Monday, December 31, 2007

My Last Blog of the Year for 2007-

This is my last blog of 2007 (my 208th!) - I am somewhat under the weather right now- staying home this evening with Debi and try to recover (I have our annual staff retreat this weekend). So much for ringing in the New Year!

On Dec 23rd I preached on the 'Dirtiest Job of all Time!' I used the theme from Mike Rowe's 'Dirtiest Jobs' and preached about the dirty side of Christmas. We have sanitized Christmas with the manger scene, scenes of snow, choruses of Peace on Earth, when in fact that night there was a lot of unpleasantness meeting Mary and Joseph. It was in to this down and dirty side that Jesus was born. The main dirty job was to destroy sin and only He could do that dirty job! You can listen to it here.



The picture above will help you see what a week we had during Christmas. The numbers will correspond to the below list:

1. Jason, Charity, and Ryan

2. Our annual Christmas morning breakfast of biscuits and gravy at Harry and Arleen's home. We were joined by the Dale Huff's.

3. Harry and Arleen opening presents.

4. Ryan and Charity opening presents at our home.

5. Debi's new cool shoes.

6. Jason's new Head Racket.

7. Santa left something big (42") for the family.

8. We hosted Christmas dinner for our family, the Harry Huff's, the Jeremy Huff's, and the Ken Allee's. We had a house full and gave presents to the children.

On Friday afternoon we went for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert at 3pm. Believe it or not, it was a 3 hour show! Awesome!

So, it has been a busy but fulfilling week with family. Sunday was a great day at the Vine. I am enjoying having time to relax with Debi. Ryan and Charity have returned home and Jason is in Costa Rica visiting a friend from CFNI and her family.

Thank you for visiting this blog, reading it and taking time to comment. May the Lord bless all of you with a great, fruitful, and prosperous New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Are You Oversaved?

Taking a blog break, will write about my week of Christmas activities--




Well, are you or do you know someone who is?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve -

From the Kerr's:

Merry Christmas to all!
Christmas Eve Sarajevo -- Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Troubles for Frosty!

Is this alright to post?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stress Free Christmas!

Click on pic to see animation!

We all need a break from the stress of Christmas and life in general.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Defending Christmas -

The US House resolution honoring Christmas passed by a sizeable margin, but the House resolution honoring the Muslim of Ramadan (H. Res. 635) as well as the House resolution honoring the Hindu holiday of Diwali (H. Res. 747) both passed by a larger margin than did the resolution honoring Christmas. In fact, nine Democrats who voted for Congress to join in celebrating Ramadan and Diwali voted against honoring Christmas. The sponsor of the Christmas resolution -- Rep. Steve King -- had a strongly worded response to those members that also described the positive influence of Christianity in America.



H. Res. 847

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.

Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;

Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;

Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;

Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible;

Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;

Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity;

Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;

Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God’s redemption, mercy, and Grace; and

Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore be it


Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Great Church -- Great Leadership


What I like about Christmas is the opportunity to have some great times with the Vine and the Vine Leadership.

The first picture above (click on them for larger images) is of our Annual Christmas Banquet. Great food, fellowship, comedy, and heartily laughter!

The second picture is of the Staff and Leadership party that Debi and I hosted at our home. It was catered by Robin's Catering- always delicious! Again, we enjoyed ourselves with great food, fellowship, games, and gift exchange. Debi and I gave them Pastor David's Incredibly Delicious Pumpkin bread (baked by yours truly) and Debi baked her delicious Banana Bread!

God's banner over us continues to be His Love- we are at peace!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Who is This?

Could this possibly be our next President?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wii Little Man --

Having a Wii and playing it, I can relate to Zacchaeus!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Report on ICA meeting last week-

I am in the airport in P'cola after attending the Globe International Board Meeting last night. Flew in yesterday afternoon, attended the 6:30pm meeting, stayed with Doug and Beth Gehman, and was taken to the airport this morning by Mike Collins.

This is a report on the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) conference that Debi and I attended last week as a guest of Bobby Hill, who is a member representing Vanguard Fellowship.

This is a group of about 500 members that is led by C. Peter Wagner. Members include Bob Weiner, John Kelly, Bill Hamon, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, Che Ahn, Dick Eastman, Os Hillman, Larry Kreider, Dennis Peacocke, David Shibley, Ed Silvoso- I only mentioned names I thought you might be familiar with.

First off we attended the business meeting. After that session C. Peter Wagner stirred the pot with a teaching on Open Theism vs. Classical Theism. The premise of Open Theism is that God has an open mind and may change His mind in response to us and the surrounding events. One example would be the people of Nineveh, whom God said He was going to destroy, fasting and God changing His mind and not destroying them. It created a lot of discussion and questions.

We heard teaching and dialog on Dominion Eschatology. Basically, that the church is going to do things that will hasten the return of Jesus. It challenges the traditional view of the rapture (escape mentality).

A lot was taught on Market Place ministry, wealth and wealth building. Another session was on Israel in Apostolic Perspective. And the final session was on the local church and the changes that are occurring now.

