Month: February 2018

ducks

A few years ago on a spectacular spring morning, I had the marvelous blessing of watching right up close, (So close I could actually see what I could only describe as a mothers pride on her face.) a mother duck, with a large brood of little baby ducklings following behind her one by one, all in a line.

She was absolutely beautiful with the morning sun illuminating the iridescent colors of her feathers, so perfectly aligned on her body. She walked with absolute determination with her head held way up high looking steadfast at her goal, with her whole brood of billowy down covered chicks marching in a line right behind her. Each chick in its place one after the other with a discipline and loyalty to their mother’s will like few human parents will ever experience.

The wonder of God’s unlimited capacity and creative imagination was on full display this morning and I could only but marvel at the one who could ever have conceived of such beauty. In retrospect, every attempt of human creativity in all of the arts is only a reflection; someone’s interpretation of what God has already created. No sound in music that God hasn’t already created in nature somewhere, no color on the painter’s pallet that God hasn’t used in his own creative expression.

As spectacular as this sight of innocence in nature and beauty was; No matter what pleasure and joy of what I was seeing with my own eyes there might have been, should have been; there was one overriding overwhelming set of emotions of PANIC, Desperation and Anguish. It wasn’t about the Duck and ducklings in and of themselves; they were beautiful. It was about where they were.

On this wonderful morning of this spectacular day I was exactly where I am most every morning at 7:00AM. In my car, speeding down the highway on my way to my place of employment, with my mind self consumed with the prospective drudgeries of the day.

Cresting over a hill around a corner, my heart skipped a beat; I tapped the break, swerved hard and fast into the left lane and just managed to maneuver my car from running full speed into the family of ducks. As I sped by I flashed the headlights and laid full into the car horn hoping to scare the mother and ducklings into running back to safety on the side of the road. No chance… She was completely un-daunted from her quest to get her brood across the highway. I quickly glanced into my rear-view mirror only to see what I knew I would see. Just seconds behind me were two full lanes of cars bearing down on what was an inevitable fate for that poor creature and her little ducklings.

In just one instant, all that innocence, all that beauty, all that revelation of the wonder of the creative hand of God; tragically and terribly gone.

I didn’t look; I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to know. If I didn’t see it happen, maybe I could tell myself it didn’t happen. I willed myself to believe that somehow they all escaped their unimaginable fate. To this day, through years long past it still effects me as though it just happened seconds ago.

It strikes me that I can be so troubled, so disturbed so pierced to the core of my heart even to tears, all these years later, about this inevitable fate of this innocent wild creature and all her ducklings.

But what disturbs and troubles me far more than the depth of my compassion and sensitivity for these innocent creatures is my lack of the same intensity of compassion and caring towards many of my fellow men.

It’s not that I am uncaring, or insensitive… I am compassionate. I am sensitive. I am caring. At least I try to be. I definitely do have areas of more intense emotional commitment and involvement towards certain demographics. My heart does go out to the specific struggles of children and young adults as they face the trials and struggles of life; but whose doesn’t? I do try to put my life in deeds and effort to do something, to have my feelings and words be more than just a clanging gong and clashing symbol.

But I must confess,,, there could be more.

Moreover,,, I am shocked at the degree of de-sensitizing that has occurred in my heart at the pain and suffering of the many people that cross the pages and airwaves of our news media. Each day the radio and TV bombard our lives with the tragedies and suffering of so many people in my community and around the world.

The world today is madness, and there doesn’t seem to be a voice of reason that can rise above to sounds of insanity. I really do fret about the kind of world my children and grandchildren are going to be living in. There is far more evidence of social, moral and spiritual devolution, than there is of a rising tide of civil evolution.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

How pitiful the tally of those I have managed to bring into the fold. Oh for the joy to look back at the last 40 years of my own Christianity and levy a count of at least one saved soul per year. How empty and disappointing will the words echo in my ears…. “Well done my good and faithful servant. YOU made it.”

.

.

. We have to do more. Even now, in writing this message, Its not enough for me just to flash the headlights lights, and lean full on the horn to try to cause my fellow man to turn back from the path of inevitable eternal destruction. We have to care enough to be moved into action. We don’t have to try to save the world; but we should try to disciple at least a few each.

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.””

My friends, I am truly afraid that this may be the last harvest of the season,

Ask the Lord of the harvest,

Send me.

Make a Difference

Make a difference.

