"I repent of ever having recorded one single song, and ever having performed
one concert, if my music, and more importantly, my life has not provoked you
into Godly jealousy
or to sell out more completely to Jesus!" — Keith Green
Aimee Sayre writes from
Sorry I haven't written. I leave too early and I get home too late to get on the computer. But all is Great so DON'T WORRY MOTHER! :)
I have lead 22 people to Christ ! 22 I know!
I love you all and I will try to write as soon as possible but I don't know when the next time will be. bye bye or as they say in Brazil..CHOW!!
Due to plans to
invest time with family and church at Spirit West
Coast, I won't be able to get online for a few days.
Since I have labored so much over the writing of my
online prospectus-in-progress, you may want to go
look around there.
If you would like to see it CLICK HERE.
It has taken much longer than I had imagined. Both computers still have bugs and I've had to go back and forth--losing momentum and sometimes chunks of material I had already edited.
Whenever we concentrate our effort in a certain direction, it alters our future. SO, anyone who reads that unedited, full-length prospectus-in-process does peer into my deepest motivation.
I've already cut 26 pages down to 24 (not reflected there yet) and much more will probably have to go. Still, the referenced stories of Paul, Peter, Stephen, D. L. Moody, John Wesley, Keith Green, William Carey, Floyd Eby, Pastor Plair, and my Mother do offer continuity for what I'm doing nearly daily on this page.
I know that my fellow writers on this website have their own stories, heroes, and influences.
here to see what other pages have been viewed so
far this month; maybe you're missing out.
There are many brilliant people who think and write much more succinctly than I .... so? I've just gotta do the best I can at being me: you know, faithful husband, loving Dad, and aging yet future-oriented pastor.
In my online absence, don't click away, look around my archives and write me a letter. I really don't get much feedback. And a little goes a long way, if its nice!
Monday, July 25, 2005
To Tattoo or Not to
None of my four teenagers have yet committed to marking up their bodies with tattoos. After Jerry submitted to Dad's Will during the earring debate (a couple years ago), I surprised him with this proclamation. That 'he' (not the other kids) could have his father's blessing upon a tattoo under these specific conditions:
First, I would have to approve of the design (I told
him that "I love Dad" or "Mother" is always
appropriate). Second, he would have to draw the
design with permanent marker in the intended spot
and keep it there for 30 days. If, after 30
days, he still wanted the tattoo there, then we would
go get it. Should he have changed his mind, then he
would have to go through the process once again.
Jerry designed a couple--he even put the temporary up
once--but changed his mind.
Now, that he's 18 he has the freedom to tattoo anything anywhere but still doesn't have one. He did pierce his lip a couple weeks ago. He reports that he now smiles more to offset negative prejudice.
So, here I am--father of another adult. A member of
our church said, "What matters is what's inside his
heart." Back in Michigan I spent every afternoon
with Jerry going on walks. I like what's inside that
young man. I've also challenged every young artist
or songwriter to create with God and history in
mind. My hope is that they will know the joy of
creating something that actually helps people--even
years from now.
So, we'll just watch the decisions he makes in life--hoping that God will direct his steps. As a pastor, I watch alongside many other parents and grandparents as they look for signs that God's calling is being worked out in the lives of their loved ones.
There's a couple brothers in our church with tattoos that I think are quite acceptable. Above is the scrolled inscription on Ron Shindy's left arm:
"The Lord is my rock, My fortress and
my deliverer; My God is my rock,
In whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the strength of my salvation.
My high tower."
Nathan Sayre just graduated from high school and has been active in helping Ron with our youth group. He surprised us all one night when he showed up at our house to reveal the portrait on his right arm. I really like it.
My uncle had a tattoo that he got in the navy; it was a large Christmas tree. I don't think much thought went into it! I've seen others from an older generation--so I welcome the chance to exercise this small amount of influence in today's art column.
And the next time you see Jerry, give him a big smile....see what happens.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Joe met up with Natalie
during the nine-hour layover
in Singapore and apparently was having trouble with his contact lenses.
Natalie is a journalist at myspace.com
and has been one of my friends there for some time.
Joe is now in Hong Kong and will return at the beginning of August.
Jerry's Band, Ann Arbor, played a show at the Underground in Roseville on Friday night. A producer learned about their band on MySpace.com a week ago and added them. I watched a video of their show and noticed some of the audience was singing along with Jordan; "How did they know the words?" They had been hearing the song on MySpace for the last week. They've had over 3,500 hits already. Its interesting to observe how much these young people have been able to do for themselves thus far.
