August, 2006    Return to: pastorob's current journal

Another day of Holy Coincidence
is about to begin... 

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Checking my email at 5:30, I was touched by a thoughtful message from my friend, MacDonald Wreh. I wrote him a note which was heavily influenced by last night's Bible Study. This is why I am committed to small group fellowship, study, and discussion. I was happy to have the Word on the tip of my tongue (and ready with my fingertips on the keypad).

Another source of information was in my email:
a website which has transcriptions of many books.

I started reading the autobiography of
Booker T. Washington
(click here). This site also has an autobiography by Benjamin Franklin and several other books of particular interest to me.

This morning, Jebby and I are planning to take a VisionWalk. Yesterday, he received a full-fidelity audio CD of the songs we recorded with Greg Brayton. So, today, we'll probably talk more about who played what on each piece (click here). I added the lyrics to all four songs, so go ahead, take another look (click here).

I also have a meeting with Christene Santillan today (about the Backyard Bunch). Tonight, we have Band Practice, so I'll need to choose the songs for Sunday morning. Since, Alex and Carly Cuevas are being baptized this Sunday, I have received some suggestions for special music.

I'm starting to look at the photos that were taken in Liberia while Pastor Hendon was there.  Many of his photos are of the participants at the Leadership Conference. However, there's nothing quite the same as seeing children in their Sunday best. I enjoy looking at every single face and considering the privilege we have had of investing in their lives.

Pastor Hendon will be with us on Sunday evening
    at 6 p.m. for Q. and A. (click here for directions)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It feels good to wake up in our own bed this morning.

A long, rewarding day ahead of me, I hope...
I went out to SaveMart to replenish staples at the homestead (milk, bread, cereal, lunch meat). I also stopped by Cafe Latte' for the best cup of French Roast in the states (believe me, I've been through many of them in the last two weeks).

and Brad Graef
were at the Coffee Shop (before their classes at Galt High School). Kendra is part of a thriving Bible Study that is meeting there before school. I told her that Aimee led one on Thursdays last year. Kendra was filling in for Jerry at Togo's but apparently there has been some 'drama' there. Brad told me that he is starting there on Thursday and will work on Jerry's Crew.

I told them that Jerry had just read 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' and that he wanted to make Togo's a fun place to work.

Both teens immediately perked up, named the author, and said that they had read it too. Mr. Hegner (a middle-school teacher) was there listening in... He seemed as surprised as I that these teens were aware of that old book. Brad said, "My Dad wanted me to read it."

His Dad is Eric... I hope he comes to Bible Study tonight. Don't you, Glenn?

Aimee has moved to Riverside to attend CBU. Aimee has been praying about attending this particular school (California Baptist University) for several years. I am happy that she is actually down there now. Here is a link to her myspace. (click on photo)

I'd sure like to see some of the indigenous Galtonians today. I will check to see if Hugh and Eula are still opening their home for Bible Study at 11:00 a.m.
If you're interested in coming, please call me at (209) 323-0727 and I will give you directions.

Otherwise, we hope to see you tonight at the Greene's Home Fellowship (at 7:00). Again, call me if you need directions.

Here is a slide show of Pastor Hendon's recent trip to Liberia. Most of these shots are from the Leadership Conference. Click on any of the photos to see an enlargement. You can continue watching the large photo slideshow on the 'hosting page'.


Pastor Hendon will be with us on Sunday night (6:00) to tell us about his mission trip.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We decided to take turns driving (and sleeping) as we drive straight through from St. Louis, Missouri to Galt, California. Lord willing, we shall return to Galt sometime this afternoon.

Yesterday, we 'watched' a DVD (The School of Rock) and then stopped in Cheyenne, Wyoming for supper.

Cathy has been reading aloud a couple different books as we drive. We checked out an old classic from the Coldwater Public Library.  Recommended to Jerry by Stephanie Stevenson, the dated book on 'winning friends and influencing people' is quite insightful. The other reading has been a small book about Teamwork by John Maxwell.

We also intermittently listen to the CD recording of the songs produced during this trip. There is great intrinsic reward for me with this particular project. We have Jebby, Jamie, Josh, and Greg all playing together on "By the Grace of God."

click here for that song (and three others)

I put in the old CD of "To the Ends of the Earth" last night. That compilation of 18 songs provided a channel for some deep thought and brainstorming for my return to Galt.

Last night we also bought two books on cassette tapes at bargain prices:

Making Peace with Your Past
 (6 hours)  $6.99
  Harold Bloomfield, M.D.   I don't know anything about this author but figure that it will be interesting.

The Life God Blesses
(3 hours)  $2.50
Jim Cymbala   This books starts with a personal story that connects with an important time in our ministry.

Those works should provide some thought-provoking passage-of-miles for the remainder of the trip. Interacting with books tends to allow the Holy Spirit ample opportunity to bring me to repentance. For that, I give Him thanks...right here...right now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Saturday Night's
priceline-purchased stay at the 3-star Nashville Raddison was wonderful. We had wireless in the room, and a vigorously-pulsating jacuzzi near the Fitness Center.

I always ask people to visit other churches when they are on-the-road. So, we were up early enough to drive off the path to Murfreesboro for church. On the way, I called Al Warren, Mike McCall, and Mike Harlan. With the timezone difference taken into account, I knew all three men would be up in preparation for their ministries at fbcgalt.

Al told me that our dear deacon, Jim Fugate, was facing some challenges caring for his beloved bride, Doris. As usual, he would be the first one at the site to open doors, but was planning to head home as soon as he could. So, I had a chance to call and speak with Jim too. He was so happy to hear that we made it to the Oakland High School where Rodney and Gayla Edwards minister as core members of the Church at Cross Point.

Yes, we made it to Gayla's Sunday School class. The class had several college-age students because the church maintains an office at Tennessee State University. They have a coffee house ministry in the same building on campus. They call the place Bonhoffer's (with band showcases and other outreach events).

After Sunday School, we went into the theatre auditorium for the Worship Service. They had a youthful band who played quite well, so I really enjoyed learning some new songs and singing some of 'the oldies' from the earliest years of this millennium.

Pastor Ron Gleaves
preached the fifth in a series of messages on the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He focused upon Kindness in that helpful message.

Rodney invited us to share table fellowship after church, so we hung around and met other key people while Rodney was 'tearing down'. I gleaned certain materials from their greeting area (much like last Sunday's delightful visit to Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church).

We went to a sandwich shop afterwards, and set up a really long table together. We had enough room for Rodney, Gayla, their daughter Elizabeth, Cathy, Jerry (his turtle, Squirt), me, Pastor Ron, his wife, Sheila and the pks, Cara, Emily, and Joshua. (click on photo to enlarge)

Enjoying the fellowship so much, we stayed until mid-afternoon. We reached St. Louis, Missouri--passed the inner-city arch--and stopped near the airport to check for a room. I decided to try for another 3-star hotel. I bid $45 and it was accepted by the Airport Hilton (a very nice place).

Since we had made time to get to know the Edwards and the Gleaves, we hadn't traveled all that long but were tired so it was nice to be at our hotel in time to enjoy the amenities (a jacuzzi and pool). Jerry has enjoyed going to the 24-hour fitness rooms during our travels.

He works out from 1 to 3 a.m. and then sleeps in the back of the Rendevous during much of the road trip. Of course, Jerry didn't want to leave Squirt out in the car, so he prepared a place for him to sleep.

