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Woods, Worship, and Wasteland - Letting Faith Produce Fruit

Woods, Worship, and Wasteland - Letting Faith Produce Fruit


We decide questions of worth every day. We set our calendars and our alarms based on our priorities, what we ascribe as worthy of our time. Worth, is the word we get worship from. What is it that we worship? Moving through life is often like moving through a swamp. As our hike through the swamp moves us from the beautiful woods to desolate wastelands, so life takes us from the scenic to the disturbing. Too many times, we find we have put down our compass, and settled into the wasteland, where life has little value and meaning. Yet there are those who venture into the wasteland, because they are determined to rescue it, to return it to its prior beauty.

Venture outside with a professional land management forester, and seek out the value and the worth of the woodlands, and in doing so learn a lesson of faith, that no one is beyond salvaging. Jesus will put on the chest waders and head into the swamp, to try and salvage those that he loves; to find the lost sheep; and to bring them home. He doesn’t give up on us, but has laid down a track—a path for us to find him, and to worship.

Come on, and let’s see the fingerprints of God in His creation; and let it turn our hearts to worship. God doesn’t hide, but we seldom look very hard for him. Maybe we can find him on the beach, or in the deep swamp, or along a dark deserted railroad line. He will declare himself, like a train whistle in the dark, causing us to worship.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Landowner’s Objectives

  • Flag Throwing
  • Cotton Pickin’
  • God of the Edges
  • Noah, the Beavers are Eating a Hole in the Ark!
  • Over My Head
  • Crawfish
  • Someone Before Me
  • Snowy Egrets
  • Field of Fire
  • The Turn Around
  • I Need a New Pair of Genes
  • What’s Up Dock?
  • You Never Ride Alone
  • Bird Walk
  • Burn Barrel
  • Crossing the Wasteland
  • Watching the Logs Roll By
  • Worship in the SMZ
  • Ode to a Mud Pie
  • Don’t Let the Smoke Get in Your Eyes
  • Ribbons
  • Bayonets or Clarinets
  • Swamp Sheep
  • Hear the Whistle Blow

Excerpt from: Swamp Sheep

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

There are some days when you work in the outdoors that you will see something completely new. A real National Geographic moment if you will. But it is rare. In forestry, what you see every day are trees, and if you work in the Southeast, you see pine trees. These pine trees all look alike. Fortunately, my job also takes me into many hardwood stands, so I get to see the variations associated with southern hardwoods. But I am also blessed in that I also get to work in swamps. While that is not a coveted job in my profession, it is one that I have long loved. I started in a place called the Green Swamp. The ditches were full of cottonmouth moccasins and alligators. Ticks in the woods would knock you down and take your lunch money. My first day on the job included an encounter with a rattlesnake.

Among the uncommon things you may see in a swamp would include giant snapping turtles fighting, a snake with a fish in its mouth, and bears passing by. Or bears charging or eating the berries on the other side of the bush where you are doing the same. But occasionally you will be confounded, even bewildered, at what may show up, especially if it is a “swamp sheep.”

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