Friday, November 23, 2007

Not so bad on "Black Friday"


When I was a teenager I swore up and down that I would never ever go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I have kept that solemn vow until this year. My wife on the other hand has never met a sale she didn't like. She'll be shopping when Jesus returns I'm sure. Now she doesn't spend a lot of money she just enjoys the experience of shopping. I enjoy deer hunting. This year I volunteered to go "hunting" with her very early in the morning on "Black Friday" as they call it. She prepped me by announcing that we'd need to get up a 3:00 am! "Do what!??" Yep, 330 in the morning, 0-darkthrity, up before the chickens. I don't get up near that early to deer hunt and I like to be in the stand way before day break. Tammy has been wanting an upright mixer for about 10 years. I want her to get one, because unlike exercise equipment that doubles for a clothes hanger, this bad boy will get used. It'll get used for cakes and breads and pies and stuff that I like to eat over Christmas. So our alarm interrupted my REM sleep at 0300 and I immediately realized that this was not my area of expertise. I kept saying to her...."why would anyone be there this early, its 0-dark thirty, I mean come on!"

She looked at me and said, "Brad Borders, you have no idea what you are talking about!"

I still didn't believe her, that is until we pulled into the parking lot. I was my usual over confident Army officer self, thinking that I know something about everything. Lo and behold there were cars everywhere at 0355 in the morning. There were people everywhere, standing in line and chatting like it was the middle of the day. The doors opened and everyone rushed in and it was obvious they had done some intel on the store. They ran right to specific spots where they knew that particular product was going to stacked or placed or hanging. I nearly got mowed down in the confusion, still wiping the sleep out of my eyes. I think I might be suffering PTSD from the whole ordeal. Tammy secured the area around her mixer and I carried it to the line to check out which was about 200 people long! Lord have mercy, get me out of here! I was trapped in the web of the idol of materialism! But finally we did make it out and as we moved across the parking lot in the full moon of a late November morning and I heard a voice out of the darkness, "You ain't right!" I looked to my right and there was my pastor, Mack Jarvis, cruising the Kohl's parking lot at 0445 in the morning. I shot back, "You ain't right either!"

We all laughed and carried on for another few minutes. At least he had the brains to stay in his vehicle and wait on his wife who was inside. Tammy and I spent the next 4 hours together trying to get in Best Buy and then finally giving up and heading to Wally World. We had breakfast with Robbie and Kelly our dear friends. I actually love being with my wife even in the hell of "Black Friday" She is hilarious and makes me laugh. After 16 years of marriage I still just enjoy her company and that in itself is a blessing from God. Now, I'll never get her into a tree blind, but I did cross over into her world for a while and even outside of my are of expertise, it wasn't bad at all because we were together. I read these in God's Word and it sums it all up today.

18: 22 Find a good spouse, you find a good life—
and even more: the favor of God!

AND

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Thanks for a great day Tammy....I am thankful for you on Thanksgiving!

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Eph 5:25-28). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stinky Boy and the Scent Rule

The following article was written by my buddy Jeremy Harrill. He's a wildlife officer and founder of Heart of a Sportsman ministries. Enjoy!


Stinky Boy and the Scent Rule


I was sitting in my hunting blind when I heard what I thought was that familiar sound. The crunch of leaves and twigs under the hoof of a deer. I readied my bow and prepared myself to draw. I sat there for several minutes and finally decided that because it was still very early in the season my ears had not yet been fully calibrated to detect the sounds of woodland critters. The curiosity killed me, so I quietly leaned forward to take a peek out the side window of the blind. BUSTED!!! There she was, a big, fat doe peering into the blind where I sat. I don’t know who was more surprised, she or I. I could almost see my reflection in her big, brown glossy eyes. She nearly tripped over her own hooves as she ran away. The last thing I saw was her long white tail waving back and forth. As she faded into the forest, she made a loud blowing noise as if to tell all the other deer that stinky man in the camo tent-thingy was in the woods. I was quickly reminded of one of deer hunting’s biggest rules: the scent rule. I was reminded again a week or so later when I heard another deer blowing after it winded me. As it ran off blowing, reminding all that lived in the forest that “stinky boy” was back; I couldn’t help but drop my head in frustration.