Again, we found free wireless at this hotel so I was able to check my email. Eli Tavarez (from Springport, MI) wrote in and reported upon their Sunday message. As my other friends write me from around the country, I will compile one statement about what the Spirit was saying to the churches yesterday.

If you haven't heard them yet, please listen to one of our Four New Songs  (click here)

I had a chance to speak with Christene Santillan yesterday. She reported that the Backyard Bunch Kick-Off was very wel-attended. Thirty children showed up for the opportunity to get involved in our next production: The King of the Jungle.

Sandy called to check on us. I called Doris after her nap. If anyone wants to call us toay, the number is 209.323-0727. We will be driving through Missouri, Nebraska, and Utah.

Pastor Hendon called me while we were driving yesterday. He says he has over 100 photos from his trip to Liberia (but didn't now how to reduce them for email). So, here is a photo that Pastor Wesley sent me this morning. Pictured here are some of the participants from the Leadership Conference displaying the Certificate of Achievement. (click on the photo to enlarge)

Well, the sun is up now, so I will arise, wake up the post-modern pilgrims (a term I learned from Pastor Ron), and we will hit the road. Jerry wants to put in sixteen hours of travel time today.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I  am preparing my heart to truly hear what the Spirit is saying to the church today.

We're planning to attend Sunday School and Worship Service at "Church at Cross Point" in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

Yesterday, we visited Cathy's Dad (Jerry) and brother (Dave) in North Carolina. Then, we started our trip homeward to California. Having secured a room in Nashville, we passed Murfreesboro Road and thought about Rodney Edwards.

Before going to bed, I wrote Rodney an email.

He replied...and now, we're heading to his church for Sunday School (9:30) and Worship (10:45).

It will be great to meet Rodney in person. This will be his first Sunday back from Liberia. His wife, Gayla, is teaching Sunday School this morning. They are currently reading The Purpose Driven Life.

Here's their website:
In Galt, Mike Harlan will be preaching (Isaiah 42) and Dan Malloy will be leading the A Street Band (who will be leading the gathered people in worship).

I'm also asking Eli and Pam what their Pastor Mark covered in the message they receive(d) today? (and Eva, and Iona, and Jebby, and Angela, and Daniel, and Andy, and Mke, and  well...anybody reading this, please write me with your findings).

Eva had a very special and personal experience with God recently. Click for her blog (August 25th)

Also, if you haven't heard the new songs yet, go to this entry:

Four New Songs  (click here)

Some nice comments were left by other myspace visitors at that entry site yesterday.

May God bless all of us to hear Him in a life-changing way this morning.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We spent the night in Cincinnati and will be on the road to North Carolina during the morning. However, we will be available by cell phone (Lord Willing) 209.323-0727 (so...give us a call).

Here are mp3 copies of four songs 'completed' at
Greg Brayton's studio on Friday afternoon:

I Will Say it Again
(click here) Remember, Joe wrote this one from Philippians 4:4, 8.

Unconditional Love (click here) Yeah, I know...this kinda sounds like another song. Btw, I was one who was always OK with Mrs. Lennon as an artist. I used to listen to 'Don't Worry, Kyoko' on Live Peace in Toronto...and I owned a copy of 'Grapefruit'...).
So, if anyone else has a problem, talk to Yoko, OK?

Jebby emailed me two songs at the front end of this trip. In fact, I was driving across Nevada when I asked him to send me something with which to mess around. Greg added some bass and more guitars. Cathy, Greg and I added some background vocals (and of course, Jerry did the drums). I'll have to have get permission from Jebby in order to keep these songs online.

For now, here you are:

By the Grace of God
  Near the end, my nephew Josh Wilson adds some wah-wah.
 Then, Coldwater Legend, Jamie Bailey, comes in with some
  leads (accompanied by Greg). Enjoy.

Holding Back

Friday, August 25, 2006

We made it back to homebase in Coldwater by 9:00 last night. I had an email waiting from my Ohio cousin, Jim Cook. Jim is another guy my age who appreciates the music of Randy Stonehill and Phil Keaggy.  That's how he came across this journal yesterday.

Someday, I'll share a photo of Jim and Old Henry. awat

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll get a chance to stop in Ohio because we have to make it to North Carolina by Saturday. We're leaving shortly after the recording session today.

My cell phone worked on the road today, so I returned a call from Mike in Midland, Texas. He is from that cool church called Stonegate Fellowship. Stonegate is sending a mission team to Liberia in November. He called to get some feel for the state of the nation and ministry ideas because they were having a preparatory meeting last night. Well, I talked to Mike for about 30 miles. Cathy was navigating because my mind was in Liberia...the steering and gas must have been on automatic pilot.

I was so excited to hear that Mike Elkins is planning on being part of the team. He was the videographer and uploaded materials to the web in their July trip to Uganda and Sudan.

If you have time
(and high-speed connection),
please invest yourself
  . . . meet Mike
as he looked into the lens and spoke:
                                click here

...and here's much more of Mike's work from
Stonegate's July, 2006 Mission Trip:  click here

I also spoke with Mike Harlan about his sermon for this Sunday morning at the Epicenter.

He has been meditating upon Isaiah 42 and 43 (thinking about the plumbline). So, I'll be preparing my heart to intercede for this special brother as he prepares to step into the pulpit. We will be enroute to California on Sunday morning, so we will find a church to attend on the way.

I also spoke with Jebby on the road last night. I told him that we recorded the drums for two of his songs. He told us to add whatever we desire. Cathy woke me up around midnight to speak with me. Since we couldn't get back to sleep, I pulled out the laptop and listened to Jebby's songs a few times through. Now, I have some ideas to try out.

Yesterday's visit with Nan and Eugene was delightful. We hadn't seen them in eleven years. On the day trip, we also had a chance to meet Jerry's girlfriend, Chelsea (and her Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa). They were all really kind to us.

Well, we're off to the studio. Write me and I'll answer from the road:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Yesterday's recording session went well. Greg recorded one guitar and Jerry performed on the drums for these four songs:

Unconditional Love
I Will Say It Again

Holding Back, and
By the Grace of God

It was fun to have Cathy in the studio with me again after all these years. We both love to be around Greg Brayton when he plays the guitar. While he's working, we often make eye contact with each other, smile, and intercede on his behalf. In the studio, we experience a deep sense of contentment and joy. Those special moments are being preserved and will be shared with others for years to come.

This morning, we are driving two hours northeast to Holly, Michigan so that Jerry can meet up with a California girl, Chelsea, who is visiting her Grandma.

After we drop Jerry off, we will drive another 45 minutes to have lunch with Nan and Eugene Bragg (in Livonia). After our visit, we will drive back to Holly, pick up Jerry and return to Coldwater for the night.

On Friday, we're scheduled at the studio to finish the four songs. Jamie Bailey, (a friend of my older brother) came by to see my Dad yesterday. Jamie is a gifted guitarist. He used to be in a band with my brother when they were teens. I invited him into the studio for Friday's session.

I spoke with Cathy's brother, Dave, and her Dad. We've made arrangements to visit them in North Carolina on Saturday. Then we will begin our three-day trek westward to California.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It is 7:45 a.m. on a brisk Michigan morning. I'm sitting in the parking lot of the Coldwater Public Library tapping into the free wireless connection to the uttermost ends of the earth.

This morning we are scheduled to record at Greg Brayton's studio in Coldwater, Michigan. Greg arranged for an acoustic drum set to be set up on Tuesday evening. Jerry brought his snare, cymbals, and double pedal. Hopefully the morning session will go well. I'd like to record Joe's song (I Will Say it Again).

