Monthly Archives: March 2023

Another Defining Moment

Another significant defining moment in my life was when we moved to the farm that Dad and Mom bought when Dad retired from the Navy in 1960. They had been planning on buying a farm for all of their married life when Dad retired and they had been looking at various kinds of farms in lots of different locations. They settled on a 120-acre farm that had been repossessed by the bank and had not been lived on for many years. It was the second to last place on the road, 13 miles out from the town of Myrtle Creek in Southern Oregon. The place was terribly run down and the little house had been used as a sheep barn for some time. We shoveled out the sheep manure and moved in. There was no plumbing, no water, no electricity. The first thing we did was dig a big hole and build an outhouse. My first 12 years of life were lived in Navy housing in big cities so I was a city boy, and this new chapter in my life was a huge lifestyle change, but I fully embraced it and thought that we were a modern version of Swiss Family Robison. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.

This is where I learned to fish and hunt and where I fell in love with both. This is where I learned how to work hard and to truly enjoy being dog-tired at the end of the day. I learned that a lot of a person’s dreams can be accomplished with a little money and a lot of work. We did all of our farming with a 1948 Ford pick-up pulling horse-drawn equipment that got whatever power it needed from the steel wheels that were turning because of being pulled. That old pickup with granny gear had a lot of power. We later purchased a Ford/ Ferguson 9N tractor but we still used mostly horse-drawn equipment.

Way back in 1976 when I started as the pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church with zero experience and very little understanding of what a pastor was supposed to do, meeting in the grade school gym, it felt just like 1960 moving into a sheep barn. I was excited about the challenge and the adventure that was about to come into my life.

It is amazing how much fun an experience is when the default mind set is that God is directing and causing all things to work together for His purposes and our growth, significance, and accomplishment. God’s plans for our life almost always have the equivalent of a sheep barn and a 1948 Ford pickup. We just have to make sure we don’t let our flesh, the world, or the devil ruin it for us.

Defining Moments

Certain events have a much larger than average influence on our lives, and life direction. It is as if we are paddling our canoe straight North as we cross a lake, and we hit a rock hidden under the water and now we are headed East. As we think about the history of our life we are not just recounting general events but ones that caused great change. It is fun to remember and think about defining moments. Nothing makes me more aware of God’s sovereign working in my life than to see the history of events in my life that look from the outside to be purely coincidental but are obviously a well-orchestrated plan by a powerful God who loves me, and has a plan for my life.

The first major defining moment in my life was when I got run over by a D6 Caterpillar when I was six years old. The initial doctor’s opinion when they got me to the hospital was that I was going to die. My Mom when she got to the hospital and heard the verdict went into the little chapel and prayed for me not only to live but to live and be totally healed of any permanent consequences from the accident. In the process of praying for me she made a number of promises to God about me which resulted in me rarely missing a church service, I attended every Vacation Bible School event around us, I never missed summer camp, youth group, Sunday School, and prayer meetings were a permanent fixture in my life. Needless to say I was exposed to the gospel and the content of the Bible often, and it all stuck. Some parents are fairly lenient in making sure their kids are fully immersed in the life of the church, not my Mom, she had made a deal with God, and the fact that I was walking around as a healthy young man was ample proof that He had kept His end of the deal, and my Mom fully intended to keep her end as well.

God’s Power Flows to Commitment

I decided to write a new daily prayer of commitment. It is much longer than my last one that I had memorized so I will read this one each day. I will print it off, laminate it, and hang it in the bathroom. I will also put it in my phone, and my Ipad.

Today, Jesus, I declare You to be King, master, ruler, and Lord of my life. You purchased me with Your blood, I am not in charge of my life, You are. Today I will obey You, I will seek Your perfect will for my life, and I will do whatever You want me to do, no matter how difficult it is. This is the only reasonable thing I can do, in light of all that You have done for me.

Today, I will read Your Word, I will memorize it and meditate on it, Your Word will not depart from my mind.

Today, I will be devoted to prayer, I will pray in solitude, with Patty, and with my church family, I will pray without ceasing.

