Shooting Straight On Target and In Life

Show Notes

Good Friday and Easter weekend is a time to slow down and celebrate.  It's easy to be caught up in the chaos of everyday life and be consumed by personal goals.  This is especially true for us as bowhunters and outdoorsmen and women who desire to take our pursuits to the next level.  On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, we have a conversation with Merle Fredericks from Christian Bowhunters of America and discuss things in a bigger picture.  Merle digs into the details revolving around the question, "what does Good Friday mean to you?"

Merle's life has been comparable to most - a husband and a father working as a police officer in New York, and a love for bowhunting.  His passion for chasing whitetails with a stick and string is no different than anyone else.  But Merle sheds light on truth greater than this pursuit, and shares witness to us beyond the world of hunting.  Be open minded as you listen to Merle's message as a leader of Christian Bowhunters of America.  Happy Easter!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast. Guys, thank you for tuning in. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and finally getting into spring. Hey, we are here. It is among us. And guys, I hope you hope you have a good holiday weekend here, Easter weekend. I'm not gonna lie this first quarter of this year has just been a blur.

I cannot believe how fast it's gone, and I can't believe that I've got like Absolut. Nothing done. In the world of preparation and off-season work that I like to typically do for hunting, really my priority and my focus has been a completely different topic of things. Right now I am in the [00:01:00] process of getting a new roof put on our house.

I've been coordinating at project, I have some friends coming over, gonna be ripping off the roof of my house and getting it prepped, and then having somebody come and put shingles on. And that's gonna lead into it all started because I have this this added on like sunroom to my house and we wanted to redo the inside of it and insulate it, put new flooring in, and we started ripping stuff out and realized that we had a leak in our roof at a spot and there was rotted plywood.

And it's oh, the joy is a home ownership. So that led into having to dig into a little bit more of the roof issue that we're having and ended up, we're gonna redo our roof and then we're gonna, redo this back room. So like 2023 has just been, so far nothing but home improvements and spending money.

That's what I feel it's been like. And not gonna lie, it's a little painful sometimes when I think about, things I want to do versus the things I have to. [00:02:00] But Ilene, let's face it, that's life. It's painful for me to admit that openly, that I've got nothing done, no preparation in hunting, which a couple years ago, that would've really irked me and I probably wouldn't have even admitted that.

And not that it still, not a little bit, eh, just gets under my skin kind of thing. I have no time, no problem admitting that because like I said, one of the things that I'm really trying to focus in this year is just fine tuning my priorities in my life. Things with my family and my house and just really like this house project thing is one of those things where I'm just like picking back up where I left off neglect of things we wanted to do and just haven't done.

So just trying to do that. But that's a really good key end into. Our episode this week and I'm gonna, I'm gonna be open and real with you guys this week's episode is, A lot different than most of the episodes that you've heard on our show.[00:03:00] This week we are speaking with Merle Fredericks from Christian Bow Hunters of America.

And with my show, my show being a Friday launch every year, that means I'm always gonna have an episode on Good Friday. So today is Good Friday. If you're tuning in today happy good Friday. And I really wanted to do an episode that just went through talking about the passion we have.

And for me it's bow hunting and but digging in a little bit deeper than that and just talk about life in general and how it relates to this passion. And I couldn't think of a better way to do this than to chat with Merl. I met him at the ATA show and we had some great conversations and we're back and forth and we dive into a little bit about Merl, how he.

First of all, how what his life looked like to this point up in time where he is now a leader in Christian bow hunters Amer America. You'll hear that he was a police officer and a family man and a bow hunter. And the balancing and the learning that he went through [00:04:00] to now as a leader in this ministry and also a pastor.

And he's gonna share some pretty cool experiences, pretty cool comparisons. And he's gonna talk scripture to you guys. And I'm gonna be open with that. If that's something that you guys don't wanna listen to, by all means you don't have to. But I challenge you and hope that you do because the message he's talking about in this Easter weekend to me is my number one priority in my mind and heart.

And it's a truth that I hope that everybody that listens to this either knows or has a desire to pursue and learn what it's about. So I'm not gonna go any farther than that. I'm gonna let you listen to everything that Merl and I have have invested in here. Thi this episode made me think it talking with Merl, there were things that he brought up in this conversation that.

I either hadn't put any thought into, or, it resurfaced as far as, man I should really curb my mind in the way I think or [00:05:00] approach that specific topic within my life. And I think it's a relatable conversation. So let's roll with that. And before we get to this episode, I wanna make our shout out and do our housekeeping radix hunting.

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Hey, on the phone with me this evening, I'm speaking with Merle Fredericks. Merle, thanks for taking some time outta your day and chatting. Thank you Mitchell for the invitation. It's always a privilege to not only talk about bow hunting, but talk about Jesus. That's for sure. You better believe it.

So we kind connected at a t a and we've we've been back and forth. You're a busy guy, you're all over the place, and in speaking engagements and stuff like that, which is really great. I please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for a living and what Christian Bow Hunters of America is about.

Okay, sure. Just a little bit about myself, first of all I'm 61 years old. I'm retired from 25 years of law enforcement and happily married to my [00:07:00] beautiful wife, Mitzi. We've been married 43 years and we'll be married 44 years this coming September. She also is a bow hunter and enjoys going with me on different trips around the country and.

Not only for cba, but also for Chase and Critters. We have three beautiful children and their spouses and eight grandchildren. And we have a great-grandchild on the way. Born scheduled to be born in October of this year, so I'm gonna be a great grandpa. That's a little bit about me personally.

