Pastor Mike and his family are going to be gone this weekend for a Christmas get away as a family, so I get to preach at JBC this weekend. I am memorizing the book of Hebrews in preparation for my Sunday morning, 8:00 am class for this next Fall when I am going to teach through the book of Hebrews. There are 13 chapters and I am about done with chapter 9 so I am getting close to getting it done . Hebrews is one of the most difficult books in the Bible to understand, and because I am memorizing it I think about it off and on all through the day. Because of that constant thinking, pondering, and meditating on the book I have made a couple of shifts in my theology over the last couple of months. It is impossible to spend as much time as I have in a book, and not have that book greatly influence your thinking and your belief system. So this weekend I am going to preach on “The most important test we will ever take” and why it is really important to pass it. The first time I took my driving test to get my license I flunked, it was so embarrassing to tell my friends at school. The first two times I took my test for my motorcycle endorsement, I flunked. Several pastor friends who rode motorcycles came to encourage me the first time I took the test, and they watched as I knocked down cone after cone as I attempted the obstacle course with my motorcycle. Now that was embarrassing!! The test that I am talking about this weekend is given by God, and if we flunk it the consequences will be forever.
This morning I got up at 5 am, showered, shaved, got dressed and headed down the road to Shari’s Restaurant in South Salem for an accountability meeting that I am part of every Thursday morning. About half way there I remembered that I hadn’t taken my Parkinson’s medicine before left. I take it every 8 hours, and if I miss by more than a couple of hours I start getting some uncomfortable and irritating muscle issues take place. When I remembered I said, “Darn Pills” out loud as I was driving. I take them every day, every 8 hours and I still forgot. I have a little pill box that has three compartments for each day all clearly marked. If I would put my pills for a week in that at least I could see if I had forgotten, but I forget to put them into the box.
It is my goal to read my Bible everyday, spend time in prayer by myself everyday, to pray for my kids and grandkids everyday, to write this blog everyday, to ride my stationary bicycle for an hour everyday, to confess to God all known sin everyday, to read my goals everyday, to work on scripture memory everyday, to read in a good book everyday, pray with Patty everyday, and a couple of other duties that I can’t remember right now.
There is no chance that I will be even a little bit successful with this list if I don’t develop a system to help me remember. I am working on it, and getting more successful all the time, though slowly, at getting everything on my todo list done everyday.
I went to the funeral of an old college friend today. Whenever that kind of thing happens for sure a lot of reminiscing follows. Greg died from brain cancer that he had been battling for awhile, and leaves behind a nice family who are all believers. The last time I actually saw Greg was way back in 1970, but in 1990 he sent me an email and we corresponded regularly since then. A lot of what we wrote about when we emailed back and forth was about the things we did in college, and what we were doing now. Today as I sat in the funeral thinking about our days together when we were both just out of high school, it seemed so close, like it was just a week ago, and I had this thought that life is like a blink of an eye. We often get so worked up over things we won’t remember next year, and if we could remember them close to the end of our life they would seem so trivial.
Most of the kids and grandkids were here today, and the ones who weren’t will be in a couple of days, so there was about 30 in the house today eating, playing and talking. It was a nice day, very nice. The grandkids ran around outside having fights with their light sabers having a good time, the ladies played dominos and talked and fixed food, the guys told hunting stories and ate, and later in the evening started in on theology. It was a nice day, very nice, it couldn’t get much better. Today was about as nice a gift as an old dad and grandpa can get, a spiritually healthy, relationally healthy, character strong and mature family. Sitting in the middle of all the noise listening and contributing some and thinking, how did this happen? To many years have gone by to remember even a small part of our history and experience to answer that question with any degree of accuracy or completeness. But I do know that the level of love and unity that we have as a large family is very rare today, and however it came about is a great gift from God.
I don’t like people telling me what to do. I try not to get irritated when they do, because it happens more and more as I get older, in fact even my kids boss me around now. We all have this reaction and resistance to being told what to do, and most of us have developed a patience or a self-control level so that we don’t make a big scene when we are treated like someone’s servant.
The one person that I want to boss me is Jesus. I want Him to lead me and to be my Lord in every area of my life. When I say, “I want” that is an intellectual wanting, in my heart I still tend to resist His Lordship in my life, there is this pride in me that thinks I can run my own life. That independent spirit in me is really quite foolish when I think about the fact that Jesus is God, all wise, my creator, who knows everything about me, and loves me so much that He gave His life for me and paid for my sin. I want to be submissive to His Lordship and leading in my life so to make it more of a reality in my heart and soul I declare Him my Lord every morning, and ask for His help in being humble in my walk with Him.
It would seem like by this time I would have conquered this resistance to being led by the Son of God. I am hoping that I get it down soon.
