Hiking in Torreya State Park

Recently, my wife and I went hiking in Torreya State Park. The park is named for a rare species of the Torreya tree. This tree is only found in 4 locations on earth. Torreya State Park is one of those locations. The park is about an hour away from our house. We have enjoyed hiking there several times over the years. The Torreya Trail is a 6 mile loop. Besides the famous tree, it has something else that you don’t often see in Florida. It has hills. Some of the hills are very steep and will give you quite a workout. There are gorgeous views of the Apalachicola River from the top of some of the bluffs. It is one of our favorite hikes in the area. It is hard to beat six miles of hiking in the woods. We had a great time! As we followed the Torreya Trail, there was something that was impossible to miss. Everywhere we looked, Hurricane Michael’s destructive power was on full display. Hurricane Michael roared through the area in October of 2018.   The park was closed for a long time. I am no

Just a Little Catfish Fin

It was the summer between first grade and second grade. I spent most of my time back in those summer days with my buddies at the creek near my house. We spent our time catching crawfish on most hot summer days. On that day, one of my buddies found a dead catfish. We thought it would be useful to lure crawdads from their holes. There was a neighborhood girl with us that day which was highly unusual. We waded down the creek in a single file line. The girl was in the back of the line, and she kept splashing as she walked. My buddy in the front of the line kept telling her to stop. She didn’t stop. He finally got so mad that he turned and threw that dead catfish at her. I happened to be standing between them. As the catfish sailed by me, its fin hit me right in the kneecap. It stuck me hard and broke off in my knee. I ended up going to the doctor for 2 weeks as they tried to get that fin out of my knee. They gave me shots in the knee every time I went there. I kept getting sicker and sick

Give Thanks

Today’s challenge will be very short and to the point. It is Thanksgiving Day and I know you have a lot of turkey and dressing to eat. The challenge to men today is simply this: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Today is a day to give thanks to God. Every president from Abraham Lincoln all the way down to Donald Trump has issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation. Today, I challenge you to issue your own Thanksgiving Proclamation. You can skip the flowery language. No “wherefore” and “whereas” required. Just take a piece of paper and write down 7 things for which you are thankful. Be specific. After you have made the list, get down on your knees and gives thanks to God for each person or thing on your list. Give thanks!

Ranger Buddies

In 1967, Stu Weber found himself on the front side of Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. It is a brutal experience. It even says on the sign outside, “Not for the weak or the faint hearted.” Stu wrote about his experience “I can still hear the raspy voice of the sergeant: ‘We are here to save your lives. We're going to see to it that you overcome all your natural fears. We're going to show you just how much incredible stress the human mind and body can endure. And when we're finished with you, you will be the U.S. Army's best!’ Then, before he dismissed the formation, he announced our first assignment. We'd steeled ourselves for something really tough--like running 10 miles in full battle gear or rappelling down a sheer cliff. Instead, he told us to--find a buddy. ‘Find yourself a Ranger buddy,’ he growled. ‘You will stick together. You will never leave each other. You will encourage each other, and, as necessary, you will carry each other.’” Every godly man

Learning to Listen

It was one of those mornings when you could see your breath and hear your steps. The puddles had ice around the edges. But I was warm inside my hunting suit. I was with my dad, and we were on a deer drive. I was about 11 or 12 years old. This was a common part of my Saturday mornings during the winter. We were a part of the drivers. Certain hunters took up positions in the woods. We released the dogs and then walked through the woods seeking to drive the deer towards our hunting partners. We came to a creek and needed to find a way across. As we walked parallel to the creek, I was walking on the bank that sloped down toward the creek. It looked really cold down in that water, but I had everything under control. My dad was walking on top of the bank but not on the slope. He told me to come and walk beside him. I didn’t listen. He warned me to get off of the slope. I knew better and had everything under control. And then it happened. My foot hit a frozen spot. I fell on my side, slid dow

A Boy Who was a Man

Christianity is not something that a man adds to his life. No, Christianity means that Christ is your life. It is not an every now and again part of life. It is your life. Jesus is not shy about calling us to follow Him. He doesn’t hide the terms. Jesus calls us to love Him above all others. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38). We need to examine our lives carefully. Do our lives clearly and convincingly demonstrate that we love Jesus more than anything else? Or do we use Jesus like a lucky rabbit’s foot that we pull out when we are in trouble? Men, what are you teaching your family about loving Jesus? Where would they say He ranks among your interests? Let me tell you a story about a boy who was a man that is an example to all men. It is not a made up story or one I read about. It is the pers