to rebuild a 1986 Ford pickup, a 1975 Johnson 135 hp outboard motor, and do some cool stuff on my 1949 Ford pickup, I am going to get my aquaponics system going again with catfish , paint my house, and build a deck. To top it all off I am going to spend lots of time wth my grandkids, kids, friends, and Patty laughing, eating, and having a good old time. Sounds like a great year to me. And of course it will all be adjusted accordingly if Jesus comes back this year.

I Know My Problem

Today when I went down to my office there was another person in the hall that stopped by to ask some questions, and had just finished talking with another staff person when I came in. When they left, and I was sitting at my desk writing my sermon I decided to check  my email real quick.  I saw there was a nice response to the blog I wrote a couple of days ago. I decided to go back and reread it, just for fun. As I did I was immediately convicted by my behavior toward the visitor 20 minutes earlier. In my blog I wrote about influencing people by loving them, and making it about them not me.

As I replayed the encounter in my head, I said out loud to myself, “I know my problem”, “I am always in a hurry, wanting to get things done”.  My brain is so focused on my “to do” list, and my next step, that I just don’t think about the present situation that I am in with people with enough focus to have much wisdom or thoughtfulness in my attentiveness to them and the conversation that I could have with them.

It gets discouraging to want to act a certain way, and treat people a certain way, but continually mess up.  Can I change and learn?  Yeh, I can, and I am getting better, but it seems so slow. I wish I could be perfect by next week, oops there I go with that hurry up and git er done stuff.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) and first published in 1936, it has sold over 30 million copies world-wide.

Jesus said over 2,000 years ago, “this is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you”.  To love people the way Jesus did is to make a difference in their eternity. He did that by taking every person’s sin upon Himself, and then dying for that sin, being punished by God the Father for that sin, effectively taking our place, and paying our bill. We now have the free gift of eternal life with God, not earned nor deserved. But there is a small price we must pay to receive this gift. We must believe that Jesus is God, that He became flesh, that He lived a perfect life, that He took all of our sin upon Himself, that He did indeed die for us, and we need to accept that gift from Him personally.

I can’t do what Jesus did, but I can influence people so they believe and accept this free gift. In order to influence people I must first love them and become their friend. That whole gospel story seems strange to people, as the Bible itself says, it seems foolish. So, it isn’t particularly easy convincing people to believe in and receive the gospel. If I weren’t absolutely convinced of the truth of the gospel I would just live life, and let people do whatever they wanted.

Tonight I went with a bunch of my grandkids and kids to see the new Star Wars movie, “Rogue One”. I think that was the name of it. As I watched hundreds of people get blasted and blown up, and at the end see the heroine of the movie watch as an inferno of fire engulfs her, it prompted me to think about all the people over thousands of years who have died. Where are they now, at this very minute, what are they feeling, thinking, doing, really.

Most of life is a mystery. Most of life we have no control over. There is in me a sense that there is a God. I believe God Himself put that sense in me. As I look around at creation, nature, it seems obvious that there is an intelligent designer and creator, and He must be wise and powerful for all that I see to exist. In me is a strong sense of right and wrong, a belief in the need for justice. That must be from God, there is no other answer that makes sense. If there is a God, and He is wise, and powerful, and good, and just, then He would certainly communicate to mankind. Considering all of the possible options, the Bible is the only reasonable answer.

A person could just wait and see what happens after death. They will certainly know the answers then. But according to the Bible that will be too late.

More meaningful relationships

How many friends can I have? Not on Facebook, but in real life. Is there a point where the number of people that I  know well and would consider my friend maxes out either because of time, or memory, or simple fatigue. I suppose their is, but I have not gotten there yet, and I would like more close friends than I presently have, and I am a strong introvert.

