November, 2006 Return to: pastorob's current journal
It would be a good time to remember all that a fasting, Deacon Jim shared with us in May, 2004. I've been listening to these tracks this morning on the CD version.These audio links should work for now:
Jim Fugate 1
Jim Fugate 2
Jim Fugate 3 Jim Fugate 4
Jim Fugate 5 Jim Fugate 6
Remember, I'm available 24/7 by cell phone: (209) 323-0727 and by email. When I'm at Saddleback, I'm online the entire time. I have a meeting with Francisco Camarena this morning. He's the DVD preacher for our local Hispanic Venue: La Luz de Cristo. He also pastors four other churches in Southern California.
Rick Warren has invited us (me) to stay here at Saddleback a couple days longer...
I believe that my time spent with Rick and 249 specially-invited pastors was time well invested--for me---but also for my beloved local church.
Rick shared that he had planned to do this one year ago but waited until 2 weeks before to send his invitation to us....otherwise he would have had about 4,000 pastors who would have wanted to be included.
Off the record, he revealed to us 'exactly' what he is planning to do in a number of areas. The Press had not been invited to the event. Thousands, however, are coming from around the nation (and the world) for the other conference which starts today. I will share my complete notes with you in the days and weeks to come.
Although he is now a multi-millionaire, Rick is more humble than I've ever seen him.
Our church website name was 'bought' out from under us.....
So the new owners of the domain <fbcgalt.org> have asked us to name a price anywhere from $100 to $20,000
no problem . .
James Moore is going to try to handle the negotiation for me today. It probably is quite important that we try to regain possession of the name. Jennifer and I had been discussing how to re-create the site to leave it in good shape for the season after I leave (2007) and eventually for the next Pastor to continue taking this local church into the 21st Century.
Don't worry, Virginia, we won't offer $20,000......
In the meantime, we still own fbcgalt.com (just not .org)....
This situation is yet another sign of the last days...n/k
In the meantime,
way around the
tries to find us
will get broken
links from other
sites all over
the world. The
Y2K crisis was
just a little
slow in causing
the havoc so
It will take awhile to get this all straightened out. I'm not losing any sleep over it. I am, however, happy that my doctorate didn't depend upon all this!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This website is not
easily found today.
If you are reading
this, count it as a
blessing to me.
I'm sitting with 240-some pastors who are guests being given an intimate day with Rick Warren. He is really speaking to our hearts.
For some reason, our web address isn't working but Chris and Tara Zeller just led me to a back-door entrance to this page.
I'm getting some
comments from some
sweet people on
Don't put your faith in yo' website... (view more)
Form and Content from RICK to Rob (view more)
No Scandal, No Porn,
No Affairs...I'm just moving onward (view more)
Years ago I was riding in a van with staff from Sequoia Heights. Jerry Yates was driving. We were heading back from a Pastors' Conference. Roger Williams was telling the rest of his co-laborers that he didn't like quarterly reports telling about what has just happened. Instead, he always hoped to report about something out in the future for the church: "The best days are ahead of us..."
That statement rings in my mind. So many of my online journal entries are simply a quick recording of what happened the day before.
I suppose I will have to skip telling you about Monday because Wednesday is coming toward me too fast. I'm supposed to be at Saddleback Community Church in Orange County tomorrow to participate in A Conversation about Tomorrow.
Letter from Rick Warren to Rob
(and 249 other Senior Pastors) (view more)
I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find another pastor who would be making the trip to hang out with Rick Warren in this informal setting.
Lord Willing, I'll head south down the road later this morning--all by myself. You know I enjoy drive time--time to think, to sing, to listen, and to . . . drive.
Just a little over a year ago, a man named Tom Robershaw wrote me this note from southern California:
Dear Pastor Rob:
I was excited to come across your church's website while surfing the web. I have been involved for the last six months with the Liberian Ministries (www.liberianministries.com). It sounds like God has impressed on both your group and ours the same desire to spread the Gospel to and help the people of Liberia.
I almost chose to
suggestion to look
at their website. I
was so very busy
matters...but I did,
in fact, click on
the link. The rest
In the year that has
elapsed since this
has watched quite a
So you can guess that I was greatly blessed to receive an invitation from Tom to have dinner with him and his wife, Kim. Further, I was invited to stay in their guest room tonight. I just did a quick search of my gmail files and saw a photo of their daughters that he sent me in April. Tom and Kim have twin toddlers: Chloe and Olivia. Tom has a background in Finance; they live in Tustin, California.
Anyway, I'm supposed to meet Tom and Kim at 6:00 p.m. tonight. They just happen to be local members at Saddleback, so they will point me in the right direction tomorrow morning.