Went to Saturday night service at JBC tonight, and had a wonderful time. As I sit at home in my recliner tonight thinking about it I am reminded of one of the most ignored, misunderstood, maligned, and little know truths in the Bible, and it is also one of the most important for us to know and live if we want God’s blessing in our life, and to be used by Him to do something with our life that really matters and makes a huge difference. That truth is, “The Church is the eternal Bride of Christ, whom He loves, gave His life for, and He is now in the process of making her beautiful”.
Ephesians 5:25-27. . . .Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
The Church is also called “The Body of Christ”, which means the “Body that is Christ”. Jesus is in the Church doing His work through us, we are literally His hands, and feet, and voice in the world today.
Ephesians 1:22-23. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
We are people and we mess up a lot, but Jesus is patient and gracious, and He will never give up making us more and more like Him, and giving us opportunity after opportunity to do something super with our life for Him.
Today people tend to see the church as a collection of people, all who struggle in life with various weaknesses and problems, rather than seeing the church as “The Bride of Christ” that He loves, and the “Body of Christ” that is His earthly expression of His presence. As a result our love for our own church is low, our commitment to it is even lower, and our service and giving to it is almost non-existent.
Years ago when I first started pastoring at JBC I heard an old pastor say, “nothing in all of life determines more how much you will be blessed by God than how you treat His Bride”.
If you treat Patty, my wife bad, I won’t like you much, and I certainly am not going to go out of my way to be nice to you.
My favorite part and most anticipated part of Christmas for me now is seeing all our kids and Grandkids. They will all be home this year and I am so looking forward to it. It is kind of funny how things change over time in relationships. When our kids were all home I was very pro-active as a parent teaching, correcting, scolding, motivating, and then when they left to go to college and get married that role diminished more and more over the years, and now I find myself being mostly just a passive observer. I enjoy them all immensely, and am very, very proud of each one of them and who they have become in character and accomplishment, and I look forward to any and all activities that we can do together like hunting or fishing, but my influence and leadership in all of their lives now is mostly what I have through God as I faithfully pray for each of them every day. My faith in the power that I have in my prayers for my family has grown stronger over the years, little bit by little bit, until now I believe that my influence in their lives is greater than it has ever been. When they are all home I will obviously see things as they interact that I will think needs some growth or change, and it will become a major point in my daily praying for them.
Christmas is historically about Jesus, God’s Son leaving heaven, emptying Himself of all that He was as God, and becoming human, flesh, just like me, born into this world after spending 9 months in Mary’s womb, and then living life experiencing everything I experience, tempted in every way that I am tempted, without sinning, and then dying for my sins so that I could be forgiven, adopted into God’s Family, and live with Him forever.
Christmas focuses on the beginning, the birth of Jesus. But the birth of Jesus is so much more than a baby being born, it is about Almighty, Infinite, All wise, Omnipresent, Eternal God becoming flesh, human, just like me. The distance that He traveled is incomprehensible, but it is not about miles, it is about who He was and who we are, and that He left one behind to become the other so that we could be like Him and live with Him forever.
Christmas is all about celebrating what He has done and what that means for us, it is about honoring Him for His amazing gift to us, it is about simply remembering what He has done, and not taking it for granted or ignoring it.
Every morning I tell Jesus that I love Him, that I will follow and obey Him, that He is Lord of my life, and that I look forward very much to the day I see Him.
It is almost January 1st and all serious people who want to accomplish a lot with their life ought to have their goals written or started or at the very least be thinking about. Here are a copy of my goals, and I would love it if you sent me a copy of your goals.
Dee’s Goals for 2018
1. I will continue to teach my class on Sunday mornings at 8:00 am and starting on September 30th I will teach on the book of Hebrews until April 28th, 2019.
2. I will start up my aquaponics system using catfish.
3. I will finish building the attic in my shop.
4. I will teach for the second year a “Woman’s Discipleship Class”. I will teach it on Wednesday nights from 7 to 8 pm, and will begin October 3rd and end April 24th, 2019. I will limit the class to 20 ladies.
5. I will go golfing 10 times and work hard at improving my game by being a good student of Kent as he coaches me.
6. I will develop an effective follow-up/assimilation program for JBC and I will aim to have 25% of all first time visitors as regulars.
7. I will train a number of people to help me with the “Follow-up/Assimilation” program that I develop.
8. I will lead and develop the “Home Group” ministry at
JBC. I will aim to have six new groups this year.
9. I will find and train someone to help with and then lead the “Home Group” ministry.
10. I will ride my stationary bicycle for one hour every night that I am home.
11. I will lift weights for 3 hours each week using the “Strong Lift 5X5” plan.
12. I will organize everything (tools, fishing stuff, hunting and camping stuff, car parts, bicycle stuff, building material etc.) and inventory it on my “Inventory App”.
13. I will pray with Patty every day that I am home.
14. I will take Patty on a date at least twice each
month that is enjoyable for her.
