Monday, November 29, 2010

Trapping, easy way for bonding with children

My First Raccoon

I don't know why I got all excited about trapping. It really happened after my dad passed away. I was looking for ways to remember him and I believe that the fondest memories I have come from spending time with my Dad outdoors. It was a time we were equals and we spent the time together for the same purpose. When I was successful in harvesting a deer or other animal, my dad's eyes just sparkled.

When he passed, I lost that time with him. With the deer season passed and me still missing my dad, I was looking for more ways to be outdoors and then I fell in love with trapping.

JJ Helps Me Set The Traps

I am in no way an expert. I am however well read on the subject and spent enormous amounts of time reading and researching the best ways to trap and how I can get myself ramped up. I even asked for traps purchased for me on my birthday and Christmas just so I didn't have a huge cash outlay to get my self ramped up.

Currently I am mostly focused on raccoon and Beaver. For raccoon, I use dog proof traps which prevent stray animals such as dogs to get caught in a set.  They are very easy to set and a fun way to get your children involved in trapping. We use a marshmallow at the bottom of the dog proof trap to entice the raccoon to put his paw in. From there, it will snap down on his paw in a safe way preventing them from hurting themselves.

Here is a good example from

They have great deals on all kinds of trapping and hunting supplies. I have personally bought several traps and lures from them and trust me they are great to deal with. They ship quickly and keep in touch with you that you order has shipped.

If you are interested in learning all there is about trapping and a whole lot more, I recommend you head on over to They have the best forums on the net hands down. The guys and yes gals there are the absolute best at helping you get going.

Happy Trapping!

~ Jeff Barnes

Interesting life lessons learned from Lonesome Dove Part 1

So, there I was...

Poised at the edge of my seat flipping through different movies available to stream via Netflix on my TV. You see, the weather got the better of me. My well laid out plans to hunt this past week have been dashed by 5 inches of rain.

Instead of spending my day out in woods hunting the elusive 'King of the Forest' (some freak of nature monster buck with a rack the size of a VW), I spent my day cleaning the garage, prepping for the Thanksgiving meal, and digging a trench in the back yard because of a failed gutter that needs to be replaced.

After a hard day at it at home, and the cabin fever about to get the better of me I stumbled upon the Lonesome Dove series. It has been some time since I have watched the series and read the book. Well... a good part of the 950+ page book.

The show opens just like the book with Gus on the front porch yelling at some pigs who themselves were eating a rattle snake... Always an interesting picture. In a sense, the ole' devil is defeated by some dirty ole stinky swine.

Captain Augustus McCrae Gus is the picture of a man, while getting older in his years, he has yet settled down. He still yearns for adventure and to live in the wild. He loves the things of the past and wants more of them. Unsatisfied living the docile life, he fills his days with whiskey, women, and gambling.

All that to say is that Gus is also loyal to his friends and those he is in charge of. He would be the first to head out to go a save someone who was in need.

Gus desperately needed one last adventure and the trip to Montana. Call and Gus had often thought about going to Montana to raise cattle and they finally made up their mind to do it. This 'code' of acting upon your words and living by your word was something that Gus truly believed in. This code was stronger that his love for Clara. This code was stronger that the pull to run off with Lorena off to San Francisco.

His love for adventure ultimately got him killed when he was struck by two arrows from an indian hunting party they he fell upon chasing buffalo.

Lesson Learned?

Here are a couple Life lessons that I think can be learned from ol' Gus

1. Be willing to stand up for what is right
2. Be willing to go into harms way to save another
3. True love never fades
4. Holding too strong to an 'ideal' life will often allow you miss the blessing God has for you. It may not be your perfect picture for your life, but it may be God's.

Captain Woodrow F. Call
Call, was the quiet hardworking type. Almost to a fault. He worked hard and demanded discipline from those under him.

His hardened spirit and determination help carry the men from Texas to Montana. While the strong stoic, he never really liked recalling life's mistakes. Most notably living up to telling Newt that he was his father.

His desire for something better and for one last adventure was what lead Call and Gus and the rest of the men to head up North. One final adventure to end their days long forgot as Texas Rangers.

He is the picture of a man to live by his words, answer his own call to adventure as well as a man who lives up to his promises. He promised that he would bring Gus back to Clara's orchard and bury him there.

