Sunday, April 29, 2007
Here are the necessary things when looking for a church:
1. It is to have Christ-centered worship, the celebration of God for who He is and what He has done for us. A Biblically sound church places a high priority on praising God.
2. Strong Bible instruction. Does the church you are considering believe, honor, and teach God's Word in such a way that you understand the Bible and see how it applies to your life? Remember, you can't grow beyond what you know.
3. Church must promote fellowship - the sharing of the life of Christ among the members. This goes far beyond Sunday morning attendance or coffee and doughnuts in the fellowship hall. True fellowship occurs when we are involved in each other's lives - caring, encouraging, correcting, loving and sharing with one another. The church should provide us with a meaningful sense of belonging.
4. Make sure the leadership is one of servant hood versus authoritarian that lords it over the people. We don’t need any more Kool-Aid tragedies. Jesus loves the people not beat them up at every opportunity.
5. Church's ministry of outreach. A church that wants to grow cannot be ingrown. There's nothing wrong with being a small church - as long as you are not a small-minded church. The church you identify with should provide you with opportunities to use your gifts and talents to touch other lives, emphasizing the importance of sharing your faith in word and good deeds. In other words, the church's impact should extend well beyond its walls.
Bobby Lepinay had the following link on his blog- check it out:
Click here to watch it.
Looking pretty is costing John Edwards presidential campaign a lot of pennies. The Democrat's campaign committee picked up the tab for two haircuts at $400 each by celebrity stylist Joseph Torrenueva of Beverly Hills, Calif., according to a financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
FEC records show Edwards also availed himself of $250 in services from a trendy salon and spa in Dubuque, Iowa, and $225 in services from the Pink Sapphire in Manchester, N.H., which is described on its Web site as "a unique boutique for the mind, body and face" that caters mostly to women.
But, hey, you can spend that much when you own a 28,000 sq feet mansion on 100 acres like his in the picture below:
Listen, I have no problem with the guy being rich and spending his money how he wishes, but it is supremely obnoxious that just about every liberal politican lives like the top 1 percent they've been denigrating for the past six years.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sen. Joe Biden, a Democratic Party candidate for president in 2008, on Thursday blamed the Republicans for the Virginia Tech killings and a string of events that have made news in the past few years.
Speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network event in New York, Biden said President Bush, Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are responsible for what he called "the politics of polarization."
Biden said Republicans have created an environment that brings bad things to the United States.
"I would argue, since 1994 with the Gingrich revolution, just take a look at Iraq, Venezuela, Katrina, what's gone down at Virginia Tech, Darfur, Imus. Take a look. This didn't happen accidentally, all these things," he said.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
2. Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
3. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.
4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.
6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?
9. Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.
10. No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.
11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. It could be a right number.
13. Think about this...No one ever says "It's only a game." when his team is winning.
14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.
15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like it.
16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.
17. Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of OLD LADIES running around with tattoos? (And RAP music will be the Golden Oldies!) Yikes!!!!
18. Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than in a Ford.
19. After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
WIPE OUT GLOBAL WARMING: CROW PROPOSES LIMITS ON TOILET PAPER
Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment.
Crow has suggested using "only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required".
"I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming," Crow wrote.
"Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating.
"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."
When it comes to Sheryl Crow's touring requirements, if it's Tuesday, this must be Bombay. Gin that is. The rock star's performance contract includes specific day-to-day instructions on what kind of booze Sheryl needs in her dressing room. For each show, Crow requires 12 bottles of Grolsch beer, 6 bottles of "local" beer, and a bottle each of "good Australian Cabernet" and "good Merlot." As for the harder stuff, promoters are directed to purchase specific booze depending on what day of the week the concert falls. Additionally, when the global warming warrior hits the road, her touring entourage (and equipment) travels in three tractor trailers, four buses, and six cars. Now that's a carbon footprint!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Alec Baldwin to his 11 year old daughter via cellphone-
I'm tired of playing this game with you. I'm leaving this message with you to tell you, you have insulted me for the last time. You have insulted me! You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being. I don't give a (bleep) that you're 12-years-old or 11 years-old or that you're a child or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the (bleep) who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone. This (bleep) you pull on me with this (bleep) phone situation, that you would never dream of doing to your mother, and you do it to me constantly, and over and over again! I am going to get on a plane, and I am going to come out there for the day, and I'm going to straighten your (bleep) out when I see you! Do you understand me? I'm going to reeeeeally make sure you get it! So I'm going to get on a plane. I'm going to turn around and I'm going to come home. So you better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me. So I'm going to let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig!
