July, 2006    Return to: pastorob's current journal

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Today is my day off. Jebby is out of town so I will take my weekly VisionWalkwith Cathy. We're up late 6:30 so we've gotta get going. This will be brief.

Last night the girls offering was $95.02 and the boys gave $135.14 (of course I had my Lemonade Stand  in operation and several girls had come for a glass).

We're raising money to try to help Pastor Wesley continue long-delayed work on the foundation of a school behind the sanctuary and medical clinic in Sinkor District of Monrovia, Liberia.

Below is a reply from Pastor Shamas Pervaiz in Pakistan. I have expressed in interest in helping him provide for a Bible School he is starting in August. He has saved enough money for rent for one month.

I really want to help this young Baptist bishop because he has over twenty young pastors looking to him for leadership and training. Pastor Shamas (in his thirties) is looking to me for help.

Well, I'm looking for 'a little help from my friends.'

Brother Pastor Rob,

Greetings to you in Almighty Lord

Thanks for mail and thanks for informission about Brother Jim and Sister Doris.We here Pray for them Regular.
Brother, you ask about Refreshment for Bible Class students. Brother It is depend on resources.
You know If God will send me help then I will give them Bibles with Note books and Pens with Refreshment.

Brother alot of persons desire to learn about BIble in Bible Class.

Brother If God will send me help then I will think what I give them refreshment.

I am in Pray and I know God will open door.

Brother Do you have idea what I give them refreshment? If you have Idea then please guide me, my Brother.

God Bless you with all His Blessings.
Your Brother in Lord,

Pastor Shamas

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

There was a full-page story about our VBS in the local paper this morning. Here is the Internet Version:


The hardcopy had several photographs. Jennifer transcribed it for us and included scans of the photos:

Every year we have a Vacation Bible School Offering. We're again having a friendly competition between the boys and the girls to see which gender will raise the most offering.

After the fun of competition, we will combine our offerings and surprise Pastor Wesley. We would like to move along his desire for a school behind the sanctuary and medical clinic. Years ago, he was helped by a group to lay the foundation but the project has not had funding to continue.

In the meantime, there has been numerous projects brought to completion. It is time for this school in the Sinkor District of Monrovia, Liberia. It should also house a small radio production studio and serve for pastors' training seminars as well. I can't adequately articulate Pastor Wesley's desire but our modest offering will serve to encourage him. I'm going from memory here. I'll clarify the details later today.

Night 1   Boys: $30.06     Girls: $90.00-plus
Night 2   Boys: $90.00     Girls: $89.00

Today, I have committed myself to run an ICE-COLD LEMONADE stand (out in front of the Epicenter). CLICK HERE to see the cool picture of where I'll be standing. Whatever funds I raise will be given to the Boys Offering tonight.

Temperatures are supposed to reach 104 degrees in this area later today. I will continue to hope and pray that somehow we get some Summer Snow here in this hot, dry valley. I'm up at 3:20 a.m. and it is a comfortable 76 degrees.

...but I'd better get back to bed. I have a full day ahead.

...well, then again this note just came in from my buddy Greg Brayton in Michigan. By the way, Greg has a liver biopsy scheduled for Monday.

Got a new tune up there on the web page, what do you think about it? What changes would you make? It's pretty darned country, I'm thinking about just doing another version. I don't know.


OK, so I went to Greg's site and found his new country song: http://www.gbrayton.com/whatsnew.mp3

Since Greg is blind, I copied my entries from July and sent them in a more blind-friendly letter. I noticed that earlier in the month I had posted this song. Greg sings a duet with me on it.

Notes: wrote the chorus in early nineties. Greg Brayton gave me the melodic bridge then I wrote those words.

Now, I've gotta get back to bed.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Last night was Day One of the Arctic Edge at the Epicenter. My VBS persona is the Iceman.

I bought a bag of ice at 10:00 a.m. and walked across A Street to the preschool. Vera, the Director, had accepted our invitation to give a preview tour of the Arctic Edge for her students. I asked for volunteers to take turns carrying my bag of ice--cradled like a baby in their arms. That certainly cools one down.

Here in California the high temperatures have been between 105-109 degrees. The newscasters have been asking households to set their thermostats to 78 degrees to avoid disruptions of service. We complied at home . . . but the Arctic Edge still needed to be chilly so we continued to run the air conditioners, played water games--whatever we can do to stay cool. Someone installed a water-mister in the shaded refreshment area. The children sure appreciated that idea.

Shirlene reported that she quickly counted over 120 children enrolled in VBS on our first night. That is exciting news for me.

's Youth Class had 21 students. Mary's cheerleading practice has been cancelled for the work--due to the heat. So, she gets to come to the Arctic Edge. Yesterday, Mary helped her big brother prepare for the fun stuff (which followed the focused group Bible lesson about Elijah and the prophets of Baal).

I have not yet had the desired response regarding my vision for Summer Snow. I wonder who is reading this? Are you one who has the ability to demonstrate this Vision of God's immanence in worship?

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart."  (more Word here)

I woke up this morning at 4:16 and, getting online to write this column, I saw a hyperlink to an article by Dr. Ruth Peters about parents who disagree regarding the discipline of their children. I was very interested in reading more. I have noted through personal experience (and in counseling others) that during the teen years, this is a troublesome hotspot in many marriages.

I have only scanned some of her articles (and I don't know anything about her politics or faith) but I do appreciate that this author provides her articles about parenting online. Here is a link to a page full of interesting topics:

click here for practical help with parenting

Here's July's Newsweek article about President Bush and recent activity in the Middle East.

Below, Roger Byrd, our Healthy Church consultant , responds to a question raised by Monday's entry:

You're right about Tom Wolfe and Erwin McManus.  I also heard Tom talk about longevity in ministry in one place while I was in college at CBC.  I took a class called The Pastor and his Work with Tom Wolfe.  He was pastor at Church on Brady at the time and told us a lot of the stories around his call and work at Brady and the benefits of long-term ministry.  I began to ask God to give me a place where I could stay.  God's grace allowed me 17 years at Modesto and I'm grateful for that.  
Erwin was called as teaching pastor for a while as Tom was the Senior Pastor.  Then, they traded roles for a while before Tom left for GGBTS.  Erwin became the Senior Pastor and Tom the teaching pastor.
The church has been "Mosaic" for a while now.  I found them at www.mosaic.org

Monday, July 24, 2006

This week completes ten years for us at one place.

Before accepting God's Call to come here, I had been encouraged by many men of God to 'stay put' in one place and see what happens with the ministry of longevity. One voice that I particularly remember was Dr. Tom Wolfe. He had just left the Church on Brady to become the Missions Chair at GGBTS. Having spent twenty years pastoring that church, he helped them become a strong multi-cultural church. Even at the close of his pastorate, he helped to implement change by coaching them in the process of selecting his successor.

[My thinking is sketchy here but I think that they called Erwin McManus to be his successor and that resulted in renaming the church: Mosaic. I've tried to verify this but can't seem to find information about that published on the internet.]

Dr. Wolfe urged his students to consider staying in one place long enough to endure the storms that would come and to accomplish there what God wants done. He was bold and continually stated,

"If you will stay in one place for twenty years,
      you can can accomplish anything
          that God places upon your heart."

I remember looking around the room and noting that most of the other students were about 15 years younger than me. Still, I heard what he was saying and tried to apply the rule to my own life (though so much of it had already been lived out).

Recently, I recounted the story of my coming to Galt for a new member who was seeking to understand the Big Picture. I have vivid memories of the process which led us to accept the call. However, in the busyness of activity and never-ending circumstances, some of the years between then and now are not so clearly defined in my interpretation of history.

Therefore, I have often desired to log some symbolic representation of the years that we have invested here. During various seasons I have had to multi-task as the primary techie-secretary while planning and practicing for Worship, preach the weekly message, conduct special events, walk with people through sicknesses, family funerals and the like. That has left boxes upon boxes of evidential documentation. I cannot sort through archives without becoming nostalgic and reliving some of the past. Thus, the boxes remain piled one upon the other.

So, maybe a different approach could help in the process of sorting through the boxes. Our entire family has been involved in VBS every year since coming to the Valley. Those who have chosen to get involved have also represented other chapters in this church's most recent decade. Therefore, I will fill in the blanks below and organize my ten-year history around the VBS theme and key Scripture verse.

The key person behind the success of each year's outreach has been the VBS Director. That woman has had the challenge of recruiting and empowering a great number of volunteers. Without fail, every single year of the last decade has activated great numbers of Christian workers for months of meetings and one powerful week of ministry.  Again, these successes have been due to the fact that we had a visionary leader in place ready to work for a Cause greater than herself.