   A few years back after one of the major hurricanes had come up the northeast coast wreaking havoc all across the eastern seaboard. The day after the hurricane had passed; a father had brought his son to the beach to see that the danger had passed and that the sun was shining once again. That morning as two of them had crested the top of the dunes and looked out towards the ocean, they came across a sight that neither of them had expected to see. The storm had washed millions of fish up onto the shore. As far as they could see in either direction, there were dead and dying fish covering every inch of the beach. As the two of them walked past the fish to the edge of the water, the young boy picked up one of the fish that was gasping for air and tossed it back into the sea.    The father looked at his son and tried to console him a little:  There’s just too many of them, and if they’re not already dead, they will be very soon. We can’t possibly make a difference… The boy waited for a moment and then responded to his father. I made a difference to that fish. Author unknown, As told to me by James Prescott

   The scripture tells us that we will always have trials, there will always be insurmountable problems, but it also shows compassion so strong that it was willing to die for its cause. We are that cause. Jesus had every right to give up on us. Not one, not even his closest disciples stood by him. The sin in this world IS insurmountable. The pain and suffering, the senselessness of the hate and cruelty that people have towards each other is overwhelming and if you or any one of us glanced even for a second with an open heart at the depth and truth of the evil that surrounds us, it would flood us with unbearable hopelessness. 

    But we are not hopeless, and we are not helpless to make a difference.

   Jesus gave us the model for discipleship: take a very small group of loyal friends, invite them into your life for several years, teach them continuously, and then let them go to repeat the process with their own disciples.

   I didn’t grow up as a Christian. I didn’t become a Christian until my mid 20’s. If there was even one person that tried to reach out to me in my teen-years, I can’t remember one. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what might have been in my life if someone, just anyone, reached out to me to direct my path at that time. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I came in contact of a few people that reached out to help guide me along the right path. I credit those people for nudging my life from where I was destined, to where I ended up.

Almost all of those people were Christians, but very few of them attempted to persuade me that I should become a Christian too. In most cases I learned of their personal faith, after their greatest impact upon my life was over. But! I am absolutely certain, that every one of these people reached out to me and impacted my life by intent! And through them, God was nudging me “Inch by inch” into a place where I would be more receptive to His presence in His interceders. Eventually He brought me into the path of people who would actively disciple me to be a follower of Christ. But first, He sent those to till the fallow ground.

   As I look back through my life and examine the difference makers in my life, they really didn’t do all that much; some only invested just few well-connected hours; very few invested more than 20 hours. But, cumulatively it was enough to make all the difference in the world to me.

  For 35 years in ministry, I have dedicated myself to making a difference to young people, one or two disciples at a time, for as long as our paths intersected. (I seem to relate most to the age in a person’s life where they are most vulnerable, and least reached.) If I have any regrets in my life, it is that over all these years there have only been a very small handful of people that I have been able to reach out to in a meaningful discipleship roll.

Matthew 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

In regard to discipleship I often fear that all we like sheep have gone astray, we have left the example of Christ and follow our own paths.

We mistake evangelism for discipleship. We focus on the noun, not the verb. (Interesting note: Disciple doesn’t even show up in the English dictionary as a verb.)

For me the process of discipleship to young people is a selfish one. It is only within the context of investing my self into nudging someone onto the right path, shining a dimly lit light towards my Lord and Savior, that I experience the second premise of Matthew 28:19-20… Be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

I wish I were a better Christian; More anchored, More disciplined (No pun intended); Able to sustain my faith without it’s connection to the ministry of discipleship to kids that often don’t even seem to care or notice. But, like a light switch on a wall turns on and off a light, so is the depth of my walk associated to depth of my ministry. But I am desperately driven to make a difference. And I can’t understand, those who are not.

Be a difference maker by intent.

It really doesn’t take all that much effort.

Nudge someone a little bit closer to the right path.

Make a difference, one person at a time.

Clipping in

Clipping in.

  Last week we began learning about the basics of rock climbing:

Knowing the basics, for each and every one of us is absolutely critical, (A matter of Life and Death actually.).

   Before you ever let someone/anyone talk you into climbing up, or rappelling down the side of a sheer rock face wall, you had better know for yourself that everything is set right. People get hurt, or even worse, when they don’t know what they are doing, and they trust that someone else hasn’t made any mistakes.  

   This week I am giving each of you a carabineer. It’s NOT a climbing carabineer! It’s only useful for clipping in some extra gear onto your school book bag. But it’s more than enough to remind you about your response to this message tonight.

   The first personal investment in any climb or repel is CLIPPING IN. That is the moment you begin to be 100% invested in the activity. For that exact reason, “On Belay” is the first voice command a person ready to climb, or repel, announces to his support personnel. It’s announcing to the world “I’m on deck! This is it! I’m committing to this!” The second you “Clip in.” to the rope and begin the process of backing off and over the ledge, you are putting your total faith in the support system. You are putting your faith in: (You’re putting your life in the hands of.) the harness, the rigging, the rope, and your belayer. Your support person will reply; “Belay on!”. Only after a person has completed the process of clipping in, and has completely double-checked all his safety checks, he then calls out “Climbing!”, and waits for the reply, “Climb on!”.

    Tonight I want to invite each of you to “Clip In”.

   Before each of you takes one of these carabineers I want you think about your commitment to being a Christian. Have you really “Clipped in”? Have you made the same commitment with your life to Jesus, as someone does with their equipment when they risk everything on a climb?  

Tonight I’m going to make things very easy; simply by speaking out the phrase, “On Belay”.

