Another day of
is about to begin...
Beverly and I spent several hours on
Visitation yesterday. Then, I drove Joe to
Tracy so he could catch a ride to Camp
Pendleton where the New America Singers are
Last night, Cathy and I watched another
episode of Dateline (to catch a predator).
I'm saddened to look at the faces of the men
who have fallen into snares set by the
Enemy. When they are caught and exposed, the
shame is captured on their faces. I hope
that the Church will be able to help
sin-sick men who give themselves over to the
lusts of their flesh.
David Sayre and I met for prayer this
morning. I think that Eli was probably
involved in the second day of his third
At eight o'clock a group of children and
adults went to the Sacramento Zoo to tape
scenes from our upcoming Backyard Bunch
I have at least two more appointments today...
Last night I stayed after at the
Bible Study speaking with
until 10:30 p.m. Joe still wanted to watch
when we got home. I suggested we wait a day,
but we went ahead and watched it. I fell
asleep...so I'll still need to watch it
again. Here's a website for the documentary
I have finished the eleventh chapter
of R. B. McCartney's
unpublished novel. There are eighteen
chapters in all. Yesterday, I also listened
to a tape of his joyful voice preaching on
the Sunday night after he returned from
their trip to New York. The combination of
reading his book and listening to his heart
is having a great impact on me. I realize
how much I love that old preacher! I don't
think that he will mind hearing me call him
old in that context.
Mac and Thelma are a
precious couple who have modeled for
Cathy and me a friendly team of evangelistic
partners in marriage. They have tried to put
the Lordship of Christ first in their lives.
They inspire me to keep doing my best to
remain friends with people even when there's
disagreement over certain doctrines or
I am pleased that Pastor Mac has
allowed me to help him proofread his
manuscript. I'm enjoying his story. It is
true to its author. Like my published songs,
Mac's book will emphasize for others what
part of the Gospel Message he deems most
important for whatever audience God
and I took a
walk this morning from 6:15 to 7:00.
Yes, it was brisk.
Highlights of the conversation included
consideration of the oak trees at Fumasi
Park, the effects of the sunrise upon our
perception of colors, a scriptural tie to
the morning dew, and the mist still
lingering over the field at Greer Middle
As well, this old saying settled upon us:
If the grass is
greener on the other side,
We filled in the blank with an unpublished
discussion of watering and fertilization.
Joe said he intends to pursue the study
Our morning prayer walk was prompted by
Power through Prayer.
listlessness is the index to a listless
We will soon be counting the days
until Joe leaves for Moscow, Russia. From
there, he will fly to the Philippines for
his sixth semester of undergraduate
I am thankful that God has given
me the opportunity to spend this special
time with Joe during his junior year in
current classes are of interest to both of
us. He also enjoys history, theology, and
ecclesiology, so our conversations are
centered around these topics.
We are awaiting Joe's netflix account to
deliver a biography entitled
There are not many people I know
around here who would express an interest in
different interests with the other
Jimmie, Kat, Beverly,
Joe, and I met in the sanctuary
to pray from 10:00 to 11:00. Then, I
invested a few hours working through an
end-times novel written by R. B. McCartney.
He plans to publish it soon. I've offered to
help with editing for tense and spelling.
At 5:00, I met with pastors and
representatives from four other local
churches. We are hosting staff members from
who live in the nation of
They will arrive today and be among us until
a city-wide morning church service on
Discipleship highlights today:
Home Study at Hugh and Eula's
Home Study at the Greene's
Call me if you're interested in
"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him."
This morning, Lord willing, at 10
a.m., two or more will gather in Jesus' Name
to pray at 653 A Street, Galt, CA. Since his
ways are higher than our ways, I am hoping
to be granted more wisdom for proceeding as
a pastor, husband, and father. I'm also
hoping to read R. B. McCartney's book today.
On May 26, 2005, I wrote about a man who was
answering a fool according to his folly. I
had sung a little melody to the phrase, and
though I don't really remember the exact
melody, the chords prompted melodic ideas
when I tried it out yesterday. Since I had
linked the day's activity to Proverbs 26, I
read that passage of scripture afresh this
morning and was drawn to the word 'quarreling.'
Sunday morning, 'quarreling'
was mentioned in the biblical text. Along
Paul pointed to it as a sign of
carnality. I made reference, jokingly, to
Cathy and I having had no quarrels in 23
years (with a slow admission to the
In fact, we haven't been quarreling lately.
However, early this morning, I dreamed that
I had raised my voice to her over something
relatively minor. I woke up feeling bad
about it. I softly whispered to her about
the dream. She whispered back, "I dreamed
that your Grandma had awakened from her coma
and we had a conversation".
dream had actually happened to both of us a
number of times. During the last ten months
of her long life, we had been given special
responsibility for that precious soul,
Think on these things:
Pastor Gary Gilley wrote a kind response
to a letter I sent him about his website. I
shared a brief testimony with him and
encouraged him about the work he and others
in his church are sharing on the Internet.
As well, Dr. R. C. Sproul recently broadcast
a series about Martin Luther's view of
preaching. Virginia wanted me to be
encouraged so I listened to three of them
yesterday. Here's a link to that page (here).
