14 October 2021 Good Day to each of you!
I really enjoyed our men’s retreat this past weekend at Heritage Hills with David Dusek, the author of the Amazon #1 Best-Selling “Rough Cut Men: A Man’s Battle Guide To Building Relationships with Each Other, And With Jesus” and “The Battle: Tactics for Biblical Manhood learned from the 7th Cavalry in Vietnam.” David presented great content and challenged us all to new considerations for our walk of faith- and our walk-in faith with each other.
There were a few takeaways that I thought were of exceptionally great value that I would like to share. Colonel Hal Moore, the focus of David’s book “The Battle,” had some great principles that he lived and led by. Although this was a men’s retreat, the content is applicable to everyone:
- Three strikes and you’re not out. You’re never out unless you quit.
- There’s always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor—and after that one more thing, and after that…. The more you do the more opportunities arise.”
- When there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong … except there’s nothing wrong! This is when a leader must be most alert! Danger lurks.
- Trust your instincts. They are the product of your education, your reading, your personality, and your experience. When seconds count, this is all you have. Learn to trust them and act on them.
Colonel Hal Moore was remembered for these principles, not only on the battlefield, but in the way that he lived his life. As I listened to our speaker on Friday and Saturday, I considered the relevance of these points to our lives, and the life of the church. To the first point, I think the easiest point to take away is that in our faith, God never turns His back on us. We can mess up (and do) time after time after time, and yet He is always there to grant us grace and forgiveness. In God’s love, we are never finished, so unless we quit, He will always be there, as a loving Father, willing to give us another at bat.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
To the second point, the point of “in your favor” is relating to the battlefield, not personal gain. Sometimes in life, we get frustrated with whatever it is that we may be dealing with or working through and the tendency is to stop trying, do nothing, or sometimes quit. But, if we continue to move forward, even with little steps, it will reveal new realities for us, give us vision for new possibilities and directions that we would never see if we stay where we are. It is hard in any battle to move forward. But, even if your steps are small, it is still progress.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…” (Philippians 3:12-14).
The third point brings to mind the fact that we live in a world that will challenge us as Christians. For me, this is a tongue-in-cheek saying, “When there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong … except there’s nothing wrong!” We often say “things are going well,” and then look for a piece of wood to touch (as if touching wood provides protection from negative things happening as a result of our enjoying good times). The problem with this quote is that it may lead some to thinking that there will always be some negative thing going to happen to us if we enjoy the good things in life. But much of what we enjoy are blessings bestowed upon us by God! Why would he give to us to only later punish us? This would reveal a co-dependent trait of God- meaning he blesses us to then only inflict pain, or vice versa. But what I find positive about this quote is that although we may be enjoying positive times, blessings of God, or simply the joys of those that God gifted to our lives, that there is an enemy out there that is always seeking to bring us down. NOT God, but the enemy, even our own human nature. Therefore, it is good to be on guard to the existence of evil in the world, and not prepare for the worst, but always be strengthened to ward off its onslaught against us. (Safety Tip: Spend time in the Word of God and in Prayer!)
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)
The final point is regarding the trusting of your instincts. This is so important as we live in a world where truth of any type is difficult to discern. Today, we often base truth and what we believe on the network we watch (or don’t watch). I have realized that in these cycles, the only “consistent” is inconsistency. But as Hal Moore stated, we have knowledge and experience that is a gift from God that we can count on. It seems to me that much of what I used to know as true is no longer true. We live in a world where being confident about our actions is difficult. But we also have to keep in mind that the doubt that we have has been delivered to us not by the Word of God, but by man. Therefore, sometimes we may just need to fall back on our instincts- what we know in our hearts to be right based on what we have read, been taught, and experienced. When in doubt, a prayer for wisdom and discernment from the ultimate Truth will never hurt! The following verse is in regards to our faith, and not the events of the world, but I believe the scriptures are clear that we will lose our focus, and an implication is that we will tend to be deceived by what we hear, what we want to hear, and especially that which others want us to believe.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim. 4:3)
As a church, our strength is growing through our relationships with one another and the joy that we bring to our times of worship and fellowship. What a blessing it is to be a part of this church, and this body that God has brought together for a time such as this!
Just a quick update on the Fellowship Hall and flood remediations: Thanks again to everyone who was able to help clear out the stage and fellowship hall. The stage has been removed and the asbestos remediation is in progress as I write this. The rain gutters will be repaired and upgraded in the next two weeks. Spangler & Boyer in conjunction with Roto-Rooter have bored out, jet-cleaned and opened up our drain pipes and are repairing areas that are not currently serviceable or broken completely. Engineers are developing plans for restoration and renovation of the fellowship hall area which may include improved ADA access to the space and new interior drainage considerations. The dying trees out front will be addressed in November. So, stuff is happening and I am very appreciative of everyone’s efforts in getting us back in business! Your efforts, plans and visions will ensure that we come out of all of this in a better place with an updated facility!
