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Pastor Rob Patterson    653 A Street   Galt, California   (209)  745-4665

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   scroll y2k5:  January 31, 2005 to January 1, 2005    

Monday, January 31, 2005       VisionTrip Day 2
Called to Discernment             Romans 12:2

    After spending five hours at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia, our team of pastors will get on Delta 7798 at 10:30 AM (7:30 California time)and fly across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Johannesburg, South Africa.

    I am compelled to go to that region of Africa as a step of personal obedience to the Lord. I have not yet been up-close to AIDS; I'm writing this journal, in advance because I've chosen to immerse myself in the situation I will find there. There is a song I wrote long ago that I'd like for you to hear.

  It's called
Serve: Click here for audio.

Sunday, January 30, 2005       VisionTrip Day 1

 Called to Discipleship           Luke 4:8

    I'll have to leave the service tonight around 6:50 PM because the van full of Galtonian pastors takes off from that old Bingo Hall we prayed over a few years back. Our prayers became reality before our eyes: that building is now a beautiful church--the temporary home of Horizon Community Church.

    We are flying on
Delta Flight 888 at 10:18 PM. If you think to, pray for a safe take-off and landing. We'll arrive in Atlanta, Georgia at 5:29 AM (Day 2).

Here's a song I wrote during the 1.5 years I took to preach through the Book of John. I remember how much I enjoyed that 143-part sermon series. Notice I don't preach through books much anymore!

This song will preach, however. Whenever God reveals some aspect of His Name, it reveals something about our identity with or without Him.

Jesus is the Bread of Life: I was the hungry one.
Jesus is the Light of the World: I was stumbling.
Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep: I was an outsider.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd: I was a lost lamb.
Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life: I was dead.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life: Fatherless.
Jesus is the True Vine: Now, I am connected to Jesus
    and hope to bear good fruit that will last for Eternity.

listen to  I AM: CLICK HERE

Song Background: One day at fbcgalt, a couple of young teens (Rodney Parker and Pete McCarthy II) were practicing some old, familiar chord progressions. They had fixated on a pattern using I, vi, IV, and V chords in the key of G. It was starting to get on my nerves (the aging process taking its toll--even on me).

However, I went home and put these seven I AM sayings of Christ (from the Gospel of John) to that progression which the boys had been playing. I feel sorry that I had forgotten to acknowledge their contribution with mention on the CD. There's never been any royalties to share...yet, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is Unseen.


January 29, 2005

Upon receiving more wise counsel, I have chosen to rewrite my webBlog from two days ago. Perhaps, you will want to go back and read it. Here is a song worth hearing:

Tender Mercies: CLICK HERE for AUDIO

                     and     CLICK HERE for the LYRICS

January 28, 2005 
See Jebby's new reality show:

January 27, 2005
Evening Update:  
On Sunday night, I will get on a plane heading toward Africa.
Before I leave my Father's flock in the hands of our other capable leaders, I want you to hear a slice of 'real life!'

    I was honored to share the gospel over three days time with a 13 year old friend of Mary's.
Aryelle is well known to our Wednesday night Bible Study (because she helps out with the little ones).

    For the last few days, while her Mom has been out-of-town caring for Grandpa, Aryelle has stayed with us. She asked me some very thoughtful questions about the Bible. Some came as we were watching the Director's commentary for the movie "
I realized that Aryelle hadn't yet been taught some of the basic teachings of the New Testament.

    During these days since my focus on her lack of Bible teaching, she has asked many questions. These three days of witnessing have been carefully and prayerfully approached. Last night before she and Mary went to bed, Cathy and I prayed 'a sinner's prayer' with Aryelle. Now, she knows Jesus as her lifelong friend and as her Savior.

You know, sometimes its hard to communicate in the church. When I look out upon a sanctuary full of familiar faces, I feel confident that I can simply trust my loving heart for these familiar souls and share what has been given to me. That's the golden rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. I try to preach a solid biblical message that involves laughter (and ample opportunity for a penetrating soul-search).

     It seems that an evangelistic message should be a simple teaching from God's Word offered in the Name of Jesus (and presented as Good News for the hearer). Several years ago, I wrote a song that speaks of troubles that come to one who is simply trying to live out an authentic Christian life:

Tender Mercies: CLICK HERE for AUDIO

                     and     CLICK HERE for the LYRICS

    I've been working in our Father's Business a long time. When I was asked my opinion about those who were murmuring publicly against
Eugene Peterson and Rick Warren, it helped me to remember that all who dare to step out and lead will become the focus of 'talk.' Like the song just said:

"People will talk."

    Well, I truthfully defended Rick Warren. I was honest in that day's theological exercise; I wrote something like this:

        "I wouldn't want to be
                  Rick Warren listening to this..."

    Although Dave Hunt (and Mr. McMahon) made some good points, I still thank God that Peterson wrote "The Message" and that
Rick Warren wrote "The Purpose Driven Life."

    Likewise, I have been writing, preaching, singing, and talking about TV shows/movies in ways that seem to make some brothers and sisters uncomfortable. However, there are readers and listeners out there who do understand my methodology; they appreciate my references to ideas which have permeated the popular culture and are being drawn into meaningful, redemptive dialogue.

Well, enough serious talk, here is some...
Great news!
   I called Ms. Cooper at the Embassy of Liberia and she informed me that she sent out the VISAs for Mike and Robin last night by overnight mail. So, they have their tickets, passports, visas, and should fly toward Liberia on Wednesday. We will leave for Lesotho on Sunday night right after church.

