This weekend was a “Special Offering” at Jefferson Baptist Church. Everything that went into the offering plates this weekend was for our Foreign Missions Budget, the total given on this annual offering event is the budget for our missions ministry. Our goal was $120,000 and we have been praying about it as a church for the last month asking God to bless individuals and stir people’s hearts. As of right now we have $118,000 and more will come in this next week from people who missed church this weekend. We have been holding “Special Offerings” for 40 years and I am pretty sure, guessing from memory, that whatever goal we have set we have made about 90% of the time. We believe in the power of everybody in the church praying for the same goal in agreement.
It is so exciting and rewarding what JBC accomplishes with this money each year. We have started dozens of schools in Sierra Leone and Liberia, West Africa, for kids who wouldn’t get to attend school otherwise. We have started many churches and a Bible College to teach and train pastors so we can plant more churches. The goal is to start 100 churches by 2040 and the same number of new schools. There are a number of other projects in West Africa that are planned as well as around the world.
It is healthy for people to give away some of their hard earned money to serve God and help others. Giving inoculates us against worldliness. Sacrificial giving helps us understand God’s gift of His son, Jesus to save us from our sins and to appreciate it more.
I am restoring a 1969 Mustang with my grandson Isaac. Though a better way to say it is I am helping my grandson Isaac restore a 1969 mustang. it will be his car when we are finished with it.
I restored a 1949 Ford pickup and it was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done, and I am thinking that this project will be more fun because of doing it with Isaac. We will rebuild the engine, do a bunch of cutting out rusted sections and welding in new metal, we will rewire the entire car, replace all the instruments, redo the entire interior, including upholstery, do the body work and paint it. By the time we are finished Isaac will have learned a lot of different skills.
Today we got it into the shop that I just finished which I built just for this car. This will be its home for several years. This is a picture of what the engine is going to look like when we are finished with it, and a picture of what we invasion the car will look like.
I went up to the Portland Sportsman’s Show today with 4 other guys from JBC, and we had a great time. A brochure said that there would be 150,000 people come to the show this year over a 5 day period, an average of 30,000 people each day! We left this morning at 8:00 am, stopped at the Cracker Barrel for an awesome breakfast, and got to the Expo Center about 15 minutes before it opened and stood in a long line with a bunch of other excited people waiting for it to open. We took about 4 hours to walk through the whole thing and see all the exhibits with fishing stuff, boats, campers, hunting stuff and the hunting and fishing guides. I carry a bag with me and pick up a brochure for just about every guide that is at the show after talking to them and hearing their stories of dozens if not hundreds of deer and elk killed and looking at their pictures and videos. On the way home we stopped at the Oswego Grill for dinner and I had Baby back ribs and drank 3 cups of very good coffee. It was a very enjoyable day and all I bought were some Kokanee lures for Patty😀 the Portland Sportsman’s Show is one of my most favorite events and experiences each year. I think one of the reasons is because I went several times with my Dad and he enjoyed it so much. In one week JBC is going to open our own Sportsman’s Show at the Lynn County Fair Grounds and we are hoping and praying for 8000 people. Ours will be much smaller event but it will be good with lots of vendors showing off their stuff. I expect to have just as good of a time at ours as I did at the big one in Portland today.
I used to struggle with guilt for going to the Show and wasting a day that I could have used to do something much more profitable in ministry. Several years ago I was struggling big time with depression because of the number of failures that I recently had experienced in my life in ministry as a pastor at JBC. I went ahead and attended the show, but the entire trip up I was beating myself up for being so lazy and uncommitted to my church and the Lords’s work which he had given to me to do for his glory. A group of us spent the day drooling over fishing rods, guns, and boats, and we were about half way home before I realized that the black cloud that had been over my head for awhile was gone. I thought, Wow, I am feeling pretty good right now, and to my surprise the depression didn’t return the next day, or the next or the next. That Sunday I preached with more energy and passion than I had for a long time. Several people including Patty made comments about how much more fire I had than normal. I thought a lot about the reason for my sudden resurrected life, and the only conclusion that I could arrive at was the day spent with friends walking around in a crowd looking at hunting and fishing stuff had somehow, for some reason renewed my fervency.
I have since learned that I have several gas tanks, one of them is a physical energy tank from which I get energy to walk, run, work, and fish. When it gets empty I simply take a nap or a good nights sleep and I am ready to go again. Another one of my tanks is an emotional gas tank which when full makes me feel energized, passionate, and motivated. My emotional gas tank is used up by ministry to people and it needs refilled regularly and I need to discover how to do that. Well that day after walking around in a big buildings full of people, looking at cool stuff I discovered one way that worked well to fill me back up to full. I never miss now.
Recently a young lady who had attended our church for a number of years with her family when she was a teenager and college age and then moved away came up to me at an event we were both attending and thanked me for disciplining her and giving her a good foundation for her life while she attended JBC. Her words to me were very sincere and emotional, and I felt very honored and blessed. I thought, wow, that was so special and nice, thank You Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.
In those verses Paul is saying that when we get to heaven people will come up to us and tell us the part that we played in their life, the influence that we had that helped bring them to faith in Christ. I think that when we get our gloried body we will remember and know every part that every person had in our life and that we will also remember and know the part that we played in many other peoples lives. And for all eternity we will be praising and thanking people for the part they played in our life and many people will be thanking and praising us. That is going to be a lot of fun.
