The Year of the Vision

Well, the snowstorm is finally out of here and I ain’t done yet cleaning that white stuff up around here.Maybe get some more of it plowed away tomorrow with a little luck. Things are in good shape though around here because it was a warm snowstorm, not much goes wrong when its in the twenties above zero. With the year winding down I’m already getting the thoughts in my head about spring work, even though its a long way off yet. I haven’t thought much about it until today, must be because Christmas is over with. But its in a farmer’s blood, looking forward to spring and planting, new calves running around the place doing the calf dance as the sun is setting later in the evenings in late spring. Those rascals can really get going when they are a week or two old!

One project I want to do this year is start a tree nursery on the farm. Not trees for sale but I want to plant a few hundred seedlings every year in a patch behind the place and in a couple or more years take the larger healthier ones and plant them around the farm. This would be mainly pine that I buy from the county and also allot of Red Pine that I dig up on a farm I rent.They have a huge stand of Red Pine and near the edge along the field that I rent there’s literally thousands of seedlings sprouting, thicker than heck with no chance of ever growing where they are at, so dig up the little baby seedlings and plant them in the tree nursery!  Plus in the nursery there will be various hardwoods started and then the fruit trees to be planted every year also The fruit trees will not be seedlings for the most part and they will be planted in place  permanently. I don’t know what the future will bring but I figure a fella should leave this world a bit better than how he found it.

I look at the farm somewhat different than modern ag does.I use many of modern ag’s methods and equipment but I see a family farm as something to hand down in better shape than when a fella started.  In the cow pastures in the wooded areas we will section off an acre or two here and there for a few years with electric fence so that new trees can sprout up and get ahead of the cows, taking off and repopulating on their own. In woodlot pastures the youngest trees don’t have any chance, the cows nipping them off when they sprout. This will solve that dilemma over the long haul.

The very fact that a farm like this is not only a traditional family farm but also a ministry has me looking at it a bit different than if I just wanted to mine the land to get the dollars for day to day living. And by ministry I’m not talking any kind of tax write off type of thing as most are. This is different. Every Christian has a ministry, its just up to them to go with it or to refuse it. This is the way I look at it, ministry is the very life blood of our family and farm from now on till the end. The past few years as I look back now with the year coming to a close, the Lord has set up His ministry here without me hardly realizing it. With so much direct marketing to families the farm takes on a totally different direction than if a person just “shipped” their product. There’s literally a few hundred people that are our customers, including their families.

It dawned on me that the interaction with so many people is something rather unusual in this day and age on farms in this region. It also sets up many possibilities in ministry. It sets up a vision;

The Great Commission, preaching the gospel to the lost.

To take care of widows and orphans.

To equip the saints for the work of the Lord.

This is the three fold vision of our farm ministry. Plus the fact that this will be a fully operational farm, supplying much of the needs of this vision.I have faith that the farm will prosper as it fulfills these visions. There’s not enough space to go into the three fold vision tonight, I just wanted to write it down. The way it looks at the moment, the internet will be about the smallest part of this vision. But I do want to keep it going as long as it takes. Yesterday after church, after I did a short message in church and I always figure I botched it so bad I never want to show my face there again as long as I live, I would safely say that at least one third of the church spoke to me afterwards and said they really received from my message. One brother in Christ came up to me and said that I gotta get on local farm radio with a farm gospel program. I gulped, but didn’t say no, just said if someone sets it up, takes care of the details, I’d do it. I can speak the Gospel farmer style, but I’m not very good at details such as radio or media. For about two years the radio thing has been placed in my heart, but I’ve never spoken a word of it to anyone till now. But God has a way of setting up details that I don’t think are possible. But we’ll see. This farm ministry thing is virtually exploding and I just look on in awe.

So as we get closer to the new year I have no idea what or where this is taking us. All I know is that I have faith in the Lord through it all. If I make a total fool out of myself for Jesus, well, so be it! All I know is that I couldn’t imagine any different way of life than doing it all for the Lord! This gives a person life! This gives a person a vision to go after! This past year was the year of faith, faith put into action. This coming year will be that, plus the start of the vision, the vision that God has planted and has supplied so many things to get it started!


A Farmer’s Simple Faith #2

Talk about a snowy couple of day in these here parts! Now I know some folks like having some snow for Christmas but this kinda over did it! I just got done spending over 12 hours working today because of the snow storm and it sure didn’t feel like Christmas one bit to me, snow or no snow. No special meals or visiting or anything. Just plow snow and after the snow was plowed, feed the animals until after dark tonight. I’m sure somewhere in the upper midwest there’s some folks sitting at their dinner table with some delicious roast beef being served and the wife says to the husband, “Honey, isn’t this the most Christmasy Christmas we’ve had in a long while with this beautiful snow!” As the aroma of the roast beef just sets the mood. Neither knows that where that delicious roast beef comes from the farmer is working himself half to death trying to feed the beef so they can someday become roasts! Fighting the wet heavy snow all day from dawn till after dark. But such is life.