I'm not certain what else we will attempt (maybe my Gospel version of All You Need is ...) or an arrangement of these favored hymns:

  Bring Ye All Your Tithes into the Storehouse

       I Love to Tell the Story

Jebby emailed me mp3 copies of a couple songs for Greg and Jerry to embellish. I transcribed them but haven't spent much time with either piece yet. At this point, I'm not certain what we would do with them. I like the idea of getting Jebby and Greg together again (though they have never met each other). lol

Yesterday, Randy Stonehill approved my ADD request on myspace. Based on the pics, I think that this is an authentic Randy profile (or more likely Sandi). There's a shot of them together on an Alaskan Cruise.

They have Phil Keaggy and Ray Ware listed as friends too. I'm happy that Veda and I are no longer the oldest people on myspace (again with the lol).

Lately, I've been getting many requests to add Christian musicians as friends on myspace. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to listen to their songs--only to quickly check their profile before adding them. Someday, I hope to click through my friends section and try to send a note of encouragement to each person.

Yesterday, Pastor Hendon called me to report about his trip to Liberia. He returned a week early but felt that his mission there had been accomplished. I conducted a brief interview with him. Here's what happened.

On the plane from Brussels to Monrovia, he met Dr. Lincoln Brownell (the President of the Baptist Theological Seminary in Liberia). Pastor Hendon hadn't remembered that one of the testimonies on the Liberian Ministries DVD was that of Dr. Brownell. When they arrived at the airport, Dr. Brownell took Pastor Hendon through customs without any hindrance.

My friends, Deacon George Togbeh and Pastor Richard Wesley met Pastor Hendon at the airport and took him to the Wesley's home. He stayed in the same room that Joe occupied during his 80 days there earlier this year. It was very well prepared with a bed and a desk.

Pastor Hendon couldn't sleep much while he was there. The day after he arrived, they went to the sanctuary to begin Day One of the Leadership Conference. He estimated that there were one hundred pastors in attendance. We will know more when his camera arrives because they shot photographs of each Conference Participant with his Certificate of Achievement.

On Day One, after a time of worship and devotion by other pastors, Pastor Hendon covered the topic of Pastoral Responsibilities (in both morning and afternoon sessions). He enjoyed having the active participation of an eager group of leaders in a seminar setting. The lunches provided each day had rice as the primary ingredient with meat on the side. Pastor Hendon reported that the portions were generous. A benefit of having less-than-anticipated numbers was the ability to provide financial rewards to those who worked hard to prepare and serve the pastors their meals.

After the Conference, visitors would come by the house to meet with Pastors Wesley and Hendon personally. These intimate meetings allowed for counsel and prayer to take place. Pastor Hendon was really impressed by the spirit of these people despite the conditions they face on a daily basis.

Day Two continued with the topic of Pastoral Responsibilities but the remainder of that day and the following included these doctrinal studies:

1) Doctrine of Sin
2) Doctrine of Salvation
3) Doctrine of the Church

He noted that there were a number of different theological backgrounds represented but shared directly from the Bible--with an openness for Questions, Answers, and Discussion. Walls came down and it was a healthy environment for serious investigation of Biblical doctrines.

On Friday afternoon, Pastor Hendon took some of the Wesley children shopping with him. He asked them to choose some grocery items for that evening. The kids chose cookies, ice cream, and other goodies. Pastor Hendon laughed and said that he filled them up with junk food. They all sat on the cement porch and enjoyed the fellowship. I was impressed by Pastor's quick remembrance of the children's names.

Pastor Hendon spent some time in Downtown Monrovia and took those with him  to a restaurant for Spaghetti and Meatballs. He was surprised that it was a very expensive meal.

When asked, he acknowledged the difficulty of discerning certain statements in the accent of Liberian English. He regularly asked people to slow down when they spoke to him.

On the final day, he shared the seminar entitled: "Who Exactly is the Holy Spirit?" We had prepared a Conference Booklet for that session. Rodney Edwards was in attendance that day. There's a photo of them together on Rodney's Trip Journal (click here).

Later that day, a wedding took place in the sanctuary and Pastor Hendon assisted. The next day during the Sunday morning service, the groom was installed as a deacon for the Greater Love Bible Baptist Church.

Pastor Hendon also preached the Sunday morning message: A Ship, A Storm, and A Solution (from Luke 18). He said that the sanctuary was full. Some of the children from the Children's Home has been brought there too. A photograph was taken of the entire congregation. He repeated what a great time he had with these people. They were very enthusiastic and full of life in their gathering together.

He toured the building where soon a Medical Center  will be opened. As well, he looked over the work being done toward building a school behind the Church. and Clinic. He didn't, however, have a chance to visit the Children's Home. He hopes to be able to someday return to Liberia. Pastor Wesley wrote that everyone there truly enjoyed his visit and hopes that he will return.

On the way home, all travelers to New York from Belgium had to turn in their cameras and other items. So, Pastor Hendon is waiting for his camera and certain African artifacts to be returned to him.

We will publish a special report when the photographs become available. Pastor Hendon will be with us on the first Sunday Evening in September (at the 6 p.m. service).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We woke up at 5:45 but are resting a bit longer before starting this day. I wrote some last night before bedtime. Those paragraphs are somewhere below...

Right now I think it is a good time to download some short-term memory. Sunday morning I asked God to speak to me clearly in the day's message. In order to truly hear the message God has for me this week, there is more involved than simply listening to the sermon and taking a few notes.

At the Welcome Table, I picked up a beautifully-crafted book which was used to cast a Vision for 2006. Our scout, Eli, described a process that Pastor Mark implemented in an effort to impart that vision to every person who attends their local church. He said that the pastor hosted five, consecutive weeknight dinners and asked each person to register for one of those events. He also preached a series of messages which included each mission statement and goal . For Eli, who accepted Pastor Mark's invitation to receive a Vision, the plan worked. Eli seems certain that he now knows where the church is 'visionally' and where they are headed 'missionally'.


Before leaving Springport, Eli gave us a personalized vision tour around his lake. He showed us an outlet of the lake on the northeast side, and a gravel road he put in which leads to a lot sown with white pine. That particular road leads to his retirement plans.

He took me across some thickets to see a Deer Blind which he had climbed and in which he 'lived' until he shot his first deer with a bow a few winters ago. He told the story with great passion and it is obviously marked as another significant milestone in his life.

Walking around to the northwest side of the lake, he showed us a spawning pond covered with a thick coating of leaves, twigs, and green slime. Yet, upon closer inspection, Eli interpreted the ecosystem. There is a bubbling spring which feeds that lake through the spawning pond. He insisted that we consider the bubbling up of crystal clear water and note the clarity before that water enters the pond. He also wanted us to note the flow of water entering the lake and said that the same amount leaves on the other side.

I experienced the power of revelation as shared and interpreted by the present-day steward of that property.  Cathy and I are parenting together on a need-to-know basis. I told our scout about my prayer that morning.

We are taking note of the outcome of certain lives. I believe that I read in one of Paul's letters to consider the outcome of his life...

Other life-outcomes currently under consideration are those of Al and Shirley Dines. On Monday, the 'doing' of Sunday's Message continued. Cathy and I joined in with eighteen men and one lady at Alpha and Omega's Morning Devotions. The Bible Study was facilitated by Shirley. She introduced us both to everyone there. I spoke of Praise Baptist (and Alpha and Omega) as being a home church for us.