Anybody hungry for the Word?

Our own Dr. Clifford Hoff will be preaching in both services at fbc on Sunday morning. I will be playing guitar in the band.

Then, on Sunday night, I will preach old-school as I 'rapidly flip through the pages' of a well-worn Bible....make sure you bring your Bible with you!

p.s. this Sunday will be your last chance
       to kiss
* your pastor goodbye before he
       gets on a big plane and heads to Africa.

* 'the holy kiss' is optional; a holy hug will
      also be received with thanksgiving.
At fbcgalt, we are seeking Authentic Christianity.

January 26, 2005

Evening Update: I visited with Veda this afternoon. Glee, Shirley, Veda, and I sang 'God is Good' and that old country standard by Kitty Wells: 'It's Crying Time Again." Veda said that she hadn't ever heard that song! I used to hear it at my Grandma Blair's house. At Grandma's we watched a weekly TV show called "The Green Valley Jamboree."

  That program was my first exposure to an indigenous American genre: Country/Western Music. I observed the comfort that the songs
(sung by artists like Kitty Wells, Roy Clark,
and Buck Owens)
brought to my grieving, maternal grandmother. Somehow, hanging out with the seniors in my local church brings a similar comfort to me (when I'm find myself missing my grandmothers). Veda (who has never revealed her age...but does admit she's a senior) plans to begin to walk again early next week.
  From there I visited Ruth and Frank Penner (we had a great time of fellowship and laughs). Gotta run now for the Choir get-together (but first will drop Mary and her friend off at the Greene's to babysit for their home Bible Study). 

This morning's report follows: 
4:30-7:20 AM

    I guess I cannot go to ggbts (seminary) today; I have asked others to pray for me to know what I should do about my unfinished doctoral project.

    Yesterday, at the pastors' prayer summit, I was told that Dr. Ron Hornecker is no longer the Director. I didn't know that.  Too much to do be4 leaving for South Africa; uploaded Joe's Journal, Just In from Jerry, and what eva. Please check them out by simply clicking on the pretty colors above.

Pastor Wesley has just called (7:30 AM) to check on the status of Mike and Robin McCall's trip to Liberia. I asked for confirmation of the news I had received that his car was broken down.

    This was factual news. He says it has been very hard to get around. I've been there; I know. He is in the minority as a car owner. A church in New York had provided it for him.
Toyota Camri Station Wagon. I told him that Mike McCall  (a truck driver) also knows about auto repair. Hopefully, he can help get this Camri operating again. Pastor Wesley will send me an email with more details.

January 25, 2005 

I'm up really early this morning with some definite plans to excavate and organize. However, at 8:30 our secretary shows up and reminds me that the pastors of the Delta Valley Association are meeting for a Prayer Summit in Manteca (at 9:00 AM). So, I finish what I can of the task at hand and rush off toward the summit.

I arrive around 9:30 AM and stay in a great place of corporate prayer until 4:30 PM. There is SO much happening that it will take days to ponder and to take the initial action steps.

Now, moving from the present tense to the future (perfect) I shall leave Control Central to pick up our 3rd son (Daniel the Wrestler), and proceed to eat the meal our daughter (and friend) will have prepared. Then, we shall rush to a Tuesday Bargain Movie. On the journey to Lodi, I hope to share a testimony toward a salvific end (with this 13 year old friend of our family). Later.

January 24, 2005 

This morning I read Joe's Journal and learned of a contemporary church he visited yesterday in Southern California. It was interesting to read that
Flipside Church had featured a clip from Brian Dannelly's film (CLICKHERE): Saved! as a point of connection with the popular culture of 21st Century America.

   I'm sure that Joe had no idea that the day before I had uploaded an episode from my life--the one where
pastorob writes a letter to a famous Hollywood director...

   This morning on our Audio Download page, I discovered a flawed hyperlink:

Focus on the Secret Place
iving, Praying and Fasting   CLICK HERE

   Somehow it had been linked to a song  (instead of to the nine-minute audio track that had been edited by Joe).

   While looking for that particular
slice-of-sermonia, I heard the unedited closing minutes of that particular sermon. So, if you want to hear the end of the FOCUS message (complete with altar music),
click here.

    Our oldest son of mine has a great mixture of spiritual gift and abilities: During his first month of college, Joe chose to transcribe the lyrics to songs that he noticed I had uploaded on the Audio page.

    I was pleased because I put much effort into each song (back in those days of creative expenditure). One song, in particular was a 'swan song' for our Michigan Ministry; it used clips from several preachers' messages over Greg's guitars as a long ending.

   We would like to learn what it would take to put this very text in the Windows Media Box. If anyone knows how, please contact me.

CLICK HERE for CONSIDER  (the music track)

CLICK HERE for CONSIDER  (the transcript)

   As God gives me contact with talented technicians, I will excavate my office, locate some choice audio, and publish everything.

DAYS to Lesotho. Last night, the
Pastors' Vision entourage
(and all spouses),
met for dinner and tabletalk. Wonderful!

    I was able to hear brief stories from a number of these 'called' individuals. I've known most of these 'clergy' personalities but traveling with them will be an eye-opener. I am grateful to God (and the movers/shakers) for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity go on a 'mission' with leaders from other denominations.