But what about the person who didn’t do or say anything to influence or make a difference in anybodies life because they were to busy with their own stuff to take the time to teach a Sunday School class or help out in Youth group or share their faith or even just to invite someone to church.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
A little over a year ago I went off of all refined sugar, 100%. I did it to improve my blood sugar level and to help with weight loss, but what I discovered in just 2 weeks was that my Parkinson’s improved dramatically. I had already discovered that exercise also helped a bunch so I started riding a stationary bike at least an hour every night. Between the two, no sugar and exercise I was doing pretty good in spite of the Parkinson’s. I still have it and it is progressing slowly, but I am keeping it under control with the diet and exercise and I have now increased my exercise to 90 minutes most nights rotating in weight lifting, tread mill, punching a heavy bag, and spending time on a rowing machine. So tonight when I got home from 3 days at the coast at a “Pastor’s Prayer Summit” Patty was gone to our daughter, Hanna’s place up in Washington, but next to my chair was a chocolate bar that was sugar free. As I ate it, enjoying every bite, I thought repeatedly, what a wonderful wife I have. Some sugar free stuff I have tried tastes terrible, but this chocolate bar was heavenly. I am sure she probably bought several, but as hard as I looked I couldn’t find where she hid them. It is probably a good thing or I would have eaten them all.
What does it mean to love someone? One of the things it means is that you work hard at making them happy. You think about what they like and enjoy in the way of experience, gifts, words and then you bring those things into their life at the perfect times. Actually, I think the timing is more important than the actual event or thing, which is such a major indicator of thoughtfulness. A little, sugar free chocolate bar probably cost about a dollar, but the timing was perfect and I feel very loved. Now, I need to think of something that I can do for Patty, I know, I will buy her something at the Sportsman’s Show in Portland that I am going to on Friday.😀
Today I bought 4 Kindle books from Amazon and they were all on emotional health. I am in the process of reading them all and will probably incorporate much of what I learn from the books into my “Leadership Training” that I do at our church. Our lives are about relationships, our relationship with Jesus, with our spouse, our kids, and with people in our church, neighborhoods, and the work place. A major key to healthy relationships is healthy emotions or a healthy soul. Another way of saying it is being mature as apposed to childish in our relationships. Emotionally healthy people don’t easily take offense at things, that is they don’t easily get their feelings hurt. They are secure and confident in situations where the outcome is uncertain and they have little control over the outcome. Emotionally healthy people treat other people with respect and honor because they don’t feel intimidated by them or in competition with them. There are a lot of adults who are not healthy on the inside, in their soul. So how does one pursue a healthy soul, emotional health. One of the most difficult problems that immature people is their personal blindness to the condition of their soul. They don’t realize they are unhealthy on the inside so they don’t pursue growth in this area of their life. I can teach the skill of growing up on the inside. I can teach self examination, reflective thinking, and I can teach how to set goals for ourselves after self examination, goals that will promote growth in our soul. Discipleship is the primary purpose of our church having been commanded by Jesus to make disciples, and a key part of discipleship is teaching people how to have healthy relationships with others.
From the age of 20 to 30 I skied a lot. In Trout Lake where I farmed we had a lot of snow in the winter so we built our own rope tow using a tractor on a truck with a 2 inch groove cut in one of the back tires. We rounded up almost a 1000 yards of 2 inch diameter rope, braided it in one big loop, put a car rim as a pulley at the top of a clear cut, put the rope around the pulley, jacked the back tire of the tractor off of the bed of the truck, ran the rope around it in the groove, put 5 gallons of diesel fuel in the tractor, started it, and skied for hours. We also got guys who owned snow machines to tow us up the road that was covered with snow to the top of Flat Top Mountain that had a fire lookout station at the top, and skied down the back side on the cleared trail made to run power poles to supply power and telephone service to the lookout station. We also would drive to Mt Hood Meadows and would ski almost every week all winter long. So for 10 years I skied a lot and got to be a pretty good skier. I am now 71 years old and have not skied for 40 years, but I am going to go skiing at Mt Bachelor in a couple of weeks. I am pretty sure that I am going to spend more time laying in the snow than skiing down the hill in spite of the fact that I am going to spend my time on the “ Bunny Hill”. I am anticipating having some spectacular wrecks in which I could break any number of body parts. The reason that this will happen is because a learned skill like skiing is forgotten if neglected for very long.
Another thing that slips away easily is my devotion to Jesus Christ as the Lord, the boss of my life. I don’t want it to happen, I don’t plan on it happening, it just does. Life gets hectic and I forget who is in charge of my life. The slipping away is slow at first and then picks up speed faster and faster. If I don’t catch it, repent, and recommit my life to Jesus as Lord there is the real danger that I would fall so far that coming back to being a fully devoted follower of Jesus may never happen. I have purposely built in events into my life and schedule that jerk me back into clear thinking resulting in solidly returning to Jesus as my first love, my Lord, my master, and my king. One such event is the annual 3 day Pastor’s Prayer Summit” held at Cannon Beach. It is away from everything in my normal life, the days are filled with worship and prayer, and the result for 32 years of coming is always the same, Jesus is King of my life, totally. I am here now, and the first day has been great, amazing, super, and awesome!