Today I will diligently work at growing in my spiritual gift of teaching and will always be looking for opportunities You provide to teach Your Word to others in speech and in writing.

Today I will love Patty as You, Jesus have loved the church. She is the only woman in my life mentally, emotionally, and physically. I will honor her by paying sincere attention to her words as she talks to me. I will not get angry at her, not even a little bit irritated, no matter what she does. I will work hard to understand her as a person and I will meet all of her needs.

Today, I will love any person You sovereignly bring into my life no matter how difficult they might be to love. I will forgive them quickly of any offense against me because You have forgiven me of everything wrong I have done. I will meet the needs in their life sacrificially as I become aware of them. In any conflict I will initiate reconciliation, I will be the peacemaker.

Today, I will do my part to build Your church at JBC and around the world. I will use my gifts, energy, and resources to make Your Bride beautiful, without spot wrinkle or blemish. I will love Your Church, Your eternal Bride as I love You.

Today I will diligently pursue holiness and the character of Christ. I will confess and repent of all known sins, not justifying, excusing, ignoring, or blaming them on others.

Today I will exercise self-control over my thoughts and words, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and only speaking words that edify and give grace to those who hear.

Today I will exercise great self-control over my eating and my exercise recognizing that my physical body is the only means that I have to serve You and do Your work, I am a steward of my body.

Today I will seek wisdom like gold, silver and precious treasure. I will diligently read good books, listen to good teaching, and get good counsel, never being content with where I am, always wanting more.

Today I will lift up my eyes and look at the fields that are white all around me looking for open doors, opportunities, and divine appointments and I will be Your ambassador and witness attempting to influence people closer to faith in Jesus.

Today I will be a leader as God grants opportunity. As I lead I will be gentle, humble, and gracious. I will, not be argumentative, pugnacious, and I will not lord it over people. I will work hard at praising people and honoring them as God’s children.

I can’t keep these commitments in my own strength. Dear Lord, please fill me with Your Holy Spirit today, grant me Your strength. Today I will glorify You with my life, I will praise and worship You, I will not let the foot of pride step on my neck, and I will walk humbly with my God.

I Don’t Get It

Understanding why people do certain things is often a mystery. Everybody does everything they do for a reason, there is always a motive. Proverbs uses the word fool a lot. A fool isn’t primarily a fool because of what they do but because of why they do it. Right, good, and healthy motives will result in good behavior.

Understanding why I do things is also often a mystery. Everything I do has a motive behind it but the fact is I often don’t know what my own motives are. Changing the “why” in my life is the key to changing my life, but so often I don’t even know what the why is, so how can I change it?

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

A steady diet of the Bible will increase wisdom and understanding significantly. The Bible is the very mind of Christ, His thoughts. The person who faithfully reads the Bible everyday and spends time memorizing and meditating on the words of Christ will have wisdom and understanding, and it will be wisdom and understanding, increasingly for and about others.

Brain Dead

Sometimes when I write my blog very late in the evening my brain isn’t working very well and what I write isn’t very clear. Part of the problem isn’t just that I am brain-dead, but my vision is getting blurry late at night and I can’t read the little font on my blog program very well so I miss a lot of the misspelled words and wrong choice of words.

This morning I read the blog I wrote last night and the last sentence that I wrote was, “at least the catching part of the equation is exciting”. I asked myself this morning, “what does that mean?” I have no clue. I am pretty sure I fell asleep right there because there was no period at the end of the sentence, and it looks like the beginning of something profound that I was going to write, maybe, who knows? Some of you might suggest that it was the sardines that affected my thinking! I pray every night that in my writing, teaching, and preaching that God will work in me and help me to communicate clearly so people understand exactly what I am wanting to say.

Colossians 4:3-4
praying at the same time for us as well. . .that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

Communication is such an important skill in relationships, in leadership, and especially as a teacher of the Bible. I listen to a lot of preachers, speakers, and teachers on YouTube and on Pod Cast. I listen to Pastors who want me to coach them on their preaching, and the level of skill in communicating is all over the board.

