Myself and three friends left at 1 pm for Huntington, Oregon and the Snake River to go catfish fishing. We were towing my boat, and in Portland a wheel bearing went out. We waited in my pickup for 3 hours for the tow truck to get there. He finally made it and he took the boat and trailer back to my house. We drove back and ate a great dinner that Patty fixed us, and now we are back on the road just about where we had to turn around earlier. We decided to fish with two other friends who left before us with a pontoon boat. We can only fish four at a time on the pontoon boat but we can rotate. It should be a great fishing trip as good as it has started. The picture is of the boat and trailer getting loaded on the truck, it barely fit.
Every follower of Jesus struggles with consistency. The reason is obvious, there is a lot fighting against our faith in Christ. The world as a whole regards Jesus Christ as a fairytale, and those who profess to follow him as idiots. The devil and his demons are constantly, 24/7, talking to us, resulting in thoughts of doubt regarding all we have heard and learned about Jesus and the Christian life. Our own sin nature is anti-faith, anti-god, and anti-supernatural. The New Testament is constantly exhorting and encouraging consistency, endurance, and perseverance so as not to backside or become lukewarm in our faith, because so many do.
Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.
There seem to be seasons of backsliding, and one of them is summertime. For some reason, many think that while on vacation, they can skip reading their Bibles, skip their time with God in prayer, skip attending church, and skip any times of self-examination, reflective thinking, and confession of sin.
It doesn’t take long living in a chosen state of lukewarmness to be locked in there permanently. The thought that we can easily backside and then be incapable of reversing our state of uselessness to God ought to create a fear that would motivate us to persevere in our Christian disciplines. But, no, most think it is no big deal; they can jump back into living the Christian life when September gets here easily, and with no problems. Those who think so are naive at best and fools at worst.
Not much in life is as rewarding and fun as this.
This is a repeat of a blog that I wrote about a year ago.
A question that I get asked often is, ”Aren’t we supposed to be submissive to the government?” ”When is it OK not to be?”
God is all-powerful, He is sovereign over all. But He has delegated some of His sovereignty to four different human institutions.
The first institution that He has given authority to, and instruction on being submissive to is the family.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
The second institution that God has given authority to is business, the workplace. Obviously in this verse we can change the word slave to employee and master to boss. We all know that the boss is in charge and gives the orders.
Colossians 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
The third institution that God has shared His authority with is the church.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
And the fourth institution that we are instructed to be submissive to is our government.
Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Each of these institutions has a realm of jurisdiction, that is, God has given them authority over a particular area of life. If they attempt to exercise authority outside the realm of their God-given place of jurisdiction, they will create rebellion, anger, and war.
Pastor Mike Dedera and I function as co-pastors. He preaches most of the primary weekend services, and I teach Leadership classes and preach at our Wednesday evening service. He leads the staff meetings, and I usually lead our Elder meetings. We meet almost daily to discuss and talk about the decisions and direction of the church. But I am still the Senior Pastor, the boss. I have pastored at JBC for 44 years, Mike, about 12 years, I am 72 years old, and I don’t think he is 50 years old yet.
So, let’s suppose as Mike’s Boss I order him to sleep in a different bed than his wife, even a different room because if he gets COVID she is almost guaranteed to catch it sleeping in the same bed with him. What will his reaction be to my command to him as his boss? It will be anger, resentment, and rebellion, and justifiably so. This example is laughable, it is so ridiculous. My authority as Mike’s boss doesn’t extend into his home, no matter how well-intentioned my motives are. My jurisdiction stops at the church.
Governor Brown of Oregon has attempted to extend her jurisdiction, her authority into our church telling us how many can meet together, and who can do what. She has attempted to move into my home commanding us, under the threat of fines and arrest, not to have more than six family members gathered together at one time. Giving her credit for having the noblest of motives does not matter one iota! She has no jurisdiction in my church or my home, and my resentment, anger, and rebellion over her attempt to control them is not being insubmissive to God’s will.
There was a very Biblical reason that our countries Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the United States constitution. It basically means that government can’t boss churches around or tell them what they can’t do or have to do, the church is outside the realm of their jurisdiction.
Authority gone too far in the family is called child abuse, spousal abuse, and people are arrested, tried, and jailed for it. Bosses often become abusive, and overbearing, and you quit and find another job. Pastors often start thinking they are God and Lord it over people in their church, and those people then find another place to call their church home. So what do we do with this blatant abuse of power from our government? At this point I am just going to ignore it, see what happens, and go from there.
I invite you to come along with me on my adventure.
Today we fished for Shad on the Colombia River again, and we had a great time catching fish non-stop. As I was getting the hook out of a Shad the hook accidentally stuck into my finger. It went in we’ll past the barb and I couldn’t get it out. So I did the macho fisherman thing and pushed the hook through the skin on the other side of my finger, and cut the point of the hook off with the barb with some wire cutters. I was then able to pull the hook out of my finger. The hook had fish blood all over it so I imagine my finger will be swole up a bit tomorrow. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my fishing.
My son-in-law Aaron and my two grandsons, Duke and Rock from Oahu, will be fishing with me tomorrow. Duke and Rock are crazy about fishing, so I am anxious to take them tomorrow. Not much in life equals fishing with grandsons.
This a picture of the boat I built in the Colombia River just below Bonneville Dam fishing for Shad today. We caught several hundred Shad. They are an absolute blast to catch, you catch a lot of them and they put up a great fight.
