Monthly Archives: February 2023

What is Wrong

I have talked to a lot of different people about what they believe is wrong or probably a better way of saying it is I have listened to a lot of different people tell me what they think is wrong. I have a very long list of sinful activities that people have shared with me over the years; playing pool, because pool tables are in taverns, buying groceries in a store that sells beer, drinking beer, going to movies, dancing, gambling, which would include buying or selling raffle tickets, or buying lottery tickets, playing cards, at least with regular playing cards, rook or uno cards are ok, working on Sunday’s, woman wearing pants to church, listening to music that is secular, you especially don’t want to listen to Johny Cash.

My basic principle is, if the Bible says it is wrong, it is wrong, if it doesn’t mention it then it may be wrong for me because I have decided that it is wrong for me but it could be absolutely ok for every other person in the world.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Colossians 2:16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—

Colossians 2:20-23 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

The Bible says it is absolutely wrong to have sex with someone other than your spouse, it also says it is wrong to have sex before marriage.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

But it doesn’t mention gambling though many people have become addicted to gambling and have destroyed their financial health and security because of gambling. I bought $100 dollars worth of raffle tickets at our Sportsman’s Show to try and win the gun safe and I bought $20 worth for my grandson. Neither of us won anything. The Bible doesn’t mention drinking beer as a sin, though it does say that drunkenness is very bad and stupid. I go to lots of movies, I have danced though not much, I love to play poker.

A key principle is, don’t judge others by your own personal standard, and don’t be intimidated by others who have written their own version of the Bible.

You are Wrong!

We all get into fights, arguments that get heated and end with no winner, both parties mad at the other one, and both parties blaming the other one thinking confidently that they are wrong. I have done a ton of counseling of people in that no-win situation, usually married couples, sometimes business partners, work associates, neighbors, and even friends. I have been in that situation with Patty a lot in the past, a few times with people in the church and a number of times with other Pastors.

When I am in this knot with another person my predominant thought is how do I fix them, change them, convince them, or intimidate them to my view or opinion so that I can be the winner, after all, I am right and they are wrong. The conversation is almost always an argument. When I am thinking like that there is seldom a comfortable resolution. If there is another conflict with the same person it is usually worse, more intense, and longer lasting.

A second solution that I have often used in a conflict is to simply cope with the person. I think to myself, they are too stupid or stubborn to see that they are wrong so I will just ignore the problem, the difference , and cope. That method ends the argument but it damages the relationship. It is easy for me to feel like a martyr when I take that approach, and after a number of such “sacrifices” I will talk to them and treat them like a person that owes me a million dollars, a bit haughty and condensending.

The method that works if I can pull it off is to assume the other person is right and I am wrong. I don’t have to own the entire problem, because no conflict is ever 100% one person’s fault, but I do need to own enough so that I see the solution as me doing the changing, and also thinking of something that I can do or say to bless the other person. This results in me growing in character and in humility, and I am sure in God’s blessing in my life.

I seldom act right in the first round of a fight. I usually have to write about it, coming to my senses as I do, and writing out my planned on actions and words.

It is amazing that when I focus on changing me instead of my adversary, how God then changes them.

Dry as Dirt Duty

As I get older and my Parkinson’s slowly progresses some of my daily disciplines that had become habit and relatively easy to do have become very difficult to do faithfully so they have now become duties that I do because I need to. I go through these mental tug-o-wars with myself, “ride your bike,” “I don’t feel like riding my bike tonight,” “you wīl feel lousy tomorrow if you don’t ride,” “one day won’t hurt,” “Yeh, but you know one day always turns into two days,” “not necessarily,” “don’t risk it, you don’t want to end up like so many others with Parkinson’s,” “oh, all right, come on, Duke, you lazy, good for nothing, ride that stupid bike and quit acting like a baby!” And off I go.

I read my Bible every day, I pray every day, I read 20 pages in a good book every day, I write my blog every day, I spend time memorizing Bible verses every day, I read my goals every day, and a half dozen more disciplines, every day, every day, every day! “I don’t want to read today,” “just one day,” “I don’t feel like doing anything today!” “I will get back to it tomorrow, I know I will! Just one day!”

