Business- mountain #2

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Just for the record, I’m taking the different mountains in the same order as the picture.  There isn’t a priority to the order listed as I see it.

Business!

What a category that covers a lot of ground with a lot of layers.  Business as the business itself.  Business as it impacts society.  Business as it impacts employees.  Business as it impacts the boss.  Business as it impacts families. Business as it impacts you.  

Here is where foundation and focus becomes vital, because as I continue to read and study, this mountain can be more like quick sand, and suck its victims down before they even realize they are in trouble. I’m also speaking from experience.  

What is your definition of success?  And where are you placing your focus when it comes to achieving your vision?

I just read in a devo this week by Paul David Tripp, called New Morning Mercies. He stated that we either serve the creation or the creator.

What a slippery slope this can be. 

As we live this thing called life, and are called to be in this world and not of it, the business of life can be a tough one to navigate. This world is very savvy when it comes to pecking away at our psyche helping us to believe we need to keep up with our neighbors when it comes to stuff, that the more money we have the happier and easier life will be, and that new is best and old is out dated. I have such a love hate relationship with my Iphone.  If you don’t update, it seems to slow your phone down and it begins to act glitchy.  But if you do update, it takes up more space on your phone, which is limited and then there’s the apps, which is a whole different topic. Sometimes it works great, other times I’d rather have a string and tin can, and then there is the dollars and cents to not just own it, but keeping it.

Have you ever tried to take a back step from a smart phone to a older style flip phone? If you haven’t, prepare yourself for a battle between flesh and spirit!  Seriously, wow!

I’ve worked for small local business, international business, (ok, it was McDonald’s), and government. All the while trying to work out that fine balance between living life and earning what I need to live life. In my early years it was chasing the money as a means to buy me happiness.  If I made more, I’d save more, I’d have more to spend, and be able to do what I want, when I want, and the world would be mine to enjoy.

Needless to say it didn’t work out that way.  I let “my” money control me, run me, ruin me.  I filed bankruptcy, foreclosed on a home, still didn’t learn my lesson, and acquired more debt. Only by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God placing people and processes in my life did I make it out. I learned to control my money and not let it control me. I learned that what we see, hear, and experience from this world, is not all good for me, and that less can definitely be more.

Though it’s not all bad, it just needs boundaries and perspective. 

What are we working for and whom are we working for? Keeping that perspective is powerfully important. It has taken me years upon years to learn, understand, and be comfortable with the fact I own nothing.

Jesus owns everything and gives me what I need. It is my responsibility to be grateful and take care of that He provides.

From the clothes on my back, the vehicles in the driveway, my marriage, my son and daughter, the money in the bank, the land I live on, it is all His. So when I work, I work for Him. He is my success.

All the while, hopefully leaving an impact that points to Jesus, my vision and focus.

Now this all sounds great! But I fail more than I succeed, and I have learned more and more each day how much I need the Gospel and Grace to live life well, every single day!  Literally!

With the many layers of business and the many different people and perspectives, in order to keep anything straight, Jesus needs to be the center of it all, if not we will truly loose our way. 

How do you keep Jesus at the center of your life?  

Arts and Entertainment 

As I look at the 7 cultural mountains, arts and entertainment is listed first.

I don’t think there is any relevance to the order, at least from what I’ve read and understand so far.

A brief understanding of the mountains will tell us from Revelation 17, that the mountains are where the whore sits, and is drunk on the blood of the saints. (verse 6 and 9.)

If I compare arts and entertainment from when I was a child, to today, and how perverse it has become, this was actually the first mountain I started guarding myself from.

Some would say it was extreme, but I threw away all secular music. Music is a powerful force in our society.  I’ve learned more about it’s power from my music therapist bride. How it taps into areas of the brain and causes people to remember, helps them walk again after strokes, helps people express themselves, when they can not by what we would consider “normal” means of communication.

Music is powerful and impacts our attitude and demeanor. So this was first on my list.

It took some time, but television was next. We don’t have a TV. First, financially, the cost to benefit of it just doesn’t balance itself out to our favor. It costs way to much, and to allow the sex, violence, and vulgarity into our house can be detrimental.

Please don’t think I believe this is the standard for all households, but just for ours. You are in charge of your house, and I judge not.

I would place social media into this category as well, though some may call it family, or even religion.

The power of social media in our lives is really a bit overwhelming.  The science behind how Facebook “likes” releases dopamine and provides a good positive feeling in a persons life can be very misleading.  Having so many “friends” on social media, however maybe not being engaged in live relationships, can be very unfulfilling when reality strikes.

I’m trying not to come at this next point from a spirit of judgement, but hopefully edification.

Pro sports:  from my view point it looks like we have elevated pro athletes as people held to a standard no one can maintain. We place unrealistic expectations on them because of “who they are” and their “influence,” both of which set them up for utter failure and our disappointment. They are fallen people in a fallen world who need Jesus just as much as you and I. Just because they make lots of money and are in the public eye doesn’t make them better than anyone else and we have done them an injustice.

