Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Laura's Testimony

Child wayward? Don't accept guilt that's not yours! God knows how/when to ‘close the deal’ with your child. Don't worry-Pray!

I know this is long for a blog- but I felt Laura's testimony that she gave at Vine Fellowship on 11/27/11 needed to be shared in it's entirety!

God 'closed the deal' with Laura!

My name is Laura. Many of y’all know me, I've been going to this church for most of my life. Even though I'm not quite sure where to start, this is my story. And like all stories, mine starts at the beginning. It is somewhat of a long story, but bear with me. I really think it's worth listening to.

I was the victim of abuse around age ten. For years I buried those memories deep down in my mind and repressed any thought of it. I became so confused about what happened, the details became so blurry that I eventually had myself convinced that I must have made it up. At that point though, my family had already found out. I was thirteen years old. The cat was out of the bag and I had no idea where that cat even came from. Unsure of what to do, I sat through years of therapy and counseling, listening but not listening. I would tell the doctors I was fine, that the abuse had no affect on me, because I couldn't pin down what had happened. To this day, I can't know for sure what exactly it was. But it did happen. And it did affect me. It's something that with God, and my counselours, and family, I'll have to keep working on, so I can get closure.

I was put on and taken off of medications, taken to therapist after therapist. I'd began cutting myself because I was so emotionally shut down inside, pain was the only sensation strong enough to make me feel awake, like I wasn't just sleepwalking. It as wrong. And it was stupid. I regret it. But at the time I didn't know what else to do. The counseling wasn't working so I was put into an outpatient treatment program. While I was there my family found out the truth. Once they found out about the abuse and the cutting, I fell into such a suicidal depression that I had to be hospitalized. After that I spent a few weeks in outpatient therapy, then continued to try meds and be seen by councilors. None of it helped.

This was probably the second darkest time of my life. I was seeing counselors, I was attending church and bible studies, making decent grades. I had lots of friends and a busy social life. I did art and played piano. On the outside I probably looked like an exceptional young lady. But I wasn't, During this time I fell into drug abuse. I would overdose on any prescriptions, over the counter medicine, or street drug I could find. I felt so broken and empty inside. So completely hollowed out. That I was taking anything I could get my hands on and holding on for dear life. For a while I began eating way too much and gained a lot of weight. And when I saw what I had done I became disguested wih myself. The pendulum swung the other way and I began starving myself, denying myself any food, drinking more energy drinks and coffee than any body should be able to handle, working out till the point of passing out. When I did eat I would take one look at myself and immediately go to the bathroom, to force myself to vomit.

I was still going to church, I was still going to school. But by now I was so desperate, so spiritually exhausted, that I felt completely dead inside. I started trying to find value in myself through relationships with men. I would compromise myself if he would just flatter me, tell me I was beautiful, feed me what I wanted to hear. Even though I never believed them, I feel like I fed myself off of the attention, grasping at yet another empty promise of the world to feel whole again.

We serve an amazing God. It's only by his grace and love that I am not dead, six feet underground. I'm not working a corner, I'm not strung out on drugs, riddled with diseases or living on the streets. Through everything I've been through and everything I've done our God has refused to let me go. He blessed me with the perfect people in my life to surround me and lift me up. When I was at my lowest points, when I had nothing left, God gave me those people to show me Jesus's love. To be that voice in my ear saying the pain would one day go away. To hold onto me while getting me to hold on just a little bit longer.

Then came the darkest point in my entire, young life. About three months after my seventeenth birthday, I found out I was pregnant. The father was an older guy who had been in and out of my life for years. He cared about me, but our relationship was very sick. We both used it as a crutch. I was young and scared, I didn't know what to do. After we finally told my parents, I immedately started trying to find a way to get an abortion. I spent nights online finding laws that would let me get around parental consent laws. I had meetings with lawyers set up through a foundation that was specifically set up to give underage girls a way to get abortions behind their parent's backs. I know now this wasn't the answer, Abortion is wrong. There is nothing our God can't redeem you from. His love for you and his love for that baby will cover all of your faults.

But maybe you've already had an abortion. If you did you need to know, there is no condemnation on you. Not from this church, not from me, not from God. He loves you. He loves that child that he's holding in heaven right now. He understands, and he forgives you. All he's waiting for is for you to turn to him and ask him to restore you. He'll do it! All you have to do is whisper that you wanna come home and our God will move heaven and earth to pick you up and bring you home. All you have to do is ask. There is a perfect love that will cover all flaws, all mistakes. It's waiting for you.

My parents fought me hard about the abortion. I became so angry that I lashed out at them when all they were trying to do was love me, and fight for my life and the life of their first grandchild. The father of the baby fought at first but eventually resolved himself to what would happen. And even with all these people fighing me, I was stubborn and hardheaded, and made the appointment. Me and the father snook out of our houses that Saturday morning. We took a taxi to the clinic in Fort Worth. As we got out, there were protestors. People screaming and holding signs of condemnation and rage, that we were terrible people, that we were going to hell. I'll never forget that moment of despair. I was so angry, so helpless, so broken down. I didn't feel like I had any other choice. I wanted to scream at them and swear and tell them that I knew it was wrong but what choice did I have! I'm only seventeen and I've been through so much and I can't be a single mom! But I hunched down behind the father, avoided their glares, and managed to make it inside.

The small, dark waiting room was packed with other women, some with their partners, some with a friend. There was a tension, a darkness in there that I won't forget. It would be occasionally broken by nervous laughter or someone trying to encourage another girl, but the atmosphere was heavy. I sat with quin and shakily worked through the paperwork and talked wit the receptionist, then I waited.

