A little bit of randomness…

First, I took my daughter out for what I would consider her first fishing trip yesterday. A little pond at a park about 20 minutes away holds a bunch of blue gill. The good thing is I don’t think they know what a fly is, and are pretty eager to try one out.

So, I was armed with a small fly box full of blue-gill flies, a pair of clippers, and a small pink Barbie fishing pole that lights up. I started off by trying to teach my daughter how to cast…

fishing 2

After a a few minutes she gave up, and I decided I would hook one and then hand off the pole, so she could reel it in. My wife said I looked pretty funny fishing with a 2-foot long pink fishing pole… Anyways, after about 10 minutes I hooked into a decent sized bass, an let her reel it in. I think she got a kick out of seeing the fish up close.

fishing

My second bit of randomness…

I was on my way into church this morning and stumbled on the the Ravi Zacharias radio show called Let My People Think. It contained a very good discussion titled “Evil and Modernity”, and I was specifically impressed by the guest named Os Guinness. He had some good points regarding the church in America today. I’m not sure how long the podcast will be available for download, but it is currently posted up here:

http://rzim.org/resources/listen/letmypeoplethink.aspx

Solace in creation

Saw this post over at John Piper’s blog:
http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2121_next_best_to_grace_oxygen/

Piper provides a quote from a lecture given by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in regards to gaining solace by experiencing God’s creation first hand. I took a look at the whole lecture, and found Spurgeon mentioned streams and “the trouts,” a favorite place of mine.

The ferns and the rabbits, the streams and the trouts, the fir trees and the squirrels, the primroses and the violets, the farm-yard, the new-mown hay, and the fragrant hops—these are the best medicine for hypochondriacs, the surest tonics for the declining, the best refreshments for the weary.

You can read the entire lecture here:
http://www.the-highway.com/articleSept99.html

Went to a concert this weekend…

I went to a concert up in Oxford, MI this past weekend for the group Downhere. It is part of a church’s new ministry to provide low cost high quality family-friendly entertainment called The Stand. It actually is not what I was expecting, as the venue was somewhat smaller than what I imagined it would be. However, this just made it all the better by providing a more intimate setting.

I bought a Downhere CD a couple years back and listened to it off and on. But this this past year when their new CD Ending is Beginning came out, I was totally taken back at the quality of the lyrics combined with the musicality. They are a very talented band with very high quality music.

Probably their most popular song they’ve had is “How Many Kings” which is somewhat of a Christmas song. Here is a live version I found on YouTube if you’d like to hear what I’m talking about:

Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve, and yesterday I had a huge bout with food poisoning.   When I started to feel better yesterday I thanked God, and today I am thanking him for coming to earth so many years ago.

For some reason traditional Christmas songs are not popping into my head this morning but rather some good ol’ hymns are.  If it celebrates Christ – I think that is the point.

Click on these links to sing along:

It Is Glory Just To Walk With Him

He Is So Precious To Me

I Stand Amazed in the Presence

Camp Barakel Men’s Retreat – part 2

Besides getting to fish all weekend, which I consider relaxing to my physical state, I also got to refresh and renew my spirit and soul. After a long week of difficulties we headed into one of the least populated areas of lower Michigan, and also Amish country:

Amish country

Tom Harmon was our speaker (better, preacher) for the weekend, and he dug deep into the Word. We had four different chapel times throughout the weekend and he expanded upon the previous during each message. I wish I could impart the knowledge I learned, but instead I just recommend going to the Camp Barakel web site and downloading the messages which are provided for free. www.campbarakel.org hosts many of the messages in mp3 format – readily available for download.

Tom spoke on being born again, and used John chapter 3 as the beginning reference for most of his messages. In this passage Nicodemus asks the question – “How do you become born again?” Tom went on to discuss the trichotomy of the human flesh, soul, and spirit and how the soul and spirit are at war after becoming born again.

The sermons that Tom Harmon brought to us were amazing and helped me renew, refresh, and recommit. There were two other activities that I enjoyed as well. First, was a night-hike where we hiked through the woods with no flashlights, and the second was a morning worship walk.