    If you can remember a specific moment in time when you accepted Christ in your life, and you are absolutely certain that you have made the life changing commitment to trust your life to Him. Then I want you to think of this as just another safety check. Make sure you are securely tied in to Jesus through a real relationship with Him. Re-dedicate yourself to read your bible; (even just a few minutes a day.). Is your prayer life as solid as it should be? Are you sharing your daily life with Him through an awareness of the Holy Spirit guiding your thoughts and actions? And most importantly, is the relationship two directional? Do you believe in your spirit that you have heard the call back from Jesus, “Belay on!”. As you pick up your carabineer, confirm your commitment tonight by calling out, “On Belay”.

    If you are sure of a personal strong solid faith in Jesus Christ, and you really want to step up your relationship with Jesus. If you are looking for something in your life that puts your religion into relationship and your relationship into actions; you want to be an active part in the work and ministry of Christ… Then by all means,,, go ahead and call out to Him, “Climbing!”

    If you aren’t sure where you stand with your commitment with Jesus, I want to give you an opportunity tonight to make that first step. If you want to put your trust in Him to help you with the rest of your life; If you want to know the freedom of being completely forgiven of all your sins; If you want a new purpose, a new reason, and put a new captain in charge of your life; Tonight as you take your carabineer, call out to Him, “On Belay”.

    Tonight, if you’re simply unsure. You don’t know where you stand; you’re not sure if you’re ready to accept Christ in your life. You don’t even know for sure what that means… Please! Feel free to take one of these carabineers as a commitment to your self, that you are willing to keep an open mind. Take one of these carabineers to remind yourself that you are open to the possibilities that Christ could make in your life. Take one of these carabineers to at least make the commitment to yourself that you have not completely closed the door to Jesus.

    My prayer for each of you tonight is that you will use this carabineer often, and that the Holy Spirit will remind you of your personal response to this invitation tonight.

*** May God Bless ***

      John Chicoine

———-  If you made it this far  ———   I have one last final cookie.   

      Of the combined 12 boys last night, only 3 responded to the invitation in any way.   (Surprising.)

      BUT! All of those three boys responded with,  “Climbing”.  It was no surprise to me who these three boys were. Their maturity in the Lord is obvious in their lives, and each of these three want to have more of Christ in their lives.       I am so blessed to know each of them, and I look forward to watching them walk out the Christ life.

RR Water Baptism

WE DID IT!  We finally had our water baptism at the lake. The Lord blessed us with best of His creative majesty. What a great time of commitment and testimony for the Adventure and Expedition Rangers. I am absolutely certain it was an experience to remember for the 4 young men that took advantage of this opportunity to commit and or re-commit their walk with Jesus.    

    Thanks Jaxon for your testimony and performing the baptisms. Way to step up your walk with Jesus.

Next Wednesday night we will be joining the entire outpost at the counsel fire.  

—————–

Tonight’s devotional focused on what happens next! It’s not what you might think.

What a great joy of having 4 young men water baptized tonight; each hoping to have a closer and more focused relationship with their lord and savior, Jesus. And what a great testimony before those family and friends that were there to witness it! While it would be a strong temptation to bask in the excitement and joy of that moment; and though I don’t want to diminish the power of that to change a person’s life, I felt compelled to look to the future.

I must admit that personally I find myself driven to change the odds. The truth of the reality that so many of our young people walk away from their faith by their mid 20’s. That here in America we are closing the doors on 10 churches every week. That one in two marriages end in divorce, and the truth that a living Christianity is failing to raise up the moral standard in our society, are of utmost concern. Even more, I can’t erase from my mind the names and faces of so many individuals I have worked with over the years that are no longer walking with Jesus.

My devotional focused not the excitement and joy of the moment, but on what comes next. None of us will stay on the mountaintop all the time. All of us will at some time walk in the darkness of the valley. We must be prepared.

I am so grateful that in the scriptures, God opens the vaults of His heart and lets us see the strengths and the weaknesses of His hero’s. So many times in my own life I have turned to the story of John The Baptist. If there is a Bible hero I can relate to the most it would be him. Not that I would even be worthy to wipe the dust from his sandals. (By the way that’s not what Jesus says.)

I want to call our attention to the words of Christ about John the Baptist.

I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is” (Matthew 11:11). Of all the hero’s of the faith, Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, Elijah, Noah! Jesus said John the Baptist is greater than them all!

John was a man that throughout his life was dedicated to fulfilling the call of God upon His life. The scripture tells us that just at the sound of Mary’s voice (Jesus’s mother) when she came to visit her cousin Elisabeth, that the unborn child jumped in the womb and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that throughout John’s youth he “continued to grow in the Spirit of God”. John was a man that like no other was the fullness of the Holy Spirit pointing the world to Jesus. His entire life was for just one purpose, one sentence! “ Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. “ John baptized Jesus and witnessed with his own eyes the Spirit of God coming from heaven and landing on Jesus. He heard with his own ears the voice of God proclaiming Jesus as His son, in whom He was well pleased.