   I also, just now, realize that I am the 'senior' in the mix...maybe Mary Sanders (Lutheran) is my age; her kids are older (but I look older). So, it was fun for Cathy and me to hear stories of the ministry couples whose children are still small and low-maintenance. (and growth) is wonderful!

Pastor Tim Stevenson wrote a great article for the Galt Herald as the first in a series. We published it on our website:

January 22, 2005 

I'll be quite busy today; 
I suggest that you click on these hotspots:

 The Gospel According to Napoleon Dynamite

          webBlog ethics      CHS Follies
 A Biblical Basis for web-based Reality Shows

January 21, 2005  9 DAY COUNTDOWN till we
                leave for Lesotho, South Africa.

   I've just finished reading the latest from Jerry and Joe, good news from Eva, d.c.tom, and Krazy Al. These are important days for everyone.

   I dropped our son,
Daniel, off at GHS at 6:00 AM. He is going on a Wrestling excursion today. So, I made a quick trip to Control Central before the morning's schedule begins:

7:00-8:00 Rotary 
VisionWalk with Jebby
9:45 (depart for Rio Vista to speak at the
         funeral of a dear friend: Villa Smith).

I didn't have time to watch the Inauguration yesterday so I went online and found the text for President Bush's speech. If you would like to ponder what was on his mind or wanted to contrast the 2 speeches,
click below.
Did you miss President Bush's
                Inaugural Address?


this email came in today from the firefighter:

Pastor Rob

It was a pleasure meeting you, I am just getting back into the fire station very busy day, I will contact you when I get back from Liberia. take care God blesses you

Lars B. Knutsen

   My Friday morning co-host, Veda, has been bed-ridden for weeks now. Today, I stopped by with my guitar; she was sitting up with a smile. With unusual weakness, she still quickly requested a song:

'God is Good All the Time'

   Then, Ruby joined us by starting the first verse of "To God Be the Glory..." We sang all 3 verses of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and recited the 23rd Psalm together. Then my cell phone rang. It was Cathy; I held the phone up to Veda and Cathy asked her:

      "Are you enjoying time with
my man?'

Veda promptly responded:
             "He may be your man,
                             but he's my preacher!"

I shared some good gossip (about Mike and Robin going to Liberia and about budding romances in the church). Now that's church!

January 20, 2005  10 DAY COUNTDOWN until I get onboard a plane with other Galtonian pastors and fly to Lesotho, South Africa.

   I haven't even given much attention to preparing myself for that trip. World Vision asks that we not 'connect' much with the U.S. while we're there. Their intention is that we would immerse ourselves in the context upon which we enter: communities devastated by AIDS. Our objective would be to emotionally experience that aspect of human suffering.

   Today I awoke at 2:30 AM and thought to myself, "3 hours of sleep isn't really enough."
I was, indeed, wide awake and could have driven to Control Central; there is still much to communicate but I chose the rest instead.

   So, after more sleep, Cathy and I got up and began another devotional reading of the

he Purpose Driven Life   by   Rick Warren.

   With another overseas trip coming up,
we chose to begin a 10-Day study starting at

   Day 29: Accepting Your Assignment

I stopped to ponder this interesting equation
from page 231:

without Expression causes Depression


   Some people who are very close to my heart struggle with Depression. For me depression is cyclical and has usually come after a great amount of 'activity.' When the activity subsides, my thoughts can be consumed by anxieties over what has been overlooked or left undone during the most recent days of passionate busyness.

   I don't know if the aforepublished equation is Rick Warren's original material (
or another's). Whatever the source, I am thankful that he wrote it for us to consider together. Scroll down and look at the smiles on the faces of Mike and Robin. These two are expressing the tug of God upon their hearts by traveling to Liberia to work with the children. Look at those smiles!

  Expressions  of Holy  Impressions  stir up  Elation

   On February 2nd, those two are scheduled to fly into the war torn nation of Liberia (for nearly a month). The U.S. State Department still has a Traveler's Advisory suggesting that Americans not go to Liberia.

However, Pastor Wesley would say:

               "Oh...its perfectly safe here..."

I would qualify that statement:

        "The safest place to be
                    is in the center of God's Will."

JUST IN: Mike and Robin McCall have purchased their tickets for travel from
San Francisco to Monrovia, Liberia on a 3-week mission trip (focused upon children).
Here they are pictured holding the FlannelGraph layout from which the Women's Ministry has cut out hundreds of pieces.

The Flannel Bible Lessons will be carried with the McCalls to Liberia. Bible stories will be taught to the children and older kids will be equipped to teach the younger. This Flannel Technology will remain with the church in Liberia for future ministry.

January 19, 2005  I came in at 4:45 AM because I woke up ready to roll. In our VirtualStudios today, I have as my guest Ms. Mary Chase, single, IMB missionary from Moscow, Russia. She sent me a couple emails with call for response, so here goes:

Rob:    Hi Mary! Its great to have you in our
today. Tell me, what is
the burning question you have for me?

Mary: How did the Vision-Cast go?  I hope
         that my PowerPoint didn't disappoint

Rob:  Vision-Cast 2005 went great!
         Uh...I didn't get around to using your
         PowerPoint of 'Mary in Moscow'. I
         didn't have enough time. We covered
         upcoming events through September,
         2005. Jebby's musical, a pigroast,
         Easter Sunrise Service, VBS Road Trip,
         Spirit West much more...
         we just ran out of time, Mary.

