Month: November 2012

Thoughtful Christmas Gift for Co-Workers or the Person Who Needs Nothing

Every year, I struggle with what to buy for co-workers or people who seem to have everything. This year, I’ll be giving hope–Hope Coffee that is.

This gift helps provide water and shelter for families in Honduras through local churches. And the best news is that 100% of the net profit goes to missions. Their website shows where in 2011 they poured 12 floors, repaired 9 roofs, 6 water storage and cleaning units, and 1 home for a widow. If you want a gift that meets physical and spiritual needs, perhaps you should take a look at it as well.

I also think coffee works for just about everyone as a good gift. Either they drink coffee or need to store coffee at the house for visitors who do drink coffee. Pulling out the bag of Hope Coffee provides a bridge to discuss the Gospel and social ministry efforts in Honduras or as a reminder to pray for the workers in that area.

As to how the coffee tastes, well I am no expert. I have tried it and thought it tasted good, but at the end of the day, I really can’t tell the difference between medium or dark roast so I’ll leave the taste critique to the coffee connoisseurs.

Learn How to Protect Your Hearing When You Go Hunting

Today we have a guest post by John O’Conner. I wish I had read his advice sooner (although I may still go to indoor ranges with the proper ear protection). Enjoy!

Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss.  My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss.  I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can.  Check out my new blog at!

Learn How to Protect Your Hearing When You Go Hunting

Going hunting can be an exciting activity that leads to increased physical fitness and an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors.  If you are an avid hunter, or a beginner hunter, taking precautions to protect your hearing while you hunt can help to ensure that you are able to safely enjoy hunting for many years to come.  In many cases, hearing loss is not noticed immediately.  My father was a hunter for many years and he often neglected his hearing while out in the field.  He even said, “I don’t feel anything or notice anything different, so why do I need hearing protection?”  Little did he know that every time he fired his gun without hearing protection on he was further damaging his eardrums.  He eventually made an appointment with his doctor, who told him that although not the only cause, hunting has played a major role in damaging his hearing.  He now wears hearing aids to help increase hearing levels, and every time he now heads out to the field he always remembers to have his hearing protection on at all times.

Precautions to Take During Hunting for People Who Have Hearing Loss

Many hunters make the mistake of believing that since they have been hunting without hearing protective devices for years they are not at risk of receiving hearing damage.  However, this is not always true as many cases of hearing loss can happen gradually.  In addition to gradual hearing loss being a possibility, it is also not uncommon for a person to suffer immediate hearing damage the moment a firearm is fired.  Taking precautions now by investing in hearing protection can help to greatly reduce the probability of a person suffering from hearing damage when he or she goes hunting or to a firing range.

Anyone who likes to hunt and who has suffered from partial hearing loss can investigate hearing aid options to help them hunt safely and successfully.  Hearing aids can provide enhanced sensitivity to hearing sounds that may be difficult to hear for a person who has experienced hearing damage.  In addition to this aid, people with hearing loss may also consider investing in electronic ear protection muffs that provide transmitters to pick up on low sound frequencies.  These devices work both as hearing protection and as an aid to hear low noises better.

Stay Away From Indoor Shooting Ranges

If you enjoy target shooting to spruce up your shooting ability, it is a good idea to choose an outdoor location to practice target shooting.  Indoor ranges and arenas can increase the amplified sounds of firearms when they are fired.  These extremely loud noises can provide further potential damage to a person’s ears.  Choosing an outdoor arena and wearing earmuffs, earplugs or another form of hearing protection is a great way to practice shooting your firearm safely and smartly.

Keep Everyone’s Hearing Safe While Hunting

Hearing damage during hunting can happen gradually over time, or it can happen immediately.  Some people do not realize they have suffered any type of hearing damage until it is too late.  Staying informed on hearing health and investing in quality hearing protection aids will help you to hunt safely.  It is also important to remember that anyone who is in close proximity of a hunter or someone who fires a gun should also wear hearing protection products.

Many times, parents take their children or their friends hunting with them so a group of people can enjoy a favored activity together.  All people who are in close distance of a firearm being fired will need to wear earplugs or earmuffs to avoid potential damage occurring to their hearing.

Jude’s God Glorifying Conclusion

Note: This post is part six in a six-part series on how the book of Jude demonstrates qualities of a good sermon.

In the last five posts, I have looked at Jude’s introduction, main idea, illustrations through biblical examples and natural analogies, application, and now we turn to his conclusion. Jude writes:

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (ESV)

As you notice in verse 24, Jude does not cut off his letter with an abrupt ending. Neither should the preacher. Many times preachers leave the conclusion or the invitation as an afterthought of sermon preparation. When doing so, the landing of the plan either circles the tower incessantly or bounces off the ground twice from being forced to descend too quickly. A well-planned landing smoothly touches down with grace and precision. In a similar manner, a well-planned sermon conclusion should give a clear passionate call for action full of grace and precision. While a poorly planned or implemented invitation cannot limit God, it certainly does not persuade men as though Christ himself were pleading.

Jude also avoids moralistic teaching by pointing back to God’s grace. In fact, he turns the conclusion into a doxology–an offering of worship and praise to God. Jude ends his letter with a reminder that only Jesus Christ our Lord can keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before the presence of God. He also repeats his early exclusive claim in verse 3 of “the” faith by writing in verse 25 “the ‘only’ God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jude contends for an exclusive faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation and heaven.

Too many sermons simply provide rules and regulations resulting in moralistic preaching or legalistic living. “Do this, don’t do that, and you will be a good Christian.” Listeners then try to live in their own power and find themselves identifying more with the I, me, and my of failure in Romans 7 than with the victorious power of the Spirit in Romans 8. Jude says that only Jesus can keep us from stumbling and present us blameless. It all comes back to grace. It all comes to a marvelous grace–a grace for which we must contend.

Voters to decide on right to hunt

Flying under the radar during this election lies the fact that four states will vote on whether to add constitutional amendments to protect the right to hunt and fish. Those four states are: Kentucky, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho. Apparently 13 other states already have such language in their constitutions. Many call the effort frivolous  because hunting and fishing are not endangered while others say it protects the economic impact of hunting and the hunting rights for future generations.

If I lived in one of those states, I would vote for the amendment. And I think there are two clear motives for the effort.

First, Government overreach has crept into society like unwanted Kudzu on the side of a South Carolina interstate. In an effort to prevent further big government interference, wildlife enthusiast want to employee Ben Franklin’s old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. To insure the heritage of hunting of fishing, some have supported the amendment to their states’ constitution.

Second, hunters and fishermen spend big money on their hobbies. Between the purchase of the license, the gear, leasing land or paying trophy fees, hunting and fishing create jobs and provide economic income for rural areas. These areas want to insure the stability of this revenue source.

Lastly, one day, I hope to experience the thrill of the hunt with my son and daughter. I will never forget the pure joy and excitement of killing that first buck or catching that first largemouth bass. I want to experience these moments with my children and will do whatever I can to protect those rights for generations to come. After all, children need to learn where meat and fish come from, and it’s not created in the grocery store or by the government.

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