It was an eye opening time and gave us an opportunity to see another stream in the Body of Christ and their perspectives.

With all the Apostles there, there was an incredible amount of testosterone in the air.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Canon - trans siberian orchestra

For My wife, Debi:


We will be seeing them the Friday after Christmas - we are excited!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Annual Church Christmas Banquet


Tonight is our Annual Church Christmas Banquet. I love this time of the year and a chance to get together with our congregation, dress up, have great food, entertainment, and thank God for a great year!

This year we are having a Christian Comedians, Susan Burchett and Scott Smyer performing for us. A merry heart does good like a medicine! What a great way to end the year.

It should be awesome!

4 Boyfriends --


Once upon a time there was this girl who had four boyfriends.

She loved the 4th boyfriend the most and adored him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the best.

She also loved the 3rd boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.

She also loved her 2nd boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.

The girls 1st boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she did not love the first boyfriend. Although he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him!

One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone."

Thus, she asked the 4th boyfriend, "I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No way!", replied the 4th boyfriend, and he walked away without another word.

His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.

The sad girl then asked the 3rd boyfriend, "I loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No!", replied the 3rd boyfriend. "Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to marry someone else!"

Her heart sank and turned cold.

She then asked the 2nd boyfriend, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me.

When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!", replied the 2nd boyfriend. "At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave."

His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go."

The girl looked up, and there was his first boyfriend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the girl said, "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!"

In truth, you have 4 boyfriends in your lives:

Your 4th boyfriend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.

Your 3rd boyfriend is your possessions, status and wealth. When you die, it will all go to others.

Your 2nd boyfriend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.

And your 1st boyfriend is your Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world.

However, your Soul is the only thing that will follow you where ever you go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of God and continue with you throughout Eternity.

Call on the name of the Lord and you shall be saved!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Absurdity #32 - Family Trees or Christmas Trees????

Lowe's spokesman Chris Ahearn: "Let me reiterate my apology that we had an advertising error that created a stir."

He said the corporation's formal response was that the nationwide chain "is proudly committed to selling Christmas trees this year, as it has done for more than 60 years."

The company said the posting of an ad for "family" trees" was an error in publication that "was not caught before the publication was distributed."

"Lowe's … is disappointed in the breakdown in the proofing process," the company said.

The company recommitted to referring to Christmas trees as Christmas trees in television and magazine ads as well as advertising flyers.

How 'lowe' can you go? It must be December again and people don't know how to handle a Savior born into the world!

Friday, November 30, 2007

In El Paso -

Debi and I are going to El Paso today to do a Marriage Conference for Pastors Buster and Judy Russell. We were there last year and they invited us back to do another one. I will preach for them on Sunday, Dec. 2.

We enjoy Buster and Judy. They are good friends and we have ministered for each other over the past couple of years. Buster has done 2 Men's Retreats for me, Judy a Ladies Retreat and both of them have preached for me. They both are great communicators and well received by our congregation.

Next week I will be attending the International Coalition of Apostles(ICA) Conference at the Gaylord Texan Resort as a guest of Bobby Hill (Vanguard Ministries). Meetings will be Wednesday - Friday and then Bobby will minister for me that weekend.

So, we are in a busy time of year. Love the season!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ouch! This hurts!

I guess I am a delusional 'published' author! But 'psychotic inmate'........??

Not sure!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UNAPPROCHABLE CURSE —

UNAPPROCHABLE--

This is a dreaded word for a pastor but one that he hears all too often.

1: not approachable: physically inaccessible
2: discouraging intimacies

Granted there are times when dealing with the presence of God or your own personal issues (that no one seeming even cares about or recognizes) that one may be unapproachable; i.e. Moses on Mt. Sinai.

But let’s face it that is the exception rather than the rule. We as pastors are in the approaching business, if we don’t want to be then we need to go live in a Monastery or better yet, get out of the ministry. God is an approachable God and He expects His servants to be too.

So if our heart is pure why do we continually hear those words?

  1. We are sending signals all the time – people are receiving the signals we are sending. So we have to be careful what we are sending. That is more than words: body language, gestures, eyes, time, and responses. It is a stacked deck.


  2. But then there are those times when people don’t even try to approach you that they use the ‘unapproachable phrase’ as a cop out for not dealing with problems. These are the hardest times when you are surprised to find out that you are when they have made no effort to approach you. But, in their mind, you are bound to the dungeon of inapproachability. It is set in concrete and you just have to suck it up because their mind is made up.

Regardless, you just live with another wound that will eventually heal, become a scar, which will forever remain as a reminder of the dreaded ‘unapproachable curse.’

Monday, November 26, 2007

Absurdity #31 - Gator Bait

A sign at the lake warns people: "Danger Live Alligators."

A man who jumped into a lake to flee police was killed by an alligator more than 9-feet long, officials said Tuesday.

The man, whose name has not been released, was allegedly burglarizing a vehicle in the parking lot of the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center on Thursday. Police captured one man, but another fled on foot and dove into a retention pond.