Part of the problem is that many people are not very skilled in listening. Two people can listen to the same teacher at the same time, one learns a ton of information and the other person gets nothing. I have found in my marriage counseling over the years that communication is often the major problem and poor listening is as much of the issue as poor speaking.

But, that being said, one of my axioms as a writer, preacher, teacher is that if the people who are reading my blog or listening to me teach don’t get it, I am 100% the problem, I need to study more, read more, work harder, and pray more. It is my responsibility to communicate clearly so I am fully understood.

Some might say, “but that isn’t true, the listener has a responsibility as well.” I agree, but I can’t do anything about their lazy listening so I have to take responsibility to bridge the gap. A major part of the challenge in speaking is trying to discern while I am speaking if what I am saying is getting through. That is why I will fuss about people sitting in the back of our sanctuary when there are lots of empty seats in the front, because if I can’t see their eyes I am flying blind. I do a lot of teaching now via zoom and it is a great way to expand ministry because I don’t have to travel to Ecuador or other places around the U.S, or the world, but I don’t like it because I rarely am speaking to an audience I can see. Oh well, I will keep working and praying and asking God to please use me in my old age.


I sit in my recliner almost every evening for about four hours reading, memorizing, writing, and praying. I almost always get a snack when I am about two hours from being done for the evening. My favorite snack is big bowl of popcorn with a cube of butter melted in the microwave and poured all over it. Eating a cube of butter each evening would probably not be a good idea for my health so I have figured out some other snacks. My second favorite is two cans of sardines on some healthy flax seed crackers with no sugar in them. I read for ten minutes and eat a cracker and then read another ten minutes. Because I get bored easily I switch activities from memorizing, to reading, then to wtiting, and then to praying and back again after I eat two crackers. My game playing to combat boredom reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 1:5-6
Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again.
Blowing toward the south,
Then turning toward the north,
The wind continues swirling along;
And on its circular courses the wind returns.

Well at least the catching part of the equation is exciting


When you think about God who is infinite in existence, He has always existed without beginning, and He is infinite in power, there is nothing that He can’t do, and He is infinite in wisdom, He knows everything, and He is omnipresent, meaning He is everyplace. Who am I that He would listen to me, that He would want me to talk to Him, that He would give great words of promise and reward to whoever would choose to spend time talking to Him? It is quite amazing that He will listen with interest and attentiveness to my words to him, and that He promises to answer the requests that I make to Him. With all that was offered to me why would I choose to be too busy to give Him much time talking to him? That is a mystery to me. I guess it illustrates the stupidity of mankind. My morning prayer of commitment is that I will be devoted to prayer and that I will seek Him diligently..

An Old Story, but I Thought You would Like to Read it One More Time.

When I was twelve years old our family lived in Alameda, California not very far from the Navy Base that was located there. My Dad was just months away from retiring from the Navy, having served since before World War II for over twenty years. He and I would occasionally walk to the Base and fish off of the docks. We would take our fishing rods, a small tackle box, buckets to sit on and to put the fish in that we caught, and a few pieces of bread which we used for bait. We would tie a lead weight on at the end of our line with about six hooks tied on above the weight, each one is about a foot apart. We would take a piece of bread and roll it around until it was a nice little doe ball the size of a pea and put one on each hook. We would then jig that collection of tasty doe balls up and down in the water about ten feet below the surface. It would usually only be a few minutes before we had a perch on our line, and sometimes two or three at one time.

