Friday, April 18, 2008

Not much time to write. The deacons pray at 6:30 (Newcastle Exit - I-80) on Fridays.

New York Times Bestseller:

Irene Spencer will be at our church tonight at 6:00pm. Here is her video testimony from the 700 CLUB

Irene Spencer: Click Here

If you would like to share this story with anyone, check out the new posting at the Auburn Journal: click here

I received a long-awaited call yesterday. Evangelist Rick Stanley (Elvis Presley's brother) has agreed to come to Bell Road on May 18-21st.

I was on his website and saw that the schedule said he would be in Kentucky on the 21st so we may have to adjust the dates a bit. More on that later.

We hosted Rick in Galt several years back. He is a godly man with a unique life story that God has used.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Here is a 3:09 audio-slice of thoughts that were spurred on by yesterday's meetings with Jimmie, Curt, and Jean:

   A Slice of Life: CLICK HERE

I had two primary Office Visitsyesterday. As with all of them, both of these were very valuable to me--especially as I am currently reading the revised, updated edition of Blackaby's 'Experiencing God'. Our group is currently in Week Eleven (of 12).

At 4:30, Doc Harris and I went out to the Placer site of the California Conservation Corp yesterday. As we were driving up the entrance we prayed for the Lord to direct our steps and to open doors for us. After a walk past the theatre, the library, and the dorms, we went to the Administration Bldg. to see about making a formal contact.

allowed me to leave a note for the Director, a brochure, and a copy of the article I wrote for last Friday's Auburn Journal (Yo' Faith). Later, we saw four counselors sitting at a picnic table. One waved and greeted us so we felt prompted to walk up to them. After a brief time of introduction, they took us inside the cafeteria and we had the opportunity to meet the Driver and the Director.

Our evening hymn-sing and prayer meeting was practical and visionary toward new-year goal of developing an intentional, evangelistic action plan for our entire church. Further meditation as I live through this day's circumstances, I will meditate upon this coming Sunday Message:

I will SERVE the Ministry of my church discovering my gifts and talents being equipped to serve by my pastors developing a servant's heart

I will SUPPORT the Testimony of my church attending faithfully living a godly life giving regularly

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We have been enjoying listening to Duncan Holmes's prelude from the direct microphone (the video has crowd noises).

Feel free to burn it to a CD and listen for yourself:

Duncan's Prelude Music

Duncan wrote about his visit to Auburn in his journal here is an excerpt from his email newsletter:

I shared at the morning service of Bell Road Baptist Church. As for the service itself, we had a baptism of a young mother and her nine-year-old child, new believers in Christ. And we had the Lord's Supper. Weak moment: I did terribly on the song "I Am the Bread of Life." My voice was still on Central Time, I think. But one great moment: one young child gave her heart to Christ that morning, and that in itself was worth the trip!

You can view video clips and hear audio portions of that service on the church's website. Rob and his staff there are very high-tech, and they have many of their sermons on mp3 and other things on video.

Duncan's Testimony and The Lord's Supper

1 Chronicles 16:1-12  Duncan and Rob

On the way to Modesto, we stopped for lunch at a small cafe in the little burg of Galt, where I treated Rob and Cathy to lunch. Touchy moment: one ill-informed kitchen staffer told us (while we were in the middle of our meals) that the dog would have to go outside, but Rob gently pointed out to him that by law and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we had every right to have the dog with us. A nearby patron, probably a civic leader in Galt, pointed out to that man that he knew the restaurant manager and that we were right and that this civic leader would himself contact said manager. End of discussion!

BTW, Rob and my blind friend Greg Brayton grew up together in Coldwater, Michigan. They've worked together on many of Rob's cd and other audio projects. (We talked with Greg via phone that Saturday evening while on our way to Auburn from the airport.)

Much to say too little time to write. Maybe in tomorrow's entry, I'll tell you about tax day with the Pattersons.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

By the grace of God, my eyes opened around 5:00 a.m. There is some 'Uncle Sam' stuff that I must postmark by today and a signed wedding license that needs to be sent off as well. So, I'll leave to get BSF set up sometime soon and get a proactive start on my duties and obligations.

I did some work on preparing audio sources for the public record. It is sometimes hard to hear myself preach. I surely want to be faithful as one of the preachers that has been chosen by God to speak during this generation.

Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, then of course, I should be concerned with the potential for mixed motives. We never want to ignore real, Spirit-given 'conviction' however. It is important to examine ourselves each day so that our walk will be faithful.

Yesterday, a feeling of condemnation came over me while I was sitting next to Cathy at a movie (Nim's Island). Since I had invested much of the day in a technical mindset--handling raw audio--the Shield of Faith set down in the midst of the busyness. I became susceptible to fiery darts aimed at my heart and soul. Cathy told me to "shake it off..." (my primary pastoral message at Special Ministries Camp last year). Gracious Lord, help me to take in this new day slowly and proceed with careful, prayerful deliberation and consideration of others.

By the grace of God...

I'm reminded of this song that Jebby wrote. Cathy, Jerry, and I went into Greg's Studio back in 2006 and carried with us an mp3 draft of Jebby's song by that same title. We experienced the joy of doing four songs during two days in the studio. I had to hunt a bit but I located the myspace entry I had journaled with all four songs: click here for Studio Summer 2006

Our newly-formed Tuesday afternoon Visitation Teams are heading out at 4:00 p.m. today. At Sunday's Iglesia Bautista, I committed some organizational time to map and record our involvement at two housing complexes toward our goal of intentional, evangelistic visitation.

Here is Duncan's Prelude Music:

Duncan said that his voice wasn't he had wanted it to be on the song "I am the Bread of Life" but...I had faded it out anyway. I was mostly concerned with the spoken messages and prayers for our church. There are only wanted musical excerpts during the actual time the bread and cup was passed out.

Duncan's Testimony and The Lord's Supper

Tuesday, April 14, 2008

Busy, busy. Non-stop. Refreshing.

I woke up this morning before 4:00. Ready to run the race marked out for me. The Courthouse Athletic Club opens at 4:30 so I'm gonna wake Cathy up soon and see if she wants to get 'her day' started as well.

Check back to hear the Message later this morning.

Here's this week's 'Expert Advice' as it appears in today's Auburn Journal.

Click on this box to see the Sunday with Duncan Holmes. Once you get to that page, you can click on 'Details' and there will be separate frames which allow you to get to different points in the video).

April 6th is the Sunday that we brought the Children's Church up into the Choir Loft.


This morning I hope to upload an audio track of last Sunday's complete service with our guest minister, Duncan Holmes.

I also will try to upload Message No. 44 (from our Acts-Luke-Romans series). I may also upload Pastors' Reports (and other communicable Vision) from yesterday's business meeting. Yeah, just thinking...the phone call from Bob Knapp is 'on record'.

Congratulations, Bob and Diana Knapp. Yesterday, Dunsmuir Baptist Church formerly 'called' Bob to become their pastor with a 90% vote of affirmation. Subsequently, they formerly asked Bell Road Baptist Church to ordain Bob to the Gospel Ministry. That joyous 'new business' was passed unanimously so today we will set a date for an ordination council of pastors and deacons in the Foothills Association to examine Bob.

Tom, Christene, Katey, and Daniel Santillan surprised us by driving Galt to Auburn yesterday in time for Sunday School. We had our Quarterly Business Meeting after church, so I suggested that Daniel, Mary, Joe, and Cerissa go out to eat with them during our meeting. Kyla Ruth went with them to eat as well. Then, most of them took the Santillans to visit 'the Biblical Gardens'. By the way, we're gonna baptize Polly Jones at the Biblical Gardens one of these days when the timing is 'just right'.

Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road (2:00) was a joy for the five of us who were there to worship and pray toward the future.

On Mondays I like to do what it takes to keep momentum rolling from Sunday's gathering. Checking my notes from the day before and responding to inquiries and visitor records helps me to keep positively engaged in the overall mission of our local church.

My primary goal on Mondays is to upload Sunday's Message online and distribute CDs to our hard-working volunteers who missed out in order to allow others to have childcare. Cathy, Mary, Karla, and Cerissa worked in the nursery yesterday morning. Heidi and Robin were in the BellRoad Express with the older kids. At this point Cerissa are the only ones who haven't received a CD of the SundayMessage. I've already listened to it during drive-time to-and-from 'Experiencing God' last night.

Saturday, April 13, 2008

Today, Duncan Holmes will fly back to his home in Texas. He has had four performances since his time with us last Sunday. Grace Earl shot video footage of last Sunday's entire morning service. I have enjoyed watching it and have made copies for those who worked in the Nursery. As possible I will upload the Duncan Holmes Sunday to the Internet.

Our second son, Jeremiah, came up to Auburn for a couple hours. I asked my boy to help me move things around at the church. Then, the two of us went out to the California Conservation Corp to gather more information. In the administration office, we spoke at length with Debbie and Deborah about the program. They located some of their brochures for me (I'll promote the program to young adults I know). I left a church brochure with them to see if it can go up near the mailboxes.

Last night was the first of our Friday Night Concert series featuring the Johnson Family Singers. Tom, Francie, Bob, Ann, Rachelle, Clyde, Faye, Cathy, Matt, Larry, Wanda, Christy, Mike, Nancy and others were there early to help. Unforeseen circumstances kept Les & Bobbie and John & Patty away. So, our key leaders took on extra jobs. I thoroughly enjoyed praying with our local workers earlier in the evening. Grace came to videotape the event.

Just prior to their performance we also gathered with the family singers. I was asked to speak toward the Offering for the Singers during a break in the concert. Then, I showed the audience a hardcopy of Friday's article in the Auburn Journal and read a portion as part of my brief testimony. Here is an online version of the article. I think the hardcopy may be useful as we continue to go out door-to-door.

Yesterday, (with Cathy's help) I tracked the calories of food I had eaten. She prepared tasty, real food to chew on and my caloric intake was about 1200. I also drank 90 oz. of water throughout the 24 hours of Day One. I won't write about this adventure much but it does feel somewhat like fasting so I'm enjoying the fruit of self-control (and self-examination).

My sermon outline is finished, printed and in the bulletin. Sunday's Sermon will be the 44th Message in the Acts-Luke-Romans series (even though it is a fast-forward to the 14th chapters of Luke and Romans). Tomorrow's is a topical message built upon the four points of BellRoad's Membership Covenant which was established in January, 2006.

While looking over archived sermons of preachers-past, I located rare footage of Billy Sunday speaking in the open-air on the subject of Prohibition. The 6-minute film clip shows Homer Rodeheaver with his trombone introducing the aging preacher: click here

Friday, April 11, 2008

I awoke at 3:30 this morning. Figured since I was up I'd check the online version of the Auburn Journal to see if my article had yet been posted. Noticing that the link to this website was incorrectly spelled, I left a comment to that effect. I had to register to leave a comment but that led to seeing how I could now post upcoming events, stories, and even videos.
So, from my bedside laptop I found a jpeg to post, copied the story but was able to add a photo (cool), and listed that the Johnsons will be in concert at Bell Road tonight.

Check out the Journal Story: click here

Now compare my own version of the article with the original title:  click here

After just an hour it has significantly more page views--probably because who reads the Religion section? The 2nd version of the story is accessed through links for those who are registered to comment. Hmm..

See my spot as pastorob on their website: click here

Did you know that Pastor Matt now has an online journal?

Matt: you'll be happy to know that I purchased
   this morning

Oh, I'm starting PRISM today. More on that tomorrow maybe. Gotta run to Deacons' Prayer meeting at 6:30am.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yesterday, Doc Harris came in to visit with me. He had some great suggestions to grow our local church. As we closed I felt prompted to invite Doc to go out with me for door-to-door visitation. We went out into the community for 2 hours. Our final visit was with a woman who follows the Brahmin belief system. She shared that she had received a 'notice' at her shrine that very morning. The notice was that she should expect visitors at her door.

Her hospitality toward us included a great cup of Chai. I gave her a copy of the Matt-Rob CD and told her that I'd be back with my wife, Cathy, someday soon.

This morning I wrote the following 500-word essay for the Religion page in this Friday's Auburn Journal.

Yo' Faith
by Pastor Rob Patterson

"Don't put yo' faith in yo' good looks;
     you can lose yo' good looks!"

Years ago, a 'street preacher' had grabbed my attention with those words. Not that I had been particularly faithful toward my good looks but the old man had just made a good point. I had heard preachers on the street in years past but they had seemed sleep-deprived and manic. This old man's rhythm was engaging so I stopped to listen:
"Don't put yo' faith in yo' car; you can lose yo' car!"

I noticed that he was connecting with other passersby--even if just for a moment:

"Don't put yo' faith in yo' job;
    you can lose your job!
"Don't put yo' faith in yo' relationships;
    you can lose yo' relationships!"

Put yo' faith in Jesus!"

That old preacher's memorable message spurs me on to ask you today, dear reader, "Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord?"

Sometimes circumstances allow me the opportunity to present a balanced presentation of the scriptures to an individual who is already seeking to know Truth or to experience Peace. In friendly settings, it is a privilege to freely open the Bible and share passages which point out that 1) all people have sinned, 2) the wages of sin is death, and 3) the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

I have come to believe that certain encounters with individuals are sometimes 'divine appointments'. Whenever I am aware of such opportunity, I am compelled to share this fact from the Bible:

"Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved."

Right then and there, I like to ask people if they want to be saved from death and eternal separation from God. For those who do, I try to steer them straight to Jesus for the rest of their lives. Some people only get enough 'religion' to make their lives miserable. Accept no substitutes! Don't allow anything to keep you from the joy of a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Being saved goes beyond the hope of heaven after this life. Eternal Life is also for here-and-now. Just as the divine appointment may lead to a sinsick soul getting saved, there will surely be hindrances to that soul's spiritual growth.

The gentle shepherd tends His flock with these words:

 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Maybe it won't be the devil himself, but one of his small-time minions may attempt to steal, kill, or destroy your ability to enjoy God's blessings. The Thief may need no outside help to work his agenda. An unconfessed sin simmering on the back burner of your mind will slowly and insidiously steal your joy.

Here's the key: Love God. A loving relationship with the Lord Jesus will lead to fullness of joy. Love God and share His love with your neighbor. Love Him with all your heart, soul, and strength.

Don't put yo' faith in anything or anyone else!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The workday ended at 'yesterday'  at 12:45am. and started again at 6:30am. These are busy days of real ministry. 9 year old Abigail was saved on the first day of the week. There is much to do to assure the best environment for Abigail to grow at First Base and to begin running the bases in her faith development. I really don't mind working really, really hard when I see that people are being saved, baptized, and becoming known by name.

During a break last night, I looked up the story of the YouTube beating of the Lindsay girl by her fellow cheerleaders. I had seen it while running the treadmill at the Gym yesterday morning.

The abundant life of Jesus is just the opposite of Ms. Lindsay's persecution. My choice today is to be part of the solution instead of one wringing my hands wondering aloud how all of this trouble is ever gonna cease.

Yesterday morning, BSF was interrupted by Thursday night's bat flying around the foyer and even into the sanctuary. Apparently I was the only experienced batman so I decided I'd better do what I could to save the day.

At my childhood home in Michigan the bats had access to the Victorian attic and would periodically find their way into the human living space. We were trained by my Dad with a broom and we usually killed the little mammals until my great Uncle interceded on the behalf of one. "Bats eat mosquitoes!"
From thereon, I always spared my captive's life--until yesterday.

After batting it down with my "Experiencing God" text, the little thing appeared to be dead. I took it outside and set its body by a tree then went back in to get a ladder. The BSF ladies had told me that they were squeaking of baby bats in a corner of the high foyer window. So, I returned with our longest ladder, climbed up to the alleged nesting spot to find no babies and no squeaking.

That was the beginning of my workday. Much more happened with door-to-door visitation, a seniors' ministry visit at Fair Oaks Presbyterian, a quick hospital visit, emails, and a late night staff meeting. Again, no time to write more.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

This morning at the Gym I met a grown pk named Bill. He wanted to share with me his different interpretation of the Bible. Overhearing Bill's views, another guy, Ken, announced that he is a faith-based democrat.

Although I did much writing last night I have no time to publish at the moment, so I may have a lengthy entry tomorrow.

Yesterday, on the way to Modesto, Cathy and I dropped by Jebby's house and introduced him to Duncan Holmes. Duncan played to songs for us.

On the way home, we stopped to get coffee and Ted recognized us. We gave him a copy of the Matt-Rob CD.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I hurt my lower back yesterday morning when I moved the Grand Piano. I didn't stop to think about asking anyone. Bob was there but his back's been hurting so ....
oops--that should have tipped me off that these guys with hurting backs did something to cause it.

I didn't even notice it until after church. It still aches this morning--just a dull pain.

I went to the Gym and did some running then rested in the spa but it still hurts. I am a 'whiner' when I'm sick or in any type of physical pain. Maybe this published report will suffice to satisfy my need to let the world know that I am in need of Jehovah-Raphe today!

We have started Week 10 of 'Experiencing God' today. Last night's weekly small group was full of wonder (as usual). Bob, Ann, Tom, Francie, Patrice, Ben, Caitlyn, Danielle, Rachelle, David, Mary, KC, Polly, Paulie, and yours truly. God continues to bless my heart and soul through Blackaby's legacy.

Even at the Gym today I met a guy named Mike while I was reading my lesson (its called multi-tasking). Mike asked me to clarify the name of the Study and the author's name.

We experienced another multi-media firstfruits yesterday. A close-up video of Duncan Holmes was on  BigScreenLeft and a close up of the piano keyboard was on BigScreenRight.

I lost count of how many children came up to sit in the Choir loft but it was a healthy number. The seats on the BellRoad Express were fulI as we were also joined by the childreni n the 2s and 3s class. I hope that Grace Earl's video of the entire morning service turns out well. If so, we will post it online (if permission is granted by the parents).

Michael and Andy attended the Worship Service to support family members by watching the public baptism of Beverly and Lacey. They wanted me to get on their church website and write a note to Pastor Tim Blackmon to testify that they had been among us.

So, I did as requested. I learned that our visitors' church is in Folsom, has a Christian Reformed background, and they maintain a well-organized website: click here

We combined a membership class with lunch after our morning service. Mary, David, KC, Polly, Brenda, Keith, Melody, and Daniel received the tri-fold membership vision (doctrinal-methodological-attitudinal distinctive) as discovered upon a close examination of our By-laws.

After the Membership Class, Karla, Melody, Cathy, and I met for Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road. Elba and Jesse are on another vacation. We reviewed the door-to-door visitation results of the prior week and made plans for this coming Tuesday. We also worshiped together in Spanish and prayed bilingual prayer.

We will take Duncan Holmes down to Modesto this morning. He has gigs at schools both in Modesto and in Merced. It has been great getting to know Duncan personally. Thanks to Les and Maria Scoggins for hosting Duncan and Lucky in your home.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Rev. Aaron Cool (from 1856) came to speak at the Men's Breakfast this morning. I uploaded his sermon to the web last night, but it is 'unpublished', so if you would like to see it, please write me at
and I'll send you a link.

Jeremy and his baby son, Hunter, were guests of Matt Woodin. I invited Jeremy to come hear Duncan Holmes. I hope he will come. There has been a fair amount of door-to-door visitation this week. I hope we will see some fruit from that loabor of love.

Last night at Applebee's a guy named Kutter came up to pet Duncan's seeing-eye dog, Lucky.  Kutter and his girlfriend Brandy are from Roseville; he is working in Fairfield; but his sister lives in Auburn. I gave them a CD and a brochure.

Natalie was our waitress. We gave her a brochure and a CD.

In the afternoon, Cathy and met with Omar and about four other guys at CCC this afternoon. Omar said that they were coming back.

I also met with Nick (9) about his conversion, baptism, the growth plan (bases loaded), and the Lord's Supper.

Ann Arthur asked me if I had a copy of the 'testimony' for our upcoming speaker, Irene Spencer. From our church website, I got on Irene's website and found her testimony from the 700 CLUB

Irene Spencer: Click Here

Duncan Holmes is here today. Please come to the church by 10:00 because he is playing the prelude as well.

Our church website now has links to all upcoming guests, please find them on the home page:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bob and Diana Knapp have headed up to Dunsmuir where he will preach tomorrow. He is quite excited about a message he has planned. We both got online and briefly discussed the Greek words in Matt. 24:14

I'm at the church for Men's Breakfast. Don't forget that blind pianist, Duncan Holmes, will be with us tomorrow at 10:00am. I'm picking him up from the Sacramento airport late this afternoon.

Pastor Matt and I have set up large screen projection of his face and the keyboard to assist those who are hard-of-hearing. Click here for a copy of the Bulletin. We are preaching through the drama of both Baptism and Communion during the service. I'm especially excited about Duncan's Children's Message.

Here's an excerpt from a morning chat with Eva Moore in Michigan. She used to be a member of our church in Galt.

5:56 AM

me: Hi Eva

eva: good morning Rob.

me: your mom and dad sent an offering to our church

ya I know. They didn't really feel a connection with any churces here, and wanted to still give to whereever you were.

me: but it seems like it was sent before you and I had chatted about them. Is that accurate?

eva: yep.

me: WOW

eva: they had planned that for a while. I am glad that it helped lift your spirits then. They have always loved you.

me: it realy blessed me as if to hear God still saying, "You're doing OK, Rob."

ah. I am so glad. That is awesome.

me: Yes, I love them too. I still remember meeting your mama and you back as a teenager
...but when I first met your Dad, I felt right at home with him

eva: oh yes...back when I was a wonderful well mannered young woman. lol

me: haah. You were quiet and well-mannered upon that first introduction, yes. in the pews

eva:Yah I was pretty good--compared to most teens. My grandparents were pretty good about makings ure I knew how to act in church.

me: That's interesting. Yeah, I remember going out to meet your great-grandma, Mrs Wright, right? She was working really hard!

eva: thats right. lol

me: had the lawnmower turned over
fixing something on it
I met your great-grandfather too

eva: she is a hard working lady. Just turned 90 too.

me: both were very nice to me. was that Scofield bible you carried his?

My great grandfather was amazing....I still miss him. But i have his Bible...which keeps me close to him.
yep! lol

me: I've never read the Scofield bible notes

I still use it and I love how whenever I am at church ad they want us to go to a certain verse my grandpa already has it underlined.

me: but apparently they have influenced the people who have that Bible
yeah, that underlining is wonderful]
it shows a time in a person's life
when they were really learning God's Word
and excited about it

the Scofield notes are good, they don't have everything, but they have lot. I have learned though not to just take all the notes as truth tough, my bible study classes have been teaching me to research the bible by using the bible.

me: that's what I wanna hear!!!

eva: oh yah. My grandpa read the bible everyday and read it through over 10 times I think.
Well, you would be proud of me...I have really been growing with God and learning a lot....changing a lot. Although I am still a smart a--.

me: Does your g-grandma still live in the same house?

eva: lol yep she does. We will be back in California in maybe as we are driving in we can stop by your church or something.

me: Pastor Wesley is coming to America
    sometime late April

that will be awesome.
how long is he staying?

me: Probably a few weeks.
I am gonna try to help him raise 7500 dollars for the Transmitter, Tower, and Studio equipment
He was granted a license from the government

eva: wow that will be a big project. I hope he gets it.

me: and has already built the little building for the studio
if you look on my journal page at the RockYou slide show...
you'll see a small, 2 story square bldg. between the sanctuary and the medical clinic
---that will be home to the radio station

eva:  Whatever happened to ...oh whats his name......the guy who came to live here from Liberia....

me: Macdonald is in sacramento

eva:  macdonald!!!   yes.

me: he works as an LPN
at a nursing home Yah, it's kinda hard to get ahead anywhere right now.

eva:  the economy is dragging everyone down I think.
but that is whole different topic. lol

me: not really
I was just thinking about asking you if I could use excerpts for my journal entry today

eva:  of course you can....

me: so the economy is very important
my weekly 'retirement' report came in this morning
and it has made a significant leap in one week

eva:  awesome. We have an IRA now too and have been saving up for when we are old like you. lol j/k

me: it still is far from where it was last October
but that's OK
cuz the ol' street preacher would say...

    "Don't put yo' faith in yo' retirement account..."
     ....You can lose yo' retirement account!"

eva: lol very true. That's good that you have it though, I think a lot  people are realizing that they didn't plan a head and they don't have anything saved for when they can't work.

Wish my parents would have had something like that...but sadly no. My mom has her retirement from work I think, but it's not gonna be something significant to live off of for the rest of their lives.

me: mine isn't much compared to people who have made 'making money' their primary goal
because I've been self-employed for so many years
I've had to pay my own social security contributions
but the annuity fund was something that old preachers drilled into the younger guys

eva: that is awesome.

me: so they wouldn't be totally broke when nobody wants an old preacher

eva:  lol      right....
          old preachers are SO useless.

me: We'll see about that!

eva: I can't see you ever acting old.

me: Your Dad and I are the same age, I think

eva: My dad turned 51 last month.

me: Yeah, I'll be 51 in July

eva: bunch of old guys. ;)

me: rock and roll

Friday, April 4, 2008

Other than his roles in Ferris Beuler's Day Off, the Wonder Years (and a more recent TV show about his money), I don't really know anything about Ben Stein. Today, however, I have come across this blog about a movie that is being released. This film pertains to my entry today:


On Tuesday, I met Andrew Edwards at the pastors' prayer meeting. His pastor, Cedric Lee, introduced him to us. Andrew began sharing his purpose in coming to us by showing us two magazine covers (Time and National Geographic) with 'scientific' proofs for the evolution of man.

He asked us, "How do you respond to stories such as these? How are our young people supposed to respond?"

Andrew adequately addressed my concern in approaching the topic of Creationism vs. Evolution. Unfortunately, some who hold to a 6-day literal view of creation have brought unnecessary dissension to those who might desire the intellectual freedom to think differently about whether God's Word intends for the reader to believe that each day of Creation was an earth-centered 24-hour day.

It is important to present a humble, balanced presentation of the biblical materials which will help our young people to be informed contributors in their cultural setting at public schools, community colleges, and at the University level (and in the popular culture).

Andrew told us that he holds to a view of the Earth as being about 6,000 years old. I would like to hear more from him simply because I like his attitude.

  FAQ about Andrew and his third-base interest

By looking at Andrew's website it appears that he has prepared himself to help pastors and teachers better equip our precious young people. I have watched my own teens begin the process of reconciling what they have already been taught with their own unanswered questions and uncertainties as they have surfaced. They will surely face more challenges in the years ahead.

Last night before going to bed, I got online and another evoution-based 'teaser' from WIRED popped up. It opened with a line that affirmed the scientific community's widespread acceptance of evolution ("except for a few dogmatic religious types"). Welcome to the way it is.

May God bless Andrew in his ministry of sharing information and challenging the prevailing presuppositions of our culture.

Don't forget: Duncan Holmes is ministering at Bell Road on Sunday morning.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Last night I wrote letters to all the CCC visitors who were among us last Sunday. I also wrote to a couple other people who needed some contact.

Slept in until 6:30 this morning. I immediately sensed a need to write letters of a similar nature to two sisters in our local church. I have heard people note that they thought my last Sunday message (Obedient to the Vision) was better than most.

Having preached hundreds of messages since I was called to preach, my own evaluation of a message might differ in criterion.

I recall from my earliest study of Jeremiah that his messages are assembled in a unique way. Like letters stored in a shoebox, the reader might reread the messages out of sequence but the overall message is still intact.