While I'm at Saddleback, I think I'll see if it is possible to bring the teens there to visit on our way home from Tsunami. My Teacher's Assistant, Jenn Rodriguez, wrote to me yesterday to ask about the future of our top-secret Sunday School project. I quickly wrote back with some ideas to motivate her and other teens who will remain after I leave FBC Galt. We've been working on a Cause which is definitely greater than ourselves. Hopefully, City Council Woman, Barbara Payne, will catch my vision and help me finish my immediate time with these teenagers. We'll see.
Meanwhile, Jim Fugate continues to minister faithfully at the bedside of his wife, Doris. She has pneumonia and was hot with fever last night--all this while enduring the effects of chemotherapy. On the way to visit them at the hospital last night, I listened to a CD with Jim's sermon from "A Theology of Suffering and Healing.
Jim Fugate, a deacon at First Baptist Galt, preached the first of four message back in 2004. His message is split up into six tracks. He was fasting that week:
Jim Fugate 1 Jim Fugate 2
Jim Fugate 3 Jim Fugate 4
Jim Fugate 5 Jim Fugate 6
I'm writing this entry at 10:45 Sunday night. It has been a long, wonderful day of serving God's Purpose for my life. During the 8:30 Worship Service, I felt led of the Lord to choose Sunday Evening, December 24th, as my final time in the pulpit as the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Galt, California.
I dearly love celebrating the four Sundays of Advent. This year the final candle (the Christ Candle) will be lighted on a Sunday night: Christmas Eve. As has been our custom, we will have a Candlelight Service, with special music, and bring our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to a close.
That seems like a good time to also finish nearly 10.5 years in that pulpit. What a privilege to serve God's people as the pastor of a local church. I hope that we will enjoy some high attendance Sundays during this Christmas season.
I also announced to our church that our friend, Howard Gabriel, passed away. In Sunday's journal, I mentioned that our son, Joe, had assisted Howard in posting some of his stories and family heritage online. May Howard's wife (Mona) and grown children (Anna and Howie) find some comfort in reading Howard's entries for years to come and perhaps share these stories with generations yet-to-come.
Here is Howard's
Joe sent me these
links to the
toward which he
helped to empower
Howard in the 21st
Gabriel's Children Stories
Gabriel Geneological Stories
I was blessed to receive this important announcement from Pastor Shamas in Pakistan:
I tried to get to bed early last night. So, it took me awhile to gather my thoughts when Mona Gabriel called around 11:30.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23,
The turkey is in the oven and should be ready to pull out just before noon. Derek and Linda at Cafe Latte are from Cambodia. They are closed for Thanksgiving. Yesterday, Joe and I had stopped by on a walk. I asked them if they prepare a turkey for a thanksgiving meal. Derek informed me that when they came to this country in the late 70's, they studied all about our history. So, yes, they learned about the Pilgrims and our custom of making turkey. He told us that they hadn't eaten a turkey before. Turkeys were like pets. They ate chicken and duck but turkeys were just left to run around with the chickens.
Greg Brayton sent me this link to artwork by his wife, Sally. That's how I first met Sally--in a high school art class. She was obviously the best in the class. It is fun to see her still having fun with art in her old age (click here). Maybe on this Thanksgving Day, we should make a visit over to Greg Brayton's website and see what new project he's working on: www.gbrayton.com
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Last night I gathered all the components of my police uniform and carefully dressed for the City Council Meeting. Police Chaplain Dress Blues comes complete with a silver-plated nametag and a real badge so heads turn when I'm fully vested.
Hmmm...what to do with this rare opportunity. On the way to City Hall, I stopped by the Tuesday Fellowship "Losing Weight God's Way". Robin McCall made a comment that got many laughs. Only Barbara Tavarez missed the punchline--she did note, however, that I blushed.
From there, I went over to Tommy, Joe, and Bryan's house. I thought they might come 'under conviction' upon the sight of a uniformed preacher knocking on the backdoor. No laughs there--they didn't answer. I was having an important conversation with Mike McCall during the drive so it was still time well-invested.
Once I arrived at City Hall, I was greeted by Pastor Larry Brand, Pastor Tim Stevenson, and Pastor Mary Sanders (the other three volunteer chaplains). We had a photograph taken of us together. My third son, Daniel, was also there for a school assignment. He has had to attend and report on various civic meetings. It was a blessing to have my son there with me. I introduced him to a number of community leaders.
Then, he came to sit with me after the swearing-in ceremony was over. Together we watched and whispered about the form and content of Mayor Clare's trip to the Sundance Seminar. The mayor's trip to Anchorage at the invitation and expense of Robert Redford. Mayors of strategic locations in America are being taught about the effects of Global Warming. As catalysts, they are being challenged to provide purposeful leadership in their sphere-of-influence. I was reminded of time I spent watching Al Gore's movie with my firstborn, Joe, on August 9, 2006 (click here).