The song "I AM" has been on our front page for a couple weeks now and has had nearly 1,000 hits....so I guess I'm picking up some practical ideas from the teenagers.
Saturday, July 24, 2005
This photo and that slice of
Coach Eby's life took place several years before I
was born. I had never heard of Coach Floyd Eby until
one day when Grandma told us that he had given my
father $100 at our mother's funeral. That was
equivalent to one week's pay. That one sacrificial
gift made a lasting impression on us. Coach Eby's
name would always be connected with Christian
compassion and generosity.
Not only had he been a coach and a science teacher, he had engaged in many business enterprises: Cablevision, Building Contracting, Modular and Mobile Homes, Insurance, Real Estate, Sports Announcing, and Frozen Foods.
He was State President of the
Michigan's Gideon's Society and pastored a small
church. He led a home bible study every Wednesday
night in his home for over twenty years. I read
through his books as a young Christian and, through
his testimony was inspired to give and to grow as a
Looking through the photographs he had published of young people he had encouraged in the faith, I saw a photo of a woman I had known during our teen years. That connection furthered my interest in Coach Eby's unique ministry and influenced the recording of my song
"Used, Used, Used."
I would have dropped by to visit Coach Eby during my sabbatical but I learned that he had died last year. So, instead of a visit, I am using a small portion of his testimony as part of the theological rationale for my doctoral project. A clip of Coach Eby's voice is also included in the preacher's montage from this song: Consider. He preached in Kalamazoo at
Praise Baptist Church as my guest in the early 90's:
“ I put fifty some verses of God’s word in each book.
That’s what changes people’s lives, not Coach’s
‘ramblings on’... But I believe that God was with me
when I wrote it…” --from Coach Eby's sermon
Friday, July 23, 2005
We have been offering our annual Vacation Bible School all week long from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. I've been helping with the Audio Visual portion. Randy Stonehill plays a role each night (via video) as the off-beat recreation director for a summer camp.
I feel bad when I look at this particular photograph. I shared an idea that I had found last year on the Internet. For this youth game, you ask the volunteers to take a bite out of a banana, put hosiery over their faces, and they race each other to force the chewed banana through the filter. Everybody cheers...but the banana never goes through...it just smashes all over their faces.
Well, my daughter, Mary, volunteered and had a miserable time with it. The banana went all up her nose. As you can see, I was holding the filter tight on my girl's head while cheering the other teen on. (He also had a miserable time with it). After I learned how bad it was, I apologized to each of them. Still, I figure that the scene will be in the family night video tonight. Everyone will laugh...and I'll feel just terrible. My daughter will make me pay--believe me.
Thursday, July 22, 2005
Today, two of our teens (Aimee, 16 and Roy, 19) are joining a large group of other students from California and Texas for a specific evangelistic effort in Brazil. Obviously they will be shaped by this experience. All other life decisions will be affected by this one decision to 'go' in the Name of Jesus.
Any person who has invested a small bit of their love for God into the good soil of these young people should take time to pray for them during the 13 day trip. In so doing, we connect with them and can refer to this event in the years ahead. As I get older I see more and more the importance of personally encouraging younger people to run the race God has marked out for
them. Its a theme of mine: the good stuff others have done for you ought to be passed on.
So, last night I went for a walk with Roy Kelly, patted him on the back, asked questions and listened. Having recently learned about the emerging problem of gangs in northern California, I seriously considered an incident he faced a few weeks back. Old friends had contacted him--he was being tested. Long story short: some people who didn't like him were lying in wait for him outside the gates of the Galt Festival. Roy prayed--that he would live through the night--because he wanted to go on this mission trip to Brazil.
"How did you get out of it?" I asked.
"I ran....fast." was his brief answer.
When D. L. Moody was a teenager certain Christians took an interest in him and it made all the difference. I am aware of several significant investments others have made in Roy's life. I pray for his future--knowing that he has a hope of moving to San Francisco and attending a noted Culinary School.
Roy learned that he enjoyed cooking when Tom Santillan brought him along to cook for the men's breakfast ministry. That is also the environment in which this quiet young man first shared his story publicly. He also was called upon to pray aloud on several Saturdays. Could there be a major ministry ahead for Roy if he follows through with Culinary school?
I am reminded of countless others in whom I have invested my time and personal word during different stages of their lives. I pray for all of them today. When it appears that one of those promising lives just doesn't seem to be producing much fruit, I need to pray for each of them--and for myself.
I wanna fix my eyes on the unseen work of God's emerging Kingdom: His Will, His Way, in His Time.