Mary: Well, that's understandable but how
         did you like it? The PowerPoint I sent

Rob:  Actually, I haven't seen it yet.
         Virtually, I can...and I think its
         absolutely wonderful!  Thank you so

Mary: I like the idea of making comments on
         the website from time to time. It's
         great to be connected more personally

Rob:  Friends, I remember meeting Mary way
         back in 1995; we had a seminary class
(to Mary) You asked me if
         you could come and work with Cathy
         and me in our small church:
Snyder Lane Baptist Church (Rohnert Park).
         I was impressed--you wanted to plug
         in someplace that really needed your
         gifts and talents. You chose us. Now
         you're one of
OUR missionaries to
         Moscow, Russia. I notice you still
         haven't married yet. Why?

Mary: I'm holding out for the right guy.

Rob:  You probably notice that we have a
         new season of web-based reality
         shows. Currently I know of two
         romances who have been assisted
         through my pastoral networking of
         eligible (single) Christians. Mary, you
         know me...once 'the match' has been
         made, I'll pull back. I must
         decrease...and then let the tender
         moments of relationship-building
         increase. So, is it alright if I invite
         Christ-centered, attractive guys
         with a passion for mission work to
         write to you? I can imagine that
         Moscow nights in January get kinda
         cold...and kinda lonely.
         I saw Dr. Zhivago when I was a kid.

Mary: You know, maybe this is a good time
           to remind your viewers
that I'm not
         really here. This interview is a feature
         of VirtualStudios
...there was
         nothing in my email that even slightly
         resembled my status as a lonely,
         single Christian looking for love on
         these freezing cold Moscow nights.

         Hey, let's change the subject. Your
         website is very well done.  I've read
         that you're leaving for Lesotho on
         January 30th. When you go to Lesotho
         are you going to see our IMB folks

Rob:  Oh, we have missionaries there?

Mary: Definitely. If you see them, please
         say hi to them from me. Hey, I was
         just thinking today that I need a
         musician with lots of life and fun to
         lead the music at the English camp I
         am organizing this summer.  Guess
         who comes to my mind? 

Rob:   Oh, I don't know. Moscow?
Summer of 2005? Golly, I have to be
          in the States for the Season Finale
of CHS Follies
, the 30 Year Class
          Reunion, our VBS looks
          like it already is gonna be a busy

Mary: Think it over.  It would be so cool to
          have you come and minister here with
          me.  We'll even teach you some
          songs so you can add to your

Rob:   Well, the Lord only knows. Hey, I've
          gotta go Mary. It's now 6:47
          here in California. I wonder what time
          it is in Moscow? I hope you get a
          chance to read this interview today.

Christ-Centered Bachelors who wanna email Mary: CLICK HERE
Mary also needs short term missionaries
for her
                 English Summer Camp in Moscow:  CLICK HERE

January 18, 2005    upDATED at 4:45 PM scroll down

This morning I will meet with my fellow travelers to Lesotho. We are having a conference call at 10 AM. I have  much to do before then. So, I'll get back to this very column later with an update. We leave on January 30th; I'm sure glad I know the whereabouts of my passport because I won't have much time to pack (as busy as I've been lately).

   The conference call was enlightening; there were people from Chicago, Washington, Colorado, (and elsewhere) sharing his pre-trip discussion toward preparing to travel together to Southern Africa. I will share more about the Conference Call tomorrow because
I need to tell you what happened next:

   I had a 1:30 appt. with a member (who chooses to not claim his 15 minutes of fame) to discuss our upcoming series "Keys to Loving Relationships." In order to enjoy an uninterrupted dialogue, we left the studio and walked to the Cafe' Latte (a local favorite of mine). As we were closing in on the end of our appointment, I overheard the three guys at the next table using 'churchy' words (preach, bible, growth, etc.). I went over to them to find out who they were (and to ask what they were doing on my turf).

   They quickly identified one guy as a
'a firefighter'
(an allusion to hellfire, I think), another as a pastor, and the third: an apostle to the nations. As they pointed to the third man, they said, "He's leaving soon for Africa!"

   "Which country?" I asked.

   "Liberia..." he answered.

longstoryshort, the three men came to visit the Epicenter. I gave them a cybertour of this website and sent a link to their email addresses so they could check on us later.

   After giving them each parting gifts (the CD 'to the Ends of the Ends'), we prayed and excitedly said our goodbyes...knowing that God is up to something by connecting us in this way.

   It looks like we've found great prices for tickets from San Francisco to Monrovia, Liberia. I think that Mike and Robin McCall plan to leave for Liberia around
February 1st.

January 17, 2005   I received a call from Jennifer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was seeking information about adoption of one of our precious little ones in Liberia.

It's Monday morning and, in our studio today, we have with us Torby Giles who was in attendance at our Worship service yesterday.

Rob:     Torby, where do you live and what
            church do you attend?

Torby:   Pace, Florida and I am member of
            Wallace Baptist Church. Our church
            is known as a praying (and giving)
            church! That is for sure!

Rob:     Well, why have you attended the
               Epicenter for Sunday services the
               last two weeks?

Torby:  This is the place that we've been
            visiting every time we've come to
            Galt to see my stepmother. I've
            been here 5 or 6 times through the

Rob:     I know you didn't want any notoriety
            for this, but I want to thank you for
            giving that secret handshake
            to Mike McCall yesterday. It thrilled
            Mike and Robin to know that God is
            providing for their passage to
(Our goal is to have Mike and
                  Robin set foot on Liberian soil by Feb. 16th.)