I learned this from the introductory notes of the NIV Student Bible (Yancey, maybe?). We gave a significant number of those Bibles to teens in the eighties. My old friend, Al Dines, served as the benefactor for those Bibles (as I fondly recall the spontaneous gifting of an older couple...hah).

That's my view of the messages God has granted for me to preach. The effectiveness of any given message has yet to be realized.

  "As much as someone may like Brother So-and-So's  
preaching, the message ain't much unless it has
    impacted someone's mindset, attitude, and ultimately
    her/his faith-based behavior."   
                                       --Brother Do-and-Do,  2008

Reflecting upon Brother DD's quote strengthens my own assertion that one message truly 'heard' by one chosen soul might be worth more
a steady diet of messages
which bear
the 'God-Housekeeping Seal-of-Approval'.

Tom Shoneff once shared that a message from God ought to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I don't know the origins of that pithy saying but it rings true to my heart. My own conviction about the purpose of any given message shared from my heart is tri-fold:

   Comfort for the one who has been hurting
     Correction for all assembled sinners
        Confirmation for one who is seeking direction

It was Mike Bowling who told me that in the minds of most 'a preacher is only as good as his last sermon.' I think I've observed that truth over the years of preaching inside the walls of weekly congregations.

One who is a receptive listener can hear the same message over and over and yet continue to receive fresh manna. Here's is one brief message that I have pulled out from my own stash of letters. It is a simple, three-point message (with thematic repetition and guitartistry). Click on the title if you have 2:30 minutes to spare.

Give Thanks

     1. Give thanks to the Lord

     2. Call on His name

     3. Make known among the nations
          what He has done  

This message is only 2:30 minutes long. Because of the brevity of this sermon, one might mistakenly call this a 'sermonette'. The length of a message should not be a primary concern. This short message stands the test of time. Contrary to a misguided view of what to do with God-given talent, the guitar solo is not irrelevant and unnecessarily showy. If one would want to argue that point, the argument would be best taken up with the Creator of blind eyes and visionary fingers.

Actually, when the lyrics to that song were first voiced, a certain critic (Michal) watched from her window with disgust. We might wanna be careful around Michal. "Bad company corrupts good character." soon as Jesus was alone,
   "His followers, along with the twelve,
     began asking Him about the parables.

     He was saying to them,

   "To you has been given the mystery
         of the kingdom of God,
             but those who are outside
             get everything in parables,
             so that while seeing,
                          they may see and not perceive,
             and while hearing,
                     they may hear and not understand.

Otherwise they might return and be forgiven."

The reader might ask,

     "What was bothering Jesus that day?

Others might choose to invest their precious opportunities in the knocking down of straw men that they, themselves, have created.

I'd rather just set fire to my convictions. That is what I hear Paul saying at the Lord's Table: "judge yourselves". The legitimacy of what we do will be judged by God anyway.

The local context within which and with whomever God has chosen for us to work remains His process.

Enough of that.

Back to the black-and-white of the day-to-day:

Yesterday, Matt, Emma, and I had a 2-hour staff meeting to work on tightening up the role of 'Pastoral Staff' as we relate to making our Leadership Council fulfill the heart of the church constitution. Point-by-point, we addressed the primary issues involved.

Then, it occurred to the hungriest of the group that there had been no provision for food so we went to Chevy's for lunch mid-afternoon.

A couple last-night chats:

9:39 PM

What did you do tonight during classes?

I was in youth

        prayer was good. we really focused
        on intentional ,directed prayers
        small group but powerful


me:    Faye was really happy tonight
           She attended the promo mtg
           with Les, Tom, Bob, Cyde, and whoever else
           She was really excited about it

yeah... I saw them
           through the window

me: let's move that piano tomorrow
        and set up a camera and see what stuff looks like

Matt: sounds good

        I talked to Duncan Holmes
        He's fine with doing something special for the kids

Matt: cool

me: ...and Heidi too.
           She really wants to keep them in for it

that will be nice

...and this short chat before my connection was lost:

9:50 PM

me: you there?
        how was youth tonight?

Brandon: good
        we prayed for revival in the youth group again

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I awoke around 5:00am. today. I messed around a bit with a graphic idea in the process of setting up a new webpage design for this daily journal. As you'll see below, before I went to bed, I chatted with Matt.

He had made a mock-up header for a new webpage and had wondered what I thought of it.

The chat involved the creative process and I ended with "I'll think on it."

So I woke up thinking on it. In the process of thinking I had to get this idea out of my head and into paint. Probably won't use it but here it is. Click on the photo.

The top part is the current header that Pastor Matt created for the homepage at

So, in this quick idea, my journal page would be leaving the walls of the church building and entering an oceanic voyage (with the all the real possibility of 'sea billows rolling' and other such hymnic poetry).

Then, of course, I have to add this version just to remind me of my original waking-moment idea (though is really much different).

editor's note: This is strictly my idea. All potential questions of artistic vision should be directed to me alone.
Some don't understand allusions to rolling sea billows and the like.

        Maybe I'll have an over the shoulder of my desktop,
        concordance, dictionary, papers,
        all kinds of research...
        and then something out-of-place in the corner

        or something like that

I saw Randy at the Gym yesterday. He's a biker (a couple years younger than me). I met him there during the week before Easter. Randy is a new member at the Gym.

He told me that he had wanted to get online and see this page but hadn't yet. He also mentioned that his girlfriend and he had planned on coming to church too! That sure was a good feeling.

a chat earlier in the evening last night:

me: I pulled an April Fool's Day Joke on Matt today.

Christy: where is that boy!

me: he's at home now

i IM'd him to send the sac bee a pic of the
                Johnson Family - they are going to give
                us a bigger spread than the usual 4 or 5 lines

me: he's not online that I can see

Christy: I will email him

me: I just sent you the joke I pulled on him
       Rena and Wanda were also in on it

                you guys are bad!!

it was about his Youth Room...
        I think you'll enjoy it.

knife in the heart

                oh that is bad - did he just croak or what?

me: Since I had to leave to pick up Clarice,
        the letter gave him about 20 minutes to sweat it out...

        THEN, he turned around and put my car for sale
        for $1 on Craig's List...

        but I made him take it off...
        I said, 'that's not April Fool's..
        that's just an annoyance.'


he tried to disprove it at first by checking
        my email on my desk computer but he seems
        to have convinced himself that it was bonafide.
        So..that worked.

        He was thinking through the constitution and stuff
        so I guess I pretty much had him!

Christy: that was a good one

Cathy and I prayed a sinner's prayer with
         a 27 yr. old today. Hillary...a girl that we had met
         a week before.

         I figured she wasn't saved so I started emailing her.

how awesome -
                praise God from whom all blessings flow

--and this chat happened last night too

8:06 PM 

me: Hey Karla. Are you online?
        Alba, Jesse, Cathy, and I went out
        door to door this afternoon

Karla: hi, how did it go?

me: We did really well. We handed out fliers, brochures,

oh good

me: CDs, and a few Jesus Spanish videos
         Alba went with Cathy
         and Jesse went with me

when are you planning in going again?

We will decide on Sunday.
        Alba made a good Spanish contact with a lady
        named Angelique who was part of a spanish
        fellowship at another church with about 20 people

        cathy just told me that it is a current group
        that went from 4 to about 20

        anyway, Alba went back and took her a video

that is great

and she says she may come this sunday at 2

Karla: I meet a lady in the mall the used to go to a church in spanish in auburn, but she say in the end everybody start fighting, so she only go to English church, but she call me to go this sunday with me, but we left with david, and my cellphone was not working during the weekend. I had her voice mail, but not her number. I am hoping she calls again

Monday, April 1, 2008

Up before 6:00 today. Duncan Holmes will arrive in Sacramento on Saturday--much to do before he gets here. Cathy is going to go to the Orientation for Bible Study Fellowship this morning. Since before we started hosting BSF at BellRoad, we felt it was important to have our ladies involved. Thus far, Phyllis and Faye have been our primary ambassadors. Last week, Clarice attended.

Today, at 4:00pm, Jesse and Alba are going to meet us at the church. We plan to take Spanish 'Jesus' videos to the Latino neighborhood nearby. At 5:30, I have another appointment at the church. I'd rather not put the Spirit on a time-limit, but we'll see what happens)...

On Easter Sunday, Caitlyn sat in the balcony and shot footage of our program (No More Night). Yesterday, I converted the DVD of Caitlyn's angle to an mpeg4 and uploaded it. Last week I was told that our CCLI license covers the internet presentation of the musical score since it was presented in a live setting.

So....if you have an hour click on the player below. Thanks to Patrice Rosenau, Curt Harjo, and Matt Klein for their collective efforts. This is the firstfruit effort for our nearly-new minister of media. The vision to get our projectors, center screen, and videos online is yet-in-process.

I think the next special multi-media event will be on Memorial Day Sunday (May 25th). Maybe everything will be in place by then. The bases are loaded. Having looked over the line-up, excitement is stirring over the rest of this inning.

Yesterday's annual check-up with Walt and Ruth was a delight for us all. This sweet couple will be celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary in June, 2008. I am better prepared to serve as God's man in their extended family after having invested in quality table-fellowship.

Yesterday, at 4:00pm Cathy and I caught a matinee at the Old State Theatre to see a film set in pre-WW2 England. Afterwards we left our car parked at that spot and took an hour-long walk--discussing our immediate future--and looking over a quaint neighborhood.

At one point Cathy spotted a street sign and commented that this is where Rex and Janna had moved (see Saturday's entry). Shortly, thereafter, I recognized their new home so we rang the bell and wound up having a 2 hour visitation at their table. Their daughter, Kyla (21) hung out with us too.

Jimmy Smith was playing (Hammond B-3) in the background. Rex was a drummer and played in a 60's R&B band back in the old days. Since my first meeting with Rex at the back of our sanctuary, I knew I was gonna like this guy! He got saved in 1970 and was part of the California Jesus Movement.

We had a really great time. Our chance encounter was very encouraging. It was a romantic walk back to our car parked in downtown Auburn.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Daniel returned from Camp Cazadero rather late last night. So, Cerissa and he stayed over and are leaving for their classes soon. I burned a copy of yesterday's sermon for him to hear on the way, then he will pass it on to his brother, Jeremiah.

     Click here for "Obedient to the Vision

I also burned a copy for Mary. She is leaving for Sierra College in a couple minutes. Mary doesn't mind working in the Nursery on Sundays if she gets a CD of the message. Wolfgang was in the Nursery as well, so he got his CD last night (as did Mike & Nancy who were still on vacation that morning).

Last night we also delivered CDs to BellRoad Bob, Conductor Jane, and BellRoad Heidi--our Children's Church ministers. more to deliver (to Karen) today and we'll have taken care of our children's workers for this week! I'd like to have copies for our other missionaries who went to Camp Cazadero (Tom, Dan, and Rachelle).

All of the child care workers for last week's Easter program have now been given a copy of the DVD as well.

Our precious Minister of Music-Media & Youth has been working his altoids off making sure that we have what we need to minister to God's ministers!

     Thanks, Pastor Matt!

See the church's media page: click here
       and the brochure's page here: click here

Someday, most of these people will be all be set up to 'burn' their own CDs or iPod recordings from their computers or phones...

...but all-things-tech move a bit slower up here in the foothills than they did down in metropolitan Galt (or even Huntington Beach, I suppose). Still, Cathy and I don't mind delivering the CDs "Little House on the Prairie".

We have a 10:00am. home visit scheduled with a couple of our seniors this morning.

If you're already digitally-versed, just click here:

You can access or download all the messages for the last year in a variety of formats.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here is the sermon I preached this morning:

      Click here for "Obedient to the Vision

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Last Sunday our church presented a dramatization of the Gospel for Easter. In the program was a song interpreted by two sisters (Polly and Cathy). This is one camera's view from the front row.

Click here for Amazing Love (in stereoscope)

There  were a couple other cameras running from different angles. If I find some time to do it, I may mix in some shots from that footage.

Today, Wolf and the guys are gonna help move a newcomer to our church. That's where I'm headed now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wolfgang and I met for prayer early this morning. Cathy and I met with a senior couple for their check-up at 10:00. We closed in a circle prayer at 1:05; I don't think that any of us had realized how much time had elapsed.

There is another group from our church headed up to Camp Cazadero today. Our son, Daniel, is going along for another working mission trip.

Yesterday, Pastor Matt and I further discussed theological and methodological convictions. A side issue that came up is the nature of study that I undertake in order to nourish a pastor's heart in my ministerial context.

One issue I have considered in the last couple days involves the burial of Michael Elledge in nearby Placerville. I had been looking at the website of the 'church' that pickets military funerals and saw that they had placed this memorial on their schedule. Apparently they don't always show up for the scheduled picket but they cause a stir by even stating that they plan to.

From that thought, I also felt the need to study through a couple other 'related' issues. Nothing that I wish to go into today but only need to journal a mention for future reference.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Joe and I watched "The Apostle" last night before going to bed. My favorite scene is when the antagonist shows up with a bulldozer and says he's gonna take out the church. E.F. places the Bible down on the ground in front of the bulldozer and says, "Nobody moves that Book".

The radio announcer watches on and whispers about the importance of the moment. The antagonist winds up kneeling down as E.F. (Duvall) places his hand on his back and tells him to receive the love of God.

The announcer whispers that this is their first on-air conversion. Joe and I enjoyed listening to the final sermon that Duvall 'preaches' before the cops take him away. He uses the A.B.C. plan of salvation. When he lifts up a little baby's hand to speak of a father putting a nail through his son's palm, he says,

"I couldn't do it; there not enough love in me."

That was the movie that Robert Duvall wanted to make for many years. I listened to Duvall's commentary on it a few years ago. He said he picked up pointers from actual sermons he had heard. I enjoyed his insights about the subculture he had encountered in his earlier days.

Here's something kinda fun:

   Keith Green at age 11 on TV: click here

If you watch through to the end, he plays a song with the band. Quite a talented youngster. It makes his biography more meaningful to understand how dashed his hopes would become at age 16.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thank you, Lord, for another sunny day in northern California. Early this morning I received direction from the Holy Spirit about Sunday's Message. The connection that God chooses to make between Ananias and Saul has relevance for us today:

Click Here

Yesterday, Cathy and I had a 10:00 checkup with yet another widow in our church. We discovered that her ministry within the church is washing dishes and keeping everyone encouraged. What a blessing to know the value of one's calling!

Afterwards, we ate lunch at a place called Edelweiss in downtown Auburn. I left one of our church brochures along with the tip.

Pastor Matt just finished burning a master DVD of last Sunday's Easter Program. If you didn't get a chance to see it, we will post the entire live performance online later today. Here is another testimony that was part of the program. I trust that Rachelle's story will touch your heart.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We left our evening 'check-up' at 10:15. This couple (just a bit older than us) have lived out a very interesting calling from the Lord. I wonder what God has in store for us as we further commit ourselves to one another.

Earlier in the evening I met with the granddaughter of one of Bell Road's longtime members. Hillary and her fiance, Joe, have asked me to officiate at their wedding. I gave each of them a copy of 40 Days of Purpose that I had on my shelf. Hopefully, we will be able to interact online about issues discussed in that book during the 40 days ahead.
Cathy and I also had a checkup with a senior yesterday. She has agreed to be set apart for prayer on Sunday mornings and also showed an interest in BSF, so I am going to pick her up this morning to try it out.

There's yet another 'check-up' scheduled for 10:00am. These have been very fruitful times for all concerned.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm not writing this journal entry until nearly 11:00am today. Our weekend had been packed and yesterday (Easter) was non-stop people groups from 6:30 Sunrise Service until we left "Experiencing God" at 9:30.

God is at work around me. I like to journal in order to give myself reminders of whatever I have learned, received, seen, or heard on any of the Lord's Days. Putting revelation in practice (or faith into action) requires some way to evaluate my own degree of obedience.

I drove to the Office at 8:30am in order to open the door for BSF Leadership. Then, Cathy, Joe, and I went to the Gym where I started reading Week 9 of Blackaby. This has been an important book in my journey as a pastor-teacher-leader since first being given a copy by Nan Bragg (Home Missionary: Michigan c. 1990).

This same book has helped me interpret God's Voice as Pastor at Praise Baptist Church (Kalamazoo), Snyder Lane Baptist Church (Rohnert Park), First Baptist Church (Galt), and now, afresh, at Bell Road Baptist Church (Auburn). Mr. Blackaby's teachings were not really new concepts to me. Most of what I read at the onset already resonated with my own developing theology and prayer life. If anyone has difficulty understanding why I do the things I do, reading Blackaby might help...

On Friday, Pastor Matt suggested we make a gift CD for Easter, so into Studio 1 we went. Here is the result:

   click here for Easter 2008 Free Gift CD

The sound has been compressed at 64kbs for the Internet. However, if you would like a copy of the 5 track CD, just write to me:

I preached at the Sunrise Service yesterday. I hope to take some time today to journal the flow of thought that was spurred on by the Scripture verses and the gathered people of God, the intimate setting, and the rising sun.

As well, I hope to put together a glimpse of Polly and Cathy and their stereoscopic interpretation of 'Amazing Love'. Then, our missionary to the Deaf (Alisha) will be able to enjoy a bit of our Easter program yet today. Alisha is stationed at Rancho Sordo Mudo in Mexico.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Up at 4:30 this morning. Since I'm up, Lord willing, I'll drive to the Three Crosses around 6:00 and see how the weather feels at this time of year. Tomorrow, we are starting our Sunrise Service at 6:30.

Last year, Easter was on April 8th. Cathy, Mary, and I had stayed the night in the trailer next to the Reeves home. I remember clearly the sense of mystery we experienced as we arose while it was yet dark (and made our way East on I-80 toward Exit 123).

Brandon, Vicky, and I had agreed to meet with our acoustic guitars and provide simple music as a backdrop for the other pilgrims who would make the early morning trip to the hilltop.

We provided a half-sheet, Songs & Scripture page for those who joined us. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the hill, we saw the picketers beginning to arrive. That surreal scene may be a kairos moment for the church that gathers at 707 Bell Road (rob's journal: April 2007)

Here was an extra seven-day devotional I shared online in order to prepare myself for Good Friday and Easter Sunday in 2007 (click here)

This year, personal preparation for Holy Week has been accomplished primarily by reading Week 8 along with my 'partners' in "Experiencing God."

For Good Friday, I had lunch with Cerissa, Daniel, and Mary. We rehearsed the 7 Words from the Cross that we had taught Cerissa a few months back at the Biblical Gardens. In the evening, Joe, Cathy, and I went to the Community Good Friday Services, sang corporately, heard the Word,  and shared the Communion.

After the service, Diana, Bob, and Aaron Knapp joined us at Applebee's.

Today, we are driving to Galt to visit a wayward soul in need of a pastoral house call. We will then attend the matinee of Picture of Jesus (Jebby's Rock Opera in Lodi), and drop in at a surprise birthday party for one of our dearest friends. At 7:00pm, we'll meet with BellRoaders at the Union Gospel Mission (Sacramento) on our way back home.

A couple years ago (while trying to help James and Eva Moore transition from California to Michigan), I met Bobby Gilstrap online. He is the Director of Missions for two different Baptist associations there.

Bobby went to Michigan as a missionary himself. I was impressed at how well he had managed technology to provide learning opportunities for the people of his association. As Pastor Matt develops the infrastructure for our new website, I will probably pass on some ideas gathered from Bobby's work. Bobby Gilstrap's Resource Page: click here

Here's one of the pages he linked to from a local church in Tennessee: Church health and Growth (click here)

Here's a chat I had with Christy Sandhoff yesterday.

me: Hi Christy
        How you doing today?

typical Friday - hurry here, hurry there,
                hurry everywhere for everything - and you?

We have new brochures for giving out on Easter...
         got 1,000 color tri-folds printed for FREE by a friend

Christy: FREE , my favorite price

  and then today, Matt and I recorded a bit of
         'radio-like' banter to piece together three of my
         songs and two of his songs as a special CD
         gift for visitors.

on your blog???

we can put it up, yeah...

I would like to hear that

me: but the CD will have tracks so it can be played over
        and over

Christy: even better still!

 me: Hey, can you get the WELCOME TEAM together?
         for AFTER EASTER service in the foyer and
         hallways to gather names of unknown faces?

          I'm gonna try to 'connect' before the presentation
          and introduce Matt after the program which will be
          quite good...

I am really looking forward this Easter.

                It is going to be special for us being as it
                is our first Easter with our new church family,
                so to speak.

me: I've asked the Choir, Testimony people, and
        narrators to step down to the altar to serve as Prayer

        ...then, we'll invite people forward

        but we won't draw that out. Like other times,
        I'll dismiss in prayer and ask that the altar stay
        a place of prayer..but if we could have you,
        Kurt, Bobbie, Les, Tom, Francie, Jimmie,

Christy: Sure. I heard from Olan Mills this week, and
                we should be getting our black and white proof
                directory soon

me: etc. already be in the foyer, then we could do
        a good job of gathering names and numbers
        for follow up

Christy: sounds good to me

me: anything we do will help..
        Good news about Olan Mills

do you know if any of the 3 new couples
                are coming

me: Rex and Janna might be here.
        Their son has been hospitalized in San Jose.

        Did you see the brochure page on our new website?

Christy: not yet - haven't looked yet today

The other two couples probably will be here..
         then, there's others who have just been slacking
         on Sundays...who aren't going anywhere else..

          but who haven't 'connected' more than the 10:15

 (Here I have some omitted some time-sensitive 'sending'
      stuff that cannot yet be published)

     Background for what follows
     Comedian: Stephen B (click here for video)

  *If you aren't able to stream videos, you can still learn
   more  about Stephen B if you'll click here

me: Hey I spoke with the Comedian yesterday for about
        an hour. He told me that FBC Galt had given him
        his first 'entry' into doing Comedy at a church

        He had done clubs for over 20 years but hadn't gotten
        serious about Christ until 2000

        and later felt led to try to 'minister' through his gift of
        'getting people to laugh.'

        That's when we had him do a COMEDY NIGHT
         in our fellowship hall.

        Man, he was FUNNY...for all ages!

 I think a comedy night performance would be

He's ready to help as much as we need

        God can really use outside relationships like that

I would like to put his performance
                on the concert calendar ASAP.

to come in once in awhile to touch base
        Are you coordinating calendar with Tom and Les?

I think it would be a BIG draw, and a good
                change-up from musical concerts.

me: Yeah, me too. He has PLENTY of material
         that is REALLY funny

I am letting them do the scheduling
                and I am doing publicity.

----That's over an hour of journaling.
     Time to head up to the hilltop.
      I'm gonna wake up Cathy to go with me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm about to leave for our Deacons' Prayer Meeting but first, I would like to invite everyone within driving distance to come to the 7th Day Adventist Church in Auburn TONIGHT at 7:00pm. for a Community Good Friday Service.

Nine area pastors are sharing the pulpit. Our focus is the "7 Words of Christ on the Cross".

Last night I watched the entire presentation of 'No More Night' which will be presented at our morning service on Easter. It will touch hearts and minds.

I have been up since 4:40am checking out our NEW website design put into place yesterday.

It shows signs of intelligent design: Our own Pastor Matt Klein (Music-Media-Youth) is the man behind the curtain.

There are some cool new features will should prove to be quite helpful to those who want to expand their personal borders and start 'reaching out'. There is now a way to download brochures, tickets, and posters to publish at home (or Kinko's). This will make 'outreach' much easier for those who spontaneously decide to promote an upcoming event.

This morning I began to prepare myself for the upcoming Duncan Holmes visit by listening to the interview:
           Radio Interview with Duncan Holmes

Meanwhile, I read his biography that Pastor Matt uploaded on our website (click here). Duncan will be our special guest on Sunday, April 6th morning service. I am beginning to get excited about picking him up from the airport and having him stay with us a few days.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Check out our NEW website design:

Yesterday was a great day full of action. Fruit from the outreach of Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road has come in the form of a boy named Victor. His mother, Carmin, was in prayer meeting with Karla, Chet, Jimmy, Joe, Christy, and me.

Sometime last night, Victor prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Jesse (who also volunteers for our Wednesday night TeamKID program) has been able to build a relationship with this precious young soul.When this was reported last night after Choir practice, someone asked,

    "Is that 'Victor' from the CD?"


I don't recall who asked the question but it most likely came from someone who worked in Nursery, the BellRoad Express, or who had been away on the Men's Mission to Camp Cazadero.

The CD referenced would have been the BellRoad Radio edition of Bases Loaded. That message featured Jesse Medina.

      SG Spirit-Guidance suggested

In seminar and in the annual checkups, I am learning of those who have never had the experience of 'leading' a person to pray for forgiveness of Sin and to receive Christ Jesus as Savior. My hope is to personally take individuals 'out' on spiritual adventures. My greater hope, of course, is to watch as souls are born again.

There is no greater joy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I am looking forward to Easter Sunday here at Bell Road Baptist Church. We are starting with a Sunrise Service at 6:30 a.m.

Patrice Rosenau, Curt Harjo, and Pastor Matt have worked together to present a very special musical dramatization with which to present the Gospel Story at our 10:15 service.

Yesterday a friend of mine agreed to print 1,000 free copies of this church brochure that Pastor Matt and Les Andrews designed. Click here to take a sneak peek.

The price is right! If you would like to share some copies with people in order to invite them to church this Sunday, send me an email:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There are some memorable moments and quoteable quotes on it. Before the Message, you'll hear the Bell ringing as the kids head off to Children's Church. I left this transition-time on the audio track so I wouldn't forget some of the context.

If you have find that the audio download is moving slow today, try listening to the message on the SermonPlayer (click here).

I slept in until 6:00 a.m. today. Must be in at the Office by 8:45 to set up a microphone for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). Pastor Matt better sleep-in himself this morning. It looks like he was up a little later than me!

We had a late night with the Saints last night.
G.R.O.W covered some most-important biblical territory for how best to conduct ourselves as 'leaders' in our local church.

Since we didn't video (or audio-record) the session, we will probably need to provide a way to recreate the Message. This particular message ought to be up on our webpage (accessible for anyone who wants to come alongside us on the Journey ahead).

I'm happy to report that we're gonna move full-speed ahead with video testimonies at BellRoad Radio.

Last night (after G.R.O.W.) a few of our folks went into the producer's 'studio' to do their interviews.

Click on the photo to see and hear the testimony of David Browning and his wife, Rita:

Here is Matt Woodin:

These videos will be used (among others) as part of the musical-drama being produced at Bell Road this Sunday morning for Easter (10:15 AM). Thanks, Pastor Matt. See the chat below for 'Director's Commentary ' about these video testimonies.

Today, I'll meet with the local pastors as I try to do on Tuesdays at Noon. I'm sure we will pray over all of the outreach going on throughout the world this week.

On Good Friday, in Auburn, our pastors' fellowship will host a 'Community Service' in the 7th Day Adventist building. We will present the 7 Words from the Cross. I'm responsible to present "It is Finished".

I had wanted to go south down the road to Lodi this Thursday night to see the the first performance of Jebby's musical drama. Then, I learned that Thursday is our dress rehearsal for "No More Night" (Cathy is in the Choir here). So, maybe I can get down there on Saturday afternoon.

Here's some info that their church sent me:

Picture of Jesus, an original musical-drama depicting the life, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The performances for this powerful rock opera will take place at:

7:00 pm on March 20th, 21st and 22nd

 and a matinee at 2:00pm on March 22nd.

