It was such a nice sunny day today I decided to paint my shed that I just built. The first thing that I did was drop the can of paint, and got paint everywhere. At that point there was a huge urge in my mind to say a word like “shucks” very loud, with an unmistakable tone of disgust and anger. I have made a commitment to the Lord that I will not say anything as an expression of anger, or frustration when an event like this happens, not even “shucks”. I remake this commitment every morning to the Lord, and I ask Him for the self-control and help to keep the commitment that I have made. I started with this particular daily commitment about 2 months ago, and I have had one day since starting where I have been 100% successful, but I am getting better at controlling what comes out of my mouth. The reason for this goal of becoming totally in control of my mouth and not to say anything in anger is so I can exercise the same self control when I am with people. I want to build people up and never tear them down.. our words have supernatural power to build and create, or to tear down and discourage people that we talk to.
I have become very interested in developing my mind, making it strong, being able to think clearly, think with wisdom, understand people, understand me, understand life, understand God more, and solve problems. A major motive is to be able to communicate clearly, teach the Word of God accurately, walk with God intimately, and also to avoid any level of senility as I get older. I have been reading books about the mind, both Christian and secular, both from the mind perspective and the Brain perspective. A key book has been the book of Proverbs in the Bible which the author Solomon states as the goal of the book being wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.
A key to a healthy mind is use it, stretch it, and feed it. One of my “goal setting motto’s ” over the years has been every year to “learn something I have never learned before”, with the emphasis being on learning a skill, “do something I have never done before”, and” go someplace I have never been before”. As I have been learning and thinking about brain health I realized that this goal was a key to a mind that was open, inquisitive, and intelligent, which is certainly what I want. A key part of our thinking and our communicating is the totality of our experiences. If a person is born in a house and never leaves that house and does only what can be done in that house they will have a severely limited ability to think, relate to others, understand others, and communicate clearly to others.
So, bottom line, choose to leave the house, get out of the rut, do something new, learn something new, get a new hobby, take a risk. I can do this, You can as well.
May 15th is the deadline for applying for tags for elk and deer for the draw for most of the units. It is basically a raffle for tags. Some units that aren’t very popular the chances are good to get a tag, and other units that are very popular you probably won’t . It takes quite a bit of thinking and planning in figuring out where to put in for. Another couple of wrinkles is that there are preference points that are earned from failing to draw a tag in previous years. A preference point increases the odds of drawing considerably. Also we usually put in as a party or group so if one gets drawn the group automatically gets drawn guaranteeing that you get to hunt together or stay home together if you fail to draw. For us there are those units that don’t require a draw so if we fail to get tags for our first choice we go to one of the fallback units so we will always go hunting. I haven’t missed a year of hunting since I was 12 years old, and I usually go on multiple hunting trips each year. There is elk ,deer, bear, turkey, geese, ducks, moose in Alaska, caribou in Alaska, mountain lion and antelope in Wyoming, and tomorrow I am going sage rat hunting!!
I have noticed over the years that guys who are full bore hunters are different then those who are not. One of the very noticeable differences to me is that those who hunt religiously can tell stories much, much better than those who don’t. Non hunters can’t seem to acquire the balance between just giving a few quick facts, and going on and on and on till everyone has fallen asleep from boredom. And I think that the story telling skill spreads so that hunters as a whole are better conversationists, and can talk to people they hardly know. Hunters also deal with disappointment better because most years they don’t kill anything, but keep going back year after year.