One of my major priorities in life is growing in character every day to be more like Jesus. I desire that very much, but I must know how to make that desire a reality. I have discovered that rapid growth in myself happens most effectively in meaningful community, that is during and in the context of pursuing growing relationships. I want people to like me, not because of ego but because I want to influence them toward a relationship,with Jesus. If they don’t like me they probably are not going to,like my God and Savior, that is just the way it is.

As I pursue people, very much like I pursued Patty when I was courting her, I think about how I act and speak and smile and smell, and listen. It is in the pursuit of meaningful relationships that my character flaws, irritating habits, and lack of relational intelligence becomes magnified so that I can see it and work on it. A super important principle in this lifestyle of pursuing people is, it has to be about them not about me.

I have identified some key attitudes that must be strong in me if I am going to effectively increase the number of meaningful relationships that I have that results in the other person being blessed by God because of me.

The first is accepting them where they are in their growth, and not being critical or judgmental in my thinking toward them because it will come out in my body language, tone of voice, facial expression, in my eyes, and choice of words. It takes great self-control to totally accept another person in your thoughts, but how we think about a person has major impact on how we treat them. It is embarrassing to me how old I was before I figured that one out.

Goals X

II Timothy 2:5 says, “no soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life”. Most people are entangled in the affairs of everyday life up to their eyeballs! In other words, we are super busy, and much of what we are doing has little eternal value, it is just busy. Life in our culture gets way too busy even while we are sleeping, we don’t even have to work at it, it just happens. Having a full life is great as long as what we are doing we chose to do because of its potential for significant accomplishment. Being too busy with a lot of meaningless busy work, being too busy taking care of too much stuff, being too busy trying to earn more money to buy more stuff that will require more time to use and take care of. People in that busy situation rarely make goals. They don’t have time to choose to do things that matter, they don’t have time to sit down and write 12 goals, they don’t have time to read them everyday, they don’t have time to be in an accountability group. Those who choose not to set goals because they are too busy are in a bad state in life, and it is very hard to get off that merry-go-round, they just keep going round and round, round  and round.

If you are on this merry-go-round force yourself to make some goals, just 6, the first goal is to read your Bible for 15 minutes everyday, the second to pray for 15 minutes everyday, and the remaining 4 will have as their purpose to simplify your life. The simple life, the uncluttered life, the life focused on what matters. Goal number 3 is, “I will write down everything I do in a month in detail”.  Goal number 4 is “I will rank everything on the list with a number of 1 to 5, 1 being super important, and 5 being , busy work”. Goal number 6 is “I will eliminate all number 5 activities from my life.” This will make a huge difference in your life if you have the guts to do it.

Goals IX

It is said that fear of failure is most people’s greatest fear, especially men, but I think it is really fear of shame. Asking God to deliver and protect from shame is a prayer that is prayed often by David in the Psalms. This very strong fear is what motivates us to play it safe in life, to stay in the rut we are in, and not to do anything that would make us look bad, weak, dumb, incompetent, or a failure. From my experience in trying to get people to set personal goals in order to grow, and having so many resist or quit, I have come to the conclusion that this fear is the main reason why. Once a goal is set, in our mind the potential for looking bad has increased. What is interesting is that it seems to be as much about what we think of ourselves as what others think of us. Self-worth is a very strong human value, even a real need. Instead of building our own sense of worth proactively we tend to do it by protecting ourselves from shame, and living a life of low risk.

A super important principle to know and live by is that our sense of self-worth is what the Bible calls glory. We were created with God’s glory, and then lost it when we sinned, and we all are desperately trying to get it back. The only source of glory that satisfies our hearts is God. We try to get it from other people, from ourselves, by winning, accomplishing, bragging, owning, and from physical appearance, but the sense of worth that comes from those things is short lasting and has deminishing return.

God gives glory to those who give glory to Him, those who honor Him, He honors. There are numerous ways to glorify God with our life, and a major way is stated in the Gospel of John 15:7, “by this is My Father glorify, that you bear much fruit”. Goal setting is a great tool to bear much fruit for God.