Monday, June 30, 2014

A Short Boat Ride Today

Renae and I launched the boat about 6:00 p.m. this evening.  We didn't catch any fish, but it was a great ride on the water for about 2 hours.  

The best part was the large pod of bottlenose porpoises we seen (about fifteen) just below Robinson Point. They came along side our boat - just a few feet away - and a very large porpoise with beautiful grey skin jumped about six times right beside us.  It was very exciting.

Renae did a good job at the wheel too.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mayter's Gone Wild

I picked these tomatoes this morning and will be canning/freezing them this evening (along with just as many more that I harvested earlier this week).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cast Net Coverage

Length (Radius)               Spread (Circumference)       Coverage in Square Feet

6'                                          12’                                       113 sq ft
8'                                          16’                                       201 sq ft
10'                                        20’                                       314 sq ft
12'                                        24’                                       452 sq ft

Look closely and you will notice that an 8’ net almost doubles in the total amount of square foot coverage as a 6’ net (about an 80% increase); and yet only requires about the same amount of throwing effort as the smaller net.  Therefore, an 8’ net is one of the best options to choose.

Larger nets require more strength, but the coverage in square footage increases exponentially.  So, the larger the net you can throw the better chance you have of catching fish on the ‘edges’ of the net before they can outrun it.

In the end, the only thing that really matters is getting your net on top of the fish; and that can be accomplished with any sized net, including a 4' net.

One Big Net

This is a 22' pancake from a new net I brought home today.  

It's a custom built 11' brail.  Six triangular panels (to form a pie shape) with 9 lbs of lead line.  

It's much easier to throw than my 10' net (made with tube panels) and 12 pounds of weights. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Garden Stop on the Way to Work

Stopped by the garden on the way into work this morning. I picked these and brought them into the office to share with the Friday volunteers.  Peppers: Anahiem, Pablano, Cubanelle, Cajun Bell, Green Bell, and Giant Marconi. Tomatoes: Mortgage Lifter, Purple Calabash, Yellow Pear, Indigo Rose, Roma, Green Zebra, Better Boy, and Beefsteak.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Feel Like the Preacher Targeted Me in His Sermon

People often tell me on Sunday mornings after the service that the sermon was specifically for them.  Jokingly and affectionately they will say things like, “You’ve been reading my mail” or “someone must’ve told you about me” or, on more serious note, “the Lord was really speaking to me today."

My response is always the same, “Only God’s Word can do that.”

And it's true.  Only God's Word can expose the motives and intentions of the heart (see Hebrews 4:12).

But for some, they feel like the preacher targeted them.  That he crafted his entire sermon about them and directed it to them.  (As if they are the focus of his attention and efforts).  

Here’s my response:

Don’t personalize everything that’s preached.  Obviously, every pastor teaches with the hope that everyone will take the message personally and apply it to his or her own life.  “If the shoe fits, wear it” is what we want people to do.

However, there are always a few in the congregation who think the minister has specifically targeted them in his sermon.  This is a common misunderstanding which causes people to get hurt.

Feelings of being targeted may occur if persons are (1) under conviction about a particular matter, (2) especially self-conscious or narcissistic, (3) under emotional distress, (4) if they have spent time in counseling sessions with the pastor, (5) if he has previously corrected them on some matter.

Keep in mind, a pulpit teacher does not focus his attention solely upon one person.  His concern is for the broad ranges of people in attendance.

Occasionally people think their pastor focuses on them in the same way they focus on him.  For instance, when a pastor stands in front of a congregation week after week, they develop a feeling of close friendship with him – they come to know personal details of his life, his family, and others traits.  However, even if the pastor knows each person in his flock, it’s not really possible for him to concentrate on each person with the same detail as they do on him.  It’s easy to for dozens of people to know him well, but not realistic for him to know dozens in the same way.  Consequently, they develop the illusion that the pastor focuses on them when he preaches – that he remembers their personal details in the same way they remember his. 

But the pastor has too many other people to consider.

