Monthly Archives: August 2021

I Am

I am in the Steens Mts archery hunting for deer and elk. So one of my many titles in life is “hunter,” I am a hunter. I don’t usually kill anything when I go hunting, but I am still a hunter. I own several guns, a number of bows, camping gear, and I buy a hunting license every year. I am a hunter! I also am a fisherman, and I actually catch fish! I am a husband. I am a father. I am a grandfather. I am a pastor, and I am many other positive, and good things.

Paul who wrote most of the New Testament said, “I am an Apostle of Jesus Christ.” He also said, “I am a bond-servant of Jesus Christ.” The requirements to be a hunter are pretty simple and few. It entails mostly spending money on stuff hunters own and then going hunting, simple, you are in the club.

Being a bond-servant of Jesus is much more demanding. Very few Christians are servants of Jesus, most Christians don’t even care if they are or aren’t. But even if they did aspire to being a servant of Jesus they probably wouldn’t meet the requirments. Jesus is the one who set the requirements, and He is the one who decides if you are worthy of being called His servant.

Our salvation is free, not earned; no one is worthy of going to heaven apart from Christ’s worthiness. But just because we are not worthy of heaven doesn’t mean we are not worthy of other things. We can’t be good enough to earn heaven, but that doesn’t make us worthless or good for nothing. If you are going to be a servant of Jesus you must first be worthy of the title.

Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Philippians 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

2 Thessalonians 1:5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.

What are the qualifications for being considered a worthy disciple of Jesus? Good question! Tomorrow.


One of the indicators that we are getting close to the end of the story, God’s story, is that there will be an increase in Natural disasters. When Jesus used the word earthquakes describing the end times it is very probable that He was talking about all natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes.

I was reading a news commentator’s blog and he said that this year will probably go down as the worst year in human history. I don’t know if that was based on some factual information or his emotional response to current events. He went on to say that he doubted if we would ever see another year like this one ever again. I thought to myself, “you are in for a rude awakening, ” because it is going to continue to get worse at an accelerated pace.

As things do get worse I remind myself that God gives His strength to those who are living for Him, to those who are serving Him. The worse it gets the more strength He gives. Also the worse things get the more people will turn to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They will turn to Jesus not only because of the hard times but because of the joy, peace, and strength that those who are fully devoted followers of Jesus have.

Most Christians are lukewarm, they are not fully devoted followers of Jesus. They are so entangled in the affairs of everyday life that they have no time to serve Jesus or energy. I was talking to a pastor of a church and he said that the worse things get the harder it is to get people to volunteer and serve in the church. Nothing amplifies lukewarmness like personal crisis, people become all about taking care of themselves.

A major principle to remember is when we serve the Lord by serving and helping others, and by being a functioning part of His church He serves us, but when we make taking care of ourselves our main focus He lets us do it. It isn’t hard for me to figure out who will do the better job of taking care of my family and me.


One of my biggest challenges hunting over the years is that my eyesight is terrible, even with glasses. I was born with bad eyes, not sure if that was my Mom’s fault or my Dad’s, they both had good eyesight. I wore glasses until High School and then I got contact lenses and then when I was 40 I had eye surgery, and now back to glasses. The best my eyesight has been through all that is 20/40, but it is good enough to get my drivers license.

My son Sam, on the other hand, has excellent eyesight. As he was growing up I encouraged him to look out the window for deer whenever we drove anywhere which he did. As a result he trained his brain to see deer or elk even if it was just a very small part of their body showing. When he was just a little kid I would take him hunting with me because he would always see the deer and elk when I wouldn’t. This morning I took Sam’s youngest son James who is 12, hunting with me to be my eyes, it was our first time as a team, so I am not sure if he is as good as his Dad.

In ten verses Matthew 23:16-26, Jesus calls the Pharisees blind five times. “Woe to you, blind guides. . .You fools and blind men. . . You blind men. . .You blind guides. . . You blind Pharisee,

What did He mean by the word blind? He was talking about the eyes of their heart being blind, and as a result they couldn’t understand spiritual truth. I would much rather have bad vision physically than spiritually.

The condition of so many people today is just like those during Jesus day who crucified the Son of God.

Matthew 13:15 For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’

Jesus healed the physically blind during His life on the earth, and He can heal the spiritually blind today. Jesus heals the eyes of the hearts of those who come to Him and declare their desire to see, and those who are prayed for by others who know they are blind and need healing.

I pray for every person in JBC every week and part of what I pray is Paul’s prayer for those in the Ephesian church.

