Monthly Archives: December 2020

88 goals for 2036

A goal that I write to accomplish in one week is small and very precise, like a “todo“ list item, “get a haircut.” A goal that I write to accomplish in 16 years is much longer, complicated, and more like a purpose statement.

Goal #1. I will make prayer the growing emphasis of my life and ministry as I progress towards the end of my life and ministry.

Theology, rationale and strategy for implementing.

Luke 2:36-37 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel. . . .then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

James 5:16-18 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

John 15:7-8 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Goal #2 – I will remind myself daily that no activity that I could be doing will have the impact on the health and growth of JBC as much as prayer will. As I get antsy about wanting to be more hands-on involved I will need to emphasize this to myself often in order to stay happy and fulfilled. To help grow my faith in the power of prayer I will memorize 100 verses on the power and promises of prayer at the rate of 10 new ones each year.

– prayer is very low on what is required in physical strength and energy, so this will be the perfect growing ministry for an aging pastor.

Goal #3 – I will gradually grow in the time that I spend in private prayer, and will aim to be spending at least three full hours in private, concerted prayer every day by my 80th birthday, and 5 hours a day by my 88th birthday.

Goal #4 – I will work at starting, organizing, and leading corporate prayer times, both regular, weekly prayer times and special prayer events. I will gradually grow in my corporate prayer involvement and will aim to be praying for 500 hours a year by my 80th birthday, and 888 hours by my 88th birthday.

-I will work at teaching, motivating, and recruiting more and more people from JBC to be involved in corporate prayer times.

Goal #5- There are many good books written on the theology of prayer and the practical implementation of prayer in a church, as well as many good sermons and pod casts on prayer. I will read three books each year and listen to ten sermons each year on prayer in order to keep my faith and passion hot, and to learn new methods and techniques to lead, motivate, and encourage prayer in our church. I will adjust this goal as appropriate in the days ahead.

Goal #6- The most important area of my prayer life is my prayer with Patty. This last year we prayed about two times each week. I will increase that to a “for sure” three times a week this next year for 15 minutes minimum each time and increase by one time each year and add 5 additional minutes of time per prayer time each year. By my 80th birthday we will be praying an hour each day, seven days each week.


I have made up my mind, I am going to write my long range goals to the year 2036, 16 years from now when I will be 88 years old. I think I will write 88 goals that I will aim to accomplish by the time I celebrate my 88th birthday. Many of the goals that I write will be much more of a purpose statement in that they will establish a priority and emphasis of my life more than a specific accomplishment. By reading my long range goals every week minimum I will stay focused on what my priorities are for my life.

I will get all 88 long range goals clearly written down by April 1st, 2021. That is 88 days into the new year, plus a couple of extra days to be sure I get it done. I will pray everyday during this time and ask God for wisdom so that I can think clearly on what my priorities should be for the rest of my life. I will also ask for wisdom so that I will be able to express in writing what the desires of my heart are. I will pray and ask God to guide me into His perfect plan for my life, and that I will be able to discern exactly what He has planned for me to do with my life for Him.

I know that a key way that God guides and directs my life is by putting His will in me, and that I can identify what that will is by the desires that I have, the dreams, and often obsessions that pop into my head and heart. The most important tool for me to use in discerning what is driving me is writing. The more time I spend writing down my thoughts, dreams, ideas, and desires the clearer His voice becomes in my heart. I imagine the writing that I do is like panning for gold. The gold panning process separates a lot of worthless dirt from the very valuable gold. Gold panning is very tedious and back breaking work, but the results when done right is a huge monetary reward.

When I get this all done I will have a manuscript of the priorities of the rest of my life. I will have a portrait of myself done with words, not paint. I will have the mental fuel that will motivate me to work hard and press on for the prize at the end of the race. This manuscript will keep me from slowing down and getting lazy and casual at the end of my life.

