pastorob's current journal
Monday, April 30, 2007
The cellphone began to ring around 1:15 a.m.
One of my friends is missing. I thought it
might be news about him.
In the dark, I hurriedly fished for its
location at my bedside. Guessing that it
was in one of four pants pockets
made the rush even more trying. I missed the
There was a 519 prefix in the missed call
file. I tried to call the number back but a
recording played saying that 'international
calling' is not in my service plan... a
After I post this entry, I will transfer
yesterday's sermon from cassette to mp3 and
upload it to the Internet. Cathy and I
listened to the message (The Waiting Room)
on our way home last night and will enjoy
working with it again.
This is the third sermon in a three-year
series. By listening to these early sermons
I hope to discover how best to proceed with
this particular preaching plan. The division
of the preaching platform into three
distinct areas of exposition.
The initial idea is still unfolding as I
practice what I am preaching. Thus far we
Another method of inquiry into the texts
point to cases of tense as an obvious tool
. . . and in application for us today:
as it considered by
as it considered by
yet more application will involve:
Tony Payne, an
online writer who also edits sermons has
this to say about the preachers and process:
most serious spiritual hazard is what the
editorial mindset does for sermon listening.
I find it very hard to listen to my pastorís
Sunday expositions without mentally editing
them as I go along: working out how ten
minutes could have been saved by omitting
that unnecessary illustration; or how the
main point could have been so much sharper
without that overly detailed excursion into
the Old Testament background; or how the
application could have been so much more
powerful if the interesting but rather
tangential point 4 hadnít been made.
One problem with
observation as it relates to my style. The
matter of real-time preaching with real
people. Yesterday's case of
(an infant in her Grandma's arms). If you
listen to the sermon you'll hear an example
of attempting to read the Spirit's cue
Working with Greg in the studio I have
learned the joy of letting the machine run
and capturing the spontaneous or working
with an unexpected mistake.
Likewise, I remember a young father who was
baptized years ago:
Domingo Garcia. Since he was the
first one baptized among us at the start of
a new century, I often referred to him in my
Sunday messages. My thoughts about
during the y2k sermons remain embedded in my
Retrospective editing of one's sermon is
part of the process for this practicing
If I were to preach with my eyes closed and
my ears covered then I might be able to
stick to a memorized script but so far that
has never happened.
". . . a great many
sermons are what an editor would call Ďa
good first draftí. All the material is
there, the thinking has been done, itís in
reasonable shape, but itís not actually
finished -- which is not all that
surprising, since it was, in all likelihood,
still being written at 11:30 pm Saturday
This is a normal
Monday morning for me. Check back later for
a link to yesterday's audio message or
click here to listen to the first or
second 'real sermon.'
Saturday, April 28, 2007
A pop-up news report brings me immediate
news of topics of which I have studied or
written online. For instance, this morning
here are two such targeted reports:
A suicide bomber in
Conflict between Russians and Estonians in
It is still dark out at 4:53 this morning.
Yesterday I worked on the small ponds and
fountains in the backyard. Cathy is busy at
work trying to prepare our home for sale.
So, she was happy to get a full day of work
out of me.
Cathy claims to have no love-language
preference. She has been heard to say, "I
love it all!" Yes, she likes to see 'love in
action.' When asked if I really enjoyed the
day, I think that I grunted--as if if to say
A long-overdue day of yardwork in Galt still
didn't seem in sync with my other
In the evening, I rented
Blood Diamond and listened to the
commentary by director, Ed Zwick. Cathy and
I saw the film in the theatre when it was
first released. Set in Sierra Leone in 1999,
the film is still of value to me.
It depicts the process used by West African
rebel troops to conscript children as
soldiers. I still think of the
hundreds of thousands of young adults in
Liberia whose childhoods were stolen by the
warlords. I desire to see the power of the
Gospel in setting those captives free from
shame and guilt.
This morning there is a choir workshop at
our church in Auburn from 9:00 to Noon. In
the evening, we will be hosting the church
service at the
Gospel Mission in downtown Sacramento
Friday, April 27, 2007
Tomorrow evening at 7:30,
is on the schedule to conduct the service at
the Union Gospel Mission. Key members will
be out of town so I have been asked to
provide the special music. I called Mike
McCall to see if he would wanna come with a
guitar and help.
In the Luke portion of last Sunday's sermon,
we saw what unusual visitation can occur
when one simply shows up for a calendared
From faith to faith:
Listen Here (dial-up)
CLICK HERE to download as an mp3
Yesterday morning I visited
Francie, a couple who have been
attending our church. They had been away on
a long trip prior to Easter so they missed
some of the action.
They asked me a couple key questions about
my ministerial calling. It was the right
time and place to lay out some interpreted
history when I had to bring the adventure to
a close. I had to transport a couple
important ladies to a speaking engagement.
was the speaker at our monthly senior's
luncheon, Joy Fellowship.
I enjoyed watching her in action as she
shared her message--developing over a
lifetime. She is a beautiful woman. Early in
our relationship, I learned that her name
(Catherine) meant 'pure'. The name fit back
in those days. In my eyes it does still.
After lunch, we dropped
Mary off at
the Gym and went to the hospital to visit
two of our church members. Then I took Cathy
back over to Tom
and Francie's. Tom
summarized his adventure in Christ. We
shared our hearts for wanting to make a
difference with our lives.
Because I have met so many vibrant
Christians in their mid-seventies, I have
recently considered the possibility that God
might give me an opportunity to live to be
75 years old.
If so, that would give me
9,210 days or around
221,040 hours to invest in the lives
of others. (Yeah, I
here for a quick calculation.)
How do I make the most of a given day's
opportunity? That is a leading
question for this week's calendared Sunday's
Verse-by-verse: The Waiting Room"
It's Friday...and Sunday's coming.
Hmm...how many hours until its time to
deliver the goods?
Thursday, April 26, 2007 (second entry)
I wondered aloud last night how long I've
been at Bell Road. I was considering the
work that Paul and Barnabas may have
accomplished among the members of the
Antioch church in one year's time.
I clicked on
a time-calculator and figured that it
has been 88 days
since my first Sunday sermon as the pastor.
Last night there were seventeen people in
our 'fasting-and-prayer' class. Likewise,
and Jack Caulder
each facilitated full classrooms of growing
Christians. The TeamKid leaders looked
pleased...and exhausted. When Cathy, Mary,
and I left the Campus, the Choir was in full
That, my friend, is the 'organized church'
on a Wednesday night.
This morning my INBOX contained several
notes from Joe and Sharon with brief
responses to different letters I had sent
over the last week. Here is an excerpt from
one of the notes I wrote to him:
Joe, be very
careful. The Thief is a conniving
character in human history.
Don't simply trust everyone you meet.
Someone might be watching and deciding
to get you somehow to unknowingly
transport something illegal... or set
you up in some dark scheme.
You know, Son, all along...that we have
risked some part of our privacy and
maybe even 'safety' by being online and
open about our daily lives.
At times, we gotta step back and
consider our ways. Just to make sure
that God is leading our steps.
I shared a story about one
strange interaction I had with a man at
the Flour Garden--back in the days of
doing the remote broadcast from there.
...and, of course, the so-called
underground church chose to target me
only because I have more of an online
presence than most of the local pastors.
Some of the strange situations with
which we are confronted each day on the
news reveals that anything can
The thief who comes to steal, to kill,
and to destroy will whatever means
possible to deter us from the primary
work God has called us to do.
Here was Joe's response to my caution.
I'm content with it:
You're absolutely right ... THIS IS
Joe and Sharon's webpage)
" If you have any assignment
have a question, or would like to invite us to your area,
please email us:
My intention by this statement
was to be open to people from God who
would like to email us. Just like any
other content on the internet, I will do
my best and ask others to help me and
pray, pray, pray that God protects me
from the rapist, drug dealer, or even
the government offficial that seeks to
Opening ourselves and being
vulnerable in this way does however
allow us to receive unsolicited emails
from the likes of Pastor Wesley or the
man from Macedonia.