Eyewitnesses said they were shouting to the man to swim back to shore. When the man finally spotted the alligator, eyewitnesses said he screamed but then disappeared under the water.

Tribal police divers searched for the man that night, then again Friday morning and afternoon. During the third dive, the body was recovered 50 feet below at the bottom of the lake. It bore alligator teeth marks on the upper torso.

The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department said the cause of death was an alligator attack.

Evidently the gator didn't know this was an 'alleged burglar' and took matters into his own 'jaws.'

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This is Scary!

Whoa- this is scary! Me on a motorcycle- dangerous! I have a complete respect for those that own and ride them. We have number of men in the church who ride. They all rode to the Men's Retreat- thought we were having a rally.

The latest addition into the cycle world is my Administrative Pastor Rob Hurt. You can see his bike here.

I will stay in my comfort zone in my new car and leave the road to those fearless warriors. They are increasing my prayer life!

Does that mean I am old and no longer courageous?

Friday, November 23, 2007

"If I die before you wake"... God bless our Troops!

Song written in Iraq by three soldiers and sung by one of them.

To listen to this song click here...

If I die before you wake...

Back home now I know you're probably sleepin'
Over here it's the middle of the day
I finally found the time to write a letter
Sittin' here a half a world away

I heard about all them folks protestin'
As if I really want this war
But that don't stop me from believin'
There's just some things worth fightin' for


CHORUS
And if I die before you wake,
I pray the world will take
A good look at what God's given us
That we could only understand,
everything is in his hands
All we need is a little faith and trust
I want you to know it ain't too high a price to pay
If I die before you wake

Tell everybody that I miss them
And I can't wait to get back home
But until then I'll serve my country
And be proud to wear this uniform

CHORUS
No it ain't too high a price to pay
If I die before you wake

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


Hope you find the Turkey or you may have a meatless Thanksgiving.


Debi, Jason, and I drove to Kansas City, KS, on Tuesday to be with Ryan and Charity for Thanksgiving. We will spend the day with her parents and family. We are thankful that we are invited in to Charity's wonderful family life. The Bunces are tremendous parents to Charity and a delight as an extended family.

We had dinner at a wonderful Pizza restaurant, Shine Neapolitan Pizza, sampling such delights SPINACI E AGLIO(Spinach & Garlic)...Baby spinach, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella, toasted pinenuts; PATATE(Roasted Potato)...with pancetta, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, scallions; and the standby pepperoni pizza. Loved it! Today we are heading out for some infamous Kansas City BBQ at a local gas station- Oklahoma Joe's BBQ! We had the Z-Man Sandwich- brisket, smoked provolone cheese topped with two onion rings on a Kaiser bun. Out of this world!


We love our family times together- God has truly blessed us with great children! It was a joy raising them.

What is a key for parents raising their children? Example, Example, Example

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving in a Bag --

The last time we were at Deaver Park was to hand out Back to School Backpacks. Saturday, Nov 17th, we handed out 'Thanksgiving in a Bag.' The saints at the Vine took paper bags with shopping lists on them and filled them with items for a Thanksgiving meal. The church bought Turkeys with the help of a local Krogers.

A lot of work went into the preparation, setup, and the facilitating of the event. A big thanks to Brooke, Rob, and the great crew of volunteers that showed up and made it happen. Not only was there food but bounce houses, face painting, football, soccer, and just horsing around!

We were able to give out 100 'Thanksgiving in a Bag.' We had an opportunity to pray with over 90% of those that received the groceries for whatever needs they had.

Check out more great pictures of the outreach here!

It is definitely an outreach that we will be doing again!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Potty Humor?!?

Saw this on America's Funniest Videos - missed recording it; but thanks to the Internet marvel YouTube, here it is:



I see, hear, and feel their pain!!!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Satan’s Beatitudes!


If the devil were to write his beatitudes they would probably go something like this:

* Blessed are they who are too tired and busy to go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, for they are my best workers.

* Blessed are they who are bored with the minister’s mannerism and mistakes, for they get nothing out of his sermon.

* Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church, for he is part of the problem instead of the solution.

* Blessed are they who gossip, for they cause strife and divisions that please me.

* Blessed are they who are easily offended, for they soon get angry and quit.

* Blessed are they who do not give their tithes and offerings to carry on God’s work, for they are my best workers.

* Blessed are they who profess to love God, but hates his brother, for he shall be with me forever.

* Blessed are the trouble-makers, for they shall be called the children of Satan.

* Blessed are the complainers, for I am all ears to them .


Pastor, how many of these people have you pastored?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

'The Mom Song' - for all Mothers!

In this video, Anita Renfro, Christian comedian, musician, author, and speaker, sings her own lyrics to the tune of the William Tell Overture.



You can get the lyrics here!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day - Thank you to all !!!

Pittance of Time
Click the above link!

Anatomy of a Fall - Pt 3


• Who was physically the strongest man in the Bible? (Samson)
• Who was the wisest man in the Bible? (Solomon)
• Who was the one in the Bible called “a man after God’s own heart?” (David)
• What did they have in common?