So join us at Bear Creek Community Church
                      11171 North Lower Sacramento Rd.
                       Lodi, California  (209) 369-2202

Admission is Free. It is recommended that children under 13 are accompanied by an adult.

So, why should Pastor Matt sleep-in today? See for yourself.

12:35 AM

Matt: you still up?

me: yeah
        I bought a 3 DVD mccartney set
        and am watching disc three

Matt: oh???

me: it is called 'The Mccartney Years'

Matt: any good?

me: all his videos and a few concerts along the way
        yeah, quite good

very cool

I bought it at Walmart a few days ago

how much?
me: 25 bucks
         I'll let you borrow it
         golly what a talent that guy has been

Matt: sweet

12:36 AM

me: his videos have documentaries too
         so that's quite interesting
         I have another called 'Wingspan'
         that's quite good too
         I ignored his Wings stuff while it was happening
         but actually his wife was amazing considering
         that he basically taught her how to keep up...
         It is a good retrospective

Matt: well I just got done with Rachelles testimony...
          only 2 more to go :)

me: cool about the testimonies. put 'em online
        and let me have the links, OK?

        I listened to Matt Woodin's
        It was certainly discernible on my laptop

        what a nice guy Matt is

Matt: I brought the music down on
          and brought his vocals up

          he's cool
          I like him

very good

Matt: I'm doing Eleanor's Testimony now
          ok sir... I'm off

me:    I think Patrice is very happy right now
           ok bud

good to hear
          see ya tomorrow

yeah this is her era to shine...
        just ahead..

Matt: cool

me: ok bud cu 2mr2


10 minutes

12:50 AM

Matt: [Just finished Rachelle's video testimony]
            The "head" to "frame" ratio is better

me: I'm watching it...  nice.

Matt: I think so

me: ...I edited her testimony on the day Alana was
        baptized.. it was a great audio testimony

        what a sweet girl this is
        this is a good video

Matt: cool
           well back to work

me: very touching

Matt: yeah

   (rob finishes the DVD ...and Matt?)

2:28 AM

Matt: Well it's done... I'm off to bed...
           I shall upload David Browning's tomorrow

Testimony from Eleanor Bailey 


Monday, March 17, 2008

Slept in until 6:35 today! Cathy and I are gonna run to the Gym before going in to work. She's helping a senior couple at a private residence and I'll be heading to the Office. I'm usually alone at the Office on Mondays, so I'm not in a position to do 'annual checkups' (except with I'll see).

That process has been going very well. Tonight is a very important G.R.O.W. meeting. I told the congregation yesterday (during announcements) that I plan to address an issue that isn't really appropriate for Sunday morning with visitors.

Last night's 'Experiencing God' fellowship-class went extremely well. There is definitely some Body-synergy going on there each week.

I received a call from my son, Jeremiah (20), at around 12:30 in the morning. He was stranded on a roadside after work. Fortunately, I was online and was able to quickly pull up the Emergency Road Service information.
However, an hour later Allstate hadn't been able to get any of their cooperating Tow Services to answer their phone.

He asked how to use his ATM to get a cash-advance because he would have to pay a non-allstate service and get reimbursed. That makes LatenightDad concerned.

What's the point in paying for Emergency Road Service if your kid is stranded for a couple hours...

Cathy asks, "What if that was our daughter?!"

So, I have a choice...go work out, think about it, and pray before calling Allstate this morning....or...

-- 'or' ... I'll just go with option # 1.

It is coming to pass--what the elders have been telling us for years. One never gets over 'parenting' their children. We remain concerned, protective; we hurt over their hurts; we lament the thought that Life is gonna dish out some real suffering....

We are making plans for a huge commemoration of Memorial Day in 2008. There are some World War 2 veterans in our congregation (as well as all the other battle-stages since). Having watched a few of the movies about our men and women in Iraq, I was reminded of the importance of becoming more intentionally prayerful for our nation's situation.

An unexpected letter arrived last night. Below is a compilation of excerpts from a back-and-forth as Auburn and Iraq connected through the night:

Could this possibly be the same Rob Patterson that was youth pastor at Trinity A/G in Kalamazoo, MI?
(1985-88). It has been years! I happened across Al & Shirley's website. Then onto their you tube site, and saw the link to your site. How is everything? How is California?

Let me catch you up a little on me. Let's see.. I'm in Iraq right now, with the Army. Married almost 15 years. Two beautiful boys, ages 2 and 1.

We are residents of Florida but (of course) don't actually live there. My Dad passed away almost seven years ago and Mom got remarried in 2006.

I've been here 8 months so far this time. Got about 7 left. My wife is home at (withheld) with the boys. The 2 year old is ill, so it is a GOD thing that Mom stays home, and that we have great insurance.



Saturday, March 15, 2008

I was looking at quotes by Charles Darwin and noticed that the Mormons are using target-advertising by tagging Darwin (click here). You might need to click on a few different Darwin quotes before you'll see a Mormon ad but that's how they are tagged. My friends who don't think there's much point of being online might better understand why I differ.

Cathy is heading to an all-day women's conference at Combie Bible Church with the ladies from our church.

We have an Annual Checkup with a couple at 6:30 tonight but since Joe's at work and my other kids aren't planning to be in Auburn this weekend, I have 'the day' completely to myself.

Just me and the LORD (Father-(son)-Son & Spirit)

    Where shall we go?

        What shall we do?

First off, I'm gonna talk to Him about Sunday's Message.
For now, He seems to be leaving it up to me where we will go. We'll take the dog out for a walk in the park and get some sunshine.

Then, I figure we'll take the Book to talk over at the Gym.

We'll do the Treadmill together, the biking, the upper-body stuff, Spa, Sauna... that will be some 'quality time'.

Much of that time we'll be talking quietly to each other...
   or I'll just be thinking; He knows my thoughts.

The theme of today's journal entry seems to be the unique relationship that a father is given with each individual child

(to get it...don't skip last night's chat with Christy below)

For the fun of it, I have associated a song with a son that could be sung with Abba and other Father-figures (dad, pa, opa, papa, grandpa)

"Take me out to the _________ "  (Billy Sunday)

         "Just as ___  _____ " (Billy Graham)

                   Musical Clue: Click Here

Regardless of possible differences in musical taste, there's really not that big of a difference between Billy Sunday and Billy Graham if one considers the privilege of the 'father-son time' each enjoy.

These songs remind me of the last time I exercised Pulpit Privileges:

"Love the Lord Your God
 with all your Mind
   (giving deep thought to our ways and to God's Way)

 with all your Heart, (all of our emotions; Serious-or-Silly)

 with all your Strength" (at Work; at the Gym; in Service)

Since Bases Loaded pre-empted this message below (and 2 weeks has transpired since), I still need some one-on-one time with Father God to hear afresh about the three points and the invitation of the interrupted program:

Grace through the Cross

1. The Extent of our Sin (and Death)

2. The Abundance of God's Grace (and Life)

3. God's Plan for one man
                    (the way it was,
                            the way it is,
                                   and the road ahead)

DeLynn (for one) thrives on hearing personal application in a message, so this preacher will even talk to God about that!

Here's last night's chat with Christy:

11:16 pm

me: still up, eh?

Christy: yeah, doing the wash and reading

way to go.. Cathy is sound asleep
        we had a nice evening together

Christy: I will be too as soon as the load of wash is done

Took Mary to Galt to stay with Cerissa
         for the weekend
         Joe went to Rosenau's for the night
            so...we were home alone!

Christy: Kurt and our daughter are going
                 to Mather Field tomorrow for the air show

  hmm.   father-daughter.  that's nice!

Christy: it is.
                Kurt can get too busy sometimes,
                and it is important that he continue
                to spoil her rotten!!!!

me: Mary wrote a paper for school
         the second paper on this page

Christy: I will check it out

me: is one I'm thinking about
        on 'Authoritative Parenting'

Christy: that's a contradiction in terms isn't it???

me: It has helped her grow up during the last
        couple weeks. Very self-reflective, so read it when
        you get a chance and you'll know our girl better

Christy: I will read it tomorrow
                oh by the way

me: yeah?

Christy: do you know if the concerts Tom has planned
                 will have childcare/coffee/dessert???

me: uh... I don't think they've thought ahead that far
        hah   but that's a winner idea

Christy: Just thought I would ask -- I will check with him
                 and Wanda later

me: alrightee

Christy: cya later

Friday, March 14, 2008

I woke up around 4:00 this morning. The sword-wielding character played by my friend, Rex Ruth came to my mind.

I wrote him a quick note and mentioned my concern that those of us who are called to be messengers need to be careful that we don't limit ourselves to a ministry of 'preaching to the choir'.

God seems to be working on/in/through me regarding:

   * Primary Sources

   * Personalized History Lessons

I was reminded of a project called "Brothers" written by my good friend, Jebby Moates.

This is a page I put together to promote the full-length musical drama the last time it was performed at FBC Sacramento.

Click Here for 'Brothers'

I was the Southern Preacher (second row from top) who went along on the Battlefields (listed on the page).

I preached to our boys about facing "the Philistines" who were marching upon our land from the North...

That was an interesting role (especially for a real-life Yank to play).

Brothers is an opera in the sense that all of the dialogue is sung. I once arranged for Jebby to come into a high school history class where I was teaching. He shared his passion for reenactment and we promoted the musical.

Here is a poster (click here) for Picture of Jesus.

Since my first day with Jebby, I have been personally involved in his Easter time musical drama. But, alas, not in 2008. That's kinda sad but he has a new job/new church...
as do I. Cathy and I will probably go to Lodi to watch it.

I continue to pray alongside yet others who are seeking God's step-by-step map in their own lives. We must come to know God's Word (and Listen, Trust, and Obey).

1) Go South down the Road toward "Gaza"

2) There...see that?
     --that Chariot?  --that man? Go up to him.

3) ...and onward into the Story for such a time as this.

For a recent sermon on the topic:
    Intentional Evangelism

 or (even)  

 Bases Loaded: The Billy Sunday Sunday

My newly-found 'Internet cousin' (Dinah) belongs to a sister church in Katy, Texas. Check out their webpage. They have some features that I'm gonna ask Pastor Matt to put on our site:

Click Here for Dinah's local church.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Back from a morning walk, Cathy just left for work and I'm having a bowl of cereal before going in to do Thursday from the Office.

Some time ago, someone signed me up for Jay Sekulow's newletters. Although I frankly don't have time to keep up on 'everything' that people send me, I did click on this short video clip and saw something that is relevant click here about human injustice in Turkey.

What do you think about this statement?

       "It wasn't until the last decade
        that gay men have found not
        only the cultural acceptance of
        gay parenthood...

       click here for further awareness of
       our 'cultural acceptance' of gay parenthood

On a different note, you guys all know that I'm friends with BellRoad Bob, right?

Well, some nice folks from another church took a ride on the BellRoad Express last Sunday in order to get to know him better.

... and What about Bob?

He was so inspired by hanging out with them after church that he created a modest webpage for them. Last year, right after the 2007 version of was uploaded, I encouraged a few of our web-capable members to begin journaling, reporting, or somehow interacting with others via the Internet.

   Click here to check out the Dunsmuir Page

I'm a strong advocate of following the Apostle Paul's example of appropriating existing technology and transportation to broaden communication potential. I am happy to see how far Bob's abilities have come to put his acquired skills to work for the Kingdom of God. Brandon worked on a devotional for a few months; Stephanie started a page for young families but marriage plans kept her busy. My hope is for an ever-expanding capability to glorify God together as we 'watch and pray' together.

For Mary's next school assignment, I will have her revive her public page for the publication of her semester projects. I think that her recent work is worthy of broader distribution. The girl is learning how to read for comprehension, think critically, and write with maturity.

Note to all team members: The second installment of G.R.O.W. will take place this Monday night.

Last night after the prayer meeting, I sat down in my office for another annual check-up. The 30-something couple are long time members at our church. Mary graciously agreed to help out with childcare. Cathy joined us after she got out of choir.

Each of these checkups have been insightful. I am hearing the voice of the Spirit as I have the opportunity to experience Him through His people.

Cathy and I took one of our original Baptist Babies out on a walk in his stroller yesterday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

   "To Bell Road again,
     I'm headin' on the Road to Church again,
     Gonna hear the Word of God,
         (then share it with my friends)
     --oh, I can't wait to get up to Bell Road again."

First, I give honor to God my Father,
          who loved me when I was yet a sinner,
          and who gave His only begotten son,
    my Lord Jesus, the Christ,
         who hung from the Cross--
             looking 2,000 years ahead--
             interceding on my behalf,
             and prayed, "Forgive him Father,
                 for he knows not what he does...",

    and to the Holy Ghost, the very Spirit of Christ,
        the fullness of 'every good and perfect gift',
        sent from above to live His abundant life through me--
        who empowers me with the 'yea' and 'amen' --
        to the Glory of God.

Yes, I do thank the Lord for being baptized,
    sanctified, and filled with the precious Holy Ghost.

Learned and earned, each of my phrases are stored in my heart and are paraphrased whenever I open my heart's Book (the Living Word) to testify to another.

In the church these phrases
   can be further defined
                and lovingly refined;

     lyricized--melodized and harmonized--
     dramatized--even scandalized.

In the prayer closet, there is no missed-communication. No barriers of language, generation, or background.

Every subtle reference is fully understood by the One who hears my confession--whether one of thanksgiving, praise, sorrow, mourning, or indifference.

I can pray through the One who continually gives me strength. My prayer is confidently voiced because I have been assured that the Blood of Jesus has forever stamped my backstage pass into the Holy of Holies.

 "To Bell Road again,
     I'm headin' on the Road to Church again,
     Gonna hear the Word of God,
         (then share it with my friends)
     --oh, I can't wait to get up to Bell Road again."

Yesterday, Cathy and I conducted two annual checkups with church members in my office. What a wonderful time we all had! We didn't head home until 10:40 p.m.

Now, that's what I call church!

My newfound, long-lost, Cousin Dinah (from Texas) just emailed me a 'hand-written' letter that my great grandfather, Frank Peterson wrote to her great-grandmother, Effie May back in 1947 when she was trying to reconnect with her biological family.

As we learned in yesterday's episode, Effie lost both of her parents before she was seven. She was adopted by others who took her to live out her life away from Michigan.

My Grandma (Peterson) Patterson would have so enjoyed a conversation about meeting Cousin Effie's great granddaughter, but alas, Grandma left this world back in '93 (at the age of 93) to be with our Good Shepherd in ForeverLand.

Hey, I'm having a good day. I've been up since 5:58; woke up to the sound of birds chirping in the darkness. I stayed up until nearly 2:00 a.m. with Mary helping her with a paper due at Sierra College this morning. She had already written a lengthy analysis on the parenting style of 'her parents' and had not realized how much work her second paper was going to require to prepare for submission.

The girl hardly ever gives me a hug...but she did so this morning when she sent me to bed while she faced the rest of her 'late night' college days. That felt good.

Have a good day, dear reader.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I had a headache all day yesterday but am feeling better today. After the funeral, Cathy and I had lunch with one of our seniors then I came home.

More trouble in Pakistan. My friend sent me this story. There have been 600 terrorist-related deaths since the new year. The Thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy.

Last night, I received a sweet letter from a brother in our local church. He was pumping some encouragement from God's Word into my 'love tank'. That is always much appreciated.

I've never met Cousin Dinah until this morning. She found me on the internet and requested any further information I have on her family.

   "I am wondering if you are from the Peterson family from
    Hillsdale, MI. My great-grandmother was Effie May
    Peterson born Oct 17, 1873 in Howard City, MI. Her
    father was Charles W. Peterson born Jan 21, 1818."

From her letter, I learned that Dinah's g-grandma (Effie) had lost both her parents before she was seven years old and was adopted. However, she had reestablished contact with her first-cousin, Frank, later in life.

Frank was my great grandfather. I sent Cousin Dinah a page that I put online back in 2005. Although it doesn't have a photograph, there is a silhouette of the ancestor we both have in common, our g-g-g grandfather, James Peterson (1791-1846).

His 'picture' is halfway down this page: click here).

Monday, March 10, 2008

After church yesterday, we joined with a couple others to set up all the chairs for a funeral this morning. Then, I started experiencing a dull headache to accompany the morning's chest and head congestion, so I crawled into bed and rested. I had to miss going to the 'Experiencing God' class.

The headache is gone but I still don't feel good. In yesterday's message, Pastor Matt called me up to the platform to question me. He asked what's the first thing I do when I wake up; my answer was "I talk to God." That is usually what I do. Sometimes it is a simple expression of thanksgiving for His love and involvement in my life.

Sometimes if I've been 'pressured' during the night, then my first words in the morning are, "Help me, Lord."

I think that Matt may have been looking for something like "I get up and get dressed." I don't usually just hop out of bed because I wake up too early for that. We live in a small apartment; Joe's on the couch in the livingroom, so there's no place else to go.

Anyway, my bedside wireless laptop lets me check my lines. Sometimes I have early morning letters that I want to make sure will become part of my waking thoughts.

This morning, there was an email from my friend in Pakistan. He wanted me to know:

   Brother, today I request to all school children they pray
   for you. All school Children (Muslim and Christian
   Children) Pray for you. I hope your problems solve now.

   My Prayer God fill your heart with Joy forever.

His own prayer for me was to have a heart 'filled' with JOY forever. That's a good prayer. I'm gonna say 'yea' and 'amen' to that one. May God fill your heart and mind with a joyful song today. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Do you love Him today?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I woke up at 5:30 (allowing for the time change) and it is still dark. I'm preparing my mind for Sunrise Service which starts at 6:30--two weeks from today. Brother Lou is probably thinking ahead this morning as well.

We sometimes call the preaching spot 'the pulpit' (from the Latin pulpitum: An elevated platform, such as one used by harpooners in a whaling boat). As much as I enjoy the preaching moment, I am usually under some level of stress until the bell starts to ring and the children dismiss to Children's Church.

That is why I value a good time of singing our teaching hymns and worship songs, prior to hearing the week's message together.

It will be enjoyable to go to the House of God without carrying the burden of an undelivered message--and simply worship at the altar.

I've found fresh manna for each day in the process of transcribing that unusual message: Bases Loaded. Built around my understanding of the 'Greatest Commandment' (click here), as the head of my household, I wanted my immediate family to hear the CD.

Last Sunday, Mary was in the Nursery; Cathy was home sick; Daniel was still at Camp Cazadero. Jeremiah lives in Galt and doesn't here for church. Joseph was Dad's only kid in the assembly to hear his father's heart for the local church. 

Seven days later, everyone in my family has now heard it except Jeremiah--he is going to listen to it today.

Here is the yet-unfinished transcript of the message if you would like to read along (click here).

Pastor Matt (my associate) will be preaching this week's message entitled "An Attitude of Worship'. May he speak with unconditional love and Spirit-led authority as he steps up to the platform (from the first word of the first song to the final Amen).

I look forward to going to the Altar and allowing God to speak to me in the midst of the assembly.

The website server for this column sends me a report every Saturday night. Back in 2005, I was keeping track of stats on a nightly basis and had months of nearly 20,000 page views (for the entire local church page in Galt--of course, that was a different context and there were still several cooperating writers).

I don't know how our church page ( has been doing but for this personal site (, here are the summary stats for the last seven days (click here).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Anyone reading this who can make it to 707 Bell Road by 9:30 a.m. can join our caravan to Gold Discovery Park in Coloma, California.

New church attendees, Rex and Janna Ruth, will be meeting us there. Rex will be dressed and ready to 'entertain' and challenge all who attend this California History Reenactment. My new friend will come to us through the integrated Christian witness of California's own Lt. Col. John Charles Fremont (1830-1890).

Unfortunately, I will miss the Sunday School teachers' fellowship out at Sharon's house! That important meeting starts at 10:00 a.m.

]Last night, we watched the Mayberry Video (on the big screens) for purposes of prayerful reflection and reunion.  Before we played the video, I shared about a number of significant outreach events which will be taking place in April.

Our numbers were humble but meaningful to me.Les and Maria, Joe, Cathy, David, Tyla, Karla, Thelma, Dennis, Scott, April, Donald, Autumn, Matthew, Elizabeth, Joshua, (Scott's parents), Les Andrews, John Walker, Cathy, and me.

Wow, what a difference the Otis Music Video makes. It brought a sweet sense of purpose to everything that proceeded. (If you missed the video, click on this photo and you'll have your chance to view it). 

After everyone left, Cathy and I sat at the piano and at the altar to share our hearts with the Lord. We went home at 10 p.m.

As the preacher asks, "Do you love Him today?"
   My answer remains, "AMEN"

Yesterday morning, after the deacon's prayer time, I invested more time 'transcribing' last Sunday's Message. Yesterday's newspaper shared that the constitutional right of parents to school their children is being challenged in California.

This morning, my retirement account report shows signs 'that the sky is falling...the sky is falling.'

By reading the transcription (or hearing afresh the Message), I am pleased to remember that my faith has been built on Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. I am edified in the Body of Christ as I listen, type, and rehearse what I was sensing step-by-step during the Message entitled:

Bases Loaded: The Billy Sunday Sunday
 (click on the photo to hear the message)

Here is the yet-unfinished transcript of the message if you would like to read along (click here). It may take a couple more days before I get around to completing it. I am enjoying the movement and laughter (in the worship space and in the participant's lives).

Some of the brothers and sisters have told me that they couldn't receive the Message on Sunday. Yes, that truly saddens me but all is not lost. Hopefully, 'reading' may be more conducive to seeing/hearing than 'watching'.

That's the Body of Christ. I am still being given the opportunity to humble myself and listen to those who hold to a different interpretation of the Spirit's leadership. It should be about 'waiting upon one another' as we share the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus in the church.

For those who prefer to use the Sermon Player, all the sermons from the last year can be accessed at:

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Deacons' Prayer Meeting takes place at 6:30 a.m., so I will attempt to press on with this task until I must leave (about 2 hours from now).

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and have decided to continue 'transcribing' last Sunday's Message. I desire to better understand 'why' I continue to believe that in the delivery of Bases Loaded: The Billy Sunday Sunday, I was truly putting one foot in front of the other in my own Christian Walk and Calling as a messenger (as described in the prior week's message: Intentional Evangelism).

I've only received one letter that affirmed the value of 'Bases Loaded' but others are still weighing in:

 "I wanted to let you know that I thought last 
  Sunday's message was outstanding.
The fact that
  several of the men from the church had gone to help
  rejuvenate the buildings at Camp Cazadero just added
  more meaning to the message of commitment."

That letter still seems to be the 'minority opinion' ...and I haven't even fully weighed in myself yet!

I delivered the message from 'pitcher's mound' as I responded to the sounds of the congregation . Some allowed their vocal cords to affirm that they were, in fact, listening--evidenced by laughter. That laughter figures in as I will make my final assessment of whether I was concerned about 'pleasing God' or 'pleasing man' in the preaching event.

On the other hand, I have yet to fully experience what it must have been like to sit in the bleachers as a quiet, reflective spectator. The harder work of trying to put myself in their 'seats' is coming as I listen closer and transcribe the message...thought-by-thought.

It is sometimes very humbling to serve God's people as 'the preacher' and as 'their pastor'.

Astute observers are correct in stating that I didn't read from the Bible until just prior to sharing the Lord's Supper. As announced at the very beginning of the Service, the Lord's Supper was intended to serve as the climactic focal point of the entire Morning's Service.

Extrapolating on a little boy's desire to share his memory verse for Sunday School, I began the extemporaneous message by bringing his Sunday School teacher up to Home Plate. From there, I began to work out the meaning of that very verse for our own local church. Within the frame of a childhood teaching method I referenced the three, primary aspects of the Greatest Commandment:

   "Love the Lord Your God with all your mind"
    (giving deep thought to 'our ways' i.e. Billy Sunday's
     ways but moreover to God's Way)

    with all your heart, (all of our emotions; the laughter
    and sentimentality expressed throughout the message),

    and all your strength." (expressed in the 3rd Base
    illustration of own men having completing 20 out of 25
    jobs in one day).

No, I didn't 'open the Bible' but I opened my heart to share my own convictions about the importance of possessing the integrity to become the person God is forming you to be (i.e. Running the Bases over and over again).

My prepared message was to have been from Romans about the Extent of our Sin,
           the Abundance of God's Grace to cover Sin,
           and the wonder of God's Plan for Saul
           (that would go way beyond our wildest imagination).

Having delayed the introductory message of Saul's radical conversion, last Sunday's Message about Billy Sunday's life still has the potential to remind us of the importance of today's conversions (and those of the precious souls yet to be saved, baptized, discipled, equipped for ministry, and challenged about their own Life Mission).

Rather than opening the Bible and 'preaching the Word', I opened my mind and heart and proclaimed "The Biblical Basis for Running the Bases" (of our Church Constitution's Mission Statement). Of course, this wasn't my best sermon but, more than ever, I realize that it needs to stay 'on-the-record' as what the preacher chose to deliver as 'Sunday Message' on March 2, 2008.

Although this is a controversial message, I must stand by it because of the manner in which it unfolded--given the week of days lived out just prior to its delivery, the ministry events that led to the Worship Gathering, the songs, the demonstration at the altar, and finally, the Lord's Supper that was to serve as the focal point. The morning ended with most of the Congregation looking upward, arms lifted in unity, singing the old hymn "How Marvelous, How Wonderful' without the aid of printed lyrics.

So, sometime soon, the transcript will be available. Hopefully, others might glean some insight in the years ahead.

Yesterday, Cathy and I visited with Christina (who just gave birth to Jadin a week ago Sunday). She, Jason, and the baby plan to be in church this Sunday. While we were there, Amber came in the room with her 2 year old, Kaylee. Amber also expressed a desire to be back in church this Sunday. Her husband, Chad, (who we baptized recently) is now in Hawaii where he has found work to sustain their family. The parents of this 'oikos' is heading for Fresno this weekend. Keith and Brenda are taking a week together. Brenda will train for her new job she has started in Auburn.

I gave a copy of an 18-song compilation on the new CD label that Pastor Matt designed (see photo of CD in the slideshow above).

So, the first three gift CDs, on the new BellRoad label have gone out to:

1) Christina and Jason
2) Amber and Chad
3) Keith and Brenda

Although these songs are 'old-rock', (with the exception of 'Blessed Assurance', they are all original creations and are steeped in the Word of God.

Tonight, we are replaying the Mayberry project on the Big Screen at 7:00 p.m. and, afterward, will be hosting a pre-Easter, prayer meeting until midnight.

Tomorrow, Les Andrews and I are hosting a trip to Gold Discovery Park in Coloma in order to watch Rex Ruth share the Christian witness of Lt. Col. John Charles Fremont. Rex and his wife, Janna, have been attending our church for several weeks.

This was announced at Men's Breakfast last Saturday. Anyone (all are welcome) who would like to go should meet us at the church parking lot at 9:30 a.m. (This does conflict with the Sunday School Teacher's Meeting. That should be the first priority if you're a teacher or a substitute.)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I woke up at 4:30 this morning. Yesterday, I received two responses to Sunday's Message. Two highly-respected sisters weighed in with nearly opposite conclusions.

My reply to the first responder was a long, thought-provoking apologetic which expresses my mind and heart about that particular message in the context of that particular Sunday morning.

In reply to the second responder, I suggested that I may ask the first writer for permission to somehow publish our interchange (or extracts) in order to allow for better communication as a pastor and as a preacher.