When we first arrived a young mom named Beth Bryant was the VBS Director. She used a quality off-brand VBS packet (with a Crazy Aviator). Her successor was Lauri Arwood. I don't recall all the names and still need some help.

Polly Kimball then became the long-running VBS Director. In most of church life, Polly has shared that she likes to stick with our denominational publications. I affirmed her in that decision so we have used Lifeway materials ever since. That decision has allowed us to network with other churches and  to share resources. LaVerne Avila provided leadership after Polly's run. This year, Lupe Harrison is our Director.

In 2000, we presented The Fantastic Good News Ocean Odyssey. That was first time we met (via video) choreographer and composer, Jeff Slaughter. In addition to starting the tradition of having a child-led Worship Rally, we also began using a Video Projector for the song lyrics and the nightly video serial.

I can't remember all of them so I'm asking for help from the locals...when did we do what? I'm missing '96 and '97. They were both other brands.

(1996)  Year 1     an Aviator took kids around the world
(1997)  Year 2     a western theme
(1998)  Year 3     SonLight Island
(1999)  Year 4     King's Castle
(2000)  Year 5     The Fantastic Good News
                               Ocean Odyssey:
Diving into the
                                Depths of God's Faithfulness

(2001)  Year 6     Truth Trackers
& the Secret of the Stone Tablets  

(2002)  Year 7     Amazon Outfitters: On Expedition
                              with the One True God

(2003)  Year 8     The Great Kingdom Caper:
Cracking the Character Code

(2004)  Year 9     Ocean Odyssey (again)
(instead of Rickshaw Rally)
(2005)  Year 10   Ramblin' Road Trip
(with Randy Stonehill)

(2006)  Year 11  The Arctic Edge
(where adventure meets Courage)

Here is an interesting discussion between VBS Directors around our country: click here

VBS decorations at the Epicenter always have much character and set the tone for everyone's attitude: upbeat and optimistic. I'll try to post some photos later today.

This year, Cathy is helping Robin McCall with 5th and 6th graders. Our son, Daniel, is the Videographer and Jerry has been asked to be the leader for the teens. Mary will come as possible around her cheerleading practices. Joe will have to miss out again because he's in the Philippines and Thailand with the New America Singers.

 Sunday, July 23, 2006
Ever since I came to this town to assume the pastorate at this church, I've heard certain voices express the desire to do something useful with a field beyond our parking lot.  So, here is a Vision for taking action. Mere talk doesn't accomplish much.  I asked Jennifer to take a few photos of a construction site across from the local High School. Then I transposed some of the heavy equipment to our field. I suppose that we will put a multi-purpose building here.

Yesterday morning after our weekly prayer meeting, I worked on hanging styrofoam icicles and making snowscape scenes on the outside of our building. The sun was beating down; I worked until 2:00 p.m. to the point of exhaustion. What a privilege to have a swimming pool! After cooling down, I watched a video called 'Second Chance' featuring Michael W. Smith. Written and directed by Steve Taylor, it had a strong message for Christians to remain true to their calling.

As Cathy and I rested, I laid on the couch and watched that film, and wrote an important letter to the church email list. It has been ten years this week since Cathy and I moved our family to this small town. In that time, God has definitely spoken to me and given me direction specific to this time and place. That letter was sent as a first draft. I later noticed a typo but it was a packed day. I then went back to the church house and finished work on the exteriors of both 'entrances' from A Street and Palin Avenue.

I have some definite areas of desire upon my heart in this season. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

 I need to get caught up on my viewing of  Stonegate's Mission to Africa: a videoblog .

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I stand corrected. We do have one baby in the nursery these days. His name is Frankie and he is 7.5 months old. I took a photo of Frankie and some of his family at the nursery yesterday.

In fact all four generations of Frankie's extended family is represented on Sunday mornings.

They didn't come to VBS last year. Now, they are fully on board and will be  working with the children who will be entering Kindergarten this year.

I can't write much today because we are redecorating our Worship Space and all the classrooms for Vacation Bible School (which starts Monday night: 6:00-8:30).

We've built a full-size igloo and there are big icicles hanging from the eaves. This is gonna be a great week of Outreach at the Epicenter.

Come and see us all at church tomorrow morning:

My sermon is entitled:

Hope for a Hurting World

    8:30 or 11:00 a.m.

Friday, July 21, 2006   

I woke up at 4:11 this morning. So, my email box had letters pertaining to our work in Liberia. Nothing I'm ready to write about yet but had to spend an hour in research and replies.

This morning a group of us are driving south on 99 to Manteca to visit the last day of their Vacation Bible School. They have presented the Arctic Edge and we are probably going to arrange for recycling some of their decorations and props. I'm still looking for snow although we've had temperatures of 105-109. Does anyone have any connections for us to borrow one of these? click here to see what I'm talking about.

Yeah, I wear several hats around the Epicenter. Click on the photo if you'd like to read a helpful article by John Maxwell.

We also plan to take some photos of Sequoia's altar area since we are making plans to remodel our own space. They have the same sanctuary layout that we have at the Epicenter.

I have no idea why we haven't heard from our firstborn in the Philippines. Joe, are you there? Joe?

A couple weeks ago, I was organizing music in the storage rooms behind our sanctuary and found sheet music to "Until that Final Day."  I sat down at the piano and sang through it once.

Singing the song transported me back to the last time I performed it (as a Sunday morning special).
The Malloys had just left for Horizon and the Arwood/Blackwell Oikos had not yet moved on.

Although there was some unseen conflict in the church, we all seemed to have an appreciation of Keith Green's ministry. The song had helped me keep all the drama in perspective.

That song, again, popped up in my mind yesterday while writing the blog and I decided to quote its lyrics.

Later, I replied to a note from an old friend from our early ministry days in Kalamazoo, Michigan, David Hendrix. He wrote back and gave me the latest on Cindi's cousin, Bobby, and Bobby's wife, Rachel (Keith Green's daughter). We wrote back and forth about this young couple.

 I'm thinking that I would like Bobby and Rachel to move here and help me in northern California (just for this season in their lives). Dave says he'll put the word in for me saying that they just need to know where the Lord wants them to go . . .

"Why, Preacher, you haven't even met them yet."


Is the desire of my heart any less real (or any more presumptuous) than one's vision of Summer Snow?

   "I think not . . . (therefore, I try again)."
                                     -- R. Patterson, 2006

Well, I wanted to link to the Keith Green site at myspace but it seems to be missing. What's up with that?

Hey, remember how we discovered that Oprah Winfrey has an exact match of DNA sample with the Kpelle people in Liberia? That PBS special prompted me to participate in a similar study.

Well, I was disappointed with the results of my own DNA results from the joint venture with National Geographic and PBS. If you would like to see what my $95 fee and a swab sampling actually produced, write me: pastorob@gmail.com

Today, this AP story is being distributed to the world's news agencies:

Scientists to explore the DNA code of Neanderthals

So, why do a study of "40,000 year-old Neanderthal samples" (some which are contaminated and of which only 5% are actually Neanderthal)? 

Uh...well, in a telephone interview for the AP article, Jonathan Rothberg apparently stated that a recent Chimpanzee Genome Project "led to literally too many questions, there were 35 million differences between us and chimpanzees-- that's too much to figure out."

Too many differences, so Jonathan's company (454 Life Sciences Corp.) will study what they believe is our 'closest relative to the modern human'.

Read the article, write to me with your initial response and we could have a lively discussion of the issues raised. Don't worry, I won't publish any of your views without your permission.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'd like to have some snow at the Epicenter for next weeks's VBS called the Arctic Edge. I wonder if someone has a snow-making machine we could borrow (even a wand would be OK): click here to see what I'm talking about. Temperatures may go over 100 degrees next week but our VBS is at night. Well, any ideas . . . anybody?

Here is one vision for a quick remodel of our A Street presentation. I wonder if casting a vision will help us reel-in a full catch of creativity?

update: 11:25 Jennifer found some stained glass windows for us. So here's another vision. Let's keep on reelin' in the years . . . a panorama of interactivity:


I woke up at 4:40 and walked throughout the house turning off lights (that's right, I'm the Dad...). Then I decided to turn on my laptop, sit in the front room and invest some time alone before the Lord. I enjoy moments like these--just hanging out with Abba. He loves me and regularly invites me to fellowship with Him. "What He has done for me, he will do for you."

Last night, Daniel led our home group through scriptures relating to this topic: Listening to God. The conversation related to my current situation. I've been waking up at odd times in recent weeks. Those early hours have been spent reading email and journaling for this column. This has become a season of focused listening for the Holy Spirit.

Near the end of Daniel's study, I suggested to my peers that if awakened during sleeptime, one should count it as an opportunity to share quality time with God.

