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Category Archives: Devotional

On the Run: like a deer on the run from a predator, who are you on the run from?

Over the past several months I’ve come across several Outdoor Industry Leaders who have shared with me that at some level, “I am feeling down”.  As I listen and ask more questions I can hear a thread of doubt, stress, depression, and even some signs of isolation or loneliness.

THINK WITH ME:

Do you see areas of your life where you see threads of doubt, stress, depression, isolation, or loneliness.  I know I have over the years.  In my early career in Forestry I isolated myself to mask the hurt and pain of not having a father figure and/or spiritual leader in my life.  As I grew older, I masked stress, and loneliness with more work, traveling, speaking, writing, and creating new leadership platforms.

Now, as a much more healthy, well-balanced husband and father at age 40, I have Mentors and Coaches in my life to keep me focused.  Just like Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen is focused at providing a safe place for you the Industry Leader to be healthy and well-balanced in life.  As a Leader in the Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting Sports we would love to provide you with a Life Coach as well.  We look forward to serving you in this area.

READ WITH ME:

I would submit that Psalm chapter 42 is a great response for you to consider when having doubt, stress, depression, isolation, and loneliness in your life.

It is important to know, that the “deer longs for streams of water”, because he is wore out from being on the run from the predators of life.  He is drinking because he is dying of thirst and because there is an enemy on his heels that is closing in fast.  He has got to refresh himself quickly so as to be ready to run again at a moments notice.

Now, I know this is not the image you had in your head… is it?  And I would submit that the photo I posted of the deer leg I found this spring is a much closer representation to how you feel when you are on the run.   But, it is the true imagery of chapters 42 & 43.  You might have read this before and thought… Ohhhh….. how nice, the doe and her yearling are getting a drink of water from the shade of the day under the cottonwood tree on the banks of the quite stream.   You might have even sang about it in a song at a church, conference, or retreat.  But it isn’t the reality of what is truly happening.

That deer is dead tired from running and needs water, the author of Psalms needs God’s restoring power to stand against the oppressor.  You need that same power… and it is available to you.

You will want to read all of Chapter 42 and 43… but look at what Chapter 42:5,11; and 43:5 all say.

5 Why are you depressed, O my soul?
Why are you upset?
Wait for God! (Put your Hope in God!)
For I will again give thanks
to my God for his saving intervention.

Psalms 42-43

ACT:

When you are feeling blue, call on the words of God from scripture when He says, “Wait for God!”, “Put your hope in God”, “The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night”, “Vindicate me, God and defend my cause… rescue me… for you are the God of my refuge…”  “Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me…. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place.”

Put your Hope in God!


 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Devotional

 

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Hunting Buddies: a principle of eternal significance

My Hunting Buddies

I was thinking about Hunting Buddies this past week as I shot the video on “Competing Voices” for WORD from the Woods.  Do you remember near the end of the video where I speak about when you hear those competing voices you need someone alongside of you who can help you see God as refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.  That just might be where you need a hunting buddy.

THINK WITH ME:

Have you ever wondered why you enjoy hang’n with your hunting buddies?  All the weeks and months of preparation… scouting properties, cutting brush, plowing food plots, planting, putting out feeders, staging game cameras, setting stands and/or going to the gun range, and shooting sporting clays.  It could be that your passion is fishing so it might be combing through thousands of lures and baits, cleaning tackle, putting rigs together for a weekend of throwing flies and tell’n lies.  I know you never tell a lie… maybe stretch the truth a little.  It happens..

Do you know why I believe we enjoy hanging with our hunting buddies? It’s more than just the great times we have in the woods or on the water.

We were designed for community.

I have no idea where you stand spiritually.  I do; however, believe that God created you for community and the reason that hanging with your Hunting Buddies is what you enjoy and look forward to throughout the season and between seasons is due to the fact that you were created for this.

There is a great picture of this community in a passage of scripture in Genesis 1:26

READ WITH ME:

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26

Did you catch that…. God said from the beginning of time there has been community.  He referred to it when He said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness”.