I also, in addition to loving the outdoors and being a longtime bow hunter and gun hunter I think I've been a bow hunter for probably, I dunno, 45 years. And gun hunter even longer. And I also teach bow hunter education. I'm a master instructor in New York State Certified Master instructor, and I've been doing that for 18 years.

And again, my wife, Mitzi she's my best friend. She goes along with me on all of our adventures and she is still working at the school. But Makes a [00:08:00] lot of of her time available for me. And she teaches Bo as well. She travels with me with, for Christian Boers of America. And she's literally my right hand man.

A little bit about cba. I became a member of Christian Bo of America back in 1992. I was still employed and raising a family. The ministry actually was founded in 1984 in the state of Michigan by David Ruse. He's a pastor of Reverend David r He lives in the Cadillac area and God laid it on his heart to start this ministry and to reach bow hunters and archers for Christ.

So I went to a national event in 1992 and I joined CBA and was a member for many years before I got very active. To be very honest with you, I was pretty much a consumer. I was the guy that went to church and participated in all the fun CBA events, but I really didn't do a lot of ministry work.

Fast forward to when I retired in 2003. We started a chapter in Medina, New York, and we [00:09:00] called ourselves the Bow Bending Believers. And we started doing all kinds of events in our area, game dinners, youth events. And we actually had 16 very successful game dinners over the years where we in invited big names to come and to speak and to share the outdoors and ultimately present the gospel.

Russell Thornberry, who used to write for the Buckmaster Magazine actually Phil Robertson came out and spoke at one of our events. So we had a lot of big name speakers over the years, and I think we've seen, I think over 350 people come to Christ and another couple hundred people rededicate their lives at the Lord.

And so the national office seen what we were doing in Medina, New York, and they asked me if I would be interested in getting on the board and maybe even becoming the chapter coordinator. So in 2005, I got on the board of directors. I also became the chapter coordinator and was serving on the national level.

And to make a long story short, fast forward to 2014, I was [00:10:00] unanimously appointed by our board of directors to serve as the new executive director. And I've been serving in this capacity since 2014. We have an excellent board of directors CBA members that are from all over the country and these people really have a heart for the loss, really love the outdoors and are very supportive of me.

And I think that's why CBA is so successful. We put God first and then we have a very servant mentality and we are different from a lot of organizations that are primarily or predominantly men or boy oriented. We are a very much a family oriented ministry. So all of our our events, men, women, and children, are invited to, to come and to participate.

And so I could go on and on, Mitchell. So you'll have to, you'll have to, no, I, I really love you talking about this journey because you just compacted a lot of time to, to show my a little bit. You talked about [00:11:00] 1992, you brought that up. I was born in 94, so Okay. Just to show some age on you.

Yeah. But no, the it's so neat. So I kind of wanna go back a little bit. So you said you're retired from law enforcement. I'm curious, what what did law, what does law enforcement look like? Were you were you a police officer for 25 years for the state?

Or tell me a little bit about your career and what that was like. Midst being an avid hunter, an avid bow hunter, and also a family individual. Sure. I would have to begin this conversation by crediting my father, who was a longtime law enforcement officer in our community as well. He actually worked in a village police department for 25 years, and then ultimately went to the sheriff's office and served as an undersheriff for another 14 years.

So he, when he retired, he completed 40 years of retirement or law enforcement, but he was the one who encouraged me to get involved with law enforcement. I began in the early eighties and I started in a very small police department and only had four full-time [00:12:00] officers and eight part-time officers.

And I was a full-time officer for three and a half years. It was a very small village in Orleans County. And boy, I was glad when an opening came up with the Sheriff's department cause I was able to go to a much bigger department and have a lot more jurisdiction. And I worked as a deputy sheriff for many years, and I worked on the road and, conducted a motor vehicle accident investigations.

I wrote a lot of vehicle and traffic law citations. I did minor criminal investigation. And then in two thou, I guess it was 1987 or 89, I was promoted to a criminal investigator. And I worked in that capacity for 11 years. And I did everything basically from harassment to homicide.

I've seen a lot of ugly things. I've seen a lot of the depraved society that that is out there even even worse today. And then I went on Mitchell to continue climbing the ladder, if you will. And I became the county sheriff. I actually ran in an election won the election overwhelmingly and [00:13:00] served for five years as the elected county sheriff.

I had 150 employees. I was in charge of. Three divisions, the criminal division, the civil division, and the jail division, as well as the 9 1 1 dispatch center. And I really enjoyed that and was very grateful to have had that opportunity to be promoted because quite frankly, I'll be very honest with you, I believe that my years as a county sheriff prepared me for ministry and allowed me ultimately to become and serve as the executive director of Christian Boers of America, which is basically, dealing with people and and with money and doing it with integrity.

And so God has blessed me and allowed me to to have this position as a result of my role in, in law enforcement. But yeah, it did shape me. It did help me to, to learn to work with people victims of crimes and to have compassion. For those folks that went to dark and [00:14:00] difficult times in their life, it afforded me the opportunity to have some victorious moments where we arrested the bad guys and we recovered the stolen property and did the good things.

But when I went from criminal investigator to county sheriff, I spent more time doing administrative stuff and I was no longer really a cop in the trenches. I was dealing with personnel issues and budgets and dealing with the legislatures and all those things. So yeah. Leadership role changes, doesn't it?