Oh Lord, let Your will be done in the lives of these 18 young men: Glenn, Alex, Jordan, Josh, Kevin, Joey, Barry, Brandon, Jerry, Jeremy, Caleb, Daniel, Mark, Christopher, Zach, Michael, Kyle, Joshua, and Joe. Lord, shower their soil with life-giving rain and bring forth an abundant harvest. Lord, bring a revival among these guys and protect them from the Enemy.
Lord, stir me up as my life simmers on the back burner of their lives. When the time is right I wanna be ready to be poured into their lives.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 201st day of the y2k5
Today's Highlight in History:1969 On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon as they stepped out of their lunar module.
Your Testimony: Why Go Back?
one day older now. With the wisdom gained since
yesterday's entry, you might take your own trip down
memory lane and delete choices of color, or soften
the collision of concepts, or even remove a link
altogether. For most of us, though, yesterday's
entry will remain as it was originally published.
The telling of one's testimony changes with age. The actual events are forever fixed on Heaven's HardDrive, but our interpretation of history should continually be challenged by new information and new insight.1
John Wesley's Aldersgate Experience can be retold
(and repeated) by anyone who clicks on his journal.
However, subsequent editions offer the alert timetraveler an opportunity to read Wesley's
about that very stage-of-life in his life from a
With the days of my sabbatical coming to a close I am again writing in the margins of each day's view:
The Father knows waz' up.
The Spirit shows what really went down.
Jesus goes ahead of our small steps.3
instance, I was
surprised when I first read the account of Jesus
"It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
I 'flipped back' (before the days of scrolling* or clicking) to Acts chapters 9 and 22 to see if I had missed it before. It's not recorded there but here it is in chapter 26--right between the lines:
"Why do you persecute me?" and "Who are you, Lord?"
(*awat on the Ancient Art of Scrolling)
Footnotes are still in use in some parts of this
I will still have the opportunity to make use of footnotes when I retro-publish from digital to pulp and ink. If Wesley was around today his publisher might ask him to record a commentary track on the DVD. Along with footnotes he would surely use the hyperlink. It blog-gles my mind to consider what the Apostle Paul would do if he had access to high-speed wireless...
3 I was around way back in 1969. As a sixth-grade boy scout my best friend, Scott, and I went to Camp Ben Johnson. We had great fun BUT we missed the lived, televised account of man's first-ever moonwalk. We also missed out on Woodstock (not even learning about it until a year later). That year the Beatles broke up as we watched play-by-play. Still, I enjoy being a sixth-grader in the sixties.
1969 one small step: on July 20, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon as they stepped out of their lunar module.
Colombia declared independence from Spain.
In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, Va.
In 1871, British Columbia entered Confederation as a Canadian province.
In 1881, Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of the Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.
In 1942, the first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps - later known as WACs - began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
In 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion at Hitler's Rastenburg headquarters only wounded the Nazi leader.
In 1944, President Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the Democratic convention in Chicago.
In 1976, America's Viking One robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.
In 1977, a flash flood hit Johnstown, Pa., killing 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage.
In 1999, after 38 years at the bottom of the Atlantic, astronaut Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule was lifted to the surface.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Its another time-delay Tuesday. I am throwing this note-in-a-bottle far out into the oceans of time. It is precisely 5:33 a.m. (PST); I wonder what time it is for you right at this-or-that very moment. Well, Tuesday is the day for show-and-tell, so...
Please look into this Collide-o-Scope and experience TimeTravel with me.
Don't be afraid.
I'll send you back safely in a couple minutes.
Recently, I observed my 48th birthday. As Grandma Patterson did before me, I reflect aloud about the many years I have outlived the lifespan of certain forerunners. My mother died at age 31; my brother died at age 32.
On the precipice of the fifties/sixties reset, those two important characters played major roles in the opening chapter. However, the Author of my FaithStory made a choice to remove them from the action (*Mother in Volume 5 chapter 8; *Brother in Volume 27 chapter 4).
Through siblings' shared stories, photographs, poetry, journaling, daydreams (and night visions), these two loveable archetypes have made regular cameo appearances each season. Those reverberated flashback scenes form the precedent for today's academic cameo appearance by Rollo May (through his 1953 book: Man's Search for Himself).
As a seventeen year old University freshman, I took a required class entitled "Pursuit of Awareness." In preparation for what lies ahead I revisited its page 31 years later. I am better prepared to hear Rollo May's message than I was backthen™ (d365 x y31):
“There are many
experiences which jar us out of
the quantitative treadmill of time,
but chief among them is the thought of dying.
A modern English author described how he
endeavored for years to write by following
“I thought I could write to formula ,”
as he put it; and during those years he
plodded along at a mediocre level.
