Waiting for a story.
“Daddy won’t you tell me 'bout when you were
very sad man?”
“Jo-Jo, I was once a sad man. For years I
Instead of doing what was
right, I chose to walk into the night. I froze
It was so cold there…till I cried out:
“Jesus, as a child I once
believed in You…but
for years I’ve found it hard to…
Found it hard, Lord, to believe in
but now I know,
Lord, I’m in need of You to
save me from myself tonight.
me from myself tonight.”
Jeremiah, Daniel (Mary
my Savior. He is ever interceding for me and
supplying all my need according to the riches
that are His in glory.
And if you’re waiting to be told the story, Son,
listen to your own tonight…
Son, listen to the Lord tonight. Tonight.”
Here is an article that
Rick Warren has done with his Purpose-Driven model
and the piloting of his P.
E. A. C. E. plan. Like most baptists in a
business meeting, I usually wanna hear the pros and
cons of a motion. I think its important to hear the
best points that your opponent can make in a debate.
rightly describes what our city-wide participation
with World Vision (Lesotho) is accomplishing.
Likewise, it helps me to differentiate aspects of
our practical ministry toward the brethren in
Matthew 25 has
always spoken this to me:
It is 'normative' for a Christian to
assist the poor
and care for the sick.
SO NORMAL, that we ask "When?
When, Lord? WHEN did we
minister to you in these ways...?"
As I have prepared to preach the points of
"Our Parallel Path to P. E. A. C. E." the
influence of dissenting voices has challenged me to
search the Scripture for the key verses that have
stirred up good works and mission. So, if you want a
balanced view of everything before you decide what
is the baby and what is the bathwater, click
above and below. Then, pray before
I just saw an article about
involvement in the development of the global
if you'd like to read it.
I spoke with Joe Walker yesterday. His wife is
currently in Liberia with a team of retired
educators. Beverly Walker is fulfilling a dream she
has pursued for 15 years.
Al Warren sent me their story at the beginning of
the week because it touches on the theme of the
'Educating the Next Generation.'
If you have time read
I share the story because it demonstrates a model
that I foresee happening among small groups of
Christians in the years to come.
Last night I met with the other pastors in Galt and
we discussed plans for another city-wide morning
worship service in May of 2006. Our churches are
cooperating in the sponsorship of over 300
individual children from one Area Development
Project in Lesotho. This is an important commitment
that connects our members on several unseen levels.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I don't have much that I feel free to write about
this morning. There are some important matters
mentioned earlier this month (see below). Some other
hopes I have for the near future are percolating but
nothing I should mention yet.
A friend just called to let me know that her sister
passed away suddenly. So, I'm thinking about the
grief that she is going through today. I feel sorry
Cathy and I are going on a date this afternoon. She
enjoys hanging out with me.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Liberia's election is October 11th. Here is a
message for voters among Liberian youth. For the
rest of us, it offers us an opportunity to
watch and pray for the future of this
Just got off the phone with R. B. McCartney,
reporting from a Texas Air Force Base where he and
Pete Cowan are serving with California's
Disaster Relief Team. He described long, hard days
of work. Pete started a job driving the forklift
(and those hours are even earlier). He is happy to
be serving the Lord this way. He also mentioned that
gasoline was $2.60 down there.
I enjoyed going to google.earth last night and
giving Jim Fugate a quick trip over Liberia
and above the streets of Monrovia via satellite
photos. I have invited a few people to consider
traveling to Liberia in the upcoming year.
When I left the grounds, there was a full parking
lot (the city-wide choir had gathered, our
long-range Vision Committee was meeting, and Habitat
for Humanity held a meeting in our Fellowship Hall).
From there, I headed to 'Someplace Fun' for Family
Fun Night hosted by our Sunday School. That was a
good time for me--sitting and talking with the
McCalls as we watched a building full of kids
running around having fun! We had to yell the whole
time but our conversation was quite fruitful.
These kinds of activities stir up the optimism
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Here's a small shot of the four children that God
has entrusted to Cathy and me. All four are
currently teenagers. Today, I'll tell you about our
third son, Daniel (17). He is attending a charter
school in Sacramento and does well in his classes.
Daniel was excelling at extracurricular wrestling
last year but our local school
its coach. This charter school has a Judo
program. Daniel has been taking the extra
class in Judo after school. We're all happy that he
is a natural!
Daniel, Mary, Joseph, and Jeremiah
Although we have chosen to send
Daniel and Mary to a charter school, we want to
support the upcoming bond issue to build a new high
school in Galt.
CLICK HERE for more info: www.ghsd.k12.ca.us/nhs
Monday, September 26, 2005
Talk around the prayer table
seems to be heavily involved with 'in'-courage-ment.
I called to our son, Jerry, before he left this
"Hey kid, I'm proud of you!"
He has worked his early-morning, full-time job with
consistency since he started several weeks ago. He
told me that he is trying to get some other guys to
apply for the same type of work with his company.