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,


I am at the Steens Mts in SE Oregon archery hunting for deer and elk with my son Sam and his family. We drove about 7 hours yesterday to get here and then we took several hours to get our camp set up. Today was the opening day of hunting, but I didn’t have time yesterday to get everything unpacked and organized that I needed to hunt, so I slept in until 8:00 am. I climbed into my one-person tent and crawled into my sleeping bag at 9:00 pm last night and slept 10 hours straight only waking up once. We are camped at 8,000 feet elevation and for some reason I sleep super good here. I am now sitting in my pickup, having driven about a mile from the camp where I have a little bit of cell service to read my emails, write this blog and send it, read the news (ugh), do my Bible reading and Scripture memory online, and call Patty.

The Steens Mts are one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, with huge canyons and gorges, quaking aspen groves, and lakes and streams full of trout.

Every year when I come here I am reminded of Romans 1:18-20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

I clearly see God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power, and His divine naure when I am up here. It amazes me that people can actually believe that all of this came into existence without any intelligent designer and creator, just by chance.

But it is easier to ignore God, make up your own rules, and do what you want when God, if there is one, is an uninterested bystander. The world today is a result of people making the rules instead of God. I wonder how much longer it can go on like this.

Friendly People

Patty and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and I was so impressed with the people who served us. They were either very well trained, naturally friendly, and intelligent, or all of the above. The food was great, but what made our time in the restaurant memorable was how we were treated. We had never been to this particular restaurant before, and I picked it out because it was rated to be the number one restaurant in a 20-mile radius of our house due to all the reviews.

I got to thinking about our church and how important it is for regular attendees to be like our waitresses and waiters to those who visit JBC on weekends. Those who visit are often unfamiliar with church services and what happens and are a bit nervous about the experience. People who are friendly, accepting, and sensitive can make a visitor feel very honored and help make their time with us memorable.

Many who are now visiting our church are looking for answers to life’s problems, security, joy and peace as a result of the very turbulent times we are living in. The worship time and the teaching from the Bible are very important but nothing is as powerful to draw seekers to faith in Christ as people who demonstrate by their love that what is taught from the pulpit is true.

It is hard to get people to break away from their friends and family and spend a little time with strangers, but it is so important that many do if we truly want people who are seeking God to find Him when they visit our church.

52 years Married to the Same Woman

Our Ten Commandments for a wonderful 52 years of marriage.

  • Anger is never acceptable in our communication, and in our problem solving and dealing with our frustrations with life and each other, not even a little bit.
  • We can communicate frustration and discontentment with each other, but never in a way that dishonors or tears down, never scolding or shaming.
  • We both have flaws and defects in our character and behavior, but we both are so much better than we were when we first got married, so let’s major on the positives, we appreciate each other’s strengths.
  • We do not restrict the others freedom to serve, to develop our giftedness, or to be involved in our church. We will not be overly dependent on our mate so that we become jealous and controlling of their time away from us.
  • We never deny sex to each other, even if we are tired.
  • We are always eager to serve each other, no matter how long the “honey do” list.,
  • We do not correct our spouse in public
  • We pray with each other, and for each other.
  • We will forgive each other quickly of any offense
  • We will laugh at each other’s dumb moves, but never humiliate.

Bigger than it really is

I have a picture of a king salmon that I caught several years ago on the Salmon River on the Oregon coast. It is hanging on a big scale that was at a fishing lodge. So in the picture, you can see the face of the scale because it was big, and you can see the needle pointing to 65 lbs, and me standing next to the fish as I show it off. 65 lbs is a huge salmon, but the problem is the fish was only 42 lbs, and the 65 was a result of my hand, which was out of the picture pulling down on the fish. I didn’t realize that I was pulling so hard; I intended to add just enough that it went over 50 lbs just a little bit. I must have been more muscular back in those days than I am now. It has been so long since I have shown that picture to anybody that I don’t even know where it is now. Maybe after I die Patty will find it and have it on display at my memorial service to validate my claim to be the worls’s greatest fisherman.

One of the things that our brain can do is make problems and trials seem much bigger and more serious than they really are. When I get my picture taken with a fish I hold it as far out in front of me as I can to make it appear bigger than it really is. We make bad events and circumstances look bigger by thinking about them over and over. Every repeat in our brain results in a magnification of reality in our judgment. As the size of the problem grows in our brain the urge to think about it some more, fret about it and to get increasingly paranoid about it increases as well. It doesn’t take long before we have a major crisis going on in our life or the world.

The Bible commands us not to fret or worry about a matter, in fact it makes this command over a dozen times. Some would say that choosing not to think about a problem or crisis in our life is impossible, but it isn’t, it will take some effort, but it is very doable.

Fretting and worrying takes away our joy, it takes away our peace, it drains our energy, it negatively impacts our health, it lowers are our ability to resist viruses like COVID, it makes us grumpy, it keeps us from sleeping well, and it destroys our faith and security in God’s care for us. You may not be a fool when you start fretting, but if you keep it up you will be a number one, Proverbs kind of fool.