   "One sleepless night could change your life."
                                        --Rob Patterson, 2006

I am reminded of a Keith Green song that served me well as a staple during night shifts at the group homes. Here are the lyrics to that significant song:

My flesh is tired of seeking God,
But on my knees I'll stay.
I want to be a pleasing child,
Until that final day.

My mind is full of many thoughts
That clutter and confuse.
But standing firm, I will prevail,
In faith that I'll be used.

  chorus:  Amen!  I'm asking once again.
                  Won't you help me my friend, Lord Jesus.
                  Holy Lord Spirit, set us free,
                  From chains we cannot see,
                  Come, release us.

I wrestle not with flesh and blood,
My fight is with the one,
Who lost the keys of hell and death,
To God's most precious son.

One sleepless night of anguished prayer,
I triumphed over sin.
One battle in the Holy war,
God's promised me to win.

Last night, Glenn mentioned that a certain verse had been a theme for Kids' Camp. We discussed some aspects of this passage. I believe it is appropriate to offer the same opportunity for the Word to do His Work in you, so, click and read . . .

Well, did you read that passage? What do you think?

Samuel's bedtime interaction with Eli is an important story for growing Christians to know. God entrusted a message to the boy who had been sequentially prepared to listen to His Voice.

His message holds significant relevance for me. As the father of three sons and a daughter, I remain accountable to remember the tragedy of Eli's life as a father. I desire better for my children. The personal challenge of leading my own family is stirred afresh as this passage permeates my heart and soul:

I'll click it again

So, it is now 6:18 a.m. and I'm ready to start another day. When I first got online this morning, I read the following article. I thought it good to share the same opportunity to scan related articles about finances.

   A Simpler Way to Save

There is probably some useful information in the articles above, so I'll probably invest some more time soon and speed-read through them.

However, a focus on the following counsel from God's Word will definitely reap a bountiful harvest for those who choose to listen:

   An Even Better Way to Deal with Finances

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Painting murals at church  (view more)

If you are visually-stimulated and desire to send a mural idea to us, I will include it in a future slideshow before we decide what to do with the Epicenter's southwest canvas.

Cathy and I are supposed to meet Iona and Richard at Denny's at 7:45 this morning. Stop by and pull up a chair. There is also an Open Bible Study at 11:00 a.m. at Hugh and Eula's place.

Tonight there's a Bible Study at the Greene's.
Our son, Daniel, is scheduled to lead the study.

Call me if you wanna talk:  (209)  323-0727

Don't forget to check in on Stonegate's Mission Trip: 
click here

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Just in case anybody is wondering . . . We have been inspired by the recent Healthy Church results to make our humble church-house more visible from the street.

During our first discussion, Steve Harrison suggested that we not only light our sign--but that we go a little--(how did he put it?) . . . a little over-the-top?

Inquiring minds may wonder "What is REAL and what is only imagined?" I would suggest that you simply come and see for yourself . . . or read my notes from Sunday's Message below.

I must cut this short because Art Dunahoo is meeting me at the corner of A and Palin at 7:30 am to put up a sign. Oh, just come by and see it for yourself...

Monday, July 17, 2006

I woke with up that window-open-at-night-headache and, after writing a response to an email, still feel impeded by the dull pain.

A cup of coffee would help, I think.

Before we read any further, perhaps we ought to see the latest from our Mission Friends in Sudan: click here

That was sure interesting, wasn't it? The boys are asked to lead at a Pastors' Conference. A video of the event was posted. I hope you have been empowered with  high-speed and are able to view the video. Mike (the video guy) was moved to spontaneously wash the pastors' feet at the close of his message.

Imagine having the freedom to be spontaneous in a church service. Imagine...hmmm, maybe its time to re-phrase another John Lennon song (psss...don't tell Yoko).

Local Question:  What to do?  I have a personal need; maybe you could help. A sister in our local church wrote to me last night:

Quick question for you, Pastor Rob. I know you are working so hard at covering the music ministry and delivering the weekly sermon. It is a lot to ask of one man. What is the thinking/status of acquiring a new music minister??
What to do? I wrote a long letter back to her...thinking out loud really. I am unable to publish my reply without some editing of paragraphs which address intimate, local-church issues. Still, I thought it might serve a good purpose to use this internet platform to simply say,


If you know of a gentle, yet vibrant, lover of souls (young and old), who plays his/her instrument skillfully and is able to lead others to Truly worship God in the Spirit, please write and tell me about this person:


Money is not the main thing in my mind.  Whether it is doing something more wjith Pastor Wesley in Liberia, participating in our local Vacation Bible School, or making a relational decision with members of my own family, I have found this to be the best way to order my steps . . . 1, 2, 3:

First: "Lord, what is Your Vision?"

"Lord, what's it gonna cost?"

Before Step 3 happens, we may face a mountain in the way . . . So what? We don't tell God what to do.

The Word says we should petition him with requests that are humbly submitted with a surrender to His Best. Others may be involved who will ultimately be blessed.
  (all that kinda rhymes)

Third: "Lord, thank you for letting us in on
    what you were hoping to do through our freewill
    obedience to the revelation you unveiled."

Last night Pastor Hendon preached a mini-sermon (45 minutes). He was well-received as he preached on four verses which surrounded my key verse for yesterday's sermon. I was amazed (as usual) when he asked us to turn to 2 Timothy 2:1-4

"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer."

Like music issues above, preaching style is an issue with which our local church is being tested. But oh, I was happy last night! Those who were gathered seemed to share my enjoyment of sermon-involvement as Christian discipleship. We helped the man of God preach a powerful message. We allowed our visitor to be himself and feed us God's Word with all the spices he knows how to use in seasoning the meat for our consideration.

The meat of God's Word requires some chewing. In my humble estimation, an effective sermon cannot be fully digested upon the initial hearing. We all ought to do some more chewing the next day, and the next . . .

Pastor Wesley asked for us to provide 50-cent lunches for 500 pastors during the upcoming 3-day Conference in Liberia. 500 50-cent lunches would cost $750.

Last night, at the close of our business meeting, Robin McCall asked if we could try to provide $1 lunches instead. Well, the floodgates of freewill offerings started and $500 was raised. We now have $650 for lunch for 500 pastors. WWJD What Will Jesus Do?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Let's get REAL . . .

We had a profound and mysterious cross-cultural wedding yesterday. With other events of the weekend,
I am still processing for the message God will give me in our morning services today:

Let's get REAL about

our Relationships

Acts16:1   Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.

Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

1 Timothy 1:1-2   Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let's get REAL about our plan for

E mpowerment

1 Timothy 1: 18-20   Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you , so that by following them you may fight the good fight , holding on to faith and a good conscience.
Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander,
whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

1 Timothy 2:1-6   I urge, then, first of all , that
requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
      who wants all men to be saved
          and    to come to a knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

Let's get REAL about

our A ttitude (s)

1 Timothy 4:12    Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young , but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

1 timothy 5:1-2    Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters , with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5:17-18   The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."

5:19  Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.

5:20  Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.
21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

5:22   Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

 . . . and about our attitude toward money

1 Timothy 6:6-10   But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

6:12 Take hold of the eternal life
            to which you were called . . .

6:20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted
            to your care.

Let's get REAL about the need for

L eadership

Christian Leadership is Holy-Spirit Leadership.

THE MESSAGE: 2 Timothy 2:2

Spirit-Vision "that comes from God",
Spirit-Vision       "that draws from history",
Spirit-Vision       "that meets people's needs",
Spirit-Vision       "that helps us gather resources".
                             (John Maxwell: Leadership 101)

YESTERDAY:  (akousta: my message)

      "And the things that thou hast heard of me
       among many witnesses, (other witnesses)

       PAUL: My preparation on you

TODAY:  (pistis: faithful, trusted, believing)

 " . . . the same commit thou to faithful men..."    
     TIMOTHY: Your presentation of me

TOMORROW: (ikanos: able    to teach: didasko)

 "...who shall be able to teach others also."

     The preparation of faithful Disciple-makers

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yes, it is my birthday today. I started the morning at about 5:15 thinking about Sunday's Sermon which will be preached here at the Epicenter.

I was thinking about a church that Mike McCall and I helped to launch in Stockton years ago. We were asked to assemble a Worship Band to provide music for two 'preview' services.

The new church had a motto:

       "A church that gets it . . ."

When I first heard the slogan, I thought, "Hmmm...that sound like Roger." I had enjoyed watching Roger Williams since seeing him serve in a leadership role at our State Youth Conference. He later left his long tenure as Youth Pastor at Sequoia Heights Baptist Church to plant StartChurch. Now, Roger is a hospital chaplain. Life in ministry does not usually remain the same.