Joe called me last night. He was working in the
group home until midnight. Likewise, I'm happy that
the Lord has provided a full-time (35 hours) job for
him. He is managing to simultaneously
attend CBU full-time.
Last night I shared from Paul's letter to the
Galatians in order to track some of his
relationships with other church members over time.
He mentions having spent fifteen days with Peter. I
voiced how much you can learn about a person by
staying with him fifteen days.
Last night we considered the potential that our
California Missions Offering
could have on the future of co-laboring with Christ.
I referred to the recent Disaster Relief training
that Pete and R. B. had received. Days later they
were called to go to Texas to prepare and serve
Although they are in their seventies and have rich
lifetime experiences under their belt, they will be
challenged and will grow during this mission trip.
Like Peter and Paul, they will learn more about each
other during this period of time. Last summer, I
shot this picture to remember a local service
project they performed--digging holes for volleyball
poles. I view that specific activity as part of the
preparation process for the mission they are
They would probably be 'encouraged' by hearing that
a group of teenagers gathered last night and played
volleyball. As well, the same group was instructed
in the Word of God.
Tomorrow, Cliff Hoff will return from his
mission trip to the New Orleans area.
Terry Shepherd told me about an increase in supply
for the food pantry she is overseeing.
The 'love-in-a-shoebox' season
is upon us.
Click here to
see the photos from last year.
Local projects bring individuals together who may be
called upon to work together in greater causes
sometime in the future. My hope is that this column
will encourage others to connect with someone for
prayer, mutual encouragement, and mission endeavor.
Our Parallel Path to
P. E. A. C. E.
for the Sick
Sunday, September 25, I will
preach only once in the morning.
We'll have Bible Study for all
ages at 9:00 a.m.
we will share a combined service
and consider the healing
ministry implied in the Great
Commission. Then, we'll have a
'potluck' lunch together. I hope
you'll come join us.
God Will See Us Through:
In Leroy Gainey's Leadership
class (1996), I wrote a personal
mission statement that included
"I want to be a member of
little church in Galt has
continually been involved in
'sending' individuals back and
forth to settings outside the
four walls of our building. The
trips taken thus far have
certainly built 'character' but
they have also been costly. We
should keep our
worldwide mission methodology on
the altar. We should also continually
invite individuals to step
aside from the mainstream of our
culture until we know that we're
obeying the Great Commission.
A more prolific writer addresses
Saturday, September 24, 2005
sleep-in rather than attend
early morning prayer, I'm happy
I chose the latter. Many
important matters were brought
to the roundtable prayer
meeting. Without that prayer
time I would probably be
overwhelmed with the weight of
During the morning I've been
reading from another book by K.
P. Yohannan. These books were
being freely distributed at the
Spirit West Coast festival. I
don't know much about this
man--other than Karen and David
Mains had embraced his ministry
and that Erwin Lutzer wrote the
foreward for the two books I've
"I'm calling on believers
everywhere to join me in a
radical far-out life of
simplicity that will seem crazy
to many of your family and
friends. You can live a greedy,
self-indulgent life. Or you can
choose the way of the cross,
living for others as Jesus did
and still calls us to imitate
Again I'm reminded of a personal
longing to live simply.
On my first
overseas trip (Indonesia,
1995), I spent a night with
missionaries living in the city
of Jakarta. Their
pleasantly-arranged home was
sparsely furnished. I looked
around and asked, "Where's all
The couple smiled and explained
that years before they had made
a decision to adopt a lifestyle
of simplicity. Among their
possessions there didn't seem to
be much that 'rust could
corrupt' or that 'the thief
could break in and steal.'
During our twenty years of
marriage, Cathy and I have
continually made decisions which
have helped us ward of the
unintended consequences of
prosperity and materialism.
However, we still have
accumulated far too much 'stuff'
for our own good.
Opinions about governmental
response to two recent
hurricanes visited upon our land
have been widely televised. More
important is the question of the
individual's readiness for
uncontrollable circumstances in
Watching people evacuate their
homes has caused me to again
consider the importance of
detaching myself from
unnecessary weights and
hindrances. Today, older men I
know (Cliff, Pete, and R. B.)
are living as pilgrims in a
temporary dwelling--serving the
Lord with a sacrifice that has
cost them something. I pray that
they each man (and their
wives-at-home) will experience a
personal revival. May a
God-centered worldview spread to
others around them and through
our local church.
Friday, September 23, 2005
(a friend from Galt's Assembly
of God) traveled to a Katrina
site several days ago. He wrote
a letter yesterday:
Hoff has been back
there preparing meals and
serving as a chaplain for a
Last night I received the
Pastor Mac (R. B. McCartney).
He and his buddy,
retired truck driver, just
trained last Saturday!
Well, I was 'googling around'
looking for airline ticket
availability to assist someone
in going to Liberia. I suppose
I'd have to warn anyone who is
willing to go that there is some
risk involved. I forgot.