The way you stop is by praying for and about whatever is bothering you, choose to do that. Write your prayer out. Also memorize Bible verses that command you not to fret, that promise God’s protection and meditate on them, every time you start to worry set you mind on the Word of God. And the most powerful way for me to take my thoughts captive is to think about the details of eternity, heaven, and my glorified body.

Fly Away

In Psalm 55 David is running for his life and every day seems to be more challenging, and his enemies seem to be increasing and he writes Psalms 55:5-8;

Fear and trembling come upon me,
And horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
“Behold, I would wander far away,
I would lodge in the wilderness.
“I would hasten to my place of refuge
From the stormy wind and tempest.”

How many times I have thought, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

But then David writes this in Psalms 55:16-18;

As for me, I shall call upon God,
And the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur,
And He will hear my voice.
He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,
For they are many who strive with me.

It is OK to grumble, but only to God; it is OK to complain, but only to God, He understands us, and He understands life.

After unloading on God David writes this in Psalms 55:22;

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

For me Hebrews 4:15-16 is an awesome promise for times like now, Jesus knows what we are feeling, He sympathizes with us, understands us, and He gives us His strength to succeed.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

How to get Stronger

Every year around this time I go archery hunting for deer and elk. For the last five years a new problem has arisen. When I start practicing, usually I start around the first of August, I can’t pull my bow back. I seem to be getting weaker as I get older. You probably knew without me telling you that if you can’t pull your bow back, you won’t be killing an elk or a deer; that’s just the way it is. My bow has an adjustment for poundage built into it. I can turn the screws back until the bow is at 40 lbs, or I can tighten them up so that the bow is at a max of 70 lbs. I have been hunting with the bow adjusted to 62 lbs for the last five years, but as I have already stated, when I first start shooting 62 lbs is to heavy for me to pull. So I lower the poundage of the bow to it’s lowest, 40 lbs, which I can pull easily. My goal is to shoot 50 shots each day as I get ready for hunting. Every day I turn the screws on the bow one complete turn which increases the pull by 2 lbs, so in 11 days I am back to 62 lbs. I did that today, in fact, I increased it by two turns, and I am now up to 64 lbs. I have 10 more days left until hunting season starts so I might be able to increase to the maximum of 70 lbs. That would be cool, I would feel like a young man again.

The method that I use to get stronger is to shoot 50 shots every day, and to increase the poundage gradually. It is pretty simple to understand my method and even simpler to do. Even though it is simple, it is not easy. I have to get up and go outside and shoot 50 arrows. When I first start, I have to divide the 50 into three times shooting 17 shots with at least 30 minutes in between each group to let my muscles recuperate. And I have to keep increasing the difficulty each day. Today, because I increased by two turns, four lbs, I could only shoot ten shots before hitting the wall, so I have to interrupt whatever I am doing and go out and shoot five times with at least a 30-minute break. It is easy to find an excuse not to shoot, to skip a session or even a day. “One day won’t matter, I can make up for it the next day.”

I use the same method to grow my Christian character and faith. I faithfully practice the basic disciplines of the Christian life every day. And I usually increase each of them at least yearly. I read 14 chapters in my Bible every day. I used to read three chapters every day, enough to get through the Bible in one year. I increase the number of goals that I am pursuing by one each year. I spend 40 minutes each day memorizing scripture; I used to spend five minutes each week. I also add disciplines periodically to increase the pressure and difficulty of pressing on to maturity. A new discipline that I added a couple of years ago was reflective writing about my weaknesses, character flaws, sin habits, and blind spots, and I write about my strategy for conquering them.

God loves to give His strength to His disciples, but He doesn’t give His strength to lazy disciples.

Teaching the Bible

Jesus taught a parable that teaching the Bible was like sowing seed. Some of the seed falls on poor soil, but some falls on good soil that yields a good crop. The crop is growing in character and serving God, and accomplishing things that matter.

Matthew 13:3-8 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil. . .And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

I am of the opinion that the more I teach, the more seed that I sow, the greater the odds that some will fall on good soil.

So, starting the first weekend in October I will be teaching seven times each week plus at other events that come up. I will be teaching two “Men’s Leadership 1” classes each weekend, a “Ladies Leadership 1” class, a “Leadership 2” class, an “Advanced Leadership” class where attendees will learn how to teach effectively, I will be preaching at our “Wednesday Night Service” every week, and at Buena Vista Community Church on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am. I am also preaching at our “Men’s Breakfast” October 2nd, I will be preaching twice at a “Men’s Rally” on October 9th, and I will be teaching 8 times in two days at our annual Conference the third week of January.

All of those classes ended last May and I have been reading, writing, studying in the midst of fishing and bicycle riding this summer, and I will end everything again this coming May. This cycle of concentrated teaching for eight months and then four months of recreation and study is working well for me, and I expect it will help keep me teaching into my 90’s.

If you have not attended one of my “Leadership” classes, I urge you to do it this year. They are life-changing.