15. I will pray the JBC prayer letter each week.
16. I will ride a circular route on my bicycle, starting in the church parking lot, going to the Grand Canyon, then to Yellowstone, and then home. It will be 3,300 miles and I will ride it from May 1st to June 30th.
17. I will faithfully pray for each person that I
send an email, a text, or a written note to, when I send it.
18. I will pray for visitors to JBC twice each week
for three months, and I will correspond with them
personally at least twice during that time letting them
know that I am praying for them and requesting
needs to pray for.
19. I will pray through my prayer directory of every
person in the church every week, and keep my iPad
prayer journal current with names, pictures, and
20. I will attend an average of three corporate
prayer events at JBC each week.
21. I will pray for each of my kids, son in laws,
daughter-in-law, and grandkids every day.
22. I will pray for a list of lost people in my life every
23. I will maintain a personal prayer journal in my
IPad that I will write in at least 3 times each week.
24. I will spend at least 7 hours each week in
personal, private prayer.
25. I will pray an additional hour in my office on my kneeling bench primarily for my preaching and teaching, pastor Mike’s preaching, and our church goals.
26. I will phone my mother at least once a week, and drive up and visit 6 times during the year.
27. I will write a blog of 300 words each day, and will pray daily that at least 5,000 sign up to receive it and read it.
28. I will recruit 2 guys to lead 2 of the 6 “Men’s Accountability” groups that I presently lead.
29. I will start 3 more “Men’s Accountability” groups.
30. I will build a lean-to on the front of my shop that
will be used to park cars.
31. I will read at least 100 pages in good books
32. I will listen to at least 2 sermons on line each
33. I will faithfully memorize Bible verses for 30 minutes each day using the “Scripture Typer” program on my IPad. I will have 750 verses mastered by the end of the year and be ranked no lower than 160.
34. I will roof and enclose the back lean-to on the
35. I will rebuild the 1986 Ford 300 engine and pickup.
36. I will exert great discipline and effort to keep my
weight under 200 pounds.
37. I will read 14 chapters each day in my Bible.
38. I will attempt to establish a coaching/mentoring relationship with at least 2 different pastors “on-line”, and with one at JBC.
39. I will start another “Pastor Accountability” group from the Pastor’s Seminar in January.
40. I will learn how to do taxidermy and do a full
body mount on the cougar that I killed.
41. I will do a 3/4 “through the wall” mount of my
42. I will go salmon and halibut fishing in Soldotna, Alaska in July, attempting to bring a grandson, or son, or son-in-law.
43. I will go skydiving and bungie jumping in August.
44. I will faithfully, systematically, and accurately
keep track of my use of time every day.
45. I will make a weekly and a daily “to do” list and
read it several times each day.
46. I will pray for at least 40 hours in each of the
four “Five Day Prayer” events held at JBC.
47. I will attend at least two seminars that will
enhance my ministry attempting to take a least one staff person with me.
48. I will write 50 hand written notes each week to
birthday and anniversary people, new people, and
people I have prayed for.
49. I will attend the COV prayer summit at Cannon
Beach in February and the NWCBA prayer summit
at Tadmore in October.
50. I will plan, organize, promote and lead 12 pastor
51. I will prepare well and teach 4 different
leadership classes from October to the end of April.
52. I will remind, promote, and pray for our JBC goal
of 2026 in average weekend worship service
attendance by the end of the year 2026, and for 900 for 2018.
53. I will use Facebook as a tool to connect with
people and work hard to pray for any needs that I
read and write that prayer in Facebook. I will keep track of time spent and limit it to a maximum of 3 hours per week.
54. I will faithfully begin every day with a prayer of
commitment declaring Jesus as Lord of my life, and
asking for His guidance, strength, and wisdom for the day.
55. I will apply for a rifle elk hunt in Wyoming with Sam and Seth.
56. I will paint our house, repair gutters, and put on gutter guards.
57. I will work with others to get all the engineering done for a new parking lot on the new property north of the church, and begin on that project.
58. I will go tuna fishing.
59. I will sell my 1949 Ford Pickup for one million dollars, maybe less.
60. I will rebuild my 135 h.p. Johnson outboard motor.
61. I will write a 1,000 word blog each week just for pastors, and attempt to get 1,000 on the list of who receive it.
62. I will faithfully attend the prayer meeting at Corban University on Thursday mornings.
63. I will plan a week long fishing trip to the Brownlee Reservoir for family in the summer.
64. I will purchase and install a Rohloff 14 speed hub on my bicycle before May 1st.
65. I will build a 23 foot pacific dory and tow it to Alaska to fish for Halibut in July.
66. I will complete the on-line course on church marketing.
67. I will make meeting with, training, and encouraging the staff at JBC a major emphasis of my ministry.
68. I will start the project of building the XR3 Hybrid
three wheeled car, and learn how to weld in the process.
69. I will be in bed by 11:00 pm at least 5 nights a week.
70. I will read these goals at least twice each week and keep a good record of progress.