He counsels with dozens of people, and hears scores of other similar problems and details.  It’s unlikely he will single someone out and preach at them, while trying to minister to the whole congregation.  If there is something specific the pastor needs to say only to you, he will do it; he will deliver it to you personally, in private.

And neither should he avoid certain topics just because he happens to know the details of people’s lives.   God’s Word should be taught without fear or favoritism.

Besides this, it is the job of the Holy Spirit to personalize God’s Word to every member in the Body of Christ so that we will examine ourselves and search our own hearts.  When the Lord is dealing with us about His Word, it might seem like the pastor is speaking directly to us, when in fact it is the Holy Spirit .

The best attitude to have is to listen to each message objectively.  In every sermon (that comes from the Bible), God has something to say to us all.  Be open to whatever the Lord would say, and willing to accept His correction or guidance.  Defensiveness is usually as sign of resistance to conviction.

As challenging as it may seem sometimes, the church is God’s plan for His people, and it is in the context of community and corporate worship that God will develop and mature you into a fully equipped disciple.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Historical and Healthier View of Courtship

I hardly know where to begin.

Actually, I do.

True courtship is when you invest in a relationship to determine whether or not to grow into intimacy and commitment, with a view toward marriage.  Sex is at the end of that process, not at the beginning.  Sex is the result of courtship, not the commencement of it.

When sex comes at the end of courtship, that is, once a lifetime commitment has been made, then the wonder of mutual discovery and exploration begins, further cementing the relationship.

Anyone who has the most rudimentary knowledge of relational health and development knows that sex at the start of a relationship – particularly for the young and immature – can overwhelm things, cloud judgment, and stunt the actual development of that relationship.

Trying to be Cool verses Bearing the Reproach of Christ

Dear Pastor,

Stop trying to be cool.

It’s a trap.

When people who are outside that faith – that is, they have no appreciation for Scripture, the call of God, the blood of Jesus, or the penalty of sin – keep complimenting you on your coolness, you can get in danger real quick.

The moment he craves those compliments is the moment he begins to order his life and ministry by the coolness factor.  If he preaches a certain doctrine he knows his friends will not appreciate, he will water it down or conveniently find another topic.  If he speaks up for a particular value, they will suddenly find him uncool, so he mutes his message.  Accordingly, he wears his hair and arranges his clothing that will make him appear cool.

It’s a seduction.

Someone once asked an old time preacher, “If I follow Jesus, do I have to give up the world?”  He answered, “If you get truly converted, you won’t have to worry about that.  The world will give you up!”

John the Baptist wore camel hair and ate insects.  They called him mad.

Anything but cool.

Jesus attended wedding parties and was called a winebibber.

Again, not very cool.

In the OT sacrificial system, the carcasses of animals were burned outside the city, away from the general population.  It was too unpleasant to see.  The writer of Hebrews in the NT draws a parallel with the Lord Jesus dying outside the city gates (Heb. 13:11-13), and then makes this application:

In the same way, “we Christians should go with Him outside the camp – that is, away from the crowd and flow of culture – and thus bear His reproach.”

It’s an ideal metaphor, one that speaks perfectly to our situation.

  • Woe to the man or woman who longs to be accepted by the world.
  • Woe to the Christian who wants to be trendy rather than striving to hear God say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
  • Woe to the preacher who orders his sermons and selects his topics that will keep him cool in the eyes of friends and unbelievers.
  • Woe to the pastor who shies away from certain subjects taught in Scripture because people will turn away from him.
  • Woe to the one calling himself a disciple but who discounts any scriptural teaching that conflicts with todays accepted values.
  • Woe to the cowards who want God… but fear rejection from the world.
Let us never shy away from bearing the shame of the Lord because we prefer acceptance of the world.

God help us.

We cannot have it both ways.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I picked a cardboard box full of tomatoes this morning.  In this picture are some of the more attractive ones:  Better Boy, Indigo Rose, Yellow Pear, Roma, and Purple Calabash.  I really enjoy the variety.

Renae came with me (she mowed about three acres while I worked in the garden).  I enjoy it immensely when we spend time together out there.  She picked more blueberries too.  An added bonus was that our grandson, Nolan, was with us.