Oh well, all is well in spite of the heavy dumping of snow this Christmas here on the farm. Besides, I can’t complain that I got fat over the holiday. Now to screw my head on straight and get some things done around this place because Sunday’s coming and I don’t have anything prepared at all for church. Then again I hardly ever have anything prepared for speaking in church until I’m warming up the car to go to church. But I do get ideas in my head when I’m plowing snow in the Bobcat all day. One verse, or verses, that is sticking in my head is one I read over and over, especially in January when the yearly Bible readings are just starting. Its in Genesis, chapter 32.
22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

As I said, this has been burning in me the last two days. The part of this that is sticking in my head is,

But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

I will not let you go. Now I’ve read these verses many times in the past and to be honest they were what I call passover verses. A few verses here and there that a fella reads but really doesn’t dwell on them at all.Just read to get to the next part, it happens. Lately though I’m understanding these verses a bit more. Now I’m probably not the normal type of Bible explainer, and sometimes I might be way off in left field, I don’t know, but I try. Let me back track here a moment.With the old year durn near wrapped up the last few days I was also thinking about the way this farm ran on faith this past year, something that it never really did before. Faith was put into action as I’ve written quite a few times this past year. In fact it was such a new direction I even stopped all the previous blogs and just settled in on this one. Simple faith as I explain it or understand it is wrapped up in that verse above! I will not let you go unless you bless me! Not letting go of the promises of God!

But that’s not all. Simple faith, like a farmer has, is a demanding faith! A loud faith! Anyway mine is. But some might say, “Now Tom, we are to be quiet and humble.” Correct in many cases, but not in faith matters we ain’t. The Gospels are full of people that grabbed onto their faith, sometimes almost violently and wouldn’t let go! And these were many of the folks that Jesus noticed and answered their faith with results. Take in Mark chapter 10;

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.
Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

Jesus is going through the city of Jericho, making His way to Jerusalem to be sacrificed.There were crowds in Jericho as He passed through and He stopped for none of them as He went with determination to the cross. But what stopped Him? A blind beggar that wouldn’t shut up! A blind beggar that wouldn’t let go! Hmm, see the similarity here? Or how about Mark chapter 5;

Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

This woman wouldn’t take no for an answer, she went for it! Think about this, having an issue of blood made her unclean in Hebrew culture. She wasn’t even allowed amongst people by law, especially a crowd like this. But she wouldn’t stop and say that her problem was “the will of God”, no, she went for her deliverance in faith, a simple faith, broke laws in doing so, grabbed onto the His garment and was instantly healed. She wouldn’t let go of her faith, that small seed of faith that drove her to desperately grab the garment of Jesus! Simple faith put into action!

This was the year of faith as I said and this coming year I don’t know where it’ll go except the promise of even greater things. Great faith in the Bible was almost always done by simple people! Jacob was a farmer, pretty successful too! And he understood how faith works, that you can’t let go of the promises of God!

But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

Sky Watchers

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Revelation 2:20

Christmas time is almost upon us and the week seems a little strange already around here. Things aren’t quite normal. There’s a feeling in the air and part of it could be the snow storm that those who know are predicting for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in these parts. That should make life a little interesting. Sounds like it could be a whopper if what they say comes to pass. Allot of snow and high winds to make life interesting. So today was a day doing some jobs that should get out of the way before we’re socked in on the farm for the winter. Once we’re socked in that’s about it for getting out to the far pastures and fields to do whatever needs to be done till the spring thaw. Such is normal life on the farm, being prepared for whatever happens. In reality there’s very little excuse for not being prepared if a person is concerned about keeping the place going. A farm is not for the slacker, not at all. Its work every day and sometimes a person has to go that extra mile in being prepared because in all reality being prepared is allot less work than not being prepared.

