And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4).

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Brokenness

This is just my opinion, but I believe that we have to experience God before He truly becomes real to us.

How do we experience Him?

One way is through our own testimony of what He has done in our lives or through someone else's testimony. We begin to experience God when we start recognizing His activity in our lives and in the lives around us.

Tuscarora, NV - Photo by Chrissy King

Have you ever had those days that just seem to be a struggle? Some days are just a constant fight for me to stay out of my flesh and fill my mind with God's goodness!

July 23 was my birthday! "A glorious and joyful day?" you might ask.

That depends upon how you look at it, in the flesh or through the Spirit.

It seems that I spent most of the day sacrificing my will for those of others I love, a good thing, but I did it with a beaten attitude. In a sense serving someone else because I knew it would honor God, but with no joy inside of me. Trying to press in, but being distracted in my spirit.

Couldn't God give me His joy?!
Isn't that a fruit of the Spirit?
Couldn't He see me in need and impart that to me?

Aaah! There beginneth the lesson, that day, for me.

After struggling all day I was on the verge of being spiritually exhausted, to the point of wondering if I was becoming depressed. (I know, not a Godly thought, but satan is predictable and he had to try.)

On the way home my wife, Ronda, asked me what was bothering me and without hesitating something deep within my spirit answered with, "I don't know. I just feel alone."

Haaa, there it was! Where did that come from!?
Well, in the process of making a short story long, I'll tell you.

We all know that life is unpredictable; it is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, and life and death. Those life experiences either draw us closer to our Father or we seek comfort in the wisdom of the world and its ways consume us.

My family has been in the business of raising horses and cattle for at least 5 generations, but over the last 3 years my partners in this have gone to be with our Lord and Savior. Leaving me to be, at times, overwhelmed with my responsibilities. When my father died, my brother and I took over those responsibilities. In December 2008 my brother left me alone here to deal with this without him. But in that process he left me with everything that now, I pray, defines who I am. Troy put me in the presence of my God in an overwhelming and glorious way through his death. (You might think that was rather sick to see it that way, but flesh and blood did not reveal that to me. I won't pretend to know God's thoughts behind His timing, but I do know that His timing is everything, it is perfect!)

Troy is my brokenness! God was preparing me, with my son's death in February 2006 and my father's death in April 2006, for what He was about to do to me through my brother's life and death in December 2008.

You see!!!! God became real to me in a powerful and glorious, super natural way in that hospital room! Not because of where I was, but because my brother was a righteous!!, redeemed!!, lover of our God!!!

I believe that some time in our life we will all, every one of us, experience a form of brokenness in our life that defines who we are in Christ. When that time comes which way are you going to turn? The world has many definitions for depression, but do they stand up to the power of the Cross!!?

I find myself revisiting my brokenness at times. Why?
"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty; And before honor is humility" (Proverbs 18:12).
I cannot honor my God without humility first!
My brokenness then becomes a twofold blessing:

First it brings me to this humility! The realization that I totally depend on my God for everything, even my next breath! When I realize that I am nothing without Him then I am in a place where He can use me. I become available to Him.

Second, I then experience His fullness and power and my spirit screams with boldness, "But as for me, I trust in YOU, O LORD; I say, "YOU ARE MY GOD!!!!" (Psalms 31:14).

My prayer for you, beloved brothers and sisters, is that you would recognize your brokenness for what it can be. Use it to get into the presence of our God so that you can experience His powerful touch in your life and create in you a deep hunger for more of Him.

May your brokenness define God's work in your life through your declaration of it!!


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Double Your Mind Around This!

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

A friend that was leading a bible study I went to this past week asked us a question that another person had brought to his attention. The question had everything to do with the topic that night, but was not the main subject.

Before I ask the question, I find it exciting how the Holy Spirit can take us to a whole new revelation of God's word when it is spoken.
In answer to Thomas's question in John 14:5, Jesus states in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Here is the question to you as it was given to me.
Do you believe John 14:6?
Do you believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? And that no one comes to the Father except through Him?

Oh Saints! As I ponder this I realize the question has weight to it, it has depth far greater than what our own understanding can comprehend. It was a question birthed by the Spirit to bring us to a realization of what He really is and who we really are in Him!

That statement (John 14:6) defines our whole being as a believer.
Without believing it, we then stand outside the temple gates unable to be forgiven, unable to praise, unable to sacrifice, unable to wash ourselves in the word, unable to experience the fruits of the Spirit, unable to worship, unable to feel His touch or hear His voice.