If you haven't heard Roger speak before, here is a message he preached at the Epicenter in 2004. This particular evening God had given Roger specific instruction. He obeyed and I trust that his obedience will make a difference in somebody's life yet today.

Roger Williams 1    Roger Williams 2 
   Roger Williams 3     Roger Williams 4

It stirs my imagination to think that some gathering of Christians somewhere in the Body of Christ 'gets it'. The eye needs the ear and the hand needs the eye. I have built my ministry upon confessing my need for others to help me experience God in his fullness. As well, I have always rejoiced when I have learned that I have been helpful to someone else know Him better.

My thesis statement for Sunday morning is this:

"FBC Galt needs to get REAL about

          Attitude, and  

I desire us to be a gathering of Christians who 'get it...'

The acronym (REAL) came from John Maxwell's book: Leadership 101. I have to seek wisdom from the Lord for what I should pass on from my own study of the Word.

Andy Deck wrote me today and mentioned that, on birthdays he tends to evaluate whether or not he is successful in the Lord's eyes. He encouraged me. It is good to share encouraging words with one another.

My attempts to disciple others centers on making the Scripture more accessible to them and practical as they face the circumstances of their calling. All Scripture is God-breathed and I want to share that breath as much as possible. As I consider truths I discover in the Bible, I grow in the excitement of sharing a sermon.

Weekly, I have the profound privilege of preaching a meaty message in the midst of members of our local church. I come to the pulpit expectantly and  fully expect that others who gather expectantly will REALLY get it and will get REAL.

This birthday gift from God will help me to seize the day of hope. I look upwards and, seeing a certain cluster of stars, I remember a special morning in Indonesia over a decade ago. God had called me into a fruitful relationship with Him and with my neighbors. So, I wanna be REAL and  I wanna stay REAL.

Todd Rundgren once asked,

"Will the real God please stand up?"

Like David, John, and Paul before me, I desire to make the real God known among the nations.

On a lighter note, my girls think I need a makeover. At age 49, my hair is getting much grayer and I've been putting on weight for the last couple years. Of course, now that I'm eating God's Way,  weight shouldn't be an issue. However, I just don't know what to do about my hair. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Joe wrote a note Roger Williams and cc'd me:

I am in Hong Kong with the New America Singers. God is adding DAILY those who are being saved as we sing about Jesus (and Disneyland) in Schools, Malls, Parks and the Youth for Christ building.
Please pray for our group to stay close to each other and to get better ( many of us are slightly ill and are keeping very close quarters).
Next is the Philippines on Saturday for a week and then off to Thailand.
Joe Patterson

3:00 a.m. Yesterday afternoon, Cathy and I drove to Stockton to visit Pastor Hendon. We were pleased to have an opportunity to speak with him in an informal setting. Momentum is growing for his trip to Monrovia, Liberia. I told him that we had just sent nearly 1,500 flyers via Federal Express (for the National Leadership Conference). They should arrive on July 18th, so that will give Pastor Wesley one month to promote this event.

Last night, David Sayre taught at our home Bible Study. He guided us through a discussion about the day that Jesus sat down at Jacob's Well with the Samaritan woman (the Word). He wove her story into his own testimony (with scenes from 30 years ago...and from last week). His testimony made me hungry to be a witness--even during an otherwise busy day.

Well, I need to head back to bed for some more sleep (I woke up at 2 am and now its 3:15). After Club 163 (which is supposed to start at 6:00), Jebby and I  are meeting for our weekly VisionWalk  and plan to stop by the Lutheran Church. Mary Sanders has agreed to give us a guided tour through their church's hymnbook. She will share her insights about past and contemporary compositions for liturgical worship in the Lutheran experience.

Before my head hits the pillow, I'm gonna click here and see what's been happening with our Mission Friends in Sudan: www.stonegatemission.blogspot.com

...later in the day:

After Club 163
, I returned to the link above and watched the new videos. We are pleased to see the production quality of these mission reports being sent back by the three-man team. If you haven't been there yet, go to the link above and watch the latest video clip: Andy Deck shares some background on one of the members:

The narrator is Mike Elkins.  You can see him briefly in the middle of the video [July 9] teaching a small adult Sunday School class.  He has short red hair and is wearing light-colored slacks. 

Mike is an electrician by training and went into full-time missions about 2.5 years ago.  He has been serving with YWAM in Australia until about two weeks ago.  He has completed his commitment with them and would like to apply much of what he has learned and taught through our missions work at Stonegate.  

Mike developed his video shooting and editing skills while serving with YWAM.  He is an awesome young man (35y) and has been single for a number of years.

Click here to see Mike's Gifting in Action

Upon seeing today's videoblog (President of Southern Sudan Stops By), I immediately thought of issues raised by the resident editor of Leadership Journal, Abram Book. In his article Giants in the Land, Mr. Book quotes political science advisor, Dr. Alan Wolfe:

" . . . I worry about someone who is very well-intentioned but finds himself involved in conflicts that really pre-date our involvement there."

This reference is to tribal animosities, governmental entropy, and Muslim strongholds in various troubled African states. I learned from the article that Bruce Wilkinson (Prayer of Jabez and The DreamGiver) apparently "failed" in his African initiative and pulled out from "an ambitious ministry project in Swaziland last year."

The Stonegate team and Abram Book's article will both become important factors in our preparation for Pastor Hendon's upcoming mission endeavor to Liberia.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Today, the Summer Issue of Leadership Journal is supposed to be released. If anyone has a copy, see if there's a story by Abram Book that mentions our work in Liberia. My free trial subscription hasn't been started yet but it should be coming.

click here for the online version of this magazine.
Mr. Book's article will be published online eventually.

Today, at 11:00 am (Pacific Time) we have a Bible Study near the Epicenter and another tonight at 7:00. Call me on my cellphone if you would like directions to either event or if you just want to say "Hey..."

(209)  323-0727

Remember the guy
with the red paperclip who had a networking idea for the Internet? He offered to trade it for another item and continue trading until he had a house.

Well, today, his dream becomes a reality: click here

Hmm... I wonder if the purchaser(s) of the
the Liberia Stone
would be willing to place it upon the open market once again? Pastor Wesley still doesn't have a car and the foundation for a multi-purpose building was laid many years ago. Oh, for the faith of a mustard seed...

Faith? Get this.
Rodney Edwards is planning to be in Liberia during Pastor Hendon's Mission Trip. He is planning to get involved in this outreach in cooperation with the National Pastors' Fellowship Conference.
Service to Servants is already promoting it on their new website. On their homepage, they have mentioned the Delta Valley Association and they are also displaying the other poster that Jennifer designed. Thanks to Loren for printing 1,500 flyers. We are sending them out today for pre-conference promotion in the countryside villages of Liberia.

Pastor Hendon
received his passport yesterday and has an appointment for his Yellow Fever Vaccination this morning. Lord willing, I will help him get his Visa application sent off today. This will be Pastor Hendon's first overseas trip. The humble preacher who pastors a small inner-city church in Stockton is walking through the door that the Lord has opened before him. In remembrance of my deceased brother's birthday and Pastor Hendon's Vaccination, this very paragraph has been predestined to link to this song  long, long ago:

click here

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Cathy and I were the only ones who showed up for Club 163 this morning. We were blessed by reading the Word. She read aloud lessons and verses which are fundamental to the teaching currently being shared at the Epicenter on Tuesday Evenings: Losing Weight God's Way.

As Cathy read and asked me questions, I did my best at the male version of multi-tasking (complete with 'huh?'). Still, with Cathy's understanding that I was working on something important, I continued to tweak the appendix to this entry below.

Fortunately, I was able to integrate some of the very verses we discuseed to salt the offering I had written earlier (between 4:30 and 5:00 AM).

Yesterday afternoon, I observed the 2006 Worship Rally Team for our VBS outreach to children. Angelina, Alexis, Carly, Alexandra, Rachel, Samantha, and Katey were actively practicing Jeff Slaughter's choreography for the Arctic Edge. Christene and Amanda were adult leaders. Other adults who watched rehearsal included Jill, Joyce, Lupe, and even Papa Glenn. Daniel S. ran the Sound and DVD.

While the kids rehearsed, Christene and I strategized about working smarter and more effectively in city-wide, year-round outreach to children within our sphere of influence.

Last night, I rented Madea Goes to Jail. There's a highly-charged redemptive scene in that stage play. Check it out sometime. Tyler Perry is a man of integrity. He could easily be misunderstood by those who aren't willing to listen (and learn) from him. He has a powerful vehicle for reaching his audience with a broad, yet finely-focused gospel message.

This morning at 9:00, I'll meet with a couple seasoned-saints to discuss Thursday morning's inreach: Women of Grace. They want me to see the materials they are planning to use: Women of the Bible.

