Monthly Archives: December 2022


We went to a wedding this evening that was a lot of fun. Great food! It is the only wedding that I have ever attended where one of the wedding party came up the aisle doing back flips and front flips very high and very athletically. A cool thing about weddings is that you often see people you haven’t seen for a while. The trick is to remember their name before you go over and talk to them. Going to a wedding always prompts me to take several strolls down memory lane, both for our wedding and for our kid’s weddings. I had the privilege of doing seven of our kid’s weddings and involved in the eighth. It is kind of funny, not ha ha funny, but weird funny how little of our wedding I can really remember, but I discovered tonight as I was whispering comments to Patty throughout the evening how little she remembers! It was nice to get an invitation to this wedding. I am sure that they are going to do a lot for the Lord together. I am pretty sure that if I hadn’t married Patty that the totality of my accomplishments for the Lord wouldn’t have amounted to much.

The wedding I am looking forward to is the one I will be in.

Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”

I am so thankful that I am invited to this greatest of all weddings; in fact, I will be part of the Bride of Christ, His eternal companion, forever and ever. There are a lot of people who will not get an invitation to this wedding, they should think seriously about that before that day.

God’s Goals

Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure. . .
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.

God declared in this passage that He is God and that He can control the future. He plans out the future and because He is God He can make His goals happen. God’s ability to control everything is called sovereignty; He is all sovereign. God gives some of His sovereignty and His authority to us. That little bit of sovereignty given to us by God is a stewardship entrusted to us. If we prove faithful as stewards, He will increase our level of sovereignty.

When we set a goal for the future believing that it is God’s will striving hard to make it happen we are exercising the sovereignty that God has entrusted us with. As we continue to be faithful as stewards God will continue to increase our level of authority, and our ability to accomplish our goals will increase and we will change things and accomplish things that will show up under our name at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Mistakes – How to Fix Them

I am restoring a 1969 Ford, Mustang with my grandson. I have been working on the electrical system for the last couple of months. I bought a new “wiring harness“ and then connected all the different electrical parts in the car to the harness. The lights, horn, starter, heater, distributor, etc. I got it all done, turned on the key, and only about half of everything worked. The turn signals didn’t work, the horn didn’t work, only half the dash lights worked, and the electric fuel pump didn’t work. That was a frustrating few minutes as I discovered how unsuccessful my wiring job had been. Now I needed to figure out what the problems were and fix them. I have been working on that for a couple of weeks now and am about to have it all fixed. Most of the time, it was just a simple thing to fix caused by a simple mistake once I figured out what was wrong. The fuel pump wouldn’t work because a fuse was missing. The turn signals didn’t work because they were LED lights and required a different set of “flashers” than what came with the wiring harness. The park lights didn’t work because the ground was bad.

I tried as hard as I could to do everything perfect as I did the electrical work on the car, but I still made a bunch of mistakes. The main reason was because of my inexperience. On the next I car I restore I probably won’t repeat those same mistakes. When we get the car completely done I am going to drive it to a friends shop who has a “lift” who is very competent in auto stuff and have him check everything out, steering, suspension, brakes, brake lines etc to make sure the car is safe to drive and that there aren’t some mistakes that I have made that I am unaware of.

Mistakes are part of life. I not only make them on cars but I also make them in living life with other people. I usually am not aware of the mistake until later, and with most relational mistakes there are several options once the mistake is discovered. I can ignore it and hope that it fixes itself over time. I can blame someone else that is in the mix of the problem and expect that they will fix it. Or I can take responsibility, figure out the where, when and why of the mistake that I made and fix it as best that I can.

Relational mistakes usually take a measure of humility to fix ourselves, that is why many people will go with option one or two because it is easier and appears initially that we will save face. Options one and two are in and of themselves bigger mistakes and will need even more fixing. Options one and two are bad choices, I try and not make that mistake.

Do They Like Me?

After I went out on my first date with Patty when we were both Sophomores in college, the first thought that came to my mind when I returned to my dorm room was, “does she like me?” I wasn’t sure if she liked me, and if she did, how much? And I wasn’t sure how to figure out if she liked me. I suppose the best thing to have done, to save time, was to ask her, “Hey, do you like me?” “You do!” “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like me?” I didn’t consider that option because I wasn’t sure if I could handle the rejection if it ended up that I was a 2.

Do you ever have those kinds of thoughts when you hang out with a bunch of friends or family or work associates or church people? Do you ever wonder if it seems like someone is less friendly than usual if they are upset at you for some reason? As a pastor when I finish preaching I wonder, did they like it?

It all seems kind of silly, doesn’t it? I am a grown 74 year old man, I should be past that insecurity stuff. I wish I was, it makes me kind of uptight, wondering who likes me and who doesn’t, who I am a 10 with, and who hates my guts.

I hear people often say, “I don’t care who likes me and who doesn’t!” When I hear that, my thought is, “Yeh, right. Are you lying or just self-deceived?”

