Thursday, October 3, 2013

2013 Fundraiser Bash Coming Up!

Howdy Pardners!  I know you haven't heard much from us this summer, but we are still rolling, and we want to let you know about our fall fundraiser day that is coming up quickly!  This is like an open house/end-of-season party/thank-you to our friends all rolled into one.  You can also find information about it in our events on the His Ranch Facebook page.

The fundraiser this year will be held on Saturday, October 26th, from noon to 3:00 PM.  It's always a fun day and a big hit with the kids!  We will have horseback rides, live music, a play area, lunch, and horse demonstrations in the round pen.  And everything is free!  We usually also have face painting, and you never know what random fun things we may come up with at the last minute!  Our Hay Castle builders may be on the move again....

Cowboy Willie, our knowledgeable horse trainer, will be available to talk horses and answer any questions you have.  You can probably find him in the round pen, with his coffee cup!  He usually does some horsemanship demonstrations for us.  If you have read anything on this blog, you get the idea that we can learn a lot from horses, and Willie is a great guy to talk to on the subject.

As always, we will have His Ranch t-shirts, hats, and mugs for sale, and there will be a box for donations, as the Lord lays it on people's hearts.  We are anticipating a beautiful day of celebrating with many friends of the ministry and meeting new friends who want to see what His Ranch is all about!  This day is for everybody!  So mark your calendars, tell your friends, and we hope to see ya'll out here October 26th!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finding Center

We've talked a lot here about the nature of a horse, but I think it's important at times to go back to the basics and discover deeper meaning in a familiar concept.  Much of what we teach the kids on the ranch is repetition.  Horses learn through repetition, and guess what?  So do people!  Every summer we refresh the kids and ourselves in the basics of safety, the nature of horses, and good communication with your horse.

So let's step into the horse's world for a moment.

Imagine that you are a horse living in the wild.  Here is what you know.  Herd.  Food.  Water.  Predators.  Self-preservation.  There are creatures out there that want to eat you.  Your number one goal  in life is to stay alive.  Eating is a close second.  If you are not resting or on the move, you are eating.  You were born into a herd.  They are your whole world.  Herd equals security.  There is a clear pecking order within your herd.  The stallion is on top.  He maintains order, demands respect, and defends his territory.  He looks out for all the mares and foals.  Next in line is the boss mare.  She helps the stallion lead the herd in the search for food and water.  Everyone else has their own place of authority and submission within the family.  There is strength in numbers.  Leave the herd, and you become completely vulnerable to predators.  You are constantly aware of everything around you and on the alert for danger.  Any time you feel threatened, your first instinct is to run, which you do very well, because God gave you long, athletic legs, a well-muscled body, and great endurance.

Now imagine you are a young domesticated horse living among other horses on a ranch.  You have been exposed to humans from birth and generally feel comfortable around them.  Your fight or flight response is significantly tamed down from that of a wild horse.  You are exposed to a great many strange objects and sounds on a daily basis and have learned that they do not hurt you.  But you are still a horse.  You will always be a horse.  That raw nature of the wild is still within you.  Your life consists of eating and companionship with the herd.

Then, one day, a human steps into your pasture.  He wants to be with you and work with you.  But by nature, you could care less.  Your instinct does not compel you to be with this human.  You never asked to enter his world.  He asked to enter yours.  This person puts a rope around your head and takes you away from your herd and food.  He puts you in a small, round pen.  Suddenly your world has shifted.  The herd consists of one horse and one human.  You are used to people, so you're not particularly threatened, but you aren't interested in being with him.  He's a strange creature who doesn't speak your language, with an agenda that you don't understand.  Until now, life has been about you.  Apart from your place in the order of the herd, you are free to go wherever you want and do whatever you want.  The world as you know it revolves around you.  So what is your response to this human presence?  You run.  And it's okay.  There is space to run.  But you can't get completely away from this human.  So you try to ignore him.  But he is using your language!  And suddenly you realize that there is someone else in the center of your world.  He makes it clear by his body language that he is the dominant horse in this herd of two.  You are not simply running from him.  He is using the behavior of the lead stallion to drive you around the outside of the territory.  Your brain begins to make a shift.  Now your natural instinct is to show submission and ask for acceptance into the safe place of the herd.  And then it happens.  The human, now your alpha horse, stops pushing you out and begins to invite you in.  You decide to risk trusting him and walk into the center to be with him.  And in that center, you find rest.  Release from the pressure.  Companionship.  A new leader you can trust to watch your back and provide for your needs.  From this foundation, a solid relationship of mutual respect is built between horse and human.  When you choose to be with your master in the center, you find that he becomes your safe place.