I will not receive emails as the word of
God, but would entertain them as
possibilities to be prayed over.
Thanks for reminding me that our
Gospel is sometimes veiled and thus we
say "We are currently serving the people
of Asia in any way most profitable. "
...and we will seek God's guidance
from any distraction, temptation, or
trap that would cause us to fall or slow
down from the path that God has set out
Love You Papa,
"God is bigger than the boogy-man",
says a Veggie Tales song.
Joseph and Sharon
p.s. we are now in Cebu, with
a booked ticket to leave tomorrow
morning at 5:05 am, April 27 for
Davao... to file the rest of the papers
and then have the Marriage Recognition
Ceremony with Sharon's community on the
28th at 6am.
first entry: Thursday, April 26, 2007
"Lord, why do I have to work so
Ruth told me that her
Ott, had shared the memory of
asking that question of the Lord one day.
Her family was sharecropping in Liberty
County, Texas. That particular
day--exhausted from working on a
fence--Ruth's grandma looked toward heaven
and asked that question.
"You choose it that
That is what she felt that God had spoken in
response. That idea of 'choice' led
to become a businesswoman. Although she
could barely read, she ran a successful
restaurant--selling Chicken and Dumplings
(and other Texas favorites). Later, she
opened a hotel in Liberty (halfway between
Houston and Beaumont.
now 87. Her husband,
Walt, is 92. They opened their
home and their hearts to Cathy and me
yesterday morning. Over a cup of Walt's
coffee, we learned about
and her short conversation with God that
changed the future course of her life.
Likewise, the repetition of old stories can
effect change in any of us who choose to
listen. As we discussed our choice for
contentment with plenty or with little,
added this LifeMessage of her own:
"You take your
happiness with you."
Their daughter, Ann,
has been editing a video of Walt's World War
2 remembrances. It is to become part of a
national video project with veterans of that
war. Hopefully, the day will come when I can
share a link to that very video.
I choose it this
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
My desk is piled with papers, CDs, books,
sticky notes. I sit unshaved at 8:35 a.m.
Headphones on, I'm digitizing my third
message from Resurrection Morning, 2007. A
humble beginning that Jebby would appreciate
Yesterday I digitized the
cassettes for the last couple sermons and
uploaded them to boomp3.com
headphones, this line just got a laugh...
"I was a spiritual dopehead..."
Chuckles aside, there is truly a
connection in my heart. The ethiopian eunuch
is sitting there reading, unknowingly
waiting for the ambassador of Christ.
Phillip is being sent to come alongside his
chariot, to meet
him right where he is--to introduce him to
This is why it is
important for us to journal, I think.
Journaling helps us to remember where we
have come from and the core convictions we
Click Here for BellRoad Sunday Morning
Cathy is in another office. She just
forwarded this wonderful email from Ronny
Shindy (who is currently in the
Dear sister Cathy,
I just wanted to let you and Rob know that I
met Sharon here. She is a genuine and
wonderful woman whom, I know when you meet
her, you will immediately love.
She is very sweet and above all her good
qualities, she loves the LORD.
Joe and Sharon make a very
nice couple. I told them that they were
going to have a little girl very soon and
she is going to look a lot like Joe. I just
had this weird feeling and wanted to share
that with them and you.
Joe and Sharon left Boracay this morning and
headed to Cibu (I think). They are very
busy and constantly on the move.
They are doing just fine and you know that
the LORD will protect them and supply all
Thank you, Ronny! About a week ago, Joe and
Sharon sent me a website that they've
started. Joe asked me to 'forward' it. So,
here you are:
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Cathy, Mary, and I are heading up to Auburn
this morning. We are excited about what God
is going to do among us during the upcoming
I've been waiting for an update from Pastor
Shamas. He wrote to me last night. I was
just about to post the letter below when a
follow-up came through from Pakistan:
Today was big, big
Lawyers strike in all Pakistan. Government's
Opposition Parties are with Lawyers.
Brother, please pray they stop these bad
Greetings to you in
Brother I go to Islamabad two time but I not
reach in Islamabad. Police stop bus at
Because Here Lawyers strike against
Because President Dismiss Chief Justice of
Today again Lawyers are trying they reach in
Islamabad. Many leaders arrested by Police.
I will try again tomorrow or next day.
And If police not back us then we will reach
few days before my Brother in Law's (my
wife's elder brother) Murder by Thief. He
was patient of Paralyse.
Brother, please pray I reach in Islamabad
and reach in Thailand Embassy.
God Bless You
Your Brother Shamas
Monday, April 23, 2007
An empty INBOX this morning. Hope to hear
from Joe and Sharon sometime soon! I read
news from the frontpage of an international
paper (for Europe and Asia).
YouTube being banned in Thailand
because of a video about their President.
Important issues about free speech in a
Cathy and I returned from Auburn around 9:30
last night. We talked about the classes we
attended as part of our discipleship
program. Afterwards, we hung out with those
who remained in the Love Languages
class--saw the new babies, talked.
I was contacted by an old friend on Friday
night. He is meeting me for a walk-n-talk
this morning. Of course, we'll probably stop
by Cafe Latte for a French Roast to take
with us along the way.
Our digital recording system at the church
is frozen so I'm gonna listen to an analog
(cassette) recording of yesterday's sermon.
I'm preaching from a three-ring venue during
the next three years (Luke-Acts-Romans). I
haven't ever done it this way before.
The last time I preached expository messages
from one book (John), it took 1.5 years of
Sundays. The experience (and
remembered-feedback) has impacted the manner
in which I am approaching the study and
delivery of these weekly messages.
Below are some of the notes I made in
preparation for yesterday's message. It will
be interesting to hear the tape and note the
To ASK and RECEIVE Power from the Holy
Spirit will lead us step-by-step to A BIG
VISION---A TRULY GREAT COMMISSION until the
Return of Christ.
receive power from the
Holy Spirit, in what ways will our witness
for Christ be experienced
California, and globally?
...and What is YOUR Samaria?
For a Senior Couple in Right-Standing with
God, A Child, A Future, an Assignment. Old
Age, New Birth.
"Fear not, Zacharias: for thy
prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth
shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call
his name John. "
Who is it that God already
entrusted to you in years past?
"For I long to see you, that I may impart
unto you some spiritual gift . . ."
says the Accuser of the Brethren.
Yet Paul has this to share: "I am not
Paul has heard a news report--good news.
What is the report that will go out about us
in this year 2007? Will it be from faith to
Do you yet have a vision for
imparting the Spirit's gift to others as you
make your way
toward accomplishing your passion for
the Lord's Command?
Sunday, April 22, 1997
Cathy and I just arrived to the BellRoad
Campus. It has been raining here in sunny
California (all through the night and yet
I enjoyed a quiet ride from Galt to Auburn
and prayed over the message that I hope to
deliver this morning.
My last message was delivered faithfully to
a very crowded room of people from all
walks-of-life yesterday morning.
I hope and pray that I will experience the
Spirit's authority, power, and guidance
again this morning. May lives be transformed
under the Lordship of Jesus Christ today.
Saturday, April 21, 1997
This morning I will officiate at a funeral
here in Galt. Meeting with Eddie and his
Grandma yesterday morning, I received a
prompting to tell something of the day that
David faced Goliath. Just minutes ago, I
also happened upon Day 13 of Joe's 80 Days
in Liberia. It was an important day of
connecting members of the Body through the
morning message (scroll
Day 13). As well, it relates to
my message for the fatherless children to
whom I will speak today: Eddie, Roni, and
When I get home, I will continue my study
for the second message from
Acts/Romans/Luke. I pray that God will lead
the BellRoad pulpit to exactly the passages
He wants us to know for the days ahead of
For those who haven't yet learned about our
involvement in the West African nation of
Yesterday, I googled around to see if anybody was
journaling the recent adoption of Liberian
orphans mentioned by Pastor Wesley a couple
I found this blog:
and a page for
Greater Love Children's Home
So, I wrote a short note to a few of these
people from Stonegate Fellowship (Midland,
Texas). I passed along a note from Rodney
This morning I received my first reply:
may remember that I am the grandmother of
the twins and spent time with them on our
recent mission to Liberia.