The strongest man in the Bible…
The smartest man in the Bible…
The godliest man in the Bible…
…All of them struggled with sexual temptation and LOST.

Think about it! What does it say to you? It says that we are not so strong, not so smart, and not so godly that we can defeat sexual temptation, on our own. We are NOT beyond falling into this temptation, and when we think we are, we become the most vulnerable.

"If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you too may fall into the same sin." (1 Corinthians 10:12)

How does one protect oneself from falling? Are there steps that we can take to maximize our efforts not to become one of the many fallen, a casualty, or a statistic?

Maintaining a ‘Security Fence:’ (protecting your borders)

1. Maintain your marriage covenant!
2. Speak often and publicly of your affection for your wife, when she's present and when she's not. Do it from the pulpit often.
3. Be obedient to God’s word! Keep mind pure! Guard your heart!
4. Remove any and all sources of temptation. Don’t go anywhere that arouses passion. Locally (porn stores, x-rated movies, TV movies and shows) or Internet wise (porn sites, chat rooms, email affairs)!
5. Don't be ruled by passion. Be self-controlled. Dogs have no control, people do!
6. With the opposite sex compliment character or conduct, not hair style, clothing, weight loss, looks, etc.
7. Do not meet in a closed room with opposite sex nor ride alone in a vehicle with them (other than your spouse).
8. Be accountable for your time and actions to your spouse and a person (same sex). Lengthy, unaccountable hours with numerous temptations available is a recipe for failure.
9. Don’t be ashamed to ask for counseling or outside help. (If you are ensnared by porno, emotional attraction or an ongoing affair - get out now and seek help- this is bigger than you can handle alone).
10. Make your ‘security fence’ public. Hang a 'No Trespassing' sign on it. Let others know, especially the congregation.

There may be other things to do (you can add them in the comments); this is just a sampling of my ‘security fence.’

1Ti 3:7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil's trap. AMP

May God grant us the ability to live life ‘above reproach!’

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Anatomy of a Fall - Pt 2

2Sa 11:2-4
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this Bathshe'ba, the daughter of Eli'am, the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite?" So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. RSV

When the ‘connecting’ (emotional attraction) with another person of the opposite sex begins the dangerous path to a fall has begun. Let this be a warning, it happens all too easy and will ultimately result in sexual immorality if not stopped at this point.

Here are the road signs on the road to destruction:

  • You talk with the other sex about your marital problems.

  • You tell them you are sharing only with them deep intimate things for their ears only.

  • You enjoy their company more than you do that of your spouse.

  • You anticipate seeing them and begin to arrange being near them or actually in their presence.

  • You begin to act silly in their presence, actually flirting with them.

  • You begin to use email or instant messenger as a means of secretly communicating with them.

  • They become to you all the things your spouse is not fulfilling at that time.

  • They begin to press your ‘needs’ button. You enjoy the ‘strokes.’

  • You begin to fantasize about that person.

  • Even though your spouse knows you are ‘distracted,’ you keep them in the dark about your feelings of attraction to the opposite sex.

  • You convince yourself that this new relationship is okay; after all they are Christian or a friend ‘walking you through this tough time.’

  • You try to hide your friendship from everyone and when people become suspicious you cover it up.
Pastor or Pastor's wife (or anyone for that matter), if you see yourself in any one of the listing above – you have begun on that deadly road of destruction!

More to come on how to guard against it-

Monday, November 05, 2007

Anatomy of a Fall - Pt 1

(This a continuation from my thoughts on Character Crisis in the Pulpit. )

The eventful revelation that a pastor is involved in sexual immorality is a stunning and troublesome revelation. How could it happen? Did it just happen overnight, was it entrapment, or was it premeditated?

In my experience in dealing with pastors and church people most often it is not a premeditated one night stand or long term decision. In fact, most ‘victims’ are surprised that it happened at all. “Sure,” they say, “their marriages had some clich├ęs but not enough to cause one to pursue an extramarital affair.”

So what happened and how did it evolve to a full blown affair? In many cases it began with a seemingly innocent enough “flirting.” I have talked with men and women who have had an affair with a person at work and it played out this way. Friends, laughing, flirting, discussing their marriages, and ‘bam,’ they are lying in bed in a motel with both parties disbelieving that they went that far.

Or, for a pastor or professional counselor at some point in a counseling session with a woman their eyes meet and there just seems to be chemistry. Nothing is said but something is happening that is like electricity between the two. I had an experience like that once early on in my ministry. I had been counseling a staff member a couple of times. We were sitting at a distance apart and had been looking at one another in the course of the conversation. But all of a sudden out of no where our eyes met, there was something happening and I knew it and so did she. Not trusting my flesh and looking for wisdom, I was reminded of Joseph and how he fled. In an instance, I said that our time today was over and dismissed her. I was shaking after she left. It was after prayer about it that I determined never to counsel a female alone again.

Nine out of ten times it begins with an emotional attraction which leads to an emotional involvement which leads to a physical affair.

EMOTIONAL - attraction --> involvement --> physical affair

What we fail to realize is that it is easier to fall into an emotional affair than we want to admit or even guard ourselves from.