As we run from the world, people, and true relationship, we find ourselves empty, unsure, confused, and afraid.

It is in relationships, as demonstrated by Jesus, where we love, build up, lift up, and help others, and ultimately ourselves, that the arts and entertainment can never fulfill and meet our needs as God intended.

No there is some great stuff out there yes! But we need to keep everything in check to ensure we aren’t giving it power over which causes us to stumble.

How does this category impact your life?

John 17 and the 7 cultural mountains 

So this is where I’m at right now. 

Actually, John 17 and not being of the world, but in the world.  Understanding the potential connection to the 7 mountains mentioned in Revelation 17 and the 7 cultural mountains that have been identified in our society and if and how they relate to each other. 

I see Revelation 17 in a spiritual sense and what the practical application looks like in today’s society and placing John 17 beside it for my life. 


Then hanging onto the beautiful gift of grace as I assess just how much I am of the world and these 7 mountains, and not just in it, and how I need to guard those gates into my life and work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Essentially pouring myself out so that He can fill me with Himself. 

The work that needs to be done in our life doesn’t help our salvation, but our sanctification. It is guarding our life and making changes in our life, not because we have to, but because I want to.  Because I love Jesus, because He loved me first.  

It’s knowing that there is nothing I can do in and of myself, but through the in dwelling Spirit, all things are possible to the glory of Jesus.  

The state of the world dictates we look to the Creator and not the created for our peace, as readily offered by Jesus in John 14. 

What parts of this world are you of and not in?

What of this world influences you?

Where do you find your peace?

If it’s not Jesus, is it really sustaining peace? 

Honey Bees


There has been a lot happening on the farm this year. So much so, my chores list has been needing to be very flexible. 

A major lesson learned is to not be so ridged with what I believe needs to happen and pay close attention to what God wants to have happen. 

When my timeline used to be disrupted, it used to really agitate me, not so much anymore. I thank God for this. 

The honey bees this year has taught me quite a lot. 

The strength in numbers.  That as a group they are far more powerful than as individuals. 

They are precise in their mannerisms. From birth, to jobs, to building and maintaining their home, they have it down perfectly. 

Most of the problems they’ve developed over the years is because of us. 

Pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, plastics, just to name a few, have all played a part in the honey bee decline. 

I take my role as an animal husband quite seriously.  See the link for more info. 

As such, I read, ask questions, and really try my best to do well by them and it is not easy. 

My biggest difficulty is finding the line between my desire to be a minimalist in my involvement in their life and being a good animal husband. It’s not as easy as I thought. 

There are many philosophies that people have when it comes to bee keeping, and many make sense and work for people successfully to both the bees and the keepers benefit. 

Me, I need to find mine.  A hybrid of all the information and philosophies that work for me and my bees. 

One lesson for me is that just because people have used something for hundreds of years successfully doesn’t mean it’s right for me and my bees. 

What am I talking about you ask?

Hives. The home of the bees and a topic for another blog. 

The harvest…

What does the word harvest mean?  More importantly, what does it mean to you?

Much depends on your world view, is it a horizontal or vertical world view?

On July 1st, we harvested 41 meat chickens.  I had gone to a farm to help and learn before we even thought to bring meat birds on the farm.  I wanted to know if I could do this and how it would impact me.

After the first go round of about 200, it was OK and we purchased our 40. We were given 41.

Harvest…

From a horizontal world view, for me it means bringing in the food.  I think mostly fruits and veggies, but the term is used also for animals now.  I’m not sure when it came about from words like butcher or process,  but they all really mean the same thing, harvest just sounds better.

From the world view perspective, the term breaks down even further, from animal rights advocates, to commercial processing plants.  I believe in animal rights to an extent. I believe if we bring them onto our property, we are responsible for their care from start to the end of their life. To make sure they are treated well, healthy, fed and watered well.  That they live in an area that is kept well.

Harvest…

When we shift our gaze vertically, this is where things begin to shift from many of the horizontal perspectives.  In Genesis 1: 26-28, we have been given charge over the earth. If you check the originally meaning, words like dominate, subdue, prevail against, and the like are root meanings.  This is where 1 Corinthians 13 comes into our life.  For if we act and have not love, it really means nothing. Looking further in 1 John 2, it breaks things down further into if we love horizontally or vertically.  We are not to love this world nor the things in this world; this what it means to have a horizontal love, love of the world. 

Harvest…

Unto the glory of God our Father, we harvest. We offer thanksgiving, for all good things come from Him. In Him comes a bounty. It doesn’t always look like we may want or think we need, He is Jehovah Jireh regardless.  This name is used only once in Genesis 22, but its placement is at the time the Lord provided the replacement for Issac who Abraham was to sacrifice.  The Lord provided the ram. God’s timing was perfect.