Lesson Learned?

1. You can't live life in the past
2. Honoring your word is a solid vow (James writes to us, let your yes be yes and your no be no)
Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned. James 5:12

Blue Duck was the son of a Commanche Chief and Mexican prisoner of War. Legend has it that he and his father had a disagreement and he was banished from the tribe. From there, Blue Duck formed his own band of misfits and thieves.

In the show, Blue Duck was unfinished business for Gus and Call. He represented a man, bent on doing harm to others. He ends of taking Lorena and uses her to try and trap Cal and Gus.

Often times he is close to being caught but slips by with grace. Ultimately Blue Duck is caught and tried. Cal meets up with him again one last time before Blue Duck was going to be hung. 

I truly believe Blue Duck is a picture of the devil because the devil seeks to devour and destroy us. Blue Duck did whatever he could to get at Cal and Gus. He taunted them, he trapped something they loved in order to draw them out and kill them.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Lesson Learned?

1. Things in my life and in my past may continue to haunt me in my future even though I am a Christian
2. There are things in this world hell bent on destroying me and those I love
3. Ultimately it is important to not to chase after them and right your own personal wrong... it is more important to lift it up to God. In the end, He wins.

Well.... there is so much more I want to say and little time to say it. So this will be the end of Part 1 of this series. Be sure to stay tuned to the rest.

Jeff Barnes

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunting and a Relationship With Christ

JJ aka 'Coonie Barnes' Jr on his first Deer Hunt

Proverbs - Chapter 22:6
6. Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Psalm - Chapter 127:3
3. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

This weekend was a blast. While we didn't harvest any deer, I had a great time getting out in nature and see just how beautiful this time of season really can be. It was a weekend of sharing and 'iron sharpens iron' moments with a fellow brother in the Lord. It was also a weekend of fulfilling a promise to my son. I took him on his first deer hunt. Surprisingly the little guy did great. It is hard for me to sit still for several hours, add the attention span of a six year old and you might want to throw in the towel.

Instead, I used it as an instruction moment. I was less worried about harvesting a deer and more concerned in raising my son to be a superb hunter when he is older. I look towards the future by raising this boy right so that I will have a hunting buddy all the rest of my days. Truly that is worth more than any gold or silver.

We spent time learning how to read the lay of the land. We learned what deer tracks were and get a genuine feel of how old they were. We learned about the importance of staying still and keeping our eyes moving to catch any movement. We also had fun listening to all the different animal sounds and trying to guess what they were. What a blast!

I am most excited about how God is changing me. How he is teaching me to live by Grace. What freedom that is. To set yourself free is such a simple concept yet we make it so hard to do so. Add the the dogmatism from our upbringing or the social norms of those who are around us, it is so easy for us to lose sight on Jesus our prize.

Honestly, our lives don't change from unsaved to saved over night. You cannot go from living one way to a magical change to the other overnight except through a supernatural occurrence of Christ Jesus.

The key here is having a loving relationship with Christ.

Do you remember falling in love?
I really do mean a relationship. Christ is the bridegroom and we as Christians are the bride. If you live truly the way God wants you to be, then you need to have a relationship with him. Do you remember what it was like when you fell in love? The more time you spent with your loved one, the more you wanted. Do you trading something that you thought was important in your life at the time just so you could spend more time with the one you loved. We do it because we love them. Such as it is with Christ.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- Ephesians 2:8

We are saved through faith. However that doesn't mean that in that magical instant that our lives are then all roses.  Many new Christians stumble here. They find themselves not knowing how to handle their lives post salvation. Just as my friends didn't change when I met my wife Jennifer, my desire to hang out with them did. That in turn brings stress on your life.

When I was truly saved, I still smoked. I like to drink. I was still struggling with pornography. I had one foot in Christianity and one foot 'in the world.' While I knew Christ as my savior, I had many idols and struggles in my life that I was dealing with. My life was far from perfect.

As I grew in my relationship with Jennifer, my want for many things changed. I wanted to please her and love on her more than I cared to party or spend time with friends. As the relationship grew, my want to do other things greatly diminished.

