Sunday, November 30, 2008

From Shepherd to CEO? - Pt. 4

Be not the first by which the new is tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. Alexander Pope

"You want to know what I most resent about these community megachurches?"

"These churches all seem to feel that the centuries between the time of Christ, the founder, and the time they started were just empty years of nothing." quote by Father Ambrose, O Shepherd Where Art Thou?, page 33

Funny how this seems to the current trend of thinking. There is a disappointing disdain for historical Christianity - like it failed or something!

Give me a break!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'Thank You' to All- a shout out!

In keeping with the 'Attitude of Gratitude' post of yesterday, I want to thank...

-all my blog friends who make their way back here repeatedly, whether you make any comments or not, I appreciate your visits.

-to all my Facebook friends, some I hear from, some I don't- you are important in my life or I wouldn't have added you. Thank you for adding me. Trust the feeling is mutual.

-to the Saints at Vine Fellowship who love me, care for me, show up week after week, and laugh at my jokes occasionally. It is a joy watching you grow in the Lord.

-to Debi, my sons Ryan and Jason, Ryan's wife Charity, Jason's fiance Lina (wife Jan 31, 2009). You bring a daily source of love, comfort, encouragement, satisfaction, joy, sense of accomplishment, and trust to my life.

-to the Lord Jesus Christ who continues to touch me, change me, drawing me to Himself so that I might know Him with the eyes of my understanding being enlightened more and more to His extravagant love!

I am one thankful and blessed man!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Atittude of Gratitude

So many people have an attitude rather than gratitude. We have lost the fine grace of saying 'Thank you.' Now it is met with entitlement (a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges - 'I deserved that' attitude) or you are just ignored. Hardly a 'thank you' is spoken anymore. Talk about a slap in the face!

There were ten lepers who asked Jesus to have mercy on them.(Lk 17:11) He did and told them to go show themselves to the priest. As they went they were healed. Of the ten only one returned to say thank you.

What was wrong with the other nine? They probably had these attitudes:
· One waited to see if the cure was real.
· One waited to see if it would last.
· One said he would see Jesus later.
· One decided that he had never had leprosy.
· One said he would have gotten well anyway.
· One gave the glory to the priests.
· One said, "O, well, Jesus didn't really do anything."
· One said, "Any rabbi could have done it."
· One said, "I was already much improved."

There was only one who returned to give God thanks. That demonstrated his gratitude.

I am amazed that few people say 'thank you' or even acknowledge a blessing that you give anymore. Whether it is given face to face, by a kind deed, through an email, or written as a comment on Facebook, few respond with gratitude. And these are Christians!

Find someone this Thanksgiving to express your gratitude to....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Texas Proud!

Texas 'Proud' is found everywhere!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lives Touched -

click pic to enlarge

We did our 'Thanksgiving in a Bag' outreach to the community today. Gave away 101 bags of Thanksgiving groceries and Turkeys.

We heard heart breaking stories and prayed for many of those attending. My wife, Debi, prayed for one lady to receive Christ- eternity is now in her heart!

I want to thank the wonderful crew of volunteers that came out and did 'the stuff' to make this a great success. God's love was demonstrated in a very practical way today!

Makes a Pastor proud!

Thanksgiving in a Bag - 2008

I am excited about this morning (Sat. Nov 22, 2008). We will do our annual Thanksgiving in a Bag outreach. It was a resounding success last year and I expect it will be again this year. I will publish pics of it next week.

Weymouth New Testament -- For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was homeless, you gave me a welcome... Mt.25:35

You can visit our website for more info here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Go Figure - Are All Pastors Happy?

Career isn't the only factor in determining someone's overall happiness, but it's certainly a major contributor. So, what kind of jobs do the happiest people in the U.S. have? And, what about these jobs contributes to overall happiness in life? A University of Chicago study, "Job Satisfaction in the United States," offers some insight.

The study says the occupations where people report being happy overall, not just in terms of job satisfaction, involve helping others, technical and scientific expertise, or creativity.

Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at UC, elaborates: "Happiness is determined by how much satisfaction you get from all domains of life, and work is an important domain, so it's one of the major components of overall happiness."