I hope to invest wisely today.
is very important to my calling to be
connected to a scheduled, extended time of
prayer. Our Saturday morning men's prayer
meeting begins at 6 a.m. but is not widely
attended (and it doesn't allow for me to
hear the prayers of women).
I'm going to try to hold a Tuesday morning
prayer meeting in our sanctuary. Men and
women will be welcome to come and to pray.
Starting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. We will meet
there every week except the first Tuesday of
each month (when we have an outreach
ministry at Royal Oaks).
My current reading of
Power through Prayer reminds me how valuable
'Daily Devotions' has been to me in years
past. Here's one way that I hope I'll be
able to share my continued growth with you.
(previously-published, proverbial daily
devotions from May, 2005). I plan to copy-and-paste these
(and other) devotional helps into my
dateline for this column.
Yesterday, at prayer
meeting, Eli gave me a small paperback copy
of Power Through
Prayer by E. M.
Bounds. Eli says he has read it
over and over again. Here's an online
here). It is an inspiring work; I'm
happy to have this book to read. It has come
along at a good time for me.
Thursday nights are set apart for
Band Practice. I'd rather it
be known as Worship Praxis.
I remember the chuckle inside when
used to ask us to
'practice' singing in the Spirit. It just
The A Street Band
'practices' Worship on Thursday nights. Last
night the worshipers included
Fred, Ruth, Jim,
Mike, Glenn, and I.
This Sunday we are offering a time of
sharing Communion during 'Worship' (which
still seems to be that certain amount of
time allotted before the children are
dismissed to 'children's church').
So Worship Team members talked through the
flow of the Public Service we hope to offer.
Then, we worked on it.
We walked through the timeline.
We prayed through it as the band played on . . .
We played through it again with the key
We listened to the
Word of the Lord. . .
We listened (here
...then we lingered
before each other in the sight of God. As
the coach I shared our strategy for
overcoming the opposition. We purpose to
lead the people of God in a truthful,
spirit-led time of worship in the church.
I'm not coaching novices. This Worship Team
is made up of believers who understand that
our battle is not against flesh and blood.
They also affirm that we cannot 'lead'
anybody anywhere that we are not going
ourselves. So, we practice.
We lingered on . . . before each other:
bonding in the spirit of love, unity, mutual
respect. We spoke of the power of testimony,
disciple-making, grace, law, and the
importance of rightly dividing the Word of
I stayed at the church until 10:00 pm
Glenn Parker about continuing on
as believers. I've had Glenn as a friend
since he was just a boy.
He is now 22 years of age. I remember Glenn
coming up to me to offer commentary on a
sermon years ago--before he was a teenager.
I remember his teen years (watching him come
kneel at the altar week-after-week).
night he was ready to be shown the hope I'm
holding onto. He seemed very interested in
helping me to blaze a new trail through the
peculiar terrain of the 21st Century.
Another pioneer who will work alongside me
for a lifetime will be Joe. When I got home,
Joe wanted me to watch Annapolis with him.
So, I did.
Then, I got online and checked over Eva's
latest endeavor. I wrote to her asking for
Joe had wanted me to help him study for a
couple tests he has today. However, he
wasn't ready to wake up yet. Since we had
stayed up past midnight, he figures he wants
to sleep in until 7:00. I told him that I
have a Rotary breakfast at 7:00.
I knew that I had just waxed Lucado-ish, but
still yesterday's devotional thought carried
me into the morning Bible Study at
Fellowship with these homebound Christians
I looked up at Eula
during our singing of The Old, Rugged
Cross and noticed that she was singing. This
caused a spontaneous <Halleluhah!> to launch
from this ol' tongue.
in the mood to talk during the study of a
certain passage. He spoke of training
Russians to use a ship that the U.S. gave to
them at the end of WW2. My
curiosity about the aftermath of that war
caused us to depart from the biblical text.
It seemed good to simply let the man share these memories
Hugh is 89 years old, still very
sharp-witted, and is another Christian man
that God has used to model
servant-husbandry. He has laid down his life
for his wife.
Last night's fellowship was packed.
leading us through the gospel of John
We have some talkers! I try my best to hold back but
Ronny continues to encourage me to speak up.
I've noticed that
a unique ministry. Regardless of who is
teaching, Eli will ask a provocative
question that stirs up lively, passionate
discussion. He sometimes makes remarks based
on arguments he has heard put forth by
others through the years. I've never quite
experienced this method in a Bible Study but
it is truly effective. We get into the Word
in a very humble manner. Our teachers
confess that grappling with doctrinal
beliefs will be a continuous, life-long
process dependent upon being filled with the Spirit.
Many of us are facing trials in
these days. Maybe that's why we are lingering in this
mid-week fellowship for hours. I give thanks to my Lord, Jesus.
He gave me a great idea this morning as I
went hunting-and-gathering (for milk, bread,
I was listening to the Michigan/Sweden/Galt
Sessions in the car.
"Yes, Lord. That is a
good idea." (good ideas regularly
occur to me when I was listen to songs
inspired by the Word).
If you would like to be similarly inspired
to take one giant leap for mankind in the
upcoming generation, I recommend that you
Jörgen's Remix and burn it to
a CD (click here).