Key People in our Lives

When I was 13 years old I went to Summer Camp, and the counselor for my cabin of 8 boys was a young single guy who’s name was Mr Titus. The counselors had what they called “Camp names, ” so I don’t remember if that was his real name or his camp name. He must have been around 20 years old because I do remember him saying that he had just finished his second year of college. He brought with him to camp a box of brand new, leather-covered Bibles and said that he would give one to any boy who would commit to reading it every day for the next year and reading through the entire Bible in the year. I remember thinking that reading the Bible all the way through was going to be a formidable task but the offer of a nice Bible for free was more than I could resist, so I made the commitment and took on the task. I faithfully kept the commitment of reading every day and reading every page, chapter, and verse in the Bible. I was 13 years old then and 72 today, and I have read the Bible through at least once every year since. I am now a man of “The Book, ” the a Bible has shaped and influenced every area of my life. When I get to heaven I am going to find Mr. Titus, and tell him thank you!

When I was 12 years old and in the sixth grade my teacher’s name was Mrs. Williams. On the very first day of class she got a TV hooked up to an antennae in our class and we watched a lot of the 1960 Summer Olympics for the next two weeks of class. A highlight for me was watching Cassius Clay, who eventually changed his name to Mohammad Ali, easily win the gold medal in the light heavyweight class.

Mrs. Williams had a collection of paperback novels, about 30 books, written by Bernard Palmer for young boys, called the “Danny Orlis” books. In the series, Danny Orlis was a high school-aged boy who grew up in the “Lake of the Woods” in upper Minnesota, hunting, fishing, and having many adventures. He was a committed Christian and dealt with all the temptations, challenges, and experiences in his life using principles from the Bible. Mrs. Williams offered to give anyone who read one book in the series each week an “A” in Reading. I liked to read and jumped at a chance to get an easy “A” for doing something that I loved doing. The lessons in those books still pop into my thinking as I write sermons today, and they have influenced my decisions in life ever since. When I get to heaven I am going to find Mrs Williams and tell her thank you!

I am sure there are many other people who have had a major, positive influence in my life. When I get my new, glorified body in heaven, I will remember who they all are, and I will tell them all thank you for their part in making me the person I will be in character in heaven.

We all have had many people who have had a positive influence in our lives, if possible we need to tell them “thank you” now, and not just wait until we get to heaven.


It is so much fun visiting family that live far away that we only get to see occasionally. The week that we have been up here in Fairbanks has been so enjoyable. But tomorrow we head back home and I can already feel myself getting melancholy with the thoughts of leaving. At this stage in our life it seems like we are always leaving somebody, and then struggling with the sadness of separation. It seems like with so many kids it would become routine and a piece of cake, the whole coming and going thing, but not so far. I think it is an old age thing because it is getting more difficult, at least more emotional. I never let on how I am feeling and try just to be the tough grandpa.

In John 14 Jesus says He is leaving, but that He is coming back to receive us to Himself and then He will never leave us or us Him, ever again, eternity with Him. That is only possible because He came into the world as a baby, as an embryo in Mary’s womb, grew, lived a perfect life, then died in our place, paying the penalty of our sins. Eternal life is a free gift, but we must receive it personally because we realize that we can’t earn it on our own. So many people don’t understand this, they just ignore Jesus, the result being life will be bad, and eternity will be worse, that is sad.

20 Year Goals

In 2000 I wrote my normal one-year goals, and I also wrote what I called my 2020 vision, my goals for the next 20 years to the year 2020. One of the principles of goal setting is that we tend to overset our short range goals and under set our long rang goals, and I definitely did that for my 20-year goals. I accomplished significantly more than I had envisioned 20 years ago for my life, in just about every area.

So 2020 is about to come to an end, and the question is how long shall I make my next set of long-range goals for. I am 72 years old, I feel good, have a reasonable amount of energy, and I still have passion and fire for ministry. I know that could end quickly with cancer, heart problems, or other health issues that are common to guys my age. I have gone back and forth on this. On the low side I have thought I will eliminate all goals except for one-year goals, and just take life now one year at a time. But that seems so chicken and short sighted. On the high side I have thought I will just go for another 20 years with my goals. My goals energize me and help keep me young or younger anyway. But 92 years old sounds a bit on the high side for having much energy and passion for teaching or preaching. I would probably set my goals for the last 5 years to major on ministry to seniors. I would probably have to learn how to do hospital calling and funerals better than I do now!

I have said before that I would make 85 years of age my target for doing ministry.

Joshua 14:10-12
Caleb said, “I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Giants were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.”

That is 13 more years; I think I can do that. As Caleb said, “perhaps the Lord will be with me.” Or I could go for 16 more years and make it an even 60 years of Pastoring at JBC. That would make me 88 years old, that sounds cool.