They are home safe and sound, although all
pretty tired. Their other four children are
very happy to finally have their baby
Two of our local TV stations
covered the story. What an amazing God we
Now the real work starts.
Please pray for the parents who have a huge
load to bear.
I still communicate with Pastor Wesley's
wife, Laura and hope to return to Liberia
How is your situation now? Do you have
plans to return to Liberia? And your son,
Thanks again for passing this along.
Here is the announcement from
I had passed along to the Midlanders:
We have a container leaving the U.S. for
May 16th. If you have people in the
States who would like to send goods for your
ministries please put them into contact with
us as soon as possible.
We will cut off receipts at our warehouse in
Murfreesboro, TN on May 10th. We are sharing
costs at $7/cubic foot.
PO Box 3022, Murfreesboro, TN 37133
Friday, April 20, 1997
Last year I officiated at the formal wedding
of Ron and
Hennie-Lynn Shindy. I've been
watching their ministry together and am
pleased to see that the two of them have
traveled to the Philippines so Ron could see
Hennie's hometown and meet her extended
family. Last night they sent out a 'dear
all' email. Here is an excerpt:
Greetings from the city of Ilo Ilo
in the Philippines.
Man its humid here, I feel like I'm melting!
So much for working out here, its all about
survival! Just kidding!
Hennie and I wanted to thank each and every
one of you for your prayers. we appreciate
them more than you know.
I also chatted with Joe and Sharon who are
traveling from Davao toward Ilo Ilo because
they hope to rendezvous with the Shindys.
At 7:00 a.m. I am meeting a teenager and his
grandma for breakfast. Eddie showed up at my
door yesterday. His father unexpectedly has
died--at the age of 42. Eddie and I had
become friends a few years ago when I was
teaching the teen VBS. It was the year that
the Estonian sisters came to stay with us. I
have been asked to officiate at his father's
funeral on Saturday morning.
Andy Deck just wrote me. His father
unexpectedly died recently and he delivered
the eulogy. He has sent me a copy. I haven't
read it yet but I wonder if it will be
preparatory for the message I will offer a
different gathering of grieving friends and
family on Saturday.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Sunday afternoon. The phone rang. Nearly
everyone else had left the building, so I
picked up the receiver. The aged voice of a
woman asked me my name. She acknowledged
that she had seen the story of the picketers
on the front page of our local newspaper. It had
stirred her to the point of calling me to
see if she could help in any way.
In the sermon I had just preached, a
two-fold question had been posed regarding
our ministry in the lives of people at the
uttermost ends of the human spectrum. When
she told me her age and shared some about
her situation, I told
Virginia that I had just
preached about her. I sensed the leadership
of the Spirit and asked if I could come to
has been a long-time member at our church
but can no longer come and go as she
pleases. During the last two years her son
and grandson have died suddenly. She has an
upstairs apartment and sometimes feels quite
alone. I hope to visit Virginia regularly
and experience the mutual comfort we will
receive from reading God's Word together.
I am reminded afresh that the most important
activities of any given season will be those
which are led by the Spirit of Christ:
I assure you that there were many widows in
Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was
shut for three and a half years and there
was a severe famine throughout the land.
Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them,
but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
And there were many in Israel with
in the time of Elisha the prophet,
yet not one of them was cleansedó
There were probably other chariots on
the road to Gaza.
run toward one specific chariot in which
an Ethiopian happened to be reading from Isaiah?
There were many ways that Jesus could have
approached the Samaritan woman at the well.
sit and dialogue with her?
We each have 24/7, right? That is a good
allotment of time to do everything that a
servant of the Word ought to do. It is
important to keep ourselves from becoming
distracted from the leadership of the
Here is a song I wrote years ago wherein I
preach to myself about distractions and
frustration. It is from the back-of-drawer
on this audio download page:
Don't Allow Frustration (audio)
Shamas Pervaiz, is seeking to
procure the document needed to travel to
Thailand for the Asian Baptist Congress
(during the first week of May). Yesterday, I
received this email from him:
Today here was
lawyer's strike against Government, Because
Government Dismiss to Chief Justice, today
was no permission for Islamabad. Tomorrow I
will go to Islamabad by the Grace of Lord.
God Bless You with all His Blessings,
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I slept in until 7:15 this morning. More
sleep than usual.
I will be studying for our
University classes and the
Sermon Series throughout the day.
I also intend to visit Virginia (an 87 year
old homebound member of our church).
Yesterday was a full day. I started out by
having a brief talk with Ben Rosenau. Then,
Deacon Mike stopped by--for a couple hours.
He had been gone for a week and we had some
'catching up' to do.
Noon time prayer with
Lou, Mark, Bob, Jerry,
and Nick. These are
pastors and leaders who meet every Tuesday
for fellowship and prayer. We were together
for nearly 2 hours. I went to the Downtown
Auburn walk-in mall. I forget the name of
the place but, just next to the Alchemy
Store (near the Organic Juice Bar)...is a
Polish Dog Deli.
I had an all-beef Polish dog, a drink, and a
bag-o-chips. Then read the scriptures. This
season of commuting to Auburn allows for
From there, Matthew
Wooden and I met for a long walk
along the railroad tracks. We discussed his
sojourn in life, the Christian Motorcycle
Association, and his current work with
left (around 5:00), I toyed around with the
picket signs--making them more
user-friendly. You can see the new and
improved signage in the slideshow above.
At 7:00 p.m., Stephanie, Jessy, Nancy,
Robin, and Tim met as our church Mission
Team. I had been asked to come and offer my
vision for a church-wide mission strategy.
We were until 8:20.
We will offer MA
223 Introduction to Mission as a
class next semester. Stephanie will be
working on a new website. We will categorize
every mission endeavor as belong to one of
these four areas as outlined in
This is a practical mission-strategy shared
with me by Donnie
and Juanita Land at Sequoia
Heights Baptist Church in Stockton.
4. and the GlobalTeam
I also shared that I have adopted the Andy
Deck view of Acts 1:8 (with the
situation-specific needs in Samaria).
will be designing a website to better
communicate our churchwide mission strategy
and to cast a God-sized Mission Vision.
After the MissionTeam meeting,
and I had a brief time of Guitar Fellowship
as part of his mentoring class.
From there, a quick trip down to the Gym for
a run-and-sauna before ending the day
talking with Pastor Richard Wesley online:
Last Night's Chat with Liberia: 11:38
p.m. - 11:56 p.m.
Hello Pastor Wesley
Pastor Wesley: Hello Pastor
are you doing today?
I'm very good. Thank you and you?
quite tired...just heading for bed.
Well take a rest. It around 6:00AM here.
Wanted to let you know we have completed 5
adoptions adoptive parents are leaving for
the States today.
Please send me some photos
and a story and I'll print it, OK?
Were you ever able to get the car from
Wheels for Wesley?
I'm am working on a news letter
for our church ministry hope it will be
completed soon I will send you copies when
it is printed.
saw that they had raised most of their goal
the last time I looked.
Yes we got the car. A 4-wheel drive
Hey, do you know that you can have
WOW...I did not know that how?
you can have up to 5 different
with 100 MB for free
I have made a few. I will show
The news letter will not be a web based one.
We will print hard copies for distribution.
and here is another:
I will look at it. This is great!
It is that simple to work with, up load photos etc.
Look at that other one.
I did it for a seven day
study...just to try it out.
I saw it but how do you begin?
I mean the process...
Pastor, I know you have to take a rest. Pls. let me leave you. I will get
some instruction on later. Thanks and bye.
alright, my brother. Yes, I suggest you make
these webpages.... very easy
talk to you later.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I drove to
Auburn last night to attend the monthly
meeting of our Leadership Council. During my
report, I shared an excerpt from the Vision
I have been watching and from now
Here are a few other connective
trail-markers to help me remember how I came
to this moment in ministry.