I give you my permission to make copies and
listen to the Word of the Lord that
permeates these works. If you don't know how
to burn these songs to a CD, write me, OK?
Last night (during Bible Study) I had
an idea prompted by a mental vision of the
animated spotlights in the 21st Century
Church logo. I lifted my arms and waved them
as premiere night spots. This might not make
any sense to others but it is all about John
the Baptist to this reader/writer. I enjoy
the Voice. I recognize Him when He
speaks to my heart, mind, and strength.
The Spirit delivered a personal letter to me
from the pastor in Kenya who hosted her on a
mission trip years ago. My heart was touched
when I read a letter from him a couple
...and Joe received a letter from a couple
young men in Liberia whose schooling he
provided for during their tenth year of high
school. They want to go into the 11th grade
but don't have the funds (and I don't think
Joe feels like he does either).
Here is a
photo album of shots taken when we sent
to Liberia last month (click
I wish the windows of heaven would open up
and pour out so much blessing that we
couldn't contain it all . . .
I know of some deserving individuals who
would benefit from the overflow.
I am reminded that the joy of the
Lord is my strength (wordclick).
After everyone else had left,
and I talked over the difference
between being a
and a joy-pumper. We're
choose to choose the better way to relate to
those around us. Lord, help us!
Have you ever
wondered what happens behind-the-scenes at a
Women's Retreat? Consider this strange
little video that arrived in my INBOX. It
was shot last weekend at Jenness Park and
features some of the sisters in our local
in yesterday with news that there has been a
bloodless coup in
Thailand. He was just there this
summer so was especially interested (click
Nicolas Cage movie
There is yet another 'pot house' bust in the
local news today. Here's an interesting blog
that maps out where all this dope has been
growing in the next town north of the
here). Have you ever wondered what's
happening in that house next door to you?
A Pakistani pastor stays in touch with a couple
of us. Here is a prayer request. I just did
a little research about his reference to the
Pope's words (click
Have a blessed day, I am thankful to Lord
for you both.
You did not Choose Me,
but I Chose you and appointed you that you
should go and bear fruit, and that your
fruit should remain, that whatever you ask
the Father in My name HE may give you.
These things I command you, that you love
If the World hates you, you know that it
hated Me before it hated you.
(John 15:16 to 18)
tomorrow here Muslim peoples strike against
Pope's words. Please pray for us for our
God Bless you,
September 20, 2006
On Monday, I suggested that
record a version of 'Lord, I Give You My
Heart'. Well, he had already recorded it
under the accurate title:
Daniel lives in Australia. He has quite a
good selection of songs posted on YouTube.
I've enjoyed getting to know him through
these songs and by email.
and I have been working on some visuals to
assist with my Sunday School class
discussions and hands-on project.
This composite shot involved several
back-and-forth tweaks. Click on it if you
would like to see some other developments in
I don't think any of us will live to see the
22nd Century Church and it doesn't make much
sense for us to spend too much time back in
the 20th Century. So, I need to remember the
past and hope for the future but carefully
choose to live abundantly in the unlimited
potential of today's relationships.
Lord, help us today
to watch and to pray,
to be and to do
. . . (accordingly).
Bible Study Fellowship and Prayer
Call me for directions:
written to me months ago about the John
Lennon documentary that will soon be
released. This article (here)
is of interest to a few people I know. It's
an old story from Christianity Today and
fits with the song
I found 'Working-class Hero' on
last night. It took me back to
when I repeatedly listened to that poet's
I am meditating upon the context
of this particular verse as I look forward
(toward the upcoming sermon on Sunday):
"By the grace God has given me,
I laid a foundation as an expert
plans to hang out with me today. He doesn't
have school so he will invest his free time
about his father's business. Hopefully, it
will be time well invested.
It looks like both tapes of last Sunday's
sermon are blank. Why? I don't know. So, I'm
glad I took the time to download my thoughts on
The local church stuff in
yesterday's entry is important to me.
was reminded of our prayers about the Zoo.
reported that after a phone call she made, the
idea to charge for videotaping the Backyard
Bunch has been dropped.
Today's entry is long and
involves local church stuff. If your time
with us is limited today, I recommend
listening to this mp3 copy of what
did with Joe's song and skipping the rest
(unless you're bored and have lots of free
to download Joe's Song (with Jörgen)
I Will Say it Again
Please listen for the
addition of organ, keyboards, harmony
vocals, and enthusiastic crowd noises
tastefully placed by the blind musician in
Sweden. What fun--to interact musically
across the boundaries of time and space. See
Saturday's entry for more about the process.
About the local scene: I formerly
shared early Monday morning walks with a
close friend but I don't currently have that
gift. Instead, I'm facing this template in
order to download some highlights from
Cathy had gone on a women's
retreat with nine others from our church, I
had added responsibilities over the weekend.
Preparation by our secretary much
earlier in the week had helped relieve some
of the stress of preparing the band's music.
I arrived at 7:30 to find that
had once again brought
to help open all the doors, turn on the
lights, set the thermostat, locate the
bulletins, make the coffee and probably many
other unnoticed, service-oriented tasks . .
now that's 'deaconing'. . .