Every one of us is born with a nature that tells us, "I am the center of my world.  I run this show."  Then God steps in, and we don't want Him.  So we run.  "All we like sheep have gone astray;  We have turned - every one - to his own way."  Isaiah 53:6
Like the horse who has no interest in the human agenda, we have no desire to be with God.  "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside...."  Romans 3:11-12

But God knows how to speak our language.  He made us.  So He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to enter our world.  He showed us God in a way we could understand.  He walked with us, talked with us, touched us, healed bodies and hearts, and loved us like no one else ever had.  And then He died in our place to invite us to come back into the center, into the intimate relationship with God that we were made for.  His death and resurrection demonstrates His rightful place as Lord.  He has authority over all powers, even death itself!

Sooner or later, whether we acknowledge it or not, we all realize that there is Someone else in the center of our universe.  He wants to be our whole world.  But you and I have a choice that a horse does not have.  The horse operates on instinct.  You can predict his response based on how well you are communicating in his language.  He accepts your authority by nature.

The Bible tells us that one day every knee will bow to Jesus and every person will confess that He is Lord.  On that day we will have no other choice.  But right now, we can choose come to God and submit to Him in the center, or we can continue to rebel against Him and run our own show.  Those who come to Him now will find rest.  Perfect love.  Healing for your heart.  Safety from spiritual evil.  Peace in the midst of hard things.  Joy that doesn't depend on circumstances.  An intimate relationship that will last forever.  Those who refuse Him will be eternally banished from relationship with Him on the day when all must bow.  For them, there will be no rest.

Have you found center?  What is your choice?

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

Monday, June 24, 2013

Back In The Saddle

A great big howdy to all our friends in blog-land!  Yes, we are still here and summer is in swing at His Ranch!  Did you miss us?  We took a blog break for the winter, but we want to keep all of you up-to-date on this year's season.

It's crazy that the month of June is almost over!  We opened a week late due to staff availability, which makes the month appear to have flown by.  These past few weeks we have been blessed with beautiful weather, and it's so much fun to see old and new friends come onto the ranch!  God has allowed our staff to remain fairly consistent for the third summer now, which is wonderful because it has allowed us to build ongoing relationships with many of the kids and families who come every year. 

So once again we have Mr. Ben Lindberg, now joined by his bride of six months, Anneliese Lindberg, who worked on the ranch in the summer of 2011.  This is one of the many exciting ways we have seen God move here at His Ranch.  Ben and Anneliese came from opposite ends of the country, met here, were married, and now make their home in Palmyra!  We are thrilled to have them as part of the long-term picture at His Ranch!

Also returning for the third season are Ruth Virkler and Kari Keener, who enjoy the freedom to come and go from Taylor as they please, but there is rumored to be a plot to kidnap them and make them permanent Missourians. 

If you come out to the ranch this year, you will probably see some other faces as well.  We are always open to short-term volunteers, and we also have some teen volunteers from the area bringing in fresh energy.  It's always exciting to see who God brings into our lives to leave fingerprints on His Ranch each summer!
We also want to give you all a heads up about something special we'll be doing next month.  We will be at the Lewis County Fair on July 11, from 5:30-7:00 PM, giving a horsemanship demonstration.  We would love to see you there!  There will be lots of horses in various shapes and sizes, and any of the staff will be happy to answer your questions on anything horsey, to the best of our ability!  The demonstration will include much of the basic knowledge on horse behavior, communication, and riding that we teach our students every day on the ranch.  If you're at the Lewis County Fair on Thursday, July 11, come on over and visit with us!
Thanks for stopping by our little corner of blog-land today, and please continue to keep His Ranch in your prayers.  Ask for the safety of the kids, the staff, and the horses.  Ask for God's love and presence to be real to every person who steps onto the ranch, and that His transforming power will touch each life.  This is His Ranch, we are His children, and we long to see His glory!