Ohhhhh, all right! I will do it!

Dear Lord, please help me now. I am struggling, I have lost my motivation. You are my strength, You are my rock, You are my shield, You are the one who lifts my head, You are my glory, I can do all things that is Your will for me, I can do this. Thank You, I love You.

Heaven on Earth

Ten years ago when I was 65 years old I started taking three months off of regular ministry each year. I call it a summer study break even though I do a lot more than study. Last year I came home with 33 sermons outlined and except for adding illustrations and stories they were ready to preach. I am preaching them on Wednesday night services and at our daughter church in Albany, Agape Family Fellowship now. This year I will be on a bicycle trip going down the Pacific coast from Canada to Mexico for one month, then I will be in Alaska fishing for a month, then home for a week, and then back to Alaska hunting caribou with my son-in-law who lives in Fairbanks. Only a couple more months now before I am off on my adventures, and I am getting excited.

These three month breaks have been the key thing in my continuing to pastor with passion and energy. They are not only super times of reading and writing and composing sermons and lessons to teach, but they are very good times of being with the Lord and focusing on Him and my relationship with Him, as well as getting renewed in my vision and calling in life.

I am convinced that these times of being away, and decompressing, resulted in my being a better pastor, leader, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. It is such a blessed time that I call it heaven on earth.

All, All, All, All, All, All

Ephesians 4:31
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

I made a commitment to Patty a number of year’s ago that I would not get angry at her, not even a little bit irritated no matter what she did, no matter how many times she did it. My commitment was part of my “I love you” commitments, so every time I said “I love you” I was remaking my promise to her. Over the years I have been able to overcome the anger problem I had so that now I don’t get angry at Patty not even a little bit irritated no matter what she does, no matter how many times she does it.

So, I have succeeded with Patty, but there are times that I get angry at people. It isn’t a good thing to do, it doesn’t change anything about the situation we are in, and it is a very bad testimony for Christ. When I say I get angry, it isn’t loud, yelling kind of anger, but it is intense and emotional and influences the words I speak to people.

I pray a prayer of commitment every morning and I will include in it, “I will not get angry at anybody, not even a little bit irritated no matter what they do, no matter how many times they have done it. Lord, I can’t keep this commitment unless you specifically give me the power to keep it. please do that, I declare to you my total dependence on You to give me the strength to become a very patient person in character in all my relationships.

I understand the need at times for what is called “righteous anger” when dealing with sin or injustice in situations, but I also know the difference between what I am talking about conquering which is a part of my “flesh” and godly anger. I have a strong desire to be a godly man who pleases the Lord with all my actions, words, and thoughts.

How Cool is That!

You may remember the blog I wrote the night of the Super Bowl entitled “Bad Calls.” At the end of the game there was a holding call made that resulted in a first down for the Kansas City Chiefs that was a key play in the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl. There was all kinds of complaining, grumbling, and criticism about that call. I wrote that the world always complains and grumbles about outcomes, but as Christians, we need to be good ambassadors for Christ, and acting and talking like the world is not the way to attract people to our savior and Lord.

The name of the referee that made the call is Carl Cheffers. I have a friend who lives in southern California who is a friend of Carl Cheffers, and my friend reads my blog. When he read the one “Bad Calls” he forwarded it to Carl Cheffers who read it, commented on it, and said, “I love the blog, it is so true.” He is a committed Christian and shared in his response “Surrounding myself with my faith and my work in the community amongst other things, keeps my football life in perspective.”

It is so easy to get pessimistic about our present world situation and the state of our nation, but in the midst of the darkness, there are many bright lights that give hope and encouragement with their faith and character.

You Hypocrite

The worst experience for me in all of life is to do something that I teach against. I feel like a total wimp and a hypocrite when I do. The last couple of days I have let myself get into a downward cycle of self-pity, and depression and have made little attempt to pull myself out of it, just sort of soak and sour.

