Author Archives: Scott

“The Borlaug Effect”

I have seen a great many things of late that have me pondering the why and how of things.  Some of it good, but a great deal of it difficult to bear.  I was reading through some past writings, and came upon this one.  I felt like this was something that is providing some clarity to questions I’m asking.  It served to bring some comfort and assurance  to some uncertainties I am struggling with.  I hope it provides some of the same for you.

 

 

I came across the name of a man today.  It is a name with which I’m very familiar, but I was led to read a little more in depth.  The man is Norman Borlaug.  Some of you may know who he is, but for any who do not, I’ll give you a brief account of his life and accomplishments.

Norman Borlaug was born March 25th 1914 to a farm family outside of Cresco, Iowa.  He had a prototypical upbringing for a midwestern farm kid of the age.  He grew up hunting, fishing and working the family’s 106 acre farm.  His primary education took place in a one room school house, and he was baptized and confirmed in the Saude Lutheran church.  He graduated from Cresco high school, where he also participated in football, baseball and wrestling.  

Through an Depression-era program known as the National Youth Administration, he was able to enroll at the University of Minnesota.  While earning his Bachelor of Science in forestry, Norman, like most had to take jobs to support himself.  One such job was as a leader in the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Many of the people who worked for him in those days came to him starving.  Though he didn’t realize the impact at the time, the scars those images left would forever change his life and the lives of over a billion others.

 Before and after graduation, Norman worked for the US Forest Service.  He had his career and life coursed out and was headed down it.  It wasn’t for long, though, and due to budget cuts he lost that job.  That’s a pretty significant blow to be dealt, for anyone.  I’m sure he thought, as most of us would, he had arrived.  He had made it.  Then blindsided.  Have you ever felt like that?

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Well Norman returned to the University of Minnesota and under the tutelage of his mentor Elvin Charles Stakman, received a master of science degree in 1940 and Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics in 1942.  He went to work for Dupont, where during World War II a number of his projects worked to aid our soldiers in combat.  Impacting lives.

After the war years his research and efforts changed complexion.  He remembered the look of starvation in the faces of his past workers.  The rest of his life was dedicated to the development of high yield, disease and drought resistant crops.  Crops that could be grown in regions ravaged by hunger, where conventional crops and farming techniques were useless.  His life’s research led him to countries around the world, Mexico, South America, Asia, India and finally Africa.  

Norman Borlaug became the man God would use to feed the world.  Norman’s life work is credited with saving over a billion lives from starvation.  All this from a boy who started from such humble beginnings.  A young man who’s life course was set, or so he thought.  However, God had different plans for Norman.  

As I read about Norman’s extraordinary contributions to the world, I can’t help but think about how it almost wasn’t was.  I think about the chain of events required to bring God’s plan for his life to fruition.  I wonder how often Norman felt stuck in the mud, that things weren’t going according to plan.  I find my heart overflowing with faith in the knowledge that Norman’s life played out by design.  God’s design.  What reassurance can be found in this story.  Reassurance that no matter what happens in our own lives, though we may not see it, want it or understand it, if we hold onto that faithful knowledge that it is by God’s design, great things will happen.  

I think about all the people that God brought into Norman’s life.  Each person necessary in the development of “the man who fed the world”.  I wonder how many of those people lived an entire life not knowing the contribution they made in his development, their role in feeding the world.  Not all of us are destined to be Norman Borlaug, but every Norman Borlaug needed a great many of us to realize their design.  

As I go forward from this day forth, I will try to be more mindful of the “Borlaug Effect”, how my life impacts others, who in turn affect others, who affect others who will affect the next man who feeds the world.  

Lord let me no longer doubt the plan and design You have for my life.  Heavenly father erase from me the doubt of the significance and effect my life has on those around me, rippling out to the rest of the world and generations to come.  How great is Your design and plan, Lord?  I can’t see it fully Lord, but this I know, the gift of faith You fill my heart with assures me that it is a grand and perfect design.  I pray Lord that my ripple in this world will have the effect You desire.  In Jesus’ precious name Amen.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy

Scott Pace 

 

Stand

Ephesians 6:10-17 (NASB) ‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth , and having put on the breastplate of righteousness , and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace ; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation , and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ‘ 

 

Attacks will come to us from and endless number of directions and in an endless number of forms.  They come in the form of physical ailments, disease, injury and the degradation of age.  They come in the form of financial distress.  They come in the form of loss or suffering of loved ones.  The attacks materialize in the form of distressed, damaged and lost relationships.  Attacks can come in the form of injustice, lies, malicious intentions, selfish and wicked intentions by others.  The point is, attacks take many forms, and it is often so very hard to bare.  It can be very hard to reconcile the “why”.  No body wants to experience them, or see others that they care about have to bare them.  

The thing to remember is that the attacks are nothing more than an attempt by satan to derail you, your faith and your ability to serve God and the kingdom in the manner in which He would have you serve and represent Him.  It’s very easy to lose sight of Him in the midst of the storm.  It’s very easy to fall into despair, perhaps even doubt God or His love for you.  That’s satan’s goal, to render you ineffective.  

I believe as we grow more resolute in our faith, more focused on the Lord, the attacks often times intensify.  For it is within these storms that the opportunity to provide our most compelling witness to the power, glory and sovereignty of God.  How we walk through these storms, showing the world our willingness to trust God and relinquish all on faith to Him, carries tremendous weight.