It seemed like forever before they finally called my name. My heart dropped through my stomach. The woman calling me was the doctor who I'd seen before for the sonogram. She'd hiddn the screen and coached me on what to tell the lawyers and the judge so they'd let me get the abortion. She was rough and impersonal, and she never actually gave me the counseling that I was supposed to tell them I'd recieved. She took me to the room and set up another sonogram, and I asked her what was wrong, why I was the only one called back. She stared at the sonogram, took measurements, then had her supervisor come and do the same thing. They both were staring at the screen for a while, confused. I felt sick and begged them to tell me what was going on.

It turns out, that the measurements said my baby was too big. He was bigger than the measurements they had on record from last time said he should be. He should have only been about fourteen weeks, but the measurements were reading sixteen and a half weeks. Remember that number. At this point, the clinic could no longer legally perform the abortion and I was stunned. I heard the doctor in the other room mumble about the funding they were probably losing over some faulty equipment.

When me and my mom went back to my regular doctor a weak or so later, I made sure to look at the sonogram and ask about the measurements. That day, a week or so after the last sonogram, the measuremeants said the baby was right at sixteen weeks old.

This is when I began to get that deer-in-the-headlights feeling. I could feel the ground shifting and crumbling under me and deep down I began to understand that there was a God, and he was way bigger than me. He loved me. He wasn't going to let me destroy myself. He wasn't going to let me destroy the life that he'd placed inside of me. He loved us both so desperately that he was going to do whatever it took to save us both from myself. I began to feel like one of those supervillains at the end of a scooby doo episode, with my evil schemes undone over and over again, and all I could do was angrily shake my fist while I was being dragged away.

The pregnancy was long and hard. I'd finally hit the point of surrender, but hadn't reached the point of restoration. I was so ashamed that I hid it from anybody I possibly could. I anguished over the thought of people finding out that I was pregnant because I'd worked so hard at keeping up somewhat of a good front for so many years. In my mind, my entire world was gonna come crashing down. I no longer cared about school, about friends, about family. I was going to be responsible and take care of the baby, but I didn't feel like I loved him. I was angry a him for destroying the semblance of a life that I had. I would never hurt him, but I resented him deeply.

By the grace of God I was able to graduate high school on time. Me and miranda, my best friend, gradutated together. She'd been there for me through everything, the good and the bad, and was a huge part of finally making me understand I should keep the baby. And on august the 19th I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy, Jesse Dwayne Irons. My whole family, and the father, and Miranda, and my friend nick were all at the hospial that night (mostly in the waiting room, of course) waiting with me and encouraging me. When he was born it meant everything to have them there to celebrate with me. I felt surrounded by love and for the first time in so many dark years, I began to feel a glimmer of hope.
his is where my story starts to turn around. This is where, strangely enough, my story stops being about me. This is the point where my story becomes about you. You need to know that we serve an amazing God. His love for us is more than we will ever be able to grasp. It's so perfect, and so boundless, that each and every one of us is his chosen one, his personal favorite. Listen to that, because this isn't something you can take lightly. You are GOD'S PERSONAL FAVORITE. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Fearfully fashoned after his own form and placed center stage in a marvelous creation as all of heaven watches you with baited breath to see what you'll do. All of creation is captivated, with rapt attention as God longs for you, persues and chases you. They're waiting to see when you'll turn to him. They're totally captured in the ultimate romance between the perfect God, and the single object of his boundless grace and affection. You. There's only one question. When's it gonna happen? When are you, the chosen one, going to let your creator rush to you and hold you close to him and lavish his love on you like he's been waiting to do your entire life. When's it gonna happen? And when are you going to help his other chosen ones do the same?

I am a beautiful creation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has given me an amazing life to live surrounded by some of the most incredible people alive that he loves just as much as he loves me. I am not broken. I am not defeated. I feel like a pheonix rising out of the ashes. With my God behind me no one can be against me. No weapons formed against me will prosper. Our God is great and good. God knows the plans he has for you. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future, And it's going to be beyond your wildest dreams.

I'm going to do great things with my life. Next year I'm gonna start studying graphic design at the Art Institute in Dallas. For my 18th birthday, I want to get some sleeve tattoos on my left arm where the scars are from the self abuse. Not to cover them out of shame, but to change them. To take something ugly that was meant to destroy me and make it into something beautiful that will be used for the glory of God. Eventually me and my bestfriend would love to open a tatoo parlor. I wanna specialize in tatoos for people who have suffered from self injury and turn it into a ministry, to let them know that it doesn't matter how ugly the scars from the past are. Our God has a hope for you, and a future for you, and it is going to be beautiful beyond your imagination.

So I want you guys to watch me. Not because I'm awesome or because I want the attention. But becase I am a true cinderalla story, a true example of the marvelous works of the wonderful God we serve. Some of you may not have the best view. You may not see me as clearly as the friends that have been there for me, that have had to physically hold me up on nights where I was too high and drunk to walk and could barely speak. Maybe you won't see me as clearly as my family who's been there on the long nights where I've been awake, depserate and broken, where they held onto me while I was shaking so bad I felt like I would break apart. You may not get to see as much of me as they do, but watch anyway. Because We serve a powerful God, we are his favorites, and he's going to use us for marvelous, marvelous things. It's going to be a beautiful life, and I can't. wait. to see.

