Friday, February 29, 2008

Kerr-isms #1 - quotes by yours truly!

Don't be surprised when you have a Judas in the camp -even Jesus had one! - David Kerr

Betrayal is right up there as one of the most difficult and debilitating actions that we all have to face in life.

It is because it comes from someone you trusted. It may be the unfaithful spouse, boss, coworker, family member, church member, etc. There are a lot of things that hurt you in this life but I would have to say that few compare to betrayal, as it is like a viper's bite that poisons the whole body.

God was with Jesus when He received that infamous kiss. He is there with you and for you too, to watch, love, and apply an antidote to the poison!

We must safeguard our lives from becoming bitter by betrayal! Bitterness just feeds the poison of betrayal.

Isn't good to know that we do have one that can help us in our sufferings because He too was tempted as we were, experienced what we experienced, and overcame!

We can too!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Finally, One for the Ladies!

My wife and I have discussed how all the jokes are generally directed in some way at women and wives. She's right, why are so few jokes written by women about men? If you have one, please send it to me as I am an equal opportunity joke teller!

So this is for you ladies!

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.

When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

Her natural beauty took his breath away. "I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men!

Monday, February 25, 2008

To Thy Own Self and God Be True

Building and maintaining strong character is a must for every pastor. We have to set higher standards for ourselves and refuse to lower them. Plato asserted, "The first and best victory is to conquer self."

Why you ask? Because our life is a stage that everyone is watching. We live in glass churches and glass homes. On display 24/7!

Is it no wonder that some fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.

The issues are numerous and preserving your character in the midst of the ministry is a must. You will have your:

-Character criticized
-Motives microscoped (this is an intentional misspelling - for alliteration effect)
-Heart hurt
-Decisions dissected
-Angry attacks
-Blindsided betrayals
-Sarcastic stabs
-Feigned friends
-Forceful fanatics
-Dutiful deceivers
-Rigorous righteous
-Boisterous blamers
-Shifting saints
-Policy police
-Fractured family

What keeps us going after our character is assassinated and keeps us from being a character causality?

Our continued example is Jesus. He said, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself" Matthew 16:24 NIV.

Building strong character requires self-discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to do what's right, when you don't feel like it and others aren’t!

The Apostle Paul knew where to concentrate his mind and how to protect his character when criticized:

Php 4:8-9 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. AMP

Thank you Lord that you are our refuge, times of refreshing, an ever present help, our comforter, and the lifter of our heads!

I love what I do and I love God’s people!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Don’t Make Hasty Judgments

Potiphar didn’t give Joseph a chance to explain himself about the accusations of his wife. Had he, he would have found out that he had an unfaithful wife (he probably later learned that the hard way). Instead, in anger and a rush to judgment, he had Joseph thrown into prison. I know the divine plan of God in all this, but humor me just a minute as I discuss the problem that pastors have with hasty judgments.

We often are presented with issues and conflicts that need to be resolved. The person presenting his case first always seems right. If we make a judgment based on that first disclosure, most of the time we make it erroneously. When we find out the ‘real’ truth, we have egg on our faces and scramble to undo what can’t be undone!

That is nothing new. One of my favorite scriptures about this is found in Proverbs 18:17:

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. NIV

The Message Bible says it this way:
The first speech in a court case is always convincing — until the cross-examination starts!

There ARE always two sides to a story! How I have been embarrassed by my hasty decisions before I hear both sides of the story. Again, Proverbs has something to say about this:

Pr 18:13
He who answers before listening (to both sides - my addition) — that is his folly and his shame. NIV

I had an issue once where someone had revealed some things about others! I was indignant and ready to make heads roll! What was revealed infuriated me! But, I remembered the need to get with the other people and question what was said. Because of busyness our meeting was delayed. It gave me time to calm down, pray about it, and apply grace to the situation.

When I met with them and heard ‘the rest of the story’ boy was I glad I didn’t make a hasty judgment! In fact, what was revealed put the whole situation and the first person in a totally different light. I was enlightened and shocked.

