Wednesday, November 29, 2006

attitude - how I react to what happens to me

Once upon a time, there was an old and very wise man. Every day he would sit outside a gas station in his rocking chair and wait to greet motorists as they passed through his small town. On one particular day his grandson knelt down at the foot of his chair and slowly passed the time with him.

As they sat and watched the people come and go, a man who surely had to be a tourist (since they knew everyone in town) began looking around as if he were checking out the area for a place to live.

The stranger walked up to the old man and asked, "So what kind of town is this that I'm in?" The man replied, "Well, what kind of town are you from?"

The tourist said, "Well, in the town where I'm from everyone is very critical of each other. The neighbors all gossip about everyone, and it's a really negative place to live. I'm sure glad to be leaving. It is not a very cheerful place."

The old man in the chair looked at the stranger and said, "You know, that's just how this town is."

An hour or so later, a family that was also passing through stopped for gas. The mother jumped out with two small children and went into the restroom. The father also got out of the car and, he too, struck up a conversation with the old man. "So," he asked, "Is this town a pretty good place to live?"

The old man in the chair replied, "Tell me about the town you're from. How is it?"

The father looked at him and said, "Well, in the town we're from everyone is very close and always willing to lend their neighbor a helping hand. There's always a hello and thank you everywhere you go. I really hate to leave. It's almost like we are leaving family."

The older man gave him a warm smile. "You know, that's a lot like this town." Then the family returned to the car, waved goodbye and drove away.

After the car disappeared in the distance, the young boy looked up at his grandfather and asked, "Grandpa, how come when the first man came into our town you told him it was a terrible place to live, but when the family came into town you told them it was a wonderful place to live?"

The grandfather looked down at his grandson and said, "Because, sonny, no matter where you move, you take your attitude with you - and that's what makes it terrible or wonderful."

"The longer I live," writes Chuck Swindoll, "the more I realize the impact of attitude on [all of] life. Attitude", he says, "is more important than fact, it is more important that the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, that failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church or a home." And then he concludes, "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."

How's your attitude today? I will discuss this in the next few blogs--

Monday, November 27, 2006

Things that trouble God and me-

Ever wonder what ticks God off? Would He be?

Well He gives us an insight in Prov 6:16-19 (THE MESSAGE):
16 Here are six things GOD hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:
17 eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent,
18 a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track,
19 a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family (a person who sows discord among the brothers NLT).

I would like to add to the list above some of my ponderings and dislikes(ok, maybe hates):

1. When the pastor has a guest speaker, people seem to take that to mean that they can stay home.
2. When the pastor is gone out of town for a Sunday, people use that as a sign that they can miss that Sunday too or better yet visit another church (go figure).
3. How could someone spend the church’s limited benevolence gift to pay their cable TV bill?
4. Churches that schedule and announce a guest speaker that only Christians would know for a Sunday morning and say they are not trying to draw people away from other churches.
5. Churches that have no ‘outreach’ but only ‘in reach’ to other churches to take their members.
6. Churches that are described as ‘fastest growing’ and all they are doing is sucking the members out of other churches to fill theirs and are not making new converts.
7. Number of church splits that happen because “God told me too.”
8. I think God hates many of the things that are attributed to Him that are not His doing but just stinking thinking, wrong actions, poor choices, evil desires or corrupt authority.
9. People who tell you they love you and are gone the next week without so much as a goodbye.
10. Just because a man is successful in the world and makes money he thinks he is qualified to run the church of God.
11. Christians who deceive the pastor.
12. Christians who hurt the pastor’s family.
13. Apostles, evangelists, prophets, and teachers who are not even though their card or ad in Charisma or other promo says they are.
14. Pastors who arrogantly think it is all about them when it is not.
15. Pastors (TV preachers too) displaying inordinate wealth and fleecing the sheep.
16. Pastors who are not available for the sheep. Why pastor?

Whoa, this has gotten entirely too long, I think I need therapy!

What would you like to add to the list? Do so in the comments.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

animals in the womb-

"A dolphin swimming in the womb, just as it will have to swim in the ocean the moment it is born. An unborn elephant, tiny but perfect in every way. Each one amazing and now, thanks to these remarkable pictures, they can be seen for the first time."

If it looks like a dolphin it is a dolphin, if it looks like an elephant it is an elephant...if it looks like a human baby it is a fetus...

Since these pictures show remarkable development in the womb and we can identify them as animals and approaching life, should we then reconsider the practice of discarding unborn human babies? Shouldn't we give them the same respect and awe as these animals pics are eliciting?

Hope these precious animals weren't aborted soon after the pictures were made.

Just a thought.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A 'Thank You' note from Ted Haggard

Eddie and Alice, please tell your list "thank you" for praying for Gayle and me, and our family. We desperately need prayer. Our hope and prayer is that this horrible situation, which was created by my awful sinfulness, will demonstrate to everyone how God can take a wicked man like me, turn my ashes into hope, and put some flesh and life onto these dried bones.