Originally, this was where my testimony ended. I felt revived and blessed and happy, full of joy for the first time in forever. I was so hopeful for where I was headed and what I would be able to do with my life. I'd begun to see that my life wasn't really about me, but about reaching out to others. I turned eighteen, and got the pheonix tattoo that I wanted. The monday before my 18th birthday, I was hanging out in Arlington with my friends Tobi and JJ, playing with the stray dog we found at the park. While me and Tobi were walking around I got a call from my friend Chelsea asking if I'd been on facebook lately. When I said no, she responded with, "I'm so sorry to tell you this, but your friend Dana died in a car accident." This was the beginning of a huge downward spiral for me. It took hours for the news to sink in. At first I didn't really know what to think, I was in shock. But once it really hit I was devastated.

Me and Dana didn't hang out much after I moved but we used to live on the sae block. We had all the same friends and ran into each other all the time. Me and her dealt with a lot of the same problems in our past, and struggled with most of the same issues. She was always trying to reach out to me and make sure I was ok. She was one of the main people telling me that I should keep my son instead of getting an abortion, and promised to be there for me every step of the way. She was a big part of my decision to keep him, and she continued to keep in touch. We'd run into her the week before at iHop where she worked. It just didn't seem real that she was gone.

Once everything really sunk in I started to fall back into depression. I kept thinking, me and her messed up in all the same ways, did most of the same things. Howcome I kept getting more chances and she didn't? Why is it that she's gone and I'm still here? It didn't seem fair. I couldn't stop questioning why I was still alive and such a beautiful, sweet girl was gone. Seeing all her grieving family and friends at the funeral only made it seem more senseless and tragic than ever. I remember being at JJ's the day it happened, and we were sitting in the garage when her mom came home. They lived across the street. We could hear her mother crying all the way inside his house. It was heartwrenching. It seemed like nothing would be the same in that neighborhood again.

That friday was my birthday. I celebrated with close friends and my family. The next morning I went with Joe and his friend Austin to the funerals. The first was for the twins, Stephen and Michael Eckel, who'd passed away. Then we went to Dana's. My brother flew in from the military base in Arizona. It was a really sad day. Overall, with Danielle, Michael, Stephen, and the most recent death, Christian, we lost four amazing young people in that car accident.

I eventually stopped thinking about it. But it never lasted. Every time I saw her picture or a wall post on facebook all the same thoughts came back. Why her? Why was it that she got taken, and I was always given one more chance. Over and over. I couldn't make it make sense to me. We basically lived parallell lives, dealing with almost every same issue and problem and person. But right as I was getting my life straight and finding new hope in my life, hers was taken away.

Then something else happened, something that shook me up more than anything in my short eighteen years. A few weeks ago I was raped by a guy I used to know. He just showed up at my house while nobody was home. Afterwards I didn't know what to do. I spent the next few nights away from home, completely beside myself, not knowing what to do. It was a long time before I could even spend much time at my own house. I still can't be there long without shaking or crying or freaking out in one way or another. I have these horrible nightmares literally every time I go to sleep. I haven't had a good night's sleep and haven't felt safe since it happened. It's gotten so bad that I considered moving out, it didn't matter where, I just wanted out of that house.

So honestly. I'm not doing so good right now. But Pastor David and my dad have been reminding me that I need to stay strong. I recently got a tattoo on my collarbone that says Stay Strong, and it's a constant reminder that I can't give up now. The things that happened almost stopped me from getting up here and speaking to you guys. It didn't seem worth it anymore. Then I was reminded by people close to me that if I let the devil take this away from me, I'm letting him win. I spent most of my life in the dark, hiding everything. It's about time I start being honest and I start telling my story. Everyone has their own story, their own struggles. If my story can help even one person, then it's worth it. I've been in some pretty dark places in my life and if I can help even one person not have to go there, or help them know that there really is a way out, I'll be happy. We really do serve an amazing God, and he's pulled me through more than my share of mistakes. There's nothing that He can't bring you out of, and you'll never run far enough away that he isn't right behind you, waiting to bring you home. You just have to reach out for help.

I remember a quote a teacher of mine had on his wall, about how, you can't solve your problems with the same mindset that you created them in. It takes another perspective, a new look at things. It may even take someone else for you to lean on. But whether you do it alone or with help, it can't happen without God.

I guess I've said all of this, to say that there's no hole God won't pull you out of, and no dark period of your life that won't pass. If you sit and wallow in your own despair and tell yourself you can't do it, you're just prolonging your own misery. Don't be the one that's gonna sit there, not help yourself, not ask for help, and possibly drag others down. Reach out for someone, and for God. That's what our ministry team is here for. That's what this entire church is here for. It doesn't matter where you are or what kind of trash you're currently surrounded by. There's hope, there's a way out. You just have to look.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To Succeed - Overcome Fear!

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1.7

The poet wrote: ‘There was a very cautious man who never laughed or played; he never risked, he never tried, he never sang or prayed. And when one day he passed away, his insurance was denied; for since he never really lived, they claimed he never died!

If you never really try and overcome the fear of trying/failure; you will never have really lived!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Woman's Simple Request!

Ouch men, can you relate to that!!!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Shake It Off and Keep Going On!

Not original with me but worth repeating and living! Author unknown to me.

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for ...hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from God.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simply Amazing!!!

Rhema Marvanne, 8 years old!

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/RhemaFan

Can't see video of Rhema, click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Self-Portrait Mania

Have you noticed the trend to take self portraits, no matter how unflattering they represent the shutterbug?  You see them posted everywhere! Well it is easy to do, it is so simple that even monkeys can do it!

To capture the perfect wildlife image, you usually have to be in exactly the right place at precisely the right time.

But in this instance, David Slater wasn’t there at all and he still got a result.

Visiting a national park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, award-winning photographer Mr Slater left his camera unattended for a while.