Hope to see you at the Potluck-Bible Study Fellowship tonight at 6:30. Call me for more information: (209) 323-072
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Hmmm... I have just watched several video clips about the Michael Richards apology on Letterman. I wasn't watching the news so I missed the story when it first broke. In fact, the only slight hint of this situation impinged upon my consciousness when I was putting some gas into my car on Sunday afternoon. Our gas pumps come equipped with video newscasts.
An interesting slice of contemporary american experience. I appreciated hearing Sinbad's entire discussion of this situation and the big picture. From my perspective, the Big Picture is even bigger. (click here: ABC News Michael Richards)
I have enjoyed Michael Richard's work since since seeing him on Weird Al's movie UHF. The Seinfeld DVD set I purchased a couple years ago had an interesting commentary. Richards' reputation for memorizing his lines and firm resolve to stay in character is discussed by his co-stars. Noteworthy is Diane Sawyer's mention that when Richards does stand-up, he is 'performing without a net.' There is certainly a teachable moment here for any man.
Tonight the chaplains have been asked to attend the swearing in of our new Chief of Police. I had the privilege of hearing Chief Loren Cattolico speak at Rotary last Friday. It will be interesting to see how this man continues to exercise leadership in our police department and among the myriad special interest groups in our community. I'm always interested in watching other leaders interact with the general public to see what works . . . and what doesn't!
One of the first public gestures by our new chief was to publish a Citizen's Complaint Form:
"Please feel free to express yourself on any matter which you feel should be directed to my attention. Every letter of complaint will receive my personal attention. Remember law enforcement is everybody's business, and your Police Department can only be as good as the citizens of Galt want it to be." (click here for a pdf copy)
In last Sunday's sermons, I addressed the hesitancy that our nation's President may face to actually name the Name of his Savior. There have been times in which I have experienced the unspoken pressure to omit the Name of Jesus in public settings. However, the only Name in which I have a legitimate prayer is in the Name of Jesus. Therefore, right here/right now, in the relative comfort of this column, I pray for this town's chief Law Enforcement officer:
Father, our Creator,
First, I thank you for hearing this simple public prayer. On behalf of all who choose to be law-abiding citizens, I ask that You may empower Chief Cattolico to exercise patient integrity as he leads an extraordinary team of crime-fighters in Galt. May he shepherd his flock with firm resolve that together they will all courageously serve a Cause greater than themselves.
Serving diligently under Chief Cattolico's authority, may each of our sworn officers remain faithful to their vow of service. May they be kept safe from those who plot evil or in any way work against Law and Order in this small corner of American culture.
In the Name of Jesus I pray. AMEN.
The general public is invited to attend this ceremony. We will start with a meet & greet at 6:30 with the formal swearing in at the City Council Meeting at 7:00 (click here for map)
Monday, November 20, 2006
I have a full day ahead of me. Coming into the office I have interacted with several people who are serving the Lord in various capacities (Ana, Jimmie, Kat, Virginia, Eli). Now, the activity has settled down and I am going to try to sort through the paperwork that amasses at our church. I plan to do this while listening to sermon tapes from past weeks. First, however, I want to decompress what yesterday (Sunday) may have contributed to the Big Picture.
My Sunday School class seemed to be engaging for all who were there (ages 13-20). We were discussing issues learned during my semester of church-planting studies from seminary. Certain paragraphs from the Purpose Driven Church (pp. 160-161) were read and discussed by the students. We were privileged to have Aimee Sayre visiting with us during her break from CBU. She has really missed our church fellowship. Even though she has the opportunity to attend one of the 'coolest' churches in the state (Sandals at Riverside), she shared that, instead, she attends Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church--which is more traditional and has many elderly people.
I think that it was helpful for the younger students to hear this testimony from Aimee. It may help them to better understand the various dynamics involved in this matter of American church-shopping. Aimee is one of our 'satisfied customers' and yet our text and discussion challenged her modus operandi for outreach when she was in high school.
Our class has been targeting a unique church-plant idea as a vehicle to discuss all the points brought up in Rick Warren's dated text. Of interest to the class was his observation that the average American will not drive to a church where one must endure more than a dozen stoplights. That assertion was cause for us to stop and consider our attitudes and behavior.
Yesterday's Worship Service messages were grounded in two events which can be found in 2 Chronicles. (God's Word to Solomon: 2 Chronicle 7 and the events recorded years later in 2 Chronicles 20). The apostle Paul has given us the encouragement to consider Old Testament history in an illustrative manner. Joe was asking me about my belief in this pattern I employ--reading devotionally and making application for my own life. Here is one of the passages which have taught me to do so: click here
The demographics of the congregations gathered for our 8:30 service and the 11:00 services were noticeably different. The songs were exactly the same. The Reading of Scripture, the pre-sermon altar time, and the sermon points were very similar but there was definitely some differences in my delivery. It will be interesting to note what exactly those differences were as I listen to the tapes during this day.