Whenever I'm in Michigan, I always try to attend one of the morning devotionals. I led that particular Bible Study five mornings a week for 4.5 years. I have fond memories of meeting the Lord in fellowship with other early morning seekers.

We looked at 1 Kings and considered Solomon's problem caused by loving the ladies (700 wives and 300 concubines). Shirley invited us over to her house, so Al, Shirley, Cathy, and I had breakfast together.

We returned to Coldwater but later in the evening drove Jerry to Lansing. He is meeting with friends from his graduation class who are attending MSU. His hostess, Katey, didn't get off work until 10 p.m., so we went out to a theatre and saw The World Trade Center starring Nicholas Cage. Cathy wept.

Jerry remained in Lansing and Cathy and I drove back to Coldwater. We are planning to pick Sandy up from the Rehab Center at 11:00 and bring her home. We are planning to prepare the house in anticipation of her rehab needs after knee surgery.

Monday, August 21, 2006

We're in Kalamazoo this morning and are heading over to Alpha and Omega Ministries. The limitations of time is evident as I consider our trip schedule. There are many other people I'd like to see. Looking at the map and the calendar last night has given me some obstacles over which to pray.

We enjoyed going to church yesterday morning. On the way to Kalamazoo, I spoke with Mike McCall, Beverly, Joe, and Mary on the cellphone. They each shared about the morning services in Galt. Sounds good.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. Michigan time and went downstairs to get my laptop. I shouldn't have been surprised that the house is wireless.
Mapquest served us well yesterday. A 56 mile drive from my Dad's house in Coldwater brought us into the driveway of our new friends in beautiful Springport, Michigan. Formerly known as Townley Manor, this piece of land has been the home of an Ice Business and Dairy Farm.

Eli and Pam told us the wonderful story of God directing their steps to move from California to Michigan to be closer to Pam's father and siblings. Pam had spent the first part of her life in Jackson, Michigan.

Before supper, Eli took us on a short tour of the property they have acquired. Their home sits across from a beautiful lake that is spring-fed and is the center of a thriving ecosystem.

We had dinner outside in view of the sunset beyond the lake (and they own the, huh?). That lake was the source of ice for the Townley's business all those years ago. Cathy and I marveled at how Friday's plat-map walk through the mid-1800's of Woodstock prepared us to thoroughly enjoy Eli's walking tour of his land.

What a great time we have had here! We met Eli and Pam's family as visitors at our California church just a few weeks ago. Their parents are new members at fbcgalt. Our kindred spirits made it quite easy for all of us to enjoy the fellowship.

Eva is right--Michigan is a beautiful state. Her family moved about an hour's drive from here (from California)--just before Christmas, 2005. Speaking of Eva, we've been invited to visit their home in Ypsilanti. Lord willing, we will.

We will be happy to report on the life and times of Eva, James, Jesse, Leesa, Isaiah, and little Evelyn.  (click here and prepare to meet Eva)

We also hope to locate Nan and Eugene Bragg who live in a town near Ypsilanti. Remember... Nan is the missionary who taught Cathy, me, and Corinna how to sing in sign language.

I wrote to Bobby Gilstrap (who is the Director of Missions for the Bragg's association) and told him that we would be in the area. He contacted me some time ago about doing a teleconference interview with me. The topic of discussion will be "interactive church websites". That reminds me: Iona has written again after a relatively long hiatus: click here

In a couple hours we will all go to church together (here in Springport). I will also be watching the clock so that I may pray for Mike McCall. He is preaching a message from Romans 7 at 8:30 and 11:00 (Pacific Time) at the Epicenter.

My cellphone begins to send/receive about 25 north of Coldwater, so Mike and I had a good conversation about his sermon while we were driving to Springport yesterday. We prayed and I made a commitment to pray for him during his sermons.

Meanwhile, Greg Brayton has asked Jerry to play drums for services at the Coldwater United Methodist Church. He's supposed to be there at 8:15 a.m. Dad that I am, I will give him a wake-up call. I might as well call Joe and Daniel too. Mary is staying with the Harrisons. Steve is my substitute Sunday School teacher while we're gone, so Mary should be on time today!

Pastor Wesley attempted to call my cell yesterday but I wasn't receiving a signal. However, I have been reading some news about Pastor Hendon from Rodney Edwards' TripJournal. From these daily journals I have learned that Pastor Hendon and Dr. Lincoln Brownell were on the same plane to Liberia. I've also seen the results of the facelift they gave the sanctuary.

    (click here for Rodney's Journal)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cathy and I got up early and went out to breakfast with my Dad. Then, the three of us went to visit Sandy at a Medical Center in Battle Creek. After a brief nap, we are ready to head for Springport, Michigan.

We've been invited to Eli and Pam's home (and to church with them in the morning). Eli is the second son of our church members: Eli and Barbara. Jerry is staying in Coldwater with my Dad and plans to go to church with the Braytons tomorrow.
We had a great adventure walking the woods of Woodstock, Michigan yesterday (with my ancient plat maps in hand). We met some very interesting people and took some valuable photographs.

(click here to see what spurs my interest there)

More on all of that later.

Sometime tomorrow, we will head back to Kalamazoo. We hope to see a great number of old friends there.

Friday, August 18, 2006

We're three hours ahead of California time here in Michigan. So, I awoke at 6:00 (or 3:00) and edited a few photos from yesterday. Jerry had stayed in Coldwater to visit with his cousins and friends that he made while living here in 2005.

Yesterday, Cathy and I
visited my step-mom, Sandy, in the Marshall Hospital. She came through her knee surgery quite well. Today, we will learn where she will go for 5-7 days of rehab. We are staying at their home while we're in Coldwater. After our hospital visit, Cathy and I drove to Kalamazoo.

First, we went to see Jim and Kim Krim (members with us at Praise Baptist Church back in the early nineties). Jim was a very good friend of mine. We once drove to Florida together with a Disaster Relief Team to minister in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.

We also had served together on the Executive Council for churches in the South Central Association. During that time we had been part of a decision to accept the stewardship of a field on Helmer Road in Battle Creek.

Jim and I both remember going to that very field, walking the entire depth and breadth of the land--praying that it would someday be the site of a Bible-teaching church. We went out to that field a few times about 14-15 years ago. Jim asked if we wanted to see the answer to those prayers. There is now a church in that field called Faith Baptist Church.

Please, click on
yesterday's slideshow below:

    She Considers a Field . . . 
(view more)

Another highlight of our entire trip is the news that we have heard about a young lady (Corinna Gregg) we had served alongside during our years at Praise Baptist Church and Alpha and Omega Ministries. We've heard that she is now a missionary to Honduras. Corinna had called Kim a few weeks ago and asked how to reach us. Kim had saved the message on her cell phone. We were thrilled to hear that she is serving the Lord in this way. We are eager to write to her today.

Among other significant memories of Corinna are those of her learning sign language with us. Home Missionary, Nan Bragg, had been our teacher. We hope to see Nan and Eugene during this trip home.

Corinna is back on the mission field now. This is her website:

As soon as we have an opportunity, Cathy and I will read her year end entry about her calling in that nation.

we hope to see Greg Brayton. We also hope to hear news from Pastors Hendon and Wesley in Liberia.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yesterday, while we were on the road, we received phone calls from a few people in our local church and spoke back and forth with other members of our family. When were still in Iowa, Janna (the a-f-k-a-Mom) called from Chicago. Angela had told her that we were on our way to Michigan. She wanted to know if we could meet her somewhere on the way.