Where then does that put us?
What do you see in the people around you?
Who do you see in the people around you?
There are millions of lost people in this world, are you just a number?
I'll bet Satan doesn't even know my name, but God knows how many hairs are on my head and how many I lost yesterday!

Jesus said "I am the way (the only way to meet God), I am the truth (God's righteousness and all the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are revealed), I am the life" (He gives us eternal life, but He also equips us and fills us with His life as we struggle here in this world). No one comes to the Father but through Him (we cannot even be in the presence of God or enter the Kingdom of Heaven without recognizing who Jesus is and what He has done).
We should find this encouraging, as believers, that we now have a purpose in life. You are one of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

This is my prayer for the week:
"Lord, that you might reveal your way, your truth, your life to me, so that I may walk in your will and spend time in your glorious presence. That you would unveil your word to me, so that your knowledge and understanding would become mine. Thank you Father that I am one of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, that I have a purpose through you."

I would like to encourage you to get into the word daily, if not hourly, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it and teach you from it. Expect to experience God the more you become available to Him. Start with John chapters 14-17.
May the wisdom you find in our Lord set you apart!


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Friday, May 22, 2009

On the Road for the Summer

Wade and Amaia are in Idaho for the summer. They loaded up nine (yup, nine!) horses and headed to Homedale, which will be their base "camp." Here's Wade checking out all the features on the "new" trailer he bought. Looks like they're ready to hit all the brandings and do some day work!

One of the first stops was the Jordan Valley "Big Loop" rodeo. Wade was up Friday afternoon in team roping and Big Loop (horse roping). Ty was there as well. They all enjoyed the chance to see friends and family, and catch-up after a busy winter of hard work.
Photo by Ann Black Rutan
Wade rode in the Saddle Bronc on Sunday, and tied for 2nd/3rd/4th with a score of 74. Good job, Wade!

Wade has a particular call to minister and witness for Jesus Christ at rodeos and to cowboys. He has God-given gifts of horsemanship, roping, and bronc riding that allow him to travel and meet many who might not step foot in a church. Here is his expanation of his calling.

The Lord opened my eyes and showed me a vision concerning the hearts of the men behind the bucking chutes. The Lord showed me how many of them had received a little spark for Him, but the spark had never been fanned giving it the opportunity to grow. He told me to "fan the flame." The Holy Spirit is like a mighty wind and will bring life to a tiny spark, igniting an all-consuming fire. As the Lord began to speak to me giving me direction for my life, I became sanctified by the word of God, "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Tim 4:5), and empowered by the Holy Spirit. "For you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you" (Acts 1:8).

God has not called me to preach the Gospel, but to demonstrate the Gospel. I am only called to prepare the way for the Teacher. I am called to help people come into the fullness of the New Covenant and be taught by God. I am called to introduce people to the Holy Spirit and God has showed me He will do the rest. Just like a person must prepare a colt before he can start to communicate with them, I am called to show people how to prepare themselves so that they may start communicating with God. God wants to communicate with us, we just need to be "willing" and then able. It is so simple; the same things that hold us back from communicating with our horse are the things that hold us back from communicating with God.

Photo by Ann Black Rutan
Training for the Cross is on the road this summer working to act upon Paul's advice, "...Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it" (Col 4:17), and to fulfill Jesus' charge, "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee"
(Acts 26:16).

We are all directed to be ministers of Christ, each in his own way, according to his own gift, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (1Pe 4:10-11).

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foundation to Finish Clinics

Beginning summer 2009, Training for the Cross will offer custom clinics combining Horsemanship and Discipleship training. We are willing to travel to your location to organize and present the "Foundation to Finish" program tailored to your specific needs.

If you would like to discuss the potential of a "Foundation to Finish" clinic for your barn, ranch, group or association, please contact us at Training for the Cross.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Man in the Glass - Ray Hunt

Photo by Mary Williams Hyde

Some of Ty Van Normans's words to the family at Ray Hunt's service in Mountain Home, ID.
I am not going to stand up here and talk too much about Grandpa Ray. You knew your Raymond better than I did. Besides it's not about what is in the box or that jar. It's about what that container couldn't hold.

The Man in the Glass (Anonymous)

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum
And think you're a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please - never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

(This was one of Grandpa's favorite poems, he recited it at nearly every clinic.)