Christmas season is special, that’s for sure but I’ll go fast forward from Christmas and look ahead to the Second Coming of Christ instead tonight. Now I have a rule,even in our church,I don’t set myself solidly on any of the different ways that Christians say the very end is going to happen. Most have valid Biblical points and I don’t want to get confused because when I read their points they all seem that they are right. And heaven forbid, I don’t want to get a religious spirit and say that my way is right and the others are almost heathens for thinking the way that they do. My farmer theology is maybe not the norm I guess but I figure I don’t honestly know exactly what will happen in the end times.Well,let me rephrase that, I don’t know exactly what will happen to the believers in the end times. Will we be taken out, will we have to stay, I truly don’t know because the different sides of the issue all have valid points. But in reality I’m not to concerned about it all, the different views I mean. My Bible says to be ready! Amen! Besides, what good does it do to be all uppity about the different end times stuff and argue away with other Christians and walk over to your car after its all said and done and get hit and killed by another passing by car? Or get back to the farm and get killed by a bull, or something as simple as a slip getting in or out of the skidsteer loader, bang your head good and leave this life at that moment?

I think I’ve turned into a sky watcher! What do I mean by that? I mean I am hoping that Jesus will return every day that I’m out there working on the farm. A fella gets up in the morning and the first thought is, “perhaps today”. In my humble opinion this is how the first century Christians lived and many more through out the ages. Waiting, hoping that Jesus Christ would return the very day that they went about their business. Christmas is a time of celebrating the birth of Christ but I want to celebrate the expectancy of His return every day! Martin Luther was once asked what he’d do if he knew the Lord was coming tomorrow. His answer was, “I would plant another apple tree today.” What he meant was, he would just carry on with his day to day living, working,producing food and farming for Jesus until the Lord came!

This struck me when I read this a while back, it struck me good. We are the keepers of the faith on earth. The world doesn’t have dominion on us, we have dominion over it. Just as Adam and Eve had before the fall.We are to do our business here on this world until Jesus comes. We are to carry out the decrees of heaven on this earth and we are to be busy fulfilling the great commission by spreading the Gospel to every creature, and every once in a while that might even mean telling someone about the Good News!

Now this is a farming and ranching blog and most who read it have an interest in it, even if only they like to eat the food produced by hard working farmers and ranchers. When a person’s mind and heart are focused on the second coming of Jesus, which will come unexpectedly according to the Bible, we must be ready.And we must be doing the work of the Father right up to that moment. On the farm I am convinced that the only successful way to farm is to farm for Jesus!  And if one of these days He returns I plan to be busy doing His will here where I am planted.

This might be a slightly different message than most messages around Christmas time, but I feel its a very important message to get into our hearts.To be ready, to live every day like before the end of the day we will be standing before the throne of God! It changes everything when a person truly gets this into your heart! Do we truly love Jesus or are we just some good church goers? Or are we not even sure if we are saved, that we truly don’t know deep down if we are God’s children and will be spending eternity with Him?

Jesus Christ wants no man to perish, that’s what my Bible say and the Word of God it true! I think I’ll put the salvation message on here right smack dab out of the Bible, it says it better than I ever could.

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—”Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

This is the only true reason for a Christmas, to celebrate the coming of the saviour of the world! Let’s be sky watchers and instead of looking for that star that shown in the sky so very long ago, lets watch every day in expectancy for the return of the King!

A Farmer’s Simple Faith #1

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Christmas is fast approaching and also the New Year its the season where a farmer sometimes has a bit of time for reflection about the past year. And what a year it has been around here! I’d say we sure officially pulled out of the droughts here, although I know that even a few miles away they had a dry year. Abundance is the rule here this year as far as the farm goes. Plenty of feed to keep the cattle fat and healthy. Great crops of every kind, from oats to corn to all the different kinds of hay. Abundance!

This spring it sure didn’t start that way by the looks of it in the natural. Dust was blowing and the feeling of depression was starting to take root again. During the drought years I was relatively new to what the Bible says about faith and I can see back where I sure was off base on it all. Back then I accepted the disasters as “God’s will”, but it wasn’t till this spring when I finally had enough knowledge to use the faith, the little seed of faith that was in me. I have to give credit where credit is due, funny how a person can study and study and not quite get what the Bible says.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11

This is one of the greatest lessons on faith in the Bible. And one that is so often ignored by religion. But I figure when Jesus speaks it pays to listen to what He says and to believe it! Notice in verse 23 that Jesus tells us to believe and then to say. In fact He says believe once and the word say or says three times. Saying, or speaking or acting out our faith is incredibly important. I didn’t say it, Jesus said it! So getting back to this spring when the dust was blowing and only half the corn was even emerging out of the ground I went around to every field on this farm and plead the Blood of Jesus over all the fields in faith. Thanking the Lord for the bumper crop in advance. It doesn’t make much sense to the world or even to Christians that don’t read the Word, but that’s what I did. That started the “saying” part of faith. But that wasn’t all! To continue with the saying part that Jesus so emphasizes I publicly said that Jesus was going to bring in a great crop, while in the meantime the dust was still blowing. I wrote about this in June on this blog somewhere and won’t look it up now.