According to the study, the top occupation in general happiness is:

1. Clergy
Job Description: Conduct religious worship and perform spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination.

Very happy: 67.2%
Median salary: $44,102

Wow, I knew I had been chosen wisely and I am glad I followed the call! But there are those days......!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From Shepherd to CEO? - Pt. 3

A comment was made when I started this series of posts about needing to read the book 'O Shepherd, Where Art Thou?' I have been reading it and wow, Calvin Miller has great insight to the 'dumming down' (my words not his) of Pastoral Ministry. I will be quoting some from that book in this series 'From Shepherd to CEO?'
But no matter how large a church grows, the church that only gets big but will not care for the sick and broken, is no church of Christ. As important as world evangelization was to Jesus, the gospels are filled with his compassion for the sick and dying. No legitimate pastor can delegate this concern. He may delegate the care of a specific person in need, but the moment he tries to delegate the concern, the church he pastors will be gone. page 16

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shout Out From An Empty Tomb!

The message was painted on the roof of a splintered and sunken house in Waveland, Miss.: "C. Moretz is alive. Pass it on." The message included a Tucson, Ariz., phone number.

Chris Moretz, 36, said he had decided to ride out the hurricane. "I was optimistic, naive, curious, dumb," he said.

He said he was in his house when water poured in. It went from ankle deep to hip deep in five minutes. When it got waist deep on the second floor he swam out a window.

He found a boat and took refuge there. He left the rooftop message so his Tucson family would know he was alive. It worked.

"I probably had about 100 calls," Gerard Moretz said. Some were from as far away as Puerto Rico and Canada.

Today one of the most visited places in the world is the garden Tomb in Jerusalem. People flock there to see nothing there! Because Jesus is not there!

Just as the roof message declared Moretz was alive, the empty tomb is a shout out that Jesus is too!

We as Christians must remember daily the Power of the Resurrection! He is alive and therefore we are too forevermore!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Power From On High!

‘We need the power in this last hour.’

The above words are from an old chorus we used to sing. I woke up singing this song in my heart this morning. I believe it was there because we studied a chapter from Bill Johnson’s book ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’ last night in our Life Group. It was his chapter on ‘Powerlessness: Unnecessary and Unbalanced.’

There were a few ‘ouch’ paragraphs in that chapter. ‘Ouch’ means a thought that struck deeply in my soul, made me feel uncomfortable, and I definitely got the point. Here’s one:
Many believers have made it their primary goal in life to be well respected citizens of their communities. Good character enables us to be solid contributors to society, but most of what is recognized as a Christian lifestyle can be accomplished by people who don’t even know God. While character must be at the heart of our ministries, power revolutionizes the world around us. Until the church returns to Jesus’ model for true revolutionaries, we will continue to be recognized by the world merely as nice people—while it is overcome with disease and torment, on its way to hell.

Many people think they are going to heaven because they live as good a life as the Christian they know. You hear it time and time again. They may be able to duplicate our good conduct, but they can never duplicate the power of God unleashed through us!

Even after being trained by Jesus Himself, the disciples were told by Him to wait in Jerusalem because they had need of power for the future task at hand. When they got it they knew it. It was an encounter with God that transformed them! We too are to receive that power not to help us overcome sin but to be active agents in changing the world around us!

Other ‘ouch’ comments from the book; Johnson states that too many Christians think they have to become better Christians before God can use them. That single lie has kept us in perpetual immaturity because it protects us from the power-encounter that transforms us. The result is we have converts trained and over trained until they have no life, vision, or ingenuity left.

Revolutionaries win because they have power. Saints, we need the power so that we can do what the disciples did, change the then known world. We deceive ourselves if we think we can do it without it!

They did it with power from on high!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tribute to America's Veterans

Just because the battle is afar,

Just because another rank you are...
regardless if you're active or reserve,
our respect and honor you deserve!

You've done what many of us could not do.
One day, alone, is not enough for you!
You have done what most of us would not--
thus, our admiration you have got!

Every branch of service...
every class or rank...
God Most High protecting,
God Most High we thank!
Your bravery outshining
emotions that are real;
our desire be that our
most heartfelt thanks you feel!
And that you be rewarded on
this day and every day
with words and deeds that,
deep appreciation, would convey!
Great is your reward, beyond
each worldly accolade
for your part assuring that
our liberty is made!

