Author Archives: Scott

Diligent Pursuit

With the demands of the archery shop this fall, I hadn’t been able to get to the field as much as I would have liked.  However, this week I took off Tuesday and Wednesday, combined with my regular Sunday and Monday off, I was able to spend some quality time in pursuit of a mature whitetail buck.  

The timing could not have been better, or the script more exciting.  After, church on Sunday, my wife, my friend Joey and I were headed to stands.  It had been a few years since Joey and I had this opportunity, so we struck out together, while my wife headed to one of her favorite stands on the east side of the farm.  Joey and I were headed to a seam in a hayfield that would permit us to enter undetected.  As, we started into the seam, I spied a giant mainframe 10, directly in our path, tending a doe.  We hit the deck!  I worked my binoculars from my pack, inched up and took a peak.  Yeah… he’s huge!  I gotta try.   I crawled backward to get into a line that offered some concealment.  Joey, provided over-watch as I proceeded to claw my way across the hayfield.  With Joey’s guidance, I managed to make my way to within 33 yards of the monarch undetected.  With him quartering away unawares, I began to draw.  In that instant, I saw a flash to my right, glanced over… busted!  The doe caught me and took off.  I redirected my focus to the buck, who, unfortunately was following suit.  Four seconds… that’s what I needed to seal the deal… four seconds.  

I made my way back to Joey, where we shared our exhilaration over what had just happened.  What a charge!  And, we still had our whole afternoon hunt to enjoy!

We saw the buck a short time later, cruising a hayfield across the draw.  To say I hoped he would cruise by my stand would be an understatement.  He didn’t.

The next morning on her way to work, my wife spotted him cruising not far from where I’d seen him the day before.  Due to other obligations, I was not able to get back until Tuesday.  That evening found me in the same area again.  There was amble action and opportunity, but he didn’t make an appearance.  When I was driving back to the house, I came up on him coming out of some standing corn.  “That’s it! I know what he’s doing!”  

My full focus is locked on this buck.  In all my years of bowhunting, I’ve only targeted a specific deer 2 other times, now we have #3.  Tuesday evening, I analyzed the terrain between the areas we had seen him.  A clear and logical travel route began to emerge.  Wednesday, I set a new stand in the area I felt could most likely yield an encounter.  The location is great, but the stand not so much.  It’s rather exposed, making movement nearly impossible, but manageable if appropriately measured. The scene is set, now to wait.  

I sat on stand that day for 12 hours.  I saw dozens of deer, had numerous opportunities to fill my tag, including a very nice mature buck, but not the one I was after.  I’m focused now.  Anything less would feel like settling.  It’s not often a bowhunter is presented with an opportunity such as this.  I fell short on the first attempt, but I’m not done yet.

Over the past few days of purposed, focused, determined pursuit and preparation I couldn’t help but compare what I was doing with my focus and pursuit of the Lord. “Am I this focused and purposeful when I comes to pursuing and knowing Jesus?  Do I study scripture with the same veracity that I studied the aerials of the farm?”  At times, yes, but full on continued focus, no would have to be the answer. 

If I am able to put everything together and harvest this deer, it would be nothing short of a miracle.  If not for the fortunate encounter on Sunday, I wouldn’t know that he even existed.  I’m focused now, but I haven’t done much leading up to now.  I depend on a long developed knowledge of the area and the animals, never really knowing the exact make up of the bucks from year to year and just trust that a nice deer will cruise by and an opportunity presents itself.  Most the guys I know that consistently tag big mature bucks dedicate themselves to that end.  They are focused nearly always, and put in the work.  The result is they are consistently rewarded. 

That kind of focus on God and His kingdom is consistently rewarded.  If you want to be consistently successful, you have to be consistently focused.  In order to wake us up and drive our determination, He’ll occasionally appear to us as a monster 10 point in a hayfield.  And, that works… obviously.  Question is, do you want to see that mack daddy once in a blue moon, or every season?!  Have a blessed weekend!

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

Graceful Conversation

Proverbs 26:4,5 (NLT) Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.  Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

This passage was related in our mens’ group the other evening.  After leaving there, I continued to give a great deal of thought to it.  

First and most obvious, don’t waste your time trying to answer someone who is stubbornly adhering to a false notion.  It will only serve to tarnish you and have no effect on them.  However, in verse 5 it tells us that we must confront one in their foolish notions or they will not only continue in them, but do so with arrogance and assurance that they are wise. 

Wow, this is tough.  How do you know the when, what and how to respond to someone that you know to be wrong in word and/or action?  