You see.... That is what I believe is the real picture that needs to be shared. I get frustrated when I hear Christians add so many barriers to a person that it becomes so hard for a new Christian today to truly be a Christian in those circles. People put 'conditions' or 'rules' on top of being saved by grace. This is what Paul's letter to the Galatians was about. He rejected this thinking.

You can't be a Christian and smoke....

You can't be a Christian and drink...

You can't be a Christian and love Rock N' Roll...

You can't be a Christian and look or dress a certain way...

You can't be a Christian if you don't have the proper translation of the Bible.

All of that sort of stuff is absolute Hogwash! Don't let that sort of speak get you down or hamper your relationship with Christ. The key to knowing the truth is not by listening to what others say, but to listen to what our Savior says and by reading his word.

Over time, as you begin to know your Savior Jesus, He will tell you how to live your life. A natural gift of the relationship with him will be a natural spiritual, mental and physical change in you. The more time you spend with him, the less mental anguish you will deal with. Your spirit will be more in tune to His so that you would know how to handle troubles when they come your way. Physically your life will change to be closer to the image of God daily due to his natural radiance in your life.

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ -- Galatians 6:1-3

Finally, if you are a Christian and you see a brother or sister stumbling. While it is good to point people in the right direction, it is not the time for you to be a 'Sin Seeking Missile' out to point out the sins of others. Best it would be to encourage them to spend more time in Christ and build a relationship with Him than point out the sin. Better for you to come to their side and lift them up in prayer then feeling it is your job to expose their sin.

Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye. -- Matthew 7:5

More importantly, you should be mindful of the sins in your own life before you point out the sins in others. If you spend time with Jesus, you will know how to respond to your friend. You will know the love Christ has for us and what his Sacrifice covers and how He is more than enough to cover all our sins.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Busting out of the comfort zone...

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone...


Why don't you have a better job?

Why are you not making more money?

Why are you not living the life you really want?

The answer is we are stuck in our comfort zone. Our comfort zone keeps us stuck in not living a life we really wants. It starts with simple misunderstandings, worries or fears and ends up trapping us in a life that isn't as full as we really wished it to be.

Here is a great funny video that explains it....

So if you are trapped what are ways you can get out of your comfort zone. For me, often I have to do something drastic. If I am afraid to do something, usually that is the one I attack head on. I conquer it or go down whimpering like a little girl. (Just Kidding).

Actually there is a way to break you out of your comfort zone. If you want to break out of your comfort zone, follow these five 'man-steps' to a successful move out of your comfort zone and back into life.

1. Desire – have a deep need or desire to grow and change.

2. Tangible – Have a real world, concrete reason for doing so.

3. Accountability – Tell someone else, or involve someone else.

4. Preparation – plan ahead, decide what you need to make it easier, get organized.

5. Reward – it addition to the overall feeling of accomplishment, it is good idea to give yourself a small reward for stepping outside of your comfort zone and to celebrate.

So, if you are wanting something more but are afraid you can whip that fear! Fear has a grip on you keeping you and keeps you from achieving something more glorious than sitting at home in your easy chair waiting for life to pass you by.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Do You Know If You Are A 'Real Man'? Part 1

Nothing Like a bloody battle scene to get our blood boiling
Sadly, most men today do not know if they are a man or not.

Oh sure, you have men in their twenties and thirties who act like children. They barely can hold a job and continue to live off their parents. Even married, they still cleave to the ideal of entitlement. Their lives are full of self absorbsion and what 'what about me' mentality.

We have a generation of taking the easy road. Boys who try to prove their manhood in all the wrong ways. They are 'manly' because they are willing to fight. They are manly because the world tells them they have to be rough, tattooed, and willing to swing at anyone who get's in their way.

As a martial arts instructor, I have seem them all. It didn't matter about their background. Rich or poor, these boys fall victim to many of the same traps. They all believed they have something to prove, but when found wanting, they turned tail and ran.

Let me explain...

I used to teach Mixed Martial Arts. I stopped because while I think the sport has put the wrong light on what being a true martial artist should be. Instead of standing in the gap and protecting the weaker, it is quite honestly teaching boys that being a man, means they have to be a good fighter and tough. Fighting is always the last resort.

On one particular day, a rough looking young man decided that he wanted to learn MMA. After the normal introductions, we moved to the training floor with the class. I am very protective of new students. Rarely would I ever allow a new student to spar right out of the bat with any student. Sparring begins with me. I know I can take a hit. I know I can  control myself. I don't have anything to prove.

