Bro-down on the river

Some of you know that I was involved in a wild camping trip two weekends ago. My buddy Dave writes a monthly article for Angler magazine – this month he told our tale.



The Soggy Bottom Boys
by David Cannon
  The calendar of a recent weekend was miraculously blank for six of my friends and me, so we decided to head to my favorite Southern freestone trout river for some camping, “magic hour” dry-fly fishing, and Chattooga Burgers (onion roll, mayo, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, and rotisserie chicken meat pulled off the bone).
    I normally wouldn’t name friends in print, primarily because it makes me feel superior to see my name in this article’s byline while leaving them anonymous, but after going through what we went through, I’d like to publicly acknowledge these brave men. So, to Andy, Austin, Brandon, Caleb, Kirby, and Justin: I salute you.
    Some of you Southerners may recall the recent weekend when a line of vicious storms rolled through. We seven knew of the forecasts, but decided that if we could brave one stormy night, the rest of the trip would be smooth sailing. To sum it up, however, let me just say that the Chattooga Burgers were a success.
    The downpour started just after the last of the Chattooga Burgers were consumed and quickly doused the fire we had built by holding a tarp over the wood for about half an hour until it got hot enough to survive on its own. I could go into whiney detail, but the summation of the next few hours basically consisted of tents flooding, tarps blowing away, sleeping bags soaking through, thick wading socks reaching full saturation, and general cold wet misery.
    Finally, I had enough. I sat up in the lone dry tent – a one-man crammed with three men that had suddenly become a kiddie pool – and declared that I was out of there and would be using my credit card to secure a meth-lab-of-a-motel-room for cheap. Andy decided to come with me.
    As we made our way out of the woods, we came to a large clearing of food plots. It was pouring and pitch dark, but my first thought was that something might still be midnight snacking out there. The instant I waved my flashlight to survey the area, a big bear, who was 20 feet up a tree some 50 feet away, decided to jump out of the tree, breaking every branch between he and the ground on his descent. It was the loudest, scariest thing I’ve ever heard.
    Andy and I took off in a dead sprint. Because of my rebuilt knee, I’m a little slow off the line. But Andy, who has always been a phenomenal athlete, gave it too much throttle at the start and ended up sliding all over chunky gravel that cheese-grated his knees, elbows and hands. He popped right back up, though, and was on my tail in a split second.
    We made it back to the vehicle – Austin’s six-speed SUV – and realized that we couldn’t find reverse.We finally got out and pushed it back, then left the parking lot and were half-way to Clayton and some disgusting-but-dry motel room when we came down a hill and around a sharp curve to find a fallen tree blocking the road; a victim of the weather in which we had all been trying to sleep. Stopping just short of the tree, Andy said, “You realize we can’t get this thing in reverse, right?” A ten-minute search through the car manual revealed a weird little shift ring that engaged reverse, so it was back to the parking lot to sleep sitting up.
    The next morning, we returned to the camp site to find a bunch of tired guys and learned that Caleb, sick of being soaked but seeing no other option before him, had decided to sit in a camp chair for six hours in the pouring rain. The name Caleb should either mean “patient” or “amphibious”.
    Since the Chattooga looked like the river that flows through Willy Wonka’s factory, we decided to head to our last hope, the tiny tailwater known as Smith Creek. It turned out to be the second successful idea of the weekend as everyone hooked up (we had a few newbies) and almost everyone landed fish, including some that were hooked on dry flies right at dark by listening for slurps! The only magic hour of the trip was getting home, putting on some dry socks, and getting into a warm bed.
David Cannon is a pastor, photographer, and author of the book Fly Fishing Georgia. For more of his work, visit



Notes on prayer – week 2

Prayer 2

April 17, 2013

What is prayer?

  • Is it weird?
  • Is it talking to yourself?
  • Is it when you’re attacked by a bear? (…see post about bear attack)

The Lord’s Prayer

5 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

  • Prayer is to God, not to man
  • The reward is from, and in, God alone, not from man

7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9

– Get over the worn out phrases

– Be genuine

Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.  —  Precious, worthy, praised

10 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,  —   We want your kingdom here; your goodness and your fullness

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread, — Not too much, not too little [Prov. 30:8-9]

12 and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors. — Only God can forgive our sins – He knows our needs

13 And lead us not into temptation, — Protect us; we want to do less evil

but deliver us from evil.

notes from week 1 of the prayer series


April 10, 2013


About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed fJames the brother of John gwith the sword, and when he saw hthat it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during ithe days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him jin prison, delivering him over to four ksquads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest lprayer for him was made to God by the church.


