Word for Word 9/11/19

Pastor Steve Oden
Pastor Steve Oden

How would you view a Sunday hunting ban?

Efforts to overturn Sunday hunting bans in nine
 states have been met with a luke
warm reception 
from, believe   it
 or  not, hunters! A survey recently conducted   in North Carolina found that 53 percent of hunters oppose the idea of Sunday hunting. Sixty-eight percent of those who opposed cited religious reasons ... (article and survey continues).

Wow, did that catch your attention as it did mine while I was thumbing through an Outdoor Life magazine (September, 2007, page 25) at the dentist’s office? I have lived in Allamakee County long enough (since the summer of ‘69) and been afield for 43-1/2 years, 38 of them bow hunting, to know how hunting is viewed in this area. Hunting is a way of life, tradition and legacy for many that reside in this beautiful corner of the state. Whatever the choice of weapon or preferred game, stories can be told year-round, let alone year after year.

My point to this writing is about worship. After all my 54 years (49 of them bowhunting) of being afield as well as worshiping (whether in a building or not), I have heard and seen the results of a common comment we’ve probably all heard, In fact, I’m sure I have even made this recurring comment myself years ago before I understood what I’m about to share with you. The comment, “Hunting is church for me. Getting out in the woods is my church. Church is my favorite hunting stand or blind.”

Have you ever heard those words? Pastors have! Spouses have. Even their children have! First, let me clarify the word “church.” The Church is not the building or the gathering place but the people themselves, followers of Christ’s teachings. Jesus is the Head of the Body, the Church (Colossians 1:18). It is possible to have an aspect of worship when we are hunting with others or even a large group, that is called fellowship. Christian fellowship is one of the five aspects of spiritual growth.

By the way, the word ‘hunting’ in this article could easily be replaced by something you swing, ride, hit or, you know what I mean. I chose the area of hunting because of the season we find ourselves in and who I am as a result.

Another aspect of worship is prayer (both talking and listening). The woods can be an awesome place to commune with the Lord our Creator. A person can also read the Bible while “waiting” in the stand, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak direction and insights into our lives. These last two that I have mentioned (prayer and reading the Bible) can have amazing benefits into our lives, but I have found that either distractions from the hunt or daydreaming glean most of that time out there.

Outreach, the sharing of personal testimony of what the Lord has done for you, is another aspect of spiritual growth. Although testimony can happen anywhere, it can be difficult sometimes to remain focused with undivided attention when you’re trying to hunt something and visit at the same time.

The fifth and final aspect of spiritual growth is corporate worship, the time of coming together for equipping and training (teaching). Hebrews 10, verses 9-39, is a charge for all of the Body of Christ. Verse 25 challenges our thinking, “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The Greek word translated “give up” speaks of desertion and abandonment.

I encourage you to seek, out a place of assembling to worship the living God, whether that be mid-week or a Saturday/Sunday worship service. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Ask where the Lord would have you to go and He will show you.

All these things can add a new dimension to your next hunt as well as your life as you grow in the fullness of His Word, prayer, worship, fellowship and outreach. Allow the Lord to speak into your life this week as you worship corporately. He will be there, unlike much of the game that has eluded us.

Live all the days of your life,

Steve Oden
New Life Christian Church


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