I teach that we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we do that by meditating on scripture verses that apply to what we are dealing with. I know that, I teach that, so why am I letting myself do this negative thinking stuff. It is probably a result of a number of things, but I am on the mend now.

Being in the dumps is a miserable place to be especially when you know it is self-inflicted, that makes it even worse. But the cool thing about being a Christian is that confession and repentance really does work. My self-talk goes like this, “OK, do you want to stay here the rest of your life? NO! How about a year? NO! How about a week? NO! How about a day? NO! I am sorry Lord, You are wonderful to me, life is amazing, I am of all people most blessed, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Heaven is a wonderful place! Thank You for giving me that wonderful gift! I am sorry for thinking like a fool, thank You for forgiving me! “

The next thing I do is journal in detail to embed the principle of right thinking into my head and heart. The good thing that comes out of these occasional bouts of stupid thinking is that I can teach what I teach about positive thinking with increased passion, this is no hypothetical lesson, it is very real.

God Created Crabbs

Last night I was weary in my soul. I spoke, taught, preached for four hours, first at 8:00 am to the woman’s leadership class, then I drove to Tangent and preached the sermon in the Sunday morning service at Agape Family Fellowship, then I drove back to Jefferson and taught my Men’s Leadership class at 1:00 pm and then my leadership II class at 3:00 pm, and then I drove back to Agape to have a meeting with key leaders and Elders. Then I drove home and arrived in time for dinner at 8:00 pm. Yesterday I had numerous hard conversations with different people about their life. At the conclusion of the day last night I was weary in my soul.

Today I went crabbing with a friend. I went crabbing about 15 years ago but I don’t remember much of what happened then. Today we put his boat in the water at the Siletz River Bay and put out 6 Crabb Potts with chicken parts inside each trap. We spread them out in the bay and after waiting for 45 minutes we pulled each one up, took out the male Crabb’s that were legal limit in size, and threw the rest back in the water. We would then drop the Crabb pot back into the water and go to the next one and check it. It was a nice day on the water with a light breeze blowing, and occasionally it would rain a bit.

I woke up this morning with the same weary soul that I went to bed with, but I noticed that as we were busy trying to capture crabs the weariness went away and was replaced with joy and a very real feeling of contentment in life and a very healthy soul. It is amazing to me how therapeutic God’s creation is and how effective it is in making me understand how wonderful life really is.


1 Peter 5:8-9
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith.

Ephesians 6:11-12
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The more we do for God the more agitated the devil will become and the more he will attempt to mess up our life. The main thing he does with me is talk to me, and I hear him in my thoughts. His goal is to get me to believe lies so I will act on those instead of truth. He increases the volume, that is the number of times he or his demons speak to me, the number of thoughts that pop into my thinking, and I suppose the loudness as well. I would guess that he accomplishes that by increasing the number of demons assigned to me.

I resist the domain of darkness by choosing to rejoice always, setting my mind on verses I have memorized and thinking about them a lot. Sunday nights are almost always nights of great struggle to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and to not let my thoughts drag me into self-pity, irritation, bitterness, weariness, and a host of other thinking patterns designed by the devil to steal my joy.

Sometimes I get weary with the unending onslaught of negative thoughts that I need to conquer. The Bible promises that there comes a point that if I am faithful to keep resisting that he , the devil, will flee from me for awhile.

Wake Up

Revelation 3:1 you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die;

People say that you are something special, but from God’s perspective you are dead, and God’s command to you is simply, “wake up.” To be a different person than people see is to be different in that part of our life that people can’t see, our heart, our soul. To be different on the inside than what we are on the outside.

Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

To be a person like the Pharisees is a place of no growth, little accomplishment, low self-worth, defensiveness, and extra sensitivity to slights and hurts. When you keep pretending you get to the point where you have blind spots, and character flaws that you don’t see, but most other people do. The key to overcoming this natural tendency of all people to project an image of what we want people to believe that we are when we aren’t is to faithfully read, memorize, and meditate on the Bible.

Hebrews 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.