Torby:   Why are they going to Liberia?
Rob:     They plan to intentionally focus
            upon individual ministry to the
            pastor's kids and to each of
            the children living at
Greater Love Children's Home.

            The McCalls' trip to Liberia will be
            the joint effort of many of God's
            willing servants.

Is it difficult to travel to Liberia?

Rob:     Yes, it's hard to find a good
            airfare. Today, I'll do my part to try
            to get airline tickets arranged.

Torby:   How long will they be in Liberia?

Rob:     They plan to stay there for
            one month. This way there will be
            plenty of time for us to 'network'
            and establish worthy goals for our
            future ministry opportunities in
            Liberia. I want all my readers to    
            know that Pastor Richard Wesley
            has my undivided loyalty.

Torby:  Well, I'd better get going back to
            Pace, Florida. To my fellow
            Floridians from St. Petersburg--I
            think that the trumpet player,
Fred McKendry, is a nice guy. I hope 
            you all will accept Pastor Rob's
            invitation to come here and see for

Rob:     Torby, it has been good to have you
            as our guest today. We want 
            you to come back anytime you're in
            the area. This is 'your church home
               away from home.'

                                                 and again: 5:00 PM  editing
January 15, 2005 Me again: 11:55 AM I drove to Stockton to pick up MacDonald Wreh from work. While I was driving I was listening to some songs that I remember were on this album The Early Beatles.

Drivetime + Historical Music=
 Long-term Memory Enhancement

While considering the memories evoked by today's 'extended play' journal entry it occurred to me that I should use the color Purple as my choice of Fonts in today's hyperlinked references to Mrs. Rakestraw (remembering that her nickname had been Purple or Purp).

Then, it hit me--I had transposed the teachers of my youth!
   Mrs. Marchant
  Mrs. Rakestraw
had been my 7th Grade English Teacher.
Purple was the nickname given to the one who had taught 
  Literary Philosophy:
Mrs. Hayes).  Get it? Hendrix?

* Mrs. Rakestraw had been my 9th Grade Biology Teacher

January 15, 2005 Me again: 9:30 AM
 After our prayer meeting and men's breakfast, I edited my midnight journal entry (below) and added some hyperlinks. 
         Assuming some have already read it,
I suggest that you revisit the
               paragraphs below and click away!

If you are anywhere near Lodi...
 Go out and buy a copy

       of today's Lodi News-Sentinel.
           In the Sports Section, on the Religion Page,
           master journalist, Ross Farrow has
           published a feature about our

Pastors' Vision Trip
       (after you come back from buying the newspaper).

January 15, 2005  It just passed midnight; there are still a few 'forward gardeners' at dotcom.tom's house enjoying the afterglow of 2 showings of one wonderful film.

Napoleon Dynamite
has been stirring up my subconscious creative muscle in regard to a reality show upon which I am acting.

My early vocational goals had included being connected with the Entertainment Industry. When I was in 6th grade, the first days of my new friendship with Scott Crabill were spent creating stories as we walked the streets of Coldwater.

Our artistic collaboration involved hours of telling stories with recurrent characters--interweaving the dramatic elements of their mutual circumstances.

Around 1965/66, my oldest sister, Nancy, had created a very interesting audio story on reel-to-reel tape. She had taped certain words and phrases from 45 rpm records and, using only the pause button on a Wollensak recorder, created a sequence of soundbites that made sense. After listening to her pre-pre-hip-hop samples of England Swings, I was hooked. Audio manipulation was fun!

1975, my cousin, Joanne Blair, had moved back to Coldwater after many years away. (We had been playmates when we were both young children and were thrilled to be reunited.)  

In our senior year,
at Coldwater High School, we were now classmates and quickly surrounded ourselves with a most interesting cast of characters--our mutual friends.
I had finished Acting I during that first semester and decided to take Advanced Acting. Joanne, too, enrolled; that particular class was comprised of a very talented group of juniors and seniors. We regularly worked on pantomime with subtext, improvisation, comedy sketches, and dramatic vignettes.

One of the assignments in Miss Coscarelly's  Class was to pair up, choose, and rehearse a one act play (from a pile of published works for 2 characters). Joanne and I chose to work together. However, for totally illegitimate reasons, we were unprepared on the day of our performance. Since many of the plays were from the realm of existential theatre (which we both agreed was 'weird stuff'), we decided that we would improvise and 'pretend' that we were reciting lines from one of the lesser known scripts in the aforementioned pile.

Literary Philosophy with Mrs. Hayes we studied existentialism (No Exit by Sartre and some other 'stuff' by Camus --I don't think that I concentrated much....that class was after lunch!)

However, with a depth of understanding only 12th graders possess, we confidently proceeded to fake our way through the 'recitation' of pseudo-existential dialogue accompanied with well-blocked movement.
Created in realtime that day's drama became an extemporaneous work of existential theatre unmatched by any I have seen in the thirty years since!

Our reality had transcended reality.

The seedbed of ideas which became
CHS Follies
was started during that same semester (exactly 30 years ago). Apparently there is some uncompleted artistic vision because the last two mornings I have awoken to some wonderful possibilities for the next three graduating classes (and their counterparts from the 70's).

