An Outdoor Sabbath


This time of year is filled with sleepless nights as hunting season approaches, and dreams of what could be fill our minds. Most of us know where we're headed, plans are being made, calendars are being marked. We'll be after bears in only a couple of days! August through December in Oregon is full of opportunity if you love the excitement of the hunt and a freezer full of the best meat one can find.

I want to invite you all to take a new approach with us this year as we begin our journey into the wilds of Oregon and not merely hunt our quarry, but experience the freedom and beauty of creation, seek restoration, and pay closer attention to the things God's telling you through his artistry. "Beauty speaks of and Eden we've never known, but somehow know our hearts were created speaks of Heaven to come." Romans 1:19-20 talks of God's invisible qualities, eternal power and divine nature being clearly seen in all of creation. It's no wonder the enemy has casually evolved our lives into a hurried devotion of busyness, surrounded by metal and cement.

This excerpt from our website sums it up...

The time I spend in the outdoors, the reason I find myself there, the reason we all find ourselves there is because it speaks to the heart God’s given each of us. It’s not hunting, or even the outdoors for all, but certainly all who enjoy time in the wilderness will find God there.

Think of what it’s like to behold a gorgeous sunset, to gaze upon a high mountain vista, to sense the serenity of the wild…playing a round of golf on that perfect day, watching the ending of a great movie, singing along with a moving song in the car…those moments in life in which we yearn to linger, to experience all our days. Our heart begins to quiet and peace enters our soul…it expands…we can breathe again…we can rest…it is good…all is well. These are all moments of beauty where we taste life as it’s meant to be. We so often overlook and don’t recognize this…but when we do, we see that beauty draws us to God. Beauty speaks of Heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. There is an innate sense of splendor in feeling close to God and seeing His creation more fully while in the outdoors for me. Every piece of artwork reveals something of the artist if you look for it. My goal this year is to look for what God’s artwork reveals…and that’s also the goal of Faith in the Field.

So let's look for it, SHARE it, and realize how blessed we are to spend time with family, friends, new friends...with ourselves...with God...and follow Him into the wilderness...


From Casual to Crucial


The last 3 years I have taken up archery elk hunting. I love it. I love the nicer weather, I love that the bulls are rutting, and that they are fairly easy to locate. I love dressing up in my camo and sneaking around the woods and trying to get close enough to touch off an arrow at one of these giants of the forest.

But in 3 years of archery hunting, I've never even shot at an elk. Here is my confession; I have been a very casual elk hunter. I have some decent equipment and some knowledge of elk and hunting, but I fall short in a lot of areas. I don't scout because I don't have time. Oh, I always intend to- but I never quite seem to find the time. I'm never in as good of physical shape as I should be by the time the season rolls around- though I say every year that I am going to be. I shoot my bow a little and practice holding my draw for long periods and I can shoot pretty well I guess. But I sound like a real beginner on a bugle. I always get excited to go bow hunting, and even though our season is a month long or so I bet I only hunt about 4-5 days a year on average. I really like buoy 10 salmon fishing and that always seems to come before hunting. Bow hunting elk just seems to slide down on the priority list a ways every year.

So you probably get the idea by now. Even though I say I love archery elk hunting, my lack of desire to work at the things I need to work at to get good at it proves my casual attitute towards it.

This year, with my years of preference points stacked up, I drew one of the best rifle elk hunts in the state. It seems I've been waiting forever to get this hunt. Year after year there has been great dissapointment when I get the draw results back and it says "200 series elk- unsuccessful". But this year was different. And so things are moving pretty quickly from casual to crucial.

I'm getting myself in shape. The country I will be hunting is in very rugged, tough country. It is going to require a lot from me to be able to hike that area every day for a week and a half and hopefully pack out an animal. But I'm pushing my body to be prepared.

I'm reading everything I can read about this area. I'm scouting google earth, topo maps, I'm calling wildlife biologists and emailing people who have drawn this hunt and been there before. I'm seeking knowlege and wisdom and advice and am open to learn anything I can to make me better on this hunt, and attain my goal.I'm investing in some gear that I will need. I'm going to be shooting my rifle a lot more than I normally would. I'm planning a scouting trip or two to the area. I've picked my brother to go along on the hunt with me to encourage me, to keep me moving and to help me become successful.

This may be the best opportunity I will get to take a trophy elk- it may even be the last opportunity I get to take a trophy elk. So I've got to make the best of it. I've prioritized things and next to my own funeral there is not much that is going to keep me out of woods this fall.