Our Lord provides. So in the workings of His provisions, even when there may seem to be a lack; we love, we give thanks, we share that which we have been provided, for the harvest is meant to bring glory to God and us joy.

So, we harvested our meat birds. It went very well. But that is not all we did. We started the beginning of a community. A knitting of a fabric of relationships that compliment each other, strengthen each other, and where we love one another.

We hope, we pray, this is a community that grows, not just in number, but in love for God, Jesus, and His plans and purposes for all that He provides.

All working towards the day the Lord of the harvest comes for His Church.

Life and the birds and the bees…literally…

Life this year has surely been and ebb and flow.  It’s been filled with some wonderful realizations, but has surely had it’s share of deep valley experiences.

As a family, we’ve had two deaths of dear family members. My step father, who I knew longer than my naturally born father, and my beautiful brides grams. Both lived a wonderful godly life, and they are now home.

We also have suffered the death of a dear dear friend, Luke. His going home still brings tears to my eyes.  His was a friendship that transcended life. I’ve only met one other person able to do that, whom of which I am given to in marriage, my beloved bride.

This has been quite a year also on Shiloh’s Farm.  We have taken on more critters and lost a few, 4 to be exact, over the last about 10 months, and all chickens.

We gained two goats; Lucy a Nigerian Dwarf and her daughter, Loretta, a Nigerian mix. We bought 6 baby chickens and two baby Indian Runner ducks. One chick didn’t make it, but the rest are thriving!  One chicken died from Wry Neck, one from getting stuck under a roost, one had a neurological disease and drowned in the water bucket, and one…I’m not so sure.  My best guess is she was either egg bound or broke her neck some how.  That one is a mystery.

We also rescued 5 hens.  Curly, our khaki duck, we had to re-home as he was not playing nicely with others.  He is now with his own flock on the eastern shore.  I hope he has found happiness.

We’ve also added what is called a nuc of bees. This is a hive that’s already established and ready to be installed in their new home. There are five frames of bees and you take those frames and put them in your own box, what is called a brood box.  After almost 6 weeks, they are now filling a second brood box.  We are about 1 week behind schedule, but they are doing very well and have grown in population to over twice what I received.

If that isn’t enough, we have found a church friend who is interested in raising meat chickens, called broilers, or roasters. The name is size depended.  If they are 5 pounds or smaller they are broilers, over 5 pounds they are called roasters.  We have roasters, 41 to be exact.  We’ve lost none. 

Tomorrow is harvest day for them.

So, from birds to bees, and life, it is full on here at Shiloh’s Farm.

Lessons learned:

  1. Do not take friends and friendships for granted. If you love, love well and ensure those you love know you love them. Romans 16:16 tells us to greet each other with a holy kiss.  How loving and intimate when done out of a pure heart. Pureness of heart, something we need in today’s society. So much of our society is Judas and betrays others with a kiss. So love and love well.
  2. God’s creation is fantastic and such a mystery. Animals are animals, but they are a gift from God to be enjoyed on many different levels.  Whether it is provided as just enjoyment as pets, providing eggs for food, honey for food and medical purposes, or true farm to table. We should not take our food for granted, but be thankful for it and care for the animals who provide us our food well.
  3. Animals are deeper in their understanding than we give them credit for. I’m speaking more towards my bees, but applies for sure to the other animals.  Bees will follow their care taker, this I just learned. They don’t follow aggressively, but follow the person who cares for them.

There are three kinds of love; Eros, Agape and Philos. It would do us well to learn them well, as 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us the greatest is love, out of faith, hope, and love.

So live and live well, but love and love well.

The ebb and flow of time…

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I like to think I’m maturing in the Lord. Some of you may very well beg to differ. I say this, however, as despite the ebb and flow of life, I’m learning that it’s all about timing. That life runs in seasons; some longer, some shorter, some sweeter, and some not so much.

What I want and when I want it, or how I expect things to work out, is typically not the way the Lord sees it happening. I’m learning this is OK. It’s not always easy, but it is OK.

You know where this process started? Red lights.

There was a time when I would literally hit every single red light. Every one. This grew so old so very quick. But in the still of my frustration, there was this small voice and He said this: “Do you know what I’m keeping you from?”

In the smallness of my mind I went to traffic accidents and all the calamity that can happen out in our streets, but that is not really what He meant.

“Do you know what I’m keeping you from?”

He was keeping me from the world. The hustle, the bustle, the distraction, the filling of my schedule so much so there would have been no thought of Him and no room for Him.

For He alone is worthy to be praised. Nothing in and of this world is so deserving of my time and attention. If my time and attention is in and of the world, then it is for and by Jesus and His Holy Spirit that I work, and not of my own accord.

The perception of my heart is wicked and misleading. It is at odds with my spirit, which works with His, so that it is His hands and feet and not mine.

For a time such is this.

I love You and Your faithfulness.  Thank you Jesus.