So, who's ready for Show and Tell?

    "now, that's what I'm talkin' about . . ."

Yesterday, Stonegate Andy sent us a link to a short-term mission video-blog. First, I played the YouTube Video for Cathy, then for Ruth (and Jennifer).

Finally, I made Jim sit down and watch the whole thing. Jim pointed to the big guy and asked,

"Is that Andy?"

  "No, Andy's still in Texas. I think that's Bryce."

*Even Ed Sullivan had captions and let us learn their names (first was Paul, then Ringo, then George, then John...with "Sorry girls, He's married.").

So, I wrote to Andy and asked him "Who is who in order of appearance."

 I can't really tell you yet...however, I do know some names (David, Bryce, and Mike). He also sent me this cool photograph of the church they planted in Uganda two years ago). Andy had traveled there for that previous trip and had preached at the Dedication Service of this building.

This video clip shows last Sunday's return visit with Bryce doing the preaching. The Team is supposed to be in Sudan today...

Following is today's addendum to Show and Tell. Class, this is not required reading. However, some questions on a pop quiz later today might be more fully answered if you were to read on...

In the early seventies, when I became a teenager,
I used to 'require' certain elders to ...

 "sit down and listen . . .
          . . . to just one side of this album!"

I was continually being exposed to a variety of music because my Dad ran a jukebox chain, my brother was in a band, and all my friends had stereos and were collecting albums. I was listening to a variety of published players and writers who all had been shaped by the musical experimentation of the sixties. Of course, they were taking the state-of-the-art up a notch, out a ways, and sometimes much more focused on a theme.

The Who
had given me a taste for thematic rock operatics. Tommy was a great compilation of catchy songs:

   "See me, feel me, touch me, heal me."

That album had prepared me to patiently appreciate Jesus Christ Superstar (and indirectly the storyline captured on vinyl).

Tarkus may have started a new chapter for me--pop music without lyrics. My big brother (the archetypical hero) came home from basic training in Texas and played a new 8 track tape for his younger siblings as we drove around Coldwater, Michigan. The unmistakable sound of the Hammond B-3 put us in remembrance of Dick's high school band, The Black Rose. However, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer were much more advanced in their expertise on their instruments.

That album had helped me broaden my tastes. Since the Beatles had broken up, I didn't care to listen to pop radio anymore. Many of my junior high peers had adopted a diet of AM Radio fare that I didn't hold as very important (like the time and space between Malachi and John the Baptist). This was an immature view of the popular culture, I know, but nonetheless, that is my history.

 I learned of underground, lesser-known works of several rock artists (who had really fused those R & B roots with jazz). I had heard a red White Trash 8 track  tape play over-and-over during the night at a rock festival in Indiana. I thoroughly enjoyed that album and, digging deeper, I discovered Edgar Winter's first album, Entrance.

I wore out the grooves in that particular piece of vinyl. Edgar had fused so many styles and yet was sharing something totally original with the few who would take the time to really listen (and learn).

So, I began to scat to the beat of a different drummer. Steve Myers shared the Mahavishnu Orchestra. We went to a concert and saw the original five-piece band (John McLaughlin was amazing on his double-neck SG).

Steve, being a drummer, was most interested in the ambidextrous artistry of Billy Cobham. That one night was my introduction to an entire subculture of master craftsmen--playing their instruments skillfully.

They all played skillfully 'before the Lord' (even if they were not yet playing skillfully in the Lord).

Here's the Word (for me) on that.

"So, what does this observation have to do with
  serving as a pastor of a healthy church?"

I would answer that question with a question.

Why did they wear wristbands asking WWJD?

What Would Jesus Do?  Huh?!

What exactly is the theology in that? Is Jesus is away on a trip somewhere . . .

We sang it in church Sunday:

  "Age to age He stands,
      and Time is in His Hands,
              Beginning and the End,
              Beginning and the End."

What would ...? 
      or  What is ...? 
      and What did ...?

What's Jesus Gonna Do?

That, dear reader, is sanctified rock/jazz fusion. Check out these guys from stonegate, man...

sit down and listen...
   look at the liner notes...
       learn who the players are...

David (first time on an overseas mission trip)
Mike (video editor; was in YYAM before this trip)
Bryce (that's what I'm talkin' about...)

Andy has 'turned me on' to this Mission Team from Midland, Texas.

"C'mon, Bill, inhale..."

 "Inhale deeply of the pneuma, man..."

If you don't know "what I'm talkin' about",
just ask me ... or click (and breathe) above...

If you think you would like a backstage pass to Stonegate's mission notes, just write me. I know this guy named Andy, he'll let us in...


I enjoy taking the scenic view and stopping at the rest areas along these 21st Century Roman Roads.

Well, its time for Club 163     g2g

near-final Posters to send to Liberia ASAP:
             PDF 1   and   PDF 2  (click either one)

Monday, July 10, 2006

How great is our God. 
      How healthy is our church.

What a day yesterday was for the Kingdom of God in Galt, California!

I've been up since 4:30 am. checking email. I tried to arouse my sweet wife with the prospect of an early morning walk.

I whispered, "Honey, in Indonesia, they get up at this time and get outside while it is yet dark...in the cool of the morning...before it gets so hot...Do you wanna go for a walk...go get some coffee?"

She whispered back, "Give me three more minutes..."

Well, that was twenty minutes ago.

So, I've checked email and see some great things happening (right now) in Uganda. An entourage from the Stonegate Fellowship (that cool church in Midland, Texas) has arrived in Uganda. Here's a note with a link to an ongoing report from Andy Deck (stateside):


It is with great joy that I pass along an update.  I just got off the phone with Bryce, Mike, David, and Pastor Tony.  They are traveling back to Entebbe from Mbale and had stopped at a Chinese restaurant.  Of course….I’m in Africa and it’s time for lunch…Hey, how about Chinese?

I got a quick update regarding their stay in eastern Uganda.  They had an incredible time at Musese.  Rather than me passing everything along second-hand, how would you like to see for yourself?  They were successful in uploading some text and video on the blog.  

Here’s the link:


So, now you can check back periodically to see how they are doing.  The videos require a high-speed internet connection, but the quality is very good.  We are uncertain about their ability to connect and upload as they move to Sudan.  Check the site frequently and I will send along updates from phone calls or other news items.

It is Monday evening now and they should be back to the hotel in Entebbe.  They are scheduled to fly to Yei, Sudan early Tuesday morning.  Please pray for their travel (always an adventure), for their continued health, and for God’s hand of protection and direction.  These guys are awesome.

In Him,

Andy Deck

I will now try (again) to awaken the sleeping beauty and go for that walk...but first, I wanna show you something.

Pastor Hendon
came to hear Pastor Mac preach last night. We had a photo-op for a poster we're about to produce to send to Pastor Wesley in Liberia. The National Pastors' Fellowship Conference is planning a three-day leadership seminar with Pastor Hendon as the keynote speaker.

So, we have one month to get the word out to 500 pastors in the various counties of Liberia. Pastor Wesley (President of the NPFC) has continually carried this burden for untrained church leaders. He desires to be used of God

   . . . to 'sharpen the man of God'.

Hopefully, Liberia's pastors and church leaders will receive the news about this particular Leadership Conference.
Here's a prototype of a poster we are planning to send by Federal Express. 
(click to enlarge the poster)

Final Posters:   PDF 1   and   PDF 2  (click either one)

Saturday, July 8, 2006

In a few days Joe's Mission Team will be leaving Hong Kong for the Philippines. Here is a short note I received from him yesterday:

Glory to God...God is adding to our numbers daily those who are being saved. I sent my wallet to the laundry and it came home without lacking anything.

More later,      Joe

I am grateful for the opportunity to attend our men's prayer meeting this morning. When we got to the Epicenter, Jim and I discovered that somebody (probably some 'kids') left a broken down office chair and a bike (with a flat tire) in the parking lot. That's the inner-city setting of our epicenter.

Jim has been working with some of the guys on a fence line to offer more security during the days of our upcoming VBS. However, he suggested that we leave the pedestrian gate open when we're not trying to protect a group of children. That's the right idea there.

Eli prayed over the services we will share tomorrow morning. In the two English speaking services, I will preach a message which will interact with 1 Timothy chapter four: click here for that Word of God.

Mike Harlan just prayed with me over the phone. He's about to study the Word for himself with the intention of calling me tonight to share some of his findings with me.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Gotta run off to the Rotary Breakfast (7:00 am) but wanted to journal this change of plans.: Pastor Wesley wrote after an important meeting:

Dear Pastor Rob,

We have just concluded our meeting regarding the revival and/or pastoral conference. We think the spiritual benefits of a of a revival will mainly only come to our church but if have a non-denominational, bible-believing pastoral conference, the spiritual benefits that pastors will receive will go a long way in affecting their respective congregations of the pastors that will attend the conference.