So, we pulled off to an Iowa Rest Area and logged in to their free, statewide I-Spot wireless system. Jerry had been talking on the cell phone to his new girlfriend, Chelsea. So he got on her myspace at the rest area while I checked mapquest for directions to Janna's house.

We took an alternative route to Chicago and stopped by to see her for a couple hours. She introduced us to her two miniature dogs and three birds (two of whom were very large and talked).

Then, we proceeded to my hometown: Coldwater, Michigan. After arriving at 4 AM, we slept well. Now, Cathy and I are at the public library checking email. I'm thankful that we have made it here safely. My step-mom, Sandy, is in the hospital (having just had knee surgery). So, that is our next stop.

I still haven't heard from Pastor Hendon or Pastor Wesley. Pastor Hendon was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday at 5:45 and the Leadership Conference was supposed to begin on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. They are eight hours ahead of California time.

I guess I'll click here and see if Rodney Edwards mentions them today in his TripJournal.

Oh...I'm back. Yeah, Rodney mentions Pastor Wesley today. Even better is this page of photographs from their meeting last week. Click here and scroll down.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We finally made it to Lincoln, Nebraska at 3:00 a.m. We had a good night's sleep at the Fairfield Inn. It is nearly noon now so we should get back on the road but...there is high-speed wireless in our room. Cathy is blogging on myspace and I'm sitting next to her answering email, checking on other mission trip progress.

Soon after we get to Coldwater, Michigan,  Pastor Hendon should arrived in Monrovia, Liberia.

I'm happy to see that Rodney Edwards has finally succeeded in getting his MissionTrip Journal uploaded from Liberia. Saturday's entry mentions that he visited with Pastor Wesley face-to-face: click here

Last year, while on Sabbatical Leave, I visited my Aunt Sally in Tiffin, Ohio and used a scanner to copy certain letters and photographs which had been preserved by my Dad's mother. Among the family artifacts I found a letter which stirred my curiousity--written by Joseph Patterson from Woodstock, Michigan to a son in Wayne County, New York. In that letter, my g-g-grandfather mentions the death of his wife's mother: Sally Jagger and her interest in the farm of Benjamin Wood (Orange County, New York).

The unknown story of these named individuals beckoned me to further explore the times and seasons of their lives and context. My paternal g-g-grandfather, Joseph, made a reference to the mercies of God in that letter to his grown son, William, in 1855 (click here to see the letter). The hope of resolving a mysteries will continue to lead me in pursuit of other recordings during this trip toward my homeland.

Since we had spent the night in Salt Lake City, I decided to visit the Family History Library near Temple Square.

A completed doctoral prospectus may someday produce a three-or-four-fold purpose for including reflection upon the mystery of Mormonism. Not-yet-ready-for-publication, the clickability of this slideshow (below) is today's only offering toward such endeavor.

Rhythmythic and Endless Genealogies  (view more)

I'm always open for discussion about
     the why of the how, OK?
       email me:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cathy and I are sitting in the lobby of a 3-Star Sheraton Hotel. I bid on a room with two beds for $40 and received what I asked for. Yeah!

Joe took us to pick up the rental car yesterday morning. I had the opportunity to choose any vehicle in the first row. So, instead of the Impala I was expecting, we were blessed with a Buick Rendevous. It is a wonderful traveling vehicle (and we're so happy that we're only paying $18 a day for it...through

We arrived last night at 10 pm (Salt Lake City, Utah). Cathy and I sat in the hot tub, then I went to the men's sauna. Jerry went to the 24 hour fitness room where there is said to be a TV on each treadmill. Iron, Coffee, and a USA TODAY in the morning.

However, the Internet isn't free! Last night, we tracked a free signal across the street. However, it wasn't that comfortable standing at a dumpster with an AC unit overhead and a humming fluorescent bulb nearby. So, I'm paying to sit in the lobby to upload this entry.

Today, we will drive to Lincoln, Nebraska.

This in from Liberia:

Pastor Rob,
I sent some photos did you receive them? We are set to pick up Pastor Hendon tomorrow at 5:45PM.

All is set for the conference.
Pastor Wesley

Monday,  August 14, 2006

I'm up at 3:00 a.m. preparing to leave for Michigan today at 8:00. First, I would like to record something in the annals of church history about yesterday in Galt, California.

a normal Sunday:

I woke up at 2:15 on Sunday morning and studied over my sermon notes until 4:00. After another hour of sleep, I drove over to the little church on the corner of A and Palin to prepare for the morning services. There was still so much to 'clean up' from the After-School Outreach (local) and the publication of Leadership 2006 materials (Liberia).

I remembered that I didn't have A/V support for the morning so I worked on the morning's slides (with photos from the day before) until the musicians began to arrive. Glenn Parker helped to clear off the back pew, turn on the P.A., and tweak the platform set-up. After asking him to make sure that Mike McCall tunes my guitar, I ran home for a shave and to change clothes.

Twenty minutes later, I had a Sound/Lights Man (Joe) and I changed hats, 'strapped on' the newly-strung guitar, and led some of the best songs from previous generations (He Hideth My Soul).

As the people continued to arrive (around 8:30), we called up Pete and Jeannie for another 'missionary sending'. They are driving the CSBC Mobile Medical Clinic to several migrant camps this week. Perhaps, they will be ministering to some illegal 'Samaritans' during this mission trip.

We encouraged our members to reach out to one another and to our visitors as the A Street Band played "All We Need is Love" in the background. A splendid time was guaranteed for all. Joe helped me with points 4 and 9 in one of those "Rick Warren 10-point sermon outlines". We looked at the story of Genesis 24:1-57 and related it to our own immediate future (the balance of 2006).

We moved along that outline at a rapid pace but could have certainly stretched that one message into a 10-week series. No such chance, however, because I wasn't planning to be around the Epicenter for the next two weeks. I'm not at liberty to give you the ten points (they are copyrighted), however, click on the passage (Genesis 24:1-57)and read the Word for yourself. What message does God have for you from that very Word today?

You can hear Rick preach the sermon himself (with Brother Tom) if you'll go to and download the audio with transcript in the sermon series entitled "Adding Power to Your Purpose." I've stayed away from the Saturday night temptation to get online and download other people's sermons. However, I figured that this particular message will be helpful to our church as we plan to have a Warren-esque emphasis from September into January.

Here's the actual link (click here), scroll down to 1/1/06 and for $20, you can download 4 sermon transcripts with mp3 audio. I used the outline from The Awesome Power of Focus.

My Sunday School class between services was a joy. I had a great time interacting with unique individuals from 12-17 years of age.  That class (with new members) stirred up excitement to join those who were just arriving for the 11:00 service.  It rocks. Even though we have an 82 year old (L. Dogg) and a 90 year old (Elsa) who claim that service as theirs. Eli (76) also attends that service with the teenagers and children.

At La Luz de Cristo (1:30 service), I was asked to prepare myself to pray over God's assembled people at the conclusion of the service. Cathy and I sang Spanish (phonetically) with Luis Enrique (and his band) on the Big Screen. Then, after the Lord's Supper (during the sermon), I went into the office and prepared my calendar for the Council meeting (at 5:00).

Our local church Council Meeting was invigorating as we each had a few minutes to share our insights and passion with one another.

From there I hurried to the evening service: It was well-attended. Jim and Ruth led some hymns, and a Bob Kilpatrick song (Ask of Me). Then, Jim shared his re-make of Heaven is in My Heart (with words specific to God's Call on Pastor Hendon's life.