I am greatly appreciative when anyone demonstrates Christian love and mutual respect by interacting with me in hope of being an iron to sharpen iron. So, we'll see what happens as "A Billy Sunday Sunday" continues to create ripple across a week of days (before it is forgotten) and the next message gets preached.

To hear the message, click on this photo of Billy Sunday.

I have also received oral feedback but the act of writing allows us all to come back and revisit the times with some sense of objectivity later.

My own subjective memory of oral communication is rarely as helpful for long-term personal and practical growth as is the process of rereading and reflecting upon written correspondence.

Since the public remembrance of this one man's conversion has stirred an interest in others, I awoke today and decided to look further into Billy Sunday's impact upon his generation.

Here is an interesting primary source. See also the accompanying article on the same PDF page--
"Sin for Catholics to Attend His Meetings".

 Billy Sunday Hurts Church   (NY Times, 1/17/1917)

Here is another 'primary source' that speaks of the impact that Billy Sunday made upon the people around him:

Click here for Billy Sunday Funeral

The memorial message delivered by Dr. Harry Ironside is quite interesting and brings some balance to the article above. As a musical pastor/preacher, I am always interested in seeing how preachers have interacted with the chief musician in his context. Mr. Homer Rodeheaver had worked alongside Billy for twenty years. I particularly enjoy this thought shared by the brother:

"Mr. Sunday loved to hear us sing this song: he didn't
       care so much about it being soft and sweet; he
       wanted it to be powerful
enough to reach the man in
       the back corner, and would give his orders in back of
       us and say, "Hold that note now; hold it;"
                "Where the Gates Swing Outward Never ."

I'm not familiar with the new song (1917) used by Sunday and Rodeheaver in their meetings. However, I know the feeling of wanting to let special musical themes fulfill their role in preparing the hearts of a people for the Message of the day.

I found the tune to the song online (click here) and the interesting story behind this old song: (click here).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A couple days ago, Mary sat down on the edge of our bed and talked with me and mama about a lecture she had received in one of her Sierra classes: the idea of left brain-right brain distinctions and the importance of REM during one's sleep.

Early this morning I woke up and began to talk with God about a few pressure points. I must have drifted back to sleep. Later, I awoke with a clear picture of an exercise I could learn from. It was apparently about 'cynicism'.

I was shown a large interior photograph of a livingspace and directed to write a cynical caption. I think I was directed to brainstorm a few more cynical remarks.

I woke up at that point. The Interior shot had no special connection with me. It was a neutral picture in my mind. I had remembered that I was praying about life-specifics (left-brain). Perhaps I was 'answered' with an unfinished life-in-general assignment. Unfinished in that the exercise would have ended with 'us' writing an upbeat caption (and brainstorming other optimistic remarks).

Finally, I think the final optimistic view is much better for one's life but the fact that the cynical view is often voiced first makes it hard to overcome and, once voiced, might never be forgotten.

With that in mind, for those who would like to help me get the most out of my morning prayer, please click on these three frames and write a caption that has been drawn from the abundant wellspring of Life (Philippians 4:8).

 Send all captions, remarks, and
 brainstorm reports (left or right) to

...or in the case of the video frames,
   you can leave a comment right there at googlevideo.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

In preparing for our upcoming Easter events, I am also looking ahead at the rest of the calendar dates in 2008. Today should serve that purpose well.

This Friday night at 7:00, we will host a Mayberry reunion and show the last edit of our in-house production of


on the big screen(s). This version includes our 'live' portions with captioning during the Live Nativity scene.

Then, we will pray over the entire event which was four months in the making. I am convinced that our Lord has more assignments for us related to that 'simple' experiment in 'trial, error, and redemption'.

I plan to stay in the church until midnight to pray through all the rooms and ministries which take place on that hallowed ground.

Here's a short, edited-chat to assist with over-the-shoulder communications:

me: hey matt, how are you this morning?

Matt: hey good... just starting out

me: I slept in until just 15 minutes ago

Matt: you prob needed that

me: had an ear ache/sore throat yesterday and just getting over it today; allergy related I think, so sudafed can take care of that...not fever or flu...fortunately

are you at the church?

Matt: I had a sore throat last night and a little today

Yes, I'm at church

me: No BSF today

Matt: I know

me: I need to get there by 9:00 because a music minister is dropping by. His name is Riley and he's the new guy at Sonrise.

Matt: cool

me: He wants to borrow some hymnals for an
        'old-fashioned' singspiration on Sunday night.

...but they looked around and didn't have any hymnals
nice story to tell as we do our 'good deed' and loan them 30 hymnals

So.........have you seen a box of 'old' hymnals anywhere?
If not, we'll take them out of the chairs that are stacked

Matt: not a box.. there are some old ones from time to time

me: I'll bet there are some in a box somewhere...
        but no time to look around

        anyway, it'll be good to welcome Riley with a kind

me: Did you notice people going to the altar during the
        Worship time 'before' the sermon?

        it was a touching sight for me...

        especially since Bob had enacted that bit for us...

      ...about leaving all our burdens on the altar.

Matt: I enjoyed worship on Sunday... I like having 'altar time' during worship

me: I continue to pray and ask God to send forth laborers.

Maybe one of them will come forward, called out, from among the spectators who watched the Game this last Sunday Morning...

I am calling that sermon a BillySunday Sunday at BellRoad

      SG Spirit-Guidance suggested

Matt: it earned that title

me: I mentioned the Memorial Day Sunday picnic idea to Rena. She's ready to roll with that, to help line up keynote speakers on the hour.

She also is planning for a May 3rd Garden Club Extravaganza earlier in that month. We should have our CDs and other stuff at a table there.

....I'll be in just before nine to meet Riley have him help me retrieve the hymnals from the extra chairs.

Matt: k

me: hey, try to get a ad for the Sunlight service up if possible.

I'll try to find what I put up last year

Matt: I'm workin on it as we speak

me: Caitlyn had an artsy shot of the crosses on one of her posters I think... I seem to remember that there was a cool angle

My sermon that I never preached "Grace through the Cross" could get real good between now and GO-TIME

Matt: indeed... brb

me: what's your message this Sunday gonna be called?

*chat ends

Monday, March 3, 2008

up at 4:15 a.m.  Cathy is still feeling sickly. She stayed home from Sunday church for the very first time in our entire marriage (except for a Sunday that she was in the hospital having given birth).

I'm experiencing some chest congestion this morning but feel alright. Hopefully, I will miss out on the flu(s) and other sicknesses that folks have been experiencing. I really hope so!

Here is a link to yesterday morning's 'message'...

CLICK HERE for  a BillySunday Sunday at BellRoad

Click on the photo to enlarge the images of Billy Sunday. These photos were on the two screens behind me as I preached, pastored, and taught our local church. I left behind the sermon for which I had 'prepared' and opted (extemporaneously) to expand upon one 'adjustment' that had to be made to the prior week's illustration about the ministry of Billy Sunday.

The adjustment had to do with a quotation from Pastor Don Bisagno's mention that Billy Sunday had 'thrown a bible'(see yesterday's journal entry).

For some reason, that didn't sound right to my ears. I looked for a primary source and couldn't find one so I wanted to publicly question the secondary source.

I don't think that I'll have time to 'trim and edit' the sermon so, for now, here is the 'uncut' version. It is rated SG because some might think it too much talking and not enough Bible; granted you'll have to listen for Bible references (even if book/chapter/verse are not stated).

      SG Spirit-Guidance suggested

 The uncut version of the message includes a portion of our observance of the Lord's Supper. There is some teaching that takes place and some of Pastor Matt's piano-vocalizations as well.

This accounts for the length. It is nearly an hour long beginning with the last ring of the BellRoad Express.

CLICK HERE for  a BillySunday Sunday at BellRoad

Since the uncut version is a long recording, it may take our dial-up listeners more time to download. If that is the case, please try accessing the message from our SermonPlayer at

btw, a boy named Nick prayed a sinner's prayer in Children's Church during this sermon. Thank you, BellRoad Bob, Conductor Jane, and SnackShop Heidi for your ministry among the children yesterday.

Thank you, Maria, Mary, Rita, Stacy, and Rachelle for your ministry among the littlest ones during the same hour.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

update: **phone rings at 7:30 from CAMP CAZADERO
                 (read more at the bottom of today's entry)

me:  Have you ever talked to yourself? Note below that in
         today's broadcast, we'll bring in some names to
         make the point of the day.

Rob: which is?

me:   "Please don't let me be misunderstood"...the song.

Rob:  sung by Joe Cocker?

me:    yes... and no.   Richard sang and played it.

Rob:  your brother?

me:   of course. It is a blessing to think that He lives.
          I praise God that someday,
          I'll 'see' him again. That's my hope.

When I preach I know that I'm preaching primarily to myself...that's OK. I need to hear it!

I'll listen to the message more than once. The first time to edit cut out long pauses, mispronounced words... and, of course, the heresy or other errors... (smile, guys)

I'll probably actually 'get it' the second, third or fourth time around. That's why I am so looking forward to having a Minister of Music and Media do his thing alongside me.

There are many issues that a pastor must address when trying to have a meaningful relationship with a wide variety of individuals of diverse backgrounds and from different generational groups.

It is important to remember where we came from. So, part of a pastor's job is to observe the lives of those for whom he prays, and for whom he is called to feed them their portion of God's Word.

In order to 'really get to 'know' someone, we usually need to look at some of the photos they have on display.

me: Sometimes I find it necessary to share a slice of life, a biopsy to see if the DNA of any given Christian Witness is healthy.

pastorob: Hey guys, I really only got up at 3:40 because I figure a 'sermon' outline might be helpful today, so I'm outta here.

Rob: ttyl

          Mrs. Hayes would have written a positive comment,
          had I chosen to write upon "I am, therefore I write" as
          a theme in 'Literary Philosophy'.

me:  mm... I remember that class. Peggy Lackey and a few other girls were at my table--maybe another guy too.

It was definitely a first-time, cross-generational experience for me as an 11th grader. We sat in small groups at round tables. Peggy was a year ahead of me and Cathy-something was in the class behind me.

We did have fun crossing the class-barriers (even as we started to learn how to reflect upon the sentence Mrs. Hayes had written on the board, and were required to respond somehow through writing).

Well, that's the reason I tweaked some of the dialogue between Sharon and me yesterday. Remember, that old song that brother Richard used to sing,

        "Don't let me be misunderstood"  ?

me:  You're still here...No printed outline, huh?
         Still, check out these quotes and photos of 
         Billy Sunday.

          CLICK HERE and print this off for your sermon.
          I had heard about Billy Sunday through the years
         (the 'christian' years that is...) but I only started
         studying about him yesterday.

Don: He jumped from pianos, threw his bible, stormed
           across the stage and preached to over 100 million

John:  The whole world is my parish...

me:    Wesley, how'd you get in this chat room?! We're

pastorob: Hey, Don Busagno, I 'quoted' you last Sunday
                    in my sermon.  

      Intentional Evangelism

but...I googled all day looking for an original source..

In a conversation with Pastor Matt, we agreed that we think it isn't wise to throw a bible...

...even if one was trying to make a point.

Most people would never get past that kind of ...umm...'irreverence' for the Holy Book.

HOWEVER, I googled 'threw bible, Billy Sunday" and like combinations. I wonder if he really did throw it?

It would be a good thing for someone to say as 'gossip' to make him 'look bad'....

Although I couldn't find any occurrence. I did learn more about Billy Sunday (and the unique times in which he lived out his calling from Christ).

Don, did you get it from a biography?

<Don is offline>

pastorob: Well, from what I've read, I don't think he normally did that as part of his 'attention-getting' stances

click here for some really interesting photos and quotes from the life and ministry of Billy Sunday

I did find a slice of life where Billy Graham threw a Bible. It was in his autobiography (Just as I am). It happened in Sunday School. He threw a bible across the room to a girl in the class. The teacher corrected him and told him that it was a Holy Book.

...but hey, its already 4:36 and I've really got to get ready for SundayMessage which will be formally delivered at Bell Road Baptist Church (707 Bell Road, Auburn, CA) today at 10:15.

me: ttya'll later

...and, Sharon, I tweaked some of yesterday's dialogue to better represent the heart of my chit-chat.

**phone rings at 7:30 while Dad is back online to fix some spelling errrors.

Daniel:  If you're not too busy...could you share that we accomplished many tasks during this mission trip to Camp Cazadero. The Camp Director, John, made a list of twenty-five tasks that needed to get done. We completed twenty out of the twenty-five in ONE DAY.

I only have a partial list here...but we'll give you the final list when it is compiled.

 1. repair leak in water supply to the Pond
 2. repair water line to the trailer supply faucet.
 3. repair drinking fountain
 4. remove pews from the patio and burn them
 5. remove shade netting from patio cover
 6. cut goat pen in half and close in the pen
 7. concrete stones around the campfire pit
 8. run electricity supply in the chapel for overhead TV
 9. cut up the tree in the parking lot
10. move bridge, and other debris fromthe volleyball court
11. clean grille filters and hood in the kitchen
12. fill in holes behind the walk-in refrigerator
13. fold 200 newsletters
14. trimmed inside dorms
15. clean up debris between dorms 11, 12, and 13
16. clean the debris off certain dorm roofs

Even though it wasn't on the list, the younger guys took it upon ourselves to clean up much of  the grounds, especially the place of prayer.

There were fifteen guys working. Ten of our guys from Bell Road and five others from Trinity in Vacaville.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

4:45 a.m.

me: hey girl

sharon: hi Daddy
                good morning

me: good morning to you
        just so you know...I've been going through challenges


        much of yesterday's chat on my end was to deal with 
        a couple other issues through my journal...
        you being a Filipino who 'knows' me only through
        through reading (or listening to) my 'journal-stuff'
        strengthens the resolve to which I adhere.

sharon:  oh    :D

me: haha   I had Daniel's girlfriend (Cerissa) read it...
                      cuz I told her that she was in it

                   ...the girlfriend of African descent through
                      her Dad; I don't know her mama's ancestry...

but there are other issues that a pastor must deal with
among different people of varying ages and backgrounds

 yeah.. :D

me: In order for some who don't 'know' me as well as you
        do, they need to see some of my 'fruit'. Most families
        have an old scrapbook (photographs, slides, films,

        It is important to remember where we came from...

sharon:  that's true, dad

me: Sometimes I find it necessary to pull something out of
        my online scrapbook(s) or to quote a song that Joe
        wrote,  etc..

sharon: yeah... it's nice to remember those

me: Do you remember the month that I had 'pink hair'?

sharon:  yeah!

me: Even though we hadn't even met face-to-face ever?

                I saw your picture
                and the article in the paper with your dad

me: Did you get to see a video
           of a sermon during that era?


me: really?

sharon:  we watched the video
                 when we were in Bangkok


        we read the Auburn newspaper article too

hmm....     what did you think?

sharon:  it was nice

me: Did your Dad ever color his hair as a result of a VBS challenge?   probably not?

sharon:  yeah...he didn't ever

me: haha

        Have you ever had a pastor, a teacher,
        or a leader who did something 'crazy' for effect?

sharon:  hmm.. not yet

me: to stir up some enthusiasm?

sharon:  not yet

me: among the kids?

sharon:  nope

me: hmm

sharon:  because it's different here

                 coloring hair is strange...
                 especially for adults in church

maybe it's cultural difference
we are not allowed to color hair in schools and offices

sharon:  I mean strange colors

me: of course.
        Are all preachers the same in the Philippines?

 I think preachers have different styles

It is the same here...

sharon:  of preaching, church administration

                 and it also varies in different cities
                 and church sizes

                 different personalities and backgrounds

me: My purpose was to stir up enthusiasm about 'GIVING'
         to missions each night of VBS

        So, I told the kids that we'd have a challenge
        between the boys and the girls...

        and the winners could choose the color of my hair

 ha ha

me: We raised a thousand-something
         during one week with the kids

 I know boys love the color blue and girls pink

me: ...and, of course they chose HOT PINK hair color...
                    it was much fun!


                 that's my favorite color too

me: it wasn't shock value for shock value's sake...

 ha ha

me: it was FUN to give, to challenge,
                    to watch kids ENGAGE

sharon:  yeah...
                 I like that kind of stirring up enthusiasm
                  for kids

me: I had shown them photos of children in Liberia
        and of children in Pakistan

        We had email interaction with the pastors in both
        settings---during VBS week...

        So, we raised the 1,000 something
                     during 5 nights of VBS

         then, the hair was colored on the last night
                   with temporary color...

sharon:  that's great! especially the children
                 know where their offering went

me: ...but come Sunday Morning,
           it would be DYED as promised!

...then a couple in our church, CLYDE and FAYE were 
   asked to stand with baskets....

Clyde for the 'boys' (men)...
and Faye for the 'girls' (women)...

another $1,000-something came in spontaneously
ABOVE the tithe and offering already given

   One Answer for All (part 1)  
20 minutes

sharon:  wow... it was really fun

me: The funds were sent immediately


me: I was STILL on course with my three-year sermon

       and the place in Scripture was about

       'John the Baptist'...

        and the STRANGE sight he must have been.., it all fit well with the way that a preacher's personality, and commitment to mission, and to the right-division of God's together for the Good.

 yeah.. it did

me: People in public
        asked me about it everywhere we went..

sharon:  putting mission in the hearts
                 of both young and old

  One Answer for All (reel 2)
   31 minutes

me: but a month of PINK HAIR was plenty of time to prove to the kids that they had a pastor who wasn't afraid to do something 'different'

 Thanks to the Coldwater Daily Reporter for sharing this story with us (license).

sharon:     :D

me: a simple 'means' for a 'cause'...

        it worked otherwise, there wasn't
        even a 'missions-offering' planned for VBS

sharon: it was very exciting especially for those kids

me: Hey, I've gotta go at 5:45 to help get ready
        for Men's Breakfast at 8:00

sharon:  Oh

me: ..but first I have to put up the video
          of the John the Baptist message

          so...I'll post this chat with 'extras

sharon:  yeah .. it's ok

                 Dad, I listened to your sermon
                 titled The Overnight

me: How was it for you?

        the sermon?

 I was comforted last night as I listened to your sermon as you emphasized the phrase

      COME TO ME

      that's very comforting

me: Yeah, for me too!

 Jesus said that many times
                 a never ending invitation to come to him

thanks, Dad!

me: I thought that was in Come and Dine (the sermon)

        which was the week before? maybe?


me: Of course, you just listened last night?


me: "Come to me..."
          though was the song that the choir had sung...
          so maybe I did reference that in The Overnight

          (I really don't remember)

The Overnight:  a full night of prayer for
                           Jesus before choosing his 12 apostles

                maybe I interchange the the filename.. haha

me: it doesn't matter...

sharon:  yeah.. Jesus in overnight prayer

me: I'll post both and we will soon know for sure.

        g2g to get this done

        love you!

 love you too

me: ttyl

sharon: bye

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year day: I have to run to Deacons' Prayer time...but here's two areas upon which I'll write and hyperlink to other areas of related interest sometime later today.

1) Letter from Pastor Wesley in Liberia
2) Filipino Daughter-in-Law
           and the Death March of Bataan
               (researchers: take your pick of many sources)

Hello Pastor Rob,

I'm happy about the plans you are putting in place to have missionaries come to Liberia to help us out. I appreciate that very much as the ministry is huge and needs helpers out here. May God bless every effort of yours.

Your friend and brother in Christ,
Pastor Richard Wesley

and this 'chat' with my daughter-in-law in the Philippines was an opportunity to lay out some of the shared truths in my children's ongoing Home Education.

5:09 AM
me: hi honey

sharon: hi Daddy    good morning

were you able to hear the entire sermon from Sunday?

sharon: yeah... You're right I can relate to it

I'm glad that Joe is so 'free' to encourage you to help with a mission cause....while you wait upon Him for further directions.

If YOU will take his daddy's teachings seriously...
and apply them in your life (lives)...

I think that God would honor you with great blessings...
and that He would somehow show me that my labor has not been in vain.

Likewise, if you would pass on to me...
your father's teachings, I will try to apply that which I have 'heard' ...or 'received'... or 'learned'...from him (through you)

sharon: yeah... It's a great encouragment to me, Dad

We might see what could come of his 'witness'...

sharon: God's word will never return vain

me: a couple friends of mine (members of our church) are sisters. Their father is still living. He is a WW2 veteran and was involved in something that our nation may soon forget...

Perhaps this relates to YOU somehow...

It was called the "Death March of Bataan"...
Have you ever heard of it?

sharon: yeah

me: It was from WW 2
Death March of Bataan
(take your pick of many sources)

sharon: It's in our Philippine History
right WW2

me: What do you know about it?

Does it have any PERSONAL application to you?
This is important because the war veteran is still living.

I've heard the elders lament that this current generation has forgotten the Death March. (They're right...)

How best should the children of a generation preserve and pass on the heritage for which their elders laid down their lives?

Sharon, this will serve as my journal entry today. I'm gonna link to some history as well.

sharon: yeah.. I remember those captives and
those soldier who have given up their lives

me: Your nation has an annual commemoration of the Death March on March 30th this year.

sharon: yeah  
         It was an important part of our country's history

For some reason it is exactly 26.2 miles
            which is the same as a 'marathon'...

but if it is an actual march down the path of Death...
   then maybe the route was 26 miles

...interestingly, Daniel's marathon for Leukemia research is also something that I am currently planning to promote.

sharon: oh.. yeah

me: Frankly, I've never heard of the Death March of Bataan until a member told me (with much respect) about his own father-in-law.

sharon: a war veteran?
                it was a hurtful march

me: Yes. The Japanese were very inhumane
according to the reports.

sharon: yeah

me: Americans my age have been taught much more about the Nazis in WW2 rather than the Pacific fronts.

I suppose that my own children learned VERY little about WW2 because MOST of what I know was self-caught from my own research beyond public education

..and I won a history award in High School from the Daughters of the American Revolution

sharon: yeah...even me I need to remember those people who'd given up their lives for my freedom that I'm enjoying now.

me: Why do I bring it up to you today?!

sharon: wow! congratulations, Daddy!

me: well, because now you are in my family!
...and that is something I am very pleased about...

sharon:   :D

me: my oldest son has married an Asian woman (you).

My third son (Daniel) is seriously relating to a woman of African descent...

It occurs to me that Cathy and I have done 'something' right in the way we have raised our children.

sharon: yeah... You are such a good parents... leaving your children a legacy.

me: I fully expect that I will be BLESSED by all four of my children because they KNOW that I have great expectations for them.

sharon: yeah.. that's right

me: They, of course, are still in process
Perhaps the greatest lesson that I have taught them is 'TRUST'

sharon: you and mom left us a legacy that we will treasure with and pass on to our children

me: by 'trusting' each of them

sharon: yeah. that's true

me: sometimes that trust has been violated
but we have acknowledged that and have continued to trust reminding the kids that God will reveal that which we need to know. As parents, He has been faithful to keep us informed on a need-to-know basis.

Likewise, as a pastor at age 50, He has been giving me confidence that I need to stay on track.

sharon: that's true

me: keep walking on His Life Path
He is not inhumane

sharon: right.

me: He sustains, provides, protects, and trusts me...
over and over, mile by mile.

sharon: everything... He is gracious

He suffers 'with' me: sym-pathy
         God 'with' us

     in the midst of our own DeathMarch,
     He brings us LIFE
     and that...   more abundantly

     We, in Christ, are SURVIVORS...

     Veterans of life-saving, rescue missions

sharon: right!

Daddy, what are your most difficult experience of raising children?

me: We have had it 'easy' in that our children have all been healthy, well-behaved, and socially-adept individuals.

      The most difficult experience?

sharon: yes

me: Havingour trust betrayed by disobedience
to the 'laws' we set forth to protect and to provide for them

Nothing much different than God's experience with His own creation's FREEWILL...

So, it hasn't been too 'difficult'...only eye-opening...

that the freewill of man will sometimes choose to disobey LAW for self-centered reasons
(not for the noble purposes of doing what is RIGHT)...

--that kind of law-breaking would make me proud...

So, my final answer is that we have not had much 'difficulty' in raising our children.

For many years, all four children attended 2 Worship Services EVERY single Sunday morning.
They rarely put up resistance and I KNOW that some of that teaching has been received and is being lived out.

sharon: yeah... I always remember Joe to be present on every Sunday worship wherever we are... we find a church to stay with

me: Their 'public' education has been minimally helpful thus far

me: The training received 'in the church' has been good....

Philippians 4-something

Joe wrote this song
Whatever is true and noble;
Whatever is right or pure;
If anything is excellent or admirable;
lovely or worthy of praise;
think on these things
...and Rejoice in the Lord always;

           I will say it again

Rejoice in the Lord always..
that was a good song

Think on These Things: Joe's Video
during his ten years growing up at our local church in Galt, Joe saw some great fruit of his parents' obedience tot he Vision.

(Matt, --no 'pink' hair..but lotsa other good stuff!)

sharon: yeah.. when we think on those things.. Godly things.. we are able to rejoice in Him
me: He didn't actually write it
He just sang the Bible like his Daddy taught him to do.

sharon: we used to sing that song together :D

Hey, honey, I g2g

sharon: just like DADDY

me: prayer meeting with the deacons
Your REAL Dad was a deacon, right?

sharon: Yes

me: I'm happy about that
        happy about you being a deacon's daughter

sharon:    :D    My father would wake up early everyday for devotional at 4 in the morning

me: very good

sharon: God bless you more, Dad

me: Did he write?

sharon: yeah

me: Did he leave you much 'personalized' witness?
...akin to my 'songs' I'm leaving
..and sermons

sharon:    :D

        I treasure them in my heart

me: Well, listen, like I told you before...

You can pass on to me anything that was of great importance to your Dad and I will reference it publicly from time to time...

That way, I'll help pass on the legacy he entrusted to you
that's also Philippians 4-something
and I wrote a song about it...

sang the Bible, I mean....

"Whatever" is the name of the song

Whatever you have learned...
     or received
         or heard from me
             or seen in me
                    Put it into Practice

with some latency issues; Jebby (lead guitar)

Whatever 2
later produced by Bob Kilpatrick w/ Jebby (lead guitar)

sharon: yes

me: ...and the God of Peace will be with you
I wrote the tune in Liberia in Feb. 2004 has yet to see its greatest impact...
but Joe liked it enough to commit it to memory.

His pianistic abilities is hiding under a bushel
I used to put him to 'work' on the piano quite often...
but its there for someday in the future.

sharon: yeah

me: well, g2g.  Love you.

sharon: ok Dad.  Take care

Thursday, February 28, 2008

4:30 wake-up today. Last night at the weekly, corporate meal, Sister Ann came up to me and told me she had read yesterday's entry (below). She shared a couple memories of her own that related to my experience.

Another moving facet (among several) of the evening meal was the need to 'look out for the new kid'. Last night the new kid appeared as a mother from El Salvador (married to an Honduran) with three kids of her own. Only one had come with her--Victor. Carmin doesn't speak English very well; Victor, a 6th grader speaks English fluently.

I introduced Carmin to several people then sat at the next table and took note of various clusters. It was good to see Justine sit across from Carmin. I watched as Justine wrestled with an angel (the 3 year old) while trying to eat her meal. Certainly, Carmin could relate, having had three of her own.

I was very glad when Karla finally arrived. A language barrier helps me better understand other difficulties with meaningful communication and the need for church Bridge-builders (interpreters with a heart for ministry).