As I thought about this and worked through additional scripture that might shed further light on this, the first thing that became apparent is an initial restraint.  Proverbs 10:19 (NIV) Sin is not ended by multiplying words,but the prudent hold their tongues.  More often than not, our knee jerk reaction is to counter, to come right back and defend ourselves from an assault, if that be the circumstance, or offer correction to the inaccurate notion, statement or deed.  That typically comes in the form of a verbal retort.  However, the repeated theme throughout scripture, as illuminated in Prov 10:19, suggests that restraint should be our default first move. 

I was listening to Pastor Adrian Rogers the other day, and he made a statement I believe bears on this conversation.  To really know someone, you cannot base your determination on their actions, for those are strategic and planned.  Instead you must guage a person based on their reactions, how they handle the unexpected.  If our knee jerk reaction is typically one of attack, argument and confrontation, if we lose our temper and return assault for assault, what does that say about us?  What benefit could that possibly serve to either party or the others in witness?   

Instead, should we not exemplify restraint, listen and analyze first?  How can we begin to know how to proceed, to RESPOND if we blindly react?  We can’t.  You may be exactly right, but at this point, who cares?  It’s moot!  The only effect you can hope for is to further harden the heart before you and cast yourself the equal fool. 

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

This is very difficult, and obviously something that God sees needs work in me, otherwise He wouldn’t have directed me to look so deeply on it.  My take away would be this… answer is necessary, but the manner in which the answer is delivered must be prudent and calculated.  Your battles must be carefully chosen.  There can be no knee jerk reactions. They serve no good what so ever.  It must be a thoughtful RESPONSE, carefully drafted and wrapped fully in love.  Some of these battles you will win, some you will not.  However, executed in this manner, you will not be made the fool, the fool will not be made wise in their own estimate and, most importantly, God’s purpose will be served.  That, my friends, you CAN most assuredly trust in.  Have a blessed weekend.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. 

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

 

 

Test Yourself… Then Test Others

I was having lunch with my good friend, Pastor Jeff Rabe, and as is generally the case, our conversation was as good as the meal.  Our discussion lingered at length around a subject that ultimately spurred the thought leading to today’s topic.  

Pastor Rabe made the point, generally speaking, we have grown apprehensive when it comes to confrontation.  We are reluctant to call things out in others, and when situations begin to escalate, we placate and are quick to cut and run.  His observation was that often times it takes a tense, uncomfortable hard conversation to get to the heart of the matter and affect the greatest outcome.

As we talked and expanded on this statement, it took a number of turns and applications, and also continued to fuel my thoughts on the matter.  The other day, while reading “Western Hunter”, I came upon a quote that resonated with me and I feel ties in well with my thoughts for today.  “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people, who’ll argue with you.” ~John Robert Wooden

So often, we resist, even resent it when someone disagrees with us.  Most, I would assert, retreat from those situations and “cut and run”.  Why?  If you are fully convinced of the validity of what you are thinking, saying, believing and doing, why not allow it to be challenged?  Even when we are “right”,  testing it is worth while, is it not?  It serves to strengthen your position, and perhaps sway the opposition to a new line of thought.  I Peter 3:15 (NKJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 

It is equally important when we are wrong.  We need to be challenged and our “wrong”  perceptions called out and put to the fire.  Otherwise, we will continue along, trapped in our mis-perception.  Think of the damage that is so often wrought from that condition.  

From the other side of the fence is the necessity of our willingness to go to another and challenge them, to call them out on their speech and deeds.  This is hard, unpleasant and most shy away from doing so.  We don’t wish to offend someone, hurt someone’s feelings, illicit hostility in return or possibly alienate others.  However, we must be willing, with gentleness and humility, to go.  Galatians 6:1,2 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  

Christ compels us to hold one another accountable.  He compels us to do so in love and gentleness, but do it we must. 

I’m not suggesting that we cast aside compassion and discretion and just proceed in calling out every thing that we disagree with in others.  My suggestion, however, is that we not be so eager to cut and run, leave things unsaid that need to be said.  Rather, that we answer God’s call when compelled and render aide when aide is needed.  I also suggest that we spend more time introspectively analyzing our own thoughts, deeds and beliefs, checking them against the ultimate litmus, scripture, and see how firmly our own footing truly is. 

Doing life together can sometimes be hard.  We are tested by and testing each other constantly.  Fortunately, the standard by which we are to navigate our life together is found neatly laid out in the pages of the manual for life, the bible, God’s Word.  Test yourself, your notions by His standard and then help others do the same.  Have a blessed weekend.

