Monthly Archives: July 2017

Money

There are so many things that I can do with money,  like, really cool things, like paying for a guided fishing trip. It doesn’t get much cooler than that, or super boring things like pay the mortgage. We also use it to serve the Lord as we give it to our church or a missionary.  Usually we plan ahead how most of our money is spent, but sometimes there is something unexpected that happens, and the only thing that will fix it is some money.  I got a letter today that said I owed $222 more on my income tax because of some wrong math. I went back and checked and sure enough I had made a really simple, but dumb mistake. Reminds me of Proverbs 4:5 that says, “Money makes itself wings and flies away”!

Money is a tool, and a gift from God and it can accomplish a lot for Him and in our life, but there are some significant things that money can not do that most people think it can do. At the top of the list is “Money can not give us happiness”.  The devil controls the world be getting people to believe “false news”, that he has fed into the world in such a way that most believe it to be true, they then make decisions and choices based on this false information, and those decisions and choices mess up their life.

God made life so that there are constant tests in life to measure our love for God, and also ways to grow in our love for God, and one of them is responding correctly to unexpected emergencies that suck our money into a black hole. So I want to get an “A” on every pop quiz and, I want to grow stronger in my love for my God every day. So today when I opened up the letter from the “tax people”, and saw the news I said out loud, “Lord, joy doesn’t come from money, neither does security, they come from You, only You, so I am trusting You to be my joy giver, my protector, and my provider”. I love you for giving me the amazing, incomprehensible gift of eternity with You, nothing else really matters at all.

How to Grow

How to grow tomatoes, how to grow fish, how to grow corn. People grow all kinds of things, and some do it well and others don’t. On the dairy when I was growing up, one of the very important things we did was raise our baby calves up to be money making milking cows. One of the principles was, every heifer calf born was born with an inherited potential for milk production, but if she was stunted even a little bit in her growth she would also be stunted in her milk production, so we took the raising and growing our calves very seriously. 

How do we grow ourselves? Not on the outside, the physical part of who we are, but on the inside, the spiritual part of who we are. The part of us that goes to be with God when we die. That inner person is manifest in our character, that is our inner person maturity can be seen by how we act and behave most of the time. It obviously is impossible to grow mature in character without God, but we are involved in the process, and make choices that helps or hinders our growth to be like Jesus in our character. 

If I go to a farmer who is know by all tomato growers to be the best at his trade than any other, and ask him how I can grow tomatoes successfully, he can give me a plan, a strategy, a guide, and if if I follow it closely, I to can grow big tomatoes. The same would be true of dairy heifers, corn, fish, whatever. So I want to grow as rapidly as is possible in my character to be fully mature and Christ like on the inside. How do I do that? I would also as a Pastor like to be teaching, training, influencing, and leading others so that their  growth is facilitated to the max by me. How do I do that?

As I read the Bible I take note of every passage that would give information on this “farming skill”. As I read books I again try and pay attention, and learn everything I can on this skill of nurturing myself and others.  As I work with people and notice those who grow like weeds and others seem to be in a perpetual slump, I ask myself, what is the difference? Why? Over the years of being on this hunting expedition for principles, guidelines, and practices I have written a lot of strategies, plans, principles, and guide lines, and I am constantly refineing them as I observe results. Every day I ask God for the strength and the wisdom to stay balanced and dependent. 

Every year I start a leadership class for men that lasts 9 months, and I put into practice the accumulated wisdom and skills to grow a man into a disciple of Jesus. I also teach a second year class for the highly motivated. This year I am also going to teach a class for ladies for the first time. If you live close enough you are welcome to be part of one of the classes. I think they are going to be super, and lots of growth in lots of people is going to happen.  Working on myself diligently to grow as fast as I can in character, and then using those same principles to make disciples of others is the absolute love of my life. 

Patriotism

My Dad was a patriot. He lived during the Great Depression and fought in World War II. He had a very hard time during the Vietnam war reading in the News and watching the News about protestors. A local farmer hung the American flag upside down on a flagpole on his place in protest over the Vietnam war, and my Dad who rarely got into dicussions about politics was very upset. I was in High School at the time, but my Dad’s response stuck with me. One of the things he said to me as I asked him about the things that were happening during that time was, “you need to do the right thing , because it is the right thing”. People easily tend to be devoted and faithful to that which benefits them the most at any given time in their life, be faithful, responsible, and loyal on the basis of principle not convenience or personal gain.  My main convictions as a Patriot is to pray for my country everyday that God would bless her and that He would deliver us from evil and turn us back to Him. I pray for Government leaders, that God would turn their hearts toward Him and His Word, that He would fill them with a knowledge of Himself and His will, and that He would protect them from the evil one. I faithfully pray that everyday because God’s Word tells me to. Another conviction that I try hard to keep is not to speak critically or dishonor leaders of our country. That is not because I agree with everything, but because that is what God tells me to do in His Word. I truly believe that my greatest influence in my country is when I obey God and trust Him. Happy 4th of July!

I love Jesus

A lot of different words and phrases are used today to describe our belief in or lack of belief in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who “emptied Himself of all that He was as God and became flesh just like me, was tempted  in every way as the devil gave it his best shot to get Jesus to sin, because then Jesus couldn’t be my savior or yours. Then Jesus was nailed to a cross and God the Father reached into our lives, clear back to Adam and ahead to the last person to be born and took all our sins, and put them on Jesus, and looked at Jesus as if He actually committed all of those sins. Because God is holy He turned His back on His son and their unity and oneness was broken for the first time in all of eternity, and Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?!” As I consider what Jesus has done for me so that I can be with Him forever my most natural response is to love Him with all my heart, my soul, and to serve Him because of my love. My love for Jesus controls my life. I want to please Him with my every thought and each of my words, and the way  I live my life.  A question that I have asked hundreds of people over the last 40 years is” suppose you die tonight, and you are standing before God and He asks you, Why should I let you into my heaven, what will you say? The answer better be right because their are no Mulligans, no do overs, at this point. I have heard every answer under the sun, but their is one right answer that gets you into the presence of God and that is”I love You Jesus because You first loved me.”. 

Kids

Last night I went to the Grand Finale of this weeks Vacaation Bible School, fondly called VBS, at Jefferson Baptist Church. There was free hot dogs, watermellon, chips, cake, and lemonade for all, and then 300 plus kids got on the stage and sang and performed for almost an hour. It was amazing, inspirational, and very entertaining to watch. What was amazing was how the adult and High School leaders got those kids to sing together and be nearly perfect in their behavior for that long, all crowded together on the stage. The inspirational part was seeing all those kids who have the potential to grow up and be champions for Jesus. The lessons on life and God that they learned this week as they were shared were impressive. As I sat and watched I thought, wow, this VBS is way more than crafts, games, snacks  and fun, this is an amazing ministry that will make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of kids over the years.  As I watched I thought of some statements that Jesus made about kids;

Matthew 18:3-5. and Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;

Matthew 19:13-15. Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “ Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.