Sunday, September 14, 2014

Be Still And Know

The pictures in our visit this morning tell a harvest story.
I even had it written not knowing the internet had quit working and none of it was saved.
So I went to the cabin and put the potatoes in the oven for Harris's baptism dinner today.
Then I drove up north and checked the dryer.
Now I'm back with the internet working. I often wonder what you folks like to read about.
I sometimes wonder what God wants me to share about in our visits.
God often reminds me life is not about us.
He also reminds me I can't control things like the weather so it really doesn't do much good worrying about it.
He teaches me that things don't always go as planned and we are all totally dependent on His will and purpose.
He reminds me all our abilities come from Him and we are to try our hardest with the talents we are given.
God is honored and pleased when we have conversations with Him that include praising, thanking, asking, and listening.
He values relationships and wants us to show His light and love to others through serving.
13 years ago this past week our country was attacked. People from all over our country filled churches and asked God for help. How soon we forget. 
God is also glorified when we as churches seek out ways to share the good news we are given with others and help those outside our circles to enjoy and celebrate worship.
"In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines the outcome."   Prov. 16:9
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will be successful. The Lord works everything out for His own ends."            Prov. 16:3-4

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Adapting To Our Environment

Sometimes life is overwhelming. Sometimes it's relaxing. Many times it can be both in the same day depending on our environment. We live in a changing world. Weather, prices, technology, people. How we adapt will determine whether we succeed or fail.
 A story is told about a devastating storm on a Caribbean island in 1989. It literally blew down thick timbers. Everything had changed.
 Then something started happening after the destruction. Flowers started growing where the trees had once stood. Now never seen before beauty was coming to life. Those flowers were a gift from a loving Creator.
 When we started visiting Jackson County Colorado 14 years ago the mountains were covered with trees. Most homes were secluded.
About ten years ago a beetle migrated in and killed most of the Lodge Pole Pines. The forward thinking ranchers adapted and harvested the dead pines for firewood. It totally changed the landscape.
 Today a whole new crop of timber has started from all the dead pine cones and is flourishing. Many environmentalist don't give nature the credit it deserves for having the ability to adapt. That's because most value nature more than they do the One who created nature.
Last week Sunday we went to church in Walden. This couple ranches nearby. The gentleman is the part time pastor and his wife runs the power point. While they lead worship their cute little 6 year old daughter is as active as ever wandering around the sanctuary. She has learned to adapt because she was born without arms or legs. 
The gentleman sitting next to Jan and I was an out-of-state elk hunter. He told us he woke up in his tent and was so asphyxiated by his heater he couldn't stand. He decided to go to church and thank God for sparing his life.
 
The machinery used in our ag environment has so changed over the last 40 years. Back then the universities said these 4-wheel drive dinosaurs would become obsolete because of no-till and herbicides. They recommended a farmer own just 3 pieces of machinery, a planter, a sprayer, and a combine.
Back when Jan and I harvested together she drove the combine and I unloaded the wagons. Our 50/50 rented farms were divided by the row in the field. We both had kids in the cab with us.
This fall will again have it's own unique changes and challenges. A bigger crop takes more time and work. Lower prices take more planning and budgeting. Storm damaged plants might mean being more timely. Bigger ears and kernels with lots of rain might mean slower dry down. Storage will be an issue. The fields are soft this year.
The attitude and disposition a farmer takes to the field this fall will have an effect on his productivity, his safety, his health, his family, and his success.  
No matter what your occupation there will be good days and worrisome ones. Be thankful for a new day every morning. Thank God when the work of your hands produce abundance with His blessing and grace. Lean on Him when you need help. And remember most clouds have silver linings. Be willing to adapt.
The way we communicate has also so changed over the last 40 years. We email. We text. We snap chat. We blog. Life is instant and we have fewer face to face conversations where we listen and relate.
 Sometimes our instant communication skills rub off on our prayer life. It's something we believe is important. We are just always in a hurry. Find a place and start your day listening and relating to a God who is very big but also very close.

