Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Jesse is a 7th grader. He comes to Sunday
School with his little sister and stays for the
church service. Last Sunday, after service, he
told me that, at the end of Joe's sermon, he had
prayed along with me during the invitation.
Hopefully, he confessed Jesus as his
Lord and Savior while believing in his heart
died to pay for his sins and that Jesus rose
from the dead.
He had to leave right after service but I
presented him with a small booklet and told him
that I wanted him to read it. It would offer
more details about the prayer we had just prayed
He has sent me a short note on myspace to tell
me that he hadn't yet read the booklet. So, I wrote back to tell Jesse that
I'd like to meet with him to go through the
little booklet together. We are baptizing some
people on June 25th. Perhaps Jesse will
be baptized that day as well.
What a week: Jesse has repeated a
sinner's prayer at the conclusion of a local
church service. Messengers at the national
convention have elected Dr. Frank Page as
the President. Onward for the glory of God.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Cathy and I encouraged Jebby
yesterday when we dropped off a video tape of
the second performance of Brothers.
Having retrieved the copy of Night One, we
loaned it to a homebound couple who were unable
If I have learned anything from past years, I
will probably get a phone call from newsman Ross
Farrow who will want a local opinion of business
conducted at the Southern Baptist Convention.
So, soon I will do a bit of research and form
some reasoned opinions just in case I'm asked.
a controversial blogger:
an interview by sbc outpost with Dr.
a similar interview with Dr. Frank Page
video-bloggers at the Convention
The outpost site has links to all kinds of
different writers and contemporary thinkers. I
have only briefly looked over these
sites enough to know that I could probably be
drawn into all the drama. That could lead to the
assertion of my own self-important opinions.
So, here's a worthy diversion:
"Look, the Lamb of God,
away the sin of the world!"
a song that said it
better then than today...
I thank the Lord for freedom to serve Christ by
working alongside others through trusting
relationships in small, yet significant ways.
The political pressures faced by those
(above) who serve in more influential circles is
a serious threat to the unguarded heart and
mind. My small role in people's lives is enough pressure for me.
Yesterday, I was called to go over to the home
of a young believer who was struggling with
I prayed with the brother and we acknowledged
God's willingness to give leadership in his
situation. We also rehearsed the message that
Joe preached from
Philippians 4 on Sunday.
At our house, Cathy and I are reminding each
the Lord always."
I have some assigned reading to complete today.
A package came in the mail yesterday containing
hardcopy of three documents. Tonight I will sit
on the Executive Board of our regional
Association and be expected to "intelligently"
discuss three documents:
1. The Work of the Baptist Association:
Study by Lyle E. Mays
2. Leverage Points for Creating
the Future of Baptist
3. A NAMB Position Paper:
Associational Design for the
Future (June, 2005)
Meanwhile, our national Southern Baptist
Convention is meeting in North Carolina. In my
blog-reading and other research, I've discovered
how vigorously some people are discussing
certain issues. I am
reminded afresh that power, greed, pride, and other activities of the flesh sometimes masquerade as
a defense of the Faith.
Like so many other preachers, I have my opinions
and convictions. However, when I'm in my right
mind, I yield my self-confidence to this weighty
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
delights in airing his own opinions.
"While Bunyan was thus
suffering for Christ, yet enjoying Christ's
presence and writing from the fullness of his
love in prison, a great multitude of his
nonconformist brethren were passing through the
fires without. It was a period of peril,
persecution, and great tribulation for such as
kept an independent conscience and were faithful
to God's word. "
The Act of Uniformity being passed the
13th of May, 1662, all ministers were ejected
from their livings, and silenced, who would not
conform to the established hierarchy, who would
not declare their unfeigned assent and consent
to all and everything contained and prescribed
in and by the Book of Common Prayer,
administration of the sacraments, and other
rites and ceremonies of the Church."
One description of an
that it is normal for those 'wired like me' to
see connective bridges with everything happening
on every level in one's life.
So, as a Yankee by birth (Michigan), I
played the role of the Southern preacher in
Brothers without trepidation because I sought to understand the purity
of the man's motivation. In Jebby's musical, the
Preacher is a major voice among the Confederates.