Next post we will look a how it happens and how to avoid it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Funky Town happenings - -

Sonny and Cher showed up at our Fall Festival ‘Funky Town’ this past Wednesday night. Actually it wasn’t the real Sonny (deceased- had a run in with a tree while skiing) or the real Cher. It was yours truly and my lovely wife Debi. See photos to believe.

The fun began Sunday morning in both services as the lights dimmed, the announcer heralded our arrival, and we proceeded town the aisle to the tune of ‘I Got You Babe.’ Debi was stoic and cool - a true Cher and I was, well, Sonny, grinning, shaking hands, hugging the women, and making noise!

We arrived at the front where we proceeded to tell what we were there for and give the information for 'Funky Town' on Wednesday night. True to form Sonny called it ‘Monkey Town’ and was sternly corrected by Cher as she tossed her hair behind her.

Wednesday night was a great success! Thanks to Brooke, Rachel, and all the wonderful people that made it a night that our children and the neighborhood children won’t forget for a long time.


You can see more pictures on our church flickr site.

If you remember we dressed as pirates last year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Character Crisis in the Pulpit!

We are at a crisis point in the charismatic church and the church in general!

--A pastor who has a sexual addiction robs a bank to bankroll his addiction. He is caught and serving time in prison now.

--A prominent pastor is arrested for solicitation in another town in the gay community area. He was there 'ministering to gays!"

--One minister admitted a homosexual affair. He took three months off "to seek professional and church counseling related to a recent short-term homosexual relationship."

--Multiple sex charges brought against a pastor and his staff of a large charismatic church.

--And we are rife with the divorces of high profile preachers and teachers.

--and the list could go on and on.

The problem is that we who are to be the upholders of morality are now falling prey to the very things we encourage others to resist and offer hope for.

In our meeting on 'Restoring Fallen Pastors' last Thursday in Brownwood, we all agreed that a pastor could and should be restored. Pastors should not be shot, left out in the cold, forgotten, ostracized, or put out to pasture. The concern is how does the process begin and when does it end. That depends on a lot of things. Some of them I will address in future posts.

Gal 6:1 BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. AMP

--------------

My thoughts are:

1. God's grace and forgiveness is available immediately to the one who asks for it - period.

2. The restoration is an on going process that requires humility, repentance, and willingness to walk it out regardless of the time involved.

3. In our day of instant results and fast paced life style one needs to understand that restoration to ministry should never be fast-tracked.

4. Restoration is best served by those in relationship with the individual and should be facilitated by people that are known to him.

5. Restoration is best accomplished in a team approach.

--------------

Any thoughts? Please comment.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Famous Quotes

Don't worry about avoiding temptation as you grow older, it will avoid you !

--Winston Churchill

Friday, October 26, 2007

What to Get Your Pastor-

Last few days I have been in Brownwood, TX, meeting with a group of men talking about the restoration of fallen pastors. I will write about it on Monday's blog.

For the pastor who has everything there is now something he doesn't have!

A No-flak Jacket or t-shirt!

These awesome items can be found at http://www.pastorappreciationonline.com/home

Check it out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Love Your Neighbor?

Well, I don't know all that is behind this person posting this sign in his front yard, but I just had to stop and take a picture of it. I took it on a return trip from East Texas.

Ro 13:9-10 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," a and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. NIV

Obviously this person is having a little problem with the loving your neighbor bit and doing no harm to them!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Men's Retreat 2007

click to enlarge

What an awesome time as we gathered at the Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose, TX (This is where we hold our annual staff retreat each January). Young and old joined us for this time of fellowship, good food and snacks, fun, and the Word.

Jn 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: KJV

What can a 66 year old Man of God teach younger men? John Hobbs brought a tremendous word on 'becoming the Sons of God' and shared practically from his life experiences all that means and how to achieve it in this life. Most teaching in today's contemporary church centers around being successful in this life and dealing with life issues. Many don't don't stress the wonderful relationship between the heavenly Father and His children.

Men spend their entire life trying to please their earthly father. There all kinds of problems that result from that. John stressed that now we have a heavenly Father that loves us, accepts us, and even likes us! He wants us to enjoy that Father relationship with Him as modeled by Jesus. All born again believers have power to become His sons but never engage the process and walk it out. They essentially don't know what that means! God wants us to become His sons and John gave us the steps to achieve, experience, and enjoy that.

He led us to Philippians 2 and the training process that Jesus went through in exemplifying a son in his humanity. We were encouraged to follow the same training regimen that He did.

The light went on in many of the men with the desire to begin to walk in the fullness of a son of God. We always close our retreats with men giving 'pop up' testimonies of what they received from the retreat, this year was no exception with many men sharing!

Awesome time, simply awesome!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Off To Men's Retreat-


"So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming - men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented - until David was the leader of about four hundred men."

Adullam, which means "retreat or refuge," was associated with a cave or safe haven where David fled for refuge when he was fleeing from King Saul.

We go on this yearly "retreat, refuge, safe place" so that the Lord may direct our path as men of God.