It soon attracted the attention of an inquisitive female from a local group of crested black macaque monkeys, known for their intelligence and dexterity.

Fascinated by her reflection in the lens, she then somehow managed to start the camera. The upshot: A splendid self-portrait.

Yes, that's how easy it is to be a photographer!!!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Planting Now to Reap Later!

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. "The young executives were Shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes.. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!

His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.

"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success

* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What language do you speak?

A Swiss man, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. “Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?” he asks. The two Americans just stare at him. “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Fracais?” he tries. The two continue to stare. “Parlare Italiano?” No response. “Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing. The Swiss guy drives off, extremely disgusted.

The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.” “Why?” says the other. “That guy knew four languages, and it didn’t do him any good.”

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Mentors in My Life

There has been a lot of discussion on mentoring, coaching, Fathers, Apostles, etc. I have thought about this subject for many years and watched the trend both in the Church and society at large. I have come to some conclusions for myself and this is not necessarily for others. Each person must decide.

I had one earthly father, James Donald Kerr. I thank the Lord for him. He helped bring me in to this world, provided for me, loved me, and was an encouragement to me. I learned much from him as I watched him be a faithful husband and father. I am proud to be my Father’s son!

I have one Heavenly Father as Jesus taught us. He is my ever present help, supplier, comforter, and lover of my soul. He does not disappoint nor is He disappointed in me. He delights in me and rejoices over me. His love is not based on my performance and is true regardless of the situation. About Him I could write volumes (oh wait, there already have been many!).

I have Liberty Fellowship that is a group of men and women whose lives are built on relationship with each other and a passion for Jesus, period. We do not ‘Lord it over’ each other or command loyalty to a natural person or organization! We are there to encourage and support one another in this life and are learning the value of ‘Better Together.’

I have had four mentors in my life. A mentor is a trusted counselor guide, tutor, or coach. Note the word trusted. A mentor is not a forced ecclesiastical hierarchal role but one that is built on a trusted relationship. It may be short lived and for a season or it may be long term.

The mentors in my life are Eddie Emmert, Don Hickman, Bob Bishop and Harry Huff.

Eddie Emmert was the man that was instrumental in my coming to the Lord and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He taught me the love of God and demonstrated it to me. He taught me to love the Lord Jesus passionately and walk in an intense personal daily relationship with Him. He taught me perseverance in difficult times and how to lean on the Lord in them.

Don Hickman taught me the importance of prayer and the power of God operating in one’s life. He taught me what it was to walk ‘in the Spirit’ and His power. He taught me that everyday was an adventure with Jesus. Through him I saw people healed, delivered, and walking in victory. Even though he was a retired Navy chief, He was bold like a lion and gentle like a lamb. Through him I learned what it meant, 'you shall have power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you!'

Bob Bishop taught me about character, a good name, and a love for the world. He was not just my boss but a trusted mentor. I watched and listened to him intently. He was a man of peace and sought peace in relationships. His name was an honored name and his character above reproach. He taught me about seeking wisdom in all situations through prayer. He tried to teach me patience (something I am still working on) as he was a patient man. And, he taught me to love God’s world and humanity. He taught me to love and care for missionaries. And last of all, he trusted me and had faith in me.

Harry Huff is my wife Debi’s father. He has taught me about character displaying the qualities of honesty, truthfulness, and steadfastness. He is an eternal optimist exhibiting much joy in all situations. He has also taught me it is more blessed to give than receive and has continued his commitment to missions giving to this day. He is a Father to me now that mine is gone. I love him as a son.

I also need to thank many friends over the years that have impacted my life. Some are still active and present in my life and others aren’t. But please be assured that your love, support and correction is still appreciated and remembered.

All these have shaped my life and are shaping my life! To all, I honor you and I am so very thankful you are (were) there for me. God bless you all!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why I Do Missions!

If you're interested, you will do what is convenient; if you're committed, you'll do whatever it takes. 
-J Assaraf

I attended Liberty Bible College for pastoral ministry. Little did I know how my world view would change at my first Missions conference. That is where I first met and heard Wayne Myers. My life's direction changed in that meeting! World Missions=The Father's Heart!

Upon graduation I journeyed with my wife Debi and two other great couples to Scotland. A thriving church was planted. I returned back to work as Assistant Director of Globe under the direction of Bob Bishop. I travelled extensively to churches promoting world missions. Many didn't have a missions vision or it was minimal at best. During these times I was making observations that guided me and the establishment of a 'Missions minded church' that I now pastor, The Vine Fellowship. Our vision statement...connecting to God, other Christians and the world defines who we are as a church and guides where we invest our time and finances.

Rescue the perishing, don't hesitate to step and help! Pro 24.11 TMB

Three things guided me these 20 years here: 1. An annual Missions Conference; 2. Involvement of the members in World Missions; 3. Care for the Missionaries during the conference.

1. Annual Missions Conference- This is what I consider the highlight of our year. We have a set date for it every year. We establish a theme, hang banners, invite missionaries, hold a 4 day conference, do Faith Promise giving, and enjoy the results. The Sundays before and after the conference are always given to Global Missions messages. I understand thoroughly that the Pastor is THE KEY to a successful Missions vision in his church. No vision + no program + no involvement=no heart of the Father demonstrated! I do not delegate missions to another!