But during the war, he continued,
“I found out why I had not been
published before….When we were all
thinking we might die the next day,
I decided to write what I wanted."
...Assuming that success and rewards might be
achieved by writing to formula—which is a toss-up
in any case—one may not be around long enough
anyway to enjoy the rewards, so why not treat
one’s self to the joy at the moment of writing
according to one’s own integrity."
Rollo May: Man’s Search for Himself.
New York: Dell Publishing, 1953. (270-1)
Write a reflective essay and I'll give you extra credit.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I just now realize how much I enjoy the 'rented space feel' of two Epicenter local churches River of Life (and Family Life).
Yesterday morning, we again attended River of Life. They have a 10 a.m. service that lasts for about 2 hours and fifteen minutes. I enjoyed every minute of the time spent in the air-conditioned middle school gymnasium.
Introduced by Pastor Larry as 'our Seniors' Pastor,' Steve James began to preach a great four-point message about the work of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life. River of Life is affiliated with the 4-Square denomination (traditionally known as a pentecostal church).
I've always (jokingly) told other Epicenter pastors that First Baptist Church may be an older group but...we have the best doctrine in town!
However, Pastor James began his message with an introduction that made me think he may have heard one of my old sermons.
"He told it like it is..."
(meaning I could agree with him).
River of Life was packed. They were celebrating the first Sunday back after 55 of them went together on a short-term mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. Most of the 55 were teenagers. Guess who packed the altar afterward? Teenagers.
fourth point was that the Spirit
empowers us to be witnesses. That final point in the
sermon interacted such with the primary point in my
project that I decided to go to the altar for
specific prayer about my writing.
As you may know I have been working on my prospectus
for over 100 days.
I was blessed to feel a young brother's hand rest upon my shoulder in intercession. We prayed together at that altar until we were done praying. I revisit that altar this morning as a devotional discipline. Remember--I missed my Saturday morning prayer with the guys.
As a guest pastor I had been asked to pray over Greg (and Cheryl) a few weeks back when they were publicly anointed for as staff members for the youth.
Last night we went to our home church. Laverne Avila was presenting a kick-off for our VBS (which starts tonight). She is one of our 'mover/shaker seniors' and was a delight to watch in action. Laverne spoke of her childhood hero. awat
current events (at
River of Life and
FBC) have now
been entered into
annals of church history
and is appropriate for quotation, footnote,
sampling, or to serve as my personal favorite (the
hyperlink). I was struggling with how best to help
others 'see' the online edition of my Theology of
This morning God used one of our TeamMembers to name the primary tool I am planning to use to finalize my doctoral work:
It will forevermore be called the Collide-o-Scope and you can have your own beta copy, right here, folks.
If you have some time, please click over to this certain page in church history and take one (or more)
quick polls. Vote as many times as you like!
Sunday, July 17, 2005
This weekend has been one of considering the special interests of our four teens. Most who read this column would know that our oldest, Joe, is on a musical mission trip. I think that he is in Hong Kong now.
Our daughter, Mary, has been at Cheerleading Camp. Although the 'camp' has taken place here in Galt, she has been gone from us for most of the weekend.
Jerry's band, Ann Arbor, has played at two 'shows.' Friday night's venue was at a church outreach in Vacaville. Saturday afternoon they placed second in a 'Battle of the Bands' in Lodi's church-sponsored Youth Center (CLUB 180). Daniel drove to both events to videotape this new showband's high-energy performances.
is all peculiar territory for me. Sometimes I've
lamented at the style of music and that the primary
focus misses the opportunity to glorify God. Yet it
is noteworthy that this weekend's musical showcases
have been provided by churches. I didn't orchestrate
that connection for my boys. I wonder Who did? Who?
I thank the Lord for the Vacaville church and the Lodi churches for trying to address the musical/cultural interests of my boys' peer group.
Ann Arbor is not presenting themselves to their audience as a 'Christian Band.' I am aware, though, that each young man (5 of them) have, at some time, prayed 'a prayer for salvation.' My attempt to be a witness is to affirm the sovereignty of God in their lives while gently encouraging them to give thought to their ways.
The spiritual and developmental understanding of my kids' friends has always been of importance to me. Since each one of my children accepted the basic message of Jesus as little children, I cannot expect to see the fruit of that which comes as a result of a radical conversion. Cathy and I have also tried to allow the children to understand the responsibility that comes with freewill. The challenge for this ever-aging witness is to refrain from allowing my preferences to negatively impact the cross-generational relationships I enjoy with my kids and their friends.