It really does. Yeah. All of those things have framed me and helped me to become the person I am today. Absolutely. It takes a special individual, so first. Hats off to you, and thank you for your service at the level you did. Because it takes a special individual, in my opinion, to be able to handle that line of work because it's mentally, physically and just socially draining.

You have to be mentally, to me it takes a very mentally strong individual. And I think mental [00:15:00] strength has to come from spiritual strength too. But I'm curious, on the bow hunter side, you've been a bow hunter for a long time through your career. Was bow hunting the release that you needed throughout that journey of such?

In my mind, what had to be an incredible journey of a career without question. There were times in my life where I just had to grab my archery gear and head to a tree stand or a ground and just get away from it all because of the stress that's involved with the day to day. Routine of being a law enforcement officer.

There's a lot of, there's a lot of stress that goes along with it because there's a lot of things that are frustrating that you don't have any control over. You have to do things by the book. You have to bite your tongue a lot and and you don't like to see the way some people get away with things because you don't have enough evidence to convict them or arrest them even in some cases.

Yeah, my stress reliever was heading to the tree stand and whether whether or not I was successful or not, there was nothing like [00:16:00] breathing in that fresh fall air and watching the leaves fall and just watching the critters run around. And if you were blessed to have an opportunity and get a shot at a deer on a particular afternoon or a Saturday head off once in a while, then that was a real stress reliever and I'm very grateful for that.

But I was not really A good bow hunter, to be very honest with, I I learned the hard way and I have my master's degree in the school of hard knocks. I made a lot of boneheaded decisions and yeah, who hasn't? Yeah. And and of course compounds years ago today, your, a lot of your bows are 80% let off, 85% let off.

And I think my very first compound bow was a bear bow. And it was actually in 1985, it was a 50% let off, ok. And I went from 85 until 94, flinging all kinds of ear arrows at all kinds of critters until I, I harvested my first buck. So I went through 11 years of I don't know if you remember again, you're probably too too young for this, [00:17:00] but wide world of sports.

They always had the agony defeat and the thrill of victory. Mine was the agony defeat for many years. Tell me what was it finally just a little bit of luck happen your way? Or what was the transition that finally led you into the next step of flinging arrows and connected on something?

I think it's the same for anybody and everybody. I think it's, what, you're either gonna go out there and you're gonna, be serious about what you're doing or you're going to go out there just for the sheer recreation of it. I decided to invest in better equipment. I decided to invest in more time on the archery range, and I wanted to become a lot more proficient.

And and I knew that I had many opportunities over the years and I blew the opportunities because I either moved too quickly or I shot and misjudged the field distance. So I started attending a lot of 3D shoots, which really helped me a lot because, you could shoot in your back your backyard all day long at known distances, 10, 20, 30, 40.

But it's humbling to go on a 3D course. [00:18:00] And shoot at different targets at different distances. And you find out that you're not as good as you think you're, I remember the very first 3D shoot I went to was actually a 3D shoot that was hosted by Christian Bo Hunters of America. It was in Gem City, Sportsman's Club, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Charlie a Shimer was the keynote speaker that weekend. And it was a great event and it was a 40 target course and they hooked me up with a guy from Pennsylvania. This is the God's honest truth. I was really excited about this cuz I thought I was really good and I was gonna do great on the range.

And I started out with a dozen brand new arrows. And when I shot that 40 target course, when I was all done, I had one arrow left. I lost 11 arrows, and I, the only arrow that I had was bent. So that was a very humbling 3D course for me. But shortly after that, I got better and the Lord has been blessing me.

Probably I would say since 1990. 4, 19 96. I've been pretty, pretty consistent in harvesting animals out in the [00:19:00] woods. So one of the things that I think every single hunter bow Hunter struggles with probably to some degree somewhere, some others. I know my, I phone my talk about this on my show and talk about my friends and family and loved ones that bow hunting can.

A very selfish endeavor. It's a time con, it's, you talked about investing in better equipment. There's a time investment associated with it. And not that you can't do things in a positive light. That's not selfish, but it's a very gray area. It's, you have to make some pretty tough decisions.

I fight with him all the time right now as a young father and husband making the right decision. That's not overly selfish, but, when you're in your solitude of bow hunting and that you can find yourself in some pretty crazy ideas and places as a bow hunter. And I'm curious, I think it's pretty cool that you mentioned that CBA is very family oriented and you were talking about, your chronological process of [00:20:00] becoming a proficient bow hunter and that journey that everybody goes through.

Can you enlighten us on any experiences you had, good or bad in selfish endeavor or keeping that keeping that wolf at bay, so to speak, and not missing the true purpose of what God has given you with that gift as a bow hunter? Yeah, there's a fine line. If you read in the book of Romans, there's a verse that says that people became so sinful that they actually became work.

They worshiped the creator creation instead of the creator. Forgive me. And so there's a fine line for us bull hunters even guys that are even good Christian men or good, even if they're not Christian men, if they're ethical, moral people they they don't think they're worshiping whitetail deer, but they are, for example if they're putting that as a priority in their life.

And I think that was some of the struggles I had early on in my life. I would, I too was raising a young [00:21:00] family. And whenever I made a purchase of any archery equipment or anything that that I wanted or needed to make me better I know that our family had to sacrifice and our family had to go without.

And so my wife was very supportive of me. And and I'm very thankful that she was. But yeah there's a fine line between paying the bills, being responsible, and then doing what you wanna do personally. But once you do make the investment you still gotta keep your priorities in line.