Now I want to take us to another scripture, a place in the darkness of the world, a place of deep distress, and inner turmoil, a lonely and desperate place in the dungeon’s of King Herod where John the Baptist knows he is about to be beheaded for his faith in Jesus. Things are getting real for this great man and he calls from the prison cell one last time to a trusted disciple and out of the depth of his soul, he has to have this one most important question answered:

Matthew 11:2-6

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

How pressed to the limit John must have been?

Brothers and sisters I tell you the truth, if this man had to ask this question, how then could we ever expect that we would not? Do we consider ourselves greater than him? Have we seen more than he? Have we lived our entire life as he had lived just to proclaim these words, “Behold the lamb of God”. I know in my heart as well as I am alive that at some point, each of us will ask of Jesus these very same words; “Are you the one, or should we look for another?”

I know that in this moment of great expectation for what God has done, and what God will do in your lives. At this time when this God is filling your lives with the joy of your salvation, and all you want to do is be baptized and testify of your great faith in Jesus. I know that for those of you that today that just died with Christ under the water and were raised up out of the water in the newness of the Spirit of God that these words are the farthest thing from your minds, but I pray that when the time comes and this excitement fades, that you will remember the story of John the Baptist.

Jesus didn’t rebuke John for his moment of weakness. Jesus didn’t condemn him for desperation and boldness to know for sure. Jesus didn’t reject John for his doubt. NORE WILL HE REJECT YOU. The crowd must have heard the question, they must have begun to murmur, they must have begun to judge John for his doubt, and so they will do the same of you.

I want you to notice that it was after John asked Jesus, “Are you the one?”, that Jesus goes out of His way to address the crowd about John the Baptist, “I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. “

I pray that you will remember the story of John the Baptist; not for the weakness of his flesh, not for the question that he asks, but for the answer that he was given.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see, the Blind can see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His answer to John the Baptist is the same answer He will give you. The evidence of the truth of Jesus is the only answer that is able to keep us and sustain us even unto death. John witnessed the things that he saw, John was filed with the Holy Spirit, and John was the man that was called to baptize Jesus because John the Baptist was true to his calling. He fulfilled his work with complete and total dedication and faithfulness.

We must be about our fathers business. We must test the Spirit of God in faith to fulfill His calling. We can never depend upon these mountain top moments of excitement and joy, to carry us through the valleys. Jesus has to be alive in us and the ongoing evidence of His truth and glory is the only thing we can count on. Emotion has no place in the answers to the questions of our soul.

The blind can still see,

The deaf can still hear,

The lame will still walk,

The dead are still raised up,

And the poor still have the good news preached to them!

Perley Brook

Just a quick 2 mile flat land trail around Perley Brook Reservoir. An easy 45minute trip with a lot of nice views of the lake. It’s the local hot spot for fisherman in Gardner. This is a great trail for the family, or a really trail to practice trail running.

 

Location: Perley Brook Reservoir – Loop Trail, 110 Clark Street, Gardner MA 01440

Directions & Parking: From Route 2 take Exit 22 to Route 68 N, toward the Center of Gardner along Main Street. From the Center of Gardner take a right on Central Street (Route 101 N) for 0.2 miles, then take a left onto Park Street at Monument Park (across from the Veteran’s Memorial Skating Rink). Follow Park Street for 0.8 miles. Take a left on Clark Street. The parking area will be 0.3 miles on your left hand side at the entrance to the West End Beagle Club.

Park in the unpaved public parking area on the left at the bottom of the hill. From the parking area cross Clark Street and follow the sidewalk west for 150 feet to the entrance of the Perley Brook Loop Trail.

 

Keystone

This was just one of the bridges

The Keystone Arches

Trail: keystone Arches trail

Date: Saturday 10/25/03

Attending: Simone, & John Chicoine

Miles:5-mile back and fourth Time: 3.5

Weather: Bright fall Sun. brisk clear New England air.

 

Location: Find Middlefield Rd. off of Rt. 20 in the center of Chester MA. The trail head begins at the start of Herbert Cross Rd. is an unmarked dirt road about 2 miles out of town and about a 1/4 mile before the town line. There is a small parking section at the mouth of the road large enough for 5 to 7 cars. The first bridge is visible to the left of the road about a hundred yards down the road just as the road comes close to the river.

Hello dudes and dudetts. This place is awesome! We loved it. The hike was on the old railroad bed (still passable by a 4-wheel drive vehicle). Aside from bushwhacking up and down the steep sides of the ravines that these bridges span, the hike is on a flat grade. The total hike is about 5miles round trip. There is a section of the trail that is marked by blue blazes where the trail branches to the right off from the road. An alternate route can be taken by following the road to the operating rail bed, then branching to the right back onto the trail (looks like a dirt road) several hundred yards after you hike along the rail bed. It took us about 3.5 hours to hike it.

