Monthly Archives: July 2022

Home from Fishing in Alaska

I got home tonight from three weeks fishing in Alaska with different people from JBC and other friends. There was a different group of people each week that came up to fish, and they all had an awesome time. It varies day to day on how good the fishing is. The run itself increases every day until the peak and then begins to decline every day after that. Another factor is the commercial fisherman. When they have their nets out the number of fish making it up the river is reduced significantly. The state of Alaska monitors the number of fish that make it up the river and regulate the commercial boys accordingly. We had some huge numbers for about a week this year with the peak being 189,000 fish in one day. Anybody can catch fish when there are that many fish swimming by them. Alaska Fish and Game increased the daily limit that we could catch from three to six after that day. They use a sonar device to count the fish and I hear that it is very accurate. I came home with three 50-pound boxes of salmon fillets this year, that is a lot of salmon that I am going to be forced to eat!

We do a lot of our fishing at night because there are fewer people and more fish.
After we clean up the fillets we vacuum seal them and put them in a freezer. That process is a great group activity. Tim has eight freezers in his shop.
This is my favorite spot to fish.

Now that I am home I am going to switch over to my real job in life, fishing for people. Jesus used that term to describe what He was going to teach His disciples to do with their life as a follower of Him, to communicate the gospel in such a way that people believed it and became followers of Jesus headed for heaven instead of hell. The next couple of days I am going to write about how to become a great fisher of people using catching sockeye salmon as an illustration.

Fishing and Catching

I haven’t done a blog in a week for two reasons, first I am to busy fishing, and second, there is no wifi at the fish camp I am staying at and barely enough cell service to send a text message, so I have to remember to take my Ipad with me when we go into Soldotna and send it there. So far I have been to mentally distracted trying to catch a salmon to remember, but I remembered tonight. There are seven of us at “fish camp” in Soldotna, Alaska this week fishing for sockeye salmon, commonly called “reds.” We fish for 8 to 12 hours a day depending on the number of fish that are in. The daily limit is 3 salmon per person and the first five days we barely did half of that, but the run has started and we have caught our limit the last two days. The camp owned by Tim Groome who attends JBC, is very comfortable and the food prepared by George Coulter also of JBC, is amazing, I will gain weight for sure! We fish at night often because there are no other people and there are more fish. It doesn’t get dark until midnight and then it is still light enough to fish. We use a headlamp for netting fish and tying on hooks.

The big challenge for me is keeping my basic Christian disciplines first instead of fishing. It is a major challenge but so far I am doing good. I hope you all are as well.


Life moves, it moves at a pace, and sometimes the pace or speed of life is agonizingly slow. It is exactly 11:00 pm, everything is packed and ready to go fishing in Alaska. I could go to bed but I can’t sleep. Patty is taking me to the church parking lot at 3:15 am, so what do I do for the next four hours? Whatever I do I will check the time every two minutes and the clock seems to have slowed down! OK I am going to go to bed and see I can go to sleep.

Fishing in Alaska

Of all the activities that I do, I think fishing for salmon in Alaska is my all-time favorite. I think that this is my 23rd year in a row of going up to Alaska for at least a week to fish. My first trip was when my good friend, Jay Goold moved from Jefferson to Anchorage, Alaska and invited me up to fish with him. We had an amazing time and fished in about eight different rivers and places including the Kenai river, I have been back every year since, though every year is different. I am leaving Monday morning at 3:00 am for this year’s trip, and expect it to be the best ever.

I am 73 years old, pastored Jefferson Baptist Church for 46 years, been married for 53 years, along with Patty, raised eight amazing kids, and in the process have had lots of adventures, trials, challenges, and disappointments, just like everyone does. On the journey I have never gotten down, depressed, or unmotivated for long periods of time, though in the early days of Pastoring Mondays were often bummer days. I have gotten depressed, discouraged, weary, and have often lost my dreams, but never for very long before I was back running the race of life with passion and fire.

There are several reasons why I have consistently lived life with joy and energy. The first is my relationship with the Lord. I spend time with Him every day reading His Word and talking, unloading, and receiving strength from Him through my time with Him in prayer. The second is my relationship with Patty for 53 years. She is amazing in her intuitive ability to keep me focused and enthused about life and it’s challenges. The third is fishing. It sounds a bit strange, and it is hard to explain how renewing fishing is for me. Other activities in my life are also refreshing and re-energizing, such as bicycling, working on old cars, and building things, but no other activity lifts me like fishing does.

So, I am off on an awesome fishing trip on Monday. I will write my blogs about my adventures and put in pictures of the fish I catch.

The first of August I will start preaching on Sunday’s at our first daughter church in Albany, Agape Family Fellowship for awhile, I will be preaching at our Wednesday night service at JBC, I will be getting ready to teach six different Leadership classes each week, and doing a number of other ministry activities. I will also be slipping in a fishing trip regularly as well.