I agreed to allow Ann Arbor to practice at Studio 163 in exchange for their active participation in a 15 minute Bible Study each time. So far we have had two pleasant studies together. Yesterday, I noticed that the guys prayed together before they performed at the Battle of the Bands.
After they played, I heard Jake McGregor (FBC Lodi) do his very best to deliver an 8 minute sermon to the crowd of youthful attendants on the scene. Although they had each paid $10 to attend the event, they still were asked to quiet down and listen to a sermon. Cathy and I sat, observed, and prayed. Believe me, my mind was active with what I might have done to help in the situation. The story was told of a teenager from Michigan who ran away from home. Pastor Jake connected the story to Jesus' story of the prodigal son.
I was pleased to see Jerry and his bandmates modeling respect for the youth preacher. Members of Ann Arbor had just played. Immediately after, they were seen by the crowd as humble individuals paying attention to the message of the preacher. I pray that God's Word will begin to permeate their continually-developing worldview.
July 16, 2005
Woke up at 4:30 and got online to see if anyone overseas had responded to my question (above). After reading a most-interesting blog from Natalie in Singapore (see her blog below Pastor Wesley's letter), I paused to reflect how much change has taken place in our ability to communicate during my years here in Galt. I wrote Natalie that I was gonna nap until prayer meeting but I missed it--just too tired to get up at 6:00.
Please read Pastor Wesley's letter to me. I KNOW that there must be a church out there who NEEDS to respond and help this man of God.
If you're reading this, then most likely you have the resources (mental and material) to help me help him.
If you, yourself, are in the midst of difficult times, I pray (right now) that God will use this website to encourage you that someone really loves you. Don't give up...that someone is the Lord.
My friend, Natalie (18) lives in Singapore. I met her through Joe; she wrote a videoclip review for our website youth page. I have chosen to copy her blog from myspace.com so you wouldn't have to go there yourself. For those who are quick to wanna throw out babies with bathwater, please read this blog. I see value in a forum for this type of journaling. Who knows how the Lord could use Natalie's witness?
July 15, 2005
One week from today, Roy Kelly (19) and Aimee Sayre (16) will have arrived in Brazil. Here is a photo of Roy (on the day of his baptism) helping us baptize another teenager.
I was pleased to hear that Roy has been helping Joyce Sayre on her weekly mission into a dangerous neighborhood in Stockton.
He also regularly attends the Wednesday Night Bible Study Fellowship and has been helpful to Ron Shindy, our new youth leader. For some reason, my prayers for Roy's future as a Christian witness is connected with my love for the true story of D. L. Moody.
Have you heard much about D. L. Moody? He was the most noted evangelist of his time (1837-1899). I have always held Moody's work among boys and girls in Sunday School as the best example for building a class. He went out to the streets to round up kids and walked them to his class.
Coming from a rough background himself, He had started attending a Sunday School class when he was a teenager. He knew what it was like to have someone care enough for a rough kid to reach out to him.
His teacher, Mr. Kimball decided to visit him where he worked at his uncle's shoe store. That personal connection helped young Dwight accept Christ as his savior.
Knowing the future, its ironic to read the story below. When it came time to be questioned by the church (in order to be baptized), he failed the test. Here is an excerpt from a biography written by a close friend:
When Mr. Moody appeared for examination, he was eighteen years old. He had only been in the Sunday school class a few weeks; he had no idea and could not tell what it was to be a Christian; even when aided by his teacher, whom he loved, he could not state what Christ had done for him.
The chief question put to him was this:
'Mr. Moody, what has Christ done for us all - for you - which entitles Him to our love?'
The longest answer he gave in the examination was this: ' I do not know. I think Christ has done a great deal for us, but I do not think of anything particular as I know of.'
Under these circumstances, as he was a stranger to all the members of the committee, and less than a month had elapsed since he began to give any serious thought to the salvation of his soul, they deferred recommending him for admission to the church. But two of the examining committee were specially designated to watch over him with kindness, and teach him 'the way of God more perfectly.
When he met the committee again no merely doctrinal questions were asked of him; but as his sincerity and earnestness were undoubted and he appeared to have more light, it was decided to propound him for admission. About eight years after this, and when Mr. Moody had become prominent as an evangelist, he expressed his gratitude to one of the officers of the church for the course pursued, and said his conviction was that its influence was favourable to his growth in grace.
July 14, 2005
Today is my birthday. At this age Joshua still had nearly a generation of waiting and wandering ahead of him. Although he had crossed the river and faced his own fears, his mid-forties leadership couldn't change the freewill of his nation.