It takes us about 2+ hours to drive out to the trailhead form Gardner. Unfortunately,,, The trail hear is not marked fir the Keystone Bridges, (It’s not marked at all!) We repeated to each other that “Gary and Gwenn (and Gabe) would love this”. We can think of lots of active couples that we would like to bring out there. It’s most likely not something I’ll drive 4 to 5 hours (out and back) lots of times for, but it’s definitely a “have-to-see” at least once or twice and we absolutely intend to do it a few more times while we’re bringing people out to see this. I must say these arches are best seen late fall through early spring (while the leaves are off the trees) for the best views of the bridges. (This is the perfect time to see these, (there still some color on the forest around but not enough leaves so as to block the views.) On another note! (But somewhat related because this would be a great X-country skiing trip but you would need Snowshoes to get to some of the best view spots)

Just a note about the picture above; just to the left of the base of the bridge, next to the the water is an almost indistinguishable image/speck. That’s Simone standing next to the bridge.

This is the text on the info board about the KeyStone Arches.

 

The Western Railroad of Massachusetts was surveyed and engineered by Maj. George Washington Whistler in the late 1830s. It was the first railroad to cross mountains and Editor Buckingham of the Boston Courier predicted in 1827 it “would be as useless as a railroad from Boston to the moon.” The route utilized small portions of the Pontusic Turnpike stage road to Albany. It was surveyed on horseback through what to this day is some of the most remote and forbidding territory in the state. When complete the Western was the highest (1458 ft.) and longest (150 mi.) railroad in the world. Whistler was the father of one of the most famous American painters, James Macneill Whistler. His second wife, Anna, has also become an icon by way of “Portrait of the Painter’s Mother” (1871). Only Maj. Whistler, whose accomplishments were nothing short of unprecedented, remains largely unknown. The completion of this railroad in 1841 was considered so extraordinary that Whistler was summoned to Russia by Czar Nicholas I to build a 400 mi. railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Today, this is known as the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Sub contractor Alexander Birnie was the artisan responsible for the Keystone Arches. A second-generation Scottish stonemason from Stockbridge, MA, he was hired to construct 27 bridges, culverts and walls for the mountain segment of the line. On this portion of abandoned railbed, we cross two spectacular stone arch bridges, 65 and 70 ft. high and pass a breathtaking stone retaining wall. Also on this section of the rail are two impressive hand-dug cuts through solid rock. The builders of 1840 had only black powder to loosen rocks and picks, shovels and horse carts to remove it. Stone taken from the cuts was used to construct secondary walls, but for the ‘ring stones’, or ‘ voussoirs’ of the arches themselves, Chester Blue granite was utilized. This had to be transported in wagons to the railhead and brought to the site on the primitive rail equipment of the day, a formidable task in itself. Across the valley from here, we see the present relocated line on the same gradient. If you can imagine that track turning from the left to where you stand, you’ll get a pretty good idea of why it was changed. The curve was very sharp, consequently wearing out rails very quickly. In order to relocate the line, the river course was also changed. It used to come straight toward the bridge, from where the track is now. Such earth moving simply was not possible in 1840. When one considers that only two miles of 150 total was relocated when technology allowed, the genius of Whistler becomes evident. The trains you see still cross other examples of these mortar-less bridges here, testimony to their integrity. The average locomotive in 1840 weighed about 12,000 lbs. The latest locomotives of 2002, which traverse arches still in use on this line, weigh in the neighborhood of 415,000 lbs., those bridges showing no ill effects from their crossing. The heaviest locomotives these abandoned arches would have carried are the Pacifics, built in 1903. They sported 75 in. drive wheels and weighed in at 215,000 lbs.

Follow this link to the official web site for the Keystone Arches ……………. Don’t forget to come back!

Royalston

Royalston Falls 45Ft. water falls

Trail: Royalston Falls trail from the Rt. 32 trailhead. 
Date:
Jan 31 2010
Attending:
Olivia, Simone & john
Miles:
2.2 Time: 2hrs.
Weather:
Sunny skies, but COLD!

 

We strongly debated whether or not to hike today or just sit next to the wood stove on this one. I’m glad we opted to give this a try. The trail is a moderate hike just under 1 mile from the parking lot to the falls, but today we ended up having to do 1/2 mile backtrack. The sure way to the falls branches to the left about 2 tenths of a mile from the parking lot, (following the white and yellow blazes.) This path offers a footbridge across the river. (It also passes by the new Falls Brook Shelter, well worth visiting.) The blue dot trail leads directly to the falls but it requires a tricky rock-hopping brook crossing just above the falls. We followed a couple that had successfully hiked this leg of the trail last week, only to find that the brook crossing wasn’t manageable this week because the log they crossed on was gone and there was ice on the rocks that you usually cross on. We had to backtrack back up to the Royalston falls trail split. (No big deal, about .6 round trip of nice moderate hiking.)

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”
Henry David Thoreau

Livie loved the hike and climbing around in the shelter so we’re glad we ended up going this way. It was the first time she’d seen an Adirondack hut. (This one has a loft, and is a lot nicer than most.) The falls were just as spectacular as always in the winter and the hike along the river was absolutely beautiful with several small waterfalls along the way.

