Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack

Trying to cover-up and bury deep-seeded pain from his childhood, Joe Kissack tried to fill the void in his heart by gaining fortune and power in the high-pressure world of syndicated television.  Deep down, he knew that the crazy travel schedule and the overwhelming hours at work were breaking him down.  He subconciously tried to stay one step in front of the inevitable collapse of his life.

Thousands of miles away, in a small Mexican village, 5 Mexican fisherman set out on a fishing trip, not for fun, but to put food on the table.  In what began as a routine fishing trip, it took a turn for the worst as the fisherman encountered a deadly storm and found themselves drifting along in the unending ocean with only a beat-up, old, dusty Bible and the clothes on their backs.

This book is the true story of how a high-powered television executive from the United States and three Mexican fisherman found the ends of themselves and the beginning of God's magnficent grace.  Interwoven from Chapter to Chapter, the two stories run side by side until the television executive, with a quiet request from God, flies to Mexico to find the surviving fisherman and tell their story.  What results is four changed lives and another example of the universal human need for God's grace and redemption.

I have to admit up-front that true life stories of overcoming life's obstacles are what I most enjoy reading.  This book did not disappoint.  From the moment I first picked it up, I found it difficult to put down and found myself playing the stories through my head in the days between starting and finishing the book.  It really is a book where we, as the readers, are invited into the story and become part of it, as it unfolds.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who doubts if God is still at work in the lives of people today. 

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, to write a review.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review, however.

*You can find a link to a portion of this book at:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Don't Feed the Negative

There are two wolves inside each of us fighting for position.  Which one will you choose to feed?

You might remember, if you have seen my last blog post, that my brother Lee and I are working on writing a tribute to my grandfather for his upcoming 80th birthday.  The project has actually been pretty easy on our part because Grandpa is a very reflective man and has jotted down a lot of notes and thoughts as he has come across them.  Recently, while going through his notes, I came across a little parable that really caught me dead in my tracks.  It was one of those 'Ah Hah' moments and gave me a little knowledge as to why my path took a couple wrong turns years ago.  This is the parable:

An elderly Cherokee indian was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil: he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good: he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The fight is going on inside you and every other person too.” They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

My natural tendancy is toward the negative.  I wish that weren't the case, but it is.  Without keeping a close eye on myself, through prayer and reflection, I will form deep, ingrained habits of thinking negatively.

About 10-12 years ago, maybe earlier, I walked away from prayer and reflection and let my thoughts go wherever they decided to go.  What happened is that, unaccountable, my mind developed deep, solid, ingrained habits of negative, self-defeating, false thoughts. 

As I've tried to turn this around, it's been a huge challenge.  I try to conciously stop the negative thoughts and turn them into positive, rational, truthful thoughts.  After about 5 years of this, my thoughts are slowly changing into the positive realm.  But, those negative patterns of thinking do come back regularly and attack when I am weakest (tired, bored, or stressed out).

Physiologically, I think our thought patterns work like water flowing down a river.  Water always takes the path of least resistance.  If we build deep, ingrained negative thought patterns, our thoughts will quickly and easily take that route time and time again.  My goal is to build up a bank against that negative pathway of thoughts, and begin digging a deep, ingrained pathway of positive, rational thoughts.  Obviously, in my opinion, this is a futile goal without regularly feeding myself  on and building up my faith and trust in God.

So, which wolf are you feeding.  Do you concentrate on the positive, truth, God-fearing thoughts, or do you sometimes become lazy and let your mind take off on the negative route?  Which route is your natural tendancy?