Do you see the difference between the casual and the crucial? That is the point I was trying to make in my rant last week when I said that I was upset by the lack of preparation most men have when it comes to living life for Christ. Most of us are taking a very casual approach. And as a result we are not "filling the freezer or putting a trophy on the wall" so to speak. We are just getting by, passing the time and hoping that something good will fall in our lap.

But when you realize that you are powerful, and that God does have a crucial role for you to play, and that most of the crap you have had to deal with in your life was an attempt to keep you from becoming who God designed you to be....Once you discover that you can (with the power of the Holy Spirit in you) live the kind of life you only dreamed of, to have the kind of impact you only dreamed of, it changes everything.

It is not a cake walk. It is a marathon. It is tough and it is grueling but it will be worth it. Lots of times we run into tough things and we want to give up and quit or take the easy way out. But we need to understand that God is training us up though the hard times to shape our character. Look at all Jesus accomplished but at the same time he had to endure some pretty rough hardships. He was demonstrating what it is like to walk with the Father, trusting Him and a living with a total determination to not give way to anything less than the will of the Father.

We need more men to live like that...



My First Rant.....(show me some grace)


Frankly, I'm a little upset. No...actually I'm pissed. Sorry if that offends you. And I know full well that you shouldn't type blogs when you're angry. I also know that what I'm going to write is going to make it look like I think I'm all high and mighty and I've got life figured out. Forgive me for not caring too much. The truth is, is that I do have some of life figured out and if more Christians knew.....or believed...what I'm about to write then the world would be a whole lot better off.

Let me explain why I'm upset. Men that I know, good men who love God keep getting taken out. They are falling prey to addictions. They are falling prey to affairs. They are falling prey to the lies of Satan and I'm seeing my friends and people close to me becoming casualties. Families are being ruined. The impact of these casualties is always widespread.
And simply put, it sucks!

I'm not mad at the men themselves who have made mistakes, and I don't favor kicking a man while he's down. What I'm angry at is the preparation. You know the best way to guarantee that you will become a casuality is to live a casual life. And I'm perplexed by the contemporary Christian Church and it's acceptance of "casual." We are not called to live a casual life. If you are a Christ follower you are called to live a crucial life.

Can I just clear something up? I don't think men need more discipline. I don't think we need to learn more Bible verses. And I don't think that learning to keep our promises is going to fix the problem either. Going to church every Sunday and getting inspired for a few hours does little to help and most of us have learned how to fake our way through a Bible study course. We need two things. The first is understanding.

We need to understand that we each have a crucial role to play in the story that God is writing. That crucial role is written on our hearts in the form of desire. If we do not find that which we were created for, we will fall prey to all sorts of counterfits to fill the void. But they will not satisfy the aching places in us.

We need to understand that we live in a world at war. We have an enemy who works 24 hours a day 365 days a year at destroying the image of God in you and trying to keep you from your glory. You cannot approach this battle in a casual manner. Passivity and Christianity cannot go together. It is an oxymoran. You name one passive man held up in scripture as an example that we are to follow. But yet, how many Christian men do you know who are passive? It only goes to show how far we have strayed from an accurate, biblical, picture of the Christian life as warfare. If you do not fight for the life you desire in Christ you will get taken out. Usually just withdrawn, on the sidelines, ineffective type of men. Or, these men have a gut feeling that they really should be fighting for something so they pick a small battle and make their life about getting all of the neighbors to comply with the CC&R's or something even more important like fighting through church legislation to get new choir robes.....stuff like that.

So we need understanding. We need clarity. But the second thing is we need to be made whole. Understanding and clarity don't bring healing. We need to take Jesus up on his offer to come and do what he said he came to do. To heal the brokenhearted and set us free. At the center of the battle is our hearts. And if we do not get that back, whole and free and alive, then we don't stand a chance. The battle is too difficult, the role God has for us too great....we simply will not get there by being half hearted.

So what is my point in writing all of this on a hunting blog? I don't know, I think it started by just blowing off some steam from the latest dissapointment. But maybe what I wrote will help someone. Maybe for some the message will click and a light will go off and you will have some understanding maybe for the first time in your life. I first understood that message at age 28 after being a Christian my whole life and going to church my whole life and going to Christian high school and Christian college. But I never got it. And then I hit a low point in life. I read "Wild at Heart" and it just clicked. Suddenly, the frustrating Christian life I had been trying to live but never could quite get my act together enough for started to make perfect sense. But understanding does not equal healing. And knowing does not make you whole. But the next 4 years of my life was an amazing time of God taking me through the things he wanted to show me. I haven't by any means arrived. But the journey has been a good one and I pray that more men will journey with God into what He has for them.

