ADVENTURES, MISSIONS and RETREATS

Reaching and Teaching people about Jesus through Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures.

Month: October 2017

Young Joe

Young Joe

Joe was born with a twisted leg and a crooked foot. He was a smallish boy who quit growing at 5’5”. Like the stand beneath a globe, Joe’s diminutive frame supported a large head . He had a sharp mind. Raised as a Catholic, Joe excelled in school and graduating at the top of his class. In college Joe continue to outstrip his contemporaries until he reached the penultimate academic achievement, a PhD in Literature from one of the most prestigious universities in his country.

During his postgraduate work Joe met and fell in love with a young coed. The breakup sent him spiraling into depression and despair. Sadly, with the world ahead and a PhD in his pocket twenty-three year old Joe became consumed with thoughts of suicide.

Joe’s post academic career never lived up to the promise of college. He tried to write. He taught a little. His attempted novels were all rejected. He wrote a couple of plays. They weren’t published.

To pay for his Romaine Noodle existence Joe was forced to take a job at a bank. He hated it. They fired him. He bounced around, surfed sofas, and drifted in and out of various philosophical ideologies. By now Joe’s love of church was long forgotten. He read Marx and Engels. He fell in love with the writings of Dostoyevsky and Houston Stewart Chamberlain.

A biographer said of this time in Joe’s life, “His diaries reflected the writings of a man who was isolated, preoccupied by ‘religious-philosophical’ issues, and lacked a sense of direction.”

Then at the age of twenty-seven Joe met the man that would alter the trajectory of his life. Joe’s new mentor was a failed painter turned politician. Joe quickly realized that this fellow artist not only shared his distrust for the establishment, but also had the courage and charisma to force it to change.

And so in 1924 Joe threw in his lot with his new hero and became member number 8762 of the Nationalist Socialist Party.

Over the next ten years Joe quickly rose through the party ranks and ultimately become the second most powerful man in his country. Together with his idol Joe would eventually help kill six million innocent Jews and drag the world into the most costly war mankind would ever experience.

I don’t think there were ever two men in human history responsible for more suffering than Joseph Goebbels and his insane master Adolf Hitler.

Why do I tell you this?

Here’s the thing. Young Joe was just like every other young Joe. And that’s what scares me.

Evil seldom happens suddenly. The power of ideas fostered and fomented over time shape us into what we ultimately become.

A young clear mind slanted by prejudice and twisted by disappointment ultimately congealed into the darkness that was to be known as Joseph Goebbels. I’m sure he never set out to be infamous. He never intended to be a mass murderer. No, young Joe simply allowed himself to be carried along in the fog of darkness until he found his hope in a mind even more dark and twisted than his own.

If it could happen to Joe, it can happen to us.

2Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,

Guard your heart. Guard your mind.

Posted by BILL DYE

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The Trouble With ISMs

tire fire

Have you noticed lately how many “ISMs” there are? ISMs are everywhere and they are all mad about something.

Socialism is mad at capitalism, nationalism is mad at globalism, conservatism is mad at liberalism, and racism is mad at racism. ISMs are bitterly divided and deeply divisive.

Here’s just one example.

I was watching a documentary on Netflix entitled, “The Red Pill.”

The Red Pill is a feminist’s look at the new men’s movement. The various men’s groups go by a variety of names because they haven’t been able to come up with a good “ISM” name yet. The classic men’s ISMs, “chauvinism” and “machoism” have fallen out of favor. So we’ll call it the “men’s movement” until we can think of something better.

The men’s movement is trying to bring balance to the dominant view of feminism.

Obviously, that’s an unpopular idea to feminism and so the feminists attack it like Allies hitting the beaches at Normandy. That analogy isn’t far off because many within feminism have called the men’s movement Nazi’s and hate groups.

So this young feminist journalist decided to investigate. Turns out these guys aren’t the crazy neo-Nazis she expected, and they have some legitimate points.

I’m paraphrasing their argument but the men’s movement guys basically contend that men get the raw end of the deal in a lot of ways. Men die younger. They tend to be killed more often. They are forced to defend the country, many times against their will. Men have to do the dirty jobs women don’t want to do. And to top it off, when the cruise ship hits the iceberg men aren’t allowed in the lifeboats. It’s always “women and children first.” “Why are women and children more intrinsically valuable than men?” (Their words, not mine).

The real stickler had to do with reproductive rights. Feminists make a huge thing about the woman’s reproductive rights. The men argued that they have absolutely no say in whether or not they become fathers. They even point out that some women have tricked men into becoming unwanted dads.

Sure the baby isn’t in their bodies, but they are at least half responsible for it.

