Jun 9 2013

Trying Something New

HS3926

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”  Isaiah 43:19

A number of years ago there was a popular television commercial that featured as its main line the words “Try it, you’ll like it.” I don’t remember exactly what the commercial was for but I’m pretty sure it was a food product. Whether from external sources or internal ones we are constantly being challenged to try something new. Some respond to such challenges readily. They find doing or trying new things exciting. Others are a bit more hesitant. They may not be as brave as the others or perhaps are just more content with the status quo. I will confess that I do tend to be in the latter group. I am not as quick to try or embrace new things as I wish I were.

HS3693Yesterday I had a chance to get out and do some nature photography in the Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area. There was nothing new about me taking pictures of nature, I’ve been doing that for over twenty years. Even the location was not new to me. What was new was photographing from a canoe. A number of people had told me that if I really wanted to get good pictures of the area I’d need to go out in a canoe. I was not exactly thrilled with the idea. I don’t have the best balance in the world, not even close. Still, I wanted good pictures from the area where I now live so I decided I’d give it a try. I can’t say I necessarily liked it–I was a nervous wreck the whole time–but after I looked at the images I got I am very glad I tried it. There is no way I could have gotten the pictures I did had I not gone out in the canoe.

HS4103Later in the morning I tried something else new–photographing honey bees. A few days before I had shared an article on Facebook about the decline of honey bees and how this is a big deal. When I came upon a field of clover yesterday and saw several honey bees taking advantage of it I immediately decided I’d try to photograph these endangered bees. I knew it would be a challenge and that there was also a chance I might get stung but felt it was worth a try. By making this attempt to do something new I got a few images I really liked. Once again, I found myself feeling glad that I had not been afraid to try a new thing.

I realize that every time we try something new we may not necessarily like it but something I was reminded of yesterday is that unless we do try such things we will never know for sure whether we like them or not. I also was reminded that certain things will never happen unless we do try. I wouldn’t have gotten the slough or bee images shown here had I not made an attempt to do something new.

These truths certainly transcend nature photography. They also apply to our spiritual journey. My reading of the Scriptures tells me that God often calls on us to try new things. Pick almost any major character in the Bible and you’ll find God challenging them at some point to do something new. Some of our biblical heroes readily took up the challenge while others struggled mightily with it. Still, each of them discovered that the key to their spiritual growth and usefulness in God’s kingdom was dependent on their trying something new. Why should we expect it to be any different today?

HS3979God may very well be calling some of us to go somewhere new, just like he did Abraham and Jonah long ago. He might also be calling us to some new service we don’t feel qualified for. It happened to Moses. He may even be calling us to orient our life in a whole new direction. That’s what he asked Saul (later Paul) to do. There’s really no telling what new thing God might be calling each of us to; the possibilities are endless. The question is will we try it whatever it is. I encourage you to do so. I can’t promise you’ll always like it when God calls you to do a new thing but I have been on the journey long enough to know that you’ll miss out on a lot and fail to be all you might be if you don’t try.

–Chuck

(A special thanks goes to Gene Stinson for taking me out in his canoe yesterday.)


May 26 2013

So Blessed!

“And God can give you more blessings than you need.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

_CES5609Since I’ve written about my “new beginnings” a few times in recent months I thought I’d give everyone an update on things. I am really enjoying my new church. That comes as no surprise. I made three visits to the church prior to moving to Henderson so I already knew the people were wonderful and that the church had a lot going for it. Also, one of my best friends served as pastor of this church for ten years and he assured me I would enjoy this particular congregation.  I really do feel blessed to be serving where I am.

_CES2612After being in Henderson for nearly a month I can also say that I am thrilled with my new community. There are lots of things that impress me about this community but here, too, this comes as no surprise. I liked what I saw before I moved here and heard many people give testimonies about how much they enjoy living in Henderson.  What has come as a bit of a surprise to me is the natural beauty of the area.  I will confess I was hesitant about leaving the mountains of eastern Kentucky. They had been home to me for almost twenty-five years.  I love the mountains and also have found great pleasure over the years exploring and photographing them.  Somehow I convinced myself that by leaving the mountains I would not have as many opportunities to photograph the beauty of God’s Creation. I have quickly learned that I was wrong.

_CES2581I spent a couple of evenings this past week watching the sun set over the Ohio River. Yesterday I went out photographing with Gene Stinson, a local photographer I had recently met. He showed me around the Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area. In just a few short hours we saw six bald eagles and numerous other bird species. I also got to photograph several species of dragonflies. We saw whitetail deer and wild turkeys roaming around. Gene also showed me a beautiful cypress swamp. I found myself feeling both ecstatic and relieved. There will be no shortage of things to photograph at my new home!

_CES5660Today I truly do feel so blessed. I am very thankful for my new job, my new community, and for the natural beauty that surrounds me here. I offer my praise to God for being so good to me. I have a feeling, however,  that if you’ll stop and think about it you, too, can offer the same testimony.  If so, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell others about God’s goodness and love. And having been so richly blessed by our Maker, we should do all we can to be a blessing to others.  I have certainly been reminded in recent days that there are more than enough blessings to go around.  To God be the glory!

–Chuck

(All the pictures shown here were taken yesterday at Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area.)