A B-HAG is a big, hairy, audacious goal. I try and have one each year. The purpose is to stretch yourself, to make life more of an adventure, to create more passion and fire in your heart, and to just enjoy life more. My B-HAG this year is to peddle my bicycle 2,000 miles around the State of Oregon. Next summer, 2018, John Smith and I, are going to peddle from Newport, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia, approximately 4,000 miles. The following summer is when I am going to make a 8,500 mile trip all by myself with everything on my bicycle, no support vehicle and no riding partner. On that trip I will start at my house and end up in Portland, Maine having ridden in everyone of the lower 48 States. That trip will take 4 months, and I am planning on writing a book on the trip. And then in the year 2000 I am going to sail a sailboat to Hawaii. I am going to build the sailboat myself , and I plan on starting it in the next couple of months. I have already bought the plans for it. I have never been on a sailboat before, but part of my plan is to take lessons on sailing in Portland this summer and then to rent a boat in Seattle and sail it up in the San Juans for a couple of weeks. It sounds a little crazy, but that is what makes it fun. I haven’t figured out yet what the following summer adventures will be, but I always want to do something I haven done before, learn something I have never learned before, and go someplace I have never been before.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone asking if I had any work that needed done. I responded that I had some firewood that needed split and stacked, and that I would pay him $10 an hour. When he got to our house I gave him a little pile of wood to split. I didn’t want to commit to hiring him for a lot of hours if he was going to turn out to be lazy. He got that first little job done fast, and the stack of wood was stacked nice and straight with no possibility of falling over. I told him that he could come and split the rest of the wood and stack it. Several other people from JBC have hired him since then for yard work as well from my recommendation of his work ethic and trustworthiness. When I began asking him questions about himself, I found out he was homeless, sleeping in his little pick up at rest stops. He would get enough work to buy some gas, a few groceries, and a few things for his pickup and bicycle.
I work very hard at noticing details in the circumstances of my life that would be a clue to God’s leading in my life, especially out of the ordinary opportunities to serve, teach, help, or give. I have a 10×12 foot room in my shop that I call my “Man Room” . I insulated it, put an electric cadet heater in the wall, put some shelves in it, put all my fishing stuff on the shelves, and put my weight set in there as well. I asked my new friend if he would want to live in my man room until he found something better and he accepted. I set up my camp stove and the portapottie and he is camping in there now. I don’t know how long this arrangement will last, but I am paying extra special attention to the details of events happening as well as praying and asking God to lead and guide. There are many Bible verses about giving and helping people so I feel good about doing that, and we have had some great conversations about the Lord.
I am praying diligently for him that God might open up some opportunities for him and that he will have wisdom to see and follow the Lords guidance and that he might be able to do some meaningful things with his life in the days ahead.
Failure is not accomplishing what you wanted, not achieving a goal that you set. Every person defines failure for themselves. Many would label others as a failure, but it really only matters when we call ourselves a failure. Failure is not a permanent state, just a temporary setback. A key motto that I have in regards to failure is this” all growth takes place at the point of change, change is resisted until we fail and then we are open to change and then we grow, so failure is the key to growth”! Many don’t seek to change when they fail, they just sit and wallow in their sense of being a loser . You don’t want to do that. Set lofty, stretching goals. Write them down. Read them everyday. Press on to accomplish them, work really hard to make them reality. If you come up,short figure out what you could change and then give it another go.
My motivation, the inner drive and desire to do something Super with my life, ebbs and flows like the ocean tides. At times it seems like a fire in me that is a raging inferno and then it turns into a little pilot light. It seems often that this inner engine has it’s own mind and will deciding on its own when to move me to significant action or giving me permission to just go to bed. It is a mystery to me as hard as I have tried to figure it out why this inner motivation is so fickle. I have recognized the cycles that it tends towards, and have adjusted my life accordingly. When my fire is hot I shift my life into high gear working as hard as I can attempting to do more and more, and then when it cools off I play, rest, and self-evaluate my life. Then before long another wave of energy begins to swell up in me and I hop on like a surfer on a wave. It has been a good weekend with lots of teaching and preaching but now as I sit in my recliner writing this I am thinking that tomorrow is going to be a slow day. It is supposed to rain a bunch, sounds good to me.
I have a number of really good friends. I enjoy being with them whether we are having coffee and talking, fishing, hunting, building, or in church together. Good friends give encouragement and they seem to know when to do that. They also give you a hard time and they seem to know when to do that as well. Good friends help you when you need help whether it is a word or some work, and they usually volunteer to help before you ask. Some friends sort of just drift out of your life, but the really good ones stick close no matter what. Good friends forgive you when you do something stupid or unthoughtful, they get hurt, upset, and sometimes angry, but they don’t hold a grudge. Good friends are open and transparent, and there aren’t to many secrets between you. It is because your friendship isn’t based on performance, but on, well, because you are friends.