A man can’t control any aspect of reproduction except conception, but if she decides to give birth then that man will spend the next 18 years paying for a child he never intended to have.   Conversely, if he does want the child but she doesn’t well then, he’s out of luck.

And here’s what’s really intense, sometimes the child isn’t even his!

I didn’t know this, but according to the documentary, there are countries in Europe where it is against the law to get a paternity test! Yikes.

Then there is the whole custody thing. Many of the men in the documentary had gone through ugly divorces and effectively lost all contact with their children.

The young feminist doing the documentary was profoundly troubled by what she heard. She interviewed some feminists to buoy her sinking confidence, but when asked about reproductive rights the feminist pundits said, “If he didn’t want to have a baby he should have been more careful.”

The irony is heavy. Those are nearly exactly what the pro-life people have said to feminists for decades.

By the end of the show, the young girl was so moved by what she’d learned that she rejected her own ISM and said, “I don’t know what the answer is but I’m no longer a feminist.”

Stunning.

Still, something bothered me. My son watched it with me and something bothered him too. He said, “Dad, do we really need a man’s group to offset feminism?”

I think he’s right.  Don’t we have enough ISMs already, and haven’t they done enough damage.

It seems to me that all these ISMs are just a smoke screen for the age-old problem of man, selfishness. And this is a selfish age. We all want our way!

What happens when YOUR WAY gets in MY WAY?

How do we construct a civilization that lives together in community when every member of the community wants — no demands — his or her way?

Sooner or later someone will have to yield to the will of the other.

That’s why we have ISMs. ISMs are cluster groups that mobilize around some specific right. And the point is to ensure the members of that particular ISM get their way.

So if you ask any ISM, “Who should sacrifice?” every single ISM will tell you the same thing: “YOU.”

YOU should be the one to sacrifice, not me.  Never me.  Always YOU.

But what happens when YOU won’t do it? Well then, I get really angry with YOU. I shout at YOU and call YOU all sorts of names. I demand that YOU sacrifice and if YOU still won’t do it then I’ll pass laws that ensure YOU are the one that bends to my will.

And so our nation, divided by ISMs, starts to look like one big tire fire.

Jesus came from a completely different angle. When someone asked him, “Who will sacrifice?” He didn’t say “YOU.” He said, “ME.” And then did it.  And now he asks you to follow his lead.

Take a minute and read Philippians 2:1-11 and you’ll see that you don’t need another ISM. If you want to live a more meaningful and joyful life you won’t find it by following an ISM.  You will only find it by following the IAM.

Posted by BILL DYE on 

 

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The Secret of Happiness

Posted by BILL DYE on 

happiness 2

The year 2017 will go down as one of the tough ones for America.

Hurricane Harvey was like that crazy uncle who came to visit but just wouldn’t leave. He rolled into Matagorda Bay, hung around Rockport, then left to gather up some more water to dump on Houston and southeast Texas. By the time he was finished the Lone Star state looked like it was trying to impersonate New Orleans. Then Irma blew through the Leeward Islands and set her sights on Florida. It was a near miss that wrecked our nerves.

Meanwhile, a pubescent little dictator playing with his new missiles and atomic weapons dominated the news from Southeast Asia. There are few things more terrifying than a homicidal maniac with his thumb over the button of a thermo-nuclear device.

And then there was Vegas.

It’s been a rough couple of months especially when you sprinkle in a nation divided by acrimonious social activism.

It’s as if 2017 looked down on America and said, “Wipe that smile off your face young man or I’ll wipe it off for you.” Sure enough, it did.

How do we get our smiles back? Where can we go to rediscover authentic lasting happiness?

I don’t want threadbare clichés and tired platitudes. Don’t try to “cheer me up.” There are few things more annoying than someone trying to cheer you up when you are genuinely hurting.

PROVERBS 25:20 LIKE ONE WHO TAKES OFF A GARMENT ON A COLD DAY, OR LIKE VINEGAR ON SODA,
     IS HE WHO SINGS SONGS TO A TROUBLED HEART.

I don’t want to sing songs to troubled hearts. But I would like to learn the secret of singing songs from a troubled heart.

Is it possible to find joy even when our circumstances refuse to allow it?

I did a Google search to find “The Secret of Happiness” and turns out the Internet is filled with suggestions about what will make you happy.

Some advice can be fairly superficial.

One article suggested the following six steps to happiness:

GO OUTSIDE.
SWEAT
PLAY SOME TUNES
SLEEP IN
FOCUS ON PEOPLE
DO SOMETHING NICE

Yeah, there’s probably some truth in there, but I don’t’ think you want to share those pearls of wisdom with the people in Houston.