* my early interaction with the Pulpit
* our visit during the first weekend of
* my January 7th message and subsequent
* the new church website:
* pre-Easter messages at
* Resurrection Sunday and beyond:
* year-round classes at
* the three-year sermon series:
I'm posting this entry late in the morning
(10:55) because Deacon Mike checked in with
me. He's been gone for seven days. We
reflected upon the state of the ministry.
Roger Williams wrote in. You may remember
him from those pivotal nights of Healing in
May, '04 (Audio:
I have been reading with interest the emails
about and from Joseph.
Interesting happening. Yesterday in church
we had some IMB missionaries from Thailand,
Brian and Lena Finnan. In fact, I had lunch
with them. During the conversation I
mentioned Joseph. They are asking where is
he? Who is he with? Etc.
If interested they might be able to contact
with some people who can met them, depending
on where they are. If in southern Thailand
it will be more difficult.
Any way, it is some world with 6 degrees of
I replied to
and cc'd to Joe and Sharon. I mentioned
that it is my hope that the Pattersons will
be able to connect with
(Pakistan) during the Asian Baptist
Congress (in Chiang Mai, Thailand). This
conference only happens every five years.
Joe wrote back this morning:
Sharon and I are currently in Davao,
Philippines. Plan to go to Cebu/Iloilo soon
to meet Hennie and Ron, then
back here for more paperwork processing.
We plan to leave for the Conference around
April 30. That will be in Chiang Mai. We
would like to stop in Bangkok on the way
We are seeking God's will for a position
somewhere in Asia (preferable beginning
either the middle or end of August). This
would give us more direction and prove to US
Embassy that Sharon truly only desires to
VISIT the US.
So ... Davao, Cebu/IloIlo, Davao, Bangkok,
Chiang Mai, ___________, Hong Kong,
Singapore, Nagaland(Northern India), CA,
other states on the way to MI, back to Asia
Please pray that we are able to have favors
from the governments, and that God will show
us all the blessings as we are waiting for
their consent. Especially for NSO in Davao,
US Embassy in Cebu, and US Embassy for
granting Visitor Visa for Sharon.
Attempting great things ...
God is Beyond Understanding AND GOOD all the
Monday, April 16, 2007
"I once was street-smart, then I got
but I'm still serious-stuff-stupid."
--pastorob July, 2007
Slidin' into a Year of Jubilee
I woke up around 4:30 this morning and
chatted with Joe.
He is now in Davao, Philippines with
family. I sure miss my firstborn. The other
three children came to BellRoad yesterday
Cathy and I hung out with
Don, Thelma, Ann,
Jimmie, David, and Karla
after the Sunday morning service. Then, we
went to the gym (I work out/study/run/think
and sauna...) for 1.5 hours before heading
back to the campus.
I led the guitar circle at 5:00 p.m., then
taught the S.H.A.P.E. class from 6:00 to
7:07. I hope the people at
are able to see that we are actively
investing our Talents in good soil. More
importantly, God is watching.
Recently someone accidentally misquoted
scripture to me.
"Money is the root of all evil."
I've been having a hard time with the rising
costs of gasoline. Joe and I have been
discussing money (as he and Sharon make
MissionTrip plans for these honeymoon days).
Pink Floyd discussed money in the opening
track of "Dark Side of the Moon". The
Beatles did a cover of "Money" that my
brother and I used to sing together.
Had the Apostle Paul shown up in Coldwater
during my senior year in high school, he
could have cited either of those two songs
with this preface:
"Even your own poets say..."
I think I would have listened (at least for
awhile). Well, I'll be spending some quality
time with Paul's conversion story from the
book of Acts and his letter to the Romans.
It will be interesting to see what he has to
say to me (and to us) about this major issue
that impacts every person from every people
Yesterday, I made public a three-year
commitment (give or take a year). As we
rewind into the past and fast-forward into
the future, we will be careful to keep
focusing on the present-day Jesus through
his everlasting Word. Here he will be
speaking from the Center with the Holy
Spirit offering an interpretation that
applies to our daily lives.
Click here to learn more:
This morning I started another helps page:
At this site, I am asking people to offer
their input as potentially illustrative
material as I prepare Sunday's messages to
be propagated from 707 Bell Road in Auburn,
Sunday, April 15, 2007
I'm up at 4:30 this morning preparing for
the first message in a new sermon series.
Some have wondered why last Sunday's message
wasn't available for download in an audio
format. Unfortunately, the software (Roxio)
used to record it was giving Ben trouble
during transfer to CD.
I have a copy on cassette but haven't had
the time or wherewithal to digitize the
message. Since it most likely hasn't been
fixed yet, I'm guessing that the writing I
have done may be the best way to recall what
will happen in the pulpit a few hours from
Last Sunday, we baptized a woman named
Marlene. The Resurrection Morning message
challenged us as a church with a very
In part, that question was answered for
Marlene. She was enrolled in
Wednesday night class:
40 Days of Purpose.
Tonight, we will begin the Sunday night
University. These class offerings
are different than those on Wednesday night.
As well, Sunday mornings will continue to be
a major building-block for the ongoing
discipleship of all members. My message for
today should make mention of this important
question and answer:
What might be our action-plan for following
Commission's admonition that we make
through teaching each other to obey all of Jesus'
Acts, Luke states that his former work
that Jesus began to do and to teach", along
instructions He had given His chosen
the Holy Spirit.
Luke speaks of His Suffering and tells us
resurrected Christ appeared among
them for forty
days--speaking about the Kingdom of God.
It makes perfect sense to also refresh
of this first book as we work our way through
In his opening remarks for that first book, "The
of Luke", the author again addresses
Here he is called 'most-excellent'
Theophilus. It is for
the sake of Theophilus
that Luke wrote these orderly
He admits that there had already been
other accounts written and passed down
eye-witnesses and Servants
of the Word.
Having become somewhat of an expert on
story of Jesus--through what he called his
investigation', Luke wrote that it
him to produce an orderly account.
(an excerpt from
Saturday, April 14, 2007
called a couple days ago. He has a prayer
concern and asked me to share it with any
people who actually pray.
A mover/shaker senior in my hometown is
going through Chemo-therapy. His name is
Dad says that Larry
was instrumental in reviving the County
He has also arranged for Coldwater's
first-ever, Civil War reenactment with
cannons, cavalry, President Lincoln and
family. (My buddy,
Jebby, will be very interested to
hear about this.)
Dad said that Larry is
caring for his wife who is in a nursing
So, will you pray for
As well, another of my very best friends,
has been told that he has Cancer again.
Here's a note from him:
Well the biopsy
results came back cancer. The doctor
thinks that Chemo is worth doing. If it
doesnít shrink the tumors, there are 3,
small ones, then thereís another new thing
coming we can try. So weíre going to go for
He did say this form of cancer gets some
people in a big hurry, 2 months or so, and
some last awhile. Heís not a big one for
giving you numbers that heís not sure of. He
said this would probably contribute to my
demise. He just doesnít know when.
Heís seen the therapy make the stuff go
away. Heís also seen it not work. He
also said, because Iíve had this for awhile,
and thereís been no real big change, I could
even wait awhile and see what happens. I
think God wants me to keep doing music and
writing these emails for some reason! So
hey, weíll go for chemo first and leave the
outcome in Godís hands.
Sometimes I donít feel like Iím
getting all the help I want.
probably because Iím putting myself
ahead of what God wants. I gotta quit
At the very
least Iíll feel better, and as I keep in
touch with God, I will feel that
peace that passes all understanding, my
understanding, your understanding, the
thank God, for the last time this
cancer went away, and for how happy
Sally was. I mention lots of other
things as well, but those are two
I know in my
heart, that God loves us all. I believe
that if we ask, Jesus will forgive.
Many times Iíve felt the Holy Spirit
working in my soul. All those good
things are magnified, when I pray and
reach out to good friends so I email
you, in the hope that you will be blest,
Iím gonna play Godís music till He
"Itís time to come home!"