Why Plant a Vegetable Garden?

Vegetable gardening is a favorite pastime for a lot of people.  From patio gardeners, backyard gardeners, large gardens, or large scale farming, more and more people are getting into the dirt of things.

Here’s a few reasons why:
  • Homegrown vegetables are better.  They taste fresher and have higher nutrition since they are harvested closer to their peak ripeness.  Yes, you can tell the difference.
  • Homegrown vegetables usually cost less than if they were bought in the store.  A lost less.
  • Gardening provides a means of exercise, recreation, therapy, and an opportunity to experience closeness to nature. 
  • Statements such as, “Let me show you my garden” or “I grew that” demonstrate how much the gardener enjoys the practice.
Give it a try.  The rewards are immense.  

However, remember to make your garden just large enough so that it will meet your needs but will not become a burden to care for.

Bands on the Blackwater

Dinner Cruise provided by Captain Robert Hughes and Joyce Hughes.  Also pictured are Renae Christian and Sharon Wise (all names are left-to-right).  Me and John Wise are in the front of the boat

Friday, June 13, 2014


Our blueberries are just beginning to ripen.  Renae always enjoys picking them and making all sorts of desserts. Both of us get a lot of enjoyment from the fresh fruit and vegetables from our garden.

This row of blueberry bushes is about 100' long. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Picked a few tomatoes today.  I have hundreds more on the vine waiting to turn red.  This cluster of ten should be ready in a week or so.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Today's Catch

This morning I had to return to Pensacola Beach with my trailer to bring equipment back from Youth Camp.  I had to be there at 9:30 a.m. for check-out time.  I decided to go early to do a little fishing.  Got to the water at 6:30 a.m.  Was done by 8:30 a.m.

25 mullet with 10' cast net.  (I caught 23 of them in one throw).

Friday, June 6, 2014

24 inch Red Snapper

Thanks Tommy L. for this nice fish.  I'll be puttin er in the pan tonight!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cast Net Lessons at Youth Camp

The kids took an immediate liking to the cast net.  Many of them were quick learners too.  I gave lessons with four cast nets - ranging in size from 4' to 8'.  

I'm glad I left one of the nets behind (after I came home) because the kids have kept practicing for the last couple of days.  Even the girls have taken a real interest.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Harvested Today

Dug up these potatoes today.  They are Red La Soda.  I have four times as much still to harvest.

Tell the Truth or Extend Grace?

A preacher should do both.  He should preach the truth (even the hard places) while extending grace.

John 1:14 says Jesus came… full of grace and truth.  He embodied both attributes.  He thundered the convicting truth of God’s Word and extended grace to repentant sinners.  Jesus offered neither a feel-good theology that glazed over any real talk about sin, nor the legalism of harsh condemnation.

The frightening trend today, however, is to go heavy on grace at the expense of truth.


As Henry Cloud has written, “truth without grace is judgment, and grace without truth is license.”

We are currently in a series on the Ten Commandments.  It’s a strong word, heavy on truth.  Yet we keep coming back to the NT finding the promises of grace.  It takes both – grace and truth – to make disciples, to edify the Body of Christ, to build a healthy church.

Recently I read that hundreds of thousands of Catholics are falling away from their church.  Mainline Protestant denominations aren’t doing much better.  The Southern Baptist Convention, for instance, has become alarmed by a two-decade decline in baptisms.  The United Methodist Church has recently reported that they are facing a “slow, organizational death.”

The real headline here is that lukewarm religion holds little value in the minds of people influenced by secularism.  If a faith religion lacks conviction, passion, absolutes, or life change, then it seems both privately and socially irrelevant.

Hence, it falls on deaf ears.

This means the only kind of voice that can arrest the attention of the world (and our congregations) will be convictional in nature, clear in its message, substantial in its content, and bold in its challenge.

So while a lot of people may be losing their religion, let’s be sure that PCC doesn’t lose its prophetic voice.

“Preach the Word.  Be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, and rebuke with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).