Put on your calendars October 31st, 1-3PM for our Trunk or Treat Community Fellowship event. You will see much more information on this next week!
Peace and Blessings!
8 October 2021 Greetings Yorkshire!
It is my sincere hope that this day finds you well and finding opportunities to spend some time with God in His Word or in prayer! It is important!
As some of you may know, I am completing some course work at Lancaster Bible College/Capital Seminary as part of my continuing education requirement as a pastor in the United Methodist Church. The course that I am completing my finals for this week focused heavily on our spiritual relationship with God as it works into growth in our discipleship. I initially wasn’t really excited about this class as I much prefer some deep scriptural study or even leadership studies which has been the focus of my post-graduate work. But, as I look back on the course content, it was really about ensuring that we take time out of our day, and spend it with God. This can look different for each person. The purpose for this course as part of a ministry leadership program is that we need to ensure that our life has balance, and for most people, including me, it doesn’t.
I want to share a simple exercise that we did that I found to be of great value. In the graphic below, you see a barrel that represents us. The pipe at the top represents things in our life that fill us, or give us strength, motivation, pleasure, and contentment. This is our source of energy to accomplish life in a positive manner.
At the bottom of the barrel is a drain, which represents things in our life that take energy from us, exhaust us, or dominate our time in ways that tend to “empty” us emotionally.
The concept of the model is that we need to ensure that we have more positive elements of our life filling us than those things that empty us. The lines on the barrel represent our emotional levels meaning that the lower the barrel gets as a result of those things that drain us, the more stress, anxiety, tension, or fatigue we will have in our being. Less fill = less energy.
The balance is that we only have so much time in a day. We will spend our day doing things that fill us in a positive manner, or drain us. Most folks tend to focus on stuff that drains us, like work, filling our schedules with things to do, places to be, shopping to be done, meetings that we are asked to attend. We often don’t have as much time to do the things that fill our tanks. We live our life in a manner where our “cups are only ever half full.” I suggest that you make a list of the things that fill your tank, and the things that currently drain your tank. You may find that the list of “drains” exceeds your “fills.” And each time we add a “draining” item to our list, we make time for it by eliminating one of the things that “fill” our tank. And if you are often feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burnt out, this may be why.
One of the areas of life which is of critical importance to our relationship with God is the time we spend with Him. Time which includes reading and studying His Word, doing devotions, time in small group fellowship, Sunday School, worship, and of great importance, prayer. Many times folks will ask me a biblical question to seek an answer for which they don’t have time to research or read in the Bible themselves. Folks often don’t understand elements of the scriptures, yet spend little or no time studying them or reading them.
Years ago, when I worked in a corporate position that required a level of financial knowledge that I did not possess, I went out and purchased basic accounting text books and I studied them. I learned the terminology and the basics of financial spreadsheets, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements. I learned a great deal that gave me a foundation to at least understand what I needed to know. I referenced these books whenever something would come along that I did not understand.
In the same manner, we need to spend time in the Word of God. This is where God reveals Himself to us. So often I hear comments like, “I don’t think that God would…” or “I believe this or that about God…” But when I ask what in the Scriptures, they are basing their thoughts on, they can’t answer and often state that this is just what they believe based on what they feel is right. When I was in the corporate world, and our financial auditors would ask me about something we were doing, I could not answer with, “well, I just think that this is the right way to do it,” or “it just seems that this should be OK.” If I had an answer, it needed to be based on sound principle.
As Christians, we find our sound principles in the Word of God. This is the bedrock for all that we do. In John 1:1 we see that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and Word was God. Verse 4 states, “In him (the Word) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” Later, in the 14th chapter of John, Jesus said, “I am the Truth, the Way and the Life.” So, it is in the Word that we base our life principles. It is in the Word that we find life. I suggest that it is where we find the strength, hope, fortification and life principles that fill our tank, give us the ability to get through life. It is a source of light and we know that light brings life.
Yet spending time in the scriptures, reading and studying the Word of God is often one of the things that we eliminate to make room for something that is often a draining element of our life. We are so busy at work or with responsibility, that we just don’t have time to simply read the Bible, let alone study it and learn what it says; letting God reveal Himself to us (See 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 25:14, Hebrews 4:1-16, Matthew 7:21-23).
My challenge to you today is that instead of eliminating something from your life that can fill your tank, such as spending time in the Word, that you take a look at the list of those things that drain your tank. To live a balanced life, we need to make sure that our inputs outweigh our outputs. If you need to tip the scales in one way or another, why not tip them in a weigh that benefits you. The results will be amazing- and this I can promise… see, I bought the textbooks, I studied and am studying, and I unequivocally believe what it says. But just like the accounting text books, I needed to read more than a chapter here and there to draw my conclusions. Yes, I needed to study the entire book. I needed to hash out those things I didn’t understand with folks who spent their lives and careers in the field of study. And it made a difference. And I’m still studying!
Have a great and blessed day- and yes, find some time today to open your Bible. It will make a difference!
Peace and Blessings!