In order to do this, however, our focus must be on Him, not ourselves or our circumstance.  We live this out by being firmly grounded in His word, devoting time every day to the study of scripture.  We must equip ourselves with the full arsenal God has made available to us.  We must spend time every day, intentionally devoted to conversing with, praying to and worshiping the Lord.  When we dedicate to do this, only then will we recognize the attacks for what they are, and be able to “stand”  when the time calls.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

“No Time To Kill”

Ephesians 5:15-19 (NASB) ‘Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 

I was reading Ephesians and this particular passage struck me.  This might sound like a strange comparison, but it reminded me of the Clint Black song, “No Time To Kill”.  “How on earth do you draw a comparison like that, Scott?!”  It’s the reference to time and it’s finite nature (in this life at least).  In this passage, Paul is expressing the importance of walking in wisdom and effectively managing our time.  These are evil days, and there is no time to be slacking off.  The only way to truly be effective in that is to know what God’s will for your life is.  The only way to know what God’s will is, is to know His heart.  The only way to know His heart is to read His word and commune with Him daily.  You have to be constantly pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Another element to what Paul says here  is to “not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation”.  What is dissipation?  It means to waste.  What he is saying here is simply, make the most of every moment.  Getting drunk, as well  as a plethera of substitutes, is nothing more than a waste.  If it isn’t edifying, it it doesn’t serve to glorify God, or to bolster a brother. it’s a waste of time.  This is a simple litmus test that can be applied to, literally, every single thing we do, day in and day out.  

So, regardless of what you are engaged in, no matter when, apply the simple litmus test… “Is this glorifying God?”  If it does, continue.  If it doesn’t, discontinue.  If you are unsure, spend more time with Him and get sure!  Remember… there’s “no time to kill”!  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

Knit Together

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV) ‘And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.’

There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger”  as it pertains to a person’s place in the kingdom.  At least, not if they desire to be an effective contributor.

No man is an island, or shouldn’t be.

In this passage we see Paul briefly describing some of the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the saints.  Not everyone will receive the same gifts, in the same measure.  The example of the church as a body and Jesus as the head is found over and over again.  It’s important because it illustrates the necessity of each part doing their part for the sake of the kingdom.

In this passage, Paul takes it a little deeper.  “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.  In 13-16 he is illustrating that in order for the individual to mature, become well rounded, well versed, wise and discerning, it takes the collaboration of all the members to strengthen and refine the individual.  In turn, the overall health, strength and effectiveness of the body is greatly improved.  

It’s very important to spend time alone with God, daily.  It’s important to read His word, converse with Him and learn and absorb what He reveals to you.  However, as Paul shows us here, it’s crucial that you do not isolate yourself to just that. There has to be a balance, a time of singular fellowship with the Lord, but then a dissemination of what you learn with other brothers and sisters, so as to strengthen the body as a whole.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Miracles

I had to travel for work this week, which gave me the opportunity to listen to several sermons, while I drove.  There was one, in particular, by Francis Chan that really resonated and has become the topic for today’s discussion.

He was delivering a sermon at a conference for pastors.  In this sermon he was talking about what he believes to be the most valuable asset for a pastor to possess for the health of their particular congregation.  I would add, that it would apply to the church outside our walls as well.  That asset was how the pastor prayed.  Specifically, does he pray for members of the church by name and does he fall to his knees and pray as Paul did in Ephesians 3?

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NASB) ‘For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. ‘ 

His point, is to mirror Paul, not just in deed but in heart.  Paul so loved his brothers and sisters, he so desired for all the world to be saved and to know the love of the Father and the Son, that he would pray for them in a way that was calling on the Father to bless them with the in-dwelling of the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit.

As I thought about this prayer, I honestly could not recall a time when I prayed like that for someone with that depth of love and determination.

I often pray that God will see a particular person through a difficult time.  I pray often for Him to grant them peace, wisdom, joy, strength and especially healing.  These are important prayers, for sure… prayers I will continue to bring to Him.  I do believe that the prayers of the righteous are heard and answered.  I believe He does work miracles, unbelievable miracles that can only be attributed to His power and doing.  When those miracles are witnessed they serve as a powerful testimony to His ultimate supremacy.

However, what about when those prayers aren’t answered in the way we ask?  What happens when He doesn’t grant the person with miraculous healing?  Does that diminish Him in the eyes of those who prayed for it or those who heard or knew of the prayer.  It shouldn’t, but perhaps it might.  Does that make Him any less God, because He didn’t do what we asked?  

That’s where this prayer in Ephesian 3 comes into play.  We all know that God is not always going to provide what we want or need in the way that we want.  We all know, that despite our prayers, people we know, people we care about will go through difficult times.  We ourselves, despite our prayers and the prayers of the righteous will still experience struggles, illness, and death.  This prayer in Ephesians 3 is a gift we ask for to strengthen ourselves and others, so that when those times come, illness, pain and death, how we handle it and how others see us handle it is a direct reflection of the endless power and authority of our Father.  It is a prayer that we be so filled up with the power of the Holy Spirit that no matter what is happening, good our bad, what the world sees from us is Jesus Christ, His power and His glory.  It’s a prayer that we be so filled up that all we can focus on is doing the same for others so that they may experience it and do the same in turn.  

Miracles are glorious, no doubt.  They are powerful witness to God’s immeasurable power, love and devotion.  My contention, so is how we reflect Jesus by the working of the Holy Spirit within us when things aren’t as we would like them to be, when “our” miracle isn’t provided.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

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