Katey Santillan
sang a solo with that wonderful voice God has entrusted to her. The Families Together Choir sang with Mrs. Simms singing the solo. That was the best I ever heard their choir sing. They were right on the pitch, had the rhythm down and Mrs. Simms rocked the House.

Then, Pastor Hendon preached until he was finished.

Pastor Mac
and Thelma laid hands on the pastor and his wife as we are sending Pastor Hendon to Liberia first thing Tuesday morning.

After we left that service (8:00), we went to Steve and Lupe's house to discuss Mary's stay with them while we are on the road (2300 miles) back to our homeland.

, Jerry, and I are traveling together. Hopefully, we will do some recording at Greg Brayton's studio. I'm still on-call 24/7 (209.323.0727).

and Daniel are remaining here to take care of the house, to work, and to attend classes. g2g

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday's Guys Dig at the Epicenter and our Mobile Medical Clinic shows up in Virtual Reality (click here)


I'm at the church office listening to a sermon, stapling together the packet of studies for the Pastors' Conference, and waiting for the men to show up for the Prayer Meeting. I also came here early yesterday morning to create the Certificate of Achievement for attendees at the Pastors' Conference in Liberia. A friend agreed to print 500 copies if I sent him the PDF file, so I managed to get most of it finished before my Rotary Club meeting (see it above). 

At Rotary, our Assistant City Manager, Jason Behrmann, was the guest speaker. He spoke of ongoing projects for economic development in our city. Of particular interest to me is the construction of an 11-screen movie theatre. Although it was originally projected to open by December, 2008, the completion target is now Thanksgiving, 2007.

See me
(or call me) for the Summer Edition of Leadership Journal... more on the Theatre later.
Yesterday, Beverly and I visited a young family who has just moved here from New Mexico. They will be attending our church this Sunday. There were other visitations on Friday but I'm not at liberty to share all the details. Clues by which to remember those moments years from now: eric and spring, the cul-de-sac, a Berea trip and the tri-tip, the power of persuasion, and love languages.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Today, I hope to publish my tentative sermon topics through January, 2007.

This Sunday, I will share a message entitled:


That message will be my last sermon preached at the Epicenter until September 3.

We also need to make all final preparations for Pastor Hendon's trip to Liberia. We are printing 500 copies of a Doctrinal Study for the Leadership Conference.

Pastor Hendon will be with us on Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. Then, he will leave on Tuesday for our associational mission trip to Liberia. Pastor Hendon will return to California at the end of August.

Don't miss Rodney Edward's Daily Journal for the two weeks he is in Liberia: CLICK HERE   Rodney plans to meet Pastor Wesley personally and attend the Leadership Conference next week.

Yesterday, Alex helped me serve at the After-School Outreach. To see another slideshow of that event, click on this photo.

yesterday several comments were left by those who saw my entry on myspace. I think you would enjoy seeing the photos and comments from those who wrote: 

    A Guy in Australia  (view more)

Yesterday, I posted a link to his song. At that time he had 1280 visits. I just noticed that the song now has 1404 visits.

Cathy, Jerry, and I are planning a roadtrip to Michigan, New York, Ohio (and maybe...North Carolina). I hope to visit some of the sites where my paternal ancestors made their homes.

I think that it was 1812 when Joseph Patterson (19) came from Ireland to Orange County in New York (Montgomery Township). Joseph married Katrina Jagger and they had eight children. Two of the kids apparently died early on.

I first learned of this family, last year, when I discovered a letter written by Joseph to his son, William, in 1855 (click here to see the letter).

Their fourth son, Robert C. Patterson w,as the father of World War I veteran, Robert White Patterson (my grandfather). My father, lost his Dad when he was only 8 years old, so not much is known about that side of the family. My maternal grandma lost her mother very early on as well. Then, my mother died at the age of 31. All of these stories of homes disrupted with death has made my quest for roots a pilgrimage of personal significance.

In 1845, Joseph and Katrina moved their family to Woodstock Township in Michigan. During the last year, I have found maps and census reports on the Internet (click here). I now want to walk the land where this family lived and trace the county records to see if there are any other descendants of this couple. As well, I would like to know about their families-of-origin.

Maybe my Dad (77) will share the interest with me--if not perhaps his sister will (my Aunt Sally who lives in Tiffin, Ohio).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

From: tealy124
Views: 1280

If you have high-speed, click above on Daniel, and watch him worship with this simple song of praise.  A Galtonian teenager sent me a video of clips from the Passion (set to a song by Jeremy Camp). After I watched some of it, Daniel, here, caught my eye. I gave his video a listen and wrote him this letter:

From: Rob Patterson    []
Sent: Thursday, 10 August 2006 7:01 PM
To: Daniel Teale      Subject: message on youtube

Hi Daniel:

Someone sent me a link to your videos. I like your voice and appreciate your guitar abilities.

I'm 49 and leading worship in our church but I'm also the main I'm looking for the right talent in a much younger person.

I was wondering where you live?

Check out my blogs and learn more about me, OK?
Then, we can talk some more....


******** Then, Daniel wrote back  ********

Hey Rob,

Thanks for your letter. I understand what you mean about focusing on preaching instead of doing that and music ministries together. Unfortunately I live near Brisbane in Australia.

I just had a look at your myspace and your blog. I don't have a myspace at the moment but am open to any questions you have.



******** So, I wrote Daniel again  ********


Time and Space is not that limiting of a factor for ministry in the 21st Century.

So, please, tell me more about yourself, your age, testimony, hobbies ... and feel free to share anything (audio/video/lyrics) of particular interest to you. I believe that I will be at this email address for years to come, so save it and send me stuff from time to time, OK?

I've been playing guitar since I was 14 (also keyboards).

I gave my life to Christ at age 26 (1982). God has taken me on a great adventure...

I believe that the best is yet to come...



Yesterday morning, Cathy and I prayed with Daniel and Mary before sending them off to their first day of school at Galt High School. Later, I remembered how great it was to do our After-School Soda Outreach on the first days of school during years past.

So, I sent out a call for any interested members to join me at 3:00 p.m. in front of our church on A Street.

I was very pleased about the BUZZ stirred on A Street between 3:00 and 4:30 p.m.
We served Ninety-two Cold Drinks to High Schoolers and other Passers-by.

Total Expense: $34.62  (with 10 cans left for today)

Thank you to our two major sponsors (Al Warren  $20.00 and Jennifer Thomas  $10.00). Chris Zeller and Jerry Patterson helped me set up with music, amplification, and tables. Beverly, Joe, and Cathy helped pass out the refreshments and invite the during the event itself.
  4 ROOT BEER       47 pounds of ICE

I once had a contact for FREE ICE at Round Table Pizza. I'll try there again today to see if we can save some money.
Although our primary thrust was to invite high school students to Sunday School, the preschoolers across the street were also stirred up by the sight and sounds on
A Street.

The preschoolers' parents were taking an interest as well. One mama and child came over to get a drink.

After receiving the cold drink, the students who continued to walk toward the west passed a display stand for 'gospels of John' entitled The Book of Hope. Several students were seen picking up a copy.

We will be out on the street again today at 3:00 p.m. Feel free to stop by sometime during the hour.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The three dots of an ellipsis has, for me, traditionally represented much more than an incomplete statement.

Commonly used in on-screen menus, an ellipsis conveys that there is more to come . . .

See the symbolic ellipsis below.
                   How many can you find?