And that is including in my life anyways. God has gotta be first. And when you get that out of perspective, the Bible says, seek key first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all these things will be added onto you. If you get your priorities outta whack and you're pursuing the game and you're not trying to please God in your life, then God's gonna give you opportunities in the woods.

But he's also gonna bring a lot of frustration into your life because he's not number one in your life. If you go back to the book Exodus, when Moses got the 10 [00:22:00] Commandments God said to Moses, he goes thou shall have no other gods, thou shall serve no other graven images, or I am a jealous God. And when God is saying he's jealous, he's not jealous in the sense that we're jealous.

He's just jealous in the sense where he wants us to be. He wants to be number one in our lives. So I found Mitchell to be very honest with you, that when my bow hunting began to be successful, Is when I put God as a priority in my life, I made him the head of my house. I I did not do anything as far as purchasing equipment or pursuing whitetails or going to different states unless I took it to prayer with my wife and we agreed that this is something that I could do.

And and you know what, when we did that and we began to put God first in our life, God not only honored us but he blessed us and allowed me to become more successful. And and a lot of people might think that's hokey, but that's God's [00:23:00] honest truth. And God will show favor in your life if you put him number one in your life.

And I'm just a living testimony of how he has done that time and time again. And so that is a major ingredient, even though that sounds like an easy thing to do. It's a discipline. And we, you have to discipline yourself to make God first in your life and then all these other things in life God will bless you in if that's something that you know is a desire of yours.

But if you get those things outta whack, that's when you're gonna have problems. You brought up a good point there that I want to reflect on a little bit. I've done this show with a number of fantastic guests really well, successful, accomplished hunters. And a lot of them have said, something along the lines in the surface of, you gotta have support at home.

You can't you can't leave the household home. You gotta be in it in your mind and know that you're not feeling guilty when you leave home. [00:24:00] And I've heard it on other shows too, and other people talk about, you gotta make sure you keep the family and the words brownie points get used so much.

And I think a lot of the people that say that there's nothing bad. What they're saying or their heart and their, what they're saying and what they mean by that. However, this is the first time I'm openly admitting this. I actually really can't stand that ideology of brownie points, brownie points in the off season with my wife.

So that way I earn to go hunting. It, it doesn't work like that in my mind. It doesn't work like you do so many good things to check in the box and that then forces you, or allows you or just provides you instant opportunity to go and pursue the things in the fall or if in the off season for preparation.

You brought up a great point, and it's one that nobody talks about. It was talking about your goals with your [00:25:00] spouse, talking about your goals and what you have accomplished. Talking about it together rather than cuz how many I don't think I've ever heard anybody say that, especially on a show like I, I'm talking about that and preparing with my wife.

It's usually I wanna go out west and I wanna go on an elk hunter. I wanna go on a mule deer hunt. So I'm gonna plan to do it. I'm just gonna go do it. This is when I'm gonna do it. In my rambling that I'm bringing all do you have any enlightenment on those statements I just made? Just cuz I'm, that's how I stand on that.

Let me as always default to God's word before this podcast began. I prayed for you, and I prayed for me, and I prayed for God to be glorified by our time together. And I will always default to God's word. And here's the thing, there's a mentality out there and people know this s.

That women are to be submissive, they're to submit to their husbands. That's absolutely true. But you know what it also says about husbands? It says, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the [00:26:00] church. And how did Christ love the church? He died for the church. He gave his very life for the church.

Here's my, here's the philosophy I've adopted in my life. Okay? I don't build up brownie points per se. I love my wife all day long, every day. My wife works at the school. When she goes to school, I do the dishes, I vacuum. If there's laundry that needs to be done, I take care of the laundry. And then I go up into my office and I do Christian Bo Horners of America business all day long.

And if, and that includes me hauling wood and keeping the fire warm. And I also like to cook regularly. My wife will come home to a nice hot meal. And my point is, I don't think brownie points is the way to go. I think it's a very simple philosophy or scripture actually more specifically, and that is love your wife as Christ loved the church.

And she will reciprocate, she will submit, she will be receptive to the things [00:27:00] that in life that you would like to do. But it's not a tit per tat type of thing. And it's not a, it's not superficial, it's not a facade. I love my life all day long, every day we love each other. Matter of fact, Mitchell, ironically, last year at the at our national event in metropolis, Illinois, there was a bear hunt for a bear hunt in Maine.

And it was a $2,000 hunt. And this CBA member who's also a An outfitter. His name is Clinton Ashby. He's got a great bear camp up in Maine, and he donated this $2,000 bear hunt. And make a long story short that included a second person could go along with you, but they'd have to pay a thousand dollars, so half the price.

Make a long story short, I won't get into gory details, but ultimately I won that silent auction. So my wife and I, Mitzi, are going on a bear hunt in Sep in September to Maine. And I'm looking forward to our time together. Like I said, we're best friends and we do everything together. [00:28:00] And when I, when we do ministry work, she'll often get on get in the car with me or truck with me and go wherever I'm going, whether it's speaking at a game, dinner or flying with me to Reno, Nevada to attend the pop young convention.

We just we our best friends. And so brownie points are really not even a consideration. Yeah, I think that's really important. Let's face it, sinful nature of any individual. If you allow what we talked about earlier if we allow our priorities to come out of wac, it's gonna create issues anywhere in your life, specifically your household.

