Friday, March 30, 2007

Heartbeat of Heaven- Rev. 7:9-10

We just finished our annual World Missions Conference. It was awesome! It always is- for my 16 years here at the Vine we have taken seriously Jesus' command to go into all the world. We believe in establishing His Kingdom both locally and globally by remaining missional. We channel a good part of our budget into global outreach.

While others are building big buildings, establishing their own kingdoms, making a name for themselves, and increasing massive programs, we remain committed to the Heartbeat of Heaven and use our resources for the lost. Why build something that is so very costly only to leave it here when are gone? We would rather populate heaven with people from every tribe, kindred, nation and tongue!

Rev 7:9-10 AMP
After this I looked and a vast host appeared which no one could count, [gathered out] of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. These stood before the throne and before the Lamb; they were attired in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. In loud voice they cried, saying, [Our] salvation is due to our God, Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb [to Them we owe our deliverance]!

click all pics to enlarge

We had the following missionaries with us: Dirk Wood from Cape Town, South Africa; Sandy Carter, Nicaragua; Bob and Melissa Hill, Scotland; Daniel Hammersley, St. Petersburg, Russa. We also included Stan and Caye King who we will send out this summer to do a church plant in Nacogdoches, TX. They all did a great job representing the Heartbeat of Heaven as they ministered to us.

Picture of Paul from Scotland entered in FuelMyBlog photo competition.

I am convinced that a church that has no missions (global emphasis) has failed in its mission!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

'Hi Dave' - bye Chris!

”I think it’s bye-bye, curly,” predicted Simon Cowell, before the results were announced last night on American Idol. And so it was!

As a rule I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories. But hey, who didn't see this one coming for Chris Sligh.

After last week's shout out, 'Hi Dave.' Chris' humor was lost on the judges and producers.

So I expected that he would be gone.

Chris, great run and we love and appreciate you.

BTW- here is his official blog written and maintanined by Chris. Accept no substitutes!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Got Your Sponsorships???

I am still waiting to nail that 'perfect' sermon!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Pilot --

As the pastor concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening yet thought-provoking experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight When the first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on "Fasten your seat belts". Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I noticed a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her! She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm, when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid. The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The child replied, "Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home."

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies & throw our plane spinning out of control. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

Just remember: Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and taking us home!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Global Warming -- is it a fact or fiction?

I have not commented on the whole fictional Global warming crisis. I am leaving that to other 'expert' bloggers such as Pastor Rob's blog.

But, I thought I might enter into the icy/warm waters with this post-- hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

'Idol' Contestant's Faith Questioned

Give me a break! This story is from a Greenville, NC, newspaper-

Chris Sligh, the "American Idol" contestant who has won fans thanks to his curly mop of hair and soulful voice, has a few people concerned with his departure from strictly Christian music. But for most others in this city of 56,000 about 100 miles southwest of Charlotte, N.C., Sligh has become a hometown hero.

Jonathan Pait, a spokesman for fundamentalist Bob Jones University where Sligh attended for several years, said: "We really are somewhat disappointed with the direction he has gone musically." He nonetheless tunes in each week to monitor Sligh's progress.

Local fans—some wearing fake glasses and curly wigs and calling themselves the "Fro Patro"—gather each week at restaurants and bars to cheer Sligh on. The local newspaper has been tracking his progress on its Web site.

Sligh, a 28-year-old son of missionaries who spent much of his childhood overseas, is trying to keep his spot on the TV show.

People who know Sligh well say that he may be singing rock 'n' roll on television, but he's always clear about the faith that motivates his music. "He's not going to back away from the fact that he's a Christian," said Chris Surratt, pastor of Seacoast Church, where Sligh has been music leader for more than two years. "He's going to let that shine through in what he does."
Hundreds of people gather each week to hear Sligh's music at Seacoast, where his electric guitar and vocals have become an integral part of services, Surratt said.

Support for Sligh also is strong at North Greenville University, the small Baptist school he attended for several years after leaving Bob Jones in the late 1990s. Cheryl Greene, the professor who helped Sligh hone his vocal talents, said just because Sligh may not be singing strictly Christian-themed songs shouldn't reflect on the depth of his faith.

But Greene said she still has worries over Sligh's long-term spiritual journey.
"Is he going to stand strong by his true Christian morals?" Greene said. "Christianity is a lifestyle ... and there are things in your life that you do need to stand for."

Mt 5:14-16
"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. TMB

I for one thank God that Chris has had this opportunity afforded to only a select few. Take your talents and use them for the Glory of God.

This pastor is proud of you!! Shine for Jesus, Chris!

Also understand Chris may have gotten himself in trouble with the judges and producers by twice yelling out 'Hi Dave!' Some think it is a reference to the 'Vote For The Worst' site that ridicules American Idol.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We All Need Understanding!

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies For Sale."

Signs like that have a way of attracting small children and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner's sign. "How much are you going to sell the puppies for?" he asked.
The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30 to $50."

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he said. "Can I please look at them?"

The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, "What's wrong with that little dog?"

The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. "That is the little puppy that I want to buy."

The store owner said, "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you."

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, "I don't want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for."

The store owner countered, "You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies."

To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, "Well, I don't run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!"