This particular message had a contemporary application more panoramic in scope than my normal local church sermon. Why? I suppose it was reflective of issues with which I have recently been confronted. The Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites are the combined forces marching against God's Kingdom. I could have named contemporary armies energized by unseen forces but that might have limited this message's impact in the life of any given hearer. Three important points concluded the message which has been entitled Responding to a Revelation.
Trust God and don't be afraid: We need to remember that GOd knows all, every situation any of us are facing. He knows every person involved. He is able. He is here. He is the perfect expression of Love that never fails.
Trust God and don't be afraid: We need to remember what He has already done our lives up to this very point.
Trust God and don't be afraid: Remember that He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. It ain't over till it's over. We should examine ourselves and consider what we tend to do when we are facing a trial. Do we praise? Do we doubt? Do we go for the quick fix? Do we humble ourselves, pray, seek God's face, and turn from any wicked way revealed to us by the Holy Spirit?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
"If a fellow was lookin' for a new church . . . We're sort of lookin' for a new church because of a situation with the pews." This video serves well as a companion piece for the ichurch article. A new friend, Larry, shared it with us.
Well, we're not exactly the coolest church in town but if you yearn to live in response to a revelation from God, please come visit our church at 8:30 or 11:00 any Sunday morning.
map to the epicenter
Before I forget, I will want to share what I learned about Leonardo Da Vinci in school Friday. An illegitimate child, the young man apprenticed at Verrocchio's Studio. He would soon surpass his mentor. A significant work in which he participated at the studio was Verrocchio's The Baptism of Christ.
In addition to his study of
mechanics, painting, and
sculpture, Leonardo conducted
experiments with light and
shadow. The three-dimensional
depth of objects in his sketches
was defined by light and shadow.
Illuminated by candle, the
artist would paint a view of
draped fabric, then change the
location of the candle and paint
it again. This technique,
chiaroscuro, made his
paintings superior to those of
his peers. Yesterday we had a
Disney DVD playing and it began
to freeze. Rather than get upset
by the technological
inconvenience, I studied the
frame-by-frame change of shadow
and light. I immediately thought
about chiaroscuro. It helps to
bring these animations to life.
Leonardo also observed that detail and color changed as and object receded in the distance. He took the state of this technique, sfumato, to a new level. Note the background in Mona Lisa.
I listed certain facts on the board during the students' viewing of the history Channel video. A commissioned work that Leonardo never finished was the Adoration of the Magi.
The question which surrounds that mystery stirred an interest in digging deeper. I googled Leonardo Da Vinci on Friday night. I learned that he wrote his private journals from right to left in a mirror image. Interesting. Try it yourself: click here
Saturday, November 18,
Before Prayer meeting this morning, Eli, David, and I walked a block west of our property to see the new construction taking place at the property of the River of Life Celebration Center.
Cathy and I had stopped in last week to say, "Congratulations" and visited with Deanna Brand and the little guy who had been run over. He was spinning around in his wheelchair--happy as can be.
Yesterday, my first class as a substitute began with a 15 year old coming up to me with a smile and saying, "Hi, Pastor Rob". I didn't recognize her by name until roll call. It was Erin Brand (Pastor Larry and Deanna's daughter).
During the class I received a tragic phone call. My Friday Visitation partner, Beverly shared the sad, sad news that her daughter, Susan had died in the hospital.
No more words about that . . . Just Pray for Mom.
Here's some mail that may be of interest. Let it be known that I definitely have some problems with recommending involvement with myspace. However, I have made the decision years ago to be a part of the solution to the problems I see. So, here is what I have been doing to contribute:
Date: 11/5/2006 10:38:18 PM
Subject: nudity on myspace
THIS FRIEND REQUEST has a pop up with graphic nudity. Please remove this page immediately. (here I pasted in the FRIEND REQUEST).
Today, I received two replies to what I had sent them on November 5th:
The profile/content/group has been deleted.
Dear Customer Care:
Thank you for the reply. I'm a substitute teacher for the local high school in my town (also a Police Chaplain, a Rotary Member, and a pastor).
I speak openly about the good things that can happen on myspace so if you ever need a positive spokesperson, I have a good analogy to share.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
November 15, 2006
Don't forget: Bible Study this morning at 11:00 a.m.
Bible Study Fellowships Tonight:
6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall or
7:00 p.m. at the Greenes'
Call me for more information: (209) 323-0727
Sunday evening, just before I left our Sanctuary, a spark was ignited within me concerning my next sermon. Years ago, I was admonished to never 'save up' a sermon for a more worthy setting: "Preach what you've been given today. You'll have another sermon for that bigger day when it comes."