Cathy and I had taken a hand-holding walk around the Regional Park just prior to supper. During the walk, I called Dan Clark who is coordinating the work project weekend for guys up at Camp Cazadero (click here). He and I were giving the 'yea' and 'amen' to all things working together. He had called Scott Cameron (Opie's Dad) who has been with us only rarely since Mayberry. He is stationed in Santa Rosa, so a drive up there to Cazadero will work for him!

Dan's wife, Renee, told us that Rick Warren was saved at that very camp. We rehearsed that bit of trivia that very easily could be used in a story similar to the closing story in Sunday's Message (Intentional Evangelism). I recall Rick saying that he was a fourth generation preacher whose great-grandfather was one of Charles Haddon Spurgeon's boys. I wasn't initially reached through a Church Camp experience but I've had many mountaintop and valley experiences associated with 'camp' through my years.

On Sunday morning, Rene Webb publicly testified that she had her own Camp Cazadero experience. One year, a pastor with polka-dot pajamas had made an impression on her son, Kevin.

Today's question: Who was the man in the polka dots?

An unanswered question: Who vandalized our church?
For those enrolled in BellRoad University's current offering of 'Experiencing God', either question is an invitation to watch and pray.

Another unanswered question: What all was God doing at the close of 2007 through the Mayberry project?

Perhaps this hidden link to a full video of that one-night event will stir the viewer to pray for God's perfect will to come on earth as it is in heaven:

(click here for the hidden Mayberry Video)

I invested the first 20 minutes reviewing the first 37 pages 'The Joy of Preaching'. It has been fourteen years since I was required to read and write about it as part of my formal training for the pulpit.

From page 37: "...there is an unmistakable tendency to the repression of the individuality of the preacher. It is seen in little things: in the uniform which preachers wear and the disposition to a uniformity of language.

It is seen in great things: in the disposition which all ages have witnessed to draw a line of orthodoxy inside the lines of truth. Wisely and soberly let us set ourselves against this influence.

The God who sent men to preach the Gospel of His Son in their humanity, sent each man distinctively to preach it in his humanity.

Be yourself by all means, but let that good result come not by cultivating merely superficial peculiarities and oddities. Let it be by winning a true self full of your own faith and your own love. The deep originality is noble, but the surface originality is miserable. It is so easy to be a John the Baptist as far as the desert and camel's hair and locusts and wild honey go. But the devoted heart to speak from, and the fiery words to speak, are other things.

Bob Knapp, shared an email that he is one of two at the top of consideration to become the pulpiteer-pastor for an entire local church. One day, during the lecture series in 1887, Phillips Brooks also ran out of time. Today, (right here on this stage), we will pick up where he left off. That's another way of saying let's chew on this together:

"...I close this lecture with three suggestions on which I had meant to dwell at large, but I have used up all my time.

1.  You never can make a sermon what it ought to be if you consider it alone. The service that accompanies it, the prayer and praise, must have their influence upon it.

2. The sermon must never set a standard which it is not really meant that men should try to realize in life.

3. No sermon to one's own people can ever be conceived as if it were the only one. It must be part of a long culture, working with all the others."

Pastor Matt
will be preaching-teaching on Worship Sunday, March 11th. It will be the first Sunday after the guys get back from their Mission to Cazadero.

Were Matt to take Brooks' suggestion #3 to heart, he might re-visit any of the 41 sermons from our three-year series. Other local voices in 2007 could easily be used of the Lord to better prepare us by listening to:

A New Beginning.....Matt Klein

Salt and Light.....Bob Knapp

Defining Love......Brandon Willette

Lord willing, I will locate and provide links for those online messages later today.

as I almost always observe the heart of Suggestion #1, I'd like to share that another 'song on Jimmie's heart' from 2 weeks ago (The Solid Rock) cannot possibly be sung in unity and with understanding unless some more 'communication' takes place.

Allow me to explain. In order to cross a language barrier in prayer meeting last night, we first sang some hymns. Bernhardt, Elfreida, Joseph, Faye, Clyde, Karla, Wolfgang, and I each took turns paraphrasing the verses from that old hymn. Then, Karla translated the witness in Spanish for Carmin before we corporately sang each verse and chorus.

"...As to the doctrinal message of the hymn, several key thoughts and phrases qualify it as a "Hymn of Grace." Of course, the chorus itself clearly sets forth the message of grace. The metaphor of Christ as a rock is one with a firm basis in Scripture (1 Cor 10:4)."  (source link)

Yes, the opening phrase and the chorus is easily sung. Yet, there was much discussion about the lyricist's intent for various phrases and ideas attached to the simple melody. When Joe got home, he immediately did an online study of the old hymn. Even after that discussion, we still don't know how to sing all of the verses with our hearts AND our minds.

While translating, Karla asked us "What is the meaning of gale?" That was easy--a strong wind in the storm. However, we questioned the intended meaning of 'the sweetest frame' and 'the veil' (in some hymnbooks 'vale').

Clyde had some good input for that phrase.

This may not interest others but I, for one, want the people of God to KNOW the meaning of the songs they so dearly love. Otherwise, how can one possibly say yea and amen with integrity?

In the Worship Service, I would rather sing five intelligible words than a thousand words in tongues (unless there be an interpreter). Therefore, here's my challenge: anyone who loves that old hymn, The Solid Rock, should take a closer look at the words and share a witness for those who might shrug their shoulders when asked to stand and sing something that doesn't make sense to them.

The Solid Rock: Here are the lyrics and the context in which he first sung it (click here)

This research page (click here) reveals that the tune we know wasn't the original. Joe chuckles that the original published title was "The Immutable Basis of a Sinner's Hope".

Speaking of Joe, his wife wanted me to pass on a message. I thought you might like to read our morning chat along with him:

5:17 AM

sharon: Hi Daddy

hi sharon

I'm trying to figure out how to upload your sermon on the mp3

I'm writing my blog. Do you want the URL of the mp3?

yeah please. Joe did it when we were in bangkok

click here that should do it

sharon: it is now playing
but I wanna have it in the mp3

sharon: so I can listen to it even if I'm in bed

me: the mp3 is at the URL above and is what you'll need to save it to your own mp3 player

ok. It is now copying the file. maybe this will work what time is it there now?

me: 5:22 a.m.

good morning, dad    :D

good morning to you, my dear daughter. Is it OK to publish this chat so people will feel like they've met you?

yeah.. it's ok. thanks for the link. I'm gonna listen to it more tonight before I go to bed

great! If you listen carefully, it will relate to your current experience. I trust that.

yes daddy..

have you tested if it uploaded OK? does it work?

thanks daddy. yes, it did!

very good. Have a good sleep.

thanks dad. please say my good morning to Joe
and a morning hug too

He'll read it right here!
I'll ask mama to do that for you



5:46 AM

sharon: love you daddy. I'll be off to bed now

good night

....and, that, dear reader is one morning's journal entry.

This is Rob Patterson, signing off from today's international broadcast and get on to Thursday's continuance of pastoring a Jesus-lovin', soul-winnin', disciple-makin', ministry-equipping, missionary-sending local church. G.R.O.W. '08 is about to reveal new signs of growth.

JetBack to where you once belonged...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Its 7:00 a.m. Pastor Matt and I started chatting online (at 11:59) and then talked on the phone for a couple hours.

I feel alert today with 5 hours sleep. Yet, my morning coffee has not yet been delivered to my bedside office (something dear Cathy does for me).

Matt asked why my daily journal has been less-than-daily. The hard-drive/software issue addressed on January 17 has not yet changed.

Besides, I like to write about the Big Picture from my assigned seat in the heavenlies. The rains have come down and the floods have come up. Frankly, I don't care to journal during down times.

Admittedly, I made a choice to come down to earth in 2008. Although it has been very 'real' down here, I prefer the vista of meditating upon 'what could be'. Those sights shall return, I'm sure, but it is important to walk among the people with whom one preaches.

Mary and I were driving yesterday on a home delivery of BellRoad Radio's latest CD (Intentional Evangelism). She remarked about the rapid increase of gas prices. The 16 year old student has yet to maintain a car of her own. Our brief father-daughter outing caused me to read this article this morning. Here is some regulareality to your own think-tank:

Gasoline Costs Soar;
US Households Cut Total Spending

Read it but don't let it weigh you down. Be ye filled with the Spirit (regardless of the cost of gasoline)...

In the 'annual check-up' sessions, I have been addressing my current understanding of the Yea and Amen that is needful in order for an appointed-anointed preacher to do his job with the joy of the Lord.

Having now invested nearly half of my life in frontline ministry, I have gained a better understanding of cross-cultural dynamics in the transmission and reception of the Gospel. I'm not ready to fully articulate my discovery but have found an article that might help those who don't understand my preaching style.

I sent this to Matt at the close of our early morning conversation. I fully expect him to read this sometime today (from the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture):

  The Black Preacher

Here is an excerpt:

"...while much of the sermon cannot possibly be heard distinctly, something is being communicated, and the congregation will feel that it has received God's Word.

This may happen because many of the congregation know the Bible almost as thoroughly as does the preacher, and they creatively anticipate his message; also, in these services the congregation participates actively and creatively in the service, and may for long periods be "hearing" their own celebrations."

It should help him to better hear the heartfelt message I have attempted to deliver on Sunday mornings.

Although, this current congregation is primarily 'white' and do not vocalize the 'yea and amen', (nor do they get overly emotional in song, dance, or other demonstrative action), I have discovered other ways to experience the 'yea' and 'amen' from those who are feasting on the riches of His Word. I will write more about it in the months to come.

It is with great respect for the office of pastor-teacher, that I proceed with confidence as a foot-washing pastor serving the Word--straight from the Oven.

I spoke with my primary influence, Pastor Ezell Plair, last July. He is now 80-something and doesn't preach much anymore. However, back in 1982-84, he was used of God as a model of Spirit-led, Bible-based preaching. There were older saints in the services but a small group of young men stood with him on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday nights (as well as the Sunday morning schedule). With Bible open, I was among those who stood alongside the Preacher. Pastor Plair preached the Word and I was hungry for it.

On a parallel track, last night I began to reread a book called "The Joy of Preaching" which was originally delivered as a series of lectures by Phillips Brooks at Yale Divinity School in 1877. (Brooks wrote the song 'O Little Town of Bethlehem').

More on 'The Joy of Preaching' later...

Monday, February 25, 2008

This morning Joe is scheduled to fly into Sacramento from his trip to the Philippines. I'll pick him up just before noon.

Here is a copy of Sunday's Message:

      Intentional Evangelism

It recounts the story of Philip the Evangelist and his trip toward Gaza in Acts 8:26-40. There is a guest appearance by Jack Summers (adoptive grandfather to three children who had lived at the Greater Love Children's Home in Liberia).

This coming weekend a group of our men will go away on a mission trip to Camp Cazadero. Two of our families discovered a great need over thanksgiving and, wanting to be helpful, thought to rally the troops around going for a weekend to help them prepare for the upcoming season.

Here is a link to the camp's website: click here

Friday, February 22, 2008

Today, I have interacted with our son Daniel. He is writing a paper about decisions based upon his own sense of morality. He needed help with designing his thesis statement so I gladly reworked his opening sentences. I am pleased that Daniel has been honest and thoughtful as he has pursued academic assignments in recent years.

I shared a good time of prayer with the deacons this morning. My plan for today is to pursue my own thesis statement for Sunday's Message:

Intentional Evangelism (here's one of many articles)

One of my favorite examples of a personal relationship with the Lord comes from Acts 8:26-40. Not wanting to simply repeat myself for the umpteenth time, I have delayed getting to this story for at least a couple weeks.

Yesterday, during my study, I came across an interesting interpretation of this verse from the realm of 'gay' theology. As I explained to the leadership on Monday night, I feel that it is important to stay informed.

A gay view of the Eunuch's experience with the gospel is promoted on this page, 'Would Jesus Discriminate?'

I don't 'go for it' theology, that is. Still, I invested more of my time reading another teaching found on this page and revisited what some have to say about the relationship between Jonathan and David.

That's part of preparing to preach in this setting. There are members of our church who have loved ones who are openly gay. As a shepherd, I feel it is important to try to be empathetic toward these parents who don't know how to best to proceed in these days.

I was online looking at the surveys in bulletins sent and received among young people. 'Do you support gay marriage?' is a question that comes up regularly. Scriptwriters for movies and TV shows have taught a generation that the correct answer should be supportive of the idea.

I remain strongly opposed to the redefinition of marriage. My view will not change. By preparing myself, I might be useful to the Lord Jesus in helping to set one person free.

I pray that the Lord will grant me faithful words of abundant life in opposition to the Thief's agenda in this generation.

May God also direct your steps as you face the challenge of being His light in any dark region.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our first session of G.R.O.W. took place last night. This is a new Leadership emphasis that Pastor Matt, Emma, and I are planning on a monthly basis as church staff. For a first effort, it was well-attended and helpful to begin getting the various components of our local church on the same page.

I have a full day of appointments today. An annual checkup with two long-time members, a luncheon with Curt and a rep from the Baptist Foundation, then a home visit with Jack to a couple who are inquiring about our church.

On Saturday, Cathy and I drove to Galt so that I could preach at a funeral for Richard Hult. Although Richard hadn't attended our church, he had requested that I speak at his funeral. He died after a bout with cancer at the age of 81.

There were 181 people in attendance. I surmised that many of the people were unchurched. The Spirit gave me a clear path to follow as I led the service and shared basic truths from God's Word that people ought to hear when they are considering the issue of death and their own mortality.

I had met Richard through a 'guitar circle' we had offered at the church one year but hadn't had the privilege to ever share the plan of salvation personally. He had been in different settings (funerals) where I had shared God's Word, but I never had that specific conversation with him.

Fortunately, Richard's first cousin, Howard, was invited to share the gospel with him before he died. I spoke with Howard the night before the funeral and asked him to share his testimony about sharing Christ with Richard on a personal level.

Near the end of the funeral, I invited those without a church home to consider attending services at FBC. I introduced R.B. McCartney and asked him to lead us in the closing prayer. Cathy and I are aware that some members have left FBC with plans to plant a new church. It appears to be an amicable departure but we know that it hurts those who remain to 'lose' the fellowship of these co-laborers in Christ. They grieve the loss of people who have left (including us).

 Yesterday, R.B. wrote with this encouraging news:

    It was good to see you guys Saturday.
We had a
    good day at First Baptist this past Sunday. We had a
    young father saved Sunday morning, and a young boy to
    rededicate his life Sunday night. Praise the LORD!

We all need that emotional lift of knowing that God is still working--no matter how circumstances appear. There are always people who have no connection with the past who simply need the love of a church (big or small).

So, LORD, thank you for opening the eyes of this young father on Sunday morning and for meeting this boy at an altar of rededication on Sunday night.

Thank you, Lord, for encouraging our friends in Galt. May we all remember the secret of contentment that Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:10-20.

Mary and Cerissa attended a very small church down the road from Camp Cazadero (where they were on-mission) with the Clarks and the Ronks. Both reported that God blessed those who attended in that humble meeting place last Sunday.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Daniel brought the video he shot on February 3rd, so I've just converted the audio to mp3. That was the Sunday after the vandalism occurred in our sanctuary. We held our service in the Foyer.

So, here is that message, if anyone wants to hear it:

  Have You Ever Been Simonized?

Joe is on his way to the Philippines to visit his wife, Sharon. He revealed that he was listening to yesterday's message online:

   The Overnight (click here)

joseph: hey papa
               free wifi in Portland, Oregon

me: hi joe
How long are you there?

joseph: boarding 1125am
soon I will be able to use my headphones built for two :)    I have a splitter hooked up to headphones
havent used them since I left the philippines last time

me: mama will be on in a minute

joseph: is christianity an emotional faith?

me: it has to be (for me sometimes)
so you're listening?

joseph: yeah

me: I trimmed off some of the header...

joseph: hm...

me: Some of the people weren't singing during worship. We were missing some of our people, some of the musicians...I kept on pressing through to sing the words of truth. One of our seniors was standing with her hand lifted high. That was a pleasant vision to behold.

When the children were leaving for the BellRoad Express, I started counting the bell rings and by the time we finished I was getting pumped up 'emotionally'

actually, I had asked, "Is it OK to get emotional?" There was a resounding 'Amen' before my immediate reply,

    "Christianity is an emotional faith."

I qualified it with the balancing factors...

"Christianity is a 'rational faith.'

but, my, rationale alone sure wouldn't work for me

dya think I ought to trim it further?

joseph: well

me: since it rubs you the wrong way

joseph: it has to have emotional elements
I was just quoting so you knew I was listening

of course it is an emotional faith
since God cares so much about our emotions

me: well, since you've heard more...what do you think?
leave it?

joseph: God cares what we do
why we do it
and how we feel about doing it

me: The point is 'Come to me, you who are weary..."
rather than...."Suck it up. Its not about 'feelings'....

put away your weariness with REASON'
crying "Abba, father, is an emotional act of faith, I think"

Brooks Phillips said,

   "Preaching is truth through personality."

That's what my personality needed to do to get over my feelings and into the Word
Still, everything is editable...
So, give it some thought.

joseph: yeah, Jesus doesn't moan and groan about them not accepting them

me: have you heard me say that yet?

joseph: yeah

me: That thought was 'liberating' as I preached
Still, it might seem that I'm comparing 'my' listeners to them...  and that really isn't the case is good to know that we can have confidence if we're walking close to Jesus in the Sabbath Way...

joseph: just as much preaching to ourselves

me: yeah

joseph: I think it sounds like let US go
               get me through
                         get us through
you are switching enough
you , us , me

me: yeah...I figure that every person there has a withered hand...and most likely it is UNSEEN emotionally-based response that should be brought with us to Jesus
that's why I'll say...

"I'll get through this myself, Jesus. You just keep singing 'Come to me'...but I'm not coming. I'll handle this myself.

No need to bother you with it. I'll just work a couple more days and pay this bill..." 

that line of stinkin'-thinkin', self-reliance ...

Friday, February 15, 2008

This is the day that the Lord has made. Its 8:40. I just returned from the Deacons' Prayer Meeting which started at 6:30. We have a Minister of Landscaping who is here with his team serving as they do on Fridays.

Last night, another couple came in for their 1st Annual Check-Up with Cathy and me. What a wonderful time of learning more about God's Will for us. Our check-ups are helping me better understand how best to grow this church.

G iving our best

R eaching in as we reach out

O vercoming all obstacles

W orking together with God

Pastor Matt and I continue to pray and bind our hearts together with our secretary, Emma. We are committing ourselves to be filled with the Spirit. May God grant us the fruit of JOY (our strength for the mission ahead of us).

I've been listening to a CD of Sunday's Message in my car. I also have it playing on the computer as I write.

Here's a pop quiz from the message:

Come and Dine, Come and Dine,
     You may feast at Jesus' Table ______________ .

             a)  some of the time

             b)  once a week

             c)  all the time

A full day's activity ahead of me.  May you hunger for God today--to the point of seeking Him for the meal He has prepared for you today. I'm hungry. How 'bout you?!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So, last night Justine came down with the flu but Pastor Matt was in bright and early. We talked and prayed at length about the next season of sowing and reaping ahead of us.

Cathy and I are going to look at another property today. Our 6 month lease at Miner's Station runs up in 15 days. If there are going to be any changes, they might happen soon.

This Sunday's sermon is entitled "The Overnight". I will be meditating upon it as I attempt to address the after-flood positioning of furniture in my office.

Here is the audio for last Sunday's Message:

   Come and Dine

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Our son, Daniel, is training to participate in an endurance event (a 26 mile marathon) as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. He is raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.

Daniel writes: "I'm completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!" 

(click here for Daniel's webpage to donate to the cause)

I just made a contribution (with credit card) because...well, first, that what a father ought to do--support his son in a worthy endeavor. This was his first donation and it is tracked as 7% of his fundraising goal.

Daniel was also visiting Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road, when our own Karla Hopkins tearfully shared her experience with Leukemia when she was a child. That day, Karla's mother led us in prayer over Victoria. The entire scene impacted Daniel. Next thing I know, he is running this race as a personal response.

Daniel hasn't ever gone on a mission trip (or raced funds for like cause), so he might be surprised at how tapped everyone already feels. However, here's something cool that might help some people decide to give:

If you work for a company that 'matches' gifts, you can elect to do so on Daniel's webpage: click here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today Pastor Matt has the flu with lots of symptoms! So, please dear readers, lift him up in prayer today. I know a variety of people who really need to see God at work in the midst of their circumstance, so I must pray. Prayer is therapeutic.

Cathy and I have been deliberating over a major housing decision so the circumstantial pressures which have recently impacted our church campus (vandalism, theft, flooding), have taken a toll, I suppose.

The most recent message (to be continued this coming Sunday) has made me hungry for the Word from Jesus.
After I preached a brother asked me about a conflict he had seen in his Study-Bible notes about the definition of Shabat (sabbath). I had made a quick reference to a point in an article I had recently read by Ray Stedman:
    "...the supreme meaning of sabbath is rest. In fact, the
      word "seven," the word "sabbath," and the word "rest,"
      are all the same basic word in Hebrew, Shabat, seven,
      sabbath, rest. Therefore, the heart of the meaning of
      sabbath is rest. That is its primary significance."

Mr. Stedman may have been mistaken. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think, Hebrew scholars:

Sabbath      Seventh

The situation does apply to Dr. Nelson's admonition in our Theology class (the Principle of Human Fallibility  i.e. 'No matter how careful we try, we will pass on error from time to time'). Therefore, let us reason with one another.

At least I can go back and edit the 1 second mention of an etymological tie from the sermon. Mr. Stedman cannot (he's already passed on). Then again, maybe he would stand by his assertion--even today.

This also applies to my concern about church-watchdogs who write with a mean-spirit against their contemporaries. There must be a better way.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Good time at Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road yesterday afternoon. In session with two or more gathered (four of us) we acknowledged afresh our shared adventure with the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, Pastor Matt and I have a deadline to meet. One week from tonight, we will launch our first session of G.R.O.W. (Leadership Training Practicum).

Here's a cheeze-whiz rendition of 'Come and Dine' (an old-timey song that Jimmie Bent has planted up on the hill during these days of Recovery (post-vandal/post-flood).
I dare you to click on the link, follow the imaginary bouncing ball and try singing this song. Warning: if you do you might find yourself singing it later in the day. The people I live with have been spontaneously singing bits of it through the hours since SundayChurch.

Someone recently questioned the validity of taking the church off-campus for a BellRoad University. Our hostess prepared 2 kinds of soup and other snacks. I arrived a few minutes late (5:36) --just ahead of Tom and Francie and found that the church was busy binding and loosing. Yes, the idea of a pre-class koinonia was loosed and binding-bonding was taking place.

"No rush," modeled the host who allowed the remote control to rest for at least two cycles of 7-minute shabbat.

We had a wonderful time in Session Three of Experiencing God.

This trans-generational class is rich soil for planting good seed and watering seed planted in years past. Nobody was in a hurry to close down last night. Even the host and hostesses encouraged the stragglers. I wasn't the last to leave after FIVE hours there!

Yesterday's sermon (Come and Dine) should be uploaded soon. I notice that my 'daily' journal reveals an unintentional 7-day sabbatical has been taken. There are a variety of reasons for that but I think I could probably recount the lessons of the unwritten pages years from now.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Although there should be an audio copy of 'Have You Ever Been Simonized?' forthcoming, it is currently stored along with video on Daniel's camera. He didn't bring his transfer cable with him so I will have to wait to retrieve that Sunday Message.

Last Sunday's Message was about 'persecution'. I opened the teaching with an acknowledgement that most of us haven't suffered much persecution for Christ's sake, so the Word might be hidden in our hearts and minds for future help.

Then, mid-week, after I had written my journal entry (see Thursday, Jan. 31), we discovered that our church building and property had been vandalized. Some musical equipment had been stolen. The vandalism involved is what might stir up the idea of persecution.

A sledgehammer was discovered out in the Rose Garden where several freshly-painted trellaces were knocked over. Inside, the total contents of a fire extinguisher had been sprayed in the sanctuary during the burglary. A blanket of powder covered the floor, the altar, the pulpit, the piano, and all the chairs.

During the days between the discovery and the following sermon, I experienced the power of rehearsing the Spirit's last pulpit message by playing the CD in my car. God is above the entire scene. He was in the Room when the Thief was directing the steps of the individuals involved. Several prayers have gone up regarding what happens next in their lives.

Perhaps, (as in Acts 8:1), someone was standing and watching giving his approval. Perhaps, that 'someone' is going to hear the Risen Lord calling him/her by name with this question:

      "_______, why do you persecute me?"

Yesterday, we held our church service in the outer court. The worship team led in some beautiful hymns and choruses. The Choir sang. The Word was preached and the Lord's Supper was shared among us.

On a parallel track of 'troubles', I came across a terrible article that accused the people who had just been in Liberia to bring home some children. The title of this article was most disturbing to me. It was about my friends who have been very careful to do everything to follow the Lord in a manner which is above reproach:

Liberia: Seven Children Sneaked Out

I wrote to John and HollyAnn to inform them of this article and they gave me the link to their response:

Addy's Hope Responds to Accusation

From now on, when I think about "Persecution for Following the Lord's Direction", I will probably throw this last week's episodes in the mix.

This afternoon (1:00 p.m.), I will be speaking to the guys in the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Program (at the Union Gospel Mission). I plan to share from the same passage I shared down in Mexico under this title:
'From the First Day until Now...' (Philippians 1)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yesterday, I had a great time filling the God-given role as a 'pastor' in our local Baptist church.

A new couple came in for their First Annual Check-Up with the pastor at BellRoad (me). We established early on that they will enroll in our membership class and join us for the new adventure ahead.

They gave me a packet of "Ten Commandment" bookmarks. I passed them out at prayer meeting and we prayed the Word. Our midweek prayer meeting was very enriching last night. There were eleven of us in attendance.

Of course, there's a 'Power of a Praying Woman' goin' on down the hall...and kids in TeamKID, and youth in their torn-up remodel, and babies in the nursery, Curt preparing for Choir, and Clean up in the Kitchen after the weekly supper...

(yeah, its good to see the House of God open on a Wednesday night)

Now, us old-timers in the circle of prayer chose to pray through the Ten Commandments and it was powerful for us.

By the way, we kinda feel especially involved in anything good that happens or is gonna happen at BellRoad. Why? We are praying. We are acknowledging God and asking Him to direct our steps. We are confessing our sins and asking Him for correction and direction. It's that simple.

Oh, I also spent the evening hours watching Rick Warren's Sunday morning message at the National Cathedral and at the Sunday Forum beforehand.

My friend, John, had sent me some links to negative criticism (and sarcasm) from a couple of 'church watchdogs' (or 'blogdogs' ...I guess they're called). He asked what my current opinion of brother Rick was/is...

I was rather blunt with him in a few notes about my opinions of these people. I'm not a disciple of Rick Warren...but um...yeah, I think we're serving the same Jesus.

Here was the forum (click here). This is basically the same material that Rick delivered to the gathering of 200 pastors when I went to Saddleback last December. Rick's jokes don't get many chuckles from this crowd. was his morning sermon at the National Cathedral (click here). Rick Warren in a suit and a tie, see it for yourself...

I'm not going to link the critics because I don't respect them very much at this point. If you wanna find them, you can google it for yourselves.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The mother of 3 siblings adopted from Liberia wrote to me at 1:00 a.m. this morning. I had mentioned this family in yesterday's blog but hadn't thought that any of the email addresses I could find for them were current. Here is an excerpt from Jen's letter:

You are not going to believe this, but I am pretty sure that my father-in-law was a member of Bell Road for about 4 years until he recently retired (he was in the blue grass group there)! What a small world we live in!