We’ve done this hike in the winter several times and it’s always the same, (not very heavily traveled and right on the cusp of needing crampons to add a little extra slip protection.) This time we bare booted it. (It was just too cold to mess with putting on the crampons.) The ledges at the falls are well protected with posts and steel cable and rightfully so because it’s always icy on the ledges.

I suspect the reason this trail isn’t very heavily used is because there is another path to the falls on Falls Road, off of Rt. 68 (by Jacobs hill / lookout) and the path is only 3 tenths of a mile to get to the falls,,,, but what fun is that?

On a completely different note! I managed to get my car stuck in a snow bank trying to get ourt of the parking lot at the trailhead. Of course there was no cell phone reception. I spent about 30 minutes trying to dig the car out with a windshield scraper while Simone walked 1/3 of a mile up the road to the nearest house to call AAA. The people on the farm graciously offered to come down with their tractor and pull us out. Thank God for nice people!.

Link to the Trustees of Lands Royalston Falls

Holy Spirit-1

I wish to express a few thoughts on the importance of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It is vitally critical, and biblically sound that every Christian should seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I personally do not assign the same requirements of the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit being Speaking in Tongues as some do, but I do recognize that there is a difference between being saved (by accepting Jesus as your savoir), and being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. I consider this to be the true Born Again, or “Penticostal” experience. Do not underestimate the importance of every Christian moving beyond operating in ones own capacity to function in this world, into a greater state of living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and functioning in the Spiritual world.

It occurs to me that I should try to define what this term “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” means. (At least for me.)

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• It is not just, “Trying to be a better Christian”. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a power in your life that gives you strength to do God’s works beyond the natural will and motives of man.

Scripture says,,, Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides…

Speaking Gifts Serving Gifts
Word of Wisdom Faith
Word of Knowledge Healing
Prophesy Miraculous powers
Tongues Service
Interpretation Discernment
Apostle Helps
Teacher Administration
Encouragement Giving
Leadership Mercy
Evangelist
Pastor-teacher

• It is not an event. It is a change of life focus that is a continual learning and evolving / transforming Christ centered force in a person’s life.
• It is not a possession (your skill, your talent or your intellect.) Although you may have these things, The Holy Spirit is a person; He is the person of God doing His will & work through your abilities, and beyond your abilities.
• The Holy Spirit does not “take control” of your life, but he does lead and direct people to constantly be open to doing God’s work in our lives.
• We do not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a reward for having “Cleaned up the sin in our lives”. Rather we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit when we open our hearts and minds to the Christ life, (Which by default rejects a life focused on sin, and genuinely seeks to please God. Through a righteous life.) Once we are on the right path,,, we then must be willing to surrender our own wicked nature, and intentionally choose to turn over the direction of our lives to the Holy Spirit.
• The Baptism of the Holy Spirit does not make us “So heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” That’s just someone who wants worldly recognition for his or her appearance of holiness.
• The Baptism of the Holy Spirit does not just happen. We have to want him to come into our life! (Not for our own purposes). We have to be willing to put on God’s mantle of righteousness, and understand the consequences and responsibilities (good and bad) of our choice.
• Last but not least,,, many people do speak in tongues. At the very least,,, speaking in tongues is a sign that we are willing to release control over our lives, and allow God to take control. It is a voluntary choice on your part to intentionally say to God,,, Go ahead, I’m ready, Take me and use me supernaturally.
• The Holy Spirit will never lead you to stand on your front lawn twirling a dead cat above your head, and clucking like a chicken,,,, (I really felt foolish doing that.)

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I have known many great Christians, that are very truly Christian by every sense of the word; but by false teaching, or personal conviction, they do not accept and recognize the difference of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I do not doubt or question their complete dedicated conviction to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and in many cases, I am easily put to shame by their Christian works and great faith. Nor do I imply any question as to their state of Salvation. In the natural world, this speaks only to their great credit and depth of their love for Jesus Christ, that they have been able to achieve so much of the Lords work in their own strength. But in the spiritual world of good and evil, flesh and bone cannot win or even fight the spiritual battles in the warfare that we Christians must overcome in our own personal trials, and in our society.

The church MUST accept, as it’s number one objective, to operate in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, the church is no more than any other well meaning, benevolent organization. (When I say “the church”, I mean God’s people (individual and corporate). When I say “fullness of the Holy Spirit”, I mean a true Pentecostal Baptism of the Holy Spirit of the members of the body of Christ.) Most modern churches in America today (Christians, individuals and corporately) are little more than “bless-me clubs” of gatherings of individuals that have had a real revelation of Christ Jesus as their Savior (enough to effect a positive influence on their lives,) but fall far short of operating in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Without question I am absolutely convinced that the increasingly depraved condition of western civilization is in direct correlation to decline of the number of members of the church that have never experienced and do not operate in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. And I am even more convinced that in that lack, every day that Jesus delays in His triumphant return, Christian moral influence on our society (even Christianity itself) looses ground to the ravages of evil and worldliness. If the church today does not recognize it’s lack of, and need for the real Holy Spirit filled life in it’s individual members, I am certain that there is very little left to restrain the evil one from gaining un-bridled reign over our land. Wickedness, deceitfulness, selfishness, hate and corruption are the curse that rules our land and plagues all mankind, (Christian and Non-Christian alike.)