IMAGINE SAYING TO SOME POOR GUY WITH A HOUSE FULL OF WATER, “GO OUTSIDE, SWEAT A LITTLE, LISTEN TO YOUR TUNES, SLEEP IN, FOCUS ON PEOPLE, AND DO SOMETHING NICE!”

They are likely to drown you in the brackish water that is in their living room.

Other writers are more thoughtful.

Everyone seems to say that happiness isn’t money.

You do know that, right?

Ask the typical person on the street, “Will money make you happy?” Most will tell you, “No.”

When you press them they aren’s sure why they say it.

Maybe its because they’ve heard a lot of friends say it. Or it could be that we all know someone with lots of money that seems genuinely miserable. We also know that whenever we get a little more money the euphoria wears off. Turns out I can outspend whatever I make.

So I’ll say “No, money is not the key to happiness.

But then I spend my life chasing more money. Why is that?

Money won’t buy happiness but not having enough money can be miserable too. So I know that when I don’t have enough it’s a whole lot harder to be happy.

I once heard a comedian say, “Money isn’t the key to happiness but I always felt that if I had enough money I could have the key made.”

Everyone seems to know that another person won’t make us happy.

“Do other people make us happy?”

“No.”

“Why do you say that?”

I think we know ourselves. If we can’t be happy in our own skin then someone else won’t fix that.

Still, it sure does seem harder to maintain a lasting joy when you are alone all the time. If I had more friends I would be less lonely. If I were less lonely I think I’d be more happy.

Everyone seems to know happiness doesn’t come through satisfying longing.

JOHN STUART MILL SAID, “I HAVE LEARNED TO SEEK MY HAPPINESS BY LIMITING MY DESIRES, RATHER THAN IN ATTEMPTING TO SATISFY THEM.”

The odd thing about a longing is that when you feed the craving it grows. Our appetite never says, “Thank you, that’s just enough. I’ll never bother you again.”

Nope, that monster will lie and say its full and then come roaring back for even more next time.

We know that. And yet, we still spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to satiate cravings.

Everyone seems to know that happiness won’t be captured by chasing it.

THOREAU SAID, “HAPPINESS IS LIKE A BUTTERFLY; THE MORE YOU CHASE IT, THE MORE IT WILL ELUDE YOU, BUT IF YOU TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO OTHER THINGS, IT WILL COME AND SIT SOFTLY ON YOUR SHOULDER.”

We seem to know that and yet “The pursuit of happiness” is listed as one of our inalienable rights

As I read through these insights I started to realize that there is a strange contradiction between what we know about happiness and what we do to try to get it.

Ok, we know what won’t produce happiness. But what will?

Two themes seemed to recur through the material I read.

Happiness is somehow tied to FREEDOM

Happiness is somehow tied to CONTENTMENT.

MY MOM USED TO SAY, “THE WEALTHY PERSON IS NOT THE ONE THAT HAS THE MOST, BUT THE ONE THAT NEEDS THE LEAST.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SAID, “CONTENT MAKES POOR MEN RICH; DISCONTENT MAKES RICH MEN POOR.”

When we feel truly free and when we feel content then we can know what real joy feels like.

I was reading through the book of Philippians and noticed that it’s probably the happiest book in the New Testament. The words “joy” and “rejoice” are littered throughout the text.

But here’s the thing. The guy that wrote this letter was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit and at the time of the writing, he was awaiting trial before Emperor Nero, one of the most sinister characters in the history of the world.

The writer of this little letter had no freedom and by every measure we use, he should have had zero contentment.

And yet here is a man filled with happiness.

What’s the deal? Do contentment and freedom have nothing to do with happiness? Or could it be that we’ve missed the bigger question: “Where do I go to find contentment and freedom?”

MAYBE THE SAGE PHILOSOPHERS ARE RIGHT ABOUT CONTENTMENT AND FREEDOM BEING TIED TO HAPPINESS, BUT MAYBE THEY JUST DIDN’T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FOR THEM.

Listen to what that ancient prisoner wrote in chapter four of his letter to the Philippians,

4 ALWAYS BE FULL OF JOY IN THE LORD. I SAY IT AGAIN—REJOICE! 5 LET EVERYONE SEE THAT YOU ARE CONSIDERATE IN ALL YOU DO. REMEMBER, THE LORD IS COMING SOON.
6 DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING; INSTEAD, PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. TELL GOD WHAT YOU NEED, AND THANK HIM FOR ALL HE HAS DONE. 7 THEN YOU WILL EXPERIENCE GOD’S PEACE, WHICH EXCEEDS ANYTHING WE CAN UNDERSTAND. HIS PEACE WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS AS YOU LIVE IN CHRIST JESUS.