Anyone else upset by this? What do you think?
To me that is child abuse- he should be locked up!!!
Feuding Kim Basinger hired a bodyguard to protect her daughter Ireland after her ex-husband left an angry message on the girl's phone, it has been claimed.
The star is said to have arranged 24-hour cover for Ireland after her father labelled the 11-year-old a "thoughtless little pig" on the voicemail, which was leaked to the media.
Mother and daughter were seen in Los Angeles over the weekend - accompanied by the burly security man.
Actor Alec Baldwin will apologize to his daughter on national television on Friday for calling her a "thoughtless little pig," according to excerpts from a pre-taped ABC interview released on Thursday.
In the voice mail, Baldwin said he was furious at not being able to reach her for a prearranged phone conversation.
"Obviously, calling your child a pig or anything else is improper and inappropriate, and I apologize to my daughter for that," Baldwin said. "There's nothing wrong with being frustrated or angry ... I took it out on the wrong person."
Meanwhile, television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw revealed that Baldwin had called him for advice on Thursday and that the two had a "far-reaching, intense conversation" about the actor's daughter and his former spouse.
Ahhh, Dr. Phil to the rescue!!!!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Duane spoke for us on Wednesday night at the Vine Fellowship. After a time of fellowship with Duane and Sue they traveled home to prepare for this conference. I drove up Thursday.
Duane and Sue have been special friends for a number of years. I spoke at his Jubilee a few years back and have enjoyed their encouraging friendship since then. He has been with us a number of times in Arlington.
He is gifted with an anointing and ability to communicate the simplicity of the Gospel. He believes a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord is essential for every believer. His desire is to see the body of Christ walk together in unity.
It becomes evident as Duane opens his heart that God has bestowed on him an abundance of divine revelation, which pours forth as he shares and ministers the Word. His personal presentation of the Gospel resurrects hope and ignites faith in the hearts of God's people.
Duane began the free tape ministry in 1984. His insatiable desire to make the Word of God available to everyone, regardless of financial circumstances, burned in his heart. Many times the people that need tapes the most are least able to afford them. The fruit of this outreach has resulted in the distribution of over 7 million free CD's and tapes.
Duane and Sue are genuine and have been there for Debi and me in some tough times. They have loved on us and helped us 'stay the course.' We are indeed thankful for them.
People ask me, "Pastor who feeds you? You give and give to us, but who helps you?" "Well," I answer, "Of course God does regularly, but I also allow Duane Sheriff to speak into my life with his teachings an a regular basis."
If you are ever in Durant, stop by and visit this powerful yet personal ministry.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Having attended Virginia Tech I too am saddened by the tragedy that occurred there yesterday. I have sat in those classrooms, lived in those dorms, walked that long drill field, shopped in that small town, worked as head waiter in the Student Union, and it was there that I spent my first years of married life with Debi. -updated- I also worked as a Staff Photographer for the University and Debi worked as a Secretary at the University Motor Pool.
I am stunned- I am not looking for answers 'why,' nor do I want politicians using this to make a political statement and set an agenda.
All I want is for prayers (if I might be allowed) for those grieving families, hurting students, and perplexed VT administration.
That's all- is that too much to ask?
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Creditors calling from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital wanting payment for a child you have never had there!
General Motors calling about the missed payment on a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe you don't own!
Other creditors calling about missed payments, again not me.
This one really got my attention. A call from a local Police officer wanting to set up an appointment with me. When I asked what it was about she said that my ex-wife had brought 'sexual assault charges towards my daughter' against me! Ouch!! When I tried to explain I was a Pastor, that didn't phase her (no wonder in today's climate). Then when I explained I was still married to my first and only wife, Debi, for 35 years and that I had 2 sons and NO daughters, only then did she start to listen. She finally realized she had wrongly obtained my phone number for somebody else who was in hot water! She apologized and said I wouldn't hear from her again. I told her not to take this wrong... but I was glad! I also told her as we were hanging up that she had scared the stew out of me! Again she apologized....