At a metro conference in the late eighties, Mike Bowling and I went to hear the Chicago pastor, Jim Queen, tell other inner-city pastors to "Preach out of the overflow." He warned us to not hole ourselves away in an office all week--studying. Rather, he emphasized that we get out on the street, walk the beat, and get to know the people who live there. Then, on Sunday morning, "...preach out of the overflow."
As far as I know, I will not be preaching anywhere again until Sunday morning. I have a preaching plan scheduled through January, 2007. It is noteworthy that I have varied from the plan somewhat in recent weeks. I have been receiving specific guidance in my study of the Scriptures. I have preached in response to revelation. I assert that it should be normative for pastors, preachers, and teachers to hear from the Lord. When we hear God's Voice, we should not harden our hearts but respond appropriately. That is being obedient to the revelation.
Here is a trustworthy saying:
"If you don't use it, you could lose it."
Yesterday morning, before those gathered to pray, I paraphrased a story about a King's response to the threat of terror. I voiced an observation from this personal experience: Our leaders don't seem to know how to pray. We are confused about what is appropriate outward behavior in a corporate context.
As I was speaking, personal conviction that arose. That unction caused Sunday night's spark to ignite into a small flame. I had been touched with a simple yet profound sense of spiritual direction.
I thought to myself, "Yes, I should preach this very passage on this coming Sunday morning."
Why the link to Elton John yesterday? (I have never really cared much either way for Elton John.)
Why the recent focus on Lennon, Bush, Rapture, and Public Journaling?
Why vote? (I did vote.) Why write to a local candidate about the single most important issue which underlies any American election?
Some men came and told Jehoshaphat,
"A vast army is coming against you. . . "
"Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him."
This man, Jehoshaphat, was a leader I have chosen to emulate for many years.
He stood up in front of everyone and prayed. As a leader of a small group of people, I pray with this ever-present knowledge.
Fact: The Thief comes only to steal, kill, and to destroy.
My method of modeling integrity-in-prayer is with the hope that others will begin to pray in the Name of Jesus--the One who offers us an ever-abounding life.
In the biblical story, the King's prayer begins with an interrogative. He asks God one of those 'rhetorical' questions, you know?
The King's question directs all those who choose to listen to an obvious answer. < Is God listening? >
"O LORD, God of our fathers,
are you not the God who is in heaven?"
...then the King starts preaching. . . as he prays.
This model for corporate prayer resonates with my own passion for prayer. The King was praying the Word. He was rehearsing what he knew to be true. He may have raised his voice as a symptom of his growing confidence in the strong tower of a right relationship with his Creator. He may have been walking back-and-forth with his eyes wide open--arms lifted high, his face turned upward.
"Power and might are in your hand,
and no one can withstand you. O our God . . ."
The leader prayed. The leader preached--on and on . . . while everyone stood there.
He quoted Solomon from that day when the Temple was first dedicated in God's Name.
Finally, (as Ralph Eichenbaum would say), he came up for some air...and concluded the long-and-winding prayer:
". . .we have no power to face this vast army
that is attacking us. We do not know what to do,
but our eyes are upon you."
All the men of Judah,
with their wives and children and little ones,
stood there before the LORD.
click here to read the entire glorious story.
It's Wednesday, but Sunday's Comin'....
November 14, 2006
Who said it? "From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book. But the reality is that organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."
**oops, I should have put a warning here. There is ample use of vulgar language in this interview. With that in mind, click here for a recent interview with Elton John. Other keywords to watch for in the complete interview: Moscow, Lennon, Gay, Mom, Music, Hatred, Peace, Africa. awat for any like-minded believers out there: write me (email@example.com)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I woke up at 4:00 this morning. Wide awake and ready to write. Checking my email, I noticed that someone had posted a comment at the youtube site for this song. I'm glad that I've had a nibble. Negative comments are sometimes the most helpful as a forum in which an artist has the opportunity to clarify meaning. The posting at google video doesn't handle comments the same way as youtube. Here's youtube:
chatted with Pastor Wesley
before I went to bed. He is
also a very early riser some
mornings. I told him that
Rodney has journaled very
well during his Mission
Trip. Rodney, Gayla, and
David are scheduled to leave
Liberia this morning. Here
is Rodney's report about the
2nd Day of the Crown
Financial Seminar. It was
focused toward Business and
(click here for Saturday in Liberia)
Cathy's Dad called us last night. It was good to hear his voice. I'm happy that the last words he spoke to Cathy,
"I love you too, Gal..."
Saturday, November 11, 2006
disclaimer: A man cannot give more than he has received. Besides, I can't really write about 'everything' that happens in a day. I'm sitting on some really good stories but other people involved wish to remain discrete, so here's all I've got for you.
Yesterday morning, Superior Court Judge Hinkie addressed our Rotary Club. Since he is about to retire he decided to discuss the political decision which resulted in the loss of our ability to have our day in court 'locally'.