Now there’s a secret to happiness that few seem willing to consider.

The Problem of Evil

The Problem of Evil

by Bill Dye

Like you, I’ve been thinking about that shooter in Las Vegas and asking the same questions you are probably asking.

What could cause a man to do that? How much hate must someone have before he comes unhinged?

As I read various takes on this twisted and bitterly sad event I worry that, like most of the times when this sort of thing happens, the point is being completely missed.

A lot of people will say, “Why would God let this happen?”

In some backhanded way, God gets the blame for the most heinous of things.

Let’s settle this. God gives us a choice. I love what C.S. Lewis said. Lewis said that in order for there to be genuine love you must be able to choose love. If I have no choice in love then my love can never be real. Automatronic love isn’t love. So for there to be love there must be choice and in order to have choice there must be options. If I can choose to love God then I must also have the option of choosing to hate him. God doesn’t desire that option but its necessary to have choice.

 

People often say, “Why did God create evil?” as if evil were some commodity like pork bellies. Evil is simply the absence of God. The Bible often compares it to light and darkness. Darkness isn’t a commodity. Darkness is simply the absence of light. When I choose not to love God then I am in fact choosing to love darkness. Evil is the natural byproduct of a wrong choice.

Take our God and you get evil. Don’t blame evil on God. Blame evil on the fall.

At the same time that folks wonder about the goodness of God, they will also try to manufacture some psychological explanation.

We see this already. The shooter’s dad was a bank robber. He grew up in this terrible home. He’s the product of a bad seed in a bad home.

Yeah, that all comes into play. No doubt genetics and environment were involved. But I know a lot of people that grew up in just as bad even worse home situations that don’t kill 59 people and shoot 500 more.

So while the psychological profile might help us it doesn’t answer the question. In fact, this approach can actually mask the problem.

Some will say it’s the result of too many guns.

They will say we need to ban automatic weapons. I may be wrong but I thought automatic weapons were already banned. If that were true then how would banning them have prevented this? The guy that shot all those people owned a banned gun.

Stay with me for a minute and I promise this isn’t a talk about politics or a defense of the second amendment.

This is a talk ABOUT EVIL AND HOW WE RESPOND TO IT.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a gun guy.   I don’t like guns. I don’t like shooting guns. I don’t like being around guns. Guns make me nervous. I own an old shotgun and if you give me some time I might be able to find it somewhere in our house. When I was younger I used to hunt ducks until I killed a wood duck and it’s mate kept circling the pond as her drake lay dying on the water. My friend said, “It’s always hard with wood ducks. They mate for life.”

That was my last duck hunt. I guess I’m just too soft-hearted.

So not being a gun guy I feel fairly objective in this.

I want to drill down on this for just a minute because this anti-gun reaction to gun violence is fairly normal. People tend to make decisions based on emotions instead of facts and sometimes that’s not a good way to form an opinion.

So I dug up some facts. Since 1966 crazed gunmen in mass shootings have killed 947 people. That works out to about 18 per year. And yes, it includes the shooting this week. If you figure the mean average population for America during that 51-year stretch is about 250 million then the percentage possibility of getting killed in a mass shooting is. 000000072% of the population. You are twice as likely to be struck by lightening.

Obviously, 947 people over 51 years is still way too many, but consider that last year over 38,000 died in traffic accidents.

I don’t mean to sound heartless in this, but I think we tend to react with passion and that causes us to miss the point. That’s all I’m trying to say.

Gun-related deaths, (and remember most of this is crime related), in 2016 came to 13,286 including accidental. Nearly 3 times that number died in car wrecks.

I get it, CAR WRECKS ARE accidental and GUN VIOLENCE is intentional. Guns give great power to wicked people. I get that. Again,  I don’t advocate for guns in any way.

I just don’t think the guns were the cause of this.I know a lot of gun guys. I live in the south. This is second amendment country. Many of my friends have concealed carry licenses. Most of the people who own guns will never kill anyone.

I know a lot of “gun guys.” I live in the south. Many of my friends have concealed carry licenses. Most of the people who own guns will never kill anyone.

In fact, in all my years as a southern boy I’ve never known a single person who ever shot or killed anyone.

For me the question isn’t, “What did this guy use to kill people?”  The question is, “Why did this guy kill all those random, innocent people?”

And the only answer I come to is this: HE DID IT BECAUSE HE WAS EVIL AND HE WAS DRIVEN BY EVIL.

If we shift all of the blame to guns we miss the point. There is something deeper in play than the weapons he used.