God is revealing to us that He is “community” and therefore He has wired it up in us from before time.  In later writings we see that God continues this thread of community throughout the Bible.

Jesus walks in community for three years with 12 guys and even closer with 3 of those guys.  He sends guys out in pairs.  He refers to being with us when two or more are gathered in His name. He models for us an eternal principle that without Him in our lives we are just out taking a walk, alone.

With Jesus in our lives we have the Ultimate Hunting Buddy.  One that will not call us at 4:00 a.m. and say I just can’t make it to the woods today.  Jesus is the one hunt’n buddy who will never let you down and will always be your refuge and your strength IF you will let Him in.

ACT:

SO, Where are you with Jesus?  Where do you see Him working in your life?  Have you potentially substituted earthy, human Hunting Buddies for where Jesus might want to be working in your life.  Just something to think about.

Earthy Hunting Buddies are great and you need persons in your life to walk with you as a spiritual partner….  I have several guys in my life including my boys who teach me SO much about God’s love for me and the outdoors. Jesus; however, as your Eternal Hunting Buddy is SO much better.

If I can be of any help in unpacking this personally, please let me know and I’ll do my best to walk through where Jesus is in your life.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Devotional

 

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As I held My Father’s Hand – “What It’s All About!”

Daniel & Nolan White (@TheMetroRedneck)

I received a text from my good friend Daniel C White (TheMetroRedneck) this past Saturday morning with a picture of he and his 5 1/2 year old son Nolan after their morning Turkey Hunt.  The words of the text read, “What it’s all about!”  The minute I saw Daniel’s text God put, “As I held My Father’s Hand” on my mind to write.

Like Daniel I am the father of young children.  My sons, Caleb (will be 11 on April 24th), Josiah (5), Levi (4), Silas (2) all look at me for answers to life.  They want to know what truth is, they want to hear stories of my childhood days of hunting and fishing, they want me to listen to their stories, and find common ground with them.  They all long for a one-on-one relationship with dad that may be different from each other and with four boys that sometimes can become taxiing. They want me to be real with them.  This is especially true for my oldest son, Caleb.  They want me to use language they understand when I’m talking with them.  They also want to do things together as a group of guys… just hangin’ with dad.  It is in these moments that I trust God to work in their lives.

When I think of holding my Father’s Hand I think not only of my responsibility as a father to be an example, love well, and lead well, but also to know who’s hand I am holding.  That of my Heavenly Father.  My prayer is that I hold onto my Heavenly Father’s hand well enough that as I hold the hand of my Father, my son’s can feel confident in holding mine.

I recall a writing by Lynn H. Pryor (Editorial Project Leader for Living With Teenagers) who wrote on reaching students.  In Lynn’s writing several things caught my attention that I submit are good insights for us to consider as we impact our children and the next generation of outdoorsmen who are watching our Hunting, Fishing, & Shooting Shows.

– Don’t assume children accept your definition of truth…

The days of telling kids what they ought to believe and expecting it to just be so are few and far between.  It might require that you approach the truth with new and creative methods.  The Message never changes but the method will.

– Tell them your story…

I’m sure you’ve found this to be true… the older children become the more there is the tendency to argue; but it will be hard to argue about your life story.  Share your story with them.  What your life was like before and what your life is like now.

– Listen to their story…

This isn’t only true for teenagers.  This is just as true for younger children.  My son’s Josiah (5) and Levi (4) love to tell stories and they want to know that I’ve heard theirs before they want to hear mine.  It’s the old adage, “we have to earn the right to be heard”.

Nolan White on his 1st Turkey Hunt

 

– Find common ground…

For us… it’s hunting, fishing, and shooting with the boys.  They are most receptive to hearing from Stephanie and I, when we are outdoors.  It’s the great equalizer.  What and/or where is your common ground with your children?