Have you ever sat down and written what you want to do in the next 13 or 16 years? It was easier at 52 years of age to write 20 year goals than it is now to do 13 year goals, for sure. I want to write physical goals like bicycle trips. I have three really big ones planned and shorter one’s in between. I need to write financial goals. I opted out of Social Security when I started out in ministry and don’t have a retirement program so that goal or goals will be fairly important. I have lots of ministry goals in mind here at JBC that will gradually change as I become more and more of a backup player. But on the other hand I want to be faithful and responsible so as to justify getting a paycheck. I am thinking of husband goals, father goals, and grandpa goals. I also am thinking seriously about goals for my house and property. And of course I am thinking about fishing and hunting goals.

Writing goals is an intense exercise of trying to discern what God’s will is for your life. He has a plan for my life, He has goals already set for me, and I need to figure out what they are. My personal commitment to follow Him, to seek Him, and to serve Him with all of my heart is the key.

13 more years? 16 more years? I don’t know! I think I will decide tomorrow.

Grandkids in Alaska on Christmas

I had a memorable time this morning being part of our family in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Christmas morning. I got to read the Christmas story and then we had a prayer time and everyone took turns praying thanking God for the gift of Jesus and our salvation. We then had a great breakfast together of eggs, sausage, and toast. It brought back so many memories of our family opening gifts years ago as I watched my grandkids open theirs this morning. They purchased gifts for each other, and as each gift was opened, there were hugs and thank yous of appreciation. But the best fun was when the three boys had a nerf gun war with the nerf guns they each got as gifts. The action was in the downstairs room that Patty and I are using as a bedroom. Our bed served as a great place to hide behind and I and the chair I was sitting in also provided great cover. I was sitting in the chair in the corner reading and writing this as they ran around shooting each other. If they got shot, they had to be out of the war until they counted to 20. Occasionally I got hit with a wild nerf bullet, and I would then dutifully count to 20. 2020 has been a year full of frustrations, pressures, and disappointments, but it is ending super!

Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of old men,

Patty and I have 27 grandkids, and they all are exceptional, with great character. I hope I live long enough to see each one of them as adults and witness first hand what great things they are going to accomplish with their lives.

Ice Fishing in Alaska with Grandsons

I got up, dressed warm, and went ice fishing with my son-in-law Philip, and his 3 boys this morning, and we had a great time. We drove about 30 minutes to a lake, drove out on the ice, and augered four holes in the ice. It looked like the ice was 3 to 4 feet deep from how far the auger went down. We set up an insulated tent over the holes, put some chairs in it, and started up the propane heater. We caught 30 trout in about 3 hours of fishing. When we caught them we would throw them outside the tent and they froze solid in a few minutes. We drove back home, put the fish in the sink, let them thaw out, filleted them, and had an awesome fish dinner.

When Patty and I were raising our eight kids we had 10 character goals that we trained them for. One of them was that they would be tough-minded, that they would have lots of grit. I was very impressed with my 3 grandsons this morning. It was about zero degrees on the lake and it took awhile getting the holes drilled, the tent set up, and lines in the water. The tent was small and all five of us were crammed into it. Wyatt accidentally stepped into one of the holes and ice-cold water filled his boot. Through the entire morning of fishing not one complaint was spoken. We ate snacks, caught fish, trash-talked, and had a wonderful time. I thought to myself, I have some tough grandkids, good boys.

Just Follow the Science

That phrase has become one of the main mottos of the pro-mask crowd. It basically implies that if you don’t wear a mask you are stupid. It reminds me of the pro-evolution crowd who would say the same thing. ”oh, you believe in creation, you are one of those anti-science people.” Excuse me, have you actually read major scientific studies, let’s say two books on each view and arrived at a conclusion based on serious personal study or are you just parroting statements you have heard from other incredibly biased, prejudiced people. Some of the most intelligent scientists I know believe in creationism and have very intelligent, well thought out disertations on why they believe the way they do.

It reminds me of Proverbs 18:17
The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him.

I regularly have people give me links to the WHO and CDC as ”science” when I say something against masks, but when I give them my links or book titles that prove masks are worthless, they are immediately discounted as quacks or having been dismissed by real scientists.