It is the single most important purpose of the church, to shine the light of Jesus into the world through the witness of the Holy Spirit. And how will the true followers of Christ Jesus be known??? Through the fruit of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit the witness of the church, (however well meaning it might be) is nothing more than the wickedness of man trying to be the best it can be. A terribly flawed and week substitute for the real power of the living God flowing through God’s people, and His church. The bible reveals very clearly, the differentiator between Christians and non- Christians is not our good works, not our good intentions, not our devotion to our church, or our dedication to it’s programs, not even our proclamation of Jesus Christ as savior, … But it is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit shown through his believers to the world.

No man can judge another’s motives and actions, but God is not fooled. The measure of the success of a church is not it’s growth rate, not the volume and polish of it’s worship service, not the attendance of it’s various programs, and not even the professionalism of it’s leadership. The true measure of the success of a church is the evidence of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in the members, exhibited to it’s mission field. Brothers and sisters, let’s not be fooled by and settle for the appearance of Holiness in our church and our lives. God isn’t! Well-intentioned men and women following proven techniques and achieving a full and enjoyable church experience can easily accomplish the business of the church. Even though the result of such a venture does and will benefit those who participate in this experience,,, so it is for many secular organizations. Look inside any Rotary club, 4H, Knights of Columbus, Lions, Veterans, and endless other organizations and you will find people united in work, cause, and purpose; people respecting and befriending and caring for each other, and people genuinely enjoying time spent with each other. And there is no doubt that these organizations greatly benefit their members and the community they serve, but the true church of God has no place among these organizations.

Ben, Jared & Chris,,, All of you are at a place in your lives where you realize that there has got to be more than what you personally have today,,, and, Unfortunately! You are all living in a church period where the church body as a whole,,, has nothing more to offer you than what you already have. This is so disappointing! You know it in your spirit; there is more to the Christian walk than what you see exhibited in the church today. Anybody that reads the bible knows the evidence and power of the Holy Spirit in the life of Paul. Everything that Paul had through the Holy Spirit should be available to us to day. You desire the deeper experience of life in the Holy Spirit, but there is no place in your world where that is the normal, accepted, Christian experience! Right now, you want a genuine Spirit Filled, Holy Ghost relationship with and for Jesus, and there few examples in the church body that can set the standard for you to model yourselves after. For that matter,,, I’m sad to say that if any of you could be magically transported to a time and place where and the church was operating in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, it would be a strange, unfamiliar and uncomfortable experience for you.

The sad reality of the normal Pentecostal Christian church today is that the power of the Holy Spirit is taught, desired, and even mimicked, but the truth is, the true experience of the evidence of the Holy Spirit is rare and unfamiliar in the Western Pentecostal body.

The good news for you is that you don’t have to settle for a life that is limited by the limitations of operating under the power and strength of the human will and understanding. You already have half the battle won!!! YOU WANT MORE!
The main reason people don’t have more Holy Spirit power in their lives is because they really DON’T want more. They’re happy with things just the way they are. It’s comfortable! It’s normal! It’s expected! It’s manageable! They’re still in control! They really don’t want to throw themselves into the real river of living waters and let themselves be swept away in the flood of God’s power, in God’s direction, in God’s absolute will and control of their lives. That’s scary! God just might not want the same things for you that you want!

You don’t have to look to the person sitting next to you in the church pew and settle for the same mediocre Christian walk as them… You can, and should, and by faith expect God to respond, (Like Elisha did with Elijah) look at the most spiritual person you have ever known,,, and ask God for a double portion of His Holy Spirit and Power than that person has. ASK FOR THAT!!! GOD! I WANT TWICE AS MUCH AS THEM! IF YOU”LL DO THAT FOR ME,,, I”LL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU!

Your futures are bright and full of potential, but with the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit in your lives there is no limit to the wonders you will be part of, and no limit to the joy of knowing that you will be part of working God’s will on earth as it is in Heaven.

Easter Sunrise 2014

Another wonderful Easter sunrise on top of Mt. Wachusett!

My Sunrise service message:

Who do you say I am?

John 11:25–26, “Jesus said … ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die'”.

I’ve prepared this card with the three crosses of Calvary on it for you. I’d like for each of you to have one this morning.

Please forgive me if this Easter Sun-rise Service message sounds more like a Good Friday message than a Resurrection morning message. Believe me, I have struggled with this morning’s message for several weeks but every attempt to compose any other message than the one I will be sharing this morning just turned into a train wreck.

This simple little ideogram, so common to the Christian faith represents the fundamental question of Christ to all of mankind.

Lets look at this icon from the perspective of the scriptures.