One of the challenges while on a 5-day fishing trip is maintaining my spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, scripture memory, and writing. We get up at 4:00 am, fish all day, come back where we are staying very tired knowing that 4:00 am is coming soon, and so it is so easy to skip, or greatly reduce my commitments. The problem is if you skip once, a second time is easier, and a third even easier, and then you are quickly back to being lukewarm and bearing no or little fruit for God.
Gary Brown and I are staying in a cabin in Cascade Locks for a week going Shad fishing each day in the Colombia just below Bonneville Dam. It is about a ten-minute drive to the boat ramp from the cabin. We both brought our boats and have different guys driving up to fish with us each day. Gary had two friends coming today to fish with him that I had never met. He told them that they could park their motor home in the KOA campground that is about a quarter-mile from our cabin, and then join him this morning at our cabin at 5:30 am. I didn’t know about any of these arrangements. When we got here Sunday afternoon we decided to go to a local restaurant for dinner. Gary said, “Let’s drive around the KOA campground and see if we can find someone who looks lonely to invite to go with us to dinner and then we can witness to them.” I thought, “ Wow, that is cool, I did’t know Gary was that aggressive of a witness for Jesus.” So, we drive around and around the campground and Gary sees a guy, and stops, gets out of his truck and goes over and starts talking to him. The guy goes into his motor home and Gary looks at me and puts two thumbs up, and then two guys get into the truck with us. I again think, Wow, this is going to be fun. They introduce themselves to me and the one guy says, “I have a friend who knows you.” Now this totally confuses me because we have just met, I think he saw my confusion and said, “you are Pastor Duke, aren’t you? I said yes, but how did you know that, and he said, “Oh Gary told me you would be fishing with us when he invited us to go fishing with him.” Now I am really confused and say, “So, wait a minute, this isn’t the first time you have met Gary?” He answers and says, “Oh no, we have known each other for 15 years.” My words to Gary when he gets into the truck were, “Well, you scoundrel!”
I finally got my boat running good. I built this boat with 2×4’s and plywood covering it all with epoxy and fiberglass. It is a great boat, 26 feet long, very stable, but I have had trouble with the outboard motors. I have bought cheap motors that I could afford, $500 is average, I have had 3 different ones all 85 hp Johnsons. I finally decided to spend a little more and try to find one that was reliable, and I got this 135 hp Evinrude. The fellow that recently rebuilt it assured me that it was top-notch, and he seemed like a trustworthy person. I had some initial trouble because mud dobbers stuffed the coil full of mud. I got that fixed and then I had problems because the gas tank somehow got on top of the gas line and wouldn’t let gas through. I got that fixed and this little video is my boat on it’s successful test drive!! Yahoo
Tomorrow after church is over I am leaving to spend five days on the Colombia fishing for Shad. We are going to camp in Cascade Locks, and drive the few miles to the boat ramp each morning. There are different groups of guys driving up each morning to fish with us. I am looking forward to a good week of fishing in my very fine boat.
The church is the Bride of Christ, the eternal companion of Jesus Christ, He died for the church, and He is in the process of making her beautiful for Himself.
Tonight we had a dinner for new attenders to JBC, and I told our story along with slides and a video. Our church began in 1973 when I was 25 years old, and now JBC is 48 years old and I am 72. It is a long and glorious story of God building His church and making her beautiful.
As we showed the slides that were taken over the last 45 years, and I told our story, which I have repeated often, I was once again reminded of how blessed our church has been over the years, and how blessed I have been to be a part of the beautiful things God has chosen to do here. Sometimes people will praise me for my visionary leadership, but I have been like a surfer who looks for a big wave and hops on at a good time, and rides it in having the time of his life. Me seeing the big wave and getting JBC on top of it has been much more the result of God’s Sovereign working than my visionary leadership.
One of my core beliefs is that my love for my church is my love for Jesus, and my commitment to Jesus as Lord of my life can be measured by determining my commitment to my church.
You can’t go wrong in life loving, serving, building, and helping the church to grow. Find one that preaches the Word and pour your life out in it. God loves His church and those who make her beautiful receive a special blessing from Him.
I went and watched my 9-year-old grandson Courage play in a baseball game today. Every year a group of us drive up together and watch a Mariner’s game. The trip up to Seattle with a group of friends to watch a professional major league baseball game is a lot of fun, especially when we get seats just a dozen rows up from first base, and especially when we pig out on hotdogs and other treats while watching the game, and then stop halfway home for a steak dinner at a nice restaurant. But as much fun as that is, I think I enjoyed the game today more.
When our eight kids were in school and playing basketball, volleyball, and football, I used to yell my fool head off at games and then be hoarse for the next couple of days. It has been quite a few years since those days so I was a bit intimidated to yell today, not wanting to embarrass myself or my grandson, I must have picked up some vanity in my old age.
I did pray none-stop for him as I watched. I prayed that sports would be a great tool to develop a spirit of passion, drive, and desire in him that would be a key character trait as he gets older so that he will bear much fruit for the Lord. I prayed that the desire to win would motivate him to be very diligent to be the best that he can be. I prayed for his coach that he would motivate and encourage him and not discourage him and that in the coaching process, Courage would become very teachable in spirit. I prayed that his ability to play the game of baseball with his teammates in unity and comradery would shape him so that when he gets older he could work together with others in his church to accomplish great things for the Lord. I especially prayed that if he were to become good at baseball and or other sports, he would not become prideful as so many athletes do.
The Apostle Paul used sports as an illustration for living the Christian life a lot. What it takes to become a successful athlete is very close to what it takes to be a champion for Jesus, so I am going to keep praying for all of my grandkids every day.