Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chasing Shadows not God!

Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me... Ex 33:21 NIV

God said there was a place that Moses could get near to Him. He also invites you into that place of closeness with Him! In my 'Presence Driven' sermon series I have been talking about getting close to God and living in His presence. We have to pursue that with our whole hearts. But sometimes we are pursuing other things rather than the important thing!

Consider the following story:

Max was a handsome Irish Setter which my brother’s family had agreed to "baby sit" for the weekend. I also was visiting them that weekend and was keeping an eye on Max while they ran some errands. It was a bright, hot, Georgia afternoon.

Max was resting in my brother’s large fenced-in back yard. I was sitting on the back steps, petting him and admiring his beautiful long wine-colored coat, when all of a sudden Max leapt up and tore out after some creature which had caught his eye. As he ran, I looked out ahead of him and sure enough, there it was the shadow of a bird which was flying over the yard. As the shadow neared the end of the yard, it "flew" into the shadow of a tree which reached out onto my brother’s property. When the two shadows met, the bird’s shadow disappeared, but that’s not how Max was interpreting the experience. He was still almost at a full run, for a mature, but somewhat inexperienced Irish Setter, when he reached the tree’s shadow. The abrupt disappearance of his prey was very confusing for Max. With every muscle in his body tense, claws dug into the dirt, tail high and wagging with excitement and anticipation, ears forward, tongue out and panting, eyes wide open and searching everywhere in the immediate area for his illusive game.

Max was the perfect image of me when I have fallen for the deception of the enemy. So willing, or determined, to expend any amount of energy for something that looks real or right and calls on my natural abilities in just the right way... but there is no substance, only shadow, and that which is real I have missed by a long shot. The obvious difference in Max and me/us is that, hopefully, we don’t keep chasing shadows all day long, or life long. By the end of the afternoon, Max was exhausted!

Isn’t that what chasing shadows does to all of us?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Makes a Pastor Proud!

Watch the video clip than read below. I love pastoring these women at the Vine!


Dear Pastor,
This past week I had the distinct privilege to lifeguard the Vine Fellowship Women's Retreat at Lakeview Camp in Maypearl, TX. A group of women from your church rented water activities down at the lake. One of the activities is the called the ‘blob.’ This is where you climb up 20 feet to a wood platform and jump down to a 40 foot balloon air mattress which in return launches the person that is seated at the other end of the blob out into the lake.

As I was watching your women’s group from the Vine Fellowship blob, I decided to blob some of the ladies myself. As I jumped out to the blob my left ring finger got caught on a nail sticking out from the wood and ripped my finger almost completely off.

Pastor, the women from your congregation rushed to my aid. They helped control the bleeding and started praying for healing immediately. One of the ladies pulled her own car up not caring about getting blood all over her car; she was only focused on my health and safety! As she rushed me up to my cabin I remember a lady in the back seat holding my head and praying constantly for healing and a healthy recovery from our Almighty Lord. She kept telling me it’s in God’s hands and everything will be ok.

God is so worthy of praise. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for the Vine Fellowship and the Women’s Retreat. The doctors were able to save my finger. It took 27 stitches to re-attach. They couldn’t understand how the finger was not completely severed. I know the answer to that, His name is ‘Jesus.’ The healer of healers, the best doctor anyone could have.

It is obvious that the love of Jesus flows thru everybody that helped assist in my recovery from the Vine Fellowship. Once again thank you Vine Fellowship for all your prayers. As praises go up to God may the blessings from the Lord come down on you.

God bless you all,
Blake Brueggemeyer

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to a most Wonderful Wife!

The past Saturday we celebrated my wife's birthday! I am so very thankful that God has given us another year to enjoy Him and each other.

We hosted the Young Marrieds from the church that night with a cook out and fun and games. They threw her a surprise birthday party. They had me give them an old picture from when we first started dating with her long blond hair. They then had it photo copied on to her birthday cake. Boy, was she surprised! They also gave her a Visa card to go shopping!

So today, we continue her birthday celebration with shopping and a meal later on.

Thank you Debi for being the most wonderful wife a man could ever have. You are my delight!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Proud to be an American- Great Moments!

Hooray for Rick Monday!!!
video is over 4 min.

Another Black Eye!

This has been a tough few months as the courtroom drama unfolded daily in our newspapers and on TV. It was the trial of a prominent Arlington Pastor accused of drugging and raping 3 women (he was convicted and is serving a 15 year sentence). It seems that his conduct had been challenged over 12 years ago, but no action taken. The media was in a feeding frenzy. It had another way to slam the Church of Jesus Christ.

As a staff we discussed this (I will do a series on Authority soon- when to submit and not), people were hurting over the revelation, a church lost hundreds of members, and I personally did counseling for some. So it was a trying time.