Remember, before you make a judgment:
1. Calm down
2. Pray
3. Give it time (time really does have a way of proving all things)
4. Seek out the other side to hear them out
5. Apply grace
6. Make the judgment

Keep in mind, a judge sits quietly on the bench until both sides have presented their arguments and cross-examined. It is then and only then that he renders a judgment. We need that wisdom as pastors!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Clean, Wholesome Fun!

click pic to enlarge-
We enjoyed our Valetine's Day Sock Hop last Friday night. It was a great success and was enjoyed by young and old. The church not only prays together but plays together.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Don't Forget to Ask-

Early in the morning I often sit with a cup of coffee, my journal, and carry on conversations with God. On one such occasion, I was talking to God about all the oil and gas wells in Texas especially in the surrounding outlying areas. Our church is in the city and we have 6.3 acres of land. We are not using all of it for buildings.

'God,' I asked, 'with all this property here at the Vine, what do you think about putting up a gas drilling rig on our property?' He was silent, but I knew He was thinking about it!

The next day as I was opening mail, I had an offer from Paloma Resources to lease our mineral rights for $5,000 per acre plus a 25% royalty! At first I thought it was a sham, but then remembered my question to God. You see, this area is sitting on what is called the Barnett Shale Gas Deposits. They are drilling like crazy! The letter was for real!

We started getting other offers as the competition heated up... $6,000, $7,500, $8,000... There were numerous neighborhood groups formed to negotiate with the companies.

Well, the rest of the story is this- this past Saturday the church signed a contract for gas lease rights at $16,850 per acre with the 25% royalty!

Praise the Lord! Listen, don't ever pass up an opportunity to make your requests known to God. Then having done just that leave it in His capable hands! He knew before I asked and had already started the answer!

Another plus, all of this without putting an unsightly and noisy rig on our property!

As a side note, I live less than a mile from the church in a subdivision and Debi and I also signed a gas lease on our home property!

Ain't God good?... all the time!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why I Left Your Grocery Store!

This is a parody- not to be taken seriously- I had no one in mind as I wrote this nor is it an attempt to belittle or disparage anyone. Yes, I am guilty for writing from my heart- that is why I call it 'Pastoral Ponderings.'

Some time back I published an article by Stuart Briscoe titled 'Why I Left Your Church.' You can read it here. With that in mind, we recently had a new Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market open not far from us. We are delighted and excited about it.

I had this conversation in my mind with the Kroger Grocery Store Manager on why I left his store for the 'new' one. (BTW, he used to actually attend our church.)

"Hi, just wanted to let you know that I am leaving your grocery store. I really love you, your wife, and your wonderful staff,...but...

...the new store is beautiful, ultra modern, huge, plenty of parking, and it is closer to our house...

...even though there was a lot of food on the shelves, I wasn't getting fed here and think I will there...

...they have a greater variety of things than you do, kid's indoors play land , sushi, deli, flower shop...

...the kids love it and see their friends...

...they send out slick contemporary promotional material with upcoming store specials, you don't...

...the new store manager is approachable 24/7, as you didn't return my repeated calls, he obviously will be there for me...

...the new store manager has more charisma than you do, younger, sharper looking...

...they run more specials than you do, I remember the specials of the past, I like specials...

...they bring in popular 'sales' people to hype their products, plus motivational speakers which speak to my lifestyle...

...I didn't like the clientele at your store, aisles were crowded, the people rude, the people at the new store seem to be friendlier...

...I noticed other people were leaving the store, don't know the reason, but they are gone, something must be going on, therefore I need to leave too...

...I really liked you as a store manager, but over the years things happened that have helped me make this decision to leave your store (sorry I never mentioned them to you)...

...I had requested to you (over the years) items that I wanted to see stocked on the shelves, you didn't do it so my confidence in your leadership was diminished...

...your store was always too cold and I felt uncomfortable; this new store has state of the art EVERYTHING and now I feel comfortable there...

...your store announcements were too loud and long, this new store streamlines everything...

...I know you will miss me and my grocery payment, but others will take my place...