One travel agency wasn't too
Uncertainty After Civil War
mess that is Liberia's civil war
seems to be on the mend but the
country is still no place to go for
a beach holiday. There is sporadic
looting as well as bursts of
shooting in pockets of the country,
including Monrovia. The future for
the troubled West African country is
uncertain, and its security
situation remains volatile.
country recovering from years of savage
civil war, travel to Liberia still poses
more personal safety risks than it's
"The safest place to be
is in the center of God's
Though Erwin McManus disagrees with me.
He says that the center of God's Will isn't 'safe' at all!
Thursday, September 22, 2005
'Repent' might sound harsher than 'Return',
but either direction to turn-around is helpful
advice when we're off-course. At our Bible Study
last night, Ron Shindy was asking what truths
God has been revealing in our lives. The truth I'm
rehearsing in these days has to do with returning to
the 'first love'
of an on-fire
Christian experience. When asked to strum the guitar
and lead some songs, I sang a medley of old choruses
from the mid-eighties.
"This is the Day" "He is Lord"
"In the Name of Jesus"
"Create in Me a Clean Heart"
Cathy and I had probably sung those songs hundreds
of times in the early days of our ministry together.
God used the words of those short songs to connect
our lives with the Word and with other victorious
memories in our experience.
In recent sermons I have mentioned that I am
fighting the tendency to drift into becoming a
crusty, 'old' christian. Last night I admitted how
good it is to be around someone like Ronny. At this
stage of his life he is continually reading the Word
and memorizing it. He's on-fire and excited about
growing in the Lord.
I was blessed to simply listen to my brothers and
sisters share from their hearts about the value of
getting to know each other better in that small
group environment. I feel the same way. It is good
to gather with like-minded believers and help each
other along the way of Christian growth in the Lord.
If you're missing the joy of your salvation, I hope
you'll do whatever it takes to return to the
simplicity of fellowship with Him and others.
Join a Sunday School class or attend a mid-week
bible study. If none fit your schedule, write me.
I'd be happy to brainstorm with you about your
In a few minutes I plan to take a walk with my buddy
Jebby. Its been several weeks since we've seen each
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Yesterday's entry is quite
important (and I've updated it), so please
scroll down and spend some time thinking about the
ideas presented on Tuesday, Sept. 20th.
Joe called. He is enjoying his new job
working with developmentally disabled adults (35
hours weekly) after school at CBU.
* Jerry is
working full-time. Buetler Heating and Air
Conditioning; He plans to start Community College
after work in January.
Yes, you could make it from Lodi to Ann Arbor in 38
straight hours (as long as you don't stop at all
along the way). A nicer drive is Day One: to
Salt Lake City (stay the night); Day Two: to
Lincoln, Nebraska (stay the night); Day Three:
to Ann Arbor for long, cold months of
suffering, loneliness, and other by-products of
moving too far away from the Epicenter. (whateva)
(an excerpt from
an email I received
Dear Pastor Rob:
...when this housing project is finished, the
portion we are using at the moment will be prepared
to serve as a guest house for Christian friends from
FBC Galt who will come for a short-term mission trip
Pastor, you remember I mentioned in one of my emails
that FBC Galt should please send a family to visit
with us every year just as the McCalls were sent. So
I expect that to happen come
Feb. 2006. Another family will come to serve for
a short period.
So I'm thinking about this and decided to plan for
it as it relates to the lodging aspect of families
coming from the FBC Galt.
In His love,
Pastor Richard Wesley
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
"Suppose one of
you wants to build a tower. Will
he not first sit down and estimate the
cost to see if he has enough money to
complete it? For if he lays the
foundation and is not able to finish it,
everyone who sees it will ridicule him,
saying, 'This fellow began to build and
was not able to finish."
That's an interesting verse, isn't it? It
serves as a good proof-text to justify not taking
risks. When one fixes her eyes ONLY upon what is
SEEN, then it is relatively easy to shrug off the
visionary voice with this question:
"We don't have what it takes
. . . so why even start?!"
the day-to-day experience of
demands (property, materials, city ordinances,
or emotional pressures and personality dynamics)
seem to hinder you with the threat that there will
never be enough of what's needed to finish the race
God has set before you.
Our local church would not be viewed by most people
as a 'big church.' In fact, sometimes it seems so
'small' that we find it hard to have enough workers
to provide quality ministry for those who attend our
church and need to be discipled.
describe your situation?
Robin runs the race...
When the limitations of your organizational
structure tempt you toward despair, its important to
let God lift you above what you're focusing upon.
There's a BIG PICTURE (a Vision) that can be seen
with eyes of faith. When I get stuck, I need
the practical help of a
FAITHful friend. Today, I wanna be your friend!
I woke up with the gift of faith which created a
personal momentum. Let's roll . . .