Upon the occasion of this 48th annual remembrance, I find myself meditating upon the mindset of patient vision. That God-pleasing mindset has much to do with perspective. Perhaps I'm just thinking about the laments I have heard voiced by some
air-conditioned Christians I know.
Most perplexing is that negative verbiage so often heard in the familiar voice of the
Hmm...because the singular voice seeks to pluralize by influencing others. While walking around the cul-de-sacs off church street, I came across this inscription:
The Lord isn't doing what
he ought to do
... and the devil isn't even bein' nice.
--tomb of the unknowin' soldier
Thank God Pastor Wesley calls me...
and tells me about his car breaking down;
about Deacon George's house burning down;
George's household now living at the church; about the twice-daily prayer meetings;
about little Robbie Wesley;
about all the PKs of Greater Love Bible Church; about the next Wesley baby due next month. How old will Pastor Wesley be at the birth of Laura's eighth child? (older than me...)
Billy Sunday said,
"If you're not meeting the Devil head on,
then you're going in the same direction."
You know, without God-given
perspective, I would allow negative voices to keep
me from moving forward (especially if I thought that
I had to wait forty years to Crossover).
I've only been waiting for twenty...
So, I'll say a prayer and blow on this fire:
One: Last night's Bible study and fellowship was wonderful.
I counted over twenty
people, Each person contributed something to the
mix. The result for me was a profound renewal of
unconditional love for God's people.
Three: I'm in contact with fbcgalt's traffic controllers. They assure me that, with their guidance, I can expect a soft landing in August.
July 13, 2005
Joe just sent a note. Go back to the homepage to read it. I took some time to do some housekeeping on our homepage. Sometimes we leave items up because in several other areas we have 'linked' back to that spot. Like this: Today's Daily Bread
I don't like to do a google only to discover that the page I expected can no longer be found?
Tomorrow's my birthday. I'll be 48. All I want for my birthday is to hear a testimony from any of you about God's faithfulness in your life. OK? I'll try my best to answer each one of your letters personally.
Yesterday, God sent me some messengers. Let's see...Eva wrote, there was a card in the mail from Charlotte saying that she needed a hug, and Pastor Wesley called from Liberia. We had a very long talk; he was able to get online and spoke to me (with a delay) from his computer.
I also stopped in and saw Dan (back from Hawaii) at the Epicenter.
We've been enjoying our visits to other churches. God's people are precious. He has them planted all over the place. Those at the core of each church work so very hard. I enjoy watching those laborers working at the very task God has called them to do.
During this time of sabbatical, I struggle not to go back to my own little corner and work. There is always something to be done (or for a pastor, someone to visit). However, I know that long, non-stop days of hard work lie ahead. So, I'm getting ready for that season.
I've learned that you can work, work, work and not see much accomplished at the end of the long, hot days. Still, I'll soon be back at my station--working until the day is done.
I have seen the Unseen awat
Tuesday, July 12,
Today marks the day that we once celebrated my older brother's birthday. Richard died in April of 1985 after an 11-year trial with Multiple Sclerosis. I thank God that we both shared church services, songs, and prayers to the same Lord Jesus during the last years of his life.
I'm just heading to bed at 3:26 a.m. after having spent nearly 18 hours straight working on a website that I hope will help me get my final prospectus finished for submission.
Some things are easier for those with left-brain strengths. I walk on the other side...and those walks are slow and deliberately contemplative.
After 100 days of Sabbatical Leave, I was faced with piles and piles of files (clipboarded files of my forefathers' fruit)...
For weeks, I have struggled with how best to compile and edit these daily contributions to doctoral-era writings. A couple days ago, while conducting yet more research, I discovered a source for a free website.
It has some problematic areas for me (especially while working on less-than-trouble-free computers), however, this site serves as a canvas to display a near-final draft before cutting-and-pasting various chapters into the required 8.5 x 11 form.
If you'd like to see a typical
work under pressure in turning out an important
composition, tune in over the days ahead.
Be forewarned. Much of this will change as I rediscover, re-align, fast-forward, pause, and rewind. I believe that some great stuff is gonna come from it all. I anticipate several more 12-18 hours days to get it right.
also: check July stats and write me a note; give me some feedback. It's kinda lonely on this Sabbatical; I miss preachin' and stuff.
July 11, 2005
Cathy and I went to visit our friend, Al, in the hospital last night. The drive to Stockton (all alone) was good for us. This sabbatical has been good for our relationship. We have faced several important issues with our four teenagers.