I, the greatest of sinners, pray that my story will provide more living proof of how Jesus' redemptive and transforming power, works together through the Church and the Word of God to bring restoration. Even with all of this, I believe that in Him there is a tomorrow.

Jack Hayford is the point person leading my restoration to Christian living. Please pray for him as well.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving,

Ted Haggard
"We are Easter People"
From email I received sent to Prayer Partners by Eddie and Alice Smith from US Prayer Center.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You Burnt the Bird?

You Burnt the Bird?
A Dozen Reasons to Be Thankful!

Salmonella won't be a concern
No one will overeat.
Everyone will think its Cajun Blackened.
Uninvited guests will think twice next year.
Your cheese broccoli lima bean casserole will gain newly found appreciation.
Pets won't pester you for scraps.
The smoke alarm was due for a test.
Carving the bird will provide a good cardiovascular workout.
After dinner, the guys can take the bird to the yard and play football.
The less turkey Uncle George eats, the less likely he will be to walk around with his pants unbuttoned.
You'll get to the desserts quicker.
You won't have to face three weeks of turkey sandwiches.

Mr. Bean cooking a turkey!

We are in Kansas City with our son Ryan and his lovely wife Charity. I picked up a bug of some sort so Jason and Debi did all the driving (Debi 6 1/2 hours- a God thing!) on Monday. We all have a lot to be thankful for. God Bless America and us all!
Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Proud Parents!

Ryan, Charity, Jason

Awesome Marriage Seminar this past weekend at Life Gate Church in El Paso. I also ministered in the morning service. Great time of preaching and ministry afterward. I prayed for people for over an hour!

Jason, Debi and I are heading to Kansas City to spend Thanksgiving with Ryan, Charity, and her family. We have great children and are very proud of them!

As parents we prayed continually for God's understanding on how to raise them, care for them, and see them grow into Godly men. We also prayed for their future wives! God has answered one of those prayers by giving Ryan a great wife in Charity (BTW, she was praying for her future in-laws and she got us, bless her heart!). We love her dearly as a daughter we never had! We are still praying along with Jason for his wife to be. She will be a great daughter too!

God has great plans for families which the enemy desires to destroy. We have to stand firm and pray for them continually!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rekindle the Fire Weekend-

Deb and I will be heading to El Paso to do a marriage seminar for our friends Buster and Judy Russel at Life Gate Church.

We fly out this morning. We have a session at a restaurant tonight and 2 sessions on Saturday morning. I will preach for them on Sunday morning then fly back that afternoon.

Eph 5:25
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting. THE MESSAGE

Eph 5:33
However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. AMP

Debi and I have been married for 35 years. We have learned some things along the way about maintaining a great positive, fun-filled relationship and how to keep the fire burning through the years.

2 Great books for every husband and wife:

For Women Only

For Men Only

I enjoy being the 'husband of one wife.' 1 Tim 3:2-3

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh, to see clearly-

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You Know You've Had Too Much Coffee When . . .

* You can type sixty words a minute with your feet.

* Instant coffee takes too long.

* You chew on other people's fingernails.

* You answer the door, before people knock.

* You sleep with your eyes open.

* You go to sleep, just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.

* You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.

* You're the employee of the month at Starbucks - and you don't even
work there.

* You help your dog chase its tail.

* You lick your coffeepot clean.

* You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.

* You're so wired you pick up FM radio.

* You have a picture of your coffee mug, on your coffee mug.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Why I Pick Up Coins-

You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.

Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.

The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.

He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.

He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.

A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?

"Look at it." He said. "Read what it says." She read the words "United States of America". No, not that; read further. "One cent?" "No, keep reading." "In God we Trust?" "Yes!" "And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, "In God We Trust," and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.

It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

a New Staff Member?

A little light hearted fun today-

What do you think of this possible choice as a new addition to our Staff. Do you know who this is? Answer below the picture (spelled backwards).


Have you thought about this?.....

Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited - until you try to sit in their pews.

Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.

The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes and sand gnats come close.

When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.

If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.

God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?

Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?

God loves everyone, but probably prefers fruits of the spirit over religious nuts!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Neuroscientific Look at Speaking in Tongues

click to enlarge

"The passionate, sometimes rhythmic, language-like patter that pours forth from religious people who “speak in tongues” reflects a state of mental possession, many of them say. Now they have some neuroscience to back them up."

Got your attention? This is an amazing article on a scientific study on speaking in tongues. Here are some quotes from it:

"Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers."

“The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening,” said Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, leader of the study team, which included Donna Morgan, Nancy Wintering and Mark Waldman. “The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them,” he said."

"Ms. Morgan, a co-author of the study, was also a research subject. She is a born-again Christian who says she considers the ability to speak in tongues a gift. “You’re aware of your surroundings,” she said. “You’re not really out of control. But you have no control over what’s happening. You’re just flowing. You’re in a realm of peace and comfort, and it’s a fantastic feeling.”