One more thing I guess. Would you pray with me that our churches start becoming a more relevant place for men and boys to be challenged to enter into a crucial kind of life and discover all that God has for them?



Permanent, not Perfect


I've been fighting what God wants me to say for a couple weeks... not sure why really... perhaps because it won't pertain to all of you, or maybe because I don't want to sound too "preachy" or even cliche... but He keeps bringing me back to what's been on my heart recently... relationships... marriage. A handful of you have had conversations with me about this very topic in recent weeks, and there's a couple others who aren't on our email list who've revealed things about their significant others and life's situations. So I'm rolling with this out of faith that one or all of you can use these words to find more enjoyment and satisfaction in your relationship with your spouse (or future spouse)... and ultimately, grow closer to Christ as we all hope in Heaven to come.

My wife and I have definitely had our share of struggles, as nice as we may seem to have it... something many of us can relate to. The last couple years have been a very trying, but growing experience for both of us. Both in our faith in Christ to see us through and our understanding of how and why God's designed us. I'll never claim to know it all, certainly not about women, but what I have learned and come to know has been profound. And while it'll never make our relationship perfect, it will make it permanent.

I don't believe in "soulmates", or that there is only "one" significant other out there for everyone... that just sets us up for all kinds of trouble. You see, it paints the picture that you can find a perfect relationship, or a perfect person, but I think we can all agree that doesn't exist. What makes a relationship function isn't that you've found a perfect person, but that you've chosen to care for them in spite of their imperfections. Just as being a Christian doesn't mean we're perfect, but that we recognize we're imperfect, and in need of a savior. Think about it... EVERY relationship has its ups and downs, and extremes in both... and when it hits a low, or an extreme low, many will think, "She must not be the ONE" or "I made a mistake" or "He's changed" and on and on and on. Then what comes (especially in marriage, after not only the commitment has taken place, but a covenant has been formed)??? Resignation, separation, divorce, guilt, scars, unworthiness, on and on and on and it affects everyone and everything (kids, work, friends, family, etc) in a way that can take many further from God in an infinite number of ways... why? Because Satan is at work AGAINST the things of God.

All of us were created in the image and likeness of God...yet men and women were clearly created different... equal, but different... both with qualities and attributes that speak of our Creator. Man alone cannot fully reflect the attributes of God, just as women alone cannot fully reflect the qualities of God... but when rightly united, a man and a woman can reveal God in so many ways. And when you begin to understand relationships in that way, you realize Satan's reasoning behind the constant assault on marriages, especially of Christian marriages! Satan is in constant opposition to all things of God. And nothing showcases the Glory of God like a Christ centered marriage... love, mercy, forgiveness, protection, beauty, devotion, commitment, tenderness, power, unity, happiness, oneness. By devouring Christian homes, Satan is trying to destroy the integrity of the Christian faith, and through it, children are left with missing pieces, while thoughts of hypocrisy creep into skeptical minds. Don't you see how this fits into the larger story of life?! There is a very real enemy in the world today, and not just on the news, but in our homes! We need to change our outlook, often times, as to who the enemy really is... it's not our spouse, our kids or our job causing the turmoil, it's the "great deceiver". He's given that name in scripture for a reason.

This isn't the time to reflect on mistakes that may have been made in the past, we've ALL got those... these words are to bring HOPE from this day forward! Please take from this what is meant to be shared... encouragement for the future and all you can control from now until Christ takes us home!

As I close this out, the MOST IMPORTANT thing I've learned through the ups and downs in Mindi and I's relationship, is that LOVE IS A CHOICE. It's not a feeling. Sure, the feeling is there from time to time and should be, but there are times it's not; let's just be honest with each other here. After all, Christ didn't FEEL like dying on that cross, He CHOSE to. Let Christ's death define love... He SO LOVED the world, He died for our sins, so that whoever believes will gain eternal life.

"Love is not a place to come and go as you please, it's a house we enter in, and then commit to never lock the door behind you, and throw away the key, work it out together, let it bring us to our knees." Click play below and listen to the song by Warren Barfield... and may you pray for for angels to guard your doors.


Humor Me!