One of the greatest gifts I have unwrapped in
ministry came from God's invitation to be involved
with a local pastor in Monrovia, Liberia. Since the
day I received my first personal email from him
(12-12-2002), our little church has been profoundly
lifted above the limitations of our here-and-now
We came alongside Pastor Richard Wesley
build this sanctuary for the outreach of
Bible Baptist Church.
We have also provided basic necessities for
a Children's Home, helped toward building a medical
clinic, tried to dig a well, and (most-recently)
helped the pastor's family have a home of their own.
Today, I'm sharing a few photos hoping that some
other 'little' church will catch a vision and help
Pastor Wesley 'finish building.' Not pictured is the
foundation for a school that has been laid out
behind the sanctuary and medical clinic.
I believe that one of the
first steps your church could take is to 'set apart'
someone to GO. I went there for three weeks. A year
later a married couple went there for one month.
When Pastor Wesley visited us in 2003, we went to
'big' churches looking for help. None were able to
help....it seems like it became God's assignment for
average Christians from little churches.
It is hoped that someday this building will
serve as a neighborhood medical clinic.
has been built as resources have been given.
Recently it has been used to provide a form of
12-15 individuals who were living
together until a
fire burned down their structure.
This building still needs to be finished and those
with interests in 'caring for the sick' are being
asked to get involved.
The ability to provide clean water for those
living at the Greater Love Children's Home has been
delayed by two failed attempts to dig wells. In both
cases, solid rock stopped the digging. A mechanical
drill seems necessary but costs much more than
Pastor and Laura Wesley have eight children.
oldest, Roland is not pictured here.
is introduced at the bottom of today's entry.
Abigail, Richard, Robbie, Richard Jr, Laura,
Eunice, Priscilla, Ruth
Here's a photo of the extension to Pastor Wesley's
home in Monrovia, Liberia.
From what I have
seen, our friends have used their resources
Richard has rarely asked for any help for his
I hope that they will be able to finish this
home before the rainy season begins.
I hope that someday soon, Pastor Wesley's family will be
visited by someone who looks at these photos.
If that happens, I would guess that the visitor(s)
might have an opportunity to stay in one of these
small rooms while they assist him in the work of the
gospel. I pray that the visitor(s) will bring him
those who are called to listen to me as a local
"If we have done something this important on the
other side of the planet, we should exercise faith
and do something significant right here in our own
Tim Stevenson once shared a pithy phrase that I
believe is apropos for those who feel forced to put
'a freeze on giving'.
Both/And ... not either/or
Here's a photo of the newest member of the Wesley
love in action for the people of
PLEASE WRITE TO ME about this burden on my heart.
(click or paste
into an email)
A friend had written me a letter recently asking me
about tithing. Due to a financial squeeze, she had
stopped giving and asked my opinion. I wrote back
and shared my own simple testimony that God has told
us to test Him in this and to watch for the windows
of heaven to be opened.
Today, she wrote back and told me that God had given
her the desire to resume giving her tithe. She also
mentioned someone else's opinion that giving of
one's time was equivalent to tithing. I quickly
responded to her note and thought that maybe you
would enjoy a simple word of encouragement in this
matter of giving and receiving:
I address the issue of tithing
carefully because of the great ability we each have
to poke holes in others' theories and interpretation
You know, though, the law of the harvest is that you
will reap 'what' you sow.
Perhaps if you sow 'time' into others' lives, then
that's what will come back to you 30, 60, or 100
fold. I figure that the times I've invested myself
into the lives of other people will somehow come
back to me as God sends laborers to invest in the
lives of people I personally care about (but am
unable to reach).
As for money...well, I don't trust my ability to
rightly handle 100% of all I receive. In fact, even
after tithing, I still mismanage some of the 90%
Therefore, I will stick with tithing as a discipline
wherein I'm saying to the Lord, "I need You, Jesus.
I'll give you the firstfruits and trust that You'll
bless me beyond what my natural abilities could
produce. I trust
You'll take care of me--no matter what lies ahead. I
believe that you have continually opened the windows
of heaven. Thank You, Lord."
Is a legalistic teaching on tithing the best way to
instill courage to trust God? I believe that
personal testimonies of trust and humble obedience
work better to encourage others in the process of
becoming cheerful givers.
If you take a simple 10 cents off of every dollar,
it doesn't seem like much. Pennies are sometimes
discarded by Americans. I find pennies (even dimes)
on the street all the time. I stop and pick them up.
With that perspective, a simple dollar off the top
of a $10 increase doesn't seem like that much
$100 off the top of a thousand is no different than
pennies, dimes, or
single dollar bills...it's all relative. Its simple.
September 18, 2005
Last week I read K. P. Yohannan's book entitled
Revolution in World Mission.
It was being given away at the music festival:
Spirit West Coast. Mr. Yohannan challenges western
Christian to provide for native missionaries in
India (and Asia). I won't comment upon his major
points but he certainly makes the reader consider
Today I preached about giving to the poor. We read
and considered questions stirred up by five
different passages including John 12. In this scene,
Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus, Martha
is serving, and Mary is found pouring a pint of pure
nard on Jesus feet:
But one of his disciples, Judas
Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
"Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to
the poor? It was worth a year's wages."