Last Sunday, during the sermon time at fbcgalt,
we projected slides from our 2007 EpiVisionCast .

The visuals were meant to symbolize "the Edge" of Visionary Leadership. As important as the launching of new ideas is the return (to the Edge) of those who have ventured into our unknown future.

Our Scripture passage (Acts 14:21-28) demonstrated this normative practice: a missionary-sending church receives back those who had been set apart to go and to do. This practice of reporting what God has done through us should strengthen and encourage everyone involved in the process.

We should keep this norm in mind as we attempt to walk in step with the Spirit after that crucial, initial step-of-obedience: baptism by immersion.

Consider yesterday's letter to Pastor Wesley in Liberia. Then, consider his response and guess what my subsequent decision will entail:

Dear Pastor Wesley and Pastor Hendon:

Our church secretary, Jennifer, re-typed this Doctrinal Study on the Holy Spirit that Pastor Hendon wants
to publish as a handout for the Leadership Conference.
It will be 6 pages, double-sided.
A couple questions for both of you:
I would like to add a photograph of the front of the sanctuary--and maybe a blow-up of the embossed letters that say

Home of the
    National Pastors' Fellowship Conference

Pastor Wesley, If you would like to have a letter of WELCOME to conference participants, we could add a Cover Page.

Also, notice that I added your email addresses on the last page. Is there anything else you would like to add?

IF we print 500 copies of 6-7 pages, it will be quite a heavy parcel of paper. Pastor Wesley, is that a realistic number or should we print a limited number for the first number (200?  300?  350?) who are enrolled? Please share your thoughts as we need to print these right away.

Pastor Rob

Hi Pastor Rob,

Great ideas...please apply them all. My best guess is
that 400 will show up because we have worked hard in
publicizing the conference.

In fact, I expect more to turn out, however, just print 400. Maybe we could share one notebook between two persons.

Thank you so much, Pastor Rob.

Pastor Wesley

Here is a trustworthy epicenterian saying:

         "Life is . . . in the ellipsis."

Yesterday, I spent the early hours writing letters, hoping to generate some interest in a local-church building project. Joe and I went to see An Inconvenient Truth. It is a passionate documentary about global-warming. I had read earlier that Al Gore's science was quite reliable. We were further discuss the ideas put forth in that film (and in Mr. Gore's LifeStory).

Later, we visited in the home of some church members. Joe has worked at Long's past midnight for the last two nights.

Mary and Daniel are starting school today. Mary is one of three captains for Junior Varsity Squad. Daniel is the captain for the Varsity Wrestling Team. We don't have photos back yet from Daniel's Camp but here's one of Mary with a trophy that she had accepted on behalf of her team. (click on photo)

Cathy and I are planning to make a transcontinental road trip next week. Certain plans have been established and appropriately charged to that American innovation: the credit card. I bid on a full-size rental car and secured it for only $18 a day (unlimited miles). I also booked our first three nights of accommodations online. Two of the nights were purchased by naming my own price (believe me, I bid low, folks).

Other plans are being shaped by circumstances beyond our control. One matter over which we have begun to pray is the desire to visit Cathy's father in North Carolina. She blogged about it last night:

     No Visitors Allowed  (view more)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

This is an interesting article on Billy Graham in the current Newsweek magazine.

Rodney Edwards
leaves for Liberia today:
CLICK HERE to track his Daily Progress

Monday, August 7, 2006

I went to sleep at 11:00 and woke up at 2:30 but stayed in bed and slept until 4:15. Instead of getting up, I remained conscious and thought through much of what happened yesterday.

Joe and I took a long walk last night (around the neighborhood of our church house and to Long's). He thinks that he'll be able to get some hours at Long's this week. On our walk I carried my guitar and we sang some of the songs we had led in the morning service.

We were in five public services yesterday. At our first service (8:30) we introduced a couple sisters (Alex, 10 and Carly, 8) who will be getting baptized soon. Then, at 11:00, we baptized Bryan (45).

, Theo, and Mary Chase joined our family for the daily special at Subway. Then, at 1:30, we sat with other members of fbcgalt at La Luz de Cristo.

At the conclusion of the service, we baptized seven people. Pictured here are:
    Primitivo and Ofelia

(click on the photos to enlarge)

We also baptized Gerardo, Victoria, and their daughters, Mariana and Isabel; and another young adult, Olga. This is now a total of ten people that I have personally baptized as we share our our hearts on the local mission field.

Several months ago, I met the Pastor and Worship Leader for this Video Satellite congregation. Pastor Francisco Camarena and Luis Enrique Espinoza came from Corona to Galt for a two night revival. While they were here they baptized 15 people. Here is a link to their sending church: Crossroads Iglesia Cristiana

The service at La Luz de Cristo ended at 3:50. We ran home to rest until 5:00 when Mary and Joe were scheduled to give mission reports with Q. and A.

At 6:00, R. B. McCartney shared a message from Jonah and Pastor Hendon shared details of his preparation for the upcoming Liberia trip. His Yellow Fever Vaccination had made him sick. At some point during the Heat Wave, he experienced chills. He also reported that he has been somewhat edgy and stressed from his bi-vocational responsibilities. Mrs. Hendon affirmed this with a hearty amen.

For the Leadership Conference, we are going to print 500 copies of his handout: A Study of the Holy Spirit. The two other Bible Studies which he plans to share in the Leadership Conference are The Doctrine of Jesus the Christ and Pastoral Duties.

Well, that was yesterday. I have so much to get done during the week ahead. I'm glad that Joe is home. He is a great help to me in the ministry. (Well, lots of people are a great help to me! Thank you.)

This coming Sunday night will be Pastor Hendon's last preparatory sermon before leaving for Liberia. During the 15 days he is gone, Pastor Mac (R. B. McCartney) will be filling in for him by preaching at Families Together Missionary Baptist Church (Stockton).

Tomorrow, Rodney Edwards is leaving for Liberia. He sent us a pdf file describing details of what he plans to do while he is there. He has also told us that he plans to meet with Pastor Wesley and even attend the  Leadership Conference being hosted by the National Pastors' Fellowship Conference (with keynote speaker, Kenneth Hendon).

CLICK HERE for this informative report (2 pages)

CLICK HERE for photos of loading the container

CLICK HERE to track Rodney's Daily Progress

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Today, Mary Chase has stopped by the Epicenter before returning to Moscow. She will share the platform with Joe to bring forth a message of spiritual significance.  

Mary and Joe will also attend La Luz de Cristo with us at 1:30 (I've been asked to baptize some new converts).

Mary and Joe will also be available for Q. and A. at 5:00 p.m. before our evening service.

Below is an important passage of scripture which helps me remember my own irrevocable calling to as a Christian in this 21st Century:

Acts 9:10-16

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!"

      "Yes, Lord," he answered.

The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

 "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

Saturday, August 5, 2006
I'm at the church today--getting everything ready for tomorrow. Here's a photo of Joe with the New America Singers. In this photo they were visiting an orphanage in Thailand. Joe is front center with a child hanging over his shoulder (click on the photo to see an enlargement).

This orphanage is sponsored by a small church in Washington (much like our connection with the Children's Home in Liberia).
The plan is not to for these kids adopted, but that they grow up into mighty Thai people for God.
There are 16 children living there.

Joe will be with us tomorrow, Lord willing.

Friday, August 4, 2006  (3:40 a.m.)