2. If you relegate your Missions program to a budget item then your people will not have a heart for it nor be missions minded. We stress to our members that we focus on reaching the world through support of world missions. Through the missionaries we preach the love of Jesus, help feed hungry children, send students to school, teach people how to grow their own food, raise up and train indigenous pastors, plant churches, and train more missionaries to go out and do the same. We believe in and support world missions. Our people are directly involved by prayer, provision, and participation. We keep the missionaries and their respected needs before the people via Sunday, small groups, Bulletin boards, and prayer for them being incorporated on our published Church calendar. We give them the opportunity to be personally involved with a missionary through their giving. As Wayne Myers said, "Do your giving while your living that way you know where it is going!" Their participation is by attending the missions conference, meals and fellowship with missionaries, and short term trips to visit them.

3. Our care for the missionaries when they are at our Missions Conference can best be described as doting! We are compassionate, sensitive and caring to their needs. We make sure their time with us is a stress reliever not a means of added stress. We are light hearted, fun loving with them. We encourage their laughter and do fun things with them: we give them 'fun money' as they arrive to spend on what they want while with us, we take them shopping, do lunches and dinners with them and our staff, visit places around the area i.e. Dallas Cowboy Stadium, Dallas Aquarium, Ft. Worth Arboretum, Ft. Worth Cowtown, etc. We take them to game places i.e. Alley Cats, Dave and Busters, and give them game tokens and play Laser Tag, etc. When they leave we give them a generous honorarium!

But probably the biggest thing that our church does is consider the missionaries true heroes of the Faith! Standing ovations, cards of appreciation, hugs, and tears are demonstrated to them and for them! We love our missionaries!

The Vine Fellowship is committed and we do whatever it takes! Shouldn't we all???

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tennis Entertainer- Mansour Bahrami

Thank you Tim for this video- amazing!

Can't see video, click here

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Knowing To Do Good and Not Doing It = Sin!

I enjoyed watching Novak Djokovic's tap his racket in appreciation for a good shot that Rafael Nadal made during the finals of Wimbledon yesterday. That is what gentlemanly tennis players do to show they acknowledge what a good shot an opponent has made. Even when you are winning, you still take time to acknowledge the efforts of others! I play with a guy who hardly ever acknowledges any good shot or barely shakes your hand after winning or losing a set. His rudeness is his problem, but it did get me to thinking.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. 
James 4:17 (New King James Version)

If you look at the passage in the Bible, you see that this sentence comes at the end of the paragraph about planning what you will do tomorrow. As James highlights the need to turn every day over to God, he reminds us that God has a positive agenda for our lives. God has not simply told us what to avoid, He has told us and modeled for us what we should be doing.

The puritans classified all sin into 2 categories. There are the sins of commission. The things that we do that we aren’t supposed to do. When we commit a sin, when we do something that is wrong, it is a sin of commission. But from James 4:17 and others they recognized that there are also sins of omission. These are the good things that we know we should do but we don’t do them. When we don’t do something that is right, we commit the sin of omission.

So in any given day and any given opportunity, we must respond accordingly:
1. If we need to give someone a cup of cold water, we do it.
2. If we see someone worthy of praise, we do it.
3. If someone has done a great thing, we acknowledge it.
4. We congratulate others. To keep quiet is rude and sin!
5. We don't withhold encouragement for a job well done or shot well made! I think you get my drift!

(Here is a thought provoking question for all you Facebook peeps- Is failing to congratulate or acknowledge a birthday or make comments on Facebook sin?).

I tweeted this the other day, 'A wrongdoer is often one who has left something undone, not always one who has done something.'

Jesus told a story about a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was robbed and beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Before long a priest came along and saw him lying there. But there was temple worship to be done, and the priest had an appointment to meet. Besides, he could walk past and not break any of the 613 laws, but if he helped the injured traveler, he would become ritually unclean and not be able to participate in temple worship. Realizing it, he walked on by. A Levite was the next to pass. He was in a hurry to get to worship also, and if he helped, he might not make it in time, so he moved over to the other side of the road. The third to come by was a Samaritan. If Jesus were telling the story to us today, He might use a gang member or an illegal alien for the last one to walk past. To the Jews that Jesus was speaking to, a Samaritan was a nobody, somebody to be avoided. But to the injured man that Samaritan was a savior. He cleaned the crime victim up, took him to a holiday inn, paid for his room and came back to check on him. The point that Jesus was making when He told that story was that the person who was being obedient to God wasn’t those guys who were in such a hurry to get to a worship service. The one who was obedient to God was the one who understood the second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Who was right in this story, it was the one who knew to do right and did it. Those who knew to do right and didn't were wrong and guilty of sin!

So, this thought process has made me keenly aware that I need to practice blessing others with a 'Thank you,' 'Great job,' 'Congratulations,' etc. For me to withhold that, it is sin.

How about you? It is sin for you too!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Today is Our 40th Wedding Anniversary

Today is the day- 40 years ago I married my best friend, my last girlfriend. She agreed to be my princess, mine tomorrow and the day after that, forever! I find great delight in her and her only. Every day is a new discovery of how unique a creation God made her. She remains the best marriage manual a man could read; turning every page is full of exhilaration, excitement and passion. She lavishes me with her love.

Debi, thank you for these wonderful years, may God grant us many more! I love you!