He did not say this
because he cared about the poor but because he was a
thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help
himself to what was put into it.
I made several observations about this passage but
one involved considering the actions of each named
character (Martha, Lazarus, and Mary). Finally, I
questioned if Judas had lied for so long that
he trusted the mixed motive behind his words.
The 'disciple' who offers the opinionated question
has been making poor financial decisions himself.
Instead of trusting God for his provision, he has
become a thief. His character has disintegrated.
From that perspective he condemns Mary's gift as
being too generous--wasted on Jesus.
In my sermon preparation, I was reminded that the
Great Commission involves 'making disciples' and
teaching them all about Jesus and obedience to His
Word. In that passage, I am reminded that we will
never stamp out poverty or suffering.
will always have the poor among you.'
However, I don't wanna
listen to the fool's opinion that we must 'put a
freeze on giving.'
For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as
an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my
ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.
James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars,
gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship
when they recognized the grace given to me. They
agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they
to the Jews. All they asked was that we should
continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was
eager to do.
that as each of us 'go' to the mission field to
which we are called, we will remember the poor and
treat other people the way we would like to be
15 people have stopped by to pray for our nation in
the aftermath of Katrina. President Bush
has set today apart as a National Day of Prayer.
Joe just added a journal entry.
So did Al Warren...
Iona apparently thinks that I'm worthy of a
very special honor--something
Friday, September 16, 2005
As of 6:20 a.m. there are 1,428
prayer groups in California praying in accordance
with the President's request for a National Day of
Prayer. There were 15,237 registered across the
nation at this time.
I checked the Presidential Prayer website and
found these links. I'm in our local church sanctuary
until 6:00 p.m. Join me if you're able.
View the National Day of Prayer and
Remembrance Prayer Resources.
Well, onward for a day of prayer. I pray that
your day will be blessed and that you will turn your
worries into prayer.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
back-and-forth emails with a few precious people
this week. These interactions are mutually
encouraging. One sister feels 'distant' in her
relationships--including her relationship with
Jesus. Last night at Bible Study, a new believer
(Tony) was asking what we envision when we talk to
God. That very question was used to cause the rest
of us to testify about our personal relationships
I think my close (intimate) conversation with God
comes as a direct contrast to the distance I felt
for many years. Today, I will talk to Him as a close
friend who has promised that He will ALWAYS be with
this day, I expect God to speak to me (through 'show
and tell'). The Word of God (the Bible) will be
stirred up in my mind and heart and will be helpful
to interpret the world around me. I enjoy
small group Bible Study because it allows me to hear
from several people as they seek to know God better.
God uses them to speak to me. My love for them grows
and I am drawn even closer to God as a result.
I'm participating in the National Day of Prayer for
our nation as we respond to the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. Our sanctuary will be open from 6
a.m. to 6 p.m. if anyone wants to stop by.
September 14, 2005
Another day: It is important for many people that we simply 'show up'
today. Whether our role
is 'to parent', to serve the community, to
buy-and-sell, to search-and-rescue (whatever).
Future decisions will be made based upon the
relationships we each develop with people today.
Yesterday's responsibilities were helpful to my
getting a fresh perspective on two broad areas of
concern. Again, I tasted of the challenge to provide
quality education for high school students in our
growing city. My visit to a crowded classroom as a
substitute teacher renewed my respect for good
leadership in that setting. The 10th grade English
classes were well-behaved as they followed my
instructions in supporting their teacher's lesson
plans. I think that this speaks well of the
'authority' their teacher exercises in their lives.
I have a
hope my small contact with local teenagers yesterday
was a source of encouragement for each of them. Those in 'English
as a Second Language' were with me for two sessions.
Hopefully, I will connect with some in the community
as their last years in high school unfold. One of
the boys whose parents once came to our church got
online after school and found me on myspace.com.
He asked me to 'add' him as my friend.
night's interaction with associational churches in
our region was also engaging. I had a brief
discussion with the pastor of the English-speaking
congregation about an idea I have entertained for a
future mission project.
awat Several points-of-interest
kept me thinking into the night as I drove home from
the meeting Stockton.
way home, I spoke
with Cathy on my cellphone. She had attended the
first rehearsal for the upcoming Christmas
musical being coordinated among the local churches
in our town. Unseen glory is being given to God by
those who minister under the
authority of Christ's Name in this town. By our
cooperative effort through World Vision, we are
making a major impact on hundreds of families in
Lesotho. The practical matters of public health,
education, and farming are continually being
addressed in the midst of the work of local pastors
we met while we were there last February.
Sorrell would encourage us to 'show up.' "Today, go where God sends you; do what He tells you
to do." That's some good advice from an old friend
who has gone on ahead of me.
For those interested in next month's elections in
Liberia, you may want to read this report that I
received this morning. Gabriel Williams now lives in
Sacramento, California. I met him through one of our
local church members a couple years ago. Mr.