He identified with that puppy in order to understand- I wonder if the reason we don't put up with people (forbear-is the Bible term) is we don't take time to understand where they are coming from.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I have been blogging since January 2006 when a friend showed me his blog and I was hooked. I want to thank all of you that take time to stop by for a dose of my 'Pastoral Ponderings.' Your presence and comments are a delight and make this very fulfilling. Often I write with you in mind and do appreciate your acknowledgements.

I received kind encouragement from Mike at CMB. He said:

"Praise the Lord and pour the coffee! This is my kind of blog. An upbeat and positive blog written in a regular, down to earth tone. Pastor Dave does a great job with keeping his blog fresh and informative with a healthy dose of humor to round it off. Fantastic job...keep up the good work!"

And I do want to keep at it. Any suggestions are appreciated even by those who have doubted my sincerity and whether or not I was really a Christian (ask God and my wife, they really know).

God's richest blessings to you all and may you truly know His peace. Keep loving, keep writing, and please, keep laughing!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Proper Burial

A young minister was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service for a homeless man, with no family or friends.

The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

He was not familiar with the backwoods area, and became lost; and being a typical man did not stop for directions. He finally arrived an hour late. He saw the backhoe and the crew, who were eating lunch, but the hearse was nowhere in sight.

So he apologized to the workers for his tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave, where he saw the vault lid already in place. He assured the workers he would not hold them up for long, but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. He poured out his heart and soul.

As he preached the workers began to say "Amen," "Praise the Lord," and "Glory!" He preached, and he preached, like he'd never preached before, from Genesis all the way to Revelation.

He closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to his car. As he was opening the door and taking off his coat, he overheard one of the workers saying to another, "I ain't never seen nothing like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

24's Jack Bauer Introduces My Sermon - Updated

Click here for video...

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Mt. 5:9

Thank you Jack!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Can you guess how I feel?

Sat all day in a board meeting for a particular ministry -
love them board meetings!

(actually it was good and productive)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Numbers, Noses, Nickles - Insecure Leadership

We had our Liberty Fellowship SW Regional Conference in Sugarland, TX, a few weeks ago. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and the Word. Bobby Hill from Vanguard Ministries ministered a powerful series of messages. He will be with us again for our summer family conference in July at Lake Junaluska, NC.

He ministered one message on Healing Our Insecurities. His premise was that as a leader you can’t lead people if you need people! If success as a leader surpasses your security as a person, the result will be self-destructive. Insecure leaders are toxic leaders!

Toxic leaders:
- are a danger to themselves and the people they lead.
-they are everywhere, we all are insecure to one degree or another. - “95% of people in western society have a strong sense of inadequacy.” James Dobson
-develop unhealthy behavior.
-don’t provide security for others.
-take more than they give.
-limit the potential of the church.
-are not kingdom minded.

Saul’s relationship and reaction to David (1 Sam. 9:2, 21; 10:9-11) provides the following insights:
1. He was overly influenced by opinions of others. More concerned with what people thought than what God thought.
2. He couldn't handle anyone receiving more praise than he did.
3. He vacillated between extremes. Such as self-deprecation and self-glorification
4. He doubted loyalty of those closet to him. Signs of paranoia.
4. He showed little interest in the things of God.

How does a leader overcome his insecurities?
1. Receive a divine revelation from Scripture of who you are.
2. Settle question of 'Who am I?'
--You are not what you achieve!
--You are not what others want you to be.
--You are what God created you to be. (Eph. 2:10)
3. His divine standard for us.
--We are accepted by Him because of the cross.
--Our identity is in Him as His children.
--We perform to serve His interests.
4. Renew our minds by His view of us not the worlds!
--World says achieve to gain acceptance.
--World says you are accepted by what you do- performance track.
--World says your identity is in what you do.
5. Receive your healing and deliverance!

Who you are is NOT what you do!

Eph 1:6 the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. NKJV

How can you top that acceptance?!?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Coffee and Beatitudes-

For the love of coffee...

For the series I am preaching on the Beatitudes....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Animals will be animals- eventually!

A Big snake doing what the nature of snakes do! We are surprised when animals do what comes naturally to them. Like we really ever train them and change their nature!

Go figure!

Friday, March 02, 2007

March- Caffeine Awareness Month!

-Meet Nico. She's the barista who pours your morning espresso.
-No other barista in town makes a latte like Nico.
-Her beans are always freshly ground, she never tamps the filter basket too tight and her foam is perfect: thick and decadent, like a pillow of edible clouds.
-Each 5 inch tall hard plastic Barista Action Figure has movable arms and legs and comes with two interchangeable heads and two different sized cups (tall and grande) that she can hold in her hand.

Love that coffee- this marks the month where they try to scare you to the effects of caffeine on the body.

You hear such comment as, "Coffee drinkers should watch out for Caffeine Intoxication Syndrome, an onset of anxiety, panic, headaches and a frustrating inability to sleep. Most people would have to drink about 10 cups to fall into this condition, but some are so sensitive that it can hit them after only 2 to 3 cups."

Yes, there are negative side affects of too much caffeine but can't that be said for overindulgence of alot of things?

Listen, if you know that too and you are frightened by all the hype this month then may I suggest that you send all your coffee, expresso machines, brewers, and other paraphernalia to me. I will be glad to give you my address upon request!

Here are some links for fun: If you have some time to kill (you do if on a caffeine high!)

Caffeine Calculator

Test Your Caffeine Knowledge

Killed By Caffeine - a humorous calculator

Caffeine Comparison Chart

Listen, whatever you do don't let them get to you!! Smell the coffee and drinking it!