Before our band warm-up,
mentioned that someone at the Sacramento Zoo
had expressed an interest in charging us a
fee to video-tape our church kids (using the
zoo for background scenery). We shared this
with the Band and then prayed. We also
prayed over both services and the Sunday
School classes, the afternoon Spanish
Service, and our Sunday Evening groups.
We started right 'on time' but as
goes our church culture, both morning
gatherings take about ten minutes for the
whole group to arrive. The music remains the
same selections for both services.
Yesterday's hymns were
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
There's Room at the Cross.
I knew that it was costly to stand and read
Acts 15 in its entirety (at both
services). I considered (and reconsidered)
the need to read the entire chapter aloud. I
concluded that it was important to do so.
However, I placed the public reading of
Scripture in between hymns and did my best
to read with expression. It seemed to be
accepted by those gathered--most had a Bible
opened before them reading along.
Alex was careful to follow the
directions I gave him for the Powerpoint
during all the songs.
Other songs we sang together were:
Under the Shadow,
How Great is our God,
and Lord, I Give You My Heart.
(Apparently, this last song is from
Australia. I wonder if
Daniel Teale will put up his version
The altar times
seemed to be appropriately placed because
there was some response at each of them.
My Sunday School class was a delight.
shared and discussed ideas in preparation
for the possibility of launching something
special in November of 2007.
Tommy Rackley and Bryan Ryan
were bubbly as they seemed to want certain
people to notice that they were there!
Interesting challenges of 'doing
business' in relationship as church members
served as the theme of my sermon in both services.
I think that this was an important message.
We considered the oh-so-real relationship
Sharp Dispute at the beginning
Paul and Barnabas versus
'the men from
Sharp Dispute at the end of
Paul versus Barnabas
I am in the 11th year of ministry
in the same local church. Thus far, this
year seems to be a time of personal
reflection and rededication. The following
facts of church life offer a Big Picture
perspective that should prove helpful to
those God has specifically called to
minister alongside me.
* We will
continually experience the process of
calling others to help with the discipleship
of individuals who are being called on the local level.
will continue to send and receive gifted people who
were already Christians when they first
arrived at this local church. These individuals
are 'working out' their salvation as God
watches how it all works out.
Believers will sometimes arise to agree with
false teaching (simply because of their
background). We will deal with it. It
happens. We're finite and limited in our
understanding of God's Ways.
Someone who has demonstrative personality traits and
specific calling (like
stand at times and passionately testify.
Mission teams (like
Paul and Barnabas) will season the
day's controversy with
signs of hope
and stories of God's
At times during any given debate, the people
will become still and try to listen more
attentively to the Voice of the Holy Spirit
through each other.
Soft-spoken elders (like
offer practical solutions.
In the midst of all these kinds of people,
we will make plans that
'seem good to the Holy
Spirit and to us'. The password for
our church's high-speed wireless is a truth
that overrides the entirety of
The devotional verse for yesterday's
message was Proverbs 19:21
"Many are the plans
in a man's heart,
but it is the
LORD's purpose that prevails."
* In the midst of all this
individuals will still choose to go in the
opposite direction. We should commend them
to the grace of God and hope for the very
What happens when 'a Barnabas' and 'a Paul'
seem to experience an irreconcilable
Hmmm...I suppose that a biblical perspective
might be to pray along these lines:
May the proposed Mission Trip be doubled.
May laborers like Silas, Timothy, and Luke be added.
May a young disciple like John Mark be given a
second chance and get on with his next step of
Remember: God is watching as we make our
On Sunday evenings,
is leading a group of children called
The Backyard Bunch.
McCartney preaches a message for
the adults, Cathy and I have been helping
with the children.
Last night Amanda
Harlan and her friend,
were also assisting. We all agree that this
is a particularly sweet time of engaging
with these young people--learning some music
fundamentals, a body of music, and preparing
for a program on November 5th.
A narrative from
Acts 15 is the background for this
Planning as God Watches
Dr. J Vernon McGee with some
background on this very chapter in church
for 1st verse
for 2nd verse
May the Lord
speak to all of us as we meditate upon God's
Last night, in
reference to Jimmie's letter, this email
just came in from
Iona (a retired high school biology
teacher). Her husband, Richard, was a School
Neither Richard nor I have read
You're in good company!
Have you read any Silas Marner?
That was my bane in HS English...hated it!
No, I haven't even heard of Silas
Marner until now.
Well, I plan to finish reading the
short stories in The Canterbury Tales before
the '06 comes to an end.
It's all about timetravel. You see, the
Miller told his tale long before anyone had
ever listened to 'a whiter shade of pale'.
September 16, 2006
My cousin, Jim, wrote from Ohio:
"I just read your blog for the 15th and am
surprised that you'd admit to not having
read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. As I
recall, it was required reading for
I didn't struggle at all with the
admission. I never even heard of Chaucer
until I got to college. I knew that Jim
wasn't being mean-spirited in his
observation. His remark gave me opportunity
to write him back with some personal
remembrance of my high school years. I also
told him more about the day I invested
considering high school literature.
I have included this helpful outline which
may shed some light into the darker regions
of public education.