– Build a relationship…

Relationship building knows no age limit.  If you want to hear and be heard you must build a relationship.  It has been my experience that this process re-addresses itself in different stages of our children’s growth… elementary, jr high, high school, college, young adult hood, and young parent.  Each one of these stages requires us as parent’s to address how we hold their hands and how they hold ours.

– Be real…

Be the you God created you to be.  “If you’re not an adolescent, don’t try to act like one.”  Our children, youth, and young adults need good, healthy, balanced adult relationships.  They may not admit it, but they know they need it and are longing for it.  Being yourself and leading well will go a long way in helping kids believe in you.

– Avoid confusing language…

Use words they will understand.  I’ve found that in some situations I don’t communicate well with my boys due to my choice of words that don’t connect.  For children and younger youth it is important that we communicate using words that don’t complicate the process of learning.

site note: Levi (3) loves using words like “thunder chicken”, “swamp donkey”, and “freak nasty” … now where in the world would he have heard those words….. smiles…. Waddell would be proud.

– Integrate them into group life…

Even though they may not show it, children and teenagers want community.  They love being with their friends.  This is a great opportunity for you as a parent to model for them truth that they only believe, into something that they experience and lived out. Don’t under estimate the power of community.

Trust God to work…

My standard line is, “It’s not as if this slipped up on God.”  You can count on that my friend.  God is at work in you… even when you don’t see it.  He is at work in your children regardless of their age.  Trust God to do something amazing in spite of you.

What It's All About!

Now back to Daniel’s hunt with Nolan…  Daniel did a little of all these by taking Nolan turkey hunting.  I can’t wait to meet Nolan in person and have him tell me about how his dad took him turkey hunting, how they told stories, heard stories, how dad taught me to stalk and crawl, how dad talked with me, hung out with me, and the memories we made, “As I held My Father’s Hand”.

There will be a day when Nolan will ask much deeper questions; about life, spirituality, girls, love, college, marriage, and children.  And through these years of parenting Daniel will be prepared to handle those questions, because he has been holding The Father’s Hand.

Truly… “What It’s All About!”

Special thanks to Daniel and Nolan White for allowing me to showcase their story and their photos from a great 2011 Spring Turkey Hunt.  If you haven’t connected with Daniel C. White, let me encourage you to do so online at:

Six Degrees… of DCW

The Metro Redneck


 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Devotional

 

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I don’t ‘need’ another person in my life…

I saw a twitter post in the past couple of days that went something like, “I don’t need another person in my life, giving me ‘guidance’ … spiritual or otherwise for that matter.”  As you might imagine that hits close to home for me since as the “Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen” part of our “Serving You” is “Providing spiritual guidance for those not connected to a local Church.”

So what does this mean, specifically?

THINK WITH ME:

For those of us in the Outdoor Industry we are more than busy with work, life, family, a second job, OH… and then there is this Outdoor Company (TV, DVD, Products, etc…) we are trying to build on the side as well. None of this is bad, in fact most of the Outdoor TV Show Hosts today started their careers that very same way. Our lives are full.  And some of our lives are so full that being connected to a local Church for guidance, “spiritual or otherwise”, just isn’t there.

So bear with me as I go “spiritual” for just a moment.  There is an old phrase that says, “every sheep deserves a shepherd”.  I believe that.  That is the reason I do what I do.  I don’t want anyone going through life alone. This world is crazy enough as it is.  Therefore, my desire is to provide you a safe place for those not connected to a local Church to work through life’s issues while you pursue your dream of being an Outdoor Industry Leader.

READ WITH ME:

11 I will look for my sheep and take care of them myself, 12 just as a shepherd looks for lost sheep. My sheep have been lost since that dark and miserable day when they were scattered throughout the nations. But I will rescue them 13 and bring them back from the foreign nations where they now live. I will be their shepherd and will let them graze on Israel’s mountains and in the valleys and fertile fields. 14 They will be safe as they feed on grassy meadows and green hills. 15 I promise to take care of them and keep them safe, 16 to look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off, to bandage those that are hurt and protect the ones that are weak.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

ACTION STEPS FOR YOU AND FOR ME:

As a Chaplain, I want to serve you in the Outdoor Industry by providing you a safe place to feed, a promise to care, a bandage for the hurting, and protection for the weak… at whatever level you will allow us.