Well, some timely rains came and the weeds were advancing and it looked like I would have a disaster crop anyhow. I tried to cultivate the corn and in some spots the weeds were so thick the cultivator plugged up! It was disheartening to say the least, but I continually spoke thanks to Jesus for bringing in a good crop this year. Somehow the corn outgrew the weeds and the corn literally took over. The impossible was happening as the days went by. By fall the corn was a bumper crop, the best in decades and matched the highest priced seed corns in the area. This past Wednesday the crop insurance adjuster came out and we went into the last standing field of corn we have to take some measurements of the yield to get our crop base back up. The measurements finally came up with 178 bushels to the acre of dry corn. And this was without commercial fertilizer! Unreal for this area!

Many times when it comes to simple faith people screw up bigtime and make it complicated faith. They think they have to believe so hard there’s durn near smoke coming out of their ears, but that is not how simple God pleasing faith works at all. God pleasing faith is when your head is screaming at you that “this is dumb, this is stupid”, but a person goes against those thoughts and does it anyhow. The verses above don’t say, “believe in your head”, they say “does not doubt in his heart”. This I’m learning farming. The day to day life here is a life of faith. To praise God for things unseen, to have faith that God wants our family to prosper. To not go into unbelief and say the unbeliever’s prayer, “if it be thy will”. That prayer is used only for direction from God, not in faith matters. God’s will for us is in His Word! That’s the stumbling block for so many Christians. They go to church, they listen to preaching, but don’t explore God’s Word for themselves.

God’s will for us is for us to have faith in Him to come through no matter what the situation. To believe otherwise is simple unbelief. To believe that God wants us to go down the tubes suffering and battling things from every direction is not believing in God’s will. The problems we have are mostly caused by ourselves, I know most of my problems stem right back to me. For going in directions that were not in God’s will for my life. And I pay heavily for this unbelief that I so often do.

Its impossible to please God without faith, that simple faith of believing and speaking and acting it out. To follow up on our belief, to walk the walk so to speak! I couldn’t even imagine farming with out faith anymore. To give it over to God and know without a doubt that God is in charge, not old fumble bum me. God don’t make mistakes, Tom does. I’ll stop here tonight, but faith is the subject I most often preach. I could do it all the time, preaching that simple farmer faith that the Bible teaches us about.

One warning. Faith, exercised faith is addictive, it grows and grows until a person’s whole being is run on faith. It must be practiced often and the results will always stun a person. The faith grows each time a person stands solidly on the promises of God and sees Him deliver on those promises! We gotta throw away our unbelief and take our simple faith and use it, and watch it grow and grow like the crops we plant every year in faith. A farmer has that seed of faith in them, it takes faith to even plant a crop. Join up with the Creator of the universe in the farm’s operation and there’s really no limit to where He will take us!

Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 8:15 pm  Comments (8)  
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Joint Heirs

1 Thessalonians 2:4 (New King James Version)

But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

The weather has been pretty good these last couple of days, in the twenties and not much of a breeze. After morning chores I sawed up and split and stacked about a cord of oak firewood and this evening I can still feel it a bit in the bones! Every once in a while I think about the work I do daily, about working for one’s self. No one telling me what has to get done, no one even knowing half the time what I’m doing as far as that goes. No time clock, no bosses or anything like that. Just get up early seven days a week and get outside to work, no matter what the weather. The days are short now and wearing all those heavy clothes a person tires out by the time the sun is deciding to set. Years ago I worked out on a regular job and I do know how that works. I do know about being a hired person, verses a self employed person.

The last few years have been quite an experience for me, the reason, farming for God instead of myself. Now folks might wonder what that even means. Well, years ago I just did what I did for me, or should I say, us. But since turning over the ownership of our lives to God things are a tad bit different to say the least. Now to clear things up here I don’t mean I gave the farm to a church or something, no, just entrusting our lives and farm to God is what I’m saying. To have faith that He will see us through no matter what. Simple faith, but necessary faith to live by. Going from field to field in the springtime and pleading the Blood over them, blessing the cow herd and trusting God that they will do good.