Anyways, we are pretty close - we are just up north on I-5. I would love to go into more details and we would be happy to talk with you and would LOVE to come and share about Liberia, Greater Love Children's Home, Pastor Wesley, and adoption sometime (and I'm sure Dad would like to come along too!).

I was thrilled that the rest of the letter was so warm and trusting. How pleased I am that God has given us the gift of 'close proximity'.

I also heard back from Pakistan this morning. The meetings did happen so I'll have more to say on that someday soon. I don't have freedom to write whatever I'd like because it jeopardizes ministry potential in this situation.

Cathy and I are off and running now. It is 6:20 a.m. Hey, listen to Sunday's Message if you missed it.

Caution: This isn't a 'feel good' message (not that sermons are supposed to feel good...)

Persecution and Proclamation

Maybe next week's message will be more playful:

   "Have You Ever Been Simonized?"  (Acts 8:4-26)

(not that sermon's are supposed to be fun...)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Here's my latest letter from Pastor Wesley:

Hello Pastor Rob,

May I share with you what the Lord has been doing during 2007?

As you can see from the attached photos, we have 2 medical clinics, an FM Radio Station still being constructed located between church and clinic, a guest house still under construction near our house where visitors will stay on short missions' trip, latest family photo of the Wesleys and 5 couples who got married on December 16, 2007 at our church.

Praise God for His excellent greatness!

Pastor Wesley

The Lord hid some direction for me in last Sunday's text until 4:00 a.m. that very morning. I was prompted to make mention of issues facing us again at election time. My primary issue (abortion) seems to be connected with another (definition of marriage). Through the local Body of Christ, I see that the prompting was due to in-depth inquiry into the histories of my co-laborers at Bell Road.

Persecution and Proclamation

That's the sermon. Not much of a 'feel good' message but it is what God delivered through me (in spite of my congestion and tongue-tied moments which have been mostly edited out).

Amazing: Sunday's Message also made mention of this word (amazing). Although it was just spontaneous, illustrative material, it is not a throwaway thought. Today I've chosen to meditate upon the mystery of the words we put together. We sing songs (old and new) that utilizes this modern-sounding word as adjectival preface to both of these BibleStudy words:

Grace: charis

Love:   agape

Grace is used as a noun but, like the word 'Love', I sometimes consider it to be action verb. The Spirit  'graces' me by going beyond my thoughts and imagination in response to the earnest prayers I've heard voiced in prayer meetings.

On Sunday night, in our Experiencing God small group, I referenced one God-sized assignment (Liberia) given to listening Christians over the several years' time.

In December of 2002, our initial contact with Pastor Wesley could not at first be substantiated through web searches. Today, there are a number of adoptive families who have brought some of the Greater Love children to America to grow up among us. Although I haven't met them, I know we have a mutual interest in Pastor Richard and Laura Wesley (and all the kids who have been fed, housed, or educated through the ministries of Greater Love).

I discovered a homeschooler's blog (click here) about one humble ministry family who had adopted three siblings from Pastor Wesley's home. Cathy and I remember this very children. I read in the blog that this family had moved to California. I wonder if they are anywhere near us?

Another blog graces me with a sweet story about these same three kids (click here).

In 2004, Cathy and I worked with photos and prayed for your little guys we see pictured. Then, in 2005, my dear friends, Mike and Robin McCall spent a month there--living right at the Children's Home. In 2006, our son Joe lived with the Wesley family for 80 days.

It is a great blessing for me to read of families who have decided to publicly share what some might have chosen to keep completely private.

Before coming to America, Macdonald Wreh visited Pastor Wesley to take the photos of the children on our behalf. At that time, Pastor Wesley told him that some of the children would not have survived had they not gotten to the Children's Home when they did.

God has brought several other people into the Big Picture since we started. For that, I give Him thanks for loving me and gracing me in such amazing ways.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Yesterday, after church, Pastor Matt handed me a clean, digital recording of the SundayMessage. Cathy worked in the Nursery so she and I listened to the recording during an afternoon drive.

Here is a link to yesterday's message:

   Persecution and Proclamation

Cathy and I are up early and heading to the Gym together before starting going to our respective job sites. I also have an email from one of our recently-baptized members awaiting further thought and action. This correspondence extends a request made at the altar.

Over the next 2 days, I will be watching for emails from Pakistan. I have contacts there who are supposed to meet up with each other. I hope all goes well.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

May His House be a House of Prayer.

Something like 'centripetal force' seems to be happening in the prayer clusters I've recently experienced: Monday Night at the Leadership Council, Sunday afternoons at Bautista Iglesia de Bell Road, Tuesday's pastors' prayer group, Friday mornings with the Deacons.

Last night, Jimmie, Chet, Wolf, Joe, Karla and I had the privilege of welcoming Larry to pray alongside us. We had a sweet hour of prayer. Larry had a special testimony for us. A man who Larry knew through work had been 'visited' by a knock on the door recently. He apparently spoke of a young lady from Bell Road Baptist Church because, from his descrption, Larry figured it must have been Karla.

Karla thought about it with wonder and asked,

    "What country was he from?"

    "El Salvador, I think," Larry responded.

Karla nodded and said she remembered that they had shown great interest (Karla is from Honduras).

Larry said, "He said he was going to go there when it gets started!"

Well, it has started.  Jesse and Elba should be returning from Southern California soon. They were planning to visit my friend, Pastor Francisco Camerana, while they were there.

The first quarter of the Pastor's Annual Check-Up (free, Spirit-led consultations) will be an ongoing process through March, 2008. Cathy came up with this idea and we are having a really fun time with it. I think the Lord will use this idea to establish 'His Health Program' among us.

Write me for more information:

By the way, is under new management.

I received news yesterday that Matt Klein had put his creative genius at work online. I look >>forward>> to seeing what our youthful leader comes up with in the days ahead.

Please send all accolades
   (and complaints...about anything, really) to:

Remember, folks: all rights reserved

  "I don't get it." thought Brother Tom (or Dick) to himself.

  "I don't either!" said Sister Betty (or Jane)
                             --knowing his thoughts.

Sally looked over at Susan and asked, "What's that?"

   "My granddaughter's iPod." answered Susan.

            "Oh, I've heard about those!" added Sally.

   "She can download Sunday's Message on it."

            "Really?  How?!"

    "Go to  and ask for Matt. He's the
         Minister of Youth, Music, and Media over there."

            "My, my. How everything has changed."

     "Not everything." said Susan.

             "How's that?" asked Sally as she pulled out
                                     the GPS from her purse.

     "See Evan run. Funny, funny, Evan." laughed Susan.

     "Little boys running in the church..."
                  laugh the girls, in unison,
                  from one generation to the next.

     "May His House be a House of Prayer,"
                  adds the aging pastor.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If you haven't had a chance to review last Sunday's Message, click below:

    Calling All Sinners: New Wineskins for Old

Alas, the old wineskin is bursting. Upon my request, Pastor Matt composed an initial theme to be used as our bridge from Proclamation to Movement. Symptomatic of the burst is that you will not hear his commissioned theme on our recording.  Attempting to mix in the music during post-production would an interesting idea except that I broke into a brief melody that coincided with the theme.

Does our Minister of Media have enough George Martin in him to make it work? Yeah, he could do it but I will not commission for that. As you'll see below, my own area-of-focus must be different in this season. I can hardly wait to see what Matt's been sittin' on!

Contentment about the soon-realization of the vision for our own 'local media' allows me to rewind and pause during the following paragraphs:

Yesterday our pastors' prayer meeting went on awhile...(2.25 hours--mostly listening). Of course, we don't share the topics discussed among ourselves and before the Lord. I write about it so I won't forget the timbre of that intimate gathering.

Zooming Out (from the intimate circle), the question asked of each other has given me a milestone to be remembered for the Big Picture. This particular prayer group is one of the reasons God brought me to Auburn.

Likewise, Monday night's Leadership Council (which is 'not' confidential) was an important gathering. Most precious was the encircled, hand-in-hand intercession with which we closed our time together. That gathering had also allowed the Big Hand® to transcend the allotted time (6:30 to 8:20--before our little hands grasped each other's hearts).

Before leaving for Mexico I purposed to adjust my lens (to the 30-60-100-fold setting). The final half of my 50th year should be more reflective than proactive. Plenty of seed from our sack of beans has already been sown during the pre-matt months. Now, we will watch and see how that first season of preparation brings forth the first year's harvest.

Recently someone asked me if I thought we would get picketed again this Easter. Nope...well, not by Luke anyway. I never mentioned that Luke and I had a 'chance' meeting at Sierra College a couple weeks back.

The BoundaryLines for Cathy® and Rob© have truly fallen in pleasant places. Together, we're moving ahead with 2008 annual check-ups (of those who belong to our fellowship--including ourselves). This change of focus could be exactly what the pastor needs to hear more clearly our Father's Plan for our church and family.

 May God bless you (pl) as you read-btwn-theLines©®

Monday, January 21, 2008

For over three years I've written here nearly every single day so to see that I haven't posted since Thursday is a surprise! I'm about to start editing yesterday's sermon so that will be available in a couple hours.

Someday, maybe I'll write a bit about these topics. Pastor Matt teaches that there are eight bits in a byte. I'll probably write more than that.

Deacons' PrayerTime.
A GPS walk around our backyard pond.
Jerry's Window.
Saturday Drive with Joe.
Saturday Night Drive with Mary.
Sunday Headsets.
Spanish Service Ripples.

Today, Cathy will work from 10:00-6:00.
I'm asking Anna Gabbert for prayer support.
At 1:00 I will meet with Kurt about finances.
I told Madeline that I will visit this afternoon.
Tonight is our Leadership Council Meeting.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The reason I haven't been writing much is due to software and hardware issues. Due to Mayberry video storage needs, I had moved my website software onto an external harddrive must be connected to AC. That means any bedside writing (which seems to work well for me) is difficult to do since I also desire adequate lighting (a third outlet). Nothing that an extension cord couldn't solve!

I just had a long talk on the phone with our Associate Pastor Matt Klein. Again, I am so happy that God has called him to serve alongside me (among us). We are planning for a powerful ministry yielded to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Today, I spoke with Rev. Tim Lane from the Union Gospel Mission (Sacramento). He has asked me to speak at Spirit Week (a time of encouragement for all those who are enrolled in their 6 month Drug and Alcohol program). I am honored to have been asked.

Valerie Harris (Auburn's Police Chief) and Bayside's Ray Johnson are among others who have also been invited to bring an encouraging message during Spirit Week. Thank you Tim and Union Gospel Mission for the open door you have extended to us throughout the years.

My SundayMessage is entitled

      "Calling All Sinners! New Wineskins for Old"

Today, it is still thawing and I'm preheating the oven. Gonna butter up this turkey, pat her down with some real butter, and get ready.

     It's THURSDAY...but SUNDAY'S COMIN'....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I had a terrible sinus headache that started at 5:00 a.m. It has really been bothersome throughout the whole day. Jack and I went out on a visitation and the med I had taken for the headache was making me embarrassingly tired.

An old friend from Michigan called tonight. We prayed together and I hope to stay mindful of my brother's need for God's Direction. I suggested that he may wanna listen to one of these recent sermons. When the Word is preached, the message goes out for 'somebody.' Maybe the Lord would speak to him through it.

On Monday night, I called Alexander Plair (son of Pastor Ezell Plair). We had a good conversation. He told me that his Dad (my preaching-style mentor) is now 80 years old. The last time I spoke with Pastor Plair he told me that he isn't preaching much anymore.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I began this morning at 6:15 a.m. My reply to one of our members was sent at 1:58 and I dropped off to sleep within minutes I'm sure. So, today I'll run on a bit less-than-normal sleep but as our Latino friends have said that is what siesta is for. Si, we'll see if there's a siesta along the way.

Somehow (with holiday-shifting of church furniture), our senior-friendly, church clock has been hidden from my view. That fact, along with zeal for the preaching hour (and perhaps the lack of the request for a tinkling music cue) has resulted in two full-length messages (H.O.M.E. and One More for Jesus). Last night, I discovered the close to the H.O.M.E. message on side 2 of Micah's tape. I also digitized the analog of yesterday's tape, so I gave it an initial review and will upload these 'preachable moments' later today.

In the H.O.M.E. message, I mentioned going to Bear Creek's website and seeing something that stirred me up over significant uses of new technology.

Here is a copy of what it was I saw there.

The first ever vocal radio broadcast on December 24, 1906 consisted of a reading from Luke chapter two?

During yesterday's message I alluded to a bit of Baptist History but paraphrased the 'famous' quote and didn't cite the proper names involved. So, I thought I'd share this:

In 1785, William Carey was appointed the schoolmaster for the village of Moulton. He was also invited to pastor the local Baptist church. During this time he read Jonathan Edwards' Account of the Life of the Late David Brainerd and the journals of the explorer James Cook, and became deeply concerned with propagating the Christian Gospel throughout the world.

His friend Andrew Fuller had previously written an influential pamphlet in 1781 titled The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, answering the hyper-Calvinist belief then prevalent in the Baptist churches, that all men were not responsible to believe the Gospel.

At a ministers' meeting in 1786, Carey raised the question of whether it was the duty of all Christians to spread the Gospel throughout the world.

J. R. Ryland
, the father of John Ryland, is said to have retorted:

     (and here's the attributed quote...)

"Young man, sit down;
     when God pleases to convert the heathen,
                he will do it without your aid and mine."

my flawed paraphrase usually goes like this:

"Young man, sit down;
      if God wants to save the heathen,
                he'll do it without your help!"

Upon citing this quote in my early morning letter I read this disclaimer:

"Ryland's son, John Ryland Jr., disputes that his father made this statement."  (wikipedia)

Yesterday, a church Grandma wrote to me from sunny Arizona and says she reads this blog to keep up on stuff (at least from my perspective).

After yesterday morning's message and our time at the altar, we waited until noon for our own local church's Quarterly Business Meeting. Although only 40-some corporate members were in attendance, we had the quorum and we 'did our business'...

     (that sounds funny, huh Grandma?)

Toward the very end of our our Quarterly BM (again, that sounds funny) the issue of separation of church and state arose. Again I let a loose recollection of 'facts' roll off my tongue. Here is something I found in a quick google to substantiate my recollection.

The Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut sent a letter, dated October 7, 1801,
to the newly elected President Thomas Jefferson,
expressing concern over the lack in their state constitution of explicit protection of religious liberty, and against a government establishment of religion.

In their letter to the President, the Danbury Baptists affirmed that "Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty — That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals — That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor..."

As a religious minority in Connecticut, the Danbury Baptists were concerned that a religious majority might "reproach their chief Magistrate... because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ," thus establishing a state religion at the cost of the liberties of religious minorities.

Thomas Jefferson's response, dated January 1, 1802, concurs with the Danbury Baptists' views on religious liberty, and the accompanying separation of civil government from concerns of religious doctrine and practice.

Jefferson writes: "...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."


Sunday, January 13, 2008

After watching an interesting set of interviews with Composer Earle Hagen, I decided to withdraw the public view of the video clips from our Mayberry project until I have had the chance to speak personally with Earle (Lord willing).

I will leave certain scenes on my video page but feel it is best to see if I can get Earle's permission to use his whistling theme song on our tribute video.

(click here to meet Earle Hagen)

I found a phone number for him in Palm Springs, California but it answers with a fax tone. So....I'm gonna try to send him a fax. The video interview with Earle spans 10 clips over four hours. I watched a few of them today. I think it will be helpful to listen to the entire collection.

I did listen to Going Deeper and am still praying about tomorrow's message.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Yesterday morning, Wolf, Mike, and I met for early morning prayer. Then, Mike and I sat and talked and prayed over a few important issues facing our precious church family. I shared with Mike how pleased I am to have Pastor Matt on-board. We should be able to move ahead with effective ministry in 2008.

Before I forget, I wanna acknowledge that Alisha sent me a card from Mexico. She thanked me for coming there with her family and for being her pastor. Her note came as a great blessing to me so here I am saying, 'Thanks for the note, Alisha.' By the way, Alisha's brother, Zack, has gone back to his mission field (though we are not as free to discuss what it is he does).

Yesterday, Mary went back to Galt to stay the night with Victoria, and to babysit today for one of her little flocks.
Daniel and Cerissa came to Auburn. We showed them the property over which we are praying. Joe drove to  Rocklin, then to Galt (and back) dealing with paperwork for college and for Sharon's Immigration.

One More for Jesus

(In today's preparation toward Message # 35, I plan to listen to Going Deeper again since this is where we will pick up in Luke 5 tomorrow).

Before I give it a listen, I will share some of today's ideas connected with these same verses.

Jesus had stepped into Peter's circumstances and offered practical direction.

Luke 5:5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

Livin' the Lyrics of our favorite songs:

Trust and Obey led to a major change in the circumstance. Even so, one who draws near to holiness will taste of a 6th sense (the Sense of Condemnation: Isaiah 6)

"Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

Then, the Spirit convicts us of His Righteousness.

"Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."
So they pulled their boats up on shore,
      left everything and followed him:

Peter, James,
and John 
     that LifeLesson looks easy as 1, 2, 3

  + partners 2 and 3 
(...and their astonished companions) everything and followed him.

This run-through has served as a refresher, so now I'll click on Going Deeper while moving ahead toward the simple outline from which I should preach tomorrow's message: Luke 5:8-27.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On Thursday night, Mary and I finished her orientation at Sierra College. Now all four of our children are simultaneously college students! That fact makes this papa feel really good.

Mary is beginning her formal study of Early Childhood Education with a course called Human Development 1. She also is taking a class in Word Processing. On the first day of classes, she will seek Professor Quinlan's approval to enroll in Child, Family, and Community.

Before going to the Sierra Campus, we visited a mother and newborn child in the hospital. Karen had just completed a course in the local R.O.P. class. Her fellow student, Kim, was also visiting Karen. Kim provided Mary with information about how to enroll there. This way she could work at our nearby hospital or in another local placement to enrich her resume before she finishes her private schooling at EducationPlus.

Here's a note from an old California girl who moved to Michigan a couple years ago.

Hey Rob,

I am stilling reading your blogs and I notice something. You haven't mentioned Joe and his wife for a very long time. Are things going ok with them still, or are there some problems? I am sure being separated by an ocean is very hard. I hope Joe is handling all of it well.

Eva Moore

Yeah, I'd say that Joe is doing quite well. He works at U.S. Bank part-time and at Rosenau Motors on the other days. He lives with Cathy, Mary, and me and chats for hours online with his wife, Sharon, nearly every night.

I did just mention Joe in yesterday's blog as helping me with the music video:

New Meaning to Tomorrow

Sharon's father died last year. She has adopted me as her Daddy and we chat every couple days. Joe has filed papers with the good folks down at U.S. Immigration, so we all are awaiting the day for them to be reunited.

Here's a recent email that Sharon sent to me:


Thanks for sharing to me the Christmas in Mayberry video.
I really enjoyed watching it. I like the scene that sung the song and it showed the lyrics and the effects were nice too. I really like the song as a whole, the music and the message.

"Jesus gave the meaning to tomorrow"

Oh, I like the picture sketch drawings and the slow motion of the camera on that scene.

Also, I was touched about the message of the unconditional love that the boy mentioned to his Dad

Overall production is GREAT!!! The effects, songs, people and message. Thanks Daddy!

Joe has purchased airline tickets to go visit Sharon in February. He has been granted the time-off his jobs. Speaking of Sharon, I saw her online on Thursday night (Friday for her...)

me: hey sharon   how you doing?

sharon:  hi Daddy   I'm doin good

me: I've already written my blog for tomorrow.


me: So, I'll post it when I wake up

sharon: thanks for the song "new meaning to tomorrow"

me: but anyway, I mention you in it

sharon: I have read your blog... I'm now playing the song

me: a friend had written asking how it was going for Joe and You     oh...

sharon:  :D    oh    Joe and I are doing good
                                                   by God's grace

me: how's the day?

sharon: good!  I'm keeping on track with my devotional and writing notes for Joe in a small papers. I enjoyed the article from Focus on the family...

"Bridging the Distance"    I learned from it.

me: hmm

sharon: Oh... I sent him present last Christmas. I just took a picture of it and sent to him

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Last night's prayer meeting was wonderful. Chet Bent is bringing a 'father's teaching' on short, Old Testament stories every Wednesday during the weeks ahead. Chet is ninety years old. He said he figures he can be a father to all of us!

Anhelika was visiting from Honduras and daughter Karla interpreted portions of my introduction to F.A.I.T.H.

We all agreed that God is gonna have to take us step-by-step in order to realize the hope of developing intentionally evangelistic outreach teams who go out consistently on a weekly basis. So....we begin with intentional prayer.

The day started at 6:30. I have converted the Otis music video (new material) from the Mayberry project into a wmv format.

New Meaning to Tomorrow
   (Otis Campbell Music Video)

This music video is only 3:10 so most of you ought to be able to download it regardless of your connection speed.

Jebby wrote the song and they used it as a reflective scene in the Lodi LIVE version. As you may recall, Cathy and I saw the first two shows by the Bear Creek church. During the first show, I clearly recall the desire to make a music video (but I knew how much editing still needed to be done for the second and third reels).

So, I didn't get to create the Otis music video until after I returned from Mexico. I assembled the useable extant Otis clips and asked Joe to begin juxtaposing the visuals with Jebby's song. Joe worked on it for a couple hours then, at the point of weariness, I tag-teamed with him and finished it. I also edited Jebby's song by cutting to the end early so please contact:

    @, if you would like to hear
          'New Meaning to Tomorrow' in its entirety.

While googling to see if the Lodi church had uploaded any of their production of A Mayberry Christmas, I came across a guy named Job who had reprinted an article by Ingrid Schlueter. Ingrid had chosen to publicly critique Jebby's creative work based solely on reading the Lodi News article (with no further research of primary sources).

In fact, her own article reveals that Ingrid didn't spend adequate time with her secondary source before she started writing. Barney tickets who? when?

Her personal website (Slice of Laodicea) apparently serves as a 'watchdog' for the church of Jesus Christ.

You can read Ingrid's article for yourself (click here) and here's the site of her radio program (click here).

Unfortunately, Ingrid linked her article about Jebby's offering with other articles under the headings of abominations and circus church. Personally, I think this is somewhat insensitive (maybe rude, even).

Ingrid Schlueter probably doesn't realize how much her article would hurt the feelings of my beloved friend and brother-in-Christ. She wonders aloud if Jesus shows up anywhere in the Script. Maybe she'll come across this entry and rethink her own style of public 'witness'.

I don't have much 'extra' time to keep watch over these and other self-proclaimed church-watchdogs that I know.

Fortunately, the Risen Lord Jesus isn't wringing his hands bemoaning the fact that His children are sometimes insensitive to each other. He knows that fact and has revealed it in His Word. Therefore, we are called to pray for each other (especially for those who open their mouths to boldly testify).

I offer this wmv to bring some balance to our penchant for negativity in the Body of Christ. For those who seek after redemptive scenes in life, the struggle between Clara and Aunt Bee over religious opinion might be of some help here (see December 24th) in the Mayberry script).

The Mayberry Nativity Scene
   (click here) 

As performed by the Auburn cast, this video clip is 11:19 minutes long and features the voice of Roy Jones (as Sheriff Taylor narrating the Nativity). I opted for the feel of a LIVE, local church Christmas Pageant, so the ambient sounds of babies rustling and elders coughing remain intact.

This clip also features Francie Wirth as Sally Rogers,
KC Jones
as Otis Campbell (in the Santa costume), Jean Harjo as Granny Clampett, and Grace Earl as Miss Jane Hathaway.

Pastor Matt Klein
directed Roy for the audio recording of the narration and provided original piano accompaniment for the track. That's Matt's wife, Justine, playing the role of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus (played by our own newborn, Aaron Knapp).

I have added closed captioning to make certain LIVE scenes more accessible to the viewer who may have missed important dialogue in the LIVE portion of our program. I also experimented with some special FX for the angel(s) sequence (featuring Jaci Kirk as Clara Edwards and the BellRoad Children's Choir).

Remember, the depth of resolution goes down after converting an avi file into a wmv format (however, it is much quicker to download). For those who are taking the Intro to Computers class at BellRoad University, all of this will start to make more sense. In fact it may even help you better understand SundayMessage and the various formats involved.

"Like applesauce, wmv files download faster".
                                         --pastorob     February, 2008

For the next few sermons, I would like to give the left-brainers some easily-accessible sermons. Therefore, I am starting with this week's message:

One More for Jesus (Luke 5:8-27) May the Holy Spirit give me grace to convert the adventurous right-brain stuff of my last two BellRoad messages (C.O.M.E. - H.O.M.E.) into a format more easily downloaded by those who march to the beat of a ... a 'whiter' drum. We'll see... (or rather, we'll hear).

For several months I have been corresponding with a spiritual descendant of Lottie Moon who is currently in Pakistan. For purposes of security, I'll call him Mr. Bill.
He sent out a letter today to those in America who have sent him there.

    As you may have already heard on the news, there
    was a bomb blast that reported to kill (as of this minute)
    20 people. Yesterday at this same time I was at the
    location of the blast! Not just once but twice I passed the
    exact location where the bomb went off.

    I went to the Bible Society and their office is located
    in a 150 year old building that's less than a quarter of a
    mile from the blast site.

    Not only do we not have electric most of our day,
    but now our gas and water is off
part of the day
    along with this many of our gasoline stations are closed
    for they don't have fuel.

    We've learned to live with little or no electric. How to
    cook around the gas and water problems. Yes, life here
    is difficult. We can't deny that.

May God bless Mr. and Mrs. Bill as they serve the Lord in Pakistan. I was encouraged to hear that our gifts in remembrance of Lottie Moon have already surpassed our Christmas goal.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yesterday it snowed most of the time we were in Grass Valley getting Mary's assessment to enter Sierra College as academic enrichment (through EducationPlus).

Today, Cathy and I spent the morning working through personal finance issues in preparation for acquiring property in Auburn.

On the international front, we've received long-awaited news from Liberia. Click on this photo to see for yourself.

Tonight, the Wednesday evening meal, TeamKid, and BRU classes continue on our campus.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I slept in until 6:00 this morning. My sleep wasn't restful because an old friend sent me this comment about CHRISTMAS IN MAYBERRY  (1 hr 26 min) last night:

I hope I'm the only one who did not enjoy the   
      production. I felt the dialog was amateurish and
      having a couple of questionable women follow
      up after presenting the 23rd Psalm was in poor taste.

My quick response to John went something like this:

      No need to be sorry. I disagree...
     love ya,

Before I went to bed, I read John's comment to Joe and to Cathy on the phone (she was working an overnight last night). Upon my re-reading of his note, I realized that I had not correctly interpreted John's first sentence.

I thought he had written,

    "I hope I'm not
       the only one who did not enjoy the production..."

Either way, John's feedback causes me to reflect. He lives several hundred miles away from Auburn so he wasn't able to attend the LIVE presentation (Dec. 23rd) of Jebby's script (nor could he have seen the primary source produced LIVE by members of Jebby's own local church).

Had John been there for the public presentation on the 23rd, he could have had the benefit of me stating that I, myself, had concluded that the 'fun girls' scene was steamier than I had intended.