Friday, August 29, 2014

For Free

While we were out in Colorado a few weeks ago our granddaughter Rachel was given a horse for free. Now if you figure the fuel it takes to pull a trailer to Colorado and the time it takes for BJ her dad to build fence I'm not sure it was quite free. Also as Uncle Karl said you can't just back a horse in the corner of the machine shed until you need him. 
But hey, how can you not go after Bear, the horse, when you see how much he likes his new owner. O, speaking of hay, BJ usually sells that as a cash crop. Might have to save a little back. How much hay will Bear eat? Will he like Iowa hay? Who will feed Bear?
I'll let you in on a little secret. When Rachel's mom Cassia was Rachel's age her first job was taking care of horses and cleaning pens in Colorado. She probably fed Bear since Bear is a senior citizen in horse years. Since Rachel loves horses as much as her mom does I dare to bet Bear is going to have a great time becoming an Iowan.
Since harvest is just around the corner and free time will be at a minimum we decided to invite a few friends and go racing. Only one time did the race track manager only have to ask the guys to cool it. Quite often she would put baby powder on the track which makes the track slick and slows the cars down.
We had a really good time both racing and watching even though we picked the hottest day of the summer to go. Congratulations to Brent who won the main event.
God made us to enjoy the fellowship we have with one another. That fellowship happens in work and leisure both. Giving and receiving of those friendships affirms and assures us that we have value to one another.
God also values each and every one of us. It makes sense because He is the one that made us. I'm not sure where those who don't believe in creation get their self worth. Evolutionist believe we evolved from cells that accidentally came together and then grew into a primitive form of an animal and finally a person all by ourselves. From goo to you by way of the zoo. God values us so much He gave His Son for us for free.
So what's it cost to be a friend? We are friends for free.
So what does a building project cost? Yikes, but it's worth it at twice the cost when you've been married to your best friend for close to 40 years.
Finally, what does it cost to take a Labor Day weekend off with that same best friend to go to Colorado and pick up a horse named Bear for your granddaughter? Priceless.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Coming And Going With A Purpose

We are going along focusing on our work. We look ahead and we see something or someone coming our way. We wonder if those approaching will be complimentary or critical.
A team has goals. Winning shouldn't be the only goal. In fact winning shouldn't even be the top goal. Who do we represent as a team? What do those we represent stand for? How does that determine how we act as we come and go?
Sometimes our family is the face of agriculture when visited by guests from the city. We got to meet some new friends from Anheuser Busch who were visiting Cargill/Eddyville and came out for lunch.
Sometimes our crew is a team tackling the tough jobs. We were cleaning out the shop pit and drain getting ready for company. Tough jobs go so much better when there is plenty of help.
If you are having company you need to be prepared. Karl is setting up the drinks for our appreciation supper last Wednesday evening. We went through 40 gallon of tea and lemonade.
Sometimes our family represents the future. Will our grandchildren have the same opportunities we have had? Are we training them and giving them responsibilities so they can someday be world changers as my friend Matt likes to say?
One of the benefits of living south of 92 in rural Iowa is you can come or go where you please. Just don't forget most cell phones have cameras these days.
Kudos to my wife Jan who prepared enough food to feed 280 people. And a huge Thank you to our gals for helping serve.
So does this get together still serve a purpose? I know. We don't try and write orders for Dekalb and Asgrow seed . Our seed business is still important. However I think there are other things that are more important.
Our family gets to say thank you for our business relationships. We get to listen to folks talk about the upcoming harvest. We get to just visit as friends. So often we are so busy with coming and going here and there we don't take the time for friendship and fellowship.  
But most of all this get together proves that nothing beats rural Iowa and it's hometown folks of all ages. Our lives can basically be summed up by Faith, Family, Friends, Farming, Food, Fellowship, and once in a while Football on Friday nights.
Changing gears. Our church spent an evening this past week looking where we've been, where were at, and where we would like to go. Mike from Texas moderated and asked us as a congregation for ideas how we could better fulfill our purpose. Cyndi compiled our suggestions.
Earlier this year our elders made a goal that we be a more affirming and encouraging church to each other, our guests, and our community, as we come and go serving the Lord.
The churches purpose is to help folks from 9 to 90 glorify, serve, and love the Lord with all their mind, soul, heart, and strength. The only way that's possible is for us to love our neighbors more than we love ourselves.
Another purpose of the church is to help prepare folks of all ages for eternity. Eternity is a long time.
"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalms 121:8