What I try to do is treat everybody like a 10. I know I fail at that because of lack of social skills, but that is my goal, and I work at it diligently. A principle that I have found to be true; the harder I work at making everyone feel like a 10, the more I like them, and the less I think about whether they like me. That is a cool principle.

I did discover that I was a 10 with Patty! And that is pretty cool as well!

Leadership Training

Way back in1976 when I left the family Dairy and started Pastoring at Jefferson Baptist Church I had no clue what I was doing. I grew up going to church and the last 16 years had been in small churches like JBC. About 20 people were attending when I started, so I mostly did what I had seen my pastors do.

Growing up on the farm, especially with my Dad’s influence, I had a strong work ethic. My Dad would say, “there isn’t much you can’t do if you’re willing to work hard enough.” His general opinion of Pastors was that they were lazy and didn’t work much. He used to say, “Every pastor I know is fat and they all play golf.” That is the main reason I didn’t play golf until after he died.

With that influencing me, I picked up every job there was to do in the church and created a bunch more. I was typing the bulletin, running it off on the old mimeograph machine that got ink all over everything, Patty and I swept the gym on Saturday nights that we were meeting in, and then set up the chairs and cleaned the bathrooms. We led worship, I preached, and we led a Youth Group, a college-age group, and several home groups. I followed up on all visitors and went door knocking all-over town several days a week. I was doing marriage counseling, weddings, funerals, and hospital calling. It didn’t take too long before I started to get weary, but would get past it with reminders to myself of the power and virtue of hard work. I then went to a seminar where the speaker said that it was the Pastor’s job to train the people in the church to do the work of ministry, not to do it all himself, and in fact that if he was doing it all himself he was depriving those in the church from being a fully functioning part of the “Body of Christ.”

As a result of that seminar I made a personal goal to get rid of at least one of my jobs every year, handing it off to someone in the church. As I worked at recruiting people to do the work of the ministry in our church I made some observations which I wrote down in my personal book of Leadership Axioms. One of them was, “People won’t commit to doing anything that they aren’t 99% sure that they can succeed at.” I was sure that the only way that would happen is if I trained and taught them how to succeed in anything I asked them to do.

I started teaching a class that I called “Pastor’s Leadership Class.” My definition of a leader was anybody who was doing anything in the church that was a ministry whether it was mowing the lawn, teaching Sunday School or typing the bulletin. The class lasted eight months and was an hour every week. What I taught wasn’t typical discipleship stuff. I taught the importance of setting personal goals and how to do it successfully. How to manage your time well using “todo” lists and goals. The impossibility of succeeding as a Servant of God without accountability. The importance of establishing daily disciplines and routines of what I called the basic disciplines of the Christian life such as Bible reading, prayer, reading good books, memorizing Bible verses, and others, there were seven that I emphasized.

The content went through constant upgrading and improvement over the years, and became a curriculum with notebooks, quizzes and grading. I now have been teaching it every year for over 40 years at JBC, and is one of the reasons I can go on two month-long bicycle trips, fishing and hunting trips to Alaska and mission trips and come home and find things have gone better in my absence than when I was home.

The staff at JBC are amazing and there is a high percentage of people in the church involved in ministry of one sort or another. One of my goals is to work with at least six different people helping them start a ministry and coaching them as needed to help them be a success at it.

I am teaching a seminar at our church January 16th and 17th on the importance of leadership training and how to do it. I am so thankful that I went to the seminar that I went to way back in 1978 and the difference that it made in my life and ministry and the difference that it made in JBC over the years. If you know any Pastors pass this information on to them. Information about the seminar and how to register is on our church website


Today was a very enjoyable day with lots of family here eating barbecued brisket and a whole bunch of other food as well. It was pretty much non-stop eating all day. We have 46 people if all eight kids, spouses and all grandkids are present, and we had 23 today, and it was a full house of feasting and fun.

Christmas is a celebration remembering the second point of the gospel of Christ. There are five points in the gospel, just like your hand has five fingers. (1) Jesus is God, equal with God the Father, one with the Father, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, without beginning and without end.

(2) Jesus became flesh, just exactly like us, was tempted like we are and experienced all of life like we do.

Hebrews 2:17-18
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

(3) Jesus never sinned, not even a little sin of thought or attitude. In order to be our substitute and to be the atonement for our sin He needed to be perfect.

Hebrews 4:15
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.

(4) Jesus was nailed to a cross and He took our sin on Himself, He became our sin, and God the Father punished Jesus for our sin, He died for our sin.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

(5) Three days later God raised Jesus from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you. . . Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Bad, Lazy Boy

Several of my goals from last year I rolled into this year because I didn’t get them done. One of them I barely got started on, and I really need to get going on it because others are working on it with me. That goal is to write a book, not really write one, it is already written, to compile one. I have written about 2,000 blogs and the goal is to pick the 365 best ones and put them together for a devotional book. About half a dozen people have each read a section of the blogs and picked out what they thought were the best blogs so I am left with about 700 from them and I need to read them and pick the final 365. Then I will pass it off to some people who volunteered to proofread it, and then I have several options for getting it printed. My part isn’t very hard but I have been procrastinating on it which is kind of embarrassing after I wrote in my blog yesterday that goal-setters tend not to procrastinate. I called myself a bad, lazy, no-good, good-for-nothing procrastinator, but so far that doesn’t seem to have motivated me much! What usually gets me going is when I confess on this blog what a bad, lazy, no-good, good-for-nothing, procrastinator that I am. I don’t know if it is all the harassment that I get after people read the blog, or some will pray for me that I will get in gear and get it done, or it could be the power of confession.