1. Admission Standards
a. the case for objective subjectivity
b. the case for subjective objectivity
e. none of the above
2. Standards Transmission
a. so forth and
b. so on
Last night, Joe and I watched Citizen
Kane together. I offered observations
that would be pointed out in any
college-level Film Interpretation class.
Then we watched most of the film again with
the commentary by Peter Bogdonavich (about
the same stuff I said).
Greg sent me a note today:
buddy, download this file. See what you
is very excited, and I like it too. I might
pull back a harmony vocal or two but his
keyboard is very nice and his enthusiasm for
the project is real fine.
So, I downloaded
the file and listened to what Jörgen
(a blind musician in Sweden) added to Joe's
song. I am including the original link in
case anyone want to learn how Greg
and Jörgen are sending the large
Here is an mp3 copy of what Jörgen
did with the song:
for Joe's Song (with Jörgen)
The original download was a 32 MB wav file. I've hadn't heard it on
big speakers yet--only the laptop. On the
little speakers I hear a
click that sounds like an old-fashioned
tape-splice near the beginning. Maybe it is
a low bass signal that the laptop speakers
I do enjoy
hearing Jörgen's vocals and
the keyboards. Joe just burned the song to a
CD so we can hear it on a bigger system.
Here's the link that Greg sent me so you can
learn about sendspace. (click
September 15, 2006
I was asked to fill in as a
teacher at the high school today. I haven't
taught there in a whole year. I just
finished teaching first hour and have a
break until third hour, so I came over to
the church office. In class, the lesson plan
said that we were to read aloud from the
book Canterbury Tales. I had never
read it so I asked the class to give a
synopsis. Now it has my curiosity stirred.
Last night's music rehearsal went
well. After practice of the hymns and
spiritual songs, we discussed the topic for
Sunday morning and had another time of
Joe and I watched a
session of his Cultural Anthropology class on the
computer yesterday. He has two classes that
are broadcast in real time and then are
stored online for anyone who wants to review
the material. I am quite impressed by the
extra value that this distance-learning tool
brings to community college students.
we were able to drive down to Stockton to go
bowling before Music Practice. Daniel had
invited his friend, Nate, a young man who
has been at our church the entire time we
have. Nate is currently attending a trucking
school working toward his Class A license.
He also was just accepted to take an
entrance exam at the Sheriff's Academy.
The birthday boy won the game. I came in
second. Did I let him win just because it
was his birthday? Frankly, I'm not sure...I
did throw a couple gutter balls.
September 14, 2006
Eighteen years ago today,
was born. Our third son, Daniel has
fulfilled his unique role in this family
with a great sense of humor and deep
loyalty. Cathy and I made the decision to
wait until the end of his fifth year before
sending him off to public school for
kindergarten. So, that is the reason he is
in his senior year (although now he's an
adult). He asked if the family could go
bowling together as a way to celebrate his
The next few years are going to be
interesting as we launch all four kids into
the independence of adulthood. Currently,
Daniel are in my Sunday School
class. I also asked
Jerry to join us last week
because we are vision-casting as we read
that old Rick Warren book (The Purpose
Driven Church) together.
Jebby and I went for a walk today. We
discussed the Scripture I'll be focusing
upon in this Sunday's sermon.
Yesterday I met with
Tim Stevenson, Mary Sanders, Craig Dale,
and a few others about the gathering of
churches which will take place on Sunday,
October 8th. I was sorry to see that
Frank Mack, Rick
Keiser, and Dave Ross
weren't there. At the gathering I was
humbled as I reflected upon the
interrelationships of these people who each
play a distinct role in this chapter of my
In Bible Study, Ron
Shindy asked us to read aloud
to the Gospel of John. I
once preached through the entire book of
John (over a period of 1.5 years). I also
put some of these verses into a chord
progression back at Alpha and Omega (click
here). I am so thankful for a
chance to attend a Bible Study led by
someone else. Familiarity with the Bible can
sometimes be a hindrance to my growth as a
Christian. One might only see the verses in
the context of when they were first heard.
Therefore, I purposed to listen for the
Spirit as we read these especially-familiar
passages. I was challenged afresh about
taking direct action to follow Christ in his
model of incarnational ministry (John 1:14).
After the study, I showed
Barbara to watch this slideshow
of the apple harvest on Tuesday (click
In late December,
Joe is planning to go on a 12-day
trip to Moscow, then to the Philippines for
a semester. He doesn't have school or work
today so he wants to spend some time with
teaching third grade today. She's leaving
tomorrow for the weekend to go to a Women's
Retreat. So, I'll have to make the
adjustment necessary to run the household
I was happy to see that 82 people stopped by
this page yesterday. Its been awhile since I
have had that many visitors. I hope they
found something of value to them here.
September 13, 2006
Our weekly morning study was
cancelled so I've been given an additional
hour on this bright Wednesday morning. It is
full speed ahead as I'm trying to work with
members of various committees to launch into
a new fiscal year.
This afternoon, pastors and leaders from our
the churches in our town will be meeting to
discuss the next community-wide worship
service. It will take place at Galt High
School on Sunday, October 8th at 10:00 a.m.