And the blessing show. Now some folks might figure that a person has to live in disaster all the time to show that they are a “good” Christian. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Tough times come and tough times go but our God is there for us and wants us to live to our highest God given potential! The only way to do that is to give it all to Him, trusting Him and having our every thought focused on Him. Sounds really complicated but in all reality it is not. As the days go by I’m understanding this more and more.Talking with God from morning till night. Going to sleep with prayer flowing constant. The tough part is still waking up and having Godly thoughts and trust right away in the morning but it takes practice. One has to literally make time even when it doesn’t seem convenient. In reality it’s no different than being self-employed farming. One has to literally get up and do what has to be done.Even if it isn’t easy, even if the weather is miserable, a person still has to do what has to be done no matter what seven days a week.

In ministry a person has to get things straight in between the ears. Are we a hireling, or are we a joint owner, by being an adopted son of the Father? There is a huge difference. A hireling works for wages, a joint owner works for their inheritance. A hireling works set amount of hours for a set amount of pay, and when the work hours are done the hireling walks away from the job at a given time and sets it aside. A joint owner works till the job is done, sometimes for little if any pay. This is the same as farming. On the family farm we work to accomplish the job entirely, not going by the clock but by the job. When a person thinks they are done for the day and is heading inside its really common to see something that has to be done yet, that can’t wait till tomorrow, and a person picks up and goes and does it.

Are we willing to go and tell someone what Christ has done for us when we’d rather go and sit down and take it easy for a bit? The more I look at it the more I see why ministry is so close to farming. That’s the reason the Bible can be called the farmer’s handbook. Its the greatest agricultural manual that there ever was or will be. Farm God’s way and things will move! Use the farm for God’s purpose and it will be blessed. Claim the farm as a sancuary where God is everywhere as Lord! This is different than the norm, but this is the greatest thing anyone could ever do with their farms or homesteads or anything for that matter. Give it to the Lord!

It just excites me writing about this because I do see the results! The days are far from boring and there’s always anticipation in every step. And a natural reaction is to tell people about what Jesus Christ has done for them! Not as a hireling but as a joint heir! That’s what the Bible says, a believer is a joint heir with Christ! I’m standing on that promise and will never forget it! How God can take a lost sinner and through His Grace make him or her a joint heir with God’s only Son. This is the Gospel.Its not something where a person is barely scratching to get through life, waiting to die so things will be better someday. No matter what the circumstances a believer is a joint heir with Christ and in this whole of creation there is not much higher than that!

Just hang on to that fact, to that wonderful truth. The angels watch in awe and wonder at these people that are the joint heirs with the Son of God. This is incredible, the thought of who a believer really is, not someday, but NOW! And how could a joint heir not shout from the rooftops and let the world know this incredible Gospel??!!

A Tribute to Oral Roberts

With the passing of Oral Roberts I just wanted to put on a short video this early morning hour. Job well done brother!

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 6:51 am  Comments (3)  

I Am Not Ashamed….

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes….

Late Monday afternoon and I already have the work that needs doing done. Tonight there will be very little competition for the computer, funny how college classes online take up so much time nowadays. Not any class for me mind you but for the daughter. But who am I to complain, it’ll save a year and a half in the real college! Mucho dinero! They didn’t have anything like that when I was a young man.

Yesterday was so different around here that I’m still recovering.I kinda kept it a secret that it was my birthday, or so I thought. I had to give the opening announcements in church yesterday.No more than five minutes is the norm. But I ended up there over twenty minutes, and that ain’t counting the offering message I did later in the service. Seems like word got out that old Tom was a bit older yesterday and I had one pulled on me! And the funny thing is, I didn’t suspect a thing. Total ambush! I tip my hat to the sneaky people in our church, and I sure am glad they are Christians cause if those sneaks were on the other side who knows what they’d do! To put it bluntly, I got roasted up front. Don S. who has commented here in the past worked and put together a video that would ruin anyone’s life 🙂 Then the whole church sang Happy Birthday twice through being led by our praise team leader as she played her concertina! (The concertina thing was a great honor by the way!) After surviving that, barely, I came home and wondered how come the wife had so much food prepared, but a simple farmer just figures that she’s fattening up her husband for a Minnesota winter. Again, around 4 in the afternoon I got ambushed! A bunch of church folk all showed up about the same time and Tom ain’t going to get fat off of all the lasagna that was sitting there! But what a wonderful time it was! I thank each and every one!

So, with all that done and over with its time to focus on some other stuff. Up on top of this post is a verse from the 1st chapter of Romans. One of them power verses! Old Paul said he wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel, and I figure neither should I be. And I was working today and thinking allot about the year that’s coming up. With all the Christmas stuff a person kinda loses focus sometimes and forgets that there is life after Christmas. But I was thinking about spreading the Gospel. About getting together a Gospel Campaign for the coming year, to start soon after Christmas, no sense wasting life I figure. Now this just energizes me! I just gotta get myself out of the rut where a person thinks that church is where its at. Church has a great purpose but the job is to reach out beyond the walls. Besides, that’s where the action is!