We find the account in Luke 23:39-44
One of the criminals hanging beside Jesus scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

This morning I want to impress upon you the thought that, the three crosses on the hill of Calvary are the most important icon known to modern man:

• The question presented by this image divided all mankind into one of two camps from that moment forward, into eternity.

I love this image because of the way its simplicity asks the one true question Christ asks of every man.
— It cannot be polluted with our own interpretations. —– It denies religious dogma. ——– It rejects any hint of salvation through self-righteousness.

And more importantly! Everyone that has ever lived or ever will live will have to answer the question it asks. It won’t be denied an answer!

The scripture that supports this is found in Philippians 2: at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
(For some this proclamation will be a shout of rejoicing in a confession of faith, but for others, it will be a hopeless utterance of ultimate condemnation.)

I want to take a moment and look at what the scripture regarding the two men that died that day with Christ is telling us.

Two men hanging on crosses along side of Jesus. Both men exactly in the same situation: Rightfully convicted of their sins, & condemned to die. (In reality,,,, that is exactly where each of us have either have been, or currently are right now. Rightfully convicted of our sins, & condemned to die.)

(We have to ask ourselves,,, If God wanted us to only focus on the Sacrifice of His son on the cross for the sins of the world,,, Why then did He orchestrate this distraction of having these two sinners on the scene at that day?) Surely they’re not there to comfort Jesus! They’re there for us! Two actors on God’s Stage fulfilling one last act in their lives to teach us something of vital importance.

The Scripture tells us that, one man openly rejects Jesus; boldly scoffing and mocking the Son of God.
The other man rightly admits and publicly confesses his condition of guilt and sin. He understands the verse, “For the wages of sin is death.” And he makes no justification for his life. His heart and his spirit recognize that Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

He says no sinner’s prayer,
He makes no reparations for his sins,
He meets no condition of sanctification,
He satisfies no criteria of salvation save this:

A conviction of his condition of sin.
An acceptance of his being deserving of punishment.
A repentant heart.
A confession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
And a humble request of Jesus to save his soul.

The Question that this symbol asks every man, is asked by Jesus of the disciples in Luke 9:
” One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, sent from God!” ”

“At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away,_It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!”

I want you to encourage you to slow down for just a moment and really think about this next paragraph:

Can you imagine the pain and suffering, the hopelessness and despair of being nailed to a cross? To be hanging on the cross, convicted and condemned for your sins; with the memory of your life before you as you see all the opportunities you had to make different choices than you had, to do something different than you did, to have been someone else than you were…
With death only moments away ……

And for nothing more than the final utterance of a dying man asking for mercy,,,,, Can you imagine the relief, the peace, the overwhelming Joy of total forgiveness and unconditional grace.

To hear the words of this savior, of this God, of Christ Jesus himself, saying, to YOU….
“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

If you have never experienced this truth of total forgiveness and unconditional grace for yourself; Or if through the riggers of life and time you have forgotten how wonderful it was the moment the burdens of your heart were rolled away; I want to offer you the opportunity to begin your life anew, here and now. I want to offer you a chance to begin living a different life than you’re living now, to make different choices than you are making now, to be someone other than who you are now. To start a new life living in Paradise with Jesus walking with and talking with you, every moment of every day; (As God always intended it to be.)

Who do you say Jesus is?

Forget your sins.
Set aside your pride.
There is nothing we can do to earn even one ounce of God’s grace in the gift of salvation. The work of our salvation was begun and completed that day 2000 years ago on the cross upon which our savior died.

Father:
With a repentant heart we accept that Jesus is your Son, sent to earth to live and die for us. We ask you now to wash us of all our sins and set us free to live our life with you in paradise, starting from this day forward, for all eternity.

I want to offer a challenge to each of us. At some point, by the Holy Spirit’s leading, pass on to someone the card I gave you with this simple image of the three crosses of Calvary.

*** May God Bless ***
John & Simone Chicoine

Christmas 2013

A Christmas Message from us to you;

The greatest miracle of Christmas Day is not that God gave us his only begotten son, the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world; God had planned to do so from the beginning of mankind. It’ not that this child was born of a virgin, or that God hung a star in the heavens to point the way to him, nor the heavenly choir of angles that proclaimed his arrival.

The greatest miracle of Christmas Day is that this very child born 2000 years ago is still alive today and he extends to all of us the greatest gift ever given to any man. The gift of Himself to us, that we might know Him as our friend, our comforter and our savior. That through His Holy Bible he speaks to every-one that has ears to listen, and with the filling of His Holy Spirit we are made alive in Him.

The great mystery of the ages is not that over the last 2000 years so many have accepted him as their Lord and savior, or that so many have been born again to live a new life full of love, purpose, and hope. It’s not that even to this day men give their hearts to Him, and commit to sharing their life with Him and living their life for Him: it’s that so many still only know Him as an ancient religious figure to be debated, or rejected.

Our prayer is that we will all make the time this busy Christmas season to throw open the door of our hearts that we may be personally swept away by the wonderful touch of Jesus’ love, and that His Holy Spirit would make us ALIVE in HIM.

*** May God Bless ***
John & Simone