So, I decided to check and see how many of me there are out there. Here's the result:
Hopefully, we are not all bad!!!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Apples flew everywhere.
Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.
ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.
He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.
He was glad he did.
The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.
The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.
When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."
As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"
He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?" Do people mistake you for Jesus?
That's our Destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.
If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.
You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I was invited to attend a luncheon of 17 leading pastors, including Stephen Olford. During the table conversation he said, “My brothers, I am weary of celebrity religion. You know I have received my share of honors. But if when I die my family does not say, ‘There is something of God in the man I will have failed.’”
I must confess that I too am having a hard time with the current ‘Celebrity religion.’ More so after doing the series on the Beatitudes, with the thought that these Kingdom attitudes don’t characterize those of ‘Celebrity Religion.’
We have all heard the reports and experienced some of this first hand:
1. The proverbial Senior Pastor Parking spot closet to the door.
2. The assistant that greets the Pastor and carries his Bible and briefcase into the church.
3. The ‘bodyguards’ that surround the Pastor and keep those that he is called to minister to away from him.
4. Escorting the pastor out the back door after preaching so he won’t ‘be bothered.’
5. The Senior Pastor refusing to visit the hospital or do funerals for his church members.
6. The Pastor who requires his staff to forgo medical insurance and other amenities but has his taken care of.
7. The pastor who never goes to the office but stays at home.
8. The Pastor or traveling minister, who charges $40,000 per speaking engagement, wants a limo to pick him up, and wants to stay in the penthouse of the hotel.
9. The minister that jets around in his 20 million dollar plane and says we are not doing enough for the poor and suffering.
10. The pastor who sells his congregation to another pastor.
11. A pastor who has no qualms of drawing people away from another pastor’s church all in the name of God.
12. A pastor, who despite repeated attempts to get him to join with other pastors in the city, suddenly declares he has the true vision for the city and invites them to join with him.
13. A pastor who only meets with the ‘rich’ people in his church.
14. A pastor who berates someone publicly for their lack of faith to be healed.
15. Pastors who live a double standard and are not the same in and out of the pulpit.
16. A Pastor whose theology is all over the place and not grounded in the Bible.
17. Those Pastors that are trying to reshape the church without a single idea of where they are going.
18. Pastor's wife who comes in late for the service and leaves early so as to 'miss' people.
19. People who go to church to see 'a man' rather than Jesus!
20. People who change Churches because of the personality of the Pastor.
21. You are welcome to add to this list.....
Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death — and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. TMB
Dear God, let us as Pastors restrain ourselves from a life of special privileges and be as Jesus was- poor in spirit, humble, and among the people.
Monday, April 09, 2007
1. The place was packed- thanks to the Vine members for bringing those guests!
2. The music was extraordinary as Brad and the team took us before the throne. Great song by Brad and Ali. They rocked!
3. Great audience participation as I had them stand and do the Twist complete with music- it was a point from a book 'The Twist- The Story of the Song and Dance that Changed the World.' It was good hearted and spirited fun. For many, it was the first time and probably last time they will dance in church!
4. The message on 'Changing Your World' struck a cord with all. The resurrection was the event that literally changed THE world!
5. God was glorified and souls were saved!
We had to move our picnic inside because of the weather, but that didn't stop us from eating, exciting fellowship, and having a great time together. Thank you Pat and your crew! Awesome!
Because He lives, we can face another tomorrow with victory!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.
Now it's Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn't the only thing that was shaking because now it's Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it's Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it's Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.
It's Sunday, and the crucified/resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It's Sunday. And now everything has changed. It's the age of grace, God's grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again.
All because it's Sunday.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Dr. Tony Campolo tells the story of a little preaching competition that he had with his pastor during services at the church where he attends. Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon, perfect in every way. He had taken the congregation to the heights of glory. And as he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Campolo patted him on the knee and simply said, "Top that." The older black pastor looked at him and said, "Boy, watch the master."
It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.
It's Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter's denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It's Friday; but Sunday's a coming.