Our speaker is John Hobbs. He has been with us before. He has a passion for God, for demonstrating the love of God, and bringing people to a knowledge of that love.

I will give an update on it Monday. Be blessed and full of grace!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Praying When You Say You Will?!

I am in a series on Pursuit of Passion - first 2 weeks was on 'Passion for God.' This past week preached on being a 'Passionate Pray-er.' I used Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what it was to pray through the pain. He also knew that prayers are to be shared. He took 3 disciples to pray with Him. What did they not do? They failed to pray with Him and for Him.Can you relate to the above cartoon? How many times have you told someone you would pray for them? How many times have you failed? If we believe in the power of prayer, then it would be best to pray when we receive the request not later!

Acts 6:44 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.(KJV)

The Apostles gave themselves to prayer and study. We can do no less.

Lord, really teach us to pray and pray continually!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Does It Take to Be Beautiful?

My brother-in-law, Barry, owned a film editing firm in NY City. We were discussing a few months back how women look on TV in the beauty commercials. Their perfect skin, shinny hair blowing in the wind, etc. He said that they in real life really don't look like they do in the commercials. He then told us what all they did in the editing room. Below is an example of it. You will be amazed!

We are obsessed with beauty! We've made it 'a god!' Our children, especially our daughters, get caught in the trap of being beautiful and pursuing beauty.

CNN did an article on how the issue of beauty drives young girls to destructive behavior. You can read the article here. Here are some facts from the article:

* The average person sees between 400 and 600 advertisements per day - equivalent to more than one message for every waking minute.

* The average US girl has the opportunity to see an estimated 77,546 commercials by the time she is 12 years old.

* 93 percent of girls and young women report feeling anxiety or stress about some aspect of their looks when getting ready in the morning

* This could explain why more than 70 percent of girls and young women avoid activities when they feel bad about their looks including giving their opinion, attending school and even going to the doctor.

* 76 percent of girls and young women admit to partaking in unhealthy activities when they feel badly about their bodies

* 58 percent of girls describe themselves in negative terms, including words like "disgusting" and "ugly," when feeling badly about themselves.

* Nearly four out of 10 engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, such as anorexia or bulimia.

* More than one out of 10 girls has used cutting or self-inflicted injury as a coping mechanism.

These are scary statistics- they let us know as Pastors what we are up against in our churches. Our youth are not exempt from these issues. We face them in the church. How many young women do you know that are cutting themselves? How many are struggling with eating disorders? It is there!

And listen, we Christian adults portray these issues by our constant attention to our looks, weight issues, etc. God help us to once again teach what is beneficial to our youth:

1 Pe 3:1-5 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance — the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes — but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands.

May we quit being self absorbed and narcissistic! Eternal lives are at stake!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Soul Destroyers!

Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you.
Well they'll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don't you let them.
--Carole King


Mt 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? NIV

Debi and I were out Sunday driving in the new car, top down, and enjoying some old favorites on CD- James Taylor and Carole King. As I listened to the words of 'You've Got A Friend,' I was struck by the words 'People can be so cold...Well they'll take your soul if you let them.'

Soul- psuche- That which strictly belongs to the person himself, often ascribed to the soul as the seat of the desires, affections, and appetites

Man, whether in everyday life or in the pastorate, one experiences the disappointment of people, even friends. There are those that will hurt you, desert you, and even try to take your soul. The song said don't let them!

Have you ever had someone try to take your soul?

try to steal your joy,

wipe the smile from your face,

take the song out of your heart,

eat at your sense of well being,

minimize your self-confidence,

take away your feeling of God's pleasure with you,

mar the image of who you are in Christ,

trash your happiness,

trivialize your sense of accomplishment....


I believe the above are just a few of the things that 'stealing one's soul' can mean. You probably could add more. Please do in the comments.

We are commanded by scripture to guard our hearts! Guard our souls! I wonder why? Because there are those that are 'soul destroyers!'

Don't ever allow someone in to do damage to your soul.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finally Bought a Car--

I hate owning cars- they are a bear to keep up- they have expensive repairs- they depreciate- so what is there to like about them- other than being necessary!

I sold the Honda a month or so ago when it was getting expensive to keep up- the a/c quit working ($900 to fix it. I didn't), the muffler had a hole in it, besides an attempt to burn up the engine (doesn't look like it succeeded), inspection coming up... so off it went.

So we were relegated to one vehicle.... and the search began-- did I say it began to consume me as to what I was going to replace it with. I started looking at Toyota Camry Solara (drove a red sports sedan), then midsized luxury cars (BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo). We have a lot to choose from in this area when it comes to used German vehicles, many are from leasing agencies. Did I mention the hours online looking at vehicles?

