Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cannonball Baptism!

Now this is one brave boy and a very composed pastor!

Volunteer Appreciation Sunday!

We have a great number of people that serve at the Vine. I am sure that you have heard the 20/80 rule. 20% of the people doing all the work. Well, we were pleased to note that our numbers are more 50/50! So, how do you show appreciation for that special group?

Sunday night we held a dinner in their honor. The staff and leadership team planned, setup, greeted, served and cleaned up for them. You know what we found? It was hard for some of our volunteers to sit there and do nothing! They couldn't stand seeing us doing it all.

We also produced a great video about what a Sunday at the Vine would look like without the volunteers. It had its special debut at the dinner for the volunteers. It is hilarious! Click here to view it. (38.8mb, 6:54 min) Or you can view it on YouTube.

Here's the staff and leadership ready to serve:

The event happening:

click on pic to enlarge

And the cleanup:

It is with joyful and sincere hearts that we thank all the volunteers that make great things happen at the Vine! The staff and leadership team love you.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Father - Son Paintball -- ouch!

This past Saturday we had our Father-Son Paintball outing. It was a perfect day for it and we were on the course from 11 AM until 3 PM. We shot a lot of paintballs and each other of course.

We played as private teams on a number of courses at Hit and Run. Dodge 'em City is my all time favorite as well as capture The Fort.

We have some awesome players that know how to maneuver and move in for the kill shot. I have my fare share of welts to prove it as well as contributed to others having welts also. We all wore our welts and bruises as badges of honor!

Playing together teaches the importance of team play, having a plan, and executing that plan.

We all agreed that Hollywood is not true to life in its showing of someone dodging a hail of bullets. In paintball you are facing a barrage of paintballs travelling at 280 feet per second (fps). This is roughly equivalent to 300 kilometers per hour (185mph). You are going to get hit!

In spite of getting hit, it is fun! We will be doing it again!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Matter of Maintaining Integrity-

I recently ministered on the subject of Integrity. It was somewhat in response to a previous post entitled 'Another Black Eye!'

As Pastors the most important character quality we have is our integrity and trust. We lose that, and we lose. Old saying, 'after you have lost honor, what is left?' Obviously nothing!

In my preparation I ran across a quote by Robin Williams who had committed himself into an alcohol treatment center after being on a private drinking binge of three years. He thought he could stop but found out he couldn't do it alone.

This is what he said,

'I was violating my standards faster than I could lower them.'

We need to make sure that we don't allow anything to begin to erode away our integrity or cause us to lower our standards. When we lose them, we have lost all!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Malignant Narcissist- Rules Don't Apply!

Nancy Grace, on a news program was highlighting the "Foley Scandal" on Capital Hill, where a Florida Republican, that was involved in legislation to protect our teens from internet predators was in fact sending sexual messages to the teen Congressional Pages in Washington DC.

She used a term that describes that situation and others like it- "Malignant Narcissist". It's described as a person usually in a high office or public eye that has gained power over people or that people look up to, who has such a high opinion of himself that he feels he is "above" having to live by even the rules and regulations that he may even expect others to live by.

That is how they end up getting caught and exposing themselves, because they are so conceited (full of themselves) that they can't even believe that they have done anything wrong. They will do anything to deny and try to prove their innocence, REALLY believing that they have done NOTHING wrong!!

This term is not just about misconduct among politicians but can be used to describe how a husband treats his wife and family; or an employer his employees, or how about a Pastor with his congregation.

We all are in peril of thinking the rules don't apply to us; that we are somehow exempt from them and 'above' them.

The remedy: live the crucified life and walk in humility!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pastor Appreciation Blessing!

The Pastoral Staff were blessed yesterday by beautiful baskets full of cards of appreciation and many gift certificates! I responded on behalf of the staff that the saints at the Vine make our job a delight! We serve the best congregation in the world.

To Pastor and His Wife
Your LOVE for the Lord,
DEDICATION to His church,
and COMMITMENT to each other
are beautiful in God's eyes--
and they are BLESSINGS to so many.

You are APPRECIATED for the work
you do and the EXAMPLES you are.

Joyfully thanking God
for both of you.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The 48.8 Million-dollar Elbow

I am sure by now you have heard of the elbow through the Picasso 'Le Reve' (The Dream).

Steve and Elaine Wynn were in a very good mood because he had just sold the Picasso for $139 million. He was showing the painting to some friends when the accident happened. He raised his hand to show them something about the painting -- and at that moment, his elbow crashed backwards right through the canvas. There was a terrible noise.

Wynn stepped away from the painting, and there, smack in the middle of Marie-Therese Walter's plump forearm, was a black hole the size of a silver dollar - or, to be more exactly, the size of the tip of Steve Wynn's elbow -- with two three-inch long rips coming off it in either direction. Steve Wynn has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that damages peripheral vision, but he could see quite clearly what had happened.

"Oh _," he said. "Look what I've done."

The guests were speechless.

"Thank God it was me," he said.

For sure.

The word "money" was mentioned by someone, or perhaps it was the word "deal." The deal was off obviously.

Wynn said: "This has nothing to do with money. The money means nothing to me. It's that I had this painting in my care and I've damaged it."

The painting wound up in the hands of an art restorer, who has told Wynn that when he’s done with it, in six or eight weeks, you won’t be able to tell that Wynn’s elbow had passed through Marie-Thérèse Walter’s left forearm.