We will celebrate the work we have done
together in Lesotho (Southern Africa).
I enjoyed our trip to the appleman's
retirement regime may look different than
many but one must admit, the man appears to
be enjoying himself.
This slideshow brings to my mind
After loading his truck himself, Eli took Joe
and I to the packing house. The apples were to
be shipped out later that night.
Cathy and I
drove to Pete and
Jeannie's. After a nice visit, Pete
and I had some church business to discuss. We
enjoyed a sweet time of prayer. Afterwards, we
went to the little chinese restaurant around the
corner. It was good to see
again. She had been picking figs from Pete's
tree. Her children have played in their big yard
for years. Simple blessings.
The local apple man told me that
I could stop by to watch the second harvest
this morning. I hope to go out and take a
few photographs. As I have listened to him
talk about the orchard, the Spirit has
spoken to me simultaneously.
That's probably why I desire to go out there
again today. Its like going to the altar
with the expectation that God will speak to
me. I am already well into the preparation
for this coming Sunday's message so I wonder
what application I might discover at the
Through the end of 2006 and into January, I
have mapped out a strategy for my Sunday
sermons. It has proven to be a workable plan
because the messages are feeding my own
The series has been entitled
I Love to Tell our
Story. I began the series
by committing to a starting place (9.3.06)
and a final destination (1.28.07).
. . .
www.spiritquest.rob does the rest
. . .
"Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the
LORD's purpose that prevails."
will be upon the verse above.
In preparation for the upcoming sermon, I
sat down with Virginia yesterday and looked
through the annals of local church history.
She wanted to see if there were any photos
of people Margaret Hopper had known. We
found who she was looking for.
I told her that on Sunday, Phyllis had told
us that Chester Plank had baptized her in a
river back in 1961.
I pointed out a photo of
and told her that I had found him on the
Internet. As mentioned yesterday, I had read
from a church newsletter that he had
published (with news of an opportunity to
extend Palin Avenue out to A Street).
Virginia asked me to go outside with her so
that she could share with me the location of
a secret passageway (unknown to most current
members at fbcgalt).
Where does the Bible say
'...consider the outcomes of their way of
click here to find the answer
Years ago, I met
Dr. G. Paul Hamm at a Hume Lake
Pastors' Conference. We were sitting at the
same table having lunch. Dr. Hamm asked me
where I pastored. I gave him the stock
answer of the day,
"south of Sacramento on highway 99 . . ."
That response prompted Paul to add that he
had once pastored in a dusty, little town in
the valley--Galt. That moment of discovery
moved the conversation into a deeper level
of his memories. He had invested some of his
life among the people here at the time.
Internet research reveals that a decade
after serving as a leader here, Dr. Hamm
became the Librarian at my alma mater:
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
If any of you search-savvy readers can find
anything on these men listed below, please
sleuth away and send me your findings.
The men who have pastored at fbcgalt:
1. E. J. Wood (1952-53)
2. Billie Pate (1953-55)
3. Bernard Whitabes (1955-56)
4. Paul Hamm (1957-59)
5. Chester Plank (1960-63)
6. D. G. Milligan (1963-70)
7. Monroe Barnard (Interim: 2 months)
8. Samuel Kimekeo (1970-72)
9. Frank Hall (Interim: 4 months)
10. Dean McCracken (1973-74)
12. H. A. Thomas (Interim: 1 month in 1977)
13. James Baker (1977-81)
14. Kenneth Archer (1981-82)
15. Gary Odell (1982-95)
16. Al Warren (Interim: 1995-96)
17. Rob Patterson (1996-present)
click here about the list above.
Yesterday I met a woman who lives near our
church building. She told me that she had
given her life to Jesus years ago and had
been baptized here during the time that
Odell had pastored. This woman's memory includes
a very important step of obedience connected
with Gary's ministry years at fbcgalt.
Later in the afternoon, Cathy and I drove
out to Ray's
house to visit with him. Ray is in the
classroom of suffering but is handling
life's challenges with the same
determination and goodwill for which he is
known. Cathy has adopted Ray in her heart as
a father in the church. He fulfills that
role with an abundance of love and
Well, I'm off to the orchard . . .
In contrast to the prior week, yesterday's
use of technology was without hindrance. We
had good attendance at all four services.
Yes, good may be a relative term but it
aptly describes my observation.
We pulled out some older choruses for both
of the morning services and, in the sermon,
I quoted from a newsletter we published 30
years ago. That era's pastor,
Sipe, had shared about an upcoming
business meeting and an important proposal
which might convince the City of Galt to
extend Palin Avenue all the way to A Street.
In 1977, it would cost the church $3,000 to pay for
the curb and the gutter.
That illustration (along with Pastor Sipe's
reprint of 'Ten Ways to Kill Your Church')
gave me a Big Picture perspective as I
continued throughout the day:
is listed here but the other people involved
weaves the fabric of God's Word in the
context of process:
Worship, Sermon, Altar, Youth Sunday School,
Worship, Sermon, Altar, lunch, La Luz de
Cristo, Communion, prep for Council,
pastoral mediation between two family
members, Council Meeting,
Audio for Mike McCall, the Backyard
Bunch, a late-night walk with Cathy,
listening to Mike's sermon on tape.