Well the hunt is over! Went back to my original first choice and bought a Dealer Certified 2005 Toyota Camry Solara...
Oh, slight oversight- failed to mention it is a convertible- is that bad? Some think I am going through midlife crisis! If that be the case, at this age, I am going to live way into my hundreds. Besides, I have already done that, been there, got the t-shirt, and survived!
At church I was warned by a few not to get a red convertible as that was so 'old mannish' -- so I didn't get red, I bought a periwinkle blue convertible! I am bad aren't I!!!!Besides, it is not for them - it is for my wife (boy, she looks good in it!) and I to do day trips on my day off- to get out of town, away from the computer, away from work.... and to keep our relationship blossoming after 36 years and for another 36 years! Another way of many ways we spend our time together!!!!!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Do You Need This Now???

We may all need this after the 2008 election!?!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Coffee Funny----

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said, "You should do it because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee."

The husband said, "You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."

Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."

Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me."

So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says,

"HEBREWS."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Impact Cowboy Church - yeehaw!

On Sept 23, Mike and Jane Bailey (Mike is a Liberty Fellowship Presbyter and LF Church Plant Director) traveled with Debi and me to Nacogdoches, in East TX, to visit Stan, Caye, and Jonathan King. Stan was an Associate Pastor here and is now planting Impact Cowboy Church. Stan served faithfully in this house for 8 years doing a number of ministries while he was here.

Vine Fellowship along with Liberty Fellowship are helping them in this endeavor. This is Vine Fellowship's first church plant and we believe that God is going to bless Impact Cowboy Church. We met with the initial leadership team last Sunday night. We were impressed with them and they with us. Of course they loved Debi and Jane!

We ate a catered meal and then spent time getting to know one another, Mike and I shared a bit, and then we prayed for Impact Cowboy Church and each of them. They will begin their first service this Saturday evening, October 6th. They have a lot of cowboys to draw from as well as the Steven F. Austin State University campus.

We are investing money in this church plant, but we are also investing much prayer for their success. Stan and Caye count Vine Fellowship as their home church and want us to agree that God will get the glory in this church plant!

Guess I will have to pull out my black cowboy hat and Ropers (which the VF church gave me some years ago) when I go to preach there. I still think they will know I am a ‘city slicker.’ What do you think?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Famous Quotes

H.G. Wells said, "More than 1900 years later, a historian like myself, who doesn't even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man.... The historian's test of an individual's greatness is 'What did he leave to grow? Did he start men thinking along fresh lines with a vigor that persisted after him?' By this test Jesus stands first."

Yes, it can be said of other men, but notice that he said 'Jesus stands first!'

Monday, September 24, 2007

Enough is Enough!

"I guess hell froze over. A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this. ... Suck it, Jesus! This award is my god now." Kathy Griffin - at the 59th annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards

The name of Jesus is constantly profaned in this country even by some 'well meaning Christians' (sic). God is blasphemed and even ridiculously sued! Isn't it great that we live in a 'free speech country?' If some of our Jesus and God bashing wannabe actors/actresses and commoners lived in Muslim countries and they said the same about Mohammad or Allah - they would be dead in no time.

When are Christians in this country going to stand up?!? Well, some have and are letting their voices be heard.

The cast members at the Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., say they have had all they can stand.

"We, as Christian entertainers, do not take it lightly that the name of our Lord and Savior has been mocked, and in response, we took out an ad in USA Today to stand up for Him."

The group purchased a USA Today ad, for almost $100,000, on Sept. 17 to say, "'Enough is Enough!' The name of Jesus Christ should not be mocked, nor should those who love Him be slandered for their beliefs. It is time for people of faith around the country to stand firm against religious slander, bias, and bigotry of all types including Christianity!"

Check out their website here and sign their petition: http://www.miracletheater.com/

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Way Cool Wife and Mom!

My wife celebrated her birthday today, Sep. 23! She is lovely and the delight of my life.

During vacation this year, thanks to Jimmy Britnell loaning us his Wii game, we had a great time playing the sports on it. Believe it not, Debi, never the video game fan, said she would like to have one!

So the other day when I was asking her what she wanted- she blurted out a Wii game! Do you know how hard they are to get? After a trip to Wal-mart, Game Stop, and Target- all to no avail, I called a friend who manages a Blockbuster. He said they are difficult to get, but if one came in that day he would call me.

I prayed this prayer, "God you know how faithful Debi is to the Kingdom of God, surely you could get her a Wii." Was that wrong?

Well, Clay called and he didn't get one in his store but a store closer to me did. He had them hold it for me, I got there quick, they hadn't even opened their shipment, but did as I waited, and I bought it. It was a family gift from Jason, Ryan, Charity and me. We gave it to her last night.

We played all evening- way cool- Debi is way cool! I love you dear.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Unbelievable - Connie - 6 years old - Sings



My heart is touched! Need I say more?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not Always Greener on the Other Side --

I am amazed what people do who are dissatisfied with their mates- consider the following:

--A Bosnian couple are getting divorced after finding out they had been secretly chatting with each other online under fake names. Sana Klaric, 27, and husband Adnan, 32, from Zenica, poured out their hearts to each other over their marriage troubles, and both felt they had found their real soul mate. The couple met on an online chat forum while he was at work and she in an Internet cafe, and started chatting under the names Sweetie and Prince of Joy. They eventually decided to meet up -- but there was no happy ending when they realised what had happened. Now they are both filing for divorce -- with each accusing the other of being unfaithful.