One Friday morning weeks after the accident, when Wynn’s alarm went off, at 7 A.M., his wife turned to him in bed and said, “I consider this whole thing to be a sign of fate. Please don’t sell the picture.” Later that morning, Wynn called and told the purchaser he wanted to keep the painting, after all.

So have I become an art collector extrodinaire; one who is well acquainted with the world of art and have many originals hanging in my modest home? No not at all. So what is the point?

The point is as Pastors, parents, and leaders we have something very precious in our care- it may be our children, or God's children. God forbid that we would damage what we have in our care! Some may be irrepairable!

1 Cor 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. NIV
The reason for not showing the photo is because of the interpretation that some apply to it. I do not want to offend so that you miss the point of my post!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Do Barbers Exist?

A Christian went to his favorite barber shop for his weekly hair-cut and beard trimming. In the course of their conversation, they touched upon the subject of God.

The barber said: "Look man, I don't think that God exists as you believe."

"Why do you think that?" asked the Christian.

"Well, it's so easy; you only have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. If God existed, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abused or crippled children? If God existed, there would be no suffering or pain. Would there be murder or even war? I can not imagine a loving God who would permit ANY of these things."

The Christian didn't want to enter into an argument and could think of no immediate response to the barber's logic. The barber finished his job and the Christian fellow left the shop. The moment he stepped out the door he saw a man sitting on the curb whose long hair and beard were in need of a barber's attention (It looked so long, dirty and untidy).

The Christian turned and reentered the barber shop and said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers absolutely do not exist!"

"How can you say that barbers do not exist?" exclaimed the barber. "Well, I'm here and I'm a barber. I just cut your hair!!!"

"No!" the Christian exclaimed. "Barbers do not exist; because if they did exist, there would be no people with long hair and stringy beard like that man out there in the street, sitting on the curb."

"Oh, barbers do indeed exist! What happens is that people first have to come to me. They seek me out and find me!"

"You are exactly right!"- affirmed the Christian. "That's exactly the point. God does exist, what happens is people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Snorkel and Scuba Excursions-

click pic for larger view

Debi and I enjoyed some off ship excursions while on the Liberty Fellowship Leadership Cruise last week. Above are pics from a Catamaran Sail and Snorkel plus Beach Party we went on. Do you see us looking at you with the fish around us?

The next day I went for my first ever Scuba Dive. It was beyond my expectations. We stayed down, as under the water on life support system, for 45 minutes. A little panic for a few brief seconds as we went under by yours truly when I realized we wouldn't be coming back up to 'real air' for awhile. But it passed as quickly as it came and I was off swimming like a fish, well, sort of.

Debi was off shopping in Playa Del Carmen while I was under water. We both survived!

Again, we had a great time and are looking for friends who would like to go with us again. How about you?

Monday, October 16, 2006

What a Great Cruise!

I am hooked! Wow, what a great time we all had on the Liberty Fellowship Leadership Cruise.

The accommodations were great and the food- I came home packing a few inches. Besides the gourmet meals in the dining room, the other buffets and a special all Chocolate Lunch Buffet were tops on our list. And I was able to get a slice of anchovy pizza- yum!

The fellowship was great- it was nice to be able to share the enthusiasm of the trip with friends. That was what made the trip special.

Also, we had devotions with all the Liberty Fellowship attendees each morning. Bill Stamp, Mike Collins, and Jim Darnell led those and Danny Tice and I shared in the evenings on Leadership. In fact, we had people join us who heard there were gospel meetings taking place on the ship!

Special thanks to Ruthie from Cruise Away Travel Agency for coordinating this wonderful cruise. She and her agency did a fantastic job!

It was great and we definitely plan on doing it again in the future.

Now back to earth and reality- sigh!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Heading out to Sea!

click pic for larger image

Ever been on a cruise? Debi and I haven't, but this Monday, Oct. 9th we head out to sea for a 5 day cruise. We are attending the Liberty Fellowship Leadership Cruise. We are sailing on Carnival's Holiday ship, stopping in Cozumel and Calica/Playa del Carmen.

We are excited as we will be joining friends from Liberty Fellowship as well as some our own church people will be traveling with us. It will be a time of fun and relaxation.

My good friend Danny Tice and I will share the teaching time onboard. Of course, we will be teaching on Leadership.

I will give you an update with pics when we return.

Wish us well and God speed!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Must Still Seek Him

I met God in the morning
When the day was at its best
And His PRESENCE came like sunrise,
Like a glory within my breast.

All day long, His PRESENCE lingered.
All day long, He stayed with me!
And we sailed in perfect calmness
Over a very troubled sea.

Other ships were torn and battered.
Other ships were sore distressed.
But the wind that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest!

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I, too, had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.”
Ralph Cushman

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

2006 Men's Retreat this weekend!

We have a great group of men signed up for our annual Men's Retreat at Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose.

Jim Darnell will be speaking on 'Finding Your God-Given Path in the 21st Century!' The theme is centered around geocaching. A newbie to this? Click here to find out more.

So many men signed up this year we had to get an additional cabin and a larger meeting room. Those are problems that are great to have.

Thanks Stan for all your hard work!

Monday, October 02, 2006

In God We Still Trust!

Click here to view video and hear song-

Where did he learn to kiss like that?

David and Debi sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g-...... oh, well...