It was a full day but I was full of
hope instilled by Truth. The Wisdom,
Discipline, and Understanding tasted so good
purposed to purchase as much as I was able
on my Sunday trip to the Storehouse.
This morning I was awake at 4:00 for
awhile. I got online and researched
fabric buildings as a possibility for our
needs. I liked the 'tent' buildings I had
seen at Saddleback years ago. Well, going to
one of the links brought up this page
advertising their Sunday morning venues. The
concept is really quite interesting to me. I
had shared the idea with my Youth Class last
Sunday but 'seeing it for myself' on this
link was truly fascinating.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Today, I will preach the second sermon in
'I Love to Tell Our
Coinciding with the plans I have for leading
a discussion among the young people in
Sunday School, here is an outline of today's
Growing as the Church in Galt
I will begin by asking the listeners to
meditate upon these specific verses from
15 My son, if your
heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad;
16 my inmost being
when your lips speak what is right.
17 Do not let your
heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the
18 There is surely a
future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and
and keep your heart on the right path.
20 Do not join those
who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and
gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
22 Listen to your
father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she
23 Buy the truth
and do not sell it;
here for these verses in context)
After reading these verses I will ask certain
do we go to
make a purchase
from the Lord's Storehouse?
With what currency do we
What might we expect after we have taken a step
forward toward the acquisition of
In order to speak to these questions we will
look to Isaiah's
here) and a
from Jesus to the church at
On the way to the marketplace, let us
An aside: This message reminds me of a
fatherly altar in my personal history. I
have a distinct memory of baby
sitting on my lap at the piano. Before we moved
to Alpha and Omega Ministries, I was reading
through Proverbs each day. I read this 23rd
collection of proverbs and wrote this song with
Jerry, Joe (and the Bride of Christ) in mind:
The Spirit and the Bride
night I had a nice letter from
told me that he has been reading this column and
the entries on myspace as a way of staying
connected with me. Then, he shared an important
dream he had remembered. I wrote back welcoming
him to stay in touch because I think this is one
way that God has intended for us to meet the
people he wants us to labor alongside. If you
click on his photo, you'll be able to hear
him sing praise to the Lord.
This morning Megan
(an RN) from Midland, Texas wrote asking for
contact information for Miss Parlee. A mission
team from her church in Texas is heading for
Liberia in late November. She wrote that she was
just about to call a physician friend to ask his
assistance toward her plan to help Pastor Wesley
and the Greater Love Medical Clinic. She agrees
that networking is a great blessing from God.
...Now I also have a friend in Sweden.
Due to the unique opportunity to communicate in
this 21st century, I was introduced by
to this 30 year old man named
Since he told me that he would like
to meet other musicians around the world, I
figure that I'll share some of his letters to
I've been blind
since I was born, I was born in 1976 on the
25th of January in Gothenburg Sweden. I'm
living in an apartment now in Nödinge which
is 2 miles from Gothenburg. This is my first
apartment but before that I lived with my
I've been away from home before when I was
studying music in Lindköping in a wonderful
school called Liljeholmens folk-highschool.
My education was two years long and very,
first-ever written song was called
Summerfield which I wrote when I was in the
6th grade. I've struggled to get to where I
am now with two studios (one at home and one
in another town not far from Nödinge called
So soundtechnik is one of my favourite
things to work with and production as well.
I started to play when I was about 3 years
and the first instrument I played was just a
small, toy keyboard.
When I got in to the second grade in school
I tested to play some saxophone but later I
was getting into drums because when I was
small I played drums on everything I could
find which had a drumming sound. I've taught
myself to play the guitar and bass but I'm
not as good as Greg (hehehe).
Well then, that was a little bit about me
when I was small and so on. all through my
life the music has been following me and I
got many good friends who're musicians but
it is also great to get in touch with other
musicians from other countries so I'm very
glad to get to know you all (Greg and Rob
and other musicians from the US).
I played "Unconditional Love"
for Mary Sanders after Rotary. Although she was
familiar with "All You Need is Love", she didn't
understand the references to "Give Peace a
Chance" or "Nowhere Man".
Then she said, "I was in a military family away
from the U.S. Besides, I was more into Barry
Manilow than the Beatles".
Mary, if you'll listen to this song that
wrote, I think you'll
agree that he has a little Barry Manilow
influence himself (although the harmonica
solo is reminicent of Little Stevie Wonder).
click here for
a sound file
Here's more from
Yes, I have a brother who is 4 years older
but currently no girlfriend. I once had a
girlfriend (a very long time ago but she was
living very far from Nödinge) so we broke
My dad is still alive. My mother and daddy
divorced in 1991 when I was 14 years. Yes My
mother is still healthy and she's working
alot with natural products like aloe vera
and it goes very well for her.
It's nice to hear that my songs are romantic
and I've also made some rock'n'roll songs
and even some duets with good friends. Last
year one of my really good friends has past
away but we will not know the reason why.
His name was Henrik and he and me had
a very good time together and we were
writing many funny and crazy songs. We've
known each other since 1992 and in the last
years we were traveling alot.