While listening to the Judge speak about politics-as-usual, I thought about how his chosen topic had impacted me personally. He was recapitulating his personal involvement in California's consolidation of the courts. Apparently, 'we' had voted for it. Only the mayor seemed to remember when it was that 'we' had voted for that!
Before the days of consolidation, I'm pretty sure that three of my sons had appeared before this very Judge. He presided over a community courtroom in the room next to the police station at City Hall.
<Where was that? Oh...just west of McDonald's>
It was years ago; our children were all still in elementary school. Jerry and Daniel had been cited by a policeman for not wearing helmets while they rode their bicycles. As I recall the Judge allowed the boys to do community service to pay their debt to society--as volunteers at our church!
A few years later Joe was cited for jay-walking in front of McDonald's during the lunch hour at high school. He, too, chose to do community service (again through our church!).
Recently, my son Daniel received his second citation. He hadn't put on his seat belt as the passenger in a friend's truck on the way home from school. This time, however, in order to go to court with my son, I had to drive all the way to Sacramento and pay $3 for parking before having the chance to ask the Judge for Community Service.
After Friday's speech by Judge Hinkie, he fielded questions and entertained comments. I quickly shared my experiences and mentioned that, in the earlier cases, I had a positive experience going before the court with my boys in order to resolve these minor infractions. The process allowed us to learn about the court system and offered a teachable moment as I instructed each boy about how one ought to to conduct oneself when called to appear before a magistrate.
That last trip to court, however, was definitely not a positive experience. I hadn't even realized that the system had changed.
According to the Judge, consolidation has resulted in increased court costs and decreased revenues. The effectiveness of our local police is hindered through lost time and the expenses of travel to the capital. Work among gang members is undermined because it is treated as low priority there.
Spurred on by my comment, the Judge stated the high percentage of court appearances are for minor infractions, misdemeanors and traffic violations. He asserted that most law-abiding citizens who came before him would readily admit when they were guilty. Just having the opportunity to speak to the circumstances surrounding the offense was valued. If they felt that someone had truly listened to their side of the story, then their first impressions about the Justice system would be more positive. He expressed that my experience was being shared by others. The Mayor chimed in about having to go all the way to Sacramento with his son about a minor infraction with a Jet-Ski.
"Does the Holy Spirit show up at Rotary Club?"
I will say it again: awat
In the parking lot, after Rotary, I had a chance to speak at length with the Lutheran pastor about local church issues. I was reminded about the feature story in Leadership (Summer, 2006) which addresses the iChurch (click here). I didn't mention the article but it had been the focus of my opening illustration when I spoke to the pastors of the Delta Valley Association last Tuesday. I asked those in attendance,
"How many of you pastor the coolest church in your town?"
I think I'll send this link to my friend in ministry.
Then I had a brief conversation with a member of our city council about local politics and our shared hope of developing a sense of community in our community.
Later in the morning, a new church member and I had a good conversation about our church's spiritual health. He had a great analogy about a mighty river of living water. I record in writing so I'll remember it in practice.
Enough local stuff. What's happening in Liberia?
David Bearchell's secretary wrote to us yesterday:
"David asked me to give an update as to how well the conference today went. He said it was amazing. About 450 Pastors showed up, they had enough material, the presenters did a wonderful job and half of the pastors stayed to become trainers."
Rodney's journal entry from Friday: click here.
I am so glad that we have continued to assist Pastor Wesley in meeting other people who will come to trust him as we do.
This great news about the STS conference came in just before Cathy and I went to the cemetery for a family graveside service. I was asked to preside over their special family gathering and honor the memory of Ray and Dolores as a couple. Since Cathy and I had ministered at Ray's bedside with songs, we were asked to come prepared to share some music.
Ray and Dolores had their ashes combined in one niche at the Galt Cemetery. I really enjoyed being able to speak of their lives together. We truly do mourn differently than the world mourns.
After the graveside service, we went to the homestead for a time of relaxed conversation with Ray's extended family. We had a great time in dialogue with Ray's sister-in-law, niece, and great niece. At one point, Ray's brother, Phil, came to sit next to us and joined in the table fellowship. "Uncle Phil" is a cool guy.
On the way home, Cathy and I acknowledged that God's grace is making a way for us to endure the trial we face in connection with her family-of-origin. That sweetness of family-fellowship simply hasn't been there through the years. It is bittersweet for us to see the photographs of Ray enjoying life with his wife, raising his family, smiles abounding, lifting his grandchildren and showering them with a fullness and depth of emotion.
Come see for yourself. The public memorial service for Ray Dick is TODAY at 11:00 a.m. (here's a map)
Hope you can make it.