We hunters stink! We literally stink. A deer’s nose is hundreds of times better at detecting scent than a human’s nose is. There are those that say that deer hunting is not fair and I would agree. God gave deer such a good sniffer that it is not at all fair to the hunters that pursue them. All hunters sooner or later learn about the scent rule. The sooner we learn it, and what to do about it, the sooner we can get down to the business of filling our freezers.

Hunters try to pull the wool over the deer’s nose, so to speak, by using a variety of products to eliminate or cover our scent. Each year hunters spend millions of dollars on gels, powders, wafers, drips and sprays containing everything from earth scent to fox pee. We rub on these scents and secretions in our quest to outsmart the nose of a deer and hopefully get within range of a big buck. We wash our bodies in special soaps. We buy dryer sheets that smell like dirt. And it’s of vital importance to wash our hunting attire in a detergent that eliminates our human foulness.

After that second deer winded me, while I was vowing under my breath to get even, I couldn’t help but think about sin and how sin stinks up our lives. Sin hurts us, and others, it wreaks havoc in our lives and our world, and most of all sin’s putrid fragrance taints our lives by separating us from God. However, just like there’s a solution to the scent problem in deer hunting, there’s a solution to the stench of sin in our lives too. Fortunately for us, God loved us so much that he gave us a solution in His son Jesus Christ. Jesus shed his blood to save us from our sins. The Bible tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins,” and I can’t think of any greater love than the love that Jesus displayed for us on the cross. Therefore, to cover up sin’s terrible odor one must accept God’s gift of his son, Jesus. Once someone becomes a believer asking Jesus to be Lord and Savior of their life, God surely smiles when He takes a wiff of their new lives. 2 Corinthians 2:15 even says “for to God we are the fragrance of Christ.”

If you don’t know Him already, become friends with the greatest hunting companion one could ask for – Jesus. If you are already a follower or Christ, thank him the next time you are spraying on some type of cover scent or washing your camo preparing it for the next hunt. I just bet if you think about it long enough, you’ll even hear that old hymn playing in your mind. “Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb, are your garments spotless, are they white as snow, are you washed in the blood of the Lamb.” I’ll never hear, or sing that song the same way again.

Jeremy B. Harrill

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The mythic hero is a character that humans have drawn inspiration, courage, determination and hope from for eons. The mythic hero in all great stories engages life in a cyclical process that reveals all those heroic qualities. We get our heroes in stories, our narratives. It is story that gives context to our lives. It is story in which we all live. Heroes all go through a process of transformation. They begin in an initiation stage where courage is revealed and they are challenged in some type of testing, usually in a training environment. They take this initiation out away in sometimes distant lands where their heroic qualities are not just trained up but put into practice. They face harsh difficulties, confronting death and tragedy. Finally the hero returns to his home or loved ones to retell the story of his triumph and his journey. It has been said we don't have heroes anymore. I disagree. I met one this week. I have recently transferred to Civil Affairs and this week I was at a conference for all Unit Ministry Teams (UMT's) within the Civil Affairs/PSY OPs command. For the last 7 years CH (COL) Sam Birky has lead the UMT's of the most deployed and utilized group of soldiers within the entire reserve command. Sam is a legend in the special ops and chaplain communities.

He is a hero in every sense of the word. He'd probably hate to know that I was even writing this, which makes him all the more special. He joined the Navy in 1968 and became a SEAL in the Navy's Special Operations community. He fought in Viet Nam and was awarded more awards than one can count. He left the Navy in 1973 turning down an opportunity for an amazing career as a SEAL instructor.

He bowed his knee to Jesus in the mid 70's and became a different kind of warrior, a warrior priest and in the early 80's became a Chaplain in the Army. He has served in Special Forces for the Army as well as Civil Affairs. He has a commanding presence and a work ethic that is unmatched. He is an encourager and a truth speaker. When you are around him you want to be like him. I think that is a hallmark of a great man, if you find yourself saying, "In 20 years, I want to be like this guy" I found myself saying just that. He'll leave the military this April and for his final act as an Army Chaplain, he is going to jump out of a WW II era aircraft at FT Bragg and then he'll hang his boots up. I'm going to do everything I can to be there. I say all this to let you know that heroes are still with us and we need them. We need to tell their stories. We need to pass these stories on to our kids so they'll hold these same values. It is a society without heroes that is most lost.

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...