"Contrary to what may be a common perception, studies suggest that people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems. A recent study of nearly 1,000 evangelical Christians in England found that those who engaged in the practice were more emotionally stable than those who did not."

1 Cor 14:18
I'm grateful to God for the gift of praying in tongues that he gives us for praising him, which leads to wonderful intimacies we enjoy with him. I enter into this as much or more than any of you. THE MESSAGE

Looks like science is once again confirming God's Word! Imagine that!!!

Here is the link to entire article.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Humility Linked to Success

Prov 11:2-3
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. NIV

Name recognition is the goal of every politician this election season ? marketing yourself and your achievements in a positive, assertive way is how you succeed in life, right? Not necessarily, according to a study by Baylor University in Texas.

"If you are humbled by something, some would think you would get depressed and question your self-worth. But our findings indicate that humility is a positive quality associated with self-esteem, well-being and even performance benefits," said Dr. Wade Rowatt, head of the team that studied 200 college students.

Athletes, in particular, were researched. Nearly every top athlete in every sport was associated with humility, according to Rowatt. Those traits may influence things such as the way they prepare for a game to how they respect their opponents.

In another study, Rowatt examined whether humility is associated with higher academic performance. The preliminary findings indicated that college students who showed more humble traits got higher grades than those who were arrogant and narcissistic, reports NewsWise.

Rowatt defines humility as a psychological quality characterized by being more modest, down-to-earth, and respectful, rather than arrogant, immodest, or egotistical. This conception of humility implies that one acknowledges mistakes, realizes limits, avoids bragging, and is respectful of others."

Humility is living in the truth about ourselves… and the truth is I am not God, I’m not the center, I have needs, I have things I can’t control, I am dependant on God. That’s humility.

1 Peter 5:5 In fact, everyone should be humble toward everyone else. The Scriptures say, "God opposes proud people, but he helps everyone who is humble." CEV

Monday, November 06, 2006

Secret Chambers of our Minds!

Gal 6:1 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. THE MESSAGE

I don’t want to pontificate in this blog. As the scripture says above I might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. However, my heart is broken and hurting for my friend Ted Haggard and his lovely wife Gayle. He spoke to Liberty Fellowship at our summer family conference a few years back. He is one of the Pastors that I admired most. I wept and now I am praying for them.

That is the source of my sorrow and yet a lesson.

Ted Haggard said in a letter read to the congregation on Sunday the following: (click Here is Gayle's letter)

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

The public person I was wasn’t a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

He was battling images and thoughts in his mind. They were his secret thoughts and images that no one but he and God could see. There is an example of leaders in the Bible fighting those similar thoughts and images in their own minds:

Ezek 8:10-12
10 So I went in. The walls were covered with pictures of all kinds of snakes, lizards, and hideous creatures, besides all the various idols worshiped by the people of Israel.
11 Seventy elders of Israel were standing there along with Ja-azaniah (son of Shaphan) worshiping the pictures. Each of them held a censer of burning incense, so there was a thick cloud of smoke above their heads.
12 Then the Lord said to me: "Son of dust, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in their minds? For they say, 'The Lord doesn't see us; he has gone away!'" TLB

We’re to control every thought and image that we have or else it will become the trap that will lead to our own personal fall. Sin is conceived in the mind and has a corresponding action.

Pastor friends, we have to get rid of the secret chambers of our minds. If not, they will be tragically revealed.

Special Note: I follow the 'Out of Ur' blog (see sidebar) and here is an article by Gordon MacDonald on Ted Haggard issues. Click Here

Friday, November 03, 2006

Treasure Island Revisited!

AHOY MATES!!! Captain Dave Sparrow and his misses here...

We had a grand time this past Tuesday Night (yes halloween night) as we treated our kids and the neighborhood kids to a wonderful time of candy, fun, cake walks, painted faces, and giant turkey legs!

The theme was Treasure Island and there were plenty of pirates on hand, both children and adults. In fact Captain Dave Sparrow showed up in the services last Sunday eating a turkey leg and encouraging the children to come to the event. Enjoy some pics below:

This was a great outreach for the church and many from the neighborhood joined in the festive activities.

Thank you Saints at The Vine for making this happen!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pastors, serve with all your heart!

With our Volunteer Appreciation Banquet a great success- the cards and comments continue. Here is what one couple wrote:

To all the Staff and Advisory Team,
Words cannot express what a wonderful time we had at the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner Sunday evening! The atmosphere, decorations and service was outstanding and the food, was “classic Robyn!” Just delicious!

It’s true that you never see the numbers of willing workers that we have at the Vine, But I think that last night just gave us the answer to why we do serve. When the leadership, from the Pastor right on through, is such a true “servant” of God, we, the body cannot help but learn by example.

It’s said that we retain some 80% of what we see and only 5% or so of what we hear. Maybe the key is what we see day in and day out! We love you all and thank you so very much.

Ed and Pat

Key to great pastoring is leading by example! Jesus did- we as pastors can do no less!