I confess, I was hit with many side tracking things this past summer and fall, it even showed on this blog, but now I’m refocusing, sighting it in so to speak. It might start slowly, but the rural campaign is beginning. It is birthed. Last spring when watching the movie “Faith Like Potatoes”  it struck me how an ordinary guy can step out for Jesus and change so much of the world. In reality there’s nothing special about that. I believe God wants every single one to step out and do amazing things in His name! Just take that step and let God do the rest!

That simple Gospel, that power that is unequaled in this universe! This is my passion! God is providing every single thing! I needed Bibles, now I got Bibles, allot of them, both cowboy Bibles and a couple big cases of Old and New Testament NKJV that are totally at my disposal. God provides! God provides the music and that will be worked out shortly! Lord, Lord who’da ever though a couple of years ago that those crazy visions I had would come true! In fact every crazy vision that we ever had here has come true or is in the process of coming true. I do believe that God plants things in a person’s heart and if a person is willing God will provide all the way. But one must take hold and follow it through!

I Will See the Goodness of the Lord

After a pretty cold week, this Saturday was a pleasant warm up! Sunny, not much of a breeze and in the twenties. Almost hot outside working! This past week was a real busy one for me, including today, but it looks like I can spend a couple minutes here on the old computer. Things are going very good on the farm, cattle are fat and happy, plenty of feed on hand, most of the firewood for this winter is cut, a good time to be had here for sure.

Tomorrow’s church and I have a little speaking to do in the service and will put that together a bit later this evening. No big deal, I know what I’ll be talking about already and even if I don’t get anything put together it will get done. I have many things on my heart these past couple of days but I don’t know what I’ll write about this evening. As a person can maybe tell, I’m doing what I call a warmup here. Just chatting about what’s happening lately.

Psalm 27:13-14 (New International Version)

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Waiting for the Lord. I like those verses above, the kind that a person takes to heart. I’m not using those verses tomorrow, I just came up with them now. In Children’s Church we sometimes do an old fashioned preaching thing. Take the Bible and with a person’s eyes closed, not knowing of the Bible is right side up or upside down, open it, (still with the eyes closed), point a finger to a verse, open your eyes and see what you picked, then preach it. A pretty good exercise! I’ve read about old time farmer preachers who didn’t have much time to prepare sermons and stuff and that’s what they’d do from the pulpit. Point and preach.It might sound kinda crude but the whole Word of God is worthy of being preached at any time so I figure there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Now some high class folks might not like it but that’s their problem, not mine.

That wonderful Word of God! Better than anything else that there is. I could rephrase the above first line, “I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Word in the land of the living”. Now that gets me excited! The Word, the very thing that holds the whole universe together! I know that nowadays it’s not that fashionable to declare the Word, to stand on the Word as absolute truth, to say either the Word or else the world, it’s a choice.  A choice everyone in this society has to make. The Word or the world.

These last few years I just can’t get enough of the Word. Its life itself, in a spiritually dead society the Word brings life. I almost cry when I realize how little regard folks have for the Word, and I’m talking church folk. The world doesn’t understand the Word, in fact the Bible says it’s as if though the world has scales on their eyes and the Word cannot penetrate their hearts. It sound foolish to most folks and that makes it hard sometimes trying to witness to folks. But one must understand that when we witness it isn’t for those folks, as strange as that sounds. It’s because Jesus Christ is worthy of having His Word spread. The world can take it or leave it, that’s not for the Christian to decide.

Witnessing takes on a whole new meaning when done Biblically. When spreading the Word is because Christ is worthy to have His Word spread. If we spread the Word for the folks receiving it we will burn out, and fast! For Christ alone! Then things move! This is interesting cause I just took some random Bible verses and its coming clear now. “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord!” What we do today sometimes has no seeming effect on things. We wait for results and none seem to come, but the Lord is on the move when we are on the move doing His work. Be patient, keep going even when it seems like there’s nothing happening at all.

The thing I’ve learned, and I don’t know if this is just an unusual case, is that the Lord moves when we do. When the heart is willing the Lord supplies. The moment a person learns something, or has a deeper revelation in the Word, almost instantly the revelation can be applied to a situation. This I’ve seen over and over in our own case here. And it just happened a few minutes ago here. As I’m being “stretched” by the Lord almost daily there’s things He put in my heart for a while now that I have finally decided the time is right to do. To set up an evangelistic community event, something I didn’t have the know how to do until now is coming together. And to my surprise, (which it shouldn’t surprise me), things are falling right into place. All I gotta do is ask and bam! No problem!