You can hear Greg's great contribution in my
life by listening to nearly any of the songs that
are linked in the left column of my daily
journal. With the exception of "Whatever",
Greg produced and played on all of them.
Man, I love that guy. I hope and pray that
our Lord will bring healing to him in this
chapter of his life!
I slept in this morning until 7:00 a.m. 1.5
hours later, I'm still up in the
nest--working on my new sermon series:
A New Chapter at BellRoad"
The Sunday Morning pulpit at BellRoad will
be a blend of expository-topical
messages--the result of continual,
collid-o-scopic consideration of these three New
Acts, Luke, and Romans.
Lord willing, It will
be a three-year series (give or take a
I hope to conduct a
portion of my studies,
gather my thoughts and store the results
in this semi-private webpage that I have
Click below and take a look at the
I have made thus far..
Regarding tools I am
planning to employ in this endeavor.
I will link through the BibleGateway to
share different renderings of any given
For Greek word study, the page has included
a link to the
website (as well, it uses the KJV as a
Through hyperlinks, I
will keep other study helps one click away.
click here to see
how I'll store some extra-biblical research
on the intended recipient of Acts and Luke:
At a Dollar Store in
Auburn, I found KJV Bible CDs. Fortunately,
they had several copies of Acts, Luke--but
only one copy of Romans. These CDs will most
likely become part of my drivetime audio
I listened to Romans
yesterday while cleaning our kitchen
(from the beginning through the 16th chapter).
Through the window, I could also see
Cathy, Cory, Daniel,
bushwhacking follow-through. You can
imagine how happy mama is with all that
work. The yard... and the
As I write, I'm listening again to the
Romans CD but I'm not truly 'hearing' much
from the audio stimuli.
This level of multi-tasking isn't working as
well for me (as kitchen
clean-up/study). Still, it doesn't distract
certain passages do impinge upon my
consciousness as I continue to work.
I don't recall having preached any sermon
series through Luke or Romans (although I'm
quite familiar with them).
I have preached
through many passages from Acts through the
years. In seminary, I completed an in-depth
study of Acts as well as a study of the Holy
Spirit (in Luke and Acts).
For my study of Romans, I am also
considering one of the commentaries that
I was given as recipient of the Holman-Broadman
Seminarian Award (May, 1996). Are we
impressed with my scholarly achievements
Anyway, I am reminded of all the worthwhile
books on the shelves (and in the boxes) that
I never had time to read during my decade in
Galt. I'll do more hardcopy book-study more
during this pastorate.
I didn't remember ever spending time with
this particular volume (New American
Commentary, Vol. 27, Mounce). However, I
found some notes on chapter 4 and an early
hand-drawn map of Galt's eastside.
I have already enjoyed
a brief reminder on the role
played in Paul's
recording of this message.
At the Ross Dept. Store in Auburn, I found
an interesting DVD compilation of 'Sacred
Classics'. Among the eight old-school films
which were digitized for this collection is
a copy of 'Martin
Luther' (105 min. 1953).
Luther's LifeMission and his interaction
with the message of Romans may be valuable
as a backdrop for this series.
7 Days of Dedication,
I received direction from the Spirit about
my post-easter pulpit ministry. I intend to
be proactive in maturing through this year
of Jubilee. I'll turn 50 in July.
Friday, April 13, 2006
Today, I will continue preparing for this
Sunday Morning's Message as I whack some
bushes of my own in Galt.
A New Chapter at BellRoad"
I hadn't visited the Auburn Journal
comment section since the day it posted
(5:51 a.m.) I asked if anyone wanted to make
s'mores. Only Bob answered my question. The
rest of the people were talking 'bout all
kinds of stuff.
The most visible member of the maverick Church
of the Divide squared off Easter Sunday at the
side of an Auburn road in a verbal donnybrook
with the pastor of an Auburn Baptist Church.
Dick Otterstad's son, Luke (aka pasto-sauce)
recently edited and posted another
accusatory video on YouTube. This
most-recent posting documents their
rationale for picketing our Sunrise Service
and Morning Worship last Sunday.
Ironically, my calling to defend 'authentic'
Christianity and to 'protect the flock' has,
by necessity, involved resisting the demands
of the Church of the Divide. I have included
their video and shared my feelings about
this whole situation on a myspace video-blog:
here: Church of
the Divide and
the Real World
I have written to Luke and told him that my
scriptural basis for this response is
Matthew chapter 7.
Click here for a webpage that has taken
s'more of my sleep-time. I hope that all
of this ends soon. I hope to be able to once
again concentrate on much more important
matters. I am annoyed at the judgment of others
about by my response (or non-response) to their
I will quickly forgive and forget the
offense if they simply walk away quietly.
Thursday, April 12, 2006
When I was a kid I collected stamps for
awhile. I'm guessing that my collection was
not as well categorized as little Ricky
Warren's but still there was some formative
discipline and prevenient shaping goin' on
in my life.
The few B-strip characters who have
annoyingly buzzed around my head during the
last two weeks continue to feed off of my
great fame. lol
Now, Luke (PastoSauce) has posted
a serious expose' on his website.
"Lord?! I know... I know... I reap what I sow."
During the days ahead, I will make
s'more valuable use of my time but feel
that it is important to organize, classify,
and label the harassment I have endured from
that fateful day when Dick sent me his first
The launch of
University was a great success last
night. I had three other guitarists and one
MA 203 Guitar Circle:
Praise and Worship
Sun. 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
and fourteen adults attended the first
Formation: Fasting and Prayer
Wednesday only 6:00 - 7:00
Cole had a good number of adults
in her class:
Wednesday only 6:00 -
had to postpone his class until next week:
Wednesdays 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Anyone who wants to enroll in these
Wednesday night studies, please email our
Please check this page for Sunday night
studies as well:
Today, I will begin studying for this Sunday
A New Chapter at BellRoad"
Mary and I are meeting Dennis and Thelma for
lunch today. We will head back to Galt
sometime later in the day.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
It is my hope that
Pastor Shamas Pervaiz will be
able to attend the Asian Baptist Congress in
Mia Chiang during the first week of May. A
couple of us sent him enough funds to make
the trip from Pakistan to Thailand.
A strange number showed up on my cellphone
this morning. When I answered I heard a
delay reminiscent of calls from Liberia.
"No, it is Experito...from
Uganda." We weren't even able
to dialogue beyond one more sentence because
the connection was lost. He still hasn't
Yesterday, I met with several pastors from
the local ministerial association. While I
was away, I asked
Mary to view the Shirley
Phelps-Roper videos (click
here) as we have been discussing recent events on the home front.
Last night, I met with
to discuss Sound Reinforcement. His mind is
fresh with theoretical and practical
knowledge in that specialized language. It
is feels good to hang with others who speak
in a dialect similar to one's own. We talked
about phantom power (lest someone
misunderstand our control-room talk had
absolutely nothing to do with Marvel
and I met again for
(Mentoring for Ministry). Our guitar
dialogue began with one of the hymns that
has chosen for this Sunday. It was written
in 6/8 time and young Brandon was puzzled
about how best to approach that song in a
After playing all four verses in
shifted down to the key of
down to D
for a much different flavor. Later we went
back to E
and allowed different fingering to open the
eyes of our hearts.
chosen "Give Thanks" in the key of D--much
too low for me to feel it in my chosen
range. Looking straight into each other's
soul, we connected with a vision for future
ministry by attempting the song in the key
of G. At Praise Baptist Church (Alpha and
Omega Ministries), we always played it in G:
G, Bm, Em, Am, C,
G, F, Dsus/D
bridge: Bm, Em, Bm,
G, walk-down to Em, F, D
I shared the I
for the young man's consideration. We
discussed a team ministry concept for his
future work, then discussed a few pages from
'Working the Angles' by Eugene Peterson. He
didn't head home to mama and babies until
"I never cared much for Marvel Comic
characters or plots."
Between 1964-66, I read a great number of
comic books borrowed from Ricky Green's
collection. Spiderman was the only story I
followed from that team of heroes. Thus,
this blog's recent mention of
now has a better frame-of-reference.