The audience doesn't see a counterpart for the
Union soldiers but a number of Northern
characters are seen as ones who also pray to our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As I rehearse certain scenes from church history
(including the primary issue which led to the
formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in
1845), I will watch the current proceedings from
a contemplative distance. Hopefully, I will
listen for God's still, small voice and then
magnify that which encourages the praying people
Monday, June 12, 2006
put up a page to help Jebby take Brothers
up a notch:
probably be some good still shots and video
clips uploaded as they arrive in our INBOX.
Last night, Ruth and
Jim had hoped that
Tommy Rackley and
would come back for Evening Service. That
morning, I had mentioned in the second service,
that it was Tommy's seventh Sunday in a row.
Ruth had remembered an old, old song speaking of
a witness and the fruit of one's testimony. It
was entitled "Seven Sundays in a Row". So, Ruth
had written some additional lyrics to
personalize it for Joe and Tommy. I thank God
that the two men came back because the song was
a fitting tribute to the ongoing ministry of
Before I began the biblical exposition for last
night's topic, I told one short story from
Visitation (season two):
Months ago, Beverly
and I had driven to Lodi in order to visit
Billye. I had
been there before but was relying on my memory
as to the house. With some small doubt I said,
"I think, maybe, this is the place...."
It wasn't. We had knocked on the door just south
of Billye and Martha's place.
A red-haired woman with a thick Russian accent
answered the door. She smiled and nodded as I
acknowledged that we had come to the wrong
house. Then, she took the time to tell us that
she was the caregiver for a very sick man in the
Although we had come to the 'wrong' door, I
sensed that we had been led there because of the
attitude we had expressed in our prayer earlier.
We were ushered through the house to the back
room to minister to a dying man. It was obvious
to us that this frail man was on his deathbed. I
don't remember much about our time with him. We
may have sung a song; we definitely shared a
word of comfort from God's Word. He showed signs
of having received that comfort gladly.
Before we left, our 'hostess' introduced herself
as Eirene and reminded me that her name mean
'Peace' in Greek. We had a delightful
conversation as she shared that she is a
professional organist and teaches piano lessons.
When we asked her where she lives she said,
"Galt" and described her general area.
Last week, Beverly
was walking down her street and spotted
It turns out that she lives at the end of her
very street in their small mobile home park.
Irene came to visit our church with Beverly last
Also, a 21 year old African-American was in
attendance and sat next to
Miss Parlee. He was seeking God's
Comfort because his older brother (24) had
unexpectedly died in his sleep. Calvin
was in tears much of the time yesterday. I
remember the morning that Calvin had prayed for
salvation. Although his work schedule had
interfered with Sunday attendance, he knew to
come to church at the most traumatic time of his young
It may have been risky, but I then asked
Eirene to come
play for us. Before she went to the piano, she
told us that in Russia she had attended a Greek
Orthodox church which did
not use instruments--all singing was acapella.
She had heard a British radio broadcast of a
church which did use instruments. She prayed
that God would someday take her to such a
church. but I asked
Eirene to play our piano. The
entire congregation opened their hymnals and
sang No. 54 together. It was beautiful--to see and to
hear. The people of God smiled as we sang in
unison--accompanied by the skillful playing of
the 88-key instrument.
The Wind gently blew through that gathering as
we sang about 'strength for today and bright
hope' for tomorrow. Then, I preached an
important message from the Bible.
Let those with ears to
listen to what the Spirit is saying to the local church.
"How can they hear unless...?"
(...unless they are there.)
