There may be several of us that have experienced “buck fever” or have had a good fish hooked, only to have the line break. What about the last 9 seconds of the 2012 SEC Championship game when Georgia was on the five yard-line? We could spend hours telling stories of missed opportunities.
Sitting in a hunting stand on a cold, crisp morning watching a whitetail deer in his habitat always gets my adrenaline racing. Another great feeling is the bite and tug of a nice fish on the end of the fishing line. Pure excitement! Growing up hunting and fishing were great joys of my childhood. I was blessed to have a father who taught me and my brothers many things about being a sportsman. He was very successful and I desired to be as accomplished as he was. I would often ask his opinion on which fishing lure to use to catch the most fish or which hunting stand would be the best to harvest a deer. He was an unselfish leader as a sportsman. He enjoyed our accomplishments as sportsmen, maybe more than he did his own. He would often do his best to make sure that my twin brother, Keith, and I would get the best spots ahead of him. However, he always seemed to outdo us.
I remember one deer season where my dad harvested a very nice 8 pointer on the second weekend of the season then proceeded to harvest a huge 10 pointer the very next weekend. Needless to say, Keith and I wanted to start hunting in the same stand with my dad that season. I have the memory of my dad taking our older brother, Larry, fishing for striped bass one year in February. Larry landed a 34lb striped bass. It was huge! Not to be outdone, they went back the next weekend and our dad landed an even bigger striper weighing 40lbs. Keith and I were able to go striper fishing with our dad as well. Although, my striped bass weighed 14lbs and was nowhere the size of my dad’s or Larry’s fish; it was certainly bigger than Keith’s 8lb striped bass. So I had bragging rights over him.
My brothers and I cherish the memories of many weekends we spent hunting and fishing with our dad. Trophies were not always our aim. Food on the table was our number one goal and we enjoyed many venison and fried fish dinners as a family. Although we missed on several opportunities, we definitely took advantage of many as well.
Through most of my life I have sought out and looked up to men who possessed knowledge and experience in specific areas that interested me. Due to their success, I have asked them to share their knowledge and experiences to help me develop and grow in these areas. There are many areas I no longer pursue and the interest has faded. My desire for spiritual growth, however, is one area that I continuously seek direction and guidance. As I sit here approaching 40 years old, I realize that it has been over 15 years since I sat in a deer stand and used the hunting skills my dad taught me.
Recently I have been fortunate to do some fishing again and I find myself calling my dad on a regular basis for his thoughts on how to be successful, but our conversation doesn’t end there. We spend many minutes on the phone talking about spiritual things, prayer, and the blessings of knowing Jesus. I have often called my dad and talked to him about a challenge I was facing or some struggle I was going through. I have been encouraged as he has often prayed for me while on the phone with him. I am grateful our conversations go beyond temporal things like hunting, fishing, weather or the Georgia Bulldogs, to eternal things that help me to develop spiritually and challenge me to pursue growth in my relationship with Jesus. This wasn’t true for most of our conversations when I was a young adult, but I praise Jesus that it is true now and I relish these opportunities.
Men, when was the last time our conversations went beyond the temporal to the eternal, beyond the worldly to the spiritual? How many opportunities have we missed to share Jesus with someone? Mark Hall from Casting Crowns wrote a song a few years ago titled “Here I go again.” Here is the chorus:
“So maybe this time
I’ll speak the words of life with your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear is tearin’ at my words
What am I so afraid of?
‘Cause here I go again
Talkin’ ’bout the rain and mullin’ over things
That won’t live past today and as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance to tell him that you love him
But here I go again
Here I go again”
In starting my fourth decade this month, I realize there are more distractions, more divisions, more ungodliness, more sexual temptations, more spiritual apathy and more violence challenging teenage boys, as well as many adult men, than ever before. Therefore, the need for spiritual conversation and development must be a priority in order to encourage and equip men and teenage boys to become spiritual leaders in their home, church and community.
Talking about the weather, hunting, fishing or our favorite sports team can develop into some spirited conversations. However, these topics will never lead us to grow closer to Jesus.
What would happen in our relationships if our conversations included life-giving encouragement, biblical instruction, spiritual wisdom, godly counsel, and prayer?
What would happen if we conversed this way with our spouse, our children, our Christian friends, our non-Christian friends, or our mentors?
Would our marriage be different?
Would our families be different?
Would our church be different?
Would our communities be different?
Would our country be different?
What impact would this have on the next generation?
Would we see revival and change the momentum?
Men, the next time you are at the hunting camp, in a fishing boat or during halftime of a college football game, please do not miss the opportunity to open up and share the hope that is in you. It would be a great testimony if others were to say about us, “Here they go again, talkin’ ‘bout Jesus…”
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
About Kenny Boggs | Follow him on Twitter @kennyboggs07. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
He is the Director of Gift Processing at In Touch Ministries. Kenny enjoys spending time with his family. Loves the Georgia Bulldogs and enjoys the outdoors. He and his wife, Christine, have three girls and live in Georgia.