This particular student decided he needed to 'measure' me up. We put the gloves on and began to spar. I always remind them that this is a training session and that we are not here to hurt each other. However with each swing, I could see him getting angrier and trying to put more power behind it. I am smart enough to know that this guy was trying to take my head off. Realizing that this student needed to learn that in order to be a student, he had to first 'empty his cup' as it were. Thus, quickly and efficiently I choked him out. When he finally tapped, he got up and yelled some profanities and stomped off out of the gym.

Instead of accepting my 30 years of training and experience, he for whatever reason believed that had to win the fight. That I had to be the target to prove that he was a real man. Sadly, when shown where a man is lacking he has two responses... A learn from it, or B, turn and run.

We have an entire generation of boys who don't know what it is like to live up to the challenge and to face it head on. We have forgotten to instruct or boys on how to be a man. We have not passed on the ideal of 'hard work' pays off and other sage wisdom to our children. More importantly we haven't raised men up to be real men of God.

No, now we have the world of instant gratification. A give it to me know mentality. We have children who expect to have instead of earn. A generation where excuses prevail instead of personal ownership. We have a 'I quit' because of personal pride instead of endurance on behalf of those we support. We have a generation of 'whatever you believe' is OK. A generation where 'I believe in Jesus' is just as important as the advice they get from the fortune cookies at the all you can eat buffet.

Ok, I sound harsh. Maybe I am.

You see, at one time or another, I was just like that. I still struggle with a want it now mentality. Maybe that is why I have debt. Maybe that is why at times it is easier to let my wife lead the family instead of me because if something goes wrong, the finger couldn't be pointed at me.

Well... in truth by me not stepping up, I am at fault.

What is important is not what I think but what God thinks and says in his Word.

Being a 'Real Man' is Being A Man of God

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:11-12)

The way God measures a man markedly differs from the way men measure themselves or other men.
1 Samuel 16:6-12. God doesn't look at outward appearances.

1Sa 16:6
When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, "Surely this is the LORD's anointed!"

1Sa 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions."

1Sa 16:8
Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "This is not the one the LORD has chosen."

1Sa 16:9
Next Jesse summoned Shammah, but Samuel said, "Neither is this the one the LORD has chosen."

1Sa 16:10
In the same way all seven of Jesse's sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any of these."

1Sa 16:11
Then Samuel asked, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse replied. "But he's out in the fields watching the sheep." "Send for him at once," Samuel said. "We will not sit down to eat until he arrives."

1Sa 16:12
So Jesse sent for him. He was ruddy and handsome, with pleasant eyes. And the LORD said, "This is the one; anoint him."

A Man of God has Faith in God. There are countless examples of God acknowledging men who were men of faith.

Abraham believed God's promise (Rom. 4:1-5)

Rom 4:1Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith?

Rom 4:2Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, he would have had something to boast about. But from God's point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride.

Rom 4:3For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous." [fn]

Rom 4:4When people work, their wages are not a gift. Workers earn what they receive.

Rom 4:5But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work.

The Centurion Praised for his Faith (Luke 7:1-10).

Luk 7:1When Jesus had finished saying all this, he went back to Capernaum.

Luk 7:2Now the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death.

Luk 7:3When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal his slave.

Luk 7:4So they earnestly begged Jesus to come with them and help the man. "If anyone deserves your help, it is he," they said,

Luk 7:5"for he loves the Jews and even built a synagogue for us."

Luk 7:6So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, "Lord, don't trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor.

Luk 7:7I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.

Luk 7:8I know because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, `Go,' and they go, or `Come,' and they come. And if I say to my slaves, `Do this or that,' they do it."

Luk 7:9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd, he said, "I tell you, I haven't seen faith like this in all the land of Israel!"

Luk 7:10And when the officer's friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.

We as Christians must be rooted in our faith for by faith God can use us. It is my hope that to be a man of God is that first i am rooted in my Faith and belief that Jesus is my savior and that His sacrifice is the atonement for my sins.

By Faith, God can change us from weakness, depravity and shame. By Faith we can learn how God wants us to live. By Faith, God can help us instruct others on how to truly be a 'Real Man' of God.