Therefore, we prefer a 3-day pastoral conference to the revival meetings. I will need to talk with Pastor Hendon in regard to this plan. Could you give me his phone number? He will have to preach/teach 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon for three days...from the 17th -19th of August, 2006.

Please find out if this will be too heavy a load for him to carry. Let him share his thoughts. Another thing, we will expect 400 - 500 pastors in attendance. 

Will it be possible to provide lunch for them (from your end) during the conference? (Please see Jesus' approach in  Mt. 14:15-21). I think US $0.50 per person per day will be OK for lunch.

Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Pastor Wesley

Hmmm....three hours sessions?
Too heavy a load for Pastor Hendon?
      ....too long perhaps?

Not from our experience...Oh, I'm guessing that Pastor Hendon is gonna start getting excited about this!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Pastor Wesley wrote and later called about our plans for an evangelistic outreach in Liberia during Pastor Hendon's trip (August 15-31):

Dear Pastor Rob,
The Advisory Board of our church will be meeting this evening at a prayer meeting to discuss the Revival Meetings of the church at which Pastor Hendon will serve as a keynote speaker.

We want to get the community people involved in this revival. In the publicity aspect, we would like for you to help in this manner: Please print for us 1,000 copies of flyers: 500 pieces (8.5 x 11) and 500 (5x8).

Pastor Wesley

Pastor Wesley is proposing a three-night series of meetings in Monrovia at the Greater Love Bible Baptist Church (August 18, 19, and 20). I will be happy to produce some eye-catching promotional materials.

In our bi-weekly preparatory meetings with Pastor Hendon, we have regularly acknowledged the peculiar burden of 92,674 ex-combatants in Liberia. A great majority of these young adults were only children when the warlords began the insidious work of the Enemy by commandeering their tender lives and stealing their childhood. I'm still researching the situation of those who lives fell prey to the Thief who comes to steal, kill, and to destroy.

Click here for a pdf map regarding the resettlement of ex-combatants in Liberia. This particular issue reminds me of Andy Deck's revelation about the purposeful inclusion of 'Samaritans' in the Great Commission. (scroll down to July 2 for Andy's Insight).

My hope is that the precious soul of one who has been secretly carrying a heavy weight of guilt and shame will be drawn within saving-range of the Good News during Pastor Hendon's time in Liberia.

I have often acknowledged that I am event-oriented. I enjoy the thought of preparing for exciting short-term ministry events which have the potential of far-reaching results in people's lives. I am so happy that we are sending Pastor Hendon to Liberia!

Here is a picture of three of our Mission Team Leaders who faced the fear factor and served as camp counselors over the holiday weekend. (left to right) Christene worked with the teen girls, Rodger was the advisor for teen boys, and Glenn oversaw the elementary school boys.

CLICK HERE for a photo slideshow of our camp discipleship event at Jenness Park. Another Team Leader, Amanda is featured on the slideshow.

There is a bright future for all three seasoned saints: Christene will have her hands full this month choreographing our children's Worship Rally Team for our upcoming VBS (The Arctic Edge).

announced at last night's Bible Study that he has been wondering about full-time ministry. He leads our Sunday School Rally every week and is definitely gifted for the ministry. He and his wife, Renee, open their home every Wednesday night for fellowship. That time has been a continual source of joy for this writer. We were there until 11:00 pm last night!

...and Rodger Parker? Well, you can hear this hometown drummer singing his personal anthem right here:
Old Dogs, New Tricks
(Remember, they used to let Ringo sing once in awhile too).

In my waking moments, I considered several weighty issues being faced by others in my sphere-of-influence. I wasn't worrying for my friends and family; I was just 'thinking' about life's continual changing circumstances. Then, I fell back asleep and had a terrible dream. I was driving a carload of young people; we were approaching a youth rally.

On the left side was a crowd of teens and children smiling, waving, and calling out for us with expectation and joy.

Up ahead on the right was also a group waving, smiling. It was a beautiful country scene. We pulled over to the shoulder of the right side, driving over some brush, as we slowly approached the group. What great fun we were going to have at this event!

The dream ended with the discovery that a child had been hiding in the brush. Our car had actually run over the child.  Upon that realization, I rushed to the child and lifted him in my arms. I did not know if he was still alive. It seems as though he was lifeless. I prayed and cried out to the Lord God...

Then I woke up.
Although, my lifelong tendency has been to release a sigh of relief after a bad dream, the after-effect is different this morning.

This dream
points to the seriousness with which I personally must approach this upcoming generation.

Not enough time for a segue:
Jebby is due to arrive for a VisionWalk on my side of the tracks.

New York's highest court
rejected arguments from gay and lesbian plaintiffs that their inability to get marriage licenses violated their constitutional rights. (more)

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Joe just phoned from Hong Kong (6:30 am). In concise and assertive phrases, he told me that his Mission Team has been singing in two primary settings:

1) Outdoor performances and 2) Christian Schools.

He informed me that these particular schools have had many unchurched kids in attendance. Joe said that they have been sharing a full, gospel message complete with 'altar calls'. I wasn't able to talk a long time because he wanted to extend Birthday greetings to Mary and Jerry.

I'm sure that he'd love to receive emails from anyone:


Yesterday, after Royal Oaks, I took Jerry and Daniel with me to visit Tommy Rackley. Tommy shared some insights about his experiences as a wayward youth being raised by his godly grandmother. I sensed the power of the Holy Spirit in his testimony. I noted that my boys were listening; they were hearing his heart. On the way home, we all affirmed that it is good for a Christian to testify--good for the hearer and for the witness. Most of us really desire to practice what we preach. That desire is stirred up afresh during a testimony and should impact the choices which follow.

Checking stats for the fourth of July, I learned that there had been some visits to an experiment I had conducted back when Joe was in Liberia. Rockmyspace had just started offering their free slideshows for myspace users. I placed four different sets of moving pictures aside this song about practicing that which has been modeled for us. 

click here for whatever with moving pictures. I have no idea what it would look/sound like at dialup speed...(remember one must click twice on most audio bars).

is a website where you can locate quick video and audio searches. I was pleased to find about 450 audio and video files by searching for 'Liberia'.  

click here
for an audio file I just found on PBS:

Liberia--America's Stepchild
(this is an interesting interview with filmmaker Nancee Oku Bright about the origins of Liberia and the American Colonization Society). Although I have not yet had the privilege to view this PBS special (2002), here is a pdf file of the film's transcript: click here

I will probably spend some time reading the transcript in hopes of empowering Pastor Hendon for his upcoming trip to Liberia.

I was also happy to see that the 'web-spiders' of singing fish (click) have found some my of my songs. I discovered this site while tracing the paths people have taken to get to the Epicenter.

I'll turn 49 this month--nearing the halfway mark. Golly, I'm almost middle-aged. A couple days ago, my Dad asked me if I have been writing any songs. I told him that I've been leading worship at our church, I haven't written any new songs.

The last batch of songs I wrote happened while I was in Liberia in 2004. So, as I've reflected upon my Dad's inquiry, I've decided that I ought to finish up a certain melodic idea I recorded years ago by adding the appropriate lyrics. I rediscovered this idea, Speak Up, in that search on singingfish. Joe had digitized it from one of the old cassette work tapes in my archives. I turned thirty at that inner-city ministry (Alpha and Omega) during the days when I pushed the record button for this aural memory. Hmm...this idea is probably 17-18 years old.

If you choose to listen to it, prepare yourself to hear my definition of artistic fodder. The primary melodic idea has been isolated and preserved but it is rough; yeah, very rough. My younger voice meanders toward the right note while these very fingers were falling into place on that old livingroom piano seeking the next chord in the progression. Those were 'the olden days' before the Internet had become a vehicle for my spiritual formation.
Rob Patterson
SOURCE: 907 Rose Court
Unfinished fragment

This is one song that I'd like to advance to completion before the Lord takes me home.

As I listen to the idea being explored, I can hear the moment of decision to lyrically earmark this as a song centered upon this passage of God's Word:

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
       for the rights of all who are destitute."
 Speak up and judge fairly;
       defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Without this particular stimuli, I wouldn't be able to finish the song with a sense of integrity. Near the end of this clip is a high Bb which marking a melodic moment begging for the opportunity to have the right words attached (to be perfected, recorded, and published).

Although, the spontaneous searching for some lyrics didn't produce much more than the title, completion could now happen rather easily. During the years which has elapsed since, I have experienced much of what I think I was grasping toward in that 907 Rose Court livingroom moment:
Rob Patterson
Notes: begun at 409 Rose Ct.
to finish: Proverbs 31:8-9

In Blackaby's Chapel Address below, he states that all of his five children have earned doctorates. He is pleased but had never told them that this was his expectation. He had admonished his children to offer their very best to the Lord. The academic path might lead to the doctorate as the best.