Editing with less-than-sufficient footage for that scene caused me to make some editorial decision which looked quite a bit different on a 4 inch preview monitor at 2:00 a.m. I had to use the same clip several times. For more details on the initial introduction of Daphne and Skippy, please watch the Director's Commentary (if one should surface in the month's ahead).

In fact, I had told Jebby about the difficulty I had trying to rightly represent Daphne and Skippy (especially in a 'church' setting). That reminds me. I think that Jebby's live play was 'funnier' than our filmed version. Another online friend, David pointed out,

    'Well, there's a learning curve involved here...'

For a taste of the difference, check out this bootleg video of the Lodi Cast during their opening song.


John's use of the word 'amateurish' would be better aimed at everything BUT the script.

The dialogue (as written in Jebby's script) is actually carefully aligned with the characters as presented by professional writers (albeit 60's writers) during the eight seasons of the Andy Griffith Show.

If a closed-caption version is ever rendered, then we will reveal Jebby's full script. I think the Auburn Cast did well at getting most of the words correctly.

However, the amateur cameraman was sometimes pushing 'standby' when he thought he was pushing 'record'... (yeah, I hate it when that happens!). Again, the Director's Commentary would probably address the scene where Andy asks Floyd WHY he is staying at the jail or 'whatever-it-is' that Helen says instead of this line:

"Why did Gomer want us to go to the Courthouse?"

I simply did not have the actual words for either scene anywhere on tape.

Now, this brings me to a quick remark after seeing a questionable drama in a church years ago. While visiting a sister church, I clearly remember leaning over to Cathy and whispering,

   "mmm, this would be hard, having a drama team  
           perform something every single week."

I was thinking as a 'pastor' of real church people (and not-a-one-of-them a working professional actor or writer).

And while we are on the topic of amateurish poor taste and inferior production, here are links to my last two sermons. The latest one was poorly recorded on a cassette (tech problems....again). Still, God's Word is there if you don't mind using a fork and knife:

   O Come, O Come  (December 23rd)


   If God's House Becomes Your Home  (January 6th)

I also delivered a message in between these two. On Sunday night, December 30th, I addressed the staff (and staff-family & friends) at Rancho Sordo Mudo. That message was entitled From the First Day until Now.

It dealt with passages from Paul to the church at Philippi. I'll probably wanna write down remembrances from that message before too long.

Now, if you are really hungry, you may wanna check out Pastor Matt Klein as he delivers his first sermon to the good folks up the hill on Bell Road:

   A New Direction  (December 30th)

Any of these messages can be downloaded as an mp3 or for your iPod from the sermonplayer.

Here's another video of related interest. I found it while googling Christmas in Mayberry:
Mayberry at the River
(people we haven't met with a totally-different script)

Click here to watch a 'real' Mayberry Christmas from the first season of the Andy Griffith Show. 

Monday, January 7, 2008

The morning started at 5:00 a.m. I will be leaving soon for the office. I will try to edit and upload my last two sermons sometime today.

Pastor Matt and Justine are on the road, Lord willing, to Utah to visit his sister. I sure enjoy Matt's leadership in our new music ministry. Yesterday's service was helpful to me as I grow in the faith. Below is a link to the latest version of our 2007 Christmas Drama. Certain scenes have had the editing tightened and music added.

Especially enjoyable is Jebby's song for Otis (following his discovery of the Mayor's Bottle at 55:00).

As a busy pastor, it was a challenge to also serve as cameraman (and real-time 'drama' coach). Serving as my own Production Assistant, I needed to carefully preserve the myriad video clips gathered during seven scheduled taping sessions.


You can also download the video onto your iPod from this link.

The days (and nights) before our public presentation were sometimes dominated by assembling, tweaking, editing, reviewing, re-editing, and rendering the extant source materials.

Knowing from the beginning the inherent risk involved, we planned for the need to remain flexible with the idea of adding last-minute changes to the mix of taped and LIVE performance. Therefore, our actors were asked to attend 'in-character' (and in-costume).


Friday, January 4, 2008 
 me: hi friend. how's the day going?
 a friend: Hi Pastor Rob. God is good
 me: AMEN and all the time He is Good...right?
 a friend: Angels sure are breathing heavy today
 me: haha. good way to think about it (heavy winds)
 a friend: How have you been??
 me: I had a slump while in Mexico...
        but that's 'normal' for me
 a friend:
Its been a year since we spoke;
                  thought you no longer loved us.
 me: at least, I kept the LORD in the midst of it...
         but, after a whole year of whirlwind activity,
         I had to leave the family the day after Christmas...
 a friend: Slump??
 me: and go on that mission trip.
         My 'heart' just wasn't in it but I knew it was an
         important thing to do so I stuck with the plan
         Faithful God comes through as usual.
         Lots of GOOD STUFF is coming to the surface now
         and I expect much more in the next month!
        Yep, a new year!
 a friend: In the midst of strife stands God's love.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We're leaving Mexico in about an hour. I worked through some of the post-production editing of the Mayberry Project (for our Director and for her missionary sister).

It is good to have finished up some of that leftover to-do work. Cathy and I have chatted online nearly everyday while I've been in Mexico (even though the connection was lost several times in each conversation).

The highlights of this trip, for me, have been to observe Luke Everett (the founder's son and current director) of Rancho Sordo Mudo. He is a gracious man of God. It is inspiring to be around him as he tells his father's story and hopes that it motivates others to seek God for their mission in life.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

DeLynn, Jonathan, and Ben gave me a walking tour of Rancho Sordo Mudo this morning. Then, we went on a long hike up into the hills. It is windy and cold here in Baja Mexico today.

Internet is a bit hard to get to here so I probably won't write much until I get back to Auburn.

Pastor Matt is preaching the year-end message. Sorry I won't be there to hear it. I'm bringing a message at the staff church service on Sunday. I was asked to speak from the Book of Philippians.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sittin' at the airport waiting for a flight to San Diego, then off to Mexico with the Rosenaus.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It is Christmas Morning at 6:00 a.m. I've been up for about an hour. I had moved my software for this webpage to an external drive (so I could try to finish editing Mayberry). Therefore, I haven't had ready access to update this page.

Here's the plan: Cathy, Joe, and Mary will come get me around 8:00 a.m. Then, we're driving to Galt to meet with Jerry and Daniel. We will light some candles and have a Christmas Morning Family Service and will give gifts to each other.

At 10:55, there is 'family movie' time at the Lodi Stadium 12 theatre to see National Treasure.

Then, we will have a meal together. Right now, I hope to burn a DVD of the Mayberry project to show Jerry because he missed it.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will be leaving with the Rosenau family to visit Alisha at Rancho Sordo Mudo.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last night Cathy and I attended the opening of
'A Mayberry Christmas' at Bear Creek Community Church (in Lodi, CA). We stayed over in Galt and will go to the Saturday Matinee today at 2:00 p.m.

It would bless me immensely if people from BellRoad would make the trip today. Last night's audience was a full house. I am guessing that 500 people were there. It is a new building and my first time in that space.

Click here to read the article in the Lodi News-Sentinel.
The set was wonderful and the acting was 'loud' and 'clear'. It should take 1 hour and 19 minutes to get from our church:

707 Bell Road to the Lodi Show: DIRECTIONS HERE

Afterwards, we will continue to edit for our own version of the original script but I'd like to get to the Union Gospel Mission tonight, if possible. It may be an all-nighter editing session. I had software issues yesterdays so didn't very far on Reel Two.

Our show is Sunday Night at 6:00 p.m.

Friday, December 20, 2007

Too busy to write on Wednesday and Thursday.
Cathy and I are going to Lodi on Friday to catch
Jebby's opening of 'A Mayberry Christmas'...

and I'll continue to edit video for our version of his script (Christmas in Mayberry).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I stayed up until 4:50 a.m. editing scenes for the Auburn presentation of Jebby's original (unreleased and yet-unlicensed) script. I had my work cut out for me because two of the scenes involved human error on the part of the cameraman (me)...

I woke up at 7:30 and am ready to start again. It has been a long time since I've worked on a project with this much zeal (not since the all-nighters of school days).

Yesterday, Jebby affirmed that we are placing a note in a bottle, and launching it into the sea, in hopes that Mr. Griffith will somehow receive it. We hope that he will be blessed by the impact that his own creativity had us.

We both still remember a memorable Pop-HistoryTalkin which we discussed how Dick Van Dyke sought out and found Stan Laurel. Likewise, George Harrison eventually met Carl Perkins (even Keaggy jammed with McCartney after a wedding). There's nothing new under the sun. It's fitting to pay tribute to the most-important influences in one's life.

About the IP Attorney who started the public comment about acquiring proper licensing, she's right. We have no problem with rendering unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar (and, as I said, 'paying tribute' where 'tribute is due').

I'm gonna invite Ms. IP Atty to help me facilitate our own small-townspeople(s) to empower Jebby with the means to formally 'publish' his unique tribute to The Andy Griffith Show.

Click here to read the article in the Lodi News-Sentinel.

Yesterday, my ol' friend, Ross Farrow, ace reporter from the Lodi News-Sentinel tipped me off about a storm a-brewin' on the Internet over Jebby's Script

There is a 100 word limit to the comment section of Mr. Farrow's story. I submitted an abridged comment as a 2-parter.

Through the years, I've thought long and hard about the popular culture which 'raised' this motherless child. A myriad of legal opinions about subjective laws and the registration of ideas certainly abound.

If anyone wants to discuss their ideas with me, I would like to invite you to travel to Liberia with Cathy and me in February, 2008. The long and arduous trip will give us plenty of time to discuss the nature of creativity. In the meantime, I'm still editing visuals as I reconcile my own upbringing by CBS and NBC during the sixties. Our old Sylvania only picked up two channels! So, my 'depression-era' consisted of walking to school in the snow and not being able to engage in conversations about Star Trek or the Addams Family.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It is 3:06 a.m. as I start this day. I just turned on the light (1/2 light); Cathy is asleep still. The wireless laptop put us to sleep listening to the Message from yesterday morning:
Reconciling Joseph(s). As soon as I finish this entry, I must get started on the final creative stretch of the Mayberry Project.

Here's the plan as I see it:

1) Scene by scene, Lord willing, I shall edit the remaining video footage we shot during the last month. Hopefully, there will be no unforeseen emergencies to draw my attention away from this most-important task.

2) On Tuesday, Cathy is scheduled to teach in Galt. She wonders whether I'll go down for the day with her. I don't think so, I'm sure that my nose will still be in the screen working on assembling scenes. I would like to be 'done' with editing the video by Wednesday afternoon so that we'll be able to make final decisions about the 'flow' of events on Sunday night before our Dress Rehearsal.

3) Dress Rehearsal of the LIVE portion for the production takes place on Wednesday night. There's an audio sequence that needs to be dubbed with Auburn Andy's voice. Roy Jones doesn't yet know that our Director, Patrice Rosenau, has made this request. I told her that I'd do my best. Patrice, Zack, and Robin are gonna work out the staging on Tuesday.

Lodi's Dress Rehearsal of the entire production will also take place Wednesday night.

4) We had a screening of the Psalm 23 scene in church yesterday morning. Even using the wmv file on the sanctuary wall, the picture quality seemed adequate for our performance.
  Scene one   (7 minutes)

I had really wanted to have our big-screen installed by this time but its not the first time I've had to say,
     "Well, we tried..."

5) Thursday and Friday we will try to figure out how best to assemble the complete black and white video in three acts. I will need professional counsel for this as I don't have much experience (other than VBS family night video shows) with church-budget, video-computer equipment
 (nearly non-existent in my own experience).

Well, we've put some a/v-vision 'in the budget' for 2008. We'll vote on that budget Sunday after morning church.

6) On Friday night, Cathy and I plan to get a room in Lodi or Stockton and attend the opening of 'A Mayberry Christmas' at Bear Creek Community Church (Lodi, CA). We also want to attend the Saturday Matinee. Then, we will meet up with our folks at the Union Gospel Mission in Sacramento on Saturday night before returning to Auburn.

7) My sermon on this 4th Sunday of Advent will be on Stephen's testimony where he speaks about Moses. Today, I will also try to decide upon my key passages from Luke and Romans to accompany the Acts 7 passage. This way, I can marinate the meat of next Sunday's Message while I work on Mayberry editing.

Master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock stated that all the fun ended after the final storyboard had been assembled. With actual shooting his projects then became 'work'. For me (on this project), the fun begins now.

It was definitely 'work' trying to set up camera angles (almost all single camera shoots), adequate lighting, and help well-intentioned, non-seasoned performers have the confidence to give us 'character' for the camera. Yeah, that was stressful. However, I think we shot more than enough footage to have some fun editing.

Unfortunately, this laptop is the best I have to work from. Even though we now have a Music-Media & Youth Guy he informed me that he is gonna stay in his pajamas the entire day today!

Well, months ago, I warned Pastor Matt that he'd have a hard time keeping up with me. Like Sarah, he laughed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It is now 6:30 a.m. and I am nearly ready to head out for the morning. Today is our 23rd anniversary. Cathy and I are gonna celebrate by getting a cup of Java City coffee at the Valero Station. We will see if we can set some Mayberry tickets at the counter.

During my tubtime scripture reading and meditation, I made some plans for Cathy and me. She has told me several times that she will go wherever I feel we should go.

Just weeks before the Search Team from Auburn discovered us (in Galt), I had asked Cathy to seriously consider flying to Liberia to stay for six months as a teacher at the Greater Love Children's School (part of Pastor Wesley's outreach plans). At that time, there were 100 children in attendance with just five or six teachers.

Shortly after Cathy said, 'yes and amen' to my idea, her father was hospitalized and we learned that his death was imminent. Then, Auburn happened. Still, I want Cathy to have the opportunity to see what our initial investment in Liberia has blossomed into. Therefore, Lord willing, that's what we will do in the early part of 2008.

Below is a 'report page' of videos that I have posted on google. One of the videos is entitled "Timeline in Liberia".

If you would like to see it,

     click here, then look for 'timeline in Liberia'.

You can also find all the Mayberry Project clips that I have posted up to this point.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

me: wanna see an artsy mayberry clip?

click here for scene 7

Its got some digital noise...but it may be OK as is...
    or I'll go re-edit it
but there is an essence to it

Last night the choir performed tremendously. If you missed it, please come to watch their final performance this Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m.

Up pops David Burkhardt, the grandfather likened to Abraham in last Sunday's Message.

David: How did program go last evening?

great! I really missed Diana...
but she would have been so proud of her soloists!

David: Well you know, babies just don't cooperate the way we would like sometimes. We're going up this afternoon and taking dinner.

me: Hannah was FRONT ROW
smiles and movement, great confidence...
compared to last year

David: ...thanks to New America Singers

me: yeah

me: She has made some good connections with some of the new faces this way.

David: Any news on Sharon? Thanks for the video link...I've already looked at one of them.

How long will the film be?

me: Joe wants to go to the philippines
but his new job just told him 'no'

the filmed portions should be one hour total
with live pageantry in the mix

I'll have more than enough footage

but can't cut too much without interfering with the storyline...

so, it is all a bit iffy still...
but...I'm sure glad we plowed ahead and

I didn't realize that there would be the live element. I'm going to try to bring my Creative Arts Director up for the event.

me: yeah, the Nativity will be pantomimed in costume to the Andy voice narratin' the Story in his country style

I saw it staged by the cast in Lodi
it works quite well

and should make it feel better watching our filmed scenes

as you see costumed people around in preparation for the big scene ahead

it is all being done LIVE in Lodi

we're gonna go see their Saturday matinee

they have a show friday night, a saturday matinee, and a saturday night

then Jebby is planning to come to our on Sunday night

May I use this chat for my blog?

David: Yes, no problem.

me: g2g to ready myself for a funeral in a few...

Friday, December 14, 2007

I've started uploading clips of video from our Mayberry Sessions, so others who can't be here might watch along. As always, if someone wants to help take it all up a notch, please do write or call:  CLICK HERE

Our Choir is doing a good job in rehearsal all week for tonight's show at 7:00 p.m. Both Cathy and Joe are in the Choir this year. Mary's primary role has been watching the little ones in the Nursery.

Mary and I brought the little ones (Evan, Isaiah, David, Peter, and Joshua) into the sanctuary to practice sitting and watching a Choir presentation. Yes, we were outnumbered by these energetic children but felt the call of God to give these guys some 'culture'.

This is the first time I haven't joined a Choir for Christmas. However, it has been a good move. With everything else going on, I am happy to not have had to add all the rehearsal and memorization required.

Pastor Matt and I had lunch together yesterday at the
A Towne Sandwich Shoppe. We further discussed plans for presenting a musical passion play for Easter, 2008.

I'm about to leave for Friday morning prayer meeting with the deacons. Tonight, Daniel is coming to Auburn. He is an experienced Video Editor so he plans to help me knock out a majority of the scenes we've captured for Christmas in Mayberry.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

mmm...mmm.....mmmm, the aroma of this StoneSoup® is startin' to really stir up the townspeople.

CLICK HERE   to see
what I mean.
(this link may take a moment to buffer
                so may it be a kairos-moment).

One might ask, "what's Andy and Barney got to do with StoneSoup®?"

"You'll see . . ."
(with Barney Fife melodic expectation), you'll see."

Our Gomer, Tom Ronk has now familiarized himself with Jebby's entire script and is acknowledging the giftedness of my VisionWalk partner.

You may remember Tom Ronk. He had made this impression (click here) upon my imagination during an early Sunday morning at BellRoad.

Pastor Matt (our new Music-Media & Youth Guy) has likened his initiatory weeks among us as hoppin' a moving train.

That's right, Matt. Look around--you're on none other than the BellRoadExpress (and it is very likely that we're goin' somewhere real special by the end of 2008).

That's on-the-inside for a certain local gathering of less than 500.

It was just Jimmie, Joe, Jack (and Jesus) for prayer meeting last night but we said "yes", by the Spirit, we said it (yes and amen) to the glory of God (click here) but seriously don't forget to
       CLICK HERE   to see what I meant earlier.
(remember, this link may take a moment to buffer
         so may it be yet another kairos-moment).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Today, I am meditating upon next Sunday's Message:

Reconciling Joseph(s)

Acts 7:9-16 (Genesis 37-46)
Luke 1:76-79  (Matthew 1:19-21)
Romans  5:8-11

Well, that's a chunk of meat to chew on as I ready myself to put a Sunday meal in the oven. So, anyone who wants to read along, feel free to drop me an email with your insights.

I dropped Joe off at the Park & Ride at 6:30 a.m. and passed on the money to pay Wolfgang for my plane ticket to San Diego right after Christmas. Lord willing, I will join the Rosenaus for a mission trip to Rancho Sordo Mudo for the last few days in December.

Then, I wrote Pastor Shamas (Pakistan) a note. He has been good about writing me regularly and sending many, many photographs of the people among whom he ministers. I have made another contact in Pakistan and have tried to help connect these two brothers as a form of mutual accountability.

Yesterday, Mary and I stopped by the hospital to visit our newest baby: Aaron Jeffrey Knapp. He is beautiful. I remarked that Mother didn't show any sign of being battle-weary; she was as glowing as ever. I told both parents that the Knapp Blessing(s) was/were-is/are-will be mentioned in the Message they missed:

Jacob's Altar

Mary also finished the biography of Keith Green last night. She read some of it aloud for me in the afternoon. Today, she is gonna spend the day helping Hannah care for her little brothers in preparation of the baby coming home.

It is entitled 'No Compromise' (click here)

My last conversation from yesterday
     went something-like-this.

11:40 PM

Matt: Good evening

me: hey bud
        Is your lady still awake?

Matt: yes

me: I am uploading one of her scenes
        It's at about 22 percent

Matt: oh... very cool... that will be fun to watch

me: As soon as this is uploaded, I'll send you the link
        We're gonna watch an episode of Mayberry now...

Matt: cool

me: the video is at 32%
        so a few minutes more...
        we shot two important scenes over tonight
        it will help...

Matt: how did that go

me: better

Matt: good

11:44 PM

me: but, yeah, it will be lots of editing...
        but it should be OK   

        41 %   now

Matt: cool

me: 55%

Matt: oh... I'll be up... trust me

me: tell her its the overlapping voices scene

Matt: ok

11:47 PM
me: Mary's says "Justine is sooo cute in this scene"

Matt: sweet

me: there's a spot where her eyes shoot up
        (searching for her next line)...
        but it is a keeper because Barney's eyes
        are moving around too...

        so, its visually interesting

11:48 PM

....and there wasn't an overall take that was any better.

Matt: awesome

me: kinda hard working on the equipment I have...

Matt: first of the year I wanna push to get you something better

me: I'd like to set up some place with adequate equipment to do this sort of thing.
so, in your prayers, please remember this.

11:49 PM

Matt: will do... I'm with you on that

me: God could always choose to 'bless' us
         in some big way in this arena
        The esprit de corp that has been built
        through this project is gonna be a lasting
        investment as well.

11:50 PM

Although there weren't 'parts' for lots of actors, the ones who have been used come from a wide variety of 'groups' within the church...
so as far as a 'whole-church' feel-good, this will be one!


I just don't wanna be embarrassed at bringing
        in the outside public to see it.

       Auburn has a thriving artistic-theatrical crowd

       It'd be cool if some of them would get connected
       with us



11:52 PM

me: oops...that wasn't uploading..only rendering...
        now I've gotta upload it

11:53 PM

Matt: really... haha

me: it shouldn't be very long...not that big of a file

Matt: like i said... i'm up :)

11:57 PM

me: 15 MB for the file

Matt: nice

me: click here

11:58 PM

it will take awhile...just check it in what?
7 minutes? maybe?

14 minutes

12:13 AM

me: here it is

that is the correct link

me: it's up now...

Matt: I'm a watchin'

me: I wasn't the cameraman

Matt: watchin

12:16 AM

Are you going to add sound effects to this?

12 minutes

(the Pattersons were watching
       'The Rehabilitation of Otis' during this time....)

12:28 AM

me: Gotta think on the scene in context

12:29 AM

Matt: ah

me: just needed to get this much done for now

Matt: got it... very good

me: mayberry never had a scene quite like that...

Matt: true

me: it is a psycho-drama piece...

Matt: very contemporary

me: so it might serve its purpose better without laughs...

12:30 AM

maybe some music though

and a fade-in, fade-out music theme
I'll have to wait to see what is on either side of it...
well I'm goin' to bed now

Matt: bye

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cathy woke me up at 5:00 a.m. this morning. We have been having a Kaironversation. It is now 6:07; Cathy just brought me a coffee and we're gonna read her PRISM material.

One word from her study leapt off the page, in light of the logos-rhema from yesterday's editing session:

Energy: In the sermon (Jacob's Altar) this word is applied (chosen over another word...'wild') in reference to all the little guys in our church family. I see how 'energy' is a good word in reference to these precious boys. On the adult level, new energy (daily manna) and excitement (hope) applied to the process of transformation is a gift from God.

Recently I watched Dennis-the-Menace with Mary and Daniel. Apparently they had really liked it as kids. Funny, today...for the first time, I find myself identifying with good, ol' Mr. Wilson (hmm...)

Last night I experimented with this promo: click here

So happy to hear the news that Aaron Jeffrey Knapp has provided his parents with an awesome kairos moment just before 5:00 p.m. on Monday night.

21 inches long and weighing in at 9lb. 6oz., this special baby (as well as his brothers and grandfather) is(are) referenced in Sunday's Message:

Jacob's Altar

Monday, December 10, 2007

Here's some of the music from yesterday:  click here
Alisha, in Mexico, will be happy to hear her little brother, Jonathan, playing the piano for the Offertory.

Here's the sermon:  Jacob's Altar

We had been at 'the church' from 8:00 until 4:30. After our morning service, of course, I went to Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road. After our worship time and songs by a visiting la Rancho band, we heard a bit of Pastor Francisco's message, then we were encircled in a hopeful prayer toward the launch of this important ministry. The individuals who have been meeting each week seem to be called by God for this work. I told them from the depth of my heart, that there is no place I'd rather be at that time each week. God will bring the Increase.

Cathy and Joe were in Choir Rehearsal from 1:00 to 4:00 and Mary helped Jeane Harjo watch over all the little ones from 11:30 through all of us Pattersons needed a break. Cathy and I went for a long, long walk while Joe and Mary napped.

Afterwards Joe, Mary, Cathy, and I had dinner in downtown Auburn (something we rarely do). I struck up a conversation with the family seated next to us and shared one of the new invitational tickets to 'Christmas in Mayberry'.

We then went to the Old State Theatre to see a movie the girls wanted to see: August Rush.

This morning, Lord willing, I will edit the sermon from yesterday and upload it before noon.

Here's a note from my dear friend, Greg Brayton (that blind guy who is responsible for all the guitars and production in my online songs). He has been in the classroom of suffering:

I go tomorrow for another Ctscann
   to see how the new medicine is working.

I should find out on Friday. The last couple weeks haven’t been the nicest for me. I haven’t felt real good physically and that’s dragged me down a little, but I know with your prayers, I’ll get through the hard times.

I hope we get some good news on Friday and

I’m just
asking you to pray the same way
   if you have the time during the next week.

I’ll write more after Friday I’m sure. Especially if the news is as good as I hope. I pray that The Lord will bless you were ever you have need. I hope to be back in touch, real soon.

Lord, I pray for Greg, and ask that you sustain Him
by Your Grace in this very hour.

O, Holy Spirit fill my brother with Joy Unspeakable and Peace Unsurpassable.

Hope, Lord, give us true hope.

In Jesus' Name, I pray,

Sunday, December 9, 2007

hot off the press: 7:25 a.m. 

Here is a PDF of the sermon outline (click here)

It is now 5:15 a.m. After restfully meditating upon the Lord's goodness to me (and praying a heartfelt prayer for my sleeping companion... you know, her name's Cathy...), I decided to get up and put together a sermon outline for the Sunday Bulletin. So, I'll get to that...but first, I just gotta record some of last night's events.

We shot video footage of the Mayberry Project from 10:00 until 2:30 yesterday (see yesterday's entry). Then, we went home to back-up the video files onto an external harddrive. Mary was at an all-day CPR Certification seminar and we knew, upon her arrival home, she would be putting on a sleek dress with high-heels, make-up, and planning to go back to Galt for the Winter Ball. She had already arranged for Cerissa to fix her hair before she would leave.

During the time awaiting for the grand arrival of our high-maintenance teenager, I began to develop a bit of a headache...and my body was still aching from a slip-and-crash I endured two days before. Still, I decided that it was up to me to make the 60 minute drive to Galt in order for Mary to attend the Black-and-White High School event.
This would mean that I would have about 5 hours to 'work on my sermon' before the midnight hour when I would pick up my girl and head back to Auburn.

"Go south down the Galt"

On the way down, I turned on the overhead light and had Mary read aloud for me. She started in Genesis 12 and, during the next hour, worked her way through Genesis 18 (with a few interruptions so that Daddy could preach-n-teach).

Once in Galt, we turned the corner of A Street and Palin Avenue (toward the boyfriend's house) and noticed a full parking lot at First Baptist Church of Galt. It was a few minutes before looked like it was the annual Christmas pageant. So, after dropping off the top student at EducationPlus, I walked into the local church where I had served from 1996 to 2006 and sat down next to Mike McCall.

It was a wonderful program! I really enjoyed seeing and hearing the story of Baby Jesus afresh.