I remember reading the book and watching the movie, “Faith Like Potatoes”, and Angus would just step out in faith when it came to ministry and the Lord provided every time. This I am seeing for myself here a half a world away! But the stepping out is never an easy thing, old self don’t like it one bit! I don’t have the foggiest idea where any of this will leed. But I’m confident that “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”

Preaching In The Tavern

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

The above was from 2nd Timothy, chapter 4. Last week I printed it out and just have it around here to remind me. Things happen strangely sometime though. Just when a person is getting comfortable with something it gets pushed back and something much more demanding is placed on a person. What a ride its been up to this point! Tonight i’m just looking back at the last couple of years, in the faith walk. Where a person was a couple years ago and where a person is now, the stretching that keeps taking place.

A couple of years ago it was almost a terror if I had to go up in front of church to do a very,very short testimony. Also a couple of years ago I had one line in the church Christmas program and it was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life up to that point. All those people looking at me!! Seven months after that I remember the first sermon I ever did on a Wednesday evening. I was so scared that I don’t think I could get the words right describing it all here!

But time went on and I did a few more sermons and some short messages in church here and there. Things got easier, but the nervousness is still there before every one. I don’t ask for speaking in church, it just kinda drops in my lap. This past week on the Wednesday evening service I didn’t have to teach Children’s Church so I figured I could sit my butt down in the main church and relax a bit for once. But just as it was to start the pastor asked me to take over, the pastor had an emergency to attend to. So in a split second I had the church meeting. Luckily after a bit the pastor came back, false alarm, and I handed the service back. An easy service to be sure, just introduce a John Bevere DVD and then have a question and answer thing after it was all said and done, but it shocked me never the less. That has taught me to be ready!

But that’s not what this is all about. “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season!” As I wrote, after Wednesday’s service I came home and printed out these verses and a few more that followed it. This past Sunday at church was a Sunday where I didn’t have to do anything in the service. Ah, a pew sitting experience. They’re getting rarer and rarer. Good service, about personal evangelism, a favorite of mine. Afterwords our youngest daughter wanted to stay at our pastor’s place cause the daughter of the pastor is the same age and they wanted to make a day out of it. No problem except how to get home. I had planned on having a “grease feast”that evening, once in a while I like to fry up a pound and a half of side pork and relax a bit on a Sunday evening but there was the thought on how to get the daughter home.Well, we decided to nix the grease feast and called our pastor and said let’s just go to a small town cafe about seven miles east of here and eat some great food that they have there.

So when the time came we got together and headed east on a chilly evening.It was dark out already and there were snow flurries outside. We walked into the cafe and there was a big bunch of ladies near the rear of the cafe and I was wondering what the heck was going on! As we entered and were looking the situation over the lady owner of the place looked at me like she seen a ghost! Then she scrambles over all excited,and I mean excited! She said she couldn’t believe it that we showed up at the very moment that she was praying that we would! There’s really a long story behind this, but it involves previous conversations with her.You see this cafe is only a year old or so. The place as a bar for 102 years.The interior still has all the bar stuff, minus the beer and liquor, and is almost like walking into a museum. A year and a half ago, during the summer I was at an event right across the street and was almost over come by the Holy Spirit. Standing outside I was facing the then active bar and plainly said that God was going to move in that place. Kinda unlikely when you think about it. A well established bar for 102 years, a money maker too.

After that time the owner was convicted by God to close the bar and make a restaurant out of it. Pretty risky really. Around six months later when the cafe was opened and running they did a newspaper article about it.How the owner was called by God to close the bar and open a cafe instead. The article blew me away to say the least. Then one time when we were eating there we had a talk with the owner and we told our story. The owner was in tears and came back out in a while and asked me to repeat the story about prophesying over the once bar.

So when we walked in Sunday evening, the cafe owner had her lady’s church group there for a Christmas party. The owner was so excited when we walked in because she said she was praying that I could give a preaching testimony to the ladies! I kinda gulped and had to laugh at the situation. I do believe God has a sense of humor in all of this! For a long time writing on the Healing Water’s blog I wrote about the old circuit riders and how they’d preach anywhere. Even in taverns and bars. Well, God sure set up that opportunity for me. So old Tom’s first ever Sunday night preaching to a rather nice sized group was in an old tavern! The one thing that still sticks in me is the fact that even though this was a church group that I spoke to, there were other tables with regular local folk that had to listen too.