Most of you know that I had worked toward a specific doctoral degree from 2000-2006. I have chosen to rest from the personal anxieties involved with the institutional limitations with which I struggled.

note to self: My 'very best' doesn't necessarily involve the timely attainment of that particular academic degree. There are some other goals that I need to accomplish before I am at peace about the doctoral publication which will sit on my g-g-g granddaughter's shelf.

When I first enrolled at the Seminary for the Doctor of Ministry, I had wanted to use it as a vehicle to produce a worthy creative publication. I probably should have counted the cost by interviewing others who had gone through that very program before I had invested so much effort. I was warned early on that the scope of the program was not really conducive to my vision. I was overly-optimistic that somehow the square hole and round peg could synergize. Maybe it will happen after Cathy and I have nudged our children out of the nest.
Blackaby's fatherly advice causes me to desire the same for each of my own children.  --endnote

So, yesterday I visited our oldest church member who was confined to her bed at Royal Oaks. Mrs. Connor looked at me while I sang the first verse of an old hymn. Near the end of the chorus, she began to mouth the words and then sang the entire last two verses with me. In my opinion, that is an example of 'the best' this old guy has to offer people. Had I not been called to pastor a local church, I may have enjoyed serving the Lord as a music therapist.

Scripture songs are always a great blessing to write. I like knowing that I can help people hide God's Word in their hearts with a song:

"Blessed is the Man"
Notes: wrote the chorus in early nineties. Greg Brayton gave me the melodic bridge then I wrote those words.

The writing of a passionate, thematic spiritual song seems to only come when there has been an unresolved conflict in my mind and heart. I could discover plenty of fodder for unsung lyrics just from what I've chosen to write, read, and watch since that last 'finished' song. The song above was based on James 1:12 and is primarily a Scripture Song. This song below is more of an identification with Christ as one suffers for righteousness' sake. It serves a different purpose for me:

"Tender Mercies"
Notes: started the chorus
in '84 finished verses in '91

This is one reason I write online. I am gathering materials with which to build during my 'retirement' (when and wherever that will be).

At times someone writes to interact with me. Since this entry is so long, I would enjoy your input. I'm sure that your thought would add 'that something-special' (like Lennon's spark added to a McCartney tune).

Andy's note from July 2 (scroll down) is a good example of how much I value friendly interaction.

So, keep those cards and letters coming in....

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

My Dad called me yesterday
simply to bless me. He said, "I love you" at least three times. Dad will be 77 on his birthday this week. Here's the Word I woke up thinking about this morning:

He will judge between many peoples and
  will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
  and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
  nor will they train for war anymore.

Every man will sit under his own vine
  and under his own fig tree,

  and no one will make them afraid,
  for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

All the nations may walk
  in the name of their gods;
  we will walk in the name of the LORD
  our God for ever and ever.  
(Micah 4:3-5)

As I write I am reminded by the verse above that I have had the unusual privilege of resting in relative peace under the Vine (my Dad provided for us) and under my own roof all the days of my life. This has been my birthright: American Citizenship (July, 1957 to the present day).

This morning started for me over an hour ago. I'm still sitting upright in my nest (a term passed down from my Dad) with the wireless laptop in my lap. 

Last night, Cathy and I fell asleep listening to the soothing voice of Henry Blackaby on this same laptop. The sounds were from these links that I found last night at singingfish. I fell asleep before it was over but plan to try to give it another try later tonight:

"Preaching Points: Henry Blackaby"   (59:21)

I realize that not everybody agrees that Henry prophesies in part but I testify that his mild-mannered message has blazed within my heart since I first heard his voice in 1990. A singingfish search doesn't give the seeker much background information but it did state that Henry's messages were uploaded by Union University. I found the same three audio files here.

WARNING: If my streaming approach to living out this one life I've been given is annoying to you, you may not want to read any further. Instead, click here and listen to Henry Blackaby's Chapel Address at Union University on October 8, 2004. In his gentle voice, he begins by sharing about his experience with God, and his preparation to meet President Bill Clinton face-to-face. He speaks of his own personal history and offers advice for that college-age generation:

Go ahead, click here and listen for 38:05 minutes.

If you go any further, remember I have already issued the GLOBAL WARNING...

This morning, I came across a website written by an Episcopal pastor in America who seems to have a different worldview than me. From one of his articles I can see that he doesn't have much respect for James Dobson, so that tipped me off to proceed carefully. Not that I've ever met Dr. Dobson but I have been immensely blessed by his cousin, H. B. London (and I figure that they wear the same basic political ideas).

So, I'm sitting here wondering if I should offer you readers a link to this guy. I only found him because I was quickly googling for a citation of the Micah verse (that prophecy which reminds me of drinking lemonade under a shade tree during the humid, July days of my Michigan childhood).

Should I offer you a link? It seems that I mentally categorize people I run into (on the web and face-to-face). Don't hold me to this but it seems like I'm usually trying to assess new acquaintances along lines like these:
   Very Similar, Similar, Different, Much Different

   Very Friendly, Kinda Friendly, Disinterested, 
          Antagonistic, Passively Aggressive

There are certainly other continuums with which I do my assessments but this is probably another episode of TMI (too much information).

Should I offer you a link?

Just yesterday, I wrote a portly email wherein I offered some apologetic for this particular column. I mentioned that I choose to avoid the political stuff. Why?

I guess because I want to make some friends--friends enough to have some dialogue. So, this link I'm providing isn't intended to make a political statement.
It is simply the fruit of my July 4th fig tree research. Here's the Episcopalian who seems to be much so much smarter than I am. Pastor Jim says that he sits down under his fig tree every third week and scratches out four pages of notes in an attempt to be a prophetic witness on behalf of the truth. I wonder what it would be like to hear Pastor Jim's opinion of Dr. Blackaby's Chapel Address.

For some reason, I'm reminded of my response to Eva when she shared a link about Lion Gate's upcoming John Lennon movie:

Thanks., Eva.

Of course, I won't like Michael Moore and others claiming that Lennon is their spokesperson...
I have my own interpretation of Lennon's significance in my generation.

As Cicero was to Augustine, Lennon was to me.

I have a couple personal encounters with 'episcopalian' settings for those readers who are ...

"very similar and very friendly",

"very similar and kinda friendly" ,

"different yet friendly,

....and even "much different but friendly..."

The "unfriendly" need not apply to hear my personal remembrances set around the property, grounds, and personalities of the Episcopal church in my hometown.
However, I'd probably enjoy a discussion about Lennon even with the hostile.

Hey, if you're fortunate enough to find some shade today, enjoy the fourth of July.

Finally, if you're within time/space driving distance of 10:00 am/95632, come out to Royal Oaks for Song, Scripture, and Story (144 F STREET GALT, CA 95632)

Monday, July 3, 2006

I really enjoyed having the chance to share two different services with God's people yesterday morning. A man my age surrendered his life to Jesus at the first service. His name is Randy. I also had the great privilege of introducing him to a small group Bible Study as a first step of discipleship.

After the second service I enjoyed meeting a 12 year old named Geneva. She needed to be honest so she told me flat out,

"I don't like church....at all."

We had a very pleasant conversation built around that opening. I told her that I didn't like church either when I was a teenager. I have high hopes for a sweet relationship ahead of us. Her mother told me that the whole family will be coming to church regularly.

We attended La Luz de Cristo at 1:30 p.m. and sat in the English-speaking section. I really enjoy the music portion provided by Crossroads Iglesia Christiana (via large screen). From my 12-weeks of Spanish in the 7th grade, I have always been able to sing along phonetically at Spanish services. It even helped to sing along in Indonesia (95) and Estonia (00 and 03).

Although I couldn't discern what was being presented during the televised testimony, Barbara and Eli interpreted. An American named Jeff had moved to Chile for several years and then took a team of Latinos to Iraq. Apparently they experienced cultural similarities between the Latinos and Iraqis and were quite successful in sharing the Gospel. Several Iraqis gave their lives to Jesus. Jeff expressed an upcoming plan to take 100 Latinos to that region of the world on an evangelistic mission.

About Royal Oaks: Even though tomorrow is the 4th of July, we are going ahead with plans to minister in Song, Scripture, and Story tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Several people are out of town, however, some of you have never experienced this unique ministry and I'd like you to consider coming to help.
Royal Oaks   144 F STREET GALT, CA 95632
Loren (our beloved L. Dogg) expressed sadness that his cousin is now living at Royal Oaks.
Loren is an 82 year old man who has attended our second service for several months. He specifically asked if we would be having the service at Royal Oaks because he wants to attend with his cousin. When asked, this young octogenarian would tell you:

"I like church...very much."