Look at that date! Can you believe it?
In just 11 days, Pastor Hendon will step on a plane headed for Africa. Yes, he will be our ambassador of loving instruction to a large group of Liberian pastors and teachers in a 3-Day Leadership Conference.

In just 2 days, Mary Chase
(on furlough from our mission to Moscow) and Joe Patterson (home from our mission to the Orient) should be in both morning services to sit down with me at Jacob's Well and see who shows up. Maybe a Samaritan woman will come for water. How else do we stir up an entire village but to rest with Him, eat His food, and share His Living Water with others. I'm experiencing personal revival; are you?

 Let's take another look at the Word: click here

As you are reading this, our pen pal, Andy Deck, is most likely moving his home from Texas to Oklahoma. This unexpected LifeDecision is certain to set off many new ripples of God's movement. I've never been to Oklahoma, have you? I'll be watching and reporting what happens with The Further Adventures of Andy Deck.

after I return from Rotary, Beverly and I are scheduled to meet for our weekly home visits. Acknowledging the all-powerful, all-knowing Hand of God in these and other plans, I have great expectations. Exceeding my greatest expectations, I hope that the Lord Jesus will do for you what He has done for me.

Trust and Obey . . . that's the simple Word for Today.

Here's a short video of Joe's group in the Philippines    

  (singing in Tagalog)

Thursday,  August 3, 2006

Thinking: a Cause greater than Ourselves

While Pastor Wesley visited us (March, 2003), we went to our State Evangelism Conference together.

John Maxwell was a keynote speaker and passed along some great suggestions for those who were desiring to lead their churches.

He shared with us that he has a place set apart for 'thinking'. He calls it his thinking chair. He asks to not be disturbed by anyone while he is thinking.

I usually don't mind being interrupted in many settings. It seems that my ideas often become more developed by bouncing them around in discussions with others.

I do, however, have 'thinking music' to which those very ideas first pop into my mind. While I'm driving (or shaving), I like to listen to certain collections of song which first take me quickly to a passage of times-past, then as I sing along, ideas for the future usually emerge.

In that setting, if an outside voice should interrupt my thoughts, it is perceived as a disturbance. No one could possibly know that I may have been listening for that unique voice: the Holy Spirit.

So, I'm glad that those who are around me during shave-time (and drive-time) now might understand better what is happening. I'm at a peace-filled altar (in the eye-of-a-brainstorm) thinking about a Cause greater than myself.

Now it is time for me to leave for my Thursday VisionWalk with Jebby. I will give voice to the ideas which have come since the last time we walked. Jebby will do likewise and, together, we will wonder about what is gonna happen next.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

and I are up and ready to hit the road. We will pick up Daniel (west of LakeTahoe) and keep driving until we see the sign that says 99 South toward the Epicenter.

Joe emailed me that the plane from Hong Kong arrived in L.A. safely. He may stay in Southern California for a couple more days. Mary will be back from cheerleading camp tomorrow. Jerry has been holding down the fort (we hope) in our absence.

Our old friend from seminary, Mary Chase, is visiting from Moscow (Russia) and will come to Galt during the next few days. She was a member of our church in Rohnert Park before being accepted by the International Mission Board.

I'm planning to have Mary (and maybe Joe) help me with the sermon on Sunday. I should be baptizing someone in the Morning. I've also been asked to baptize several people on behalf of La Luz de Cristo in the afternoon.

from the Epicenter Mailbag

I just now received this email from Pastor Wesley in Liberia. He received our VBS Offering two days ago:

Hi Pastor Rob,
I'm lifting materials (sand, crush rocks and cement) tomorrow to start the school building with funds received.

Thank you once again.

...and yesterday, a man from Galt contacted me online. He is gonna join us for Bible Study tonight. If you are within a realistic arrival time of 7:00 p.m. and would like to join us, call me at (209) 323.0727

The long-awaited shipment of our Ultrasound and Microscopes is upon us. Go to myspace below to read Rodney Edwards' latest email:

Today's Time-Travelin' Transport Adventure
         (click here to see more)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Just a couple nights ago, Glenn Greene sent me an email and reminded me what Rick Warren (in 1995)had to say about riding a wave:

If you take a class on surfing, you'll be taught everything you need to know about surfing: how to choose the right equipment; how to use it properly; how to recognize a "surfable" wave; how to catch a wave and ride it as long as possible and most important of all, how to get off a wave without wiping out. But you'll never find a course that teaches "How to Build a Wave."

Surfing is the art of riding waves that God builds. God makes the waves; surfers just ride them. No surfer tries to create waves. If the waves aren't there, you just don't surf that day! On the other hand, when surfers see a good wave, they make the most of it, even if that means surfing in the middle of a storm.

                          (The Purpose Driven Church p. 13)

In his brief note, Glenn was encouraging me by mentioning attributes of one particular wave (that we called The Arctic Edge). The Spirit of God built that wave through a multi-generational team of local church members. He started building that wave nearly one year ago when Laverne asked Lupe to consider serving the Lord in a new role.

Lupe Harrison
had simply allowed the tug-on-her-heart to pull her into the position of VBS Director for 2006. When she said 'yes', she was very busy with work, two young children, and two full semesters ahead of her. Still, she said 'yes'... and God did the rest. She assembled a team of forty workers to work together for one week of intense outreach. Our little church caught that wave at just the right time. Together, we've been riding the wave and there is still great potential for movement before we will be released to look out upon the ocean for that next big wave.

In Spring, 2006 Lupe graduated from a community college with her certification in Early Childhood Education. God has rewarded her diligence. He has given her favor with many people. When  I introduced her to the Sunday morning crowd, I remembered that I had led her in a salvific prayer nearly a decade ago.

I was riding a wave with another preacher who had joined our church. His name was Tyler Hartman. We went out on visitation together. Steve and Lupe had been coming to church--even before I arrived on the scene--but Lupe had never done that A,B,C thang. She responded very quickly to the good news of God's free gift: eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

Through Lupe, I have experienced the joy of being a spiritual grandfather. Lupe is now an established "leader of other leaders" in the Kingdom of God. Maybe I should say she's the chief servant of servants. Yeah, this wave is still moving. CLICK HERE for more on Lupe Harrison.

For the first few years after becoming a Christian, I walked to the Kalamazoo Public Library several times a week to scan the shelves of Christian biographies, journals, and Church History. At the magazine rack I read Newsweek, Time, and one very enjoyable magazine called Christianity Today. I never would have imagined that someday my little labor in the Garden would be featured in their magazine.

So, I'm away on a short trip with Cathy. It is 6:15 a.m. She's sleeping next to me in this motel room and I'm awake with a hardcopy of CT's quarterly publication: LEADERSHIP. Thank you, Marshall Shelley, for sending me my free copy of the Summer Issue. I'm gonna read some of the other stories now. Hopefully, I will be able to locate a wireless network so I can publish this entry sometime today.

Hey, before you move on, view more

I forgot about Royal Oaks today. I'll call Jebby and see if he'll go there at 10:00 a.m. to provide some music for that very special ministry.

update: I found a wireless hotspot in the smoking section at a coffee shoppe that Art Dunahoo recommended.

...and yes, Jebby said that he will be at Royal Oaks Convalescent Center this morning at 10:00 a.m.

OK, so I'm sitting here chatting with our church secretary, Jennifer, and she tells me that she has the video clip of Robin and Cathy's VBS 1st and 2nd Graders singing "Trust in the Lord" with me.

This is 'sposed to be a getaway with she'll get a kick out of this: CLICK HERE for the VIDEO

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