Most of the time when we went fishing the wind was blowing briskly, as it normally does at the coast. But one time, late in the evening, it was an absolutely dead calm, and the water in the bay was flat and smooth as glass. Dad set his bucket and fishing stuff down and walked over to one of the many Navy ships that were tied up to the docks. He leaned out and put his hands on the side of this enormous ship and began to push with all of his might. I remember thinking to myself, ”Yikes, Dad has lost it, he should have retired months ago”! He pushed for a long time, and I began to seriously worry, and then the ship began to move away from the dock! My thinking immediately changed too, ”Wow, my Dad must be Superman”! He sat down on the edge of the dock, and asked me to sit down next to him and gave me this little speech that has incredibly impacted my life ever since; ”I don’t know exactly how it works, but somehow as I pushed my energy was being stored up in the molecules in the steel in the hull of this ship. After there was enough of my energy put into the mass of this ship it moved. It wouldn’t have worked had there been any wind, but tonight was the perfect time to show you this principle. Two things that I want you never to forget, first of all, if I had gotten discouraged and quit, it wouldn’t have moved and everything I had done up to that point would have been lost, if you want to move or accomplish something very big you have to keep pushing and never give up. The second thing is, if you had helped me we would have moved it in half the time.”

Paint Foot

This morning before I headed to the church I wanted to check the oil in my truck. It is too tall for me to be able to reach the dipstick so I got a five-gallon bucket of paint from inside my shop to stand on. I was just standing on it with one foot and I was too heavy and the lid broke and my foot went through the lid and into the bucket of paint. The broken plastic resulted in many jagged edges which were digging into my lower leg and whenever I tried to pull my foot out of the bucket those ragged edges dug in and successfully kept my foot and lower leg trapped in the bucket. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t get my leg out of the bucket, whenever I made a concerted effort to free myself I came close to falling over, and I was making a huge mess with paint sloped everywhere around me. I felt like the mouse I recently saw in one of those “sticky traps” trying desperately to free himself. I phoned Sherri but she was already gone, Patty was gone, everybody was gone except Thomas and he is in a wheelchair.

I stood for five minutes looking at the bucket and trying to figure out what I was going to do. I bought the paint for my shop and garage and I didn’t want to waste any more than I already had. Finally I managed to bend over enough, reach under the lid and little by little pry the lid up and off of the bucket. Whoooeeeere I was free. It took me most of an hour to clean the paint up, wash it out of my shoe, my pants, my leg and foot, and my sock. I think Patty will be mad at me when she sees all of the paint on her towels that I used to clean up stuff.

I missed a noon appointment and when I called and gave my excuse to the person I was supposed to meet with he got a good laugh. I decided to go up to Derek’s and get a hair cut and 5 guys were waiting so I told them my story and I am pretty sure I made their day. I had an appointment with the general director of our denomination at 3:00 pm so I told him my story and he thought I could build a whole sermon around such a cool illustration, and here I sit in my recliner telling all of you my story. I hope I have made your day!

Big Mistake

As I listen to people share their problems in life and read on social media the things people write about concerning their life, there is so much sadness, despair, fear, and bitterness in the world right now. Some of the bitterness is towards people but much of it is directed at God. As I listen and read there is one common mistake that everyone makes. They expect that God is going to give them a measure of pleasure in life, and when the storms come they shake their fist at God. The big mistake is they forget, I guess that is what happens, they forget that life is rotten on purpose, by God’s design, it is supposed to be full of trials so that we will grow in character, to be like Jesus Christ so that when we enter heaven we will be like Him, and therefore will enjoy Him and eternity to the max.

Weak character doesn’t like rapid change. We like time to adjust to change so we can be secure and comfortable. Now change is happening almost daily, and those with weak character panic, fear, make poor decisions, talk way to much, and react selfishly. So I am going to choose to pray a lot and ask God for joy, peace, strength, and wisdom. I am going to choose not to enter into negative conversations about the present situation and future fears. I am going to choose to be joyful always, not in a “head in the sand way”, but in a way that communicates faith in God. I will remind myself at least daily that life is designed by God to be hard, full of trials, and extremely difficult, and heaven is wonderful beyond comprehension. Those who will enjoy heaven the most are those who enter into glory with the character of Christ.

So many people believe that because God loves us He will keep us from hard times in this life. The truth is God knows this life is a blink of an eye in length and then we will be in eternity. We need to “set our minds on the things above, not on the things of this earth”. We need to anticipate and expect hard times and grow through them.