In conversation with those in attendance tonight, I shared this observation: most film artists, when given a chance, will find themselves 'telling' a story that allows them to revisit the years of 'their' coming-of-age.
Any ideas coming of age in your mind? CLICK HERE

My Bachelor's Degree
earned at W.M.U. was    
A Student-Planned Curriculum in Audio-Visual Production
It gave me the training necessary to express content through form. I don't really expect many of my readers to understand today's journal entry. It's somewhat specialized in scope, however I'm glad that I took the time to write
(1 hour and 30 minutes). I hope you will come back to this very entry when you have more time. Mrs. Hayes would be pleased to know that you learned something about Camus or Sartre.

Even those in my inner circle have not yet grasped the seriousness with which I plan to approach one particular project:
CHS Follies.
I don't have all the details of the storyline worked out--and for good reason: some of the reality has yet to be realized.

In these days, on this website, I have again found a creative outlet that involves teamwork. What fun. Tonight,
noted Journalist, Eva Moore, just came on as our newest writer. In the upcoming season, she will produce a reality show based on her life.

 what eva will tweak* our sensibilities.
Virtually guaranteed!

                                     *tweak: to pinch sharply and twist

January 14, 2005  Went to Rotary; then shared
a brisk, weekly VisionWalk with Jebby;

, we haven't yet 'registered' 
our weekly VisionWalk with the
  U.S. Dept. of Patents and Trademarks
, (and we may not ...)
so, go ahead...
      walk, dream, talk, pray. Seriously ...
it's OK.
                           You have our blessings.

Finally to
Control Central to edit the upcoming
 Virtual Reality Shows....  
  ...we just added one with Jebby, click here
           ...and another j/k
click here

Please come to the
Napoleon Dynamite
       film party with dotcom.tom --
                            2 shows: 6:30 and 8:30
           Call 323-0727 for more information
                     We Support the Arts in everytown, USA

1.13.05 Late night entry: My friend, Veda, (who has refused to grow old) reported that she was doing better today. Yesterday, we sang Trust and Obey and recited verses together.

Today, we recited the 23rd Psalm and the Lord's Prayer in unison. The sound of our voices blended beautifully. I noticed that her son, Tommy, joined us for the recitation of John 3:16. Veda wants everyone to know that Tommy is taking exceptional care of her. She said that he has never had to take care of anyone before.

January 13, 2005  Last week we sent our son, Jerry (17), to live with my younger brother, Mike. My older sister, Nancy, took Jerry to our alma mater, Coldwater High School to enroll and finish his senior year.

My senior year at Coldwater High School, would have been a great situation for reality television. Unfortunately, we were 30 years ahead of our time. In a survey of seniors conducted by our Student newspaper, The Mirror, the Class of 1975 voted for me in the following categories:

     First Place: Biggest Con Artist
     First Place: Friendliest
     2nd place:  Most Conceited

Upon learning this Pastor Dan Malloy remarked, "Nothing much has changed."

Well, there's a story here somewhere.

There are still teachers at C.H.S. who remember Rob Patterson (and the Class of '75). Thirty years later, our son (the punk rock drummer) makes his entrance in the same hallowed halls.

Perhaps I will attend the 30th REUNION of the Class of '75 this year. During my senior year I shot 2 reels of Super 8 film and entitled it C.H.S. Follies. It was cinema verite' at its best: the real 70's show!

click here for updates on Jerry Patterson

January 12, 2005   
REAL MEN aren't afraid of
I was sitting at Control Central when the phone rang.
Linda Townshend was calling from St. Petersburg, Florida to ask about our website and other questions of pastorob. Linda is planning to come to the Epicenter from February 18th - 21st.

I quickly guessed her purpose because months ago I had made a suggestion to Fred McKendry (1st chair Trumpet: Lodi Community Band, faithful member of fbcgalt, and soloist for the A Street Band).

I said, "Fred, you ought to check out a Christian website for singles. If I was single, and desired female companionship that's what I would do. You can have great communication without all the pressure of dating."

Fred met Linda
online at

Last summer, I performed a wedding for a couple who had met through a Christian singles site. They had written back and forth for 1.5 years
(before meeting each other in person). Six months later, they wanted to get married at a nearby Bed and Breakfast close to the Epicenter. So they called on me.

Fred McKendry
is well known at the Epicenter as our most eligible bachelor because as Rodger Parker has quipped:

 "Fred's trumpet bag is the
only baggage he has!"
            (Rodger, our drummer, is also single--a widower).

is the teacher for Discipleship I at the Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg. Linda's students and friends have been very concerned about her planned trip to fly to California to meet Fred in person. They appear to be somewhat suspicious of Christian CyberRelationships.

I suggest they
all come to the Epicenter and investigate Fred's claims for themselves! As well, if Linda's friends, relatives, and students happen to be single, well, we have several eligible bachelors and bachelorettes waiting upon God for the right person.
                write me for more information.

          CLICK HERE for "Our Most Eligible Bachelor"

Another call came in today--a journalist named Ross Farrow. He writes for the Religion Page at the Lodi News Sentinel. He had called because he was surfing the web, checking out our page and learned of the upcoming Pastors' Vision Trip to Lesotho. Wanting to write a story for this Saturday's paper, Ross interviewed me for about 30 minutes. He asks great questions and always writes interestingly. So, make sure you buy a copy of Saturday's Sentinel.
I'll apologize in advance for anything he quotes me as saying. You know how extraverts are...we don't know what we're thinking until we hear ourselves say it!