Williams was a noted journalist in Liberia and wrote
an important book on Liberia's civil war: Heart
Gabriel recently traveled to Liberia with a delegation
investigating the election process there.
to read the report.
I know very little
about those who served on this delegation. Their
findings and recommendations may help us better
understand what issues Liberians face as they try to
move onward with democracy.
ADDED: I called to check on news about Tom Neal and
was surprised to hear his voice. He just flew in
from Louisiana and now has to go check in with his
Tom and Connie have given up so much in order to
fulfill his commitment to the National Guard. He
served in Iraq in a major leadership position. Then,
he was called up again to provide security for
Katrina aftermath. Following is an excerpt from a
letter that Connie wrote at my request a couple
weeks ago. Perhaps someone out there has a lead for
them in this stressor for their future housing.
" . . .
my husband Tom was activated with his National
Guard M.P. unit to
New Orleans. His expected return is unknown.
Please keep my hero in your prayers.
I would also ask that in your prayers you
ask that God help us with our own housing issue. We
have been renting our current residence for six
years and we were given a 30 day notice the day Tom
was activated. It came as a big surprise that our
landlord is selling this residence. Our hope is to
purchase either an acre of land and have a modular
home put on it or find one pre-existing. If that is
not possible we would like to find a three bedroom
home in this area within the mid $300,000 range.
Unfortunately our price range limits our choices,
but God willing we will find that perfect place to
call home. Your prayers and any information you
might be able to provide would be so appreciated.
Much love to you all. Your sister in Christ,
Please respond by emailing Connie at
September 13, 2005
Today, I've agreed to be a substitute teacher at our
local high school. A couple years ago I took the
CBest test so that I would be qualified to serve in
this capacity. I will meet hundreds of teens today
as I attempt to fulfill the lesson plans for a 10th
grade English teacher.
I will start each class by introducing myself then I
will look into the eyes of each young person as I
hear the responses to roll call. The last time I
taught in the high school, I displayed the Liberian
flag and the photograph of a Liberian 10th grader. I
told the classes that my day's pay would go to help
that young lady finish high school.
I haven't taught there since
Galt's pastors went together to
(in Southern Africa).
will display that flag, photos of some Lesotho
children and briefly describe the plan for
Galt residents to sponsor hundreds of kids from that
country. I'll also tell them that I'm designating
today's pay toward meeting the needs of our
sponsored children in the Malumeng area.
I pray for discernment as I seek to maximize this
small role in 'educating the next generation.'
For three Sundays, I've been the substitute teacher
for teens in our Sunday School. This last Sunday we
discussed the following verse written by Paul to the
Ephesians. I must keep my eyes fixed on the unseen
potential of this very seed which has been planted
(in their lives and my own).
"Now to Him who is able to do
immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us, to
Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Tonight I'll be attending a Committee Meeting, then
a Board Meeting for our Delta Valley Association of
churches. Likewise, may God be glorified in all that
comes of that commitment.
September 12, 2005
Cliff Hoff is leaving today for
Covington, Louisiana to serve with other Christians
from California and Arizona. The Disaster Relief
Team has asked Cliff to be available as their
chaplain. He also plans to keep busy preparing and
serving food. The team that begins tomorrow will be
replacing the first team which has been working
continually from the beginning of the Katrina
Crisis. This unit prepares and serves 25,000
meals a day.
in the early nineties I rode with a couple brothers
(Bob Vergeson and Jim Krim) from Michigan to
Homestead, Florida to serve on a Disaster Relief
Team in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. Having
already been trained, I was able to easily avail
myself to serve local victims of flooding the year I
arrived in this valley). I mention this as a means
to encourage others to consider driving to Fresno
this Friday for a one-day training event. This
training qualifies participants to serve on a
feeding team for any disaster that may occur.
in order to attend this Training Event
Saturday, September 17
1:00 – 4:00 PM
BAPTIST RESOURCE CENTER
678 E. SHAW AVE. FRESNO, CA.
click here for the 'yellow hat' video: highspeed
The only charge is for the training
manual ($5.00). Each participant will receive the
yellow disaster relief hat (seen in this video). You will be required to
work at a disaster relief site in one of the kitchen
units sometime within the year to complete the
September 10, 2005
Jerry had four wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. He
came home to let Mom and Dad help him though this
rite of passage. Cathy and I also went to the GHS
Football Game last night. That is an interesting
community experience. Having been here for so many
years its interesting to see how many people I
recognize. Several individuals came to us to remind
us of sometime when we had met them.