Well, let me tell you
that you are allowed to share my life story
with Greg and other friends who wants to get
to know me and my musical dreams and songs.
If you would like to write him a note,
here's Jorgen's email:
I slept until 6:00 this morning. At
7:00, I'm supposed to be at my Rotary Club
meeting. I accidentally missed it last week. I
had written for this column and then went on
visitation with Beverly. Sometime mid-morning, I
realized that I had missed it.
Rotary is important to me because it
helps me stay connected with what will be
happening in this community during the years
Yesterday's walk with
edifying as usual. He has been at First Baptist
Church of Sacramento for several years now. We
have been friends since I first came to Galt.
Jebby and Ronda attended our church for one year
after leaving Horizon. During our walks, we
sometimes discuss the trials we face in our
lives. It is good to have a close friend.
The longevity and quality of our relationship
fosters balance and godly understanding of our
individual circumstances. It is somewhat like
have an Interpreter for one's dreams.
I'm getting ready for Sunday's Services. Our A/V
team (Rollin and Melanie) is taking time off in
September, so I asked Alex to come assist at
Band Practice last night. I taught him some of
the basics of running the Sound Board. It had
been messed up last week.
Joe and I arrived early to sort out what had
happened to the settings and patches. Something
needs to be done in the area of technology. I
had to ask for a ladder during the second
service last week because the Video Projector
was being non-compliant to the requests of the
remote. It needed to be unplugged at the source.
Joe has been
asked to go to Moscow in January to help with an
English Camp. He is good at outlining plans for
his life. Currently he is attending classes at
CRC on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He is
working as a tutor in an Elk Grove Learning
However, here is his plan for the year-end and
1) He hopes to attend Tsunami (our state youth
conference) with us after Christmas.
2) Then, on December 30th, he will fly out of LA
to Moscow. He is scheduled to help our Moscow
missionary, Mary Chase, with an English Camp.
3) After 2 weeks in Moscow, he will fly to
Manila to attend a semester at the Baptist
Theological Seminary in the Philippines.
always helped me with the work of the church
anytime I ask. He truly desires to see our local
church become more effective with the unique
calling God has entrusted to us.
is being baptized on Sunday morning.
is delivering the Word of God on Sunday evening.
I will be helping
Christene with the Backyard Bunch.
Amidst the signs that God has a future for those
who are taking personal steps of obedience, I
have seen other symptoms of below-the-surface
troubles in the Body.
Is anyone in trouble? He should pray.
I will ask Beverly to make all
kinds of requests and petitions before we set
out on visitation today. I will try to be quiet
today and listen for the Lord's Voice. Healthy
communication is two-way.
And then, tonight, there's a cheerleaders'
sleep-over at the Pattersons. Just a few more
years and we could be empty-nesters. Well, I'd
better enjoy the night.
I'm off to Rotary, then Visitation...
Thursday, September 7, 2006
Off to a good start today: Jebby and
I went for our weekly VisionWalk. I've heard
from my buddy, Tom Lane. Pastor Hendon has
written to me.
More good news of this day is that the memory
card I lost yesterday was found. The Holy Spirit
directed me to call Perko's in Manteca to ask if
one little piece of plastic had been found. Yes.
So, Joe and I are heading south down the road...
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
In my opinion, yesterday's funeral
was perfect. I believe that God had His Way in
orchestrating all the various tributaries to the
commemoration of John
Cathy then joined me for the
graveside service for John which included
military honors for the naval veteran. We also
went to daughter Gina's
home after the funeral. We had pleasant
conversations with family members and several
friends who work in the Galt school system.
Today, after Hugh and Eula's morning
Bible Study, Eli,
and I are taking a drive down the road to
Manteca. We will look over the the altar area at
in preparation for casting the Vision for
something new in Galt.
By the way,
Pastor Mac was 'in the groove'
yesterday at Royal Oaks.
He took us back to the Valley of the Shadow of
Death experienced by the shepherd boy, David.
Goliath was taunting the people of God but David
did not fear that evil voice. A great message!
Thelma are on
their way to New York City and then are heading
to Washington, D.C.
Last Sunday, we played the song "I
Will Say It Again" as part of our morning
worship service. At that time I mentioned that
it we had put the session with notes online (click
here) and that we were hoping to spread
this particular song all over the world.
Well, Greg Brayton
included it on his webpage and sent this letter
out to some of his blind friends around the
friend, Pastor Rob Patterson, from California
was back in the studio last week. Rob and
I have been working together for about 17 years
in the studio, and knew each other long before
that, and ya know, neither one of us are really
It's such a joy to put a song up on the web site
we recorded since his son Jerry plays
drums on it, his eldest son Joe wrote it,
and his lovely wife Cathy is singing on
it with us. Boy we had a blessed time. Just
wanted to share the fun we had glorifying God
If you go to the link below and then click on
one of Greg's latest projects, you'll hear what
I'm talking about. Jerry did a fine job
on the drums, and Joe wrote a good song.
A real family deal and they allowed me to be
part of it! Good friends indeed.
Got it, Greg. and have downloaded it to my hard
drive for listening anytime I want!
Previewed it; great harmonizing and great
drumming; very upbeat!