Tribute by Jim Busby

Friday, November 07, 2008

Surfer Rides 41ft. Wave

A daredevil surfer (Kerby Brown) is pictured tackling a giant 41 foot wave in a bid to win himself a prestigious award.

Moments after these pictures were taken, he suffered a devastating wipeout which nearly killed him. He said: 'Usually the wave never steps out or goes evil like that one, but it just went dry - the hardest wave I've ever had to surf.

'I went straight over the lip and did about 10 backflips and then pulled a muscle in my shoulder. It felt like I ripped my arm out of its socket, my leggie snapped and then I felt like I was the deepest I'd ever been.'

He's alive with torn shoulder muscles. Go figure!!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Great Fall Festival!

A lot has been going on at the church! On October 31st we had our annual Fall Festival. It was called Under the Big Top. A great circus theme. Here are 2 pics:


Bad lion needed a lion tamer with whip and gun! (Know who these are?)

Thank you Brooke for a great job!

For more pics go here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Congratulations and an Apology!

Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. NIV

Titus 3:1-2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. NIV

This great nation overwhelmingly elected Barak Hussein Obama as our 44th President last night. My congratulations to him. I humble myself before God to pray for Obama accordingly as God instructs and requires of each of us as Christians. He is our President and even though I have expressed my concerns and alarm through this campaign season, it is now my responsibility to be a good citizen in the USA and in the Kingdom of God.

My apology to President George W. Bush. I feel I didn't pray for you enough. You have taken the brunt of my criticism and that of a nation. I know you had great intentions and aspirations. Your steady hand guided us us through one of the most tragic and difficult times in our nation's history- an attack on our great nation on our great shores!

Jeffery Scott Shapiro (an investigative reporter and lawyer who previously interned with John F. Kerry's legal team during the presidential election in 2004) wrote an article titled 'The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace.' He said:
The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.
Please forgive me (and us as a nation) President Bush, I (we) let you down.

I know your approval ratings are down but in my heart, President Bush, I have great admiration and respect for you Sir! May God bless you richly.

It will not happen again from me regardless of who is President or what party has the power!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A 2008 Election Sermon-

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

Historically- pastors in this great country were involved in politics. They would give 'election sermons.' So in keeping that spirit and tradition alive, I did mine this past Sunday. This was a most critical sermon at this point in time! It was titled 'Somebody Do Something.' Those were the words of Mike Huckabees then 12 year old daughter after viewing the Holocaust museum in Israel. She wrote her name in the guest book and wrote, 'why didn't somebody do something?'

There are 60 million evangelicals in the U.S. Less than half- 29%- are registered to vote. What happened to the Moral Majority? Now, about half of that number (15%) actually voted in the last 2 elections. Think about it. 60 million votes can change an entire election! Hillary was proud of the 18 million she had....60 million! Christians should have no problems in this country...if we would just vote! How did our country get so far left? Why didn’t somebody do something? What's wrong with Christians that they are so detached from the most important civic responsibility?

Could it be that pastors feel intimidated or it is not their place to do so? We have a right and freedom to address our congregations on issues at hand. I taught on the importance of Christian values and voting according to that.

Christian values are important because they are:
1. Your anchor.
2. Your faithful friend.
3. Your compass.
4. Your basis for living righteously.

A very dramatic illustration is when I had all those born since 1972 stand. I asked all to look around. I said these standing survived the abortion holocaust since the passage of Roe vs Wade.. They are alive and with us now! 50 million plus are not!

An election is always about values! Until you know, and can clearly state the core values of your life, your decisions will be based on what's convenient, what's cheap and what's self-serving. We as Christians must refuse to live that way! Our values are clearly defined for us by the Word of God, not by some candidate, political party, or world system!

We then spent more than 30 minutes in the 'Harp & Bowl' style intercession session. Which is Music & Prayer intertwined. We had 10 people designated to pray for either our country, the elections, or our church. It was a dynamic and Spirit led prayer time!

I trust that you pastor friend encouraged your people to vote their values! Pastor, why didn't you do something? We get what we did or didn't vote for!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Facing Reality!?!

thanks to Rebecca--