Longevity in ministry has its moments
Macdonald Wreh took his test for Certified Nursing
Assistant. He passed the skills portion but just
missed passing the written test. He will try again
reports that he interviewed for a job in a home for
developmentally-disabled adults. He will work a 2-9
shift five days a week while attending University
full-time. Cathy and I both worked similar jobs
earlier in life. Joe seems to have given the
challenge some serious thought.
just told me that President Bush has called for Friday to be a national day of prayer. Here's more:
NEXT FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
AS DAY OF PRAYER
Throughout our history in times
of testing, Americans have come together in prayer
to heal and ask for strength for the tasks ahead. So
I've declared Friday, September the 16th, as a
National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that
we pray -- as Americans have always prayed in times
of trial -- with confidence in His purpose, with
hope for a brighter future, and with the humility to
ask God to keep us strong so that we can better
serve our brothers and sisters in need.
--George W. Bush
for Presidential Prayer Team
for the bbc report on Katrina
Below is a letter from our
friend, Richard Wesley:
September 9, 2005
Attn: Pastor, Deacons and members of FBCgalt.
Dear Christian Friends:
On behalf of the Deacons and members of the Greater
Love Bible Baptist Church of Liberia, I want to say
to you from the day we heard of the disaster that
hit the people of America, our hearts have been
sorrowing. In our spirits, with heavy hearts, we are
going through this with you daily.
This Sunday we will have a period of silence in our
church in a way of expressing our sympathy for all
the Natural Troubles that have come upon America.
May the Lord grant all the bereaved family
refreshing consolation and the peace of God be upon
Please remember that we in prayers with you all
daily as this tempest will soon pass over, and it’s
our prayer that God’s peace will be restored again
to the peoples of America.
May God Bless America.
Pastor Richard Wesley
'oops! I did it
When you have to
explain a joke, one wonders what unintended
consequences could arise. Well, I guess it does give
me something to reference from a couple days ago:
click here for a most unusual 'story'
(that site is satire, friends)
Parenting has been
wearing on me during the last couple weeks. However,
in the midst of these growth seasons, we're also
faced with other issues that pull in different
directions. I'm simply listing a few below so I
might be able to see the big picture when I look
back from a mountaintop sometime in the future.
On Tuesday, we had our monthly meeting at Royal Oaks
and gave these senior citizens the best we had in
friendly outreach. Afterward, I met with several of
the Baptist pastors in our Association. Our
cooperative effort from across the U.S. (40 Disaster
Relief Units) are providing the meals for Red Cross
efforts in the south.
On the local level I just learned that Iona and
Richard have networked with their former local
church in Alabama to provide a home for a displaced
Our own R. B. McCartney is currently making plans to
drive to the area in his motor home, park at a local
church, and somehow minister to the practical needs
Connie Neal called yesterday and said she had
received one response to her letter (see Tuesday's
entry below). Unfortunately, it was one of those
'scam' offers for an overseas gift to be deposited
in her account. Poor Connie hadn't ever experienced
that before. I had to break the news to her that
there really wasn't half-a-million dollars waiting
to meet her needs. Messages to Tom, who was called
up (again!) can be relayed by Connie. If you would
want to write them an authentic letter of
encouragement, here's the address:
Yesterday, our local pastors met with Administrator,
Tom Gemma. He fielded questions about an upcoming
bond issue for an additional high school. I was
reminded that our school was built for 900 students
and now has 2,100 enrolled. Our two youngest teens
are going to a charter school for this very reason.
That has not been an easy decision. Since coming to
this town, I've tried to get to know the young
people. One of my methods is to serve as a
Substitute Teacher at Galt High. I can speak
firsthand about the challenges that come with
overcrowding. For more information about the new
high school, click here:
Trying to stay connected (horizontally and
vertically), Mary and I went to a midweek Bible
Study at the Greene's last night. Doug Shepherd
played the part of a seeker and asked basic
questions of us. It was interesting to hear various
members of that group address the seeker's
questions. What is Sin? What does it mean to be
Saved? Saved from What?
Joe arrived at California Baptist University and is
sharing a housing unit with four other young men. We
haven't heard much from him but trust that all is
As in other 'times and seasons', I am humbled
by my emotional distance from the suffering of
Katrina's victims. Early on, I heard a soundbite
where the mayor of New Orleans was cussing in his
frustration. I played the part of 'the judge' and
voiced my lack of respect for those who were
complaining and blaming others. Last night Cathy and
I watched Oprah's walk around
New Orleans with the mayor. It was an eye-opening
experience for me. I saw the same man choked up
about the violence and sexual assault that had taken
place in the Superdome.
As one who has been at the forefront of
challenging others to give and to sacrifice, it is
difficult for me to see myself standing on the
sidelines. For some reason I am being given an
opportunity to see my casting of irrelevant opinion
for what it was.
Jebby's musical, 'Brothers,' includes a song
called 'Times Like These.' Times like these bring
out 'the best' and 'the worst' in us. I wanted to
only hear 'good news'--those stories of heroism and
sacrifice. Instead, I kept hearing the 'bad news' of
sin and self-centeredness. I pray that the Lord will
use this national tragedy
however He chooses to
convict me (and others) of our human condition.