I write this not as a brag, heaven forbid, but to be journaled and someday maybe look back to these times and places to see the journey as it continually unfolds. From almost forgetting my one line in a Christmas program two years ago, so nervous I thought I’d drop, to preaching near an old mahogany bar, with over one hundred years of business behind it. A devils lair for so long. And it went good. I’ll never forget it, ever!

Further Down the Roman Road

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—”Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

The above is from the Message Bible. If there’s anything handy about a computer its checking out a Bible verse in a few different translations with the simple click of a mouse! Personally, I use Bible Gateway and its a really good resource for me. Now, the verse or verses above are from Roman’s 10:9 and a few verses before and after, the Message Bible runs em together a little bit, kinda like the way the Bible was originally written. In the New King James the verse goes like this;

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Back to all of that in a moment. Today,being Saturday was a catch up day around here plus in the later afternoon I did allot of feeding for tomorrow morning so I can get to church on time. Just open some gates and let them at the silage bunks.Fire up the wood boilers outside and hopefully have an uneventful Sunday morning around here. Last evening was the church’s Christmas show, a kid thing.It was really enjoyable and the fellowship afterwords was great.I loaded up heavily on coffee and figured I’d never fall asleep but the Lord put me right under when I hit the bed. The last few evenings I started re-reading a book I got as a gift around a year ago, called The Tozer Pulpit, vol. 5. This book is really good!

If anyone knows about these writing, they know they are very level and right on. The fact that they can make a person uncomfortable shows that they aren’t written to tickle our ears. They are written to help us on our journey. One thing that stuck, the only thing I’ll mention tonight but there are so many things in this book it just amazes me. The only point I will write about tonight is being “half saved”. In other words, not really saved. This got me dwelling a bit. This is serious stuff. Some might ask, what do you mean half saved?  Well, this is where a person wants Jesus to be their Saviour. Nothing wrong with that, but if that’s it, oh, by this I mean if a person is trying to get out of going to hell by accepting Jesus as Saviour, he or she hasn’t been born again. There, let the bullets fly!

What’s missing? Some works we must do? Heaven forbid, no! There’s nothing we can do on our own power to please the Lord enough to earn our way to Him. A thing that’s missing in this day and age in the countries where folks really don’t have to rely on God day to day just to survive is coming to Jesus with a broken heart, giving up all of ourselves and calling Him our Lord, our Master. Think about this a little bit. How often does one hear this emphasized in churches nowadays? We hear the accepting Jesus as our Saviour part all the time, but what about the other half of the equation, accepting Him as our Master, our Lord in everything in our life?

There’s two sides to the coin, one is Saviour and the other is Lord. One cannot have the salvation side without the Lordship side taking over our lives. In this day and age this is not popular saying this, I know. But its the only way to salvation. In reality its rather simple. When a person goes up during an altar call, all emotional after a durn good sermon, not wanting to get their skin cooked in hell, what is sometimes preached is one side of the coin. The accept Jesus, say this little prayer and you won’t get burned thing. But so many times the submitting to Christ as Lord part is left out. Thus as time goes on the folks that go up to an altar call such as that haven’t changed one single bit. The world is their lord yet, as it always was. Some might decide to go to church and thankfully some grow in Christ, gradually handing everything over to the Lord. But the sad fact is, the majority have this false sense of eternal security. They say that a pastor told them they were saved because they came up during that altar call. Well, first of all, no pastor on this earth knows if a person is saved or not during an altar call. That’s between the person coming up and God. Secondly, there’s no change in “masters”.

This is not being  judgmental, or self righteous. This is the very foundation of becoming a Christian. This is what must be preached and never strayed from. This is what the ministry will be judged for. Just read Roman’s 10:9, read it over and over. I’ve read it countless times and the revelations, the truth of it all is awesome! Christianity is simple. True Christianity is a change of Lordship, a change from the devil being our lord to Jesus Christ being Lord over everything in our lives.

The oldtimers of the faith knew this. Over the years its been watered down until there’s a simple formula that says if a person repeats after me this prayer then you don’t have to worry about going to hell. Some get saved this way, but not from the prayer, in fact I do believe its in spite of the prayer. The ones that truly get saved during a moment like this came with broken hearts, realized their sinful nature and died to themselves, to become reborn in the Heavenly Kingdom because of this broken spirit. Because they confessed Jesus as their Lord. As their Master over their broken lives, He became their Saviour.

This is the Gospel, this is the Good News! One doesn’t have to do anything but call on the Lord! This is the Gospel that can heal a broken heart. This is the Gospel that can take any situation and change it forever. And I mean forever! To call on the Lord in faith is a call that will never go unanswered!