Friday, November 10, 2006
As a devotional time after rehearsal, our Worship Team (the A Street Band) sat and watched the special video that Jennifer prepared for the Ray Dick Memorial. It was truly a worship experience in itself.
My second time watching this presentation of Ray's life stirred up the part of my being where tears come forth. That's a good thing. Cathy and I have wrestled with our emotions involving her father's terminal illness and the distance involved. Mourning is a profound process.
Ray's photos helped us to mourn--not only our loss of him but all human loss. Ray possessed the fruit of the Holy Spirit in great abundance. He gave away fruit to others freely every single day. We both want to grow to be more like Ray.
This afternoon, I will be conducting a graveside funeral for the family members.
I encourage friends and the general public to attend his Memorial Service on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11th at 11:00 a.m. (here's a map) Perhaps going to a funeral doesn't sound like fun to you. In this case, I'd have to simply say, "Ya'll come--see for yourself!"
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Last night, in preparation for Ray's memorial service, I learned the song called "I Can Only Imagine."
(To hear the song, please click here and you will be able to locate a music player on Beverly's myspace).
Then, at our Home Group I shared the lyrics and we sang it together. I let everybody know that I was planning to include this song as part of our Sunday morning
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
The Ultrasound Machine in
Royal Oaks was exceptional yesterday.
Long night dealing with extended family matters after voting. Not much time to write today.
Don't forget, we have Bible Studies today:
Call me if you need directions: (209) 323-0727
November 7, 2006
Yesterday morning Joe was checking his column on our local church website. Although he hasn't updated it since September, different people still view it every single day from around the world.
[08:22] meeboguest566732: Hey Joe, you around?
[08:22] joep19: yeah
[08:22] joep19: who is this?
[08:22] meeboguest566732: no way, this is cool
[08:22] meeboguest566732: Mike Elkins
[08:22] meeboguest566732: with stonegate fellowship in midland, tx
[08:22] joep19: dad says, you're the guy going to Liberia November 30th
[08:22] joep19: he says HI
[08:22] meeboguest566732: sweet
[08:23] meeboguest566732: this im is so cool dude
[08:23] joep19: dad put your video testimony on his page, but you probably knew that
[08:23] joep19: there is a STS group in LIberia right now
[08:23] meeboguest566732: really?!
[08:23] meeboguest566732: didn't know
[08:23] joep19: and Dad and I are just watching Andy Griffith before I head off to school
[08:23] meeboguest566732: lol
[08:23] meeboguest566732: right on
[08:23] meeboguest566732: well have good one
[08:24] joep19: you are the first one I have actually talked to on this IM
[08:24] joep19: dad and I tested it, but no one else replied
[08:24] meeboguest566732: well I am putting this on our blog this is too cool
[08:24] joep19: much of my audience couldn't understand IM
[08:24] joep19: meebo.com
[08:24] joep19: did it give you good directions as to how to do it?
[08:25] meeboguest566732: http://stonegatemissionliberia.blogspot.com/
[08:25] joep19: I have all my IM programs on one web-accessed system
[08:25] meeboguest566732: right
[08:25] joep19: and then I can imbed this IM into any page
[08:25] meeboguest566732: well its pretty straight forward for anyone who ims
[08:26] joep19: yeah, and I can tell how many people are looking at my page also
[08:26] meeboguest566732: does it cover skype?
[08:26] meeboguest566732: or do you know?
[08:27] joep19: not yet, there isn't voice
[08:27] joep19: but MSN
[08:27] joep19: AIM
[08:27] meeboguest566732: ok
[08:27] joep19: ICQ
[08:27] joep19: YAHOO
[08:27] joep19: Google Talk
[08:27] joep19: Jabber
[08:27] meeboguest566732: cool
[08:28] meeboguest566732: well its good for people who don't have an account
[08:28] meeboguest566732: they can still chat
[08:32] Mike E: hey
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: did you just send me a voice clip?
[08:33] Mike E: tried
[08:33] Mike E: I wonder if everyone else can see the chat online
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: I don't think so
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: I think that they see their own blank IM page
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: because it will let me see multiple users on my page
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: but I do think that they hear a beep whenever I send anything to anyone
[08:34] Mike E: you just have to update your msn or sometimes when you use an im combining program it stops the other msn functions
Monday, November 6, 2006
Before going to the office to post this
entry, I rechecked and discovered that
Rodney had just uploaded two days
of entries. I hope you will take the
time to read this. In Monday's entry, he
has a paragraph about their meeting with
Pastor Wesley today.
I learned about the projected cost of the educational building and about the Container which is holding the Ultrasound machine. It is interesting to watch what God is doing through Rodney, Gayla, and David at this exponential level of 21st century networking.