Science is based on observable facts. An observable fact is, more are wearing masks now than ever before, and the virus is spreading faster than ever before, ”Yeh, but, ” and then all the supposed scientific excuses come.

In March Dr Fauci, the Who, CDC, and many medical journals were saying, ”We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection… In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

Than in June everyone did an 180-degree reversal. The excuse given by public health authorities was that they had initially offered anti-mask advice only to prevent a run on masks that healthcare workers needed. In newspapers and on cable networks, pro-mask messages became the norm. “Overnight, masks have become a symbol of social responsibility.” In August the Washington Post said that mask rule breakers were narcissists and dangerous.

The Washington Post also wrote, ”A new study (yeh, right) has shown that people who don’t wear masks are no longer just dumb or self-centered, they are sociopaths: people who are unconcerned with adhering to measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 tend to display higher levels of traits associated with antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy.”

There is plenty of scientific proof that masks don’t work, and very little proof that they do, but the media and government have decided to make mask wearing the solution to the problem. Why?

To be continued:

God Intended Fathers to Make a Difference

Recently I read this story recounted by Gordon Dalby. He told of a nun who worked in a men’s prison. One year she brought some Mother’s Day cards to distribute to any prisoners who were interested in sending cards to their moms. Word spread, and requests for cards began pouring in. The demand was so great that she reached out to Hallmark to see if they’d be willing to donate extra boxes of cards. That first year the warden drew numbers from a lottery to determine which inmates would receive the limited number of Mother’s Day cards. With Father’s Day quickly approaching, the nun got to work securing sufficient boxes of Father’s Day cards, and the warden announced a free giveaway to all who were interested in sending a Father’s Day card. Not a single prisoner asked for one. What are we to make of this story? What has happened to the God-intended bond between fathers and their children?

As a 72 year old man I can look back on my life and see so many good things, so many blessings from God that have made a huge difference in my life. Of all the positive forces in my life I think the most powerful was my Dad. It is interesting as I think about that statement because my Dad had a long list of negative qualities that should have resulted in just the opposite result. Dad wasn’t a spiritual influence in my life at all. He never read the Bible, I am not sure he owned one, went to church sporatically at best, and I never once heard him pray. Dad became a believer just weeks before the end of his life and I had the joy of baptizing him. All of my spiritual influence came from my Mom, because of her I never missed church, Sunday School, Bible camp, vacation Bible school, or Youth group. Dad was a very hard worker and the work ethic that I have had all of my life is probably my Dad’s greatest gift to me. He also was always very nice to people and treated everyone with great respect, and any chance he got, to help someone out, he took. The key gift he gave to me was his time. It wasn’t what you would call typical father/son activities, it was mostly just working together on the farm. He didn’t talk much but he would say little things all during the day that were like darts, they would stick in me and I have never forgotten most of them. I don’t know of anybody who tells more stories about their Dad than I do. It is my way of honoring him. I have told some of them so many times and every time I tell the story, it grows just a little bit, until they are almost ”tall tales.” I know that, and most who have heard them know that, but I don’t care, in my mind he is a super hero.

Christmas in Alaska

Patty and I leave for Fairbanks, Alaska today to spend Christmas with our daughter Shelly and her family. We have gone up and visited them fairly often in years past but never in the winter, so this will be a new experience. It most likely will be below zero in temperature and 24 hours of dark. We have six grandkids up there so we are expecting this to be a very enjoyable visit. Also, if it works out, my son-in-law, Philip, is taking me ice fishing. For all the fishing that I have done, I have never been ice fishing, so I am looking forward to this new experience.

Alaska requires a COVID test within 72 hours from boarding the airplane but don’t accept the ones you can get results on in an hour so we are waiting today for our results to come in. If they don’t arrive we will have to quarantine when we get there until the results are emailed to us. The literature that we read while waiting in the waiting room to get our test said that there were about 30% false-positive readings. If either of out tests end up being positive, we will have to take another one at the airport for $250 and quarantine the 3 to 5 days it takes to get the results. I was getting a bit cranky reading all this, and then I read some of the ”most often asked questions, ” and one of them was ”Where can we legally quarantine?” and one of the spots was a residence. No problem then, I can quarantine at Shelly and Philip’s house and out on the ice with a fishing rod in my hands.