Colossians 3:16,17 (NKJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Be a Thinker

Micah 6:8 (NKJV) He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

One of the greatest dangers facing America is its “dumbing down”.  More and more people have been and are being raised up to merely parrot what they are told.  Memorization and regurgitation have replaced deductive reasoning, analytical processing, development of ideas, drawing one’s own conclusions… free thought.  An increasing number of people do not know how, or care to test the ideas they are fed.  

Of the people I know, the ones I consider of high, greater than average intelligence, are free thinkers.  They possess deductive abilities.  They don’t simply know “facts”, but can develop their own philosophies, problem solve, and are capable of a creative perspective many others lack.  

This is particularly important within the body of Christ.  As individual believers, growth is found in our development.  As we draw closer to the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit within us amplifies, progress of purpose increases. 

One very important variable in the equation of growth, maturation and our ability to process and reason is reading.  Yes… reading.  Reading is common to virtually every deep thinker I have known.  Reading stimulates creative thought in ways that nothing else can.  In reading, you get exact expressions.  You gain insights into the thought process, the psyche of the author.  Reading leads to well informed people.  Reading stimulates thought, analysis, reasoning, questioning.  It leads to writing.  If reading creates an informed person, writing makes an exact person. 

We are tested each and every day.  Thoughts and ideologies are tossed at us from each and every direction, some good, some not.  How are we to navigate our way through this barrage if we lack the ability to think and reason for ourselves.  Culture today would have us operate autonomously, ruled by emotion.  If you feel it, it must be right.  People capable of independent minds can reason their way through the reconciliation of the mind and heart.  However, to do that you must be well informed.

You must learn to read well.  You must learn to choose your authors well.  As one who believes in Jesus or as one still seeking, this must include scripture.  You must desire to read, study and internalize the Word.  It cannot stop there, though.  You must pursue extra-scriptural text, reading what trusted theologians have to say about the bible.  You must also seek out text on a myriad of other subjects such as history, philosophy, science and the arts. 

In order to be able to test that which is being presented to us, we must seek to cultivate knowledge.  Otherwise, how will we possibly discern what is right, what is truth, when the time comes.  Have a blessed weekend.

II Timothy 4:3-5 (NKJV) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Allotted

Proverbs 30:7-9 (NKJV) Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.

I read this passage the other day and it really struck me.  I pondered on it and upon that contemplation was heaped conviction.  “I don’t pray for that”, I thought.  In fact I’ve never prayed for that.  More often than not, I pray for extreme favor and over abundance.  

One of the men in my Iron Men group offered an observation the other day.  He wondered why, when things are going good, we are getting what we want, we are riding high, we so often feel the furthest from God.  He said, during those seasons, it seems we are so slow to turn to God.  We forget about Him.  It takes us rolling back down into a valley to turn to Him.  Well, this Proverb offers a very simple and direct answer.  

God knows each and every one of us.  He knows our bents.  He knows how we will receive blessing and how we will steward those gifts.  A man who has “everything”, or at least everything he wants, can easily find himself falling in to the trap of indifference to God.  We become expectant, complacent and unappreciative.  His gifts become devalued.  If every year, nearly every time I went to the field, I could harvest a “trophy” deer or elk, how long do you think I would appreciate His blessing?  If every customer who walked into the archery or harley shop, dropped a pile of money, how long would it be before I had little regard for those people, for God?  

God’s provision is always there.  Not only that, when we approach Him with a humble and grateful heart, His provision will be precisely what we need, our allotment.  

Deuteronomy 8:17 (NKJV) then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ 

When we are given much, often times our tendency is to take the credit.  It was my ingenuity, my drive, my effort that produced the success.  We tend to think far too highly of ourselves and dismiss the true source of the blessing.  Our efforts may have produced a result, but where did our gifts and talents originate from.  Who blessed us with the opportunity to apply those gifts?  All good things are from God, no other.  When we forget that, lose sight of the source, refuse to be humble and grateful, giving all glory to God, He WILL bring us low.  

Deuteronomy 8:18-20 (NKJV) “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.

I’ve never given thought to the notion that the reason something may not be happening for me, coming to me or being provided me as I would desire, could simply be God’s intentional withholding.  That He may keep it from me, because I cannot handle it.  It may be something that would draw me away from Him.  It may simply not be a portion of my allotment.  

I will certainly be more mindful of how I pray for provision going forward.  I will also be grateful for the provision He blesses me with and how I utilize it.  It is, after all, my God given allotment.  I hope you all will do the same.  God Bless you and have a glorious weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

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