I have so much to share about God's
Movement in all four services (including
La Luz de Cristo)
but I should try to get some more sleep. It's
already 4:30 a.m. and I've been up for about
about 1.5 hours.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Thanks to everyone who came out to support
Christ-centered arts in the State Capitol. Jebby
and I have been walking in the same direction
(spiraling outward) since Cathy and I first
moved to this Valley. Years ago I helped him
submit a grant proposal to the Sacramento Center
for the Arts. Although it was good to organize
his background accomplishments for the hardcopy
application, it didn't result in winning the
However, soon thereafter, Jebby was offered a
position as a contemporary worship leader at the
historic church: First Baptist Church of
Sacramento. There he eventually found a great
number of Christians interested in presenting
Christ's message to this culture through the
Last night the cast and crew pulled together
backstage to honor this humble guy. In some
ways, Brothers allowed Jebby to work out his
life story through writing for the various
characters. May the Author of our faith continue
to honor that sanctification in all of our lives
See you in church
Saturday, June 10, 2006
If you are anywhere within driving distance of
Sacramento, California...please come to see the
last performance of Brothers. Friday
Night was tremendous. God has gifted His people
with this full-length musical.
"Brothers takes place during the
American Civil War (1861-1865) and follows the
struggle of several families trying to survive
amid the destruction of all they have known. As
the war progresses through key events in
history, each character is forced to examine the
source of his or her motivation and strength.
Ultimately, each will be challenged to grow as a
person learning the role that God has chosen."
Jebby's story works together on multiple
levels. God is already using the performed piece
to inspire me onward in Christ. I think it will
do the same for anyone.
There are several dynamic relationships explored
in the interweaving of personal stories.. As
the Preacher, I have a vested interest in
what happens in the lives of these two important
George Albert: George is a young
Southern gentleman who marries Rachel just one
year prior to the beginning of the Civil War.
Happy with his good fortune, George is devoted
to his family. As war becomes imminent, he
struggle between two powerful calls to action.
Should he remain home to care for his family or
must he accept his duty to serve the
Confederacy? He is surprised that Rachel so
strongly objects to his thoughts of becoming a
soldier. Resentful of her family's wealth, he
mistakenly believes that Rachel's objection
comes from being her (Northern) father's
daughter. As the nation progresses toward war,
he must decide.
Rachel Cobb Albert: Rachel is the
daughter of the influential and wealthy Cobb
family. Born and raised in the North, she falls
deeply in love with and marries George. All is
well until the outbreak of war, when George
informs her that he is considering enlistment in
the Confederate Army. Frightened by the prospect
of losing her husband, the father of her new
baby, she implores George to accept a job offer
from her father that will take them away from
So, please come.
A must-see...last time tonight.
for a PDF ad for Brothers
radio promo 1
radio promo 2
Joe Patterson preaches in both services
at the Epicenter tomorrow morning (8:30 and
Friday, June 9, 2006
I started out just before 5:00 this morning. I
wanted to dub a copy of last night's dress
rehearsal so I could assess and fine tune the
Preacher's role for the 2 evenings ahead.
In Sacramento: Tonight 7:30 pm
Saturday 7:30 pm
for a PDF ad for Brothers
radio promo 1
radio promo 2
My oldest son, Joe accompanied me to Sacramento
and videotaped for me. Before we left I was
looking over Daniel's shoulder as he was
checking his myspace site. I noticed that he had
published a blog and so asked him to click on it
for me. It is a transparent accounting to his
'friends' and other observers about recent
discipline he has endured in relationship with
For the time being, I've taken control of Mary's
password for her site and am monitoring her
inbox and sent files. It isn't easy parenting
I don't really enjoy being on myspace but feel
responsible as a parent, and simply as an adult
to report all links and highjackers.
Last Sunday night, Pastor Mac rehearsed the old
days when our society wouldn't allow such easy
access to lewd and lascivious material.
Probably because of my demographic ( I'm an old
guy at 48) on myspace, I get targeted by
pornographers with their insidious traps to gain
paying customers for videos, etc. I've learned
to recognize these lures and immediately report
them with a note like this:
To Whom It May Concern:
I just received a request to add this group
Group URL: (forward address here)
This GROUP invitation looks like Pornography and
SPAM and I don't want stuff like this coming to
me. Could you add a feature to 'friends
requests' that would allow people to report
These efforts may only be a drop in an ocean of
degradation, but for this season, I have had to
be involved enough to learn what my
pastoral conviction needs to be. Here are
a few examples of recent responses from customer
care at myspace:
The profiles in question have been deleted.