I just saw a news clip about
Bear Creek Community Church in a nearby town. They
raised $20,000 in freewill gifts to send
for Hurricane Relief. Someone broke into their
church and stole offering (actually they carried off the entire safe). Bad news.
Read yesterday's entry to learn of Tom and Connie
Neal's personal sacrifice for our neighbors. Good
I just got off the phone with Connie Neal.
Her husband Tom was called to New Orleans to serve
as military police. Here is a letter she wrote to me
September 6, 2005
Dear Church Family,
In case you have not heard my husband Tom
was activated with his National Guard M.P. unit to
New Orleans. His expected return is unknown.
Please keep my hero in your prayers.
Server problems again....oh well, finally got this
message online. It's Labor Day Monday. At 9:30 a.m.
Joe drove southward on I-5 for his second year of
college. It will be 320 miles before he has to refer
to the next bit of mapquest directions that good ol'
Several of our friends at church are helping us out
with the 'empty nest' syndrome...as it comes upon
Cathy and me.
Tom Lane and I went
for a VisionWalk at 6 this morning. Before we parted
company, he prayed for Cathy and me and this
particular day of 'sending' our firstborn off again.
Its been good to have Joe around during the month of
August. I appreciate the ministry our church has had
in his life thus far.
played the drums for the second service. Again, as a
Dad I was pleased to know that this 18 year old was
serving a body of Christians as they sought to
worship God together. During that time of hearing my
boy play his instrument skillfully before the Lord,
I thought of Kevin Kiel and the gifts (and
abilities) he brings to the altar. I wanna encourage
those who are passing from adolescence to adulthood:
your church 'needs' you.
Therefore, those who will read this column in the
months ahead should understand that I am gonna be
proactive about reporting the potential I see which
is being entrusted to younger people. If you haven't
seen it yet, check out this website that Joe's
friends shared with him. Food for thought:
'Perfect Pastor Found to be Dead'
Truth is stranger than fiction: Click Here
There are some
other interesting 'stories' worth reading. If you
like any in particular write and let me know. It
will give me insight about 'who' you 'are.'
'Perfect Pastor Found to be Dead'
Truth is stranger than fiction: Click Here
Tomorrow will be
Joe's last day with us before he leaves for fall
semester at CBU. Jerry will play drums during the
second service. I hope you'll decide to connect with
a church family tomorrow.
We've had internet server problems at our home
again...so no updates. Now, it looks like I've
learned what to do next time we're shut down. Living
and learning on the Information Super Highway.
I wanted to report
that Cathy and I had quality time last night with
all four of our children. I photographed them as a
foursome, we had supper together, and then went to
see MacDonald Wreh's apartment in Sacramento.
We are all very proud of how hard he has worked
since he came from Liberia last October. He lived
with us for a few months. I've been so pleased to
learn of ways that various individuals have reached
out to help this brother.
Last night I was
really touched by seeing the furniture that our
friends from Galt United Methodist Church have
donated and delivered. I'm humbled as I see the
fruit of so many Christians all around me. I hope I,
too, will be used by the Lord during my remaining
time on Earth.
a letter from church
members who moved on . . .
Aloha Pastor Rob,
We have finally been able to send an Email to you
and the church. We have not had much free time with
unpacking and getting the house situated. But we
have arrived on the "Rock" and are adjusting quite
well. We have been thinking about our time at FBC
and the spiritual growth and encouragement that we
received as members there.
First of all, Pastor Rob, we want to thank you for
personally investing your time and energy into our
family from the first day we visited FBC. Three
years ago, we felt God leading us to your church,
and by following God's will, we experienced a ton of
love and support from our church family.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with
the youth. The challenge of youth ministry allowed
us to grow in ways we never imagined. We developed
skills we didn't know we had.
Thank you for the "Send Off" in July, we sure felt
loved and know that when we get the chance to come
back to Galt to visit we would feel that same
connection. So, now we're here, and we have spent
the last three Sundays at a new church near us and
it will probably be our new church home. It seems to
have a strong Sunday School program which we learned
the importance of from you.
The girls are adjusting well. Violet loves her new
(pink) room and her new pets (koi fish). Lily
recently experienced her first mouthful of sand (and
loved it)! Tyler is just now ending his 5 week
vacation and preparing to meet his ship the USS
Chosin in the Persian Gulf in the next few days or
weeks. This transition will be difficult for us,
considering that the last deployment we went through
was 6 years ago and that was before having our
girls. Please keep us in your prayers as he will be
gone for 5 months.
While Tyler is gone, Gina plans to have many
visitors from our family and friends. Gina and the
girls will also visit Galt for 3 weeks around
Christmas time, so please make sure you leave room
on our old pew for us. We love you guys and look
forward to visiting you whenever we can make it back
to the "Mainland."
Aloha and Mahalo,
Tyler, Gina, Violet, and
P.S. Please share this with the congregation
www.pastorob.com/rob’sblog.htmPastor Rob Patterson 653 A Street Galt,
California (209) 745-4665
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