Be aware of yourself enough to know when a Chaplain can:

  • Believe in you, because God does.
  • Listen to you when no one else will.
  • Ask you questions that will help you.
  • Support you in times of decision-making.
  • Test you when it is the right thing to do.

I am here to serve you… when you feel the time is right.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Devotional

 

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Hunt to Kill… or… Kill to Hunt?

Caleb's 1st Turkey Hunt

Another lesson learned for this old boy this past weekend with the opening of Spring Turkey Season here in California.  There are birds here… and lots of them if you know where to go.  A far greater lesson though was the one my son Caleb (10) taught me.

Listen to Caleb’s words in this short unedited clip we shot from our old digital camera.  Forgive the quality and lack of editing… one day we’ll invest in camera equipment and editing software.


THINK WITH ME:

Did you catch it… “It was fun… Even though we didn’t see anything…”  Now, there is a lesson for us all.  You know what I learned?  Too often we hit the woods and the water with killing or catching on our minds.  And when we don’t, we feel like the hunt or fishing trip was unsuccessful.  Success of a hunt isn’t measured by the kill or the catch, success is measured by the experience.

That is a message I believe we all need to hear this week.  Hunting isn’t about killing and fishing isn’t about catching, they are by-products.  The real “killing” is just dying to have the opportunity to hunt or fish… to be in God’s creation, enjoying all that He has created for us to enjoy.

Breakfast from the Blind

READ WITH ME:

18 Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.

2 Corinthians 4:18 (CEV)

THINK WITH ME:

How many times have we as outdoorsmen and sportsmen hit the woods or water and forgotten the “things that are not seen”?  Some times it takes a child to remind us that the blessing is in the experience.

The boys and I would kill to be in the woods or on the water every day as ministers in the great outdoors.  If I wasn’t a full-time pastor in a local church our family would be committing our full-time efforts to communicating God’s love of us while hunting, fishing, and being Chaplain’s to Outdoorsmen.  Don’t waste an opportunity…

This week, ask God to reveal how you are to be sharing your love of the outdoors with someone else and how you missed Him in your last excursion, because of focusing too much on the kill or the catch.

More photos and videos on our Facebook page and more videos coming to our YouTube channel.

Facebook

YouTube


 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Devotional

 

Turkey’s Never Lie… Or Do They?

Let me preface this by saying, we are ALL notorious for protecting our “honey hole”.  But, come on… do we really need to look another hunter in the eyes and lie to their face?  On so many levels this is wrong.

THINK:

What prompted this was my scouting trip last weekend for turkeys… (Thunder Chickens)  I happened to be down in San Diego County on the Cleveland National Forest just northwest of Henshaw Lake.  Where I’m sure there will be several of us this coming Saturday morning, March 26th for opening day.

While coming out of the woods I ran into 3 guys coming in mid to late morning on Saturday.  The conversation went something like this…

 

Me – how’s it going guys… scouting turkeys?
Guys – yep…

Me – well, yesterday evening I sat into dark over the lake near the pastures edge with no luck other than a few muley does and this morning it was more than quite in the heavy fog.
Guys – ok, then

Me – you guys familiar with this area?  I’m new here.
Guys – no, this is our first time here too.

Me – well you know where the old barn is?
Guys – yeah… down the creek bed and around the bend… (1st clue)

Me – I sat there for 2 hours on the ridge with no luck, yesterday.
Guys – oh… ok

Me – you know where that old water holding tank is on the far side of the pasture.
Guys – yeah… up near that old cattle crossing. (2nd clue)

Me – yeah, that one…. no luck there either.
Guys – I see… well I guess you’ll not be here next weekend then will you.