Well, the draw results have been out for a while in our Oregon big game tag drawing and we are pretty excited about the results. My dad, uncle, grandpa, and good buddy Brian will all be hunting bucks over in the central part of the state again this year. I drew a sweet elk tag in Northeast Oregon that has already caused many sleepless hours at night with me mulling over the possibilities in my mind. Jeff will be archery hunting bulls and doing his normal west side blacktail ventures. Anticipation is running high, and anticipation is good. So is humor. And so for this weeks blog I thought we would feature a funny hunting story my dad typed up after his successful blacktail buck outing last season.

Just to give you a little background, Jeff and I both wrote some detailed stories about our buck hunts last year. Jeff's story was posted on the Sitka Mountain Gear's blog (view it here: ...a well written story about the ruggedness of the terrain, the stealth of Jeffy stalking his prey in his socks to 40 yards while trying to avoid stepping on dry leaves, determination, the beauty of creation and the like. Well not to be out done dad wrote his story about his hunt and it was a pretty good spoof on Jeffy's tale. Here it is:

The day started well before sun up. At my age I have to get up that early most every morning to pee. This morning was no different. As I finished the business at hand I noticed a little crack of daylight starting show in the sky off to the east. I decided it would be a perfect morning to go deer hunting. So I stumbled out to the living room and donned my hunting gear, a pair of binoculors. Then as it got light enough the hunt began. I started by peering out the windows on the west side of the house, then slowly worked my way to the north, east and then south. Nothing. I thought of getting back into bed and catching a few more winks but out of shear determination I decided to give things one more look.

I went back to the east window and glassed a little further out now that it was getting some more light. Right away I spotted 3 deer in the distant low lying fog and one of them had a rack! This put my hunt into high gear as the adrenaline started to flow a bit. I grabbed my gun that was leaning up next to my recliner (that is where I keep it during buck season). All I had on was my boxers so I knew that this early November hunt was going to be a cold one. I slowly and quietly turned the knob and opened the door to the front deck. I too, took my shoes off so I could put on a silent stalk (I just took them off the night before). As I crept slowly across the deck I heard a deck board squeak. Three hundred and sixty pounds will do that, but I did not get this big by eating salad. I knew I had the skill to bag this buck and fill the freezer, but I was going to have to be extra careful now. The buck looked up at the sound of the squeak and I had to stand dead still with my weight unevenly and awkwardly distributed between my two feet. I knew I could not hold this position for long as the cold rain was pelting my raw hide. It was sooo cold!

About 5 minutes worth of thoughts were running through my mind in about 3 seconds. Should I go back into the house and get back in bed and wait for it to warm up a bit? If I get this buck will I still have time to soak in the hot tub this morning? Is the field too wet to get out there with the tractor and retrieve this deer? Or will I have to pack it out of the field 4o yards or more to the house? Again, I decided to just man up and stay determined after this buck.

By now I'm starting to shiver, stuff is starting to shrink and I'm begining to think about hypothermia. The head of the buck is just behind a dogwood tree and I can't quite field judge him to decide if he is the kind of trophy I am looking for or not. I felt good about the 40 yard shot and was able to move a bit and get ready if I decided to shoot. I went through the check list in my mind, cartridge is locked and loaded, scope covers off, thumb on safety, target is just south of the neighbors house which is good because I do not want to put a 7 millimeter 150 grain bullet through his bedroom wall and wake him out of a deep sleep.

The buck poked his head out and I get a good look. Yep, I can clearly see a fork! He's a shooter! Now I just need him to turn broadside a little. Safety off.....the buck turns broadside.....crosshairs just behind the front shoulder.....BANG! Then I hear a loud yell fom the bathroom. My wife woke up and was unaware that I had gone hunting. The shot had really startled her. But would you believe that I was able to enjoy the beauty of God's creation on this hunt as she ran in her bathrobe out onto the deck to see what was going on.

The buck stumbled a bit and fell right where I shot him. I wanted to pound my chest and let out a yell to celebrate the succesful hunt and the fact that I braved the elements and stuck it out to the end. But I held back as I did not want the neighbors to see me standing on my porch in my boxers pounding my chest and yelling. They might think that kind of behavior is weird. You never know I guess.

Anyway, the Lord really blessed me on this hunt as I was indeed able to get the tractor out into the field. In fact I was able to get the buck gutted, hung, skinned and be all done by 9am. I did miss out on the hot tub soak but that was okay. That deer is going to make some prime eating.

I hope you enjoyed dad's story. Have a safe and happy 4th of July.