Monday (click here) Sunday (click here)
Photos (click here)
I woke up at 4 a.m. and
checked to see if there had been any
uploads from Rodney and the team in
Liberia. At that time there was still no
posting about what had happened there on
Sunday. They were going to try to attend
two different churches. Rodney and his
wife, Gayla, live in Murfreesboro,
Tennessee. It is Gayla's first time in
Africa. So, it is fun to look at the
photographs that the two of them are
The infrastructure was devastated because of years and years of fighting. Now that God has allowed for peace to rule in that land we will continue to see major changes over the years ahead. For those of you who I suspect will someday be called to go to Liberia, it would be helpful for you to look over their photographs.
Mondays are my day for decompressing and scanning the events of Sunday. Fortunately, the last two weeks were taped and by listening to those sermons I am reminded of who was in attendance, who came to the altar, and other aspects which could be forgotten.
As I was writing there was a blip on my screen. Cathy is substituting as a third grade teacher at Fairsite today. She got online there and sent me this little note. I'm including it <below> because I have some readers who who have never 'chatted' online before.
Cathy's reference to
Aimee alludes to the 'homesick'
feeling that our the CBU
freshman is experiencing on
Sundays. It touches our hearts
to hear that Aimee misses our
local fellowship so much. Cathy
also mentions that she will be
gone for an extended time. Well,
due to her father's diagnosis,
we plan to drive to North
Carolina a week from today. She
desires to be close to her Dad
as he endures the process of his
terminal condition. I've watched
Cathy serve the sick and dying
throughout our years together.
She is highly gifted in the area
of helps and mercy. I am fully
supportive of this plan. Lord
willing, we will take her little
dog, Capo, and leave her there
with her car. Then, I will fly
back to California. So, if that
is how things go, then Cathy and
I will probably be having many
more of these types of chats
over the weeks ahead. We'll see
Don't forget, ROYAL OAKS convalescence ministry takes place tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. I hope some of you will come try it out. Call me if you're interested in exploring this ministry: (209) 323-0727
November 4, 2006
Yesterday's door-to-door Outreach was a great success, I believe.
Many thanks are due to Shirlene's Vision and to the Senior's Sunday School Class for their willingness to go out two-by-two. I asked Jeannie Cowan if she would be my partner. We have a few stories to tell of how God touched our hearts for the people within walking distance of our church property.
Click on the photo to see the entire group of one-hour missionaries and an optional slideshow of a future harvest.
Last Night's PARENTS' NIGHT OUT was a success. Four families brought us 11 children to 'love on' from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Thanks to Don and Annette Curtis, Cathy, Joe, Daniel, and Mary Patterson for assisting throughout the evening's activities.
We hope to offer this FREE NIGHT of Babysitting on the first Friday of each month (to help strengthen marriages, offer relief, get to know families, and build relationships).
VERY IMPORTANT: Rodney's Journal (from Friday)
The above link will take you to Rodney Edward's latest journal entry. Read along and see the plans and effort which are being contributed for Liberia's future.
"Your tents have been enlarged,
O church on the Corner of A and Palin."
Just in: Rodney's report for Saturday (click here)
Here is Rodney's journal for today: click here
November 2, 2006
"It's surprising what you can accomplish when no
one is concerned about who gets the credit."
--a sign that sat on President Reagan's desk
I was talking with Joe the other day and admitted that it seems like I'm always expecting that at some point God is going to to do something BIG . . .
He interrupted my sentence,
"Liberia is BIG, Daddy."
Today is another important day on this missionary journey that I liken to Paul's Macedonian Awakening in Troas.
Rodney Edwards is leaving for Liberia this morning with his wife, Gayla, and another co-laborer, David Bearchell. They will be presenting a Crown Financial Integrity Seminar for business, government and church leaders.
We were introduced to Liberian Ministries through a brother in southern California, Tom Robershaw. He had seen both of our websites and felt that we should meet each other. Like Paul meeting Priscilla and Aquila, to learn of like-minded believers stretching out in faith, has been a great encouragement to all of us here in California.
If you click on the photo of Rodney (above), you will be able to view an online version of the DVD that they produced in 2005. It contains an excellent history of Liberia and features testimonies of those who have helped them up to this point. If anyone would like to follow along on their trip, Rodney is keeping an online journal. click here for Rodney's Mission Journal
Mike Elkins will be on the 10-person team from Stonegate Fellowship (Midland, Texas) who will leave for Liberia on November 30th.
I first became acquainted with Mike because he served as the videographer for Stonegate's last Africa Mission Trip (to Uganda and Sudan). If you click on his photo, you will be able to hear him share his heart for the mission field in a short video clip (4:39).
What Exciting Event Happens Next Locally?
Check this out:
Tomorrow evening is PARENTS' NIGHT OUT from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. We are offering Free Babysitting, Fun, Food, and Games. If anyone would like to help Cathy, Don, Annette, and I as we reach out to young families, please give me a call: (209) 323-0727
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