One of my really, really good friends died today. It was very sudden and very unexpected. He was a strong disciple of Jesus so he is in heaven having a great time now so I can’t be sad for him. I am very sad for me, because he was such a close friend and I will miss him very much. I am sad for his family who will miss him even more than I will. Death is a tough part of life, but it is a definite part of life for sure and as I get older it will be more and more of a regular event. Most of my friends and family are believers in Jesus, have been adopted into the family of God and have been given the gift of eternal life in heaven. I can’t imagine not having that faith and confidence that I have as an anchor of my soul. Sad would be really sad then, painfully sad, with despair and fear thrown in. I have quite a few friends and family with the Lord now, and some day we will be together again and that will be one great reunion.
I teach leadership classes almost every week and almost year round. It is my favorite topic to teach about. I have taught these classes for so long there are phrases that I use in the class repeatedly that have become known by most in our church, and have been given the title “deeisms”. One of them is “everything rises and falls on leadership”, meaning the success of any organization is dependent on the quality of leadership it has. Which is why I teach leadership classes so much, the more trained, qualified leaders our church has the healthier we will be. Another “deeism” is you can’t lead others until you can lead yourself. Self leadership is basically self-control. Most think self-control is simply gritting your teeth and clenching your fists and just doing it. Self-control is much more a learned skill than it is effort, it is learning how to effectively lead yourself to do the things you want to do and become the person you want to become. When you have honed the skill of leading yourself you will do a good job of leading others.
A major part of the skill of self leadership is self discovery. Who are you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is your temperament and your spiritual gifts? What are the signs that your emotional gas tank is getting to empty? How do you fill your emotional gas tank? Good leaders of others and themselves have spent a lot of time reflecting about life, principles, themselves, and God.
Probably the most ignored principle or the one most are ignorant of in self-leadership is “self-control or self-leadership is impossible by yourself”. So the term self-control and self-leadership are misleading terms, because “self” can’t do anything successfully or well. Self-leadership is a team sport, that is you need help to lead you. God created us interdependent. That is the way we are by design, which simply means we can’t succeed without help. Proud, independent people will not accomplish anything of significance and will not grow. The most successful people, the best leaders, and those with great self-control are those who have learned well the line, “could you help me, please.”
I am teaching a class on Sunday mornings at 8 am on the book of Revelation. I have been reading the book of Revelation over and over again trying to get every little bit of truth there is to get in that book about the end times. As you read through the book that describes mostly a period of 7 years you discover that there are a number of really bad dudes that are attempting to control the world . The word that pops up over and over that describes the method used to gain control is the word deceive. These evil men are able to deceive people by their skillful and charismatic speech, they are incredibly persuasive. They have leadership and organizational skills to bring about a one world government, one dominant religion, and a singular economic system, all by the power of deception. The Bible says the devil masquerades as an angel of light, and in the book of Revelation he masquerades as God.
I can think of so many times that I have been fooled by people, deceived into believing something to be true that was false. Afterwards I was embarrassed and disgusted with myself for being such a fool. A number of years ago we had a man put a pledge in the offering plate for one million dollars, and as absurd as that was, he convinced me that it was ligament, or could be if we took certain steps. It was sort of fun to believe it was true for awhile, wow what we could do with that amount of money. Another time we actually wrote a check for $100,000 to a ponzi scheme , with the promise that we would double our money. We actually did get it doubled, but had to give it back after the scheme was uncovered. Whoooeee that was a disappointment.
Knowing what is really the truth is going to get harder and harder in the coming days. People all around us will be declaring what is truth, and it will turn out to be false. The book in the Bible called Hebrews says that those who are accustomed to the word of righteousness, the word of God, the Bible will know the truth. They will have a supernatural discernment because they faithfully read, study, and memorize the Bible. I don’t like being deceived, and I want to be able to help others know what is true so I intend to be devoted to the Word of God.