EVEN IF YOU COULD GET RID OF ALL THE GUNS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD EVIL WOULD STILL FIND A WAY TO HURT PEOPLE. How? I don’t know, maybe by plowing a semi truck through a crowd of people.

I say that because in this sophisticated postmodern naturalistic age we are dismissive of evil. Evil is a magician’s illusion or some cinematic chicanery.

Evil isn’t real. Evil can’t be real because we all know there is no such thing as the spirit and evil is a spiritual thing. Don’t we know that?

And yet here it is, staring down through a broken window from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

How do we look into the face of this much evil and still cling to disbelief? We try to explain it through psychological profiles and the proliferation of firearms.  What if it’s none of that? What if that guy’s actions were just plain old evil, impure and simple?

HERES THE PROBLEM: IF YOU SAY THIS IS A GOD PROBLEM, OR A PERSONALITY PROBLEM, OR AN ENVIRONMENT PROBLEM, OR A GUN PROBLEM THEN YOU MISS WHAT THE PROBLEM REALLY IS.

THIS IS AN EVIL PROBLEM.

What happened in Vegas forces us to admit that evil is alive and well on planet earth. The Bible has said that all along.

Ephesians 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Evil is real and active and doing whatever it can to create as much carnage and chaos as possible. Evil hurts people.

Like you, I read the stories of heartbreak and heroism in that concert arena as bullets flew all around them.   I wonder what I would do? How would I respond? It’s not hard to imagine the terror.

Men threw their bodies over their wives and girlfriends. One man raced between victims dragging and leading them to safety until a bullet struck him in the neck. He survived, but only just. We saw the pictures of the carnage and the lives destroyed. And we wept at the senselessness of it all.

It was all so unnecessary. People were just out to enjoy a concert. Why would this happen?

How could anyone do this to people that he didn’t even know?

That’s just what evil does.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).

If he can kill he kills. If he can steal he steals. If he can destroy he destroys.

Evil hurts people. And it doesn’t care who it hurts.

So what do we do with this? How do we respond?

I was talking to a group of men at our monthly men’s luncheon and here’s a list I pulled together.

Seven Habits to Handle Evil

1.    Be aware of evil

When we witness moments like this in Las Vegas we get it. Evil is … well… evil.

What we often fail to understand is that these broken marriages we see daily, this drug addiction we fight in our families, this gambling addiction, this lust and porn, this alienation between sons and fathers, all of that is just as much a product of evil as the crazed gunman on the 32nd floor.  We need to be aware of the presence of evil.

Ephesians 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

2.    Don’t fear evil

We are never given permission to yield to fear even for a second.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

We do not fear evil and we must not fear evil people. If you fear then evil wins. The only one that we are ever encouraged to fear is God himself. And the Bible says when we fear God he protects us from evil.

Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD leads to life,
     So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

3.    Don’t toy with evil

Evil is like a poison that gets on you and in you. And once it takes root it’s hard to shake. That’s why the Bible says to avoid it at all costs.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 abstain from every form of evil.

In fact, we should train ourselves to hate evil.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

4.    Don’t give back evil for evil

When evil hurts you don’t become evil and feel the need to retaliate in kind.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

5.    Resist evil

Whenever you see evil in any form you should take up the armor of God described in Ephesians 6 and resist it.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

6.    Trust the Lord to be your defense against evil

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

7.    Do what you can to bring evil to the cross

This is why we are here. I really believe that God has left us on this planet to help evil find the cross. I read about the purpose of evil earlier. Its mission is to steal kill and destroy. But I left out the best part.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I CAME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY.

Evil seeks to hurt, but Grace always moves to heal. I suddenly realized, this is why we are still here. Evil is our mission.

WE ARE THE ENEMIES OF EVIL. OUR JOB IS TO ROOT IT OUT AND STRIKE IT WITH THE CRUSHING BLOW OF GRACE.

WE DO THAT EVERY TIME WE WIN SOMEONE TO CHRIST.

If there is a silver lining to this dark moment in Las Vegas it could be that for at least a brief pause Las Vegas, “Sin City,” is re-thinking spiritually.

City leaders called together a meeting and invited pastors to lead in prayer. Who would have ever thought that possible?

Los Angeles Time Newspaper reported this:

Pastor Mike Hatch of Prayer Center Revival Church said Vegas has been known as Sin City.
“The Bible says where sin abounds, grace does much more abound,” he said. “That means, where there’s a lot of sin, there’s a lot of grace.
“Guess what. We have God’s favor in this town.”
They lit 59 candles for the dead and sang praises to God.`
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