(and Superboy) of the Sixties were
definitely my favorites. Batman and Robin
were enjoyable as well. Sometimes, Superman
would make an appearance in their stories.
The movie 'Mystery Men' reminds me of
deep-seated reasons for certain preferences
held as a child. Even as a teen and now as
one gaining on a hoary head of
righteousness, my reasons for reading,
reflection, and reaction are part of my
S.H.A.P.E. (mostly the P and that bothers
some people). That's why it is good to
develop the ability to transpose and play in
Riddle me this:
How might Proverbs
help one to better prepare for this very
Tonight we will begin the first semester of BellRoad University. At 5:00 p.m. there will
be a guitar circle--followed by the classes.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
On 4/10/07, Luke Otterstad <Luke@churchofthedivide.org>
You mentioned in your blog, "Out of respect
for his son, this will be the end of
postings from me about the Church of the
Divide." I have no problem with you posting
about Church of the Divide, if there is an
offence, it should be addressed, not swept
under the rug.
I thank you for coming out and talking to
us, I believe that is one of the first times
that a pastor has done that and it shows
that you want to address the issues we
Don't shy away from that "out of respect
for" me, instead, out of respect for me you
should keep talking about it. If
we are in err, you need to say so, and back
it up with the Word of God.
*Feel free to post this email on your website
Fair enough. You should check out the videos
I sent to you last night (at the email
address posted on your website).
The daughters of Shirley Phelps-Roper do not
know if they will ever find anybody who
would be remotely interested in them.
The BBC on Shirley Phelps-Roper
I thought you might be a likely candidate
for one of them. That's not a joke.
It is 4:50 a.m. as I write. Mary and I are
soon to be 'on the road again' toward Auburn.
This is her week to be with me for her studies.
She will work through the novel 'Oliver Twist'
as a major assignment during the next three
Tomorrow, we will begin the first semester of
University (an attempt at classroom
discipleship). Classes are free--write me for
Here's the Word from a monthly tenth in 2005:
Monday, April 9, 2007
Today's Auburn Journal reports:
The most visible member of the maverick Church
of the Divide squared off Easter Sunday at the
side of an Auburn road in a verbal donnybrook
with the pastor of an Auburn Baptist Church.
It happened. The
picketers showed up at our short, simple (yet
significant) sunrise service. Cathy and I arose
at 4:45 and made our way with guitar, flute, and
scripture to the three crosses on the hill.
There is some barbed wire fencing which places a
boundary line near the crosses. I stood alone up
there--picking the guitar strings--in thought as
people began to arrive for the intimate
gathering at 6:30. Then I saw the picketers
start to show up. It was all a bit surreal.
The contemplative songs chosen as prelude music
"Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord"
"Create in me a Clean Heart".
Both of those songs always help me to come apart
from the anxieties stirred up by inner sin that
entangles me (like pride, worry, bitterness,
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Yes, we all need that reminder. God hates
haughty eyes. I don't want to miss his grace. I
regularly need to be humbled by hearing the Word
and adjusting my heart's attitude.
A newsman, Gus, from the Journal showed me
Dick's press release which had informed the
Two Churches will have a Showdown on Easter
I went down the hill to meet these guys. Looking
over each of their signs, I affirmed those with
substance. I have no problem with anybody
holding a sign that reads:
"Judgment begins with the House of God"
However, the sign that said "This church is
dead" stirred me. Dick Otterstad doesn't know
these people I have spent two months getting to
I got into his face because I wanted to see
through his intense stare--into his eyes--into
I was not able to penetrate the barrier he has
I really didn't get angry with Dick (though I
was demonstratively passionate). A couple ladies
driving by wanted to speak to me. Their names
shared that I appeared agitated. I thanked her
for the calming effect of her message and headed
back up the hill.
The Special Ministries class had previously
invited me to an Easter breakfast during their Sunday
School class. So, after a cooldown, I went in
and hung with them awhile.
I enjoyed meeting Dick's son,
Luke answered honestly that he had used a humorous
<pasto-sauce> to post comments on my Auburn
Journal article and his Dad's letter to the
Editor challenging pastors to 'defend
Luke was holding two signs:
1) Pastor Rob will not speak for Truth
2) Pastor Rob will preach for money
That's why I offered to preach him a brief
1 Corinthians (free-of-charge). I think he
After the message, I got personal with Luke.
I told him that I had given some thought to
the whole situation--about how Joe might
feel if someone had called his Dad a 'wanna-be'.
I think that he had affirmed that my remarks
had bothered him.
I had read the press release they sent out. They didn't like that
I had used a wrong
last name 'Otterback'. I told Luke that it
was simply a mistake on my part. I
I told him that I had also re-thunk the
heart of this remark:
"Why don't you guys go
Luke had been offended by that
remark--thinking that it had a sexual
"Naw, it was just a jab at a perceived
desire to see one's name show up in a
Dick Otterstad has had his showdown. Out of
respect for his son, this will be the end of
postings from me about the
Church of the Divide.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
"For Christ did not
send me to baptize, but to preach the
gospelónot with words of human wisdom,
lest the cross of Christ be emptied of
For the message of the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,
but to us who are
being saved it is the power of God
For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the
the intelligence of the
intelligent I will frustrate."
is the wise man? Where is the scholar?
Where is the philosopher of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of
the world? For since in the wisdom of
God the world through its wisdom did not
know him, God was pleased through the
foolishness of what was preached to save
those who believe. Jews demand
miraculous signs and Greeks look for
wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified:
a stumbling block to Jews and
foolishness to Gentiles, but to those
whom God has called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of God and the
wisdom of God. For the foolishness of
God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the
weakness of God is stronger than man's
Brothers, think of what you were
when you were called. Not many of you
were wise by human standards; not many
were influential; not many were of noble
birth. But God chose the foolish things
of the world to shame the wise; God
chose the weak things of the world to
shame the strong. He chose the lowly
things of this world and the despised
thingsóand the things that are notóto
nullify the things that are,
so that no one may boast before him. It
is because of him that you are in Christ
Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from
Godóthat is, our righteousness, holiness
and redemption. Therefore, as it is
him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:17-31
Scriptures for 7 Days of Dedication)
Sunday's Sermon on Day One of the Seven
Days of Dedication: Listen Here
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Yesterday, Cathy and I attended the Good
Friday Noon gathering of the churches in
Galt. We were edified by singing the songs
that had been chosen and hearing the gospel
stories through the imaginary testimonies of Barabbas,
Malchus, and one nameless person who, fifty
years later, was recounting
the event witnessed on the place called the
Last night in Auburn, the Christian
Ministerial Association of the Foothills
sponsored an annual Good Friday service at a
downtown church. Again, we were taken to the
Cross. The preaching was certainly led of
the Spirit as I laid my burden down and
heard this good news.
About Dick Otterstad and his latest
sincerely hope that you stop replying to
them. All it does is fuel the fire. That
seems to be exactly what they want you to
do. . . .You certainly don't have to answer
to this "man" in regards to your character
No, the Church of the Divide is not
This small group of antagonistic
bushwhackers has taken over the comment
section on my Auburn Journal article.
Ironically, this small persecution
fire is so minimal compared to what we will
most likely face in the years ahead. This
infestation of mosquitoes is truly annoying
for me but has worked to bring my flesh-dross to the surface.
(--that's not psycho-babble, it's scripture
I choose to remember that "....all things
work together for the good for those who
love God and are called according to His
I once heard that Martin Luther said, 'even
the devil is God's devil'.
Likewise, the Divide can be used of
God--even if their motives are
Only God can read the heart of these
men. However, their fruit is unsavory to my
did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world, but to save the world
through him. Whoever believes in him is not
condemned, but whoever does not believe
stands condemned already because he has not
believed in the name of God's one and only
This is the verdict: Light has come
into the world, but men loved darkness
instead of light because their deeds were
evil. Everyone who does evil hates the
light, and will not come into the light for
fear that his deeds will be exposed. But
whoever lives by the truth comes into the
light, so that it may be seen plainly that
what he has done has been done through God."