To compound the problem, one of the local writers (Bob Ray Sanders) wrote an article on ‘clergy abuse’ that pretty well indicted all clergy as corrupt, abusive, and otherwise immoral. He gave a forum for people to tell their own horror stories about the clergy.

I could stand it no longer! I wrote to him the following (to which I heard no response nor was it published):

As a member of the clergy I do feel that your article 'Hornbuckle isn't the only bad pastor out there' was an over-generalization characterizing many clergy as abusers and casting suspicion on all clergy.

There are many more pastors out there who have not succumbed to the 'gals, glory, or gold' trap that have befallen some clergy as well as prominent CEO's, Past Presidents, etc.

We have had numerous reports over the past year of reporters fabricating or plagiarizing stories but have seen no articles saying many reporters are abusers and that we should be suspicious of all those that write for the news media including yourself.

We all should be able to stand the test of scrutiny. After all integrity is not who you are in public but who you really are in private.

Thank you for your efforts,
David Kerr

Now I feel better! Let the Church rise to Her destiny!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Great Weekend of Ministry!

(Click pic to enlarge)

Judy Russell, wife of George 'Buster' Russell (Life Gate Church in El Paso, TX) ministered to our ladies of the Vine at their annual retreat this past weekend. She ministered under the power of the Holy Spirit not only preaching a dynamic word but also spending time with each woman praying and prophesying over them. Lives and wives were radically changed!

I asked her to stay over and preach on Sunday morning at our two services. She consented and ministered a great word about not allowing the enemy to steal the seed of destiny that God has placed in each one of us. At the end of each service she prayed for men, women, children, and husbands and wives. We started the second service while she was still praying and she stayed praying for people after the second until 2:30pm that afternoon!

Weeks and months as well as eternity will tell of the great impartation that took place through her ministry.

Thank you Judy for a job well done!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Intimacy Was God’s Idea!

Now that I have your attention- you probably thought this was going to be a blog about sex between and husband and wife- right? Come on and admit it. When we hear the word intimacy that is what generally pops into one’s mind.

But I am talking about the intimacy that God wants to have with you!

I started a series called ‘Presence Driven.’ We are exploring James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.

Intimacy with God began in the Garden when He created man. It says that he breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. I don’t believe you can get much closer than that.

Anyone ever been taught CPR? Did you practice on the dummy? Have you ever done it on a real person? What did you do? You got up close and personal. You breathed a life saving breath into them.

God breathing into man was a demonstration of an intimacy we were to have with Him. Can you imagine Adam opening his eyes and looking straight into the eyes of God!

Another demonstration of God desiring intimacy was that He walked in the Garden with them. Up close and personal. His relationship was not from a distance.

How about your relationship with God? Do you keep Him at a distance or do you endeavor to draw close to God knowing that He promises to draw close to you?

Up close and personal!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

September Staff Birthdays!

I have a great staff at the Vine Fellowship. This month 3 of our 'Dream Team' have birthdays. They are top left: Tammy Barch-secretary; top right: Stan King-Associate Pastor; bottom: Brad Irons-Worship Pastor.
I pray God will bless you with a great day and want you to know I am thankful that God has given us another year together!

I love you!

Some Great Coffee Art!

Time to drink up!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Picture Perfect?

You decide! Unbelievable!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sponge Mistake

In the doctors office two patients are talking.

"You know, I had an appendectomy last month and the doctor left a sponge in me by mistake."

"A sponge!" exclaims the other. "And do you feel much pain"

"No pain at all," says the first, "but do I get thirsty!"

Sure glad this didn't happen to me with my knee surgery a few weeks ago!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Knee Pain and Surgery

The knee pain began on the inside of my right knee. It was most noticeable when sitting and upon rising it would be a sharp pain that would require a few seconds of stretching my leg to get it to stop.

I have been active all my life with running 5k's and 10k's, plus 5 marathons, playing tennis every Saturday, and racquetball twice a week. You can imagine my anguish as this knee pain began and increased in intensity. I stopped playing racquetball for a month hoping to overcome the problem. I continued playing tennis without much problem.

When I returned to racquetball one Thursday morning, I made a sharp turn to get to a ball hit along the side wall. The minute I twisted and put weight on the right knee, it happened. The pain was immediate and debilitating. I stopped play immediately.

A visit to my family doctor and a MRI told me that I had torn my meniscus in that knee. I gave God plenty of time to heal the knee.

Well a week ago Thursday, I had surgery on my knee. They put me out to do the procedure. The tear was more than the Doctor imagined. However, he repaired the meniscus. I have been going to Physical Therapy this week and I am doing great!

I am anxiously waiting the time I can return to tennis and maybe racquetball (?). The doctor said that I would be good to play again without any concerns.

So pray for me that God will give a quick recovery!