--another European man divorced his wife for irreconcilable differences. He then joined one of those find your mate services (similar to our E Harmony). He found one and she was the woman of his dreams. They met - and guess what? - it was his original wife. They are getting remarried.

No joke - Sometimes you miss appreciating what you have!

Years ago the Lord spoke to me regarding my fidelity and faithfulness to Debi (36 years now). Obviously He reminded me of my covenant I made with her, but He also spoke to me that the 'grass is not greener on the other side.' He reminded me that I know what I have with my wife, but I don't know what I would have or was getting myself into with another woman or the wife of another man. Besides the threat of Debi killing me if I did, I also decided to heed the Lord's advice and stay in my own vineyard with the wife of my youth!

I believe in long term marriages! It is a badge of honor for a Man of God and also a requirement for leading the church of God! (I will forgo commenting on all the Pastors and 'TV church personalities' that are divorcing right now or have divorced - please don't get me started!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Influencing the Next Generation and Beyond -

Our Bulletin Cover
Boy, am I pumped! We did our annual Teacher's Appreciation Day (our 4th one) yesterday. We invite City Council members, School Board members , and of course public school teachers. We spend the service blessing the teachers. Platform decorations are a classroom setting, I preach a message for the teachers (you can hear it here), we give them gift certificates to Mardel's and then have a reception for them afterwards.

We begin weeks before by sending them a gift basket for the Teacher's lounge as they return to school; then a huge tub filled with popcorn, candy corn, and nuts (tastes like a Payday candy bar); and special invitations to join us for that Sunday Service. We pray for those that attend during the year and send them cards of appreciation periodically.

Here is an email from one of our guests:

Dear Pastor David,

I wanted to thank you for honoring teachers and for the gift card I received. I was the guest of Joanna Windle who I work with at Foster Elementary. Hearing all the praises for teachers made me truly feeling blessed that I do touch children every day. I was inspired by your comments about influence. I will remember the phrase you shared-"Influence leaves impressions for life."

Again thank you and all you members of the Vine Fellowship for honoring teachers..

Kathleen Marantino

Slide from sermon PowerPoint

This is just another way that we keep outreach focused to impact every strata of our community.

I love 'Teacher's Appreciation Day!'

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Famous Quotes--

“So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does.”-
Oswald Chambers

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Keeping My Getting Older in Perspective... and Humorous

For all my young friends out there, this piece of humor. Not a complaint just reality! Ughhhhhh.....

With this in mind, I bought myself a new scooter.
I wanted something that was easy on gas and could zip
me to the store and about town. This seems to meet my EVERY need.

Remember: Senior Citizens Are Valuable


We are more valuable than any of the younger generations:


We have silver in our hair.


We have gold in our teeth.


We have stones in our kidneys.


We have lead in our feet and,


We are loaded with natural gas.

Humor aside, my friend Jerry West says this:
"You are never over the hill, when you are reaching for the top!
The phrase, 'over the hill' has been associated with age, But why?
As long as you are reaching for excellence, you can never be over the hill. Your life still has purpose and meaning no matter what your age is."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Incorporate God in Your Plans---

Os Hillman tells the following story. A friend from Nigeria told me of the time he was preparing for an important case. He knew that he must be prepared to argue five separate points. He was to appear before his country's supreme court, so it was a very important case.

As he neared the time in which he was to go to court, he began to pray about how he was to argue the case. He spent much time in legal preparation and intercessory prayer.

As he went to court, the Spirit spoke to him and said, "Do not argue point one, point two, point three, or point four. Only argue point five." Imagine my friend's struggle of faith. If he were reading this wrong, the shame and professional fallout would be devastating.

The time had come to present the case before the judge when my friend said, "Judge, I wish to withdraw points one through four. I wish to argue only point five.

"The opposing counsel stood up and objected. "Your honor, he cannot do that!"

"Objection overruled, counsel," said the judge.

My friend went on to present his case around point five only, and then sat down. When the opposing counsel stood to present his case, he stood speechless for 12 minutes. He could not get a word out of his mouth. He finally mumbled a few words and complained to the judge that he was going to have to yield. It seems that the opposing counsel had prepared to argue only points one through four, but failed to prepare for point five. The judge ruled in favor of my friend.

Proverbs 16:3 "Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed."

God wants to help us in every area of our lives. We must acknowledge His presence and tap into this incredible resource He has given to each of us. We need to seek Him everyday and ask Him to reveal His perfect plan for you this day.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Absurdity #30 - You Missed It!

absurd-ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous

Pope Benedict XVI recently declared that non-Catholic, Christian churches / denominations are either defective or not true churches, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation.

He has ignited controversy across the world by approving a document saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation.

"Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," said the document, reasserting the primacy of Catholicism.

It said other Christian communities such as Protestants "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" since they don't have what's known as apostolic succession – that is, the ability to trace their bishops back to the original 12 apostles of Jesus.

Well then, now you know what you are missing!