David, your knight in shining armor.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Countdown to Our 40th Wedding Anniversary- July 3rd

Dedicated to the woman I love, Debi! I dellght in her!
'There's something in the way she moves,
or looks my way or calls my name,...'

view video here
James Taylor
There's something in the way she moves,
or looks my way or calls my name,
that seems to leave this troubled world behind.
And if I'm feelin down and blue,
or troubled by some foolish game,
she always seems to make me change my mind.
And I feel fine any time she's around me now, she's around me now
almost all the time.
And if I'm well you can tell she's been with me now,
she's been with me now,
for a long, long time,
and I feel fine.
Every now and then the things I lean on lose their meaning, and I find myself careening,
into places that I should not let me go.
She has the power to go where no one else can find me,
yes and to silently remind me,
of the happiness and good times that I know.
But I said I've just got to know that...
It isn't what she's got to say,
or how she thinks or where she's been.
To me the words are nice the way they sound.
I like to hear them best that way,
it doesn't much matter what they mean.
Well she says them mostly just to calm me down.
And I feel fine any time she's around me now,
she's around me now,
almost all the time.
And if I'm well you can tell that she's been with me now, she's been with me now, 
quite a long, long time.
Yes and I feel fine.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Joys of Growing Older

I have noticed a trend as one gets older. I don’t know if it will happen to you this way, but here is the progression of events:

1. You hear often about aches and pains that you have, ‘Well, at your age you can expect that!’

2. You start receiving multiple AARP letters and applications in the mail. (How did they know?)

3. Then you start receiving mail for retirement homes in your area. (How did they know?)

4. Then you receive mail for assisted living care. (How did they know?)

5. Then mail for nursing homes. (How did they know?)

6. But today was the clincher! I received a ‘free pre-paid Cremation offer!’

It looks like someone is tracking my life and already has me with one foot in the grave! Ouch!

Again, how do they know?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Honor of Wimbledon!

Great song about Isner and Mahut's Marathon tennis match last year at Wimbledon!

can't see video, click here

Friday, June 10, 2011

An Example to Follow!

We need this example in our everyday lives and our churches! Know anybody who needs your help?

Don't see video? click here

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sign of the Times!

Can you say 'snap!'

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thriving or Just Getting By?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

In Romania, after communism fell, we in the west became aware of the many orphans there who were basically warehoused in huge orphanages. They were vastly understaffed. So the babies, while they had most of their physical needs looked after – food, shelter and some hygiene, were very seldom picked up and snuggled or played with. Many of them had what doctors aptly call “failure to thrive syndrome.” They may have been many months or sometimes even years old, but they still looked and acted like newborns. What they did not have is family. Or even a sort of surrogate family who would encourage growth. Many people in North America saw these helpless children on the news and decided that they would adopt one.

Christians can be the same – we might be born into new life with Jesus, but if we are left on our own, we can have that same “failure to thrive syndrome” in our spiritual lives.

God's cure for "failure to thrive syndrome" is Christian fellowship!

The early Christians could not even conceive of a Christian outside of a Christian community. They knew the vast richness of joining with others!

Is the church necessary? You bet, that's where you will find the largest concentration of Christians to fellowship with. Not in Walmart, not on your boat, not on the deer stand, not in front of the TV or at the movies or parties, etc!

Too many Christians are satisfied with a mediocre Christain experience!

Your call: thrive or just get by!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


It's so dry in Texas that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling,

the Methodists are using wet-wipes,

the Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks,

and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water.

Now that's dry!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From Nan, with love!

While in Pensacola last week, I had the great opportunity to celebrate my birthday (May 10th) with a great friend, Nan Weaver. She wrote the following poem for me:

Today May 10th is my B-Day and David Kerr’s
He was born a he and not a her
I know that Debbie is glad of that
For he is her cool cat.

Today is young, but he is not
I used to be in the same spot
I’m not wearing depends
But it is right around the bend
So beware my friend.

As we celebrate this day together
I trust we will be friends forever
May your day be great
So continue to celebrate!

Thank you Nan, you are an amazing woman!

Nan's book, 'Little Arms, Big Heart,' is an amazing read of how she overcame life's setbacks!

"Little Arms, Big Heart" presents the amazing life story of Nan Weaver who overcame a disability from birth and lived life to its fullest. The book is packed with inspiring stories from her life, her husband's life, and the lives of her children and grandchildren. As a strong believer she offers words of encouragement and hope to those who face difficulties throughout their lives. She writes with emotion and passion to motivate others to reach beyond their limitations and be an overcomer."

Get it from her website: http://littlearmsbigheart.com/ Or click here to get it from Amazon. I have it on my iPad2 (Kindle app)!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Destiny Rambo McGuire: Old Lady Grace

Destiny sang this a couple of times last week at Jeff Ferguson's WOW Conference hosted by the Vine Fellowship.

This is an awesome song on God's Wonderful and Amazing Grace!

Showcased at the Nashville Dinner Theater April 11, 2011

Can't see video, click here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Hail or Hell ???

Living in Texas I believe in Hail? Why? I have experienced it firsthand! I have held softball size hail in my hand (yes, I was foolish and ran outside to pick one up as others fell around me leaving divots in the ground!). I have had to replace my roof twice as well as our church's roof. I am a believer!

I am also a believer in another kind of hell! I have not experienced it and really don't plan to! I do believe those who have described it, personal accounts from the Bible of those there and what they are experiencing, and how those there don't want any of their loved ones to follow them there. (Lk 16:19-31, notice red letter words!) Hell was designed for the Satan and those that want to follow him there! Their choice!

Much has been discussed recently about Hell with the publishing of Rob Bell's bold book 'Love Wins.' The discussion has been on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, videos, Fox News, Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and now the cover of Time Magazine. I could add my 2 cents worth, but choose not to as there are those that have done a most adequate job. Check this link for a good overview and thoughts,....

I do believe the Bible, Jesus' frequent discussion of hell, the Revelation account of the end of all things, so just so you know, I believe in a literal Hell! I believe in personal salvation through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. To accept His atoning sacrifice gives one heaven and to refuse it gives one hell! That is the impetus for my preaching and going into all the world to share this glorious gospel!