  • Herod is a wicked king taking Peter to spite the Christians and excite the Jews.
  • He guards Peter with four squads so that they can rotate watching him.
  • The conjunction (but), in, “but earnest prayer was made”, is in essence saying that even though this was a tough scenario, Peter would be delivered.
  • Earnest: Serious, intentional, purposeful, weighty, determined [we need to pray like this]


Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, mbound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, nan angel of the Lord ostood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. pHe struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And qthe chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and rput on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but sthought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. tIt opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter ucame to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that vthe Lord has sent his angel and wrescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”


-Sometimes it seems as if God waits until that last minute to step in the path of evil snares. His timing is perfect; His plans are sure.


  • Peter was sleeping. His rest showed that He trusted God enough to let his heart at ease to sleep.


  • He was bound with two chains – showing the sovereignty of God.


  • The angel had to wake him up. He told him to get dressed himself and put on his sandals; he knew that they would be leaving and that Peter would need them. He also didn’t make him leave them behind, but in faith he patiently let him get dressed.


  • He led him through the different guard stations and then through the iron gate.  [Sometimes God takes us through processes and steps instead of fixing our problem all at once. This allows us to marvel at His sovereign hand and increase in faith.]


  • The angel did all that Peter could not; he let Peter obey. What does that mean for us? What does God call us to do while He is doing what we cannot?


  • Peter rejoiced

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of xJohn whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and ywere praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, za servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, ain her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is bhis angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But cmotioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to dJames and to ethe brothers.”1 Then he departed and went to another place.


  • He went and joined the gathered Church. They were praying still.
  • They didn’t believe that Peter had been set free. Do we doubt our prayer?
  • Peter continued knocking (he was probably nervous). Then he insisted that they keep quiet. “Really Guys!”



18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and fordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.


– This just reveals the awful heart of Herod. He was still blind to the glory of God. “Seeing, they did not see” (Matthew 13:14)

You Get God

We are the people who call ourselves “Christians”. But what does that mean exactly?

Does it mean that I am a church goer? Does it mean that I sing certain songs or read certain books?

Or does it mean that at the core of my identity I am a person who calls Jesus – Lord?

These are the kinds of questions that we have been asking on Wednesday nights as we have been going through a series called “Jesus’ Unexpected Answers”.

One of the most incredible things about following Jesus is that you can know Him. And I mean really know Him.  Yes, it is always a mystery as to what an everlasting God, creator of the Universe is like. But are you satisfied with leaving it a mystery? I hope not.

The truth is that Jesus has shape and form, like a partial glimpse of an incredible work of art that leaves the taste of just enough majesty to keep you fixed on the portion that you can comprehend for a lifetime. And the only glimpse we get at that portrait is His word.

Long story short, this is where we looked at the wonder this week. John 17:1-3

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, mhe lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, nthe hour has come; oglorify your Son that the Son may pglorify you, 2 since qyou have given him authority over all flesh, rto give eternal life to all swhom you have given him. 3 tAnd this is eternal life, uthat they know you vthe only wtrue God, and xJesus Christ whom you have sent.

(V.1) Who is like this?

Jesus’ prayer that He should be glorified would have been utterly outrageous – Unless He was God.

Isaiah – a book Jesus knew well – says that, “I (God) am the Lord: that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” Jesus is asking that He be glorified (celebrated, supremely valued, famed, worshiped) as an equal to God.

If I were to pray that prayer it would be blasphemy.
When we take a glimpse at Jesus’ words we see that He equates Himself with the authority and deserving of the glory of God.

(V.2) The calling of Jesus

Jesus is given the authority over all flesh, and to give eternal life to all whom God gives Him.

What is eternal life exactly?(see verse 3)  Sure, it’s living forever. But for what?