A Mixture of Good and Bad

In the Old Testament someof the laws God gave to Israel through Moses, are strange, and hard to understand why they were given to the people. One of them is in the book of Leviticus and is repeated in Deuteronomy.

Leviticus 19:19. ‘You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.

I believe the intent of the law was to be a physical picture or illustration to the nation of Israel that God desires that He is most important in our life, that we seek Him only, that we worship Him only, that we love Him only, and that we serve Him only. God does not like mixtures in His people in their love for Him. In the history of Israel as soon as they were not loving God only they would soon fall away from Him, and once the slide away from God started it ended in disaster. As people we are not capable of a divided heart, we will go one way or the other.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Our heart is easily enticed by the things around us in the world, and most of us are very careless in guarding our heart and it’s affections, and like the nation of Israel, once the slide away from God begins it gains momentum and soon we are far away from the Lord.

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

The beginning of the drift away from God is subtle and we usually don’t even notice. When we do become aware of the disease of worldliness that has infected our heart we no longer care and have no motivation to do anything about it, until we crash and a crisis of some sort happens.

Revelation 2:4-5 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

The Strongest Desire of my Heart

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalms 21:2 You have given him his heart’s desire,

We all have many desires, but which of the desires in our heart is number one, which is the strongest. Not many people have even thought about that question so most have no clue. If we do identify what it is, then pray that we would get it, purposely pursue it, and then work diligently to acquire it, the strongest of desires will become even stronger and we will soon become consumed with reaching it.

So what is the strongest desire of your heart? For some it might be the salvation of a family member, for others it might be the reconciliation of their marriage, and for others it might be good health.

The strongest desire of my heart is that I would become holy and righteous, that I would be like Jesus in character, perfect before God, that I would stop sinning.

Colossians 1:22 to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—

Ephesians 1:4 that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

Jesus said that if I truly wanted to become righteous it would happen, so I am turning up the heat until that desire is white-hot in me, consuming my life

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

There are five blessings that will come into the life of any person who becomes passionate about becoming a holy and righteous person before God.

(1) We will become increasingly sensitized to the things that we do, say, and think that are sin. Small sins that we in the past haven’t noticed or we have easily skipped over will become glaringly obvious.

(2) We will be quick to confess all known sin to God in order to experience His forgiveness.

(3) We will become wiser in knowing what things we can do to help us move towards holiness.

(4) We will become much less critical and judgmental of others.

(5) As the desire grows to become holy and righteous God will give us the power to accomplish that desire.


My belief is that New Testament Baptism is by immersion in water as it is a picture of being buried with Christ and then rising again. I believe that a person who has trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior, believing the gospel to be true makes a personal choice to be baptized as a public declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord of their lives. I do not believe that a person must be baptized to be eternally saved. Still, I also think a person who refuses to be baptized may not be a born-again believer headed for heaven. Let me explain;

Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and when He came up out of the water, God the Father spoke from heaven audibly, saying, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. “ Why was Jesus baptized, and why did the father express His pleasure right at that moment?

There came a point in Jesus life when He fully understood and knew what the plan was to save the world from their sins, and that at the center of the plan was Him becoming the substitute redeemer for mankind and that the price He would personally pay to make it possible for us to live eternally with Him would be incredibly high. He needed to accept that role, be willing to pay the price, and to offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He did that twice in His life. The second time was in the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed to the Father, right before His arrest and crucifixion.

Luke 22:41-42 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

The first time was when Jesus was baptized, in essence what He was saying was, “not My will, but Yours be done.” When He went under the water He was dying to Himself running His life, and when He came up out of the water He was declaring that He was only going to do the will of the Father.

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

John 5:30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

We are saved by grace through faith apart from any works of righteousness, but if we are truly saved, born again, our heart is changed and we will have a very strong desire to do the will of God.

Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

1 Peter 4:2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Ephesians 6:6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

The problem we have is the desire to do God’s will is in us, but we mess up constantly, and we get discouraged and think we will never be able to grow in holiness.

That is why our baptism is so important. “God’s power flows to commitment!” our baptism is a public declaration of our commitment to die to self, “not my will,” and be resurrected to newness of life and declare, “I will obey You and do Your will.”

Every time we blow it we confess that we sinned and declare again to God our commitment to pursue righteousness.

Our baptism is so foundational to our growth in holiness. If you have not yet been baptized you are declaring to God that you will run your own life and you will be good without His help.

Character Flaws that are Hard to See and Hard to Change

One of my goals on my bicycle trip each year is to use the long hours of riding by myself to do a lot of reflective thinking about who I really am, and to try and recognize what needs fixing. I meditate on, and pray these two verses each morning as I start riding. King David wrote these two Psalms as personal prayers to God recognizing how hard it is to know your own heart and asking God to show him who he really was on the inside.

Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalms 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.

The following verses in the gospel of Matthew are the words of Jesus to the Pharisees who crucified Him, and they are probably words that He is speaking to each of us if we could hear Him.