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

I don’t think the healing being talked about in this verse is physical healing, but being healed from the control of the sin that we confessed. Confess your sins to one another and then pray for one another and you will be healed—pretty black and white verse.

Well, I confessed, so now we will see what happens. Stay tuned.

Some of my Favorite Goals

All of my goals are ones that I want to do, but some are more fun than others. Some of my goals I want to do because I know that they will bless my life; I plan to ride my stationary bike for an hour each day. That isn’t lots of fun, but I enjoy the health benefits I have been getting from that discipline for the last ten years. I have a goal to read 20 pages every day in a good book. Again, it doesn’t rank up there with a fishing goal, but I believe the Bible when it says that if I seek wisdom like gold and silver, then I will find it, and I want to be increasingly more wise as a pastor, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. I have a goal to write a 300 to 500-word blog every day and that can be a grind some days, but one of the strongest desires of my heart is to bless others with wisdom that I have gleaned from life and seeking it like gold. One of my strong desires is to lose weight so I have a goal to weigh less than 200 lbs and to stay under that until Jesus returns. I have’t done real well at that goal in year’s past, but I am on a bit of a mini roll right now, I have lost six pounds in the last month, and I intend to stay right on that pace and be 199 lbs by May 1st. That goal is not even a little bit fun, but I want it to happen as much as any goal I have. I have a goal to start three more accountability groups for men this next year. That will take a lot of time out of my fishing goals, and most guys don’t want me nagging them about getting into a group with me, but I do anyway. That isn’t the most enjoyable thing in life, but I believe in it strongly.

That is only five goals that I have mentioned, and I have 75 goals. Even if I only had these five I wouldn’t accomplish them if I didn’t write them down and read them every day. Most people live life like they would drift down the North Santiam river, they just go with the flow. Nice, enjoyable, and comfortable, but not much to show for it when we stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. 75 goals would be impossible to manage in your head, but fairly easy when you write them down and read them every day.

When you read your goals every day your passion to accomplish them stays hot and you work much faster all day long, and you enjoy it. When you read your goals every day you think about them a lot, you even dream about them, and the result is that you come up with lots of ideas on how to accomplish them. When you read your goals every day you create a tension in yourself to accomplish them and you almost eliminate procrastination from your life and you become a very good time manager, you get way more done with your life. People who have passion, who get lots done with their time, and are motivated, enjoy life more, aren’t bored in the least, and are fun to be around.

2023 is getting close, set some goals, send me a copy when you do.

No Control

The ice storm that started last night is totally outside my control to do anything about. I can read the weather report and see what may happen and I can read the news to see what did happen, but I am just a bystander. But, wait, there are some things I can do ;

1. I can choose not to fret or worry about the trials of severe weather. We all tend to be anxious about what we can’t control. I have memorized Psalms 46:1-3 and times like now I meditate on it.

Psalms 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

2. I can anticipate what problems there might be and prepare to deal with them if they do happen. The biggest problem I could see happening, that was predicted that would happen, is the electricity to our house would be lost. We have a wood stove and propane lanterns, but we have three freezers full of frozen meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit and it would all be lost if the electricity went off for several days. So yesterday morning, I found a reasonably priced generator that was large enough to run our water pump or freezers. It is now ready to start and we should be able to flush the toilet no matter what happens.

3. I am going to have some extra time at home because it is risky to drive anyplace so I made an updated “todo” list of things I can do around here, and because it is so cold I will make them inside chores.

4. And I might as well sleep in and enjoy a nice breakfast; woh, I can smell the bacon now!

Thursday Night Footbal

Here I am in my recliner, with my electric heating blanket, watching Thursday Night Football on my iPad. We don’t have TV, but I discovered that Thursday Night Football is broadcast by Amazon Prime and I have Amazon Prime. It was nice to get something from Amazon Prime besides cheap books and free shipping. I have never watched Thursday Night Football before because I almost always have something on the calendar, but with the bad weather forecast I decided to stay home and Wow, that worked out well. My favorite team is theJacksonville Jaguars because my favorite player is Trevor Lawrence who is the quarterback for the Jaguars and my favorite coach is Doug Peterson who is Jacksonville’s coach. I am a goal oriented, “todo” list kind of person who is almost always in a hurry, but I enjoy an ice storm occasionally, especially when it coordinates with Trevor Lawerence and Thursday Night Football. How good is that!