The group and its moderator have been
The profiles in question has been deleted.
So far, these facades have been removed within 24 hours. I also
have been sending a copy of the traps to two Grandmas I have enlisted to
come alongside me on myspace. Their presence helps me
remain accountable in such dangerous territory.
All three of us
are continually reminded of these and other unseen pressures
facing those who are maneuvering any age or
stage of life in
this particular generation.
Regardless of your opinion about how Jesus wants
us to represent Him in our setting, I would
appreciate knowing that sincere, Spirit-led
Christians are praying for me as I try to grow
in Christ and walk along the prophetic edge in
Back to some easier stuff:
I stopped by to visit with Veda's son Tommy
yesterday. His buddy, Randy Reynolds, was there.
The three of us talked with passion about a
harvest we yearn to see ahead involving a lost
and largely unchurched people group in this
area. The men and women we are envisioning as an
army arising from this valley's dry bones are between the
ages of 45-55. Many of them have a background of
drugs and alcohol abuse. Many others are simply
in bondage to the mortgage, three cars, and the
boat. More of this will be written in this
column as we unravel the mystery of La Mancha
Note to self:
Remember Dr. Brooks once called the Sermon on
the Mount: The Impossible Possibility
Right now, I'm running off to have breakfast
with the Rotary Club and will then meet Beverly
for another exciting episode of
Friday Mornings on
Thursday, June 8, 2006
Mary rode with Jim Parkinson and me to
Sacramento last night for Tech Rehearsal. Historic FBC
Sacramento now has computerized lighting in
their building at L and 24th. They
were programming the different scenes to run
automatically, however it was still a
long, slow process. We didn't get out until
The hours afforded me the opportunity to walk
the stage and deliver my lines several times.
Also, it gave me some quality Father-Daughter
time with Mary. She will be 15 years old on in
July. I'm pleased to have had this opportunity
to expose Mary to another arts encounter in the
Mary will be video-taping the performances on
Friday and Saturday nights. On the drive up, Jim
and I talked through the plot of this Civil-war
era musical and introduced her to the
characters. It was valuable to see how this
process enhanced Mary's understanding of U.S.
history (and the spiritual issues that are
always present among people of any era).
for a PDF ad for Brothers
radio promo 1
radio promo 2
At FBC Sacramento, there are some girls of
Latvian descent who also have appeared in Jebby's musicals during the years. Mary
has had the opportunity to interact with
Allysa (14) and Christina (16) every year as we
have staged the musical Picture of
Jesus. It is great to see these girls
continue to give their
talents to the Lord's Service.
From June 19-23, I am taking a group of children
to a sister church in Wallace to service as the
Rally Leaders for their Vacation Bible School.
They will perform the music and choreography
from Amazon Outfitters.
Through the years, we've been able to assist Dr.
Steve Brown with this area of ministry. He
specifically requested Mary to be there. I had
her talk to Steve on the phone. She agreed to do
it. So, Mary and her friend, Christina, will
serve as the teen coordinators for the younger
We're still recruiting the Mission Team for that
short yet meaningful endeavor. I think that
Alexis will come and possibly Katie and Daniel.
Maybe Liz's older girls. I'm also hoping to get
a couple young people from Families Together in
Anyone else interested?
This Sunday will be Joe's last time with us
before he leaves with the New America Singers.
Therefore, Joe is going to be our guest preacher
at both morning services. In preparation for his
sermon, Joe is meditating upon the various songs
we sing from Philippians Chapter 4. We sang his
new song for Eula and Hugh at their Home Bible
Study yesterday morning.
I shared with him my desire to see the Spirit do
for today's Christians what He has continually
done for those from generations past who have
waited upon Him with hopeful expectation.
Consider Simeon's relationship with the Holy
Luke 2:26 (very
It had been revealed to him
by the Holy Spirit that he would not
die before he had seen the Lord's
Luke 2:27 (movement)
Moved by the Spirit, he went
into the temple courts. When the
parents brought in the child...
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Trees Do Clap Their Hands (view