That reminds me, however, of Pastor Hendon's message last night. He mentioned that the Great Commission isn't fulfilled by simply getting people to come to church.

Have your read my entry about how Jerry needs a band?  click here

Well, today is Jerry's birthday. He shares it with his sister, Mary.

Throughout the years I have always tried to take each of the kids out for a one-on-one outing in association with their birthday.

I still remember clearly the day that little 4 year old, Jeremiah, and I went to McDonald's for breakfast on his birthday. When we got back to Alpha and Omega Ministries, Cathy had already started going into labor for Mary's birth. What an interesting birthday present for the little guy. He has had a little sister ever since. Jerry turned 19 today and Mary is now 15.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

230 years ago (today) the Continental Congress voted to sever its ties with Great Britain.

The very next day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:

It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful.

If this be the case, it will have this good effect, at least:

it will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us ...

The furnace of affliction produces refinements
           in states, as well as individuals.

In ninety minutes, I will step up to the platform and begin to call God's gathered people to worship Him freely. These words, among many others, will be declared:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then,
    and do not let yourselves be burdened again
            by a yoke of slavery.    
Galatians 5:1

This morning I was reminded of a certain day that I stepped up to the plate on the school playground.
I took the bat in my hand and, as the ball was thrown my way, I heard some of the kids yell, "Swing!"

It was a trap. Those kids were from the other side...

My friend, R. B. McCartney, is away on a preaching assignment today. He is filling the pulpit at Herald Baptist Church. This afternoon, Francisco Camarena will deliver a message via large screen for those gathered at Le Luz de Cristo. Tonight, Ken Hendon will come to preach for those of us gathered to listen.

Regardless of any opposition to God's Word going forth publicly (at any of America's preaching points) may that very Word

 "inspire us with many virtues which we have not"


"correct many errors, follies and vices,
 which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us."

An excerpt from Andy:

Dear Rob:

In past correspondence you have talked about your concern over a perceived over-emphasis on the international component of FBC Galt’s Missions ministry.  I like the model you have shared and I believe your application to FBC Galt should help alleviate some of those concerns over balance.

This model reminded me of something the Lord showed me a couple of years ago as we prepared to take a team of 27 to Uganda for a church-planting mission.  

The model that your friends at Sequoia have developed follows the traditional picture associated with the Acts 1:7,8 passage – basically, a set of four concentric circles.  We have long been taught this interpretation and it fits nicely with our geo-political boundaries – Local, State, National, International.  

  (click on photo to expand your view)

My “revelation” was in a careful consideration of “Samaria” and exactly what God was truly saying when He specifically included that command in this passage. God repeatedly used the despised Samaritan to poke at the seemingly well-intentioned, legalistic, religious leaders of the day.  I believe God wants us to specifically reach out to the person(s) that we would absolutely put at the very bottom of our list. 

I think every church’s and every community’s “Samaritans” may be very different and may NOT fall along the convenient boundaries of states or nations.  

It takes courage to continue this line of reasoning and deal with the conclusions you may reach.  Well, (imagine a southern drawl) …. Christ-following ain’t for sissies.    

Saturday, July 1, 2006

I have had some really sweet interactions with a few teenagers on myspace in recent days. One concern I've carried was resolved a few minutes ago when a particular young lady replied to a pastoral letter I sent to her. She hadn't checked her email for a couple days and I was hoping she would respond favorably to my intervention. She did.

I think I wrote a couple days ago that I'm just trying to treat others the way I'd like to be treated. Parents of teenagers need to know that there are others who are looking out for their kids, loving them unconditionally, while helping to hold them accountable for their words and actions.

Jerry needs more than a band but I've been getting some responses from this entry I published a couple days ago:  

(click here for more) about Jerry, our eighteen-year old son. He is Crew Chief at a local sandwich shop and is seriously considering attending Community College this fall.

I usually don't wait until past noon to publish an entry but.... I took a post-prayer nap this morning.

Actually, after morning prayer with Eli and David, I crawled back into the nest for a little more sleep. We had a 3 a.m. wake-up call to assist in the lives of two young men. So, then I only slept from 4:30 until 5:50.

Our prayer meeting focused upon David's desire to see another brother's hope for a multi-purpose room come to pass. That idea captured Eli's attention because he has just recently joined our church and wants to hear anything that involves VISION for the future of our little piece of land and physical structures.

Eli was also asking all about our associational involvement with forty area churches and our relative connection to 2,000 California churches. For thirty years, Eli was a member of a much-larger local church in the next town south of here. He had also served on an Executive Board for their denomination's northern churches. Thus, his interest in how our cooperative program is supposed to work.

He continued to ask, ask, ask...questions.

Eventually, David and I shared our mutual burden for Pastor Wesley's work in Liberia. When Joe was in Liberia for 80 days, David had attempted to motivate his co-workers to give to this deserving Cause. However, he didn't see any tangible results of his efforts. I fully understand his disappointment because so often my attempts at leadership seem futile in the short-term.

Then, the Holy Spirit brings to my remembrance some passage of Scripture and I again have an opportunity to rightly align my thoughts with His thoughts.

click here for the trustworthy Word of God
     (and scroll down for some cool, Hebrew words...)

In the sanctuary, Eli's eye fell upon the free DVD produced by Liberian Ministries. As I began to speak of Jim's burden to involve all forty of our association's churches through weekly prayer, David was energized.
He hadn't  yet heard about how this webpage had helped connect us with Liberian Ministries and the free DVD that they distribute.

Well, I couldn't help it....

I had to praise God for the hope of sending this Ultrasound Machine and two microscopes  on their 40 foot container within the month!

Click here to see a picture of this unit crated and ready to ship with Service to Servants.

Also, I had to praise God for the fact that Pastor Hendon's ticket has been purchased. I had to praise the Lord again for the fact that Pastor Hendon is scheduled to preach in our sanctuary tomorrow night (in preparation for his mission trip to Liberia: August 15-30). Please come and support our humble vision to further involve this African-American leader in our burden for Liberia.

It was 6:30 a.m. and we still hadn't begun to intercede for others in prayer. So, we began. We prayed for the next hour. Then, I came home and caught up on my sleep.

Ohhhh....a couple bad things happened yesterday:

1.  While I was at the Fireworks Booth, I got a call from one of our local co-laborers, Mike. Mike had just finished with a meeting of Law Enforcement officers. He and his wife had discovered that they are victims of Identity Fraud. Their bank account had been cleaned out completely. The money in that account had been earmarked to pay Uncle Sam his due.

On that cellphone, walking the beat, carrying the fireworks box to 'hawk' to passersby, I prayed aloud with my brother about the Thief's agenda. The gift of Faith was stirred up within me and I interceded for my brother.

Mike was feeling such Loss and Disappointment.

I have a good feeling, though,  that Romans 8:28 is gonna become another 'felt gift' that meets this family's 'felt need.'

Click here for that trustworthy Gift of God
   (and scroll down for some cool, Greek words...)

2.  Mary
, Cathy, and I drove to Manteca yesterday afternoon. I had heard a suspicious sound begin under the hood and checked it a couple times. It seemed to be related to the Air Conditioning but the belt was still in good shape and I couldn't spot anything obviously wrong.

Well, the Air Conditioning Compressor of this 2002 Ford Taurus apparently seized up and 'snapped' the long belt which is interconnected to a few other vital functions....and we immediately became unmoveable.

Hmmmm....what to do next? We pulled into a Midas Muffler Shop. Curious coincidence. The customers who were leaving with a Midas invoice for $1400 was driving a Ford Taurus which had just suffered the exact problem.

OK, Homeland Security...
     I know you're watching...what meaneth all this?

So, I happen to have the best roadside assistance program that Allstate insurance has to offer. Therefore, they sent a Tow Truck with an extended cab and Cathy, Mary, and I rode back to the Epicenter with a most-interesting, tattooed gentleman named John (Hayes Auto in Tracy).

John was quite the conversationalist. He has a seven year old boy and a 16 year old daughter. No, we didn't have a 'spiritual conversation'...but now that today's note-in-a-bottle has been thrust into this CyberSea, we'll see if there's any character development toward  the Big Picture.

May God bless us all during the hours ahead.


CLICK ABOVE for a closer look, Click Again to release

Years ago, I experienced a season of praying
this prayer daily. I was taught that I could personalize each phrase and make direct application
to the situations that we were facing
that very day.

Sometimes those prayers are all-important
to what will be revealed next.

If you would like the embed code for this PrayerCube,
   email me:  pastorob@gmail.com

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