...besides the new store manager used to be your associate manager and I always liked him... long and I hope you make it and we are still fiends, oh... I mean friends, right!"

I really enjoyed writing this post- does that make me a bad person?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happens to the Us Men Eventually!

Anybody out there relate to this?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Closing Reopened Sepulchers

One of the things about pastoring is that people come and go; people drop in and drop out. Pastors, does your church experience a change over in faces every 5-7 years?

The ‘coming’ is always met with excitement. The words are very encouraging – ‘best church,’ ‘great pastor,’ ‘love the children’s ministry’ and on and on.

So, who wouldn’t be encouraged!

But, sometimes people blow in, blow up, and blow out!

Sometimes the going is nice and sometimes it ends up ‘hitting you with their best shot.’

It’s the ‘going’ part that often leaves the pastor hurt and frustrated. We love people, care for them, go the extra mile for them, sacrifice for them, and so forth.

So…When they leave we have to close that chapter, nurse the wounds, and bury that hurt in a sea of God’s love and healing. Then we move on…. Caring, loving, and sacrificing for others!

But wouldn’t you know it… the cycle gets repeated. Then you are not only dealing with the present ‘going’ but for some reason, the tops blow off of all the past sepulchers and the dead ‘goings’ resurrect to haunt you again. Your memory is flooded with the ‘issues’ in the theater of your mind. Oh great… reruns!!!!

You expend a lot of emotional energy fighting the devil of condemnation, defeat, and frustration, … rapidly running from one open sepulcher to another trying frantically to get the ’resurrected going’ back in it’s place, with the top back on it and closed once again!

Today, I have succeeded in getting them all closed yet again!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Forrest Gump Makes it to Heaven--

The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper.

St. Peter said, 'Well, Forrest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven.'

Forrest responds, 'It sure is good to be here, St. Peter, sir. But nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. I sure hope that the test ain't too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was.'

St. Peter continued, 'Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions.

What two days of the week begin with the letter T?

How many seconds are there in a year?

What is God's first name?'

Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up, and says, 'Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.'

Forrest replied, 'Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begins with the letter 'T'? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be Today and Tomorrow.'

The Saint's eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, 'Forrest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?' asked St. Peter. 'How many seconds in a year?

Now that one is harder,' replied Forrest, but I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.'

Astounded, St. Peter said, Twelve? Twelve? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?'

Forrest replied, 'Shucks, there's got to be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd... '

'Hold it,' interrupts St. Peter. 'I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind....but I will have to give you credit for that one, too. Let us go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name'?

'Sure,' Forrest replied, 'it's Andy.'

'Andy?' exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St. Peter. 'Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?'

'Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,' Forrest replied. 'I learnt it from the song, 'ANDY WALKS WITH ME, ANDY TALKS WITH ME, ANDY TELLS ME I AM HIS OWN...'

St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates, and said: 'Run Forrest, run.'

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Growing Older? don't do this!

click pic to enlarge
Some things you just shouldn't do as you grow older! Please.........???????

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Traits of the Self-Life

My friend Judy Reamer sent this out recently and I thought it needs to be passed on. It was written by evangelist Elmer Shelhamer (1869-1940) as a tract.

The Traits of the Self-Life
The following can be used as a help to self-examination. These are some of the features and manifestations of the self-life [i.e. flesh, carnal thinking]. The Holy Spirit alone can interpret and apply this to your individual case. As you read, examine yourself in the very presence of God.

Are you ever conscious of:

1. A spirit of pride. Do you have an exalted feeling because of your success or position, because of your good training or appearance, or because of your natural gifts and abilities? Do you show an important, independent spirit?

2. Love of praise. Do you have a secret fondness to be noticed, a love of supremacy? Do you draw attention to yourself in conversation? Does your “self” swell out when you’ve had a time to speak or pray in the presence of others?

3. Stirrings of anger. Are you irritable, and do you cover it over by calling it nervousness or holy indignation? Do you have a touchy spirit, a disposition to resent and retaliate when disapproved of or contradicted? Do you throw sharp words at others?