And I think one thing that ha I've learned is that if you allow that to be any duration of time to, for that to be outta whack, it's not always the flick of a switch for those things to just come back and line. Where I'm coming from is you talked about having things at right at home. I know plenty of [00:29:00] situations where I've talked with hunters and friends where it just wasn't right at home and it seemed like no matter what happened at home or what they tried to do it.

It wasn't right. And I think a lot of the times it comes down to commission and communication in that priority thing. But like I said I'm speaking this o on the surface because I'm a young father, I'm a young husband. I'm still learning a lot of this, but I'm trying to be mindful of that because what I don't want to happen is to allow my selfish endeavors to, to get ahead.

I'm rambling at this point. It's just it's all food for thought because I can think of so many situations where we just allow our own self-interest to impact what's truly important in our household. Yeah. And and I understood that at a young age, and I'm not saying that at your age, that I have the same thinking that I have today.

It's a process and I think it begins by just yielding to God, spending time in his [00:30:00] word, allowing God to speak to you. And letting him counsel you and I believe that you're the kinda man that desires to do that. And I believe that if you are a God honoring man, and you lead by example which I, described a little bit earlier it's servant leadership and we as the head of the household have a fundamental obligation to lead by example.

And I know exactly what you're saying and and I, and and I think a lot of these things, a lot of the gray area, a lot of the confusion can be cleared up just by, making God a priority in your life, serving him to the best of your ability. And he will open doors and just bless your socks off and allow you opportunities that you just can't even imagine.

But at the end of the day, you gotta go right back to what I said. It's about making him a priority in your life. And then the blessings will come. They really will. Radix Hunting was founded on [00:31:00] premium grade trail cameras and continues striving to produce the best cellular and conventional trail cameras on the market today.

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Back to the ship.

I. Believe that and understand that as somebody who has accepted this. But I know there's a lot of people, maybe there's people listening to this right now, or there's people out there who I've had those [00:32:00] conversations with that make that sound so that it sounds so easy, so simple that it's too good to be true or there's, there it's a simple mindset and there's gotta be more to it than that.

So I'm gonna lead into my next question. For you, what does Good Friday as we, as this episode's on Good Friday leading into Easter, what does Good Friday and Easter Sunday mean to you? Obviously that is the cornerstone of the Christian faith and there's a quote out there. It says If we have Jesus we have hope.

And without Jesus, we have no hope. And so a lot of people don't think they need Jesus Christ in their life. But all of us are mortal we're all going to die someday. So they have to, we have to think in our hearts and in our minds, where are we gonna spend [00:33:00] eternity? When we die?

Are, is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Am I prepared to step into eternity? I made that decision a long time ago. Fortunately, God loved us. And when he created the world thousands of years ago, he created man and women, as Adam and Eve. And his desire was to have literally paradise on earth, no sin whatsoever.

That was the plan. And he basically just told them too, you have the entire garden to yourself. Just don't eat from this one tree because if you do eat from this tree, you're gonna die. They chose to yield to the temptation of the enemy Satan who disguise himself as a certain serpent in the Garden of Eden.

And as a result sin came into the world. And what did that mean? What happened? Adam and Eve went and they hid from God. That's what people do today. When they sin, they run and hide. If a man commits adultery and his wife finds out [00:34:00] he is gonna be very embarrassed. He's gonna run and hide.

So if you go back to exam, for example, in the Garden of Eden, what was the next thing that God did? God went out and he killed an innocent animal and skinned it. So blood was shed. And the skin was used to cover Adam and Eve to basically cover their sin, to cover their shame. And God, because he loves us, would like to restore that relationship that he had originally intended for us in the Garden of Eden.

And so the only way that he could do that is to send hi us, his son. And God's word says in John three 16, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. The fact is you have to put your faith in God's son, Jesus Christ, in order to be born again, in order to be saved from the wrath to [00:35:00] come.

And people say why would, why do I have to do that? Because we're all sinners. The Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And that means none of us are perfect, and that means all of us are deserving of hell, eternal punishment, eternal separation from God. But God does not want that.

He said in his word that he is not willing that any should perish and that all should come to repentance. So he is provided this way for us to put our faith in Christ so that we can be reconciled to God, have peace in our lives and have the assurance of knowing that when we die, where we will be reunited with our loved ones, our Christian loved ones who have gone on to be to heaven, onto heaven.

And we will spend eternity with God. Now when you say, good Friday, Christ paid a horrible punishment for our sins. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie The Passion of the Christ, but I watch it every. And it's a very graphic movie. And [00:36:00] my kids think that I'm a masochist cuz I watch it, but I don't watch it because I take any satisfaction in watching Jesus beaten and whipped.

But I watch it because I want to see for myself and be reminded of what he did, the price he paid for my sin so that I could be reconciled to God. So Christ paid that penalty. And, but the good news is Mitchell he is God and three days later he rose from the grave. And that's what Easter Sunday's all about.

We celebrate the fact that we have victory. And by us putting our faith in Christ, we have the assurance of knowing that we are gonna go to heaven, we're gonna be reunited with our loved ones. And you know what? We live in a very dark and a very evil world. And right now I just wanna quote a scripture that I was reading before we started and that is, In Genesis six five, it says that then the Lord saw that wickedness of man was great in the earth and that [00:37:00] every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, continually.

The reason I quoted that verse is because in the New Testament, the Pharisees were asking, Jesus, give us a sign of the times when you're gonna return or when the world of the end will come. He gave the scripture of it'll be as the same times as it were, as in the days of Noah, which I just read that scripture where God decided because man was so evil way back then.