I am not moved by other's arguments or opinions! We as Pastors are to be good communicators and what we say people should be able to understand it, not cause confusion by it. Maybe sometimes our sound speech is not clear! Titus 2:1, 7-8.

Here is a cute story that my friend Carrie Sims Burnett recounts regarding her son Cade:

When the Arlington sirens went off yesterday we drove to an undercover place for car shelter and Cade was terrified! Later to find out this morning as to why he kept saying he hated "the devil." He thought Hell was coming instead of Hail!! He thought the devil was coming! poor baby! LOL..

Don't be caught misunderstanding the difference between Hail and Hell!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Body as a Temple!

Frank & Ernest

Can you relate?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jeremy’s Empty Easter Egg

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's elementary school. At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn.
His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.

One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation. As the Foresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!" Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here."

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Foresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why spend any more time trying? As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy." From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy 's noises and his blank stares.

Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris's face turned red. She stammered, "wh-why, that's very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Miss Miller!" The children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy 's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here. "A small girl in the first row waved her arms. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and turns into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too" little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine."

Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. "My daddy helped me!" He beamed. Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy 's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy - your egg is empty!" He looked into her eyes and said softly, "yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!" Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed. "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!" The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, ...................all of them empty.

Jesus is alive for evermore! Happy Resurrection Sunday to all my friends!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Really Love MY Job!

I will never complain about my job again even though I can't wear flip-flops to work! How about you?

Can't see video? click here!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Age Speak!

Old age has it's own language I am finding out! Consider the following:

ATD -at the doctors.

BFF -best friend fell.

BTW -bring the wheelchair.

BYOT -bring your own teeth.

FWIW -forgot where I was.

GHA -got heartburn again.

IMHO -is my hearing aid on.

LMDO -laughing my dentures out.

OMMR -on my massage recliner.

OMSG -oh my! sorry, gas.

ROFLACGU -rolling on floor laughing and can't get up.

TTYL -talk to you louder.

Can you add any? Please do....

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Bible is Our Headlights

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Ps 119:105 NIV

The word of God is very important in the life of a Christian. The verse above speaks volumes as to the purposes of the Bible for our daily lives. I like the Message Bible’s rendering of this verse:

By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. Ps 119:105

​Several years ago, I was travelling home at night along Kelly Elliott. I began to notice that the headlights of my car seemed to be growing dim. I went a little further, and they went out all together and my car came to a stop. There I was on Kelly Elliott without power sitting in the dark without my car headlights. It was at that point that I realized how very important headlights are on a car. I could not see the road ahead of me. The road had become completely dark. Fortunately I could not move forward because to do so would have imperiled Debi and me and the couple riding with us.

​That is what this scripture is all about. If we are to navigate the paths and roadways of life we need the word of God to illumine the way. If not, we imperil ourselves and those following us.

​The Bible helps us navigate the challenges of life and assures us we will survive!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Step In and Help!

Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help. Prov 24:11 TMB

What a great and dynamic Missions Conference we had last week! We do this on an annual basis. It is a highlight of our year. I don’t have these conferences for myself nor for the church's benefit; it is for our missionaries and those that are without Jesus! We are doing what we can to step in and help! A church having a mission’s conference shows missionaries that someone is behind them. It is a time to ‘renew our concern’ for them for yet another year. (Phil 4:10). It also shows our consistent effort to make this gospel of Jesus known in the entire world.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? Rom 10:14-15 NIV

That is why we do outreach globally as well as locally. We doing an Adopt-A-Block outreach for the month of April. Why? To show forth the love of Christ in a practical and tangible way that will affect lives.

Is it working?

Just this week we had a man and his son stop by the church. He had a box full of groceries that he wanted to donate to our food pantry. He said that he and his family had gone through a rough time last year and needed to rely upon the kindness of our church in our outreaches and food pantry.  They wouldn’t have had food without us! He now is on food stamps as he is looking for a job and they had more groceries than they needed. So, he brought them here to help us and others!

Man, that ought to make your heart rejoice and your mouth shout ‘Praise God!’

Pastor, make sure you keep your church Missions and outreach minded! That is our Great Co-mission!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rescue The Perishing!

Today begins our World Missions Conference. It is an exciting time and in keeping with why we are here as a church and fulfills our vision as I mentioned last week (listen to sermon 'Why We Do Missions' here). Some weeks ago Pastor Rob shared his take on world missions here at the Vine:

The question has been asked, "If your church closed its doors and disappeared today, who would notice?" I believe the 14 missionaries along the back wall of our church represent hundreds of people who would notice if Vine Fellowship closed its doors today. The vision of Vine Fellowship is to connect people to God, other Christians and the world. Through these missionaries we preach the love of Jesus, help feed hungry children, send students to school, teach people how to grow their own food, raise up and train indigenous pastors, plant churches, and train more missionaries to go out and do the same.

I hope that world missions is a part of who are as a member of The Vine Fellowship. You play a vital role.  Not only do we Faith Promise financial support for our missionaries during our conference, but we also hear from our missionaries and allow God to speak to us about the role he wants us to play in these ministries. Another big role we fill is loving and supporting our missionaries. Your attendance at our gatherings shows our missionaries the heart of Vine Fellowship says to them, "Keep doing what you are doing. You are important to us and we will partner with you in this work." That is a great word from Pastor Rob!

Today, join with me in welcoming our missionaries. We say to them all this morning, 'We love you and we are very proud of you!’

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Favorite Animal...