It’s living forever in the presence of God! It’s dwelling forever in perfect peace and infinite joy! Shame – gone. Guilt – gone. Fear – gone.  This an incredible thing!!!

[Pause for a moment, think of the most incredible thing on earth. Don’t think about missing it; think about multiplying it to an unimaginable degree for eternity in the presence of Jesus. In the person of Jesus.]

Jesus is not only God, but He has the authority of God to call whom He will to eternal life. Is He calling you?

What does that mean?

(V.3) Do you know Him?

Jesus says that eternal life mea

Last night was a fierce and wonderful spectacle. Thunder shook my windows…


Last night was a fierce and wonderful spectacle. Thunder shook my windows, gargling as they ran off in the distance. The heavy wind made all the trees bow as if they had just seen their King; fearfully and wonderfully submitting to His authority.

All of this uncontrollable force surging, bending, breaking should be the ideal picture of my hearts default position of anxiety. The complete inability to control what happens in the world around me.

But scripture shows me that that is exactly the opposite of what I should believe.

Look at how God shows us His control here in these verses:

Controller of the Universe

 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)

Calmer of the storms

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boatworshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

(Matthew 14:30-33)

Maker of all things

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, (Acts 4:24)

The list could go on…

The funny thing is that we were headed into our third week on “Killing The Anxious Heart” last night at youth worship, when youth had to be cancelled because of that great and awesome storm. A storm that probably caused – actually, because of Facebook, I know it caused – much anxiety in the hearts of the people of our state.

The verse that we were to take a look at was this:

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:5-7)

We said last week that the supreme killer of anxiety is the cross. I know, Churchy, right?

The cross isn’t just the reason that anxiety is laid to rest.

i.e. life, hope, forgiveness, atonement, justice, sacrifice, joy, rest, peace.

The cross is also the power that anxiety is, and can be, laid to rest. 

i.e. grace, the Holy Spirit, mercy, election, keeping, and pursuing.

A few thoughts on battling unbelief

An anxious heart is a prideful heart.  Why do I say that? Well, when we face a problem, like a storm, or a walk through the school cafeteria, we tend to feel afraid if we aren’t in complete control. And when we want control in ourselves, we don’t trust ourselves to God.

Anxiety = Pride,   Pride = self-sufficient,   self-sufficient = I don’t need God

Philippians 4 gives us an insight on what to do.

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:5-7

In everything – school, dress, sports, social media, dinner, vacation, movies, etc

Pray – “God, help me not to depend on myself for beauty. I want to know that from you.”,    “God, I have a big test today. Please help me to be honest, and to study hard.”, “God, there is a huge storm outside. Please help to remember that you control where every drop of rain lands.”

Supplication – (It means, Ask) “God, please give me strength, joy, compassion, mercy.”

Thanksgiving – “Lord, you have been so good to me. Thank you that you control all things for your glory and my good.”

Try these things, and let the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, begin to kill the anxious heart and replace it with a joy saturated, dependent one.

I hope to see you all next Wednesday night.

Amplify the truth,


There will always be hope for the worst through Jesus Christ.

‎”And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom than for you.” – Matt 11:23-24

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the lostness of our world – the playground of the dead and blind.

Ashamed. Broken. Apathetic. Guilty. Oblivious. Rebellious.

Jesus reminds the crowd, and city of Capernaum, in Matt. 11, that even Sodom (a city renowned for its passion for sin — leading to its destruction) would come to repentance if it had but seen the “mighty works” that Jesus had done.

How empowering is it to know that even the pinnacle of sin would have repented if it had but seen the glory of Christ!
– The Water of the thirsty
– The Healer of the hurting
– The King of the wanderer
– The Joy of the burdened
– The Hope of the desperate

No matter which way our world turns, there will always be hope for the worst through Jesus Christ.

All people, even the most rebellious, long for the joy of their heart and rest for their souls.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matt 11:28

Amplify the truth,

“I Trust In What You’re doing.”

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18 NIV)

Don’t let the things that trouble you get the best of you. God has a wonderful plan in EVERY circumstance. When tough times come your way, don’t look at God as the bad guy. Look at him and say,” I trust in what you’re doing. Have it your way!”


Shelby Dipascal