He caused a flood to come onto the earth, but yet he spared Noah and his family well. We're now living in a time Mitchell, where there's incredible wickedness going on in the world. And I just, before I came here today, my heart was breaking over this school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee today, where.

This woman went into this Presbyterian school and shot three children and three school employees. And we have no idea what the motive is, but three children are dead. [00:38:00] Three people are dead. And and I bring that out to say that this is a time where there's so much wickedness. And the answer to this problem is not gun control.

Guns have been around hundreds and hundreds of years. My, I would rather think it's more like video games and the internet, and that's been around 30 years that is contributing to these evil things that are going on. But let me just wind this down and just say, in conclusion, we have to change our heart.

The book of Jeremiah says, the heart is desperately wicked. Who can know it if we have men of God. That are in godly homes, raising their kids to go to church, go to Sunday school, teaching them God's word, praying with them and showing them how they should live, how they should conduct their lives, treating people with respect and loving God, and learning to fear God.

Then we too can maybe turn the tide and [00:39:00] change things around from where we're going. But the problem is right now is I don't know when God's gonna come back again. God has said in his word, Jesus has said in his word that no man knows the day or the hour when he's gonna return, but he's gonna come back and he's gonna take his church outta here.

It's called the Rapture, and it's in the book of Thessalonians and you can read about it. And the Lord's gonna descend from heaven with a shout. And those that are alive will be caught up and those that are in the grave will be raised and we will forever be with the Lord. But my point is nobody knows when that day's coming.

So when I say those three people that were shot today the three adults that were shot, I don't know what their heart's I don't know if they were ready to step into eternity. There's a scripture in Isaiah. It says, seek the Lord while he may be found. Call upon him while he is near.

While we need to call upon God, we need to get our heart ready and and confess our sins. Admit that we're a sinner. [00:40:00] God's word says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so that we're prepared to go to heaven, should Jesus come back.

Maybe even today, we don't know when he is coming. Good Friday and Easter. It's not a, it's not bad news. It's good news and there's still time, and the door of grace is still open. And God is not willing that any should perish. And that's what Christian Bow Hunters of America is all about.

Christian Bow Hunters of America is a ministry to the bow hunting and archery world, seeking to exalt and serve Jesus Christ by leading lost people to him and encouraging Christian growth. We are busy nationwide. We have 3,117 members as of today. We have 24 chapters in 16 different states that put on about 550 events where we share God's great outdoors.

But in each and every event nationwide, we share the saving [00:41:00] knowledge of Jesus Christ. We share the gospel and how much God loves us and how God desires to be reconciled to to those that are lost. So that's what that's what CBAs all about. And that's what. That's what Easter and what God means to me and what Jesus Christ to me means to me.

And I hope that I didn't spend too much time or go far off into the weeds. I don't think you went far off into the weeds at all. I'm, it's so hard for me, if somebody's listening to this as a Christian they're thinking preaching to the choir, right? Yep. And if there's somebody listening to this that's not a Christian, first of all, I'm really happy that you're still part of, with us after almost 40 minutes of talking about bow hunting and and Jesus Christ.

Amen. But my thing would be you brought up, The wickedness of the world. And, we're, we've got, we got some generation gaps between you and I here, but the one thing I want to ask somebody of wisdom from you is, do you think in the experiences that you've [00:42:00] had in your life, do you think it truly is when people say it's harder now than it was years ago, to follow things in a righteous manner, to commit your life?

Things are more complex, or is the world more evil? Or is it just that we've had, we have technology at our hands that keeps it to keeps it more prevalent. It's more relevant and more time sensitive than it once was. There's all kinds of excuses of why I think we, we just pump the breaks on knowing this truth that you and I believe.

And I wonder what your thoughts are. The Bible's clear. That the enemy like a roaring lion Seeketh, who he may devour the enemy of our souls, Satan was kicked out of heaven. And he desires to destroy Christians. And he is desires of taking as many people to hell with him as he [00:43:00] can. But he has no power over Christians and those that desire to give their heart to Christ they can overcome this evil one.

But yes, Mitchell, I believe there are a lot of distractions, I think that we're being bombarded culturally. There's a lot of stuff that's being thrown at Christians and people in general today. And so yeah, I think there's a lot of distractions, but I think it all boils down to though people need to make a choice.

In the Old Testament, Moses said, I stand before you life, or I set before you life and death. Choose life. And the same is being offered today. It's funny, that's what we don't have any problems about. Spending eight hours in a tree, stand hunting deer three or four hours watching the outdoor channel, watching all kinds of different hunts, whether it's a Yukon moose hunt or a whitetail deer hunt in Kansas.

We [00:44:00] too can get easily sucked into these distractions. It's a discipline. We have to choose God. We have to separate ourselves from the world. Christians are called to be set apart. And I'll be honest with you, there's a lot of people that I think that are professing Christianity that I don't know if they are truly sold out to Christ.

Are they truly born again? I don't know. The Bible's clear. That you will know them by their fruits. Are these people going to church? Are they taking their wife to the church? Are they taking their children to the church? Are they opening up their Bible every day and sharing out of God's word with their children?

Are they praying with their children? You know what Jesus warn, he says, you know what? God is the way to destruction and narrows the way to eternal life. And few find it, which tells me, I believe that there's a lot of people that think they're Christians that are going to heaven that I don't think are going to heaven.