Bob Coon wrote a letter to the pastors in Galt, so I've published it on our Epicenter page and the South Africa Vision Trip page.

Another letter comes from Rich Stearns, President of World Vision (US), detailing for coffee drinkers how we can enjoy a hot brew with 100% of the profits going toward Tsunami Relief efforts.

January 11, 2005   
I've been sharing the vision for next month when the Epicenter hosts our Associational Youth Rally.
Our theme will be:
       "The Gospel according to
                                 Napoleon Dynamite."

 I have renewed contact with
 another Christian webmaster,
 David Bruce,
from because our research assistant discovered his site
(500,000,000 hits) while studying the origins of the Napoleon phenomenon. David used to live in Patterson, California. I wrote to tell him that the Youth Band from Patterson FBC are planning to come to visit us at the Epicenter.

I think that our young people will have a fun time as they gain 'skills' on February 26th. We're inviting young people to come dressed as their favorite character at Napoleon's school, home, or in his community.

plans to throw an 'adults only' Napoleon Dynamite Big Screen, Big Sound pre-event Screening at his house for the first 15-20 who show up at his door.
psss...Keep it on the downlow until he announces it formally on his Blog.

    for the right person
              (details below)

January 10, 2005 
(first log-in) It's 5:30 AM on Monday morning. Most pastors choose to use Monday as their day off...I don't. Too much happens on Sunday; I don't want to lose momentum, so here I am.

           "They said, 'No.'...."

Last week, a precious couple from our local church wrote me a most beautiful 'dear rob letter' in which they assured me of their love for me as their pastor, but...  then, they broke up with me.

Like Cathy and me, this couple have been surviving (not quite thriving) as they are dealing with 'parenting' teenagers. I wrote back and told them, "I understand. Thanks for letting me down easy--for sharing love instead of hurting me by focusing on something I said or did or didn't do."

Cathy also wrote them and shared some of our own struggles with raising our kids
(now all 4 teens) in the context of a smaller church. She also asked for permission for us to explain to others why this family had chosen to break up with us.

The couple wrote back and said to tell everyone that they love us but they needed to find a bigger church (with a thriving youth ministry and a successful ministry aimed at college age Christians).

So, I did. In both morning services, I mentioned the family that just decided to leave our church. Faces dropped! Hurt, confusion, and other emotions impacted the muscles on their faces. As I continued to speak, I could sense that these people weren't going to 'do business as usual.'

They told me to tell the couple, "No."

"No?..." I asked.

"No, they can't break up with us."

I felt like George Costanza when he tried to tell his girlfriend:

"It's not's me..."

She said, "No."

So, I'm supposed to let everyone know that there's $15,000 available for the right person to come to the Epicenter and deal with our issues.  CLICK HERE to offer an idea

We can't fix a problem by throwing money at it. That's not what we're going to do. However, a worker is worth his wage.

If you didn't read Saturday's devotional, "What's Worth Keeping" by Haddon Robinson, click here

January 8, 2005 
(first log-in)
It's 6:00 AM and I'm going to have to run from Control Central to the Altar.y2k5 for our weekly men's prayer meeting. I fully expect to see some 'real men' show up this morning!

You see, I've extended an ongoing challenge to 'lose some sleep'
(click there) over the needs of our church family, our community, our state, our nation, and all the nations of our generation.

So....I figure I will be praying with the same old guys...oh's all good
                                                              (romans 8:28)

Hey, last night some of our talent scouts went with me on a trip South of the Epicenter...all the way down to Patterson, California. We had heard of a monthly Coffee House that takes place there. Much to my surprise, the band formerly known as IMPLODE, was playing there. We saw so much talent that we couldn't tear ourselves away until 11:30. Brandon Stoppe from the mainstage gave me a tentative 'yes' to bring the band to the Epicenter for our BIG YOUTH RALLY on Saturday, February 26th. Write me for details.

January 8, 2005 UPDATE... Was I ever wrong! (see below)! I can't believe the great number of men who showed up this morning! Virtually packed (in the truest sense of the words). A man showed up from Walnut Grove; he had been driving near the Epicenter looking at church signs for tomorrow. He felt the vibrations and then saw the 'sign and wonder' of a parking lot full of cars. He walked in! He (Dave) says he will come back to the Epicenter on Sunday at 8:30.

I gave Dave a Liberia CD and a Theology of Suffering and Healing CD as parting gifts.
(click either for a free downloads and more info).

January 8, 2005 and yet another UPDATE...
Today, I've spent several hours in and out of a Lodi gymnasium videotaping our third son, Daniel, wrestling in a high school tournament. I had to leave after his fourth match. He had so far won four out of five scheduled. I told him to go ahead and make it 5 out of 5 (Joe my substitute cameraman will tape the final match). I'll let you know how it turned out tomorrow.

I'm excited about the third message in this month's sermon series:
Navigating the Y2K5
. I hope you will come be a participant tomorrow (8:30 or 11:00); you're also invited to VISION-CAST 2005 at the Epicenter (Sunday night at 6:00--soup supper included--no charge).

January 7, 2005
A highlight this morning: I received a long letter from the principal of a high school in southern California. She has raised (and has sent forth) 2 children, still has 2 at home, and has just independently adopted 2 more children from Liberia. She writes that she will soon travel to Liberia to bring her children home.