Someday Dick and company will learn
that I have, in deed, publicly stood out against the
national sins of abortion and sexual
immorality (of all types). The next time I
testify about such matters definitely needs
to be led by the Spirit--not as a result of
man-centered pressure to align myself with
their 'new wineskin'.
God didn't call me to preach condemnation to
Auburn. I do not have the calling of Jonah
on my life. Sorry, Church of the Divide,
...if that's your 'calling', so be it.
Maybe I shouldn't have told those guys to go
google themselves. Yeah, that was an
offensive statement. It wasn't the direct result of fasting and
prayer. It was probably the prideful remnant
of a teenage smart-alec (activated by
indignation--righteous or otherwise).
...and if that also sounds like
psycho-babble. That's me.
The name's Rob . . .
It doesn't seem likely that Dick and company
will ever seek to make peace with me. Of
course, I would be willing to sit down with
them--at least, at this point, I still am.
Having been swept up into the midst of their
need for drama, I've felt like Peter Parker
(knowing that the Green Goblin is watching
over my shoulder--planning his
next attack). Totally unnecessary drama, by
Since the real power of God is in the
message of the death and resurrection of
Jesus, that's what I hope to share during
the remainder of my days.
I will try to ignore
this plague of mosquitoes--knowing that it is
preparatory for 'real persecution' that may
accompany my Spirit-led footsteps in the
Hope to see you
tomorrow on Easter ...
um, I mean ...
Friday, April 6, 2007
Years ago, Cathy and I began investing our
time and resources into the lives of other
people. These small, unseen deposits
build our interest over time. With prayer,
communication and the giving of thankful
praise that very interest is compounded.
We have tried to remember that not everyone
who comes to us has a pure heart. The thief
comes only to steal, to kill, and to
destroy. It is important to be alert and to
ready ourselves for the thief's intrusion
into our lives.
The greatest juxtaposition of imagery comes
to mind when I think of
and His Good News:
"I have come that they might have life
and have it more abundantly."
Troubled by the harassment of divisive
'brothers', I was feeling somewhat drained
yesterday afternoon. Therefore, I am
encouraged by starting this new day in
remembrance of one small investment we have
made during the last year.
On July 25, 2006,
I received an email from a young man in
Uganda. (excerpt below):
Semakula Experito, a Ugandan from (East
africa) male age 18 yrs old. Am an orphan,
and a Christian. I was born in the
small village near our capital city Kampala
and I live with my grandfather because my
lovely parents died in an accident with my
beloved sister when they were
coming back from the village.
I was schooling before there death, but now I no longer school because my
grandfather is too old and heís not well
finically to pay my school duals. But I want
to continue with my studies so that in
future I can help my self, because of that,
am looking for help/Advice from my fellow
Christian. Please I kindly ask you to
My best hobbies are football, gospel music,
traveling and others.
Nearly a year has passed since that first
letter. Semakula has not been able to finish
school. His grandfather has also since died.
Although I was unable to find a sponsor for
this young man's education, we have
continued to exchange short notes back and
forth. I have never sent him any money. My
sincere interest has only been expressed in
this love language: quality time.
Several months ago, his coach located a
soccer camp in North Carolina. He found a
Ugandan businessman who made a commitment to
loan him the airfare. I made several calls
on his behalf but it did not work out.
Knowing that we made the commitment to help
him with camp exenses, he continued to look
for other options.
This is Semakula's great temporal hope--to invest his
talent in one step at a time. So, here we
are, another day, another email:
Thanks for the caring email you sent me. Am
really so happy to inform you that the
sponsor who told me to give me money for air
ticket informed me that he will be in
position to give it to me as soon as I get
I also contacted the soccer camp office
in US and they told me that if there is
a person who is going to pay for me soccer
camp fee, he is the one to fill for me the
I want to take this opportunity to
wish you and the family at large a
wonderful, lovely and peaceful Easter
holiday. Right now here in my country we
have already entered in a Good Friday and am
going to church there a youth conference
itís going to start at 1: 00 pm
So I have to go right now please send
my lovely greetings to my brothers, sister
and mommy that I do love them very much and
happy Easter to them.
Yours in God
May our cultures' mutual
acknowledgement of Jesus' death and
resurrection bring depth to all of us who
desire to grow in Christ.
Semakula's great temporal hope is tied to mine as
we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on
what is unseen.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
you are a stranger who has happened by
today, you'll find the Scripture I'm
click here and
Seriously, go back to those hyperlinks and
get some of God's Word in you today.
It isn't important that you read the stuff
because . . .
Today's entry is more for my friends, family,
and local church. You probably won't be edified
by reading it. I just wrote to work through my
personal issue with a small group of people who
are trying to use public-manipulation to
exercise control over others.
I grew up as a middle-child (4th of 5 kids). Our
mother had died and, for the most part, we
lacked strong supervision. My oldest sister and
brother were nice enough to me but the sister
just over me had a mean-streak. She had it in
her to play nice...as long as I did things her
way. Since I didn't always do things her way, I
had to pay the price. She was bigger than me and
had developed skill at delivering a sharp kick,
scratch, and succinct slap-in-the-face.
Perhaps that is why I have responded as I have
to the guy who wants to preach 'repentance' to
cowardly, silent pastors. They are being called
'chicken' because they ignore outside demands to
write letters to a local newspaper about
contemporary issues (like abortion and gay
With my limited comments to the prophets of the
Divide, I may have reverted to scrapping with my
sister. This is probably why I am stubbornly
refusing to give Dick Otterstad what he is
There are certainly issues which need to be
addressed by American Christians. As a growing
Christian, I have faced many challenging moments
of public witness throughout the years.
Six days ago, Dick wrote me a letter wanting me
to read and respond to his letter to the Editor.
It had sat there on the Editor's Page for a
whole week without anyone accepting his
challenge to 'defend Christianity.' At the time
I wasn't aware that Dick has worked diligently
to make a name for himself on TV and in print.
Before I did the research, I thought,
'well, maybe this is a guy with the prophetic
edge'. God raises up certain individuals to
challenge his people through unusual means. I
hope to always respect that (whether or not I
(God help me if I'm wrong) ...but I think that
Dick is doing his own thing and calling it
I've seen self-proclaimed prophets before. These
are Law-Thumpers who claim that they are
operating under the legitimate authority of the
Lord, God Almighty. They misuse the Scripture
because they misuse His Name. They claim that
God has sent them.
Matthew 7:15-23 speaks to people who
live a religious life but who have not been
authorized to preach the particular message
click here, Dick
Instead of taking the path of least resistance,
I decided to go ahead and tell Dick that I'm not
gonna do things their way.
Now, they are calling me names.
My sister tried that too. She started her
highly-publicized neighborhood torment by
calling me "Watermelon Head". I never thought
that I had a big head (but it was obvious that I
didn't like it).
She tried calling me "Bug Eyes" but chose to
stick with the Big Head theme. Later, she
refined her humiliation by reducing my name to
"Seedling" and later simply "Seed."
Yup...that's the real world--being called names
by little men who carry big signs and say mean
My family-of-origin prepared me to face these
big, bad religionists who slap others with
legalistic, self-righteous proof-texts. It is
ironic to hear a wolf in sheep's clothing accuse
me of being a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Dick, Luke, Beth, and others are definitely
'purpose-driven.' Dick's attempts to force
others to follow his leadership apparently
resonates with the others. I'm just not playing
their game their way...and that seems to bother
them. So go on, call me names.
Try "Watermelon Head". It really gets me going....
Even with childhood scars, I still enjoy eating
watermelon. Likewise, I'm still enjoying being
the Coach of a winning team. Through effective
teamwork, we will attempt to impact 21st Century
culture. As we seek Him, we will expect God to
direct our steps.
"Comfortable, CoffeeHouse Christianity"...
. . . yeah, that's part of it.
So is traveling to uncomfortable Liberia or
Pakistan, going on hospital visitation,
preparing for VBS, officiating at weddings and
funerals ...and more. Being a follower of Jesus
sometimes isn't going to attract the media.