Most of us have looked in a mirror some time today. What did you see? I'll bet you looked at your face or your hair, but how much time did you spend looking into your eyes? Why does that make a lot of us uneasy? Matthew 6:22 says that "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light." Meaning our eyes reflect what is going on inside of us. They're the windows to the soul. The next time you encounter that person in the glass, look them in the eye and see if they're driven by the flesh. Are your eyes dull with pain, anger, bitterness, deceit, doubt, hate, contempt, jealousy, fear or a haughty pride? Or do the eyes looking back sparkle with life, led by the Spirit and filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Are they filled with content confidence that you are right where God wants you and the type of person He wants you to be? This is where my Father has me today.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ty's Eulogy for Ray Hunt

Ty Van Norman spoke these words at Ray Hunt's funeral in Texas.

I am the eldest grandson of Ray Hunt. I live on a ranch in Nevada where my family has been ranching for generations. The area I live in has birthed some of the greatest horseman of all time: The Dorrance brothers, Lee and Clyde Revorse, Grandpa Ray, Horns, Jones and Marvels just to name a few. They all had an influence on men in the industry today. I consider myself privileged to have grown up there. I am merely a man, but I wouldn't do my blood justice if I didn't get up and share what's on my heart today. What I have to say may make some of you mad and some glad, but I am pretty sure you won't leave here the same as you came.

We are all gathered here today, to pay our respects to a man who loved horses. He defended what he was passionate about; that was his life. You could hardly talk to him about anything else. He was a master at what he did. I cherished the times I got to spend with him growing up. I only got to see him about once a year when I was young. I remember him and Dad sitting and talking horse. There were a few times we went fishing. Once Dad and he went to Alaska on a hunting trip; I still remember the stories. In the spring of '93 I got to go to Australia with him and travel up the East coast doing clinics. That was an awesome experience that would not have been possible for me, if it hadn't been for Grandpa Ray and Caroline.

Anyone who really knew Grandpa knew there was no nonsense around him; you did it his way. If you didn't, he would tell you exactly what he thought and he didn't care how it made you feel. I'm not saying that was right or wrong; that was Ray. Some of you I am sure he offended at times and encouraged at others. I'm not here to apologize or defend him. I'm here to remind you that he was a great man in the horse world, but he was still just a man. He struggled with the same things in life we all do. The way he handled them was his choice.

I see a lot of familiar faces here that also stand out in the horse world. A lot of you, whether you are aware of it or not, have a lot in common. I'm not talking about horsemanship. I'm talking of being held on a pedestal and the deception that comes with that position of God-likeness. I'm definitely not accusing anyone; least of all Grandpa Ray. That is not my purpose. My purpose is to give you warning of the position you hold. This is where my Father has me today. To remind you that we are just men that struggle in life and are presented with choices. Grandpa was a man that found a way to make a living using the gifts and talents God gave him.

My brother got to spend some time with Grandpa last winter and I remember him telling me that every thing Grandpa said was so true for the situation at hand. Grandpa's Cowboy Logic book is full of one liners that speak truth:

-Don't try to go through something bad and come out good....stop and start over. Facing death is unsettling to most of us. I'm not an expert on it, but I've seen some of it lately. (Just over the last three years Ty lost a son, dad, brother and grandfather.)

-You have to prepare to position for the transition. The transition for all of us at one point or another is leaving this life behind. Are you prepared?

-Adjust to fit the situation. You might have to adjust your thinking to fit this situation.

-Confidence is knowing that you are prepared.

-In John 14:6 Jesus states, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

-I'll tell you what happens before what happened, happened. God's Spirit moves, the truth is revealed, your spirit is quickened, you are called and you are given a choice; the choice is yours. Sin and death will lose its power and you will stand in the Supernatural Power of God.

To some of you this means nothing. And to some of you this means everything. Worship the God who made the man and use the gifts He has given you to glorify God, and He will give you life and life more abundantly. Romans 5:1-4 talks about the Glory of God and how we can change our history. As I said before, I am the oldest grandchild of Ray Hunt. That is why I am here on this platform in the boldness of the Holy Spirit to change my history.

We all have history wrong or right, good or bad; it is called character. Grandpa's character was his own and that's why we are here; to remember the man, Ray Hunt. Love him or hate him, you wouldn't be here today if he hadn't had some kind of impact in your life.

On behalf of my family - I thank you for coming and may God bless you.

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