During the process of adopting her kids (while helping other families do likewise), she learned about Pastor Wesley and our children's home there. This is appears to be an answer to my prayers for those who live at the Greater Love Children's Home. I appreciate her philosophy of adoption below. I share this excerpt from her letter hoping that you will share my joy today:

"It is my prayer that through adoptions, people's hearts and minds will be opened to Liberia. Also, it is my philosophy that adoption of a child is and should be the last resort for a child. It is better to provide assistance to the child in its home country, HOWEVER, there is such an overwhelming need and there are parents who are interested in adopting.
I have spoken with Pastor Wesley about the adoptions and we are working on getting a fee structure in place and to get a system in place so that children who are eligible to be adopted can be adopted at a minimal cost.
For the 10 families that I assisted, I worked as a volunteer and did not charge. It is my continued wish to volunteer my services for the future adoptions as well. It is the same wish that my friends have also. Some families cannot adopt because it is too expensive, but this route it will be affordable. Also, it will help support the orphanage.
I am also interested in getting a school going and finding sponsorship for the children who are not adoptable."

If you would like to write to this woman, please click here and I will forward your letter to her.

   January 6, 2005  Today I went for a walk in the sunlight (a beautiful window of opportunity--no clouds, no rain). The fresh air and exercise helped me to reflect on challenges of recent days (and those in the near future). Of course, I can't publicly journal about interactions with the great number of people who look to me for some Godly counsel or comfort. Still, I would like you to know that I am hurting alongside some precious people going through very difficult times in their lives. So, if you should think to pray for me, pray that I would be helpful and Christ-like in all of my personal relationships.

Cathy and I believe that we have made a wise decision in sending our son, Jeremiah to finish his senior year in Michigan. He will serve a noble purpose in being of practical help to my brother, Mike. I also expect him to be available to help my Dad in certain ways. Hopefully, he will mature in the Lord as God blesses him through closer interaction with these and other loved ones. Due to midwest snow and ice storms, Jerry's trip had to be delayed but we finally got him on a plane early this morning. While I was writing, he called to tell me that my sister and nephew just picked him up at the Detroit airport. They are currently on the road to Coldwater, Michigan (the small town where I grew up).

Joe, our oldest, is still home on winter break but on Monday morning will leave for Riverside, California. Therefore, Cathy and I will only have two kids at home (16 and 13). Our friend, Greg Brayton, wrote to us that he and his wife, Sally, really haven't suffered much from 'empty nest syndrome.' They have enjoyed some quieter times of sweet fellowship since their kids have moved on.

Many of our you have already gone through this stage of parenting; that's nice. Stand back and watch us go through predictable human emotions as we bump our little birds out of the unusual nest we have called 'home.' We welcome your letters of encouragement and advice.

January 4, 2005  This morning we will have our monthly outreach service at the Royal Oaks Convalescence Center here in Galt. Twenty years ago this monthly outreach was begun by three women in our local church. One of these key women, Veda Rackley, has been in the hospital for several days. I'm happy to report that the angioplasty test she had yesterday showed no signs of blockage.

Another of our members, Villa Smith, is in the last stages of life (in her 90's). Yesterday, Cathy and I had the opportunity to visit with her. She lamented over having to miss church so we took some time to share scripture, and sing a hymn we had sung at church Sunday. It was touching--to the inmost depth of our being.

January 2, 2005
I don't have much time right now but I found a story about another little church (in North Carolina) used by God to reach out to orphans in Liberia.
Click here to read it: 'the little church that could'
At the conclusion of my second sermon today, I prayed about our making contact with the families from one church who have adopted fifteen children from the same orphanage. This particular church's story is important to us as a sign of God's Work and His Ways--reminding us that His invitation for us to be involved with Liberians is still being extended.
Here's another story about the same little church
Our involvement with Pastor Wesley and his church in Liberia began in December of 2002. I would really like to know that others have read about this church's unique calling that began in 2003. Please read these stories and write me.

January 1, 20

Just back from San Jose
(where five adults from the Epicenter hung out with thousands of California teenagers).

Our own group consisted of five adults and 18 teenagers. Our Youth Conference, Tsunami 2004, will forever be connected in our thoughts with the tragedy of the Indian Ocean tsunamis. We took up an offering of $8,000 on our first night to contribute to victims in that part of our world. It may take me the day to assess and journal some of my post-conference thoughts so check back later today.

I was happy to see this email from Pastor Wesley in Liberia (sent on Dec. 30th):

Dear Pastor Rob,
Thank you for the recent gift from your church. My family, the church, and I will be praying with you as leave for South Africa on a mission trip. May the Lord bless the trip that it will yield fruits hundred-fold. How long will the trip be?

Well, the wonders of Internet...we will still be in touch while you are away via internet. Thank God for all the help that First Baptist Church continues to render to the Lord's work here in Liberia. My regards to the your family.
In His grace,
Pastor Richard Wesley Sr.

I spoke with my brother, Mike, last night. We confirmed the plan to have my son, Jerry,
(above: far right 2nd row) fly to Michigan to live with him. A few years ago, Mike's sweet wife, Marian, died after a long bout with Scleraderma. Mike has not remarried so Jerry is about to experience life in a household with two other bachelors: Uncle Mike and Cousin Mike. This is going to change our entire family stay tuned for further developments.

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Pastor Rob Patterson    653 A Street   Galt, California   (209)  745-4665

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