It's Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, "Father, forgive them." It's Friday; but Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, "My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?" What a horrible cry. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. And at the moment of Jesus' death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that's because it's Friday, and they don't know it, but Sunday's a coming.......
Conclusion on Sunday (of course); because today is Friday.....
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.
One lucky day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. She then saw everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend then asked her, "Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?"
She was SHOCKED when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too. She said, "I am sorry but I can't marry you because you are blind and it will be too hard."
Her boyfriend walked away with tears and said,
"Please just take care of my eyes."
Monday, April 02, 2007
It must have been eight years ago (to the day) that God had a very special purpose and plan. I had my usual weekend of preaching in mind, with the expectation of "the unexpected." When I came up out from the underground tube train (with ladder in hand), my eyes fell upon a depressing sight. The City of Westminster had given permission for a carnival to set up on the very spot in Leicester Square that I regularly preached on my ladder. It was loud.. .louder than I could raise my voice over to be heard, and that habit of doing! My first thought was to turn around and go back down into the underground train and go home, but I felt the Lord's urging to "spy out the land." There were lines of people waiting to get on the "Chaos", a spinning, twirling roller coaster type ride. Other crowds gathered to watch the 'Bottle Toss' and 'Shooting Gallery' with hopes of a large stuffed animal being won. There I was in my cowboy gear and 'Jesus is Lord' trousers with the thought in my mind, "Why not? What do I have to lose?" I saw an area that suited me, set up my ladder and began to preach. At first most people thought I was part of the" carnival. ..that is until they listened long enough to what I was preaching! I related in my preaching message how life really is like a big carnival. "We are all just waiting in life to try out another ride, win a prize, or feel thrilled,... . . . but it's allover just as quickly as it began. . . ..and then we search for new "experiences," I explained. "The search is completely fulfilled when we meet our Creator through the forgiveness of sins, found only in His Son, Jesus Christ."
One young lady listened intently the entire time I shared God's love. When I finished sharing she walked up to me and said, " I have never heard about the things that you have been speaking about, can you please explain to me in more detail?" Her name was Jacquelyn and she had just arrived in London from her native country of Argentina. At her request, I shared in more detail about the love that God had for her. She then shared about her most awkward situation. She had planned on staying with a friend that had invited her to London, but found out when she arrived that the family had an emergency and needed to leave town. I called Tina and we had a peace about inviting her to stay with us. I accompanied Jacquelyn back to the hostel which she had already (in frightful desperation) booked her stay. The hostel owner had told Jacquelyn that she would have to share a room with him to compensate for the "little money" she had! Arriving in full cowboy gear, I talked to the owner face to face and demanded that he return her money and bags. He hesitated and then surrendered both. Jacquelyn stayed with our family for three nights. Her heart melted as we shared with her God's wonderful mercy and grace that He so lavishes upon our lives. Then she was gone... .out of our lives and back to Argentina... and all we could do was pray that God's Word was planted within her heart, and yearning to be watered. That was about eight years ago.
A few weeks ago: We had just arrived in the United States to itinerate and the cell phone ( which we had just had purchased) rang. "I don't know if you remember me but my name is Jacquelyn. I was in London eight years ago and heard you preaching in Leicester Square. You and your wife Tina were so kind to take me into your home in my desperate situation." In complete joy I responded, "Of course I remember you Jacquelyn!" After not hearing a word from her in eight years, there she was on the phone! As she continued to speak I could not hold back the steady flow of tears that flowed from my eyes. "On this very day eight years ago you and Tina took me into your home and explained to me how I could have a relationship with God, For the past eight years on this very day I have thought about you and Tina in thanksgiving toward God. This year I decided to make every effort to contact you to thank you. I thought that you would be encouraged to know that I have accepted Jesus as my Savior, I have a wonderful Christian husband and two beautiful children."
Steve and his wife, Tina, direct the London Outreach Center (a 'converted' former pub) which was founded by Dirk Wood of Arise and Shine Evangelistic Association. This article was copied from Steve and Tina's March 2007 newsletter. To learn more about Steve and Tina and to read this newsletter as well others, click here. To read about Dirk and Elizabeth Wood and read their newsletters, click here. These are must read newsletters!