Milky Way

The night-hike was amazing. We were led through the woods, and stopped periodically to reflect on God in discussion, song, prayer, and poetry. The most amazing thing was the sky. We saw several meteorites which was fun, but I have never seen so many stars in the sky ever before. Not only that, but Cal pointed out that you could also see the Milky Way. I have never seen the sky in such a way before, and it helped me see God’s creation at its best. It made me realize how insignificant my life is amongst the grand scheme of things, but yet Christ still died for me.

Lake at Barakel

The next morning, I went on a worship walk which is similar to the night hike, but takes place in the morning as the sun is beginning to rise. Again I saw the beauty of God reflected through nature in the trees, the water, and the wildlife. There were 5-feet tall stacks of mist swirling about the lake when I first came near. As we walked silently along the lake side path we reflected on scripture about how God blesses us abundantly. At one point, there were geese flying across the lake, and forming their V-shaped flight patterns. Our guide for the walk, Lee Brown, stated that it was almost like music as they maneuvered into their final formation.

An amazing (and much needed) weekend has come to an end.

Barakel Men’s Retreat 2007 – part 1

This weekend was probably the last bit of fishing I will do the rest of the year. I may get to do some winter steelhead fishing later on, but I am not sure yet. Anyways, I got to be out on the river for a little bit, and I spent a whole lot of time on a private lake up north.

I went to the Men’s Retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend. It is a yearly event I always go to, but this time was especially warranted. I had an amazingly busy and long week leading up to the retreat. I was working on some new things at my new job that kept me late a little bit, plus everything else going on, I was trying to pack for the weekend as well. But the two events that really made the week busy were my Jeep and my masters project.

On Tuesday morning, I was driving to work and my Jeep died. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Something got sucked into the oil pump, and then into the distributor, and the shear pin in the distributor busted. So, my timing went all haywire making my Jeep run extremely rough. I had to get a new oil pump, some hoses, and a shear pin for the distributor, but it is running like a champ again. I was able to rent a pretty slick Ford Taurus for a couple of days which was fun though.

My masters course work finally came to an end on Thursday afternoon when I gave my capstone presentation. I did a usability study of Microsoft Excel versus OpenOffice Calc to finish off my Masters Degree at Oakland University. I had to wrap up some last minute items for my project and presentation, so that added some more items to complete this past week.

So, between, work, church, family, friends, school, a vehicle in the shop, and trying to get ready for my trip up north – it was a busy week.

My Pastor was gracious enough to go up to camp early with me and he even offered to drive his vehicle. We went fishing on the private lake that morning and it was the best fishing we’d both had at the camp ever. Between the two of us we had over 40 fish caught before lunch – mostly blue gills with a few bass mixed in.
Bluegill on the fly

Bass like worms

Bass

Friday afternoon I was able to visit the North Branch of the Au Sable river. I caught no fish, but just being on the river was enough. My Pastor drove the “car-less” fisherman, and he read a book while I waded in the river. Shortly after starting, a fellow who was probably just a bit older than me came along and said he was from the local TU. He was heading up a habitat project the next day and would be dropping some logs along the stretch I was in. Here are a couple glimpses of the river:
On the river

A look down the river

That night I talked my friend Jose into coming out to the lake before it got dark, and we fished till we couldn’t see anymore. He had some good luck:
Jose fishing at Barakel

Saturday, I fished in the morning off of a dock with no luck. I headed out with my friend Cal in a row boat after lunch and he said he would read a book while I fished. I told him I had a spare fly rod, and he said he’d give that a try. He didn’t read – the fishing must have been too fun. We were having no luck at first, and then I noticed a big log sticking out of the ground and just barely breaking the surface of the water. I said let’s try fishing around the log and see what happens. Next thing you know, we were reeling them in one after another. All on my hand tied pan fish flies to boot.
Bass at Barakel

Cal Fishing at Barakel

I didn’t fish the rest of the weekend, but I did enjoy the outdoors. I’ll write up another post about the spiritual refreshment I received from the weekend.