I think they're distracted with the cares of this life and they're not making God a [00:45:00] priority. But yeah, I do think it's hard this day and age. When I was a kid, pornography was not even an option, like on, on the internet. It's readily available today. If I wanted to see a Playboy book as a kid, you had to go to a.

A place like a news stand that sold those types of things. And then you would've to figure out a way to get one. And you never would, but you would see 'em. Maybe your friends had one that they stole or they got from their father. But my point is it was a lot more difficult to access pornography when I was a kid.

Yet today, alls you gotta do is a click of a mouse. You can investigate all kinds of things. And I think there's good godly men that are getting sucked into that. And so I, it's a discipline. Paul talks about in Corinthians about us running a race, but we're pursuing a incorruptible crown, not acor, corruptible crown.

It's funny, people will spend time to discipline themselves. I'm a Buffalo Bills fan. I live up in western New York. I think of Josh, Alan we'd love to win a [00:46:00] Super Bowl up here. Okay. He's a great quarterback and he disciplines himself. He's a, he works out in the weight room. He runs, he. He studies the plays, he has a lot of practice with Stefan Diggs and other receivers, and they go through this discipline.

They discipline themselves all the time, and they ultimately wanna win that prize, the Super Bowl. But we Christians, we have to daily get into God's word, go to church every Sunday not only go to church, but take our family to church and invite others to church. And so yeah, it's, there are distractions out there.

It is a challenge this day and age, and I know that parents today have their kids involved with many things. I know I see my own grandkids running around, going to different things, ball games and mini league games and dance recitals and but you gotta just, you gotta put the breaks on.

And you gotta go back to one of my scriptures that I shared at the very beginning, and that is seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, [00:47:00] and then all these things will be added onto you. So if God's a priority, you can find time for God. Just like Josh Allen wants the Super Bowl. I wanna stand before God someday.

And I want hear, and I wanna hear Jesus say to me, Merl, well done now. Good and faithful servant. And the only way I can do that, Mitchell, is if I discipline myself daily to get into his word and pray to God, and go to church every time the doors are open and share Christ for those that I come into contact with.

That's my life, that's my desire. And God has laid that on me. And I'm being blessed like you would not believe. And I'm so thankful and grateful for God in my life. I think what you brought up there was incredibly important. And it's, it speaks to me, it probably speaks to a lot of people, is, narrow is the way, and I think you're right.

I think there are a ton of people out there who Either know who Jesus is or think they know who Jesus is. But there's a lot of [00:48:00] distractions out there in order to get where you think, but maybe you're not quite there and I'm having a difficult time navigating this and conversing it in a way that is, is easy for understanding.

But it leads me to the question in your mind, Merl I just think like disciplining yourself in that way is as a daily thing. Like you said, it's it's not easy. It's not easy, and it's so important, but it's not easy. Like the motivation and the drive for that discipline. That's tough.

And I can you enlighten me on just in your own personal experiences, how and where that comes and where that fueling comes from for you? Because it's something that each and every Hunter man Christian, is go, is gonna face? There's a scripture in Peter, it says like newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you might grow, thereby our desire in life[00:49:00] as a Christian should be to grow and mature in our Christian White life.

Matter of fact, it says in Romans that we are to basically ultimately conform to the image of Jesus Christ. We are to become Christlike. We are ambassadors for Jesus Christ. So the challenge comes with knowing and understanding that in order to do that, You have to spend time in God's word.

One of my favorite preachers of all time in Bible teachers is David Jeremiah. And I read a book, and I can't remember the book that I read. I've read so many of David Jeremiah's books, but I'm gonna credit him for the quote. And this is something that you can probably relate to regarding the hunger and it's funny we as men and I'm including you Mitchell in this when our wife says dinner's ready, we can't get there quick enough.

And if we end up going to treat ourselves once in a while to the Golden Corral where there's unlimited food and you just get platefuls of food, [00:50:00] we don't have any problem doing that. And we just go there and we just basically pig out and we eat all the things that we don't normally eat. The shrimp and the different types of chicken and all the salad.

It's just awesome. So my point is shift yours with that. That is meeting your physical meat. But at some point, no matter how much you eat, you say that's it. You push the food away, you're absolutely stuck. The neat thing is, and I believe the God ordained thing is with spiritual food, is the more you spend time in God's Word, the more you develop your relationship with Jesus Christ, he will literally reciprocate.

And no matter how much you, how much time you spend in God's word, you do not get full. You are even more hungry. You can't wait until the next time you can get back into God's Word. So God can speak into your life and tell you what you should do and what you should not do. That's a great analogy, David, Jeremiah shared, and that really [00:51:00] sticks in my mind.

And God is faithful to do that. And I, like I said, I've been I'm a living example of of his abundant blessing in my life as a result of me. Disciplining myself and making him a priority in my life. Merl, let me, lemme just, can I just share one more thing? Please do, please. Yeah. Just one more thing.

My wife's sitting actually, and I'm glad I'm glad she's sitting here, but she reminded me to quote David Jeremiah's poem and that is about we as human beings. Okay? There's an ongoing struggle in us, Mitchell. The flesh wants to do all the things of the world and the spiritual things wants to obey God.

So it's an ongoing battle. And this is another David j Jeremiah quote. This is the kind of thing you wanna write down and put in your Bible. It says two natures beat within my breast. One is cursed, one is blessed. The one I love, the one I hate, the one I feed [00:52:00] will dominate.