That's fine with me.
Here is a passage that I really need to read
today in order to stay on the right track as I
walk in the real world.
Click here, Rob.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I was listening to last Sunday's
Sermon and was reminded of my
spontaneous rendition of a certain pop song
from 1970. Considering the lyrics I couldn't
remember, I googled "long haired, freaky
people" and came up with these interesting
here). Reading the last verse
confirms that this was an appropriate song
with which to remember a recent sermonic
Hammering on Legalism while Hangin' on Love"
Up at 5 a.m. this morning. Pakistani pastor,
(my internet friend) would like to attend
the Asian Baptist Congress in Thailand (May
2-6). He has been offered help with room,
board, and conference fees. I asked
him to check on airfare from Pakistan to
He wrote back this morning:
Greetings to you in
How are you? Today I ask from Travil agency
about airfare. He say with return tickit
Price is 542$ US for one person and Apply
fees in Embassy for Visa 30$ US and Convence
cost with Food from Faisalabad to Islamabad
with stay is 20$US.
Travil Agent told me this is Today Rate. But
if you will book after near about two weeks
then perhaps some change in Airfare, perhaps
some less or some high. He told me remember
God Bless You
Your Brother in Christ
He obviously needs help with his airfare. He
would also like to take an interpreter to
help him translate English to Urdu.
Even Google translators don't provide
Is there any out there willing to help see
this come to pass for Pastor Shamas?
If you would like to see his progress as a
leader, please look at these photos that he
has sent me over the months since we first
Play & View All Images
More from Pakistan:
Play & View All Images
This Christianity Today article was sent to
me this morning. "Living with Islamists"
also describes the celebration of Easter in
one part of Pakistan (click
I hope that you will make plans to join
Auburn area pastors at the Community Good
Friday service. It is at 7 p.m. at the First
Baptist Church of Auburn (downtown).
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Yup. I guessed correctly. Dick Otterstad was
coming after yours truly. What a waste.
Well, anyway, I wrote a reply to his remarks
at the Auburn Journal. I've got so much more
important matters at hand but I wanted to at
least reply once.
IF you click below and read the comments,
please don't forget to read the original
article. It has two pages. I think that some
people are missing the meat of the message
(on the second page).
Jesus and the Real World
Monday, April 2, 2007
Just in from
Respectable in Lord
Brother Pastor Rob,
March 31, we talk with
Secretary of Auqaf Department.
Also Coordinator of Chief Minister with him
They were agree with
us. They say Pastor will preach forever and
their Bishops will their head.
After 5 Years Bishops will write to Auqaf
Department their Pastors are still
serving and they will give permission again
for marriage certificate to them.
Also they agree with us. They say now
Pastors will not go to Police station for
Clearance of Pastors because their Bishops
are their head and Bishops will give them
Auqaf Department call
Churches head on dated 7th of May at 10.00am
at Auqaf Department Office.
I am thankful to Lord
because He listen our Prayers.
On dated 7th May 2007 at 10.00am all will be
Thank you Jesus.
I am thankful to you
all because you all pray hard for us.
God Bless You.
Yours in Lord
Bishop Shamas Pervaiz
Sharon are trying to get married in
Thailand. They don't want to wait because they
would like the freedom to travel on-mission
together without bringing question upon their
name(s) and character. Among other goals, they
would like to attend the Asian Baptist Congress
I suggested they follow the legal protocol in
Thailand, elope (as modeled by Ronny and Hennie)
and then have a reaffirmation of covenant when
we see them in America.
I have had a chance to converse with
Sharon over GoogleTalk and Chat. She
is a faithful Christian and is the daughter of a
deacon who passed away last year. Sharon has
earned a Masters Degree in Missiology. She seems
like a good match for our son.
I am happy that Joe has found "somebody to
Thanks to all who have posted on the Auburn
Journal story about
Jesus and the Real World. I encourage
you all to stop back and read the comments from
those who don't know Jesus. You won't
necessarily get this kind of feedback on a
Sunday morning at church (click
"Who here among us has not been broken?
Who here among us is without guilt or
Those are the words with which
Anthony began their special song
yesterday morning at BellRoad.
It is 6:10 a.m. on a dark, Monday morning in
California, I posted the following just past
midnight. There is so much to do during these
final days of preparation.
I may not be able to complete everything I've
hoped to accomplish but I want to put into
practice this idea about 'perfected praise'.
That practice will only happen if I focus my
loving attention on my Lord and Savior today.
These days leading to Calvary and then to
Resurrection Morning will involve much use of
this operative modality:
PLAY, REWIND, PLAY, PAUSE, PRACTICE, PLAY,
REWIND, PLAY, FF, PLAY, PAUSE, REWIND, PLAY,
PRACTICE . . .
That's the way I work best and I hope you'll be
able to follow my method. If not today, maybe by
"The day is coming when practice
Read and meditate upon Exodus 19-20 (click
Of special interest to me today is this passage:
Then he said to the people,
"Prepare yourselves for
the third day.
Abstain from sexual relations."
In our message yesterday, I announced that our
discipline of Spiritual Isometric and
Scrimmaging will be going underground. No more
overt mention of the alliances will take place
on Sunday mornings.
Perhaps a friendly reminder of yesterday's
forecast will prove helpful as the buzz of busy
"The Bells shall
tweaketh the Whistles
as the Whistles
ringeth the Bells.
The Movers shall e-maileth the Shakers
as the Shakers rattleth this
'Father, what will Thy Spirit
reveal of the treasures
wrapped up for us in Christ Jesus?'
The Coach and all his assistants shall tip-toeth
around in the early mornings of preparation . .
and they shall sneaketh a peek
knowing that Day 8 is gonna be great!"
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Seven Days of Dedication:
Read and meditate upon Genesis 1-3 (click
Of special interest to me today is this passage:
"Then the man and his wife
heard the sound
of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden
in the cool of the day, and they hid
from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are
"I heard you in the garden,
and I was afraid
because I was naked; so I
Yesterday, before we went into the Teachers'
Conference, Joe and I were chatting (Cathy was sitting next to me
Saturday Morning 7:49 AM
joe: Hey Daddy. I wanna get
me: yeah... well, not yet, OK?
joe: yeah. not yet.. when?
me: when the right woman shows up!
joe: you wanna question the candidate?
me: If she's with you, I'd say..."uh...not
I'm writing my blog...
me: and whatever is chatted might be shouted
from the rooftop..
joe: OK with me
or we can go "off the record"
me: uh...I'm in a hurry to publish and get
to the church...
7:51 AM can we 'chat' in about 30 minutes?
me: there's an associational mtg. there.
joe: in 30 minutes?
me: be online in 30 minutes
21 minutes after the next hour
7:52 AM joe:
you will be online in 30
me: yup bye
17 minutes later (we've arrived at the
joe: hey papa
find some headphones and a microphone
so we can Google Talk
me: no microphone...
hey I haven't even left for the
I'll get on in 10-15 minutes...
Read my blog...important. bye
So, after we got to the church, Joe, Cathy,
and I chatted in the second-to-the-back row
of our sanctuary. Mom stayed and chatted
longer, while I went to a session.
Later, Sharon google-talked with me and I
got to know her heart. I learned that her
father (a faithful deacon) had passed away
just last year. I told her that I wouldn't
mind having a missionary-daughter with a
So, without publishing all of our private
stuff, we will let you hear Joe. Gotta
listen close because it was sent as a
for Joe's voice
Hey Bell Road ... He is Risen!
This is Joseph Patterson. I am in Karen Camp taking refuge inside the
Kingdom of Thailand. Just wanted to say
Happy Easter and confirm the rumors that I
am in fact ENGAGED! If you want more info,
it's probably best to check out pastorob.com
and you'll find links to pictures and all
I just can't wait to get
up to Bell Road Again.
Hey daddy, you can download the voicemail as
and play if with the transcript if
you like :D
Here are the
To read the
for January, 2007 (Journal
for December, 2006
for November, 2006
for October, 2006
for September, 2006