My Favorite  Animal
Our teacher asked us what our favorite animal  was, and I said, "Fried chicken."  She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else in the class laughed.
My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am.  Fried chicken is my favorite animal.  I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of  PETA.  He said they love animals very much.  I do, too.  Especially chicken, pork and beef.
Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office.  I told him what happened, and he laughed, too.  Then he told me not to do it  again.
The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.  I told her it was chicken.  She asked me why, just like she'd asked the other children.  So I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.  She sent me back to the principal's office again.  He laughed, and told me not to do it again.  I don't  understand.  My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.
Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most.  I told her, "Colonel Sanders."  Guess where I am now . . . .

Monday, March 21, 2011

Neither Do I Condemn You...

Jesus said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you. Go. From now on sin no more'" (Jn 8:3-11)

Over the years as a Pastor I have experienced verbal condemnatory attacks by God’s ‘policemen.’ The attacks have come in many forms. They have been for the most part untrue, except where I have done big pieces of stupid which I had to humbly admit!

However, I have been where this woman was with my accusers ready to stone me. Good news, my character and integrity (and life) have withstood these attacks.

I have found that there are two kinds of people in the world:
1. Those who condemn you.
2. Those who don’t.

Those who do are the most unqualified to condemn you! I prefer to stay away from modern day Pharisees who love few things more than exposing your sin and lifting themselves up by putting you down, and I suggest that you do too!

Instead, look for friends who, too, have been lifted by God's grace and know how to extend it to others.

There is one that is better able to help in times of guilt, disappointment and condemnation! That is Jesus! He is the One most qualified to condemn you, and yet He won't! So it is imperative that we stay close to Him. By doing that you'll discover that you can recover more quickly. Your scars are not permanent. Jesus will meet you in your dark places and heal the wounds of your past because His grace is greater than your shame. There's no limit to the depth of shame He can see us through because there's no limit to the grace He can supply.

His grace super-abounds!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Value of Bran Muffins????

The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies.

Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, "Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now."

The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. "Why, nothing," Peter replied, "remember, this is your reward in Heaven."

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth.

"What are the greens fees?", grumbled the old man. "This is heaven," St. Peter replied. "You can play for free, every day."

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages. "Don't even ask," said St. Peter to the man. "This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy."

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife. "Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?" he asked.

"That's the best part," St. Peter replied. "You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!"

The old man pushed, "No gym to work out at?" "Not unless you want to," was the answer.

"No testing my sugar or blood pressure or..." "Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself."

The old man glared at his wife and said, "You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Laugh and Dance!

Keep on laughing and dancing!

Can't see image, go here. Look for March 17, 2011 post.

Monday, March 14, 2011

You Shall Not Want

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

To the lost sheep, He is the seeking Shepherd;
To the needy sheep, He is the providing Shepherd;
To the hurting sheep, He is the comforting Shepherd;
To the bruised sheep, He is the healing Shepherd;
To the anxious sheep, He is the peaceful Shepherd;
To the wandering sheep, He is the guiding Shepherd;
To the fearful sheep, He is the protecting Shepherd;
To the lame sheep, He is the carrying Shepherd;
To the discontented sheep, He is the fulfilling Shepherd;
To the parched sheep, He is the anointing Shepherd;
To the timid sheep, He is the reassuring Shepherd;
To the fallen sheep, He is the merciful Shepherd;
To the nervous sheep, He is the quieting Shepherd;
To the heavy laden sheep, He is the restful Shepherd;
To the lonely sheep, He is the ever-present Shepherd;
To the weary sheep, He is the restoring Shepherd;
To all His sheep, He is the Good Shepherd.

by Roy Lessin, his blog is here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Communicating Vision to Your Church

Last week I took the entire service to share on vision for The Vine Fellowship and our finances from 2010. I did it with guests in the house! I have to admit it is a struggle for me not to 'preach the gospel' but I feel this is an equally important task in the life of our church. For 20 years I have done a 'State of the Church Address' that incorporates vision and finances. We are a church that is open about our finances, how we use the people's (God's) money, and give a public accounting of it. We have nothing to hide. We belong to the Kingdom of Light not darkness! We are open and honest about finances. In fact, we are open about any communication here at The Vine given by email or verbally; you say it you own up to it!

Here is what I recently wrote for our Sunday bulletin:

Dear Saints,
Thank you for your support and encouragement with last week’s service on The Vine Fellowship vision and finances. I know some of you may have had guests here and it may not been what you wanted them to experience and I fully understand. It is equally rough for me to take a full Sunday morning service to do it. But it does serve important purposes:

1. It helps everyone to know that we are open and transparent about our finances in this church. I am accountable for how I lead this great church and maintaining my character as you are for your life and character.

2. It helps to keep reminding ourselves of our vision. We need to know why we are here and do what we do so that we all know where we are headed. A vision communicated to people is a refreshing and invigorating experience.

3. A personal best friend of mine, Danny Tice, ministered at the LF NE conference on vision. He said the following: “When we get to a place where we have no vision our term of leadership has expired.” “What does this statement really mean? It means that the primary qualification for a leader of a church is that they have vision for the church they lead. If they don’t, they should either get a vision or they should resign. The vision issue settles the question when a leader should retire? The older leader can still lead if his eyes are not dim and he has vision. Better an old guy with vision than a young guy with no vision.”

Saints, I may be “the old guy” but I still have vision for this church!
I love you,

It amazes me that without exception, I generally hear from a guest or two about how they enjoyed the service. They especially like the fact that we discuss openly finances and such. Many say that their church would never do that and that if you asked about finances you are excoriated! Let me just say, that is wrong!

BTW, you can view Danny Tice's excellent article here.