4. Self-will. Do you show a stubborn, unteachable spirit? Do you argue? Are you harsh, sarcastic, driving, or demanding? Do you come through as unyielding or headstrong? Do you have a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when you are ignored or decisions don't go your way? Do you have a peevish spirit that loves to be coaxed and humored?

5. Carnal fear. Are you controlled by a man-fearing spirit that causes you to shrink from duty? Do you reason around your cross? [Trying to figure a way out using self effort.] Are you afraid your commitment to righteousness will cause some prominent person to think less of you? Do you compromise principle to please others?

6. Jealousy. Do you hide a spirit of envy in your heart? Do you harbor an unpleasant sensation in view of the prosperity and success of another? When someone is more talented or appreciated than you, are you disposed to speak of his faults rather than his virtues?

7. Dishonesty. Do you evade or cover the truth? Do you hide or minimize your real faults and attempt to leave a better impression of yourself than is strictly true? Do you show false humility? Do you exaggerate, straining the truth? Do you show one face to one person and quite the opposite to another?

8. Unbelief. Do you demonstrate a spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition? In your heart, is there a lack of quietness and confidence in God, a lack of settled trust? Do you have a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or trials that God allows? Are you overanxious about whether situations will turn out all right?

9. Religious formality. Are you complacent about the lost? Is your relationship with God characterized by dryness and indifference? Does your life lack spiritual power? Do you regularly meet with God?

10. Selfishness. Are you drawn to a love of ease, a catering to your appetites, a repeated hankering for short-lived pleasure? Do your joys and sorrows fluctuate around personal interests? Is there a yearning for money and earthly possessions?

These are some of the traits which generally indicate a carnal heart. By prayer, hold your heart open to the searchlight of God, until you see the groundwork thereof. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). The Holy Spirit will enable you, by confession and faith, to bring your “flesh-life” to the death. Do not patch over, but go to the bottom of it.

Judy recommends reviewing these before receiving the Lord's Supper! and I suggest everyday!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Thank You For Your Overwhelming Response!

This is a second letter to the Saints at the Vine after the first letter (click here) and asking for their help as we minister to our youth. As you can see it was met with overwhelming response. Being open, truthful, compassionate, and communicating openly produces fruit and dispels gossip and misunderstanding!

Dear Parents and Vine Fellowship Members,

Thank you so much for your overwhelming response when Pastor announced last week that we would need parent help during this time of transition as we look for a new youth pastor. Until we have a new youth pastor, the youth ministry schedule has been simplified and NCY is meeting only on Wednesday nights since that is the most-attended meeting. There are seven or so youth leaders who volunteered under Pastor Shaun who are still helping, but last week we asked for some parents to work with this team.

The original plan was to rotate parent volunteers on Wednesday nights, but as the MANY volunteers stepped forward to fill in the gap, we found several who have a heart to work with our youth on a more-than-temporary basis. One of the things that was mentioned in our meeting for prospective volunteers last week was how difficult it would be for parents to form relationships with the youth and youth leaders when they are only there on a rotating schedule. In light of all this, four parents (Pastor Brad, Wanda Mayo, Robyn Salinas and Randi Dumont) have been added to the current youth leadership team. This team will be leading the Wednesday night meetings. I will be meeting weekly with this team and attending Wednesday night youth service until the Lord brings a new youth pastor.

There have been a few other parents approach me this week letting me know they would be willing to help out if they can arrange their work schedule, etc. For those of you in this category, or others who have a heart to work with No Compromise Youth, we are EXCITED to see parents with a desire to minister to our youth. However, thanks to the response we've already had, we have enough parents to fill the need on Wednesday nights. If you are still interested in working with our youth, please pray with us that God brings a youth pastor quickly. Obviously we have students and a leadership team who need a youth pastor again, but it is our desire to plug in those, like you, who are waiting in the wings to volunteer.

Thank you again for your overwhelming response and for keeping our students, leaders and those looking for a youth pastor in your prayers. Pastor Rob


Pastors, continue to walk humbly and open before God and man!