Dan and Mary are changing
schools so that's been an extra load of care and
preparation. Working through these (and other)
teenager issues has been enhanced by having quiet
time with Cathy.
I heard from Joe again this morning but its private stuff. I know he would like to get an email from any out there. (see below)
Let's fill this day with thanksgiving to our Creator today. Jesus is Lord, right?
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The remaining Pattersons (Jerry, Dan, Mary, and Cathy) are heading with me from Galt up to Sacramento this morning. We will be at FBC Sacramento where our friend, Jebby, leads worship.
Here's a letter from Joe that was waiting in our INBOX this morning:
Where is my email?? Oh, I realize that you are just now waking from your slumber. To you the tenth has not yet risen though to us here it is time for bed. When I awake it will be the 11th and when you awake it will be the 10th. LOL
Oh, I met another time traveler. My host [here we call them billeters] have super fast broadband connection so I am able to listen not only to any song I desire, or my 3 year old brother reciting the first verse of John, but I can even listen to Al Warren's sermon. It is truly a time traveling experience and the best part is that the journey is nearly instant.
Today we sang at two churches. The morning service in a church where we landed yesterday night and now we are in a small community called Bernie. Soon we will be moving to an area named PENGUIN ... boy, it is a bit chilly here.
Reminds me of Estonia, minus the snow. In fact some of the singers were able to venture up into the tower at the church this morning. Myself, I was too busy singing to Koreans and making the acquaintance of the very hospitable Tasmanian people over tea and a wonderful lunch.
Currently, this fellowship is blessed to have some other overseas help, a young woman--19 from South Carolina [though upon my first impression I thought that she was an Aussie] I later came to hear her slip into her southern accent especially when speaking to the director about how to best get young people to the Friday night finale.
This evening, Sunday July 10th, we were in a small church in Bernie. Again, the outside is chilly, but the food, and people were quite warm. I accepted several hugs from the older church ladies and they literally warmed my
Great things are happening in Tasmania, and pray that more will come to a saving knowledge in Christ as we sing to the unchurched children in the Christian schools and public as well.
We had been scheduled to be in London at the Large Baptist conference there, but we are seeing why God sent us to this land that may seem small to the world [oh, Bethlehem].
Guess God has a plan [He always does] for us to make an impact [greater impact where a few decisions can reshape an entire
Well, it is late and my hosts have entrusted me to turn out the lights ...
the heat is already off and I have to be up early tomorrow.
Write me an email ... I should have access for the next couple of days.
Saturday, July 9, 2005
I just returned from Saturday morning prayer
meeting. There were a number of men who showed up to
finish a work project with the water meter. Mike
McCall and I went in to prayer with the sounds of
the project as a backdrop. The men were laughing as
they shoveled stone and dirt.
Praying with only two of us was a different dynamic than our normal 4-5 guys. Mike's leading the worship service tomorrow, so he mentioned the title and text of the sermon. Before we prayed, we read the scripture that will serve as the focus of Dr. Hoff's sermon:
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes.
Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored,
and he saw everything clearly.
We prayed over the text in a devotional manner--applying some of the phrasing to our petitions. Of course, we don't know how Cliff will preach the passage, but we're better off for having considered the passage during our prayer time. I heard good news from the Spirit in the place of prayer.
I hope that today will be a great day for each one of you.
UPDATE: 5:00 pm I just spoke with Cathy Warren and she said that she had just spoken with the doctor. Al's surgery went the way the Dr. had wanted it to go.
Also, this morning a baby girl was born to Joyce Wreh (Macdonald's wife) in Liberia.
Friday, July 8, 2005
Its a bright sunny day in Galt. Cathy and I were up early to go to Stockton and pray with Al Warren before his back surgery. He was in a good mood this morning.
Jebby and I will be walking the streets of the NorthEastSide so maybe we'll see you.
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Earlier today I wrote a journal entry but ran into a temporary 'freeze' so I lost the column. I won't try to rewrite those thoughts.
I will say that it was written while reports of the London bombings were being broadcast into this room from TV Channel 31. The newscasters were televising their computer screen and hitting on Internet pages--showing the viewer uploaded photographs from people in the subway and atop the bus.
These days of near-instant information certainly multiply the opportunities we have to hear about the sins of the world.
Today, I think we should:
Behold the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Maybe Joe will find an
internet site at the Singapore Airport and will
write. I miss that young man.
Our recent graduate, Jerry, worked 11 hours yesterday with a local man (retired) who works with cellular phone tower installations. I don't know all the specifics but he told me that most of the day was spent on the road going to four different sites.