Me – since I don’t know of a lot of other areas… I’m thinking this might be one of my better options to bring my boys, since I know the birds hold up here throughout the year.
Guys – well… you know you might want to try down near Southerland Lake, I hear it is a much better spot than here.

Me – thanks for the tip guys… hope you have a great day.  Blessings!

Now, I have no idea about those guys spiritual lives.  I have no knowledge of where they stand in their relationship to Christ.  This much I do know… they are turkey hunters and they are “turkeys”.  They looked me in my eyes and told me they’d never been to that spot before, yet they knew every land mark I mentioned and gave a better description of it than I could have.


READ:

19  Truth will last forever; lies are soon found out.

Proverbs 12:17 (CEV)


ACT:

I know we love our honey holes, but lying never wins.  As you go throughout your week know that I’m praying for you.

Speaking truth… in love.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Devotional

 

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Two “oaths”, thousands of years apart – Once Made … Lasts Forever

Pvt Joshua Hudspeth

This past Friday, Stephanie, the boys and I had the privilege of being with my sister and her family as we watched her son Joshua graduate as a MARINE at the MCRD in San Diego, Ca.  As I thought about Joshua (my nephew) I reflected back on the day he was born.  I then began to think about him as a man, a Marine, and a follower of Jesus.  My thoughts then drifted to the Joshua of the Bible, his learnings, leadership, and mistakes.  There is a parallel between the Joshua of the Bible and the oath he made as a leader and my nephew Joshua and the oath he has taken as a Marine.

THINK WITH ME:

Joshua (from the Bible) was called out to lead the people of Israel after Moses.  He was Moses aide from a very young age.  As you might recall he and Caleb reported back that “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.”  Joshua’s faith and the spirit of God led him to be Moses successor.  Joshua was proven in courage and leadership.  He was a warrior and led the nation to victory.

Joshua led the people across the Jordan river on dry ground, just as Moses had done at the Red Sea. He fought the battle in Jericho.  Joshua was an example of leadership and his name when out across the land.  Because of his prominence, nations began to fear Israel as well as banding together against them.  This led to Joshua making an oath with a group of people who feared him.  The only problem was that he had not sought out God’s will prior to making that oath.  Even though Joshua had not sought God, He still expected Joshua to uphold the promise he made to the people.

My mine then quickly jumps back to thinking about my nephew Joshua and the oath he made as a Marine. Look at the Motto of the Marine Corp.

“Semper Fidelis distinguishes the Marine Corps bond from any other. It goes beyond teamwork – it is a brotherhood and lasts for life. Latin for “always faithful,” Semper Fidelis became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what.  Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone, and Semper Fi reminds us of that. Once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.  There is no such thing as an ex-Marine.”

Quote from Marines.com

READ WITH ME:

6 Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them.7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for Jehovah thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua 1:6-9

Pvt Hudspeth with The Mackey Boys

ACT WITH ME:

As one who is prominent in the Outdoor Industry, you are a leader. Be strong and courageous … observe the law… serve others… mediate on what is true and right…

Might I also suggest a few thoughts to ponder…

– Am I going beyond teamwork to create an outdoor brotherhood and lasts for life?

– Am I remaining faithful to the mission I have for my company, and to others in the industry, no matter what?

It has been said that, “When our leaders make oaths, God has the expectation that they will keep their word. Making promises and breaking promises is something God takes seriously.”

– Have I made an oath that I’ve broken?  If so, how am I going to make it right?

REFLECTION:

As men and women who are passionate about the outdoors we too need to be “always faithful“.  Faithful to helping each other be healthy and balanced in our everyday life, our love of the outdoors, conservation of natural resources, and positively impacting future generations of outdoorsmen.

I would also like to submit that we be responsible to seek God’s direction before making and/or taking an oath.

The Joshua of the Bible – His “oath” stands to this day.

My nephew, Joshua – His “oath” lasts forever.

Two “oaths” thousands of years apart – once made… lasts forever.

Just a Thought …

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Devotional

 

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