That's powerful. It is. That's David Jeremiah. That's powerful. And I'll speak for myself solely. It's really easy to feed the to feed the one that wants to go bow hunting and endeavors of whitetails and pursuing big antlers. Amen. You're great. Oh man. Merl I wanna be mindful of your time and a again, I really appreciate you just talking about your career and leading with Bo.

I wouldn't mind if you would just share a little bit more of anything else you'd like to share about Christian Bo Hunters of America, anything you'd like to leave us with and anybody listening to this with? Sure. I I am obviously an ambassador for Christian Foreigners of America.

I love the ministry. The ministry's been good to me. God is really blessing the ministry and. I will just tell you about some of the things that we're involved with. In a few weeks. I'm flying to Reno, Nevada. And I'm [00:53:00] gonna be at the Pope and Young Convention. I'm really looking forward to that.

There's gonna be 800 to a thousand men and women there. All of the the 2021 and 22 archery kills will be on display the trophies, the world records. And I will have an opportunity to minister with these people. These people are good people. They're great hunters. I know one guy that went on three different sheep hunts in the Northwest Territory.

These people have to be millionaires, but he went on three sheep hunts and he spent $60,000 each time in order to get the sheep that he finally ultimately killed. But I'll have the opportunity to witness to these people and tell them, it's great to get your name recorded in the Pope and Young record book.

But it's much more important to get your name recorded, the Lamb's Book of Life. I've been asked to pray over the meal on Saturday night, where there'll be probably a thousand people in attendance. The mc for the awards program is Tom Miranda. We all know Tom Miranda. I [00:54:00] love his bow hunting videos. I think, be honest with you, me personally he's probably one of the best as far as producing outdoor bow hunting videos in the industry.

I just love him and I love his captions and I love his excitement. He's just very contagious. Thi this is what we do and so we're always looking for new members. So if people are interested in joining Christian Bow Hunters, we would love to have more people join. Christian Bow Horns of America.

Check out our website, Christian bow You can join online. We also have a Facebook page. We're we're very active on Facebook. And we have our national shoot, what's gonna be held this summer July 21st and 22nd, we're gonna be in Mountain Home, Arkansas. We anticipate 300, maybe as many as 500 people at that event.

And we're going to have a great silent auction. We have many outdoor businesses that have donated some very nice products for our silent auction to raise money for Christian bow hunters. Matthews Archery [00:55:00] is one of our biggest supporters. They've donated a bow for our spring silent auction and our auction this summer.

And they also advertise in our magazine, our quarterly magazine. And a lot of other people, bear Archery has donated products, H and H A Sports has donated products. We just have a plethora of bow hunting. Gear that we're gonna be silent and silent auctioning off at our event to raise money for the ministry.

But if you're a Christian and you love the Lord and you love to bow hunt, you really wanna check out Christian Bow Hunters of America. We're a great organization. Feel free to call me. I'd love to chat with you on the phone our, my, my personal phone number's on the website and we'd love to we'd love to have more members.

It's a great ministry. It's been around since 1984 and I'm proud to admit and proclaim that our dear founder Robert David El Ruse is 80 years old. He'll be 81 this September and he is still serves on our board of director and he's still climbing. Tree stands [00:56:00] at five 30 in the morning in the dark with his recurve and still flinging arrows of Whitetails.

So he's a great man. He's been a great inspiration to me and I'm very thankful that he's still around. Yeah, talk about. Awesome. I hope when I'm 80 years old, I still have the drive and passion for bow hunting. Amen. That he has for that. Merl I really appreciate you taking some time outta your day speaking this truth with us helping some of us, whether we whether it's a truth we believe, but there's things that we're struggling with in our life to, to quite understand as far as the priorities in our life.

Or maybe if somebody's listening to this and doesn't know what the heck we're talking about I encourage anybody to reach out to 'em, Merl, reach out to myself and ask questions. Yeah. By all means. So my contact information's on the website and like I said, I'm also an ordained minister and I spend a lot of time counseling people over the phone.

And if anybody has any questions about their [00:57:00] mortality and where they're gonna spend eternity, I would love to. To converse with them and put any issues they have at rest and assure them that by putting their faith in Christ, they can spend eternity in heaven. Would you like to would you like to end this episode with a prayer?

It would be my honor. Thank you, father, we do thank you and we do praise you, Lord, for this opportunity to come into your very presence. And we thank you that you have been faithful and that you have showed up here tonight, Lord. And we thank you for Mitchell and for this podcast that he has been doing, Lord.

And I pray that you would bless him and his family and this ministry that he's involved with, Lord, raising the awareness of ministry and the very fact of the gospel. During his time of discussion about bow hunting. Christian Bow Hunters of America is a wonderful ministry, and it's all about, Enjoying the great outdoors with our loved ones.

It's all about sharing the hunting [00:58:00] stories and even the ones that get away, Lord. But most, most importantly, it's about assurance of knowing that we are born again, that we can one day stand before you spotless before the throne and hear from you Lord enter into the joy of the Lord.

So I thank you Lord again for this opportunity to witness for you. I thank you for Mitchell and for this opportunity to speak to those that are hearing. I pray that they might have receptive heart, receptive ears, and if they have any questions that they might call Mitchell or I so that we could continue, dear God, to answer any questions that they might have, continue to bless Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast and Christian Boners of America verse.

In Christ's name we pray. Amen. Amen. Thank you Merl. Th I really appreciate it. It's been my pleasure, Mitchell. Thank you again and God bless you.