July 6, 2005
I received an email from Joe. His group performed in Carson City, Nevada last night. They left on a bus to L.A. early this morning. After one more concert tonight, they will board a plane for Singapore (where there will be a 9 hour layover).
Hopefully, our Singapore correspondent, Natalie, will be able to make it to the airport to spend some time with the group.
Press Play for Audio Track
Children of God lyrics
When Joe was here (helping me archive old VHS tapes
to DVD), he came across some footage of me holding
him on my lap at the piano. He was only 5 months
old. My friend, Jerry, and I had just written
Children of God.
On the video, I was singing the new song with baby Joe. Joe (the young adult) watched this interchange between father and baby, and gave thanks to God for that time capsule.
Years later, I would record the song with Greg Brayton.
Aimee Sayre (16), Joe Patterson (19), and Roy Kelly (19)
Three teenagers who pray to know Christ better
as they plan to reach out to those who need to know Christ.
Yesterday, we went to see Joe
before he leaves for Australia and Hong Kong.
His group was performing in Stockton.
I asked him to share a word of encouragement for Aimee and Roy as they prepare themselves spiritually
for a teen-oriented evangelistic emphasis in Brazil.
Joe quoted his mission leader, Ted Campbell:
"On a mission trip there are two kinds of
people: those who need to know Christ and
those who need to know him better."
Mission trips are costly but can be a powerful investment in the life of those who participate.
Aimee was voted to be President of Warriors for Christ at Galt High School this year. Roy has been taking courses in Culinary Arts at Cosumnes River College. This is Aimee's second mission trip and Roy's first. Please pray for all three teenagers. Thank you to everyone who are friendly toward teenagers during these formative years. Read below for a story of practical friendliness on the part of a couple senior citizens at fbcgalt.
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Yesterday, our morning began with a call from Joe. He was in Linden staying the night before performing with the New America Singers in Stockton. Then they were to travel to San Jose for time with Foxworthy Baptist Church (where Don Fugate and family are stationed).
Cathy and I went to church at Family Life Community Church (across town). Pastor Frank and Pastor Rick shared the preaching time. I was thoroughly refreshed in the Word and with such a comfortable setting. Their church meets in a gymnasium (like we once did at Praise Baptist Church in Kalamazoo). Their service lasted from 11:00 until 12:40; it certainly fits us to not feel rushed in worship.
Our three remaining children went to First Baptist in Galt. Reports came back to us that, at the end of the second service, a recent attender, George, gave his life to Christ. I called around to share the news with a few people to bring encouragement to them. Here is the mystery:
What doth this hole mean?
Pastor Mac and Pete
dug 2 holes for
volleyball poles. In this
way, they have invested
in an outreach to
children and youth.
Today is the birthday for two of our children. Jerry is now 18 and Mary is 14.
Fourteen years ago, I took Jerry out for his birthday breakfast at McDonald's. When we returned, Cathy was ready to go to the hospital to give birth to his little sister, Mary.
Children are a gift from the Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for all the children. The video clip above is a reminder of God's Grace in letting us be involved in the lives of children in Liberia.
Saturday, July 2,
Prayer meeting was as awakening as usual for me this morning. Six men gathered around a table early (around 6:00 a.m.) to speak with each other and with God.
Afterward, I went for a walk around the block with my good friend, Jim Fugate. We discussed matters of this website and my hope for the upcoming focus group to take it into phase three.
Two different reports came to
me this morning from individuals who had been told
they heard me on the radio last week. This morning I
replied to a SacBee journalist who is doing another
story on youth issues. I hope that those of you who
find your way onto my journal page will discover
something of eternal worth.
Cathy and I made the trip to Bodie (the ghost town). It didn't look the way I had imagined it would. However, I was content to explore it for what it was. We sat for a rest and watched a father trying to interest his daughter (maybe 12) in an empty dwelling. He was reading from the tour book about the people who had lived there in generations past. She seemed disinterested. Cathy said, "That would be us had we brought our girl."
We drove down 395, stayed in a
lodge on Mono Lake, visited a Crater and then drove
back across the Tiego Pass (Yosemite) taking several
opportunities for hikes along the way. As a final
stop for our 2 day trip, we caught the first summer
tour performance of the New America Singers in
Modesto. I counted 31 singers in the group. We are
pleased that our oldest son, Joe, will be traveling
with this group once again. He has toured with them
every summer since he was 14. This is his sixth year
with them. They will minister in Hong Kong and
Australia after 2 weeks of touring here.
For more information: Click Here
go to: pastorob at www.pastorob.com/rob’sblog.htm
Pastor Rob Patterson 653 A Street Galt, California (209) 745-4665
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