Afterwards, I ran by our house to touch base with my son, Jeremiah, and then drove out to the home of Eli and Barbara Tavarez. Elias Jr. (from Michigan) was visiting so I was really blessed to sit at the table, eat authentic Mexican food, and do more oral research for this upcoming sermon: Jacob's Altar. We talked over the situation we have shared in the nation of Pakistan (and rehearsed church history from the seventies....before my time).

I stayed there until about 11:00, got a cup of coffee and waited in the car, reading the Word, until Mary's formal evening came to an end. I picked her up at 11:53 and she read aloud for me from Genesis 27:1-32:32

We arrived in Auburn around 1:10 a.m. Once safely tucked into the Nest, I read through the night Jacob wrestled with God and then met his estranged brother face-to-face. 20 years of alienation came to a close as Esau through his arms around Jacob's neck.

  (read it for yourself, click here)

Hey, CONGRATULATIONS are in order for David Burkhardt. Sometime yesterday (last night or this morning), his most recent grandson should have been born!

Oh yeah, I suppose that Mama Diana and Papa Bob ought also to get some acknowledgement too.

HEY...GOD BLESS you guys!

It is now 5:48 and I've really gotta get going on the sermonic bulletin insert I envisioned an hour ago.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Here is another clip assembled in a crowded courtroom. There's a whole lot more people in that little room than you can see at the moment:  click here

Friday, December 7, 2007

This is how I spent Friday night. It has been an interesting experience trying to get together everybody at the right time. Just for some 'laughs'...

 CLICK HERE for a quick video

    (dedicated to my VisionWalk buddy, Jebby)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Dad called me yesterday. I had him speak with his granddaughter, Mary, as we were driving to Galt. In Galt, Cathy worked a partial day at an elementary school and I took our three younger kids out to breakfast.

I needed to meet with Kristy (a friend who shot video for us on Sunday night). That project is starting to weigh heavier on me. That's OK though. The Lord is with me continually reminding me to get 'filled up.' That is what I intend to do through this month by God's grace.

We were privileged to have Mary (a visitor from out-state) at our Prayer Meeting last night. Although there were only five of us in the circle of intercession, we shared a powerful time together before the Lord.

Mary told me that I looked 'tired'. I told the folks that I've been trying not to ignore people when they make mention of 'rest'...

I'm going to work from home on my message for Sunday:

Jacob's Altar

Acts 7:8-9 (Genesis 28:10-22)
Romans 5:6-8
Luke 1:54-55

So far we have Paul (15) and Punk Rock Lisa (?) scheduled to be baptized on Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Several us of went out to Jaci's house last night to tape scenes from A Mayberry Christmas. We received a call from the media asking for details so I sent this background information and figured you all might enjoy reading it:

Members at Bell Road Baptist Church have been busy preparing to bring our community a special Christmas event: Christmas in Mayberry . A multi-media production, Christmas in Mayberry, will be presented on Sunday, December 23rd, at 6:00 p.m. in our church sanctuary.

Why would a church produce a Christmas play based on a television show from the early sixties? My good friend, Jebby Moates, an accomplished composer and recording artist, wrote this play and is simultaneously producing it at Bear Creek Community Church in Lodi, California (where he serves as the Pastor of Worship).
Click here for the performance information for the Lodi Show.

In a recent church newsletter, the playwright discusses his current project:

  "The Andy Griffith show has been playing non-stop since it first aired in the early sixties and is popular world-wide. I believe that people like me love the show because we identify with many of the characters and deep-down long for a simple life surrounded by friends and family. Mayberry is a fictitious town in North Carolina, based on Andy Griffith's home town, Mount Airy.

   Mayberry is such a small town that there's only need for two law-enforcement officers, one barber, one grocery store, one gas station, one department store, one movie theater, one telephone operator, one diner, one pharmacy, one doctor and one church. Every citizen in Mayberry knows each other, accepts and loves each other, quirks and all. Hmmmmm, sounds like the very thing we're striving for in the Church.

   I like to tell people that Andy Griffith's character, Sheriff Andy Taylor is one of my role models. Sheriff Taylor seems to bring out the best in the people around him. I love how he protects his bumbling deputy, Barney Fife from ridicule, and creatively finds ways to encourage Barney's critics to appreciate Barney as a person.

There's also a good lesson in how Andy Taylor shows love and respect to all his eccentric and high-maintenance friends like, Floyd, Gomer, Otis, Goober, Howard and Clara. Most of all, it's great to watch a television show that depicts a caring father raising his son to be a moral, polite, responsible young man.

Andy Taylor is not perfect; he often must apologize to people he has offended. For me, the most moving episodes, are the ones where Andy has heart to heart talks with his son, Opie.

It's interesting to note that Andy Griffith originally had plans to be a minister before becoming an actor. Each episode of the Andy Griffith Show has a moral, and good always triumphs over evil. The Andy Griffith show is the only sitcom, I can think of, where hymns are sung by the characters. Sinners Lose Their Guilty Stains, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and Away in the Manger have been featured on the show. There is even an Andy Griffith Show Bible study available; a friend of mine used it at his church recently.

In the play, A Mayberry Christmas, the citizens prepare for the town Christmas Pageant, a live Nativity Scene. As the story unfolds, different characters lose sight of the reason for the season; tempers flair and things get out of hand. However, when the message of Christ is presented during the pageant, the characters are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and their hearts are moved by the Gospel Story.

I suppose A Mayberry Christmas is also a tribute to a special television show. I have always admired the lovable characters, fine storytelling and exceptional humor of the Andy Griffith Show.

I'm excited about working with our wonderful cast and doing this Christmas play that has some very funny moments. But it's so much more than that; it's an opportunity to direct everyone's attention to the most important story, the story of how Jesus Christ came to earth to save us all!"

              --Pastor Jebby Moates, December, 2007


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Here is Sunday's Message:

The Friend(s) of God: click here

There will be some variance in the amplitude of the signal because apparently when I set out to shoutin' somebody figured they needed to turn it down.

I'll have to tell our audio people that I don't mind distortion when the preacher is yelling. I want the normal voice to be the prime level and allow distortion at the high moments.

Kinda like leaving the feedback at the intro to "I Feel Fine", I learned this technique in the country church of my early days.

It is 2:39 a.m. and I'm up because Cathy arose for some reason. I was thoroughly I asked 'mama' for a glass of water.

Sitting up, sipping that which truly quenches, I have been thinking over last night's prayer meeting with our deacons. I won't go into detail but will share that 'the elders' had been called upon to pray over an individual for an important health concern.

Since I had picked up Joe from work, he had to wait for me in my office during my meeting with the deacons and our prayer for healing. From 6:40 until 8:15, Joe did some intern work for BellRoad Radio by editing out empty space in Sunday's Message: The Friend(s) of God. In addition to and-um...s, this empty space happens whenever the preacher asks the people to 'turn to' any passage of the Bible. Edited out by radio ministries, it results in a shorter 'message' and is almost a necessity for an audio-only transmission.

Well, poor ol' Joe lost all of his work when the operating system unexpectedly needed to 'shut down'. I knew that simply meant that my message would be in the same shape as it was when I left to pick him up 3 hours earlier.

For some reason this reminds me of 'Experiencing God'.
Blackaby (my loose paraphrase) said, "If you ever lose your way, go back to that place where you last heard from God. Ask yourself (or Him) if you ever left anything undone about the direction given at that time."

I should try to go back to sleep (yet I am wide awake)... for I have many expectations to meet on Tuesday. I guess I went to bed before 11:00 as evidenced below:

9:31 PM
pastor matt:
You there?

me: yup

pastor matt: Is it "A Mayberry Christmas"
                        or "A Christmas in Mayberry?"

me: Christmas in Mayberry
         That's all.

pastor matt: got it

me: that's MY title
        Lodi's title is "A Mayberry Christmas"
        Shouldn't you be offline and lovin' on your wife?

        Ordering avon...or somethin'?

pastor matt: I would but my boss asked me
                        to update the webpage...


9:34 PM

a simple 'under new, anointed leadership'
                        announcement page would suffice

pastor matt: I'm a workin on it boss ;)

me: alrightee. I'll send you a couple action shots
        of Auburn Barney and Andy

pastor matt: k

me: in a minute

pastor matt: I don't have my flyer on me...
                        what are the dates again
                        I should know this by now...

9:37 PM

Christmas in Mayberry

pastor matt: yes sir

me: Sunday, December 23rd
        6:00 PM

pastor matt: at 6 or 7?

me: 6:00

pastor matt: thank you sir

9:38 PM

me: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service starts at 7:00
         but it will be shorter

1 hour

11:02 PM

pastor matt: are you there?

(No, I wasn't there. I had fallen asleep trying to watch a commentary by Jerry Seinfeld about the rapid pace that their creative team had to keep in order to go from 'episode idea' to final taping...week-after-week.)

I need to be alert for this full day with starts with BSF and ends with a one-man shooting of important scenes for 'Christmas in Mayberry).

It is now 3:15 a.m.  Back to layin' down for some sleep.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cathy and I got home from 'church' around midnight. We hadn't had supper yet so we drove to the Newcastle Denny's (not knowing any other midnight spots around town).

I'm not even saying, 'Whew!'...

I had just experienced a very full weekend but was refreshed--having gotten through the evening's taping of several important Mayberry scenes.

Church went well during the morning. On Saturday night we had put up our new glossy placards for the BellRoad Express (and our large Mayberry posters). Then, of course, with the Christmas-decorative makeover in our sanctuary space, the children were excited.zz

The music was good. The preachin' .... well, we'll hear later today whenever I get a chance to edit and upload the sermon. (I dropped Joe off at 6:30 a.m., am currently at the office waiting to open up for BSF Leadership, and then am meeting Aunt Bee and Clara for some location shots in Downtown Auburn.

Our Spanish Service workers joyfully received some first-time visitors: Clyde, Faye, and Alisha.

g2g   or   maybe these days,
more realistically, I oughtta say,   g2g2

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I think I went to bed at 11:00 but I woke up at 2:00 a.m. so I answered a couple emails and started working again on my sermon outline.

I am settled on this outline for Friend(s) of God:


It is now 4:50 a.m. the sermon is still in the oven.

I figure I'll go back to sleep until 6:00 a.m.

Yesterday was a pletha of relational cooperation including (but not limited to) the men's breakfast, decorating the sanctuary, creating BellRoad signage, entertaining angels from Oklahoma by hosting atop the BellRoadVista, sharing the Downtown-OldTown walking tour, and experiencing the Festival of the Lights in Downtown Auburn with Kurt and Christy.

Here's a chat from last night for more background on a chapter (sermon prep) in my yet un-published *yet un-written trans-doctoral dissertation:

    A Theology of Integrity

8:32 PM

me: Tomorrow is gonna be WONDERFUL
Everyone's gonna be buzzing with excitement

pastor matt:
Indeed.... I'm looking forward to Monday

me: whats on monday?

pastor matt: The "Screen" Dream! Monday 1pm

me: yeah that'll be GOOD, I hope!

pastor matt: It will. Check your e-mail...
I'll send you a few skies...
Tell me which one you like the best

8:38 PM

I like stars2 better

click here    and go through the pages

here's some cool ones too

click here   God of Wonders could use these

me: please keep me in prayer ALL thru until the sermon
cuz, although, I have made some decisions about what to do. I have no real clear-cut directive from the Lord YET

...and then, there's the risk of preaching too long.

So, some definitive limitation of a MAIN point would be helpful I've just been attending to lots of other important stuff. Its all good.

I trust that by being fully yielded tonight and tomorrow that
we could have the very BEST God wants for us...

See, one of my points from the Day of Pentecost (vital to a series which includes ACTS)

pastor matt: I'm back...
      let me catch up and read what you typed :)

me: is that Peter didn't 'prepare' a sermon that day
He stood, opened his mouth, and God made him wax prophetic...

"This is that...."

Modern Christians don't like to trust the Holy Ghost to do that for us....

pastor matt: this is true

me: we seem to want 'Charles Stanley'
        and that's good too....

So, I just wanna strike a cool balance of preparation
and spontaneity

pastor matt: Maybe we should have "Drive-through" 
                        Church for today's busy christian

me: that will make a funny video skit for our
        NEW-SCREEN days ahead...
        We can set up a drive through around the church...
where the driver orders sermon CDs from recent weeks

pastor matt: "Yes I would like some Paul with a small side of Jesus to go please"

me: and a donut and a coffee
        it could be some tongue-in-cheek
        poking at BellRoad Radio... CDs and DVDs

8:49 PM

me: Well, I'd better stop this kinda talk and get to my
        sermon prep

postscript: It's 4:50 a.m. I'm goin' back to bed...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Up at 5:30 with a congestion-headache. Sweet Cathy already brought me some medicine, so hopefully it will go away. Today, I will work on the message entitled The Friend(s) of God.

So far, I have selected too much material to cover Tomorrow we will also feature Lottie Moon, Candles of Advent, and a two special song interpretations, so there will be need to be some deep thought and a morning-bath meditation to get started today.

Click here to see my notes (4 sides) for

  The Friend(s) of God

There is a men's breakfast today at 8:00; Daniel is going to come with me, I think. I took Joe to Sacramento last night so he could meet up with the New America Singers who are serving a musical message at Camp Pendleton (in San Diego) tonight. He will travel back here tomorrow.

Cathy and I look forward to meeting Andy and Becky Deck who have traveled here from Oklahoma to run the Folsom-to-Sacramento marathon.

Friday, November 31, 2007

Up at 3:00 this morning. I am wide awake. No email in my box but much work-to-do yet-undone.

Whenever I have been overseas on a mission trip, I have also been awake at 3:00 a.m. It is a fact-of-life for me when I am on a short-term mission trip. It is definitely not worry, fear, or anxiety which awakens me and escorts my body from the bed to the desk, or onto the path under the stars. At times like this I have the opportunity to be refreshed by gazing at the Big Picture (which is much bigger than I have yet seen).

Samarang, Indonesia (April, 1995)
San Vincente, Mexico (1997)
La Mision, Mexico (1999)
Tallin, Estonia (April, 2000)
Estonia tour (July, 2003)
Estonia  (November, 2003)
Monrovia, Liberia (February, 2004)
Lesotho with World Vision  (March, 2005)

It looks as though my next short-term mission trip will be to Rancho Sordo Mudo (Mexico) with a team of ten members from Bell Road. This is a home-grown mission emphasis from our local church. It is important to show my overall support for 'what God has been doing here' before I showed up. So, I made a commitment months ago to visit this mission site.

I long to visit Pastor Wesley and the Children's Home in Liberia. I still have unresolved ministry-needs in Pakistan. Fortunately (through internet-connectivity), the Lord has provided additional shoulders to share my burden for both of these nations. Below is a letter from Andy Deck (from Oklahoma). Andy found me on the web when he was the mission trip point-man for a church in Midland, Texas.

Stonegate Fellowship (the SBC church in Midland) were simply trying to follow God's lead in Africa. I was so excited about the possibility of them taking a team to Liberia to assist Pastor Wesley in accomplishing his LifeMission. That trip did come to pass in July, 2006. Andy was one who wrote to encourage Joe during his 80-day adventure there earlier that year. Here is the first 'talkie' that videographer, Mike Elkins posted while they were there (click here). Mike previously had been a videographer with YWAM, so I was thrilled to learn that he would be documenting the team's trip to Liberia.

CLICK HERE for an entire page of Mike's video posts in Liberia and other nations.

Ironically, Andy Deck wasn't even able to go on that trip because he and his family moved back to his home state of Oklahoma (in part to care for aging parents).

However, (wonderful-wonderful) Andy will be with us tomorrow in Auburn. He is due in the area for a marathon and expressed an interest in meeting face-to-face:


It’s OK if we stay with you at your house for three weeks, right?? (just kidding…I seem to remember a Pastor Wesley story along these lines…)

OK here’s the information… we are coming in for the California International Marathon on Sunday, Dec. 2nd. There will be three of us – my wife, Becky, my younger son, Caleb (14), and myself.

The marathon starts early on Sunday morning in Folsom and proceeds to a finish in the middle of Sacramento somewhere. for details:

On Friday, we will just head straight to the hotel. On Sunday, there will be no time for anything except run the marathon, take a shower, late checkout from the hotel, and head back to Oakland. However, our Saturday (12/1) is relatively free.

I will have to go by the race expo to pick up my race packet and other information. That could be almost anytime in the middle of the day. If you and your family have any free time on Saturday, we would love to meet for lunch or just to say “hi” in person.


Well, folks, it is now 4:03 a.m. and I think I'll catch a couple hours of sleep before the alarm goes off at 6:00. Its FRIDAY...and the deacons pray together at 6:30 just off I-80 and Lincoln (the Denny's Exit).

Now, that Pastor Matt is here, we're not only working smarter...we are definitely working HARDER. I warned him way back in July, 2007.   (click here)

Ya'll come back now, y'hear?

Thursday, November 30, 2007

Woke up at 5:45. Something was missing when I woke up. No joyful song, no jump-outta-bed-ready to go....

Felt empty needing a fill-up. So, I'm gonna drive Joe to the Park & Ride where he will meet Wolfgang.

I hope to commune with God in that car

   Spirit-father-son (YHWH-rob-joe).

Then, it will be an  I-and-Thou   discussion on the way home...

Whew! What a day yesterday.

Bob Knapp was bein' Bob...a bit pushy, yes....BUT,
a 15 year old named Paul gave his life to Jesus after Youth Group.  Hallelujah!

update: just got back from the drop-off at 6:53. We did pray together and rehearsed a bit of advent-season history. It was 12-12-02 when I received my first letter from Pastor Richard Wesley in Liberia. Joe and I had just shared an hour of devotional (reading through Blackaby's book called Abraham: the Friend of God).

Joe is praying about the process of 'reclaiming' his 'stolen property' and allowing other(s) to come alongside him as he learns an object lesson in 'redemption' and the after-effect.

As we were praying I thanked the Lord for his boundary lines. As men, it is important to show other guys that one can decide to 'nip it' (nip it in the bud) in regards to one's besetting sin(s). That decision of the will is definitely helpful to sinful man who realizes that except for the grace of God, bondage is a fact. Yet for those who will know the Truth, Jesus gives freedom to walk into the day of rest.

As we were praying I recalled the end of my night's dreams. It was a public altar call (not unlike the two nights we shared with brothers Greg, Phil, Jason, and Lazarus at Placer High Stadium in July).

In this dream, I wasn't 'working' at the altar, I was 'watching-and-praying' from the bleachers. I saw the movement of sinners and saints at the altar. As the music played softly (I assume there was music), I recognized some of the individuals who were moving forward to serve and to be served.

A little boy and his sister were standing alone facing the bleachers. Then, I spotted Joe heading to them. He squeezed the girl as if to say, "Hey, its great to see that you've come forward..."

I wondered if he had just been culturally inappropriate. Yet, Joe was bent down on his knee at their eye level and continued to be available to the Spirit's leadership.

He was Joe bein' the altar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

4:14 a.m.

About multi-tasking: I'm getting too old fer it!

Whew! Yesterday about wore me out. The young whipper-snapper (pastor matt...tho' not all that young himself anymore) looked at me at 1:47 p.m. and asked,

"Pastor, are you alright?"

Well, it had been one long, long string of phone calls, live folks, important to-do ministry fulfillment, sermon-editing, office-talk, seed planted, growth watered, and very-important visions further launched forth.

"Pastor, are you alright?"

Yeah, lol...I was just wondering where my keys were because I was heading out the door with seventeen minutes to get to the cemetery, in my suit, tie straightened, hair combed, Bible in hand, mind stilled, and thematic, chosen hymn more-fully embraced:

The keys my hand (like I said...'whew'...)

Ironically, the hymn chosen by the deceased for this very day was:

My Faith has Found a Resting Place (click here)

The service around our sister's burial site was intimate and Word-based (Philippians chapters one and three). Every member of the family and the caregiver-in-attendance are confessing members of the Body of Christ, so we took our time in the Word (in the pleasant context of sun-warmth, birds-song, and lightbreeze). We hallowed that ground for generations to come and to reflect upon the meaning of a long and fruitful marriage-ministry.

Afterwards, Cathy and I met to visit in the home with this family. Much to our joy, we continued to 'connect' on several levels with the children of the deceased.
They will be accompanying their father this week for the First Sunday of Advent.

Returning home after dropping off newly-copied CDs (sermon and Gomer stuff) to the Ronks, and then (The Face of an Angel) to Conductor Jane, the day's ministry schedule was nearly over.

Then I saw this pop up on my kitchen table laptop:

9:17 PM
pastor matt: you're still up?

yup     you?

pastor matt:
of course

me: well, my day's responsibilities are finally done...

pastor matt:  I'm amped about the thought of having a charter school* thinking about the potential
    *a phone call that had come during our business lunch

me: I'm home now

pastor matt:
 Can I call you on an unrelated matter?

me: (withheld stuff)

9:23 PM
pastor matt: very cool... may I give you a call for 5 minutes of your time?

So...he called. Then, last night and this morning I wrote two letters to our own home-grown missionary,
Alisha Rosenau
. She is coming back to Auburn this Sunday for a week's visit. A group of us are planning a short-term mission trip to her ministry-setting (Rancho Sordo Mudo) after Christmas.

Here is a link to Alisha's website:  click here

It is now 4:55 a.m. I think I'll sing along with this hymn before I get out of bed:

My Faith has Found a Resting Place (click here)
    (in memory of Thressie)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A busy day today. Joe and I got up around 5:00; he enrolled online for next semester at Sierra College while I continued to edit Sunday's Message (click here).

is here; I'm their soundman.

Pastor Matt and I are planning to map out the music selections for December. Then, I have to turn in the Expert Advice column...and the weekly pastors' prayer mtg. is in Colfax today.

At 2:00, I will join an intimate circle of family at the cemetery this afternoon for a graveside burial. I must prepare myself for that important opportunity to serve our Lord. Its raining in Auburn today. I hope it lets up for the burial.

Patrice has informed me that shooting begins for The Mayberry Project this week.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Yesterday's Sermon:

The Face of an Angel
(click here) It begins with an excerpt from Pastor Matt's new song: 'Its Not Too Late' recorded as an offertory.

Here is that new song in its entirety:

  It's Not Too Late
  © 2007 Matt Klein All rights reserved (we mean that...we really do)

Yesterday was another blessing for me and Cathy. Christy Sandhoff stayed busy at the Photo Directory table in our reception area.

Pastor Matt sang his latest song, "It's Not Too Late".
His piano-playing and voicings were refreshingly KeithGreen-ish. I love it!

BellRoad Bob and the Mrs. were away on Anniversary Leave. Many others were gone for the holiday as well. Still, God brought in visitors and we had a good time in the Lord. I especially enjoyed meeting John Walker's daughter, Lynn. She told me that she's been praying for me ever since I started here. Lynn lives in Chico. I sure wish she were here! Well, maybe someday.

This weekend, Andy and Becky Deck are flying from Oklahoma to Sacramento. They are here for a running race (in Folsom).

They're gonna drive down I-80 to EXIT 123 and visit the campus of BellRoad International. Unfortunately, they will not be here for Sunday Service, but we will have our receptionists (cathy and mary?) give them a Visitor's Pack...and yours truly will give them a full-scale tour (including our Memorial Rose Garden and the Rooftop Vista).

Lord willing, I will edit and upload the sermon before noon for those who missed it...and for those who don't get it all the first time (like me!).

I was happy to see Josefina in attendance. I quickly introduced her to the others who are praying and planting seed towards a harvest through Iglesia Bautista Bell Road.

I've written two important letters regarding my ongoing attempts to resource Pastor Shamas Pervaiz with the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. May God grant a great blessing to him as we continue to write back and forth.

Cathy, Mary, and I drove to Galt, then to Lodi yesterday. I met the Lodi cast of "A Mayberry Christmas" and video-taped several of the scenes. It was fun to watch a completely different cast work the dialogue.

The next thing I hope to do after uploading my sermon is to make a DVD for our Director, Patrice Rosenau, so she can she how Lodi is staging the scenes.

Another example of how we are rollin' in Auburn:

     'Working smarter...and  working harder'

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I woke up a little before 4:00 a.m. and felt refreshed to tweak my sermon outline. This message is still in the oven because we hope to serve it pipin' hot for those who come to the Table.

   (wanna take a look? click here)

will prepare the way to learn from four Old Testament characters during the Four Sundays of Advent:

    1) Abraham 

The fifth candle will be lit on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was happy to see that Lynette and her son Paul made it to the Union Gospel Mission last night. I invited them to also come to our gathering this morning at 10:15.

I fully expect to see Josefina at church this morning as well. I met her at BSF on Tuesday and told her about Iglesia Bautista Bell Road. She had prayed that God would open a door for Spanish-speaking ministry.

   " (with andy-like expression)
                        the proof is in the eatin' "

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I went to bed at 11:20 last night. Woke up at 5:15 and am looking ahead (tomorrow) to work out details for taking a group to Lodi. We will meet the Lodi cast at their 1:30 rehearsal of "A Mayberry Christmas". We will leave right after our morning service. That means I'll have to find someone to fill in for me as 'techie' at Iglesia Bautista Bell Road (in room 900 at 1:00).

Qualifier: must share a desire to be a part of something greater than oneself while operating a DVD machine and video projector. 

Tomorrow's message is entitled The Face of an Angel. Our three year series is approaching the first intersection with the 'christian' calendar. In this Advent Season (2007), we will consider Salvation History as told by Stephen before he is martyred. I preached it this way in 2002, I believe. Each week, we read a portion of Stephen's testimony and focused on one of four Old Testament characters whose life he cited as character witnesses.

Tomorrow's sermon will serve as our introduction to the primary witness (Stephen) before the
First Sunday of Advent (December 2nd).

Tonight (7:30) is our outreach at the

Union Gospel Mission
  (Sacramento at Richard & I-5)

A long-standing tradition is to first meet up with the Wolf Gang (The Rosenaus') at 5:30 for a home-cooked meal, then leave for Sacramento promptly at 6:30. the services are timed to be over at exactly 8:30. I have made a commitment to being there as much as possible.

The Director, Tim Lane, called me last month and asked if I would be part of a 'Staff Renewal Emphasis' that is scheduled for January, 2008. I told him that it would be my honor to feed the lambs who are serving in such a vital ministry.

If anyone wants to join us, please call me on my cellphone:    
    (209) 323-0727  ...or here's the map

By the way, Tim Lane was previously a member at Bell Road. See what God has done by taking him at his 'yes', and moving Tim along a path chosen for him. Tim now directs the UGM and pastors a church in our denomination. Here is a piece he wrote about one of our historic missionaries. Heroes of the Faith: Lottie Moon

Yesterday, Cathy and I drove to Downtown Grass Valley for an afternoon date. We had a wonderful lunch at a little cafe, walked all the streets, visited several antique and specialty shops, stopped for a cup of coffee and walked some more. This was a very special time of discussing and praying over our family concerns. Someone had told me that the downtown district was run by hippie capitalists. So, that thought was on my mind as I visited with shopkeepers. Yeah, it felt like home. It was a perfect day on planet earth (walking hand-in-hand with my bride).

On the way there and back, we listened to the Practice CD of the Auburn Cast for Christmas in Mayberry. The playwright, Jebby, called us to share that he had just heard it online and wanted me to bring a master with me Sunday, so he can make copies for his cast and crew.

Cathy worked an overnight for Home Instead. It is now 6:10; I think I'll sleep a bit more before she gets home and the day continues...

all of November, 2007: click here

for October, 2007: click here

for September, 2007: click here
for August, 2007: click here
for July, 2007: click here
for June, 2007: 
click here