Matthew 23:28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Those are hard words that we don’t want to hear so we ignore them, and they are probably true for most of us.

It started way back in the Garden of Edan when Adam and Eve hid from God, each other, and themselves. We all project images of what we think people will be impressed with, and we do it to the point that we believe it is true, and we become blind to who we really are as we follow in Adams tracks and also hide from God, from others and from ourselves, and probably mostly from ourselves.

“Image Managers” don’t take correction well, they can’t grow much because instead of growing they pretend to grow, they tend not to have close friendships because they don’t want people to see under their mask, they don’t like accountability relationships because then they would realize how much of what they project to be true, isn’t.

“Transparency” doesn’t mean I am going to tell you all my sins, because many of my sins I am only going to unload on God. “Being real“ doesn’t mean I am going to start acting the way I feel, I am always going to try and act responsibly. Being free from pleasing people doesn’t mean I am going to stop trying to be an example and model for others to follow in order to be more Christ-like.

But I am going to work diligently not to pretend to be someone or something that I am not, and I will work hard to grow into that person for real.

Patriotism on a Bicycle

Riding across the United States on a bicycle for two months we talked to a lot of people. It may just be that it was coincidental, or that we wern’t in any big cities, but 99% of the people we talked to were very positive people who loved their country, were very patriotic, were hard-working, loved their families, had a strong sense of right and wrong, weren’t politically correct, weren’t “woke”, weren’t genderqueer, weren’t gender-neutral, or gender dysphoric, were pro-life, went to church, and owned guns. If you have a steady diet of mainline news you get the impression that those kinds of people have all gone the way of the dinosaur. It was very refreshing to talk to all those Americans that were still like my Dad, and to realize that things aren’t as crazy and upside down as the media makes it out to be, though the first topic of conversation was almost always the price of gasoline, and how bicycles might just be the answer!

An accurate study of history, whether it be Ancient history, American history, European history, Middle Ages, Dark Ages, Roman, Greek, Persian, Renaissance, or Reformation, reveals that there really isn’t much new under the sun, what is being done has been done before, and what has been done, will be done again.

History is like a big river flowing to the sea and as you study it whether it is current worldwide events or the book of Genesis five things are always true from the beginning to the end; (1) God is always in control, (2) there are only two kinds of people, those who know God and follow him and those who don’t and don’t, (3) the two kinds of people, currents in the river as it were, are always in conflict, (4) it always appears as if the God-follwers are going to lose and be swallowed up, but they never are, and (5) there is a small minority of people in the midst of the God-followers who make all the difference in the world.

Ya Gotta Fight Old Age

If you jump out of an airplane you are going to fall rapidly towards the ground until you hit it. If you want, you can put on a parachute and slow that fall considerably. You can use a glider type parachute and take even longer to reach the ground.

When I was thirty years old I had an 80 lb PSE compound bow with an over-draw rest on it and I shot 26 inch arrows. I could shoot for several hours without getting tired. That was the rage back then in order to shoot arrows at a high feet per second speed. The problem with those little short arrows was that you had to hold the bow rock-solid to be accurate. So I practiced a lot in order to shoot accurately. I have a different PSE bow now that is 60 lbs and I got it out a couple days ago to practice and I couldn’t pull it back. Yikes! I have got to figure out how to slow the speed of this fall soon!

I am pulling a bungee cord exercise thing that simulates drawing a bow about ten times a day, I am doing barbell rows in my weight room once a day with 25 reps adding five pounds whenever I can do 25 reps, and I am pulling a kids bow 50 times a day that I have that is set at 45 pounds. If I get to sore I take a day off from it all. I am confident that it won’t be long now before I can pull my bow, and I might even crank it up to 65 lbs; we will see.

It isn’t just my physical body that is going down hill fast, I am getting so forgetful, my mind is getting wimpy as well as my body, scary! I spend half my time while working on my car looking for tools that I just set down someplace. I got so frustrated the other day looking for my cordless drill that I got in my truck drove to HomeDepoe, and bought another one.

I am spending 30 minutes every day memorizing Bible verses and I think I am going to up my time to an hour in order to keep my mind strong and sharp. I might need a bigger parachute!

I recently made a goal to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day in Albany, and I have started training on a treadmill as well as riding my stationary bike.

I am being much more disciplined in my eating now eliminating most sugar and refined foods from my diet, and I am fasting periodically.

I am not afraid of dying, not even a little bit, in fact I am looking forward to stepping into glory and getting my new body and being done with this life. I know the Lord has that date set, but I do want to accomplish as much in this life as I possibly can as an issue of responsible stewardship of my life for the Lord.

I also know that there are dozens of things that could happen outside of my control that would put the brakes on accomplishing much more with my life, but I will control all that I can control and push as hard as I can push, and attempt to cross the finish line into heaven at a sprint.

Wow, it would be so much easier to just sit in my recliner and play solitaire on my iPad.