November, 2006    Return to: pastorob's current journal

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Today is the day that the Stonegate Team is supposed to leave for Liberia (click here for their blog, then ADD as a favorite for the next ten days, OK?)

Throughout the day I will continue to pray for my very dear friends: Jim and Doris, Beverly, Mona, Anna, and Howie. They are each facing tough times.

It would be a good time to remember all that a fasting, Deacon Jim shared with us in May, 2004. I've been listening to these tracks this morning on the CD version.These audio links should work for now:

Jim Fugate 1                Jim Fugate 2 
Jim Fugate 3                Jim Fugate 4 
Jim Fugate 5                Jim Fugate 6

Remember, I'm available 24/7 by cell phone: (209) 323-0727 and by email. When I'm at Saddleback, I'm online the entire time. I have a meeting with Francisco Camarena this morning. He's the DVD preacher for our local Hispanic Venue: La Luz de Cristo. He also pastors four other churches in Southern California.

Rick Warren has invited us (me) to stay here at Saddleback a couple days longer...

I believe that my time spent with Rick and 249 specially-invited pastors was time well invested--for me---but also for my beloved local church. 

Rick shared that he had planned to do this one year ago but waited until 2 weeks before to send his invitation to us....otherwise he would have had about 4,000 pastors who would have wanted to be included.

Off the record, he revealed to us 'exactly' what he is planning to do in a number of areas. The Press had not been invited to the event. Thousands, however, are coming from around the nation (and the world) for the other conference which starts today. I will share my complete notes with you in the days and weeks to come.

Although he is now a multi-millionaire, Rick is more humble than I've ever seen him.

Interesting timing:

Our church website name was 'bought' out from under us.....

So the new owners of the domain <> have asked us to name a price anywhere from $100 to $20,000

"$20,000...  no problem . . ."

James Moore is going to try to handle the negotiation for me today. It probably is quite important that we try to regain possession of the name. Jennifer and I had been discussing how to re-create the site to leave it in good shape for the season after I leave (2007) and eventually for the next Pastor to continue taking this local church into the 21st Century.

Don't worry, Virginia, we won't offer $20,000......

In the meantime, we still own (just not .org)....

This situation is yet another sign of the last days...n/k

In the meantime, everybody who googles their way around the Internet and tries to find us will get broken links. Broken links from other sites all over the world. The Y2K crisis was just a little slow in causing the havoc so many were envisioning.

It will take awhile to get this all straightened out. I'm not losing any sleep over it. I am, however, happy that my doctorate didn't depend upon all this!

No worry: as the old street preacher would say, "Don't put your faith in your webpage.... you can LOSE yo' webpage."

Our shared article with Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and others (Christianity Today) is now officially online, so click here if you'd like a link to it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This website is not easily found today. If you are reading this, count it as a blessing to me.

I'm sitting with 240-some pastors who are guests being given an intimate day with Rick Warren. He is really speaking to our hearts.

For some reason, our web address isn't working but Chris and Tara Zeller just led me to a back-door entrance to this page.

I'm getting some comments from some sweet people on these recent entries.

Don't put your faith in yo' website...  (view more)

Form and Content from RICK to Rob  (view more)

No Scandal, No Porn,
  No Affairs...I'm just moving onward 
(view more)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Years ago I was riding in a van with staff from Sequoia Heights. Jerry Yates was driving. We were heading back from a Pastors' Conference. Roger Williams was telling the rest of his co-laborers that he didn't like quarterly reports telling about what has just happened. Instead, he always hoped to report about something out in the future for the church: "The best days are ahead of us..."

That statement rings in my mind. So many of my online journal entries are simply a quick recording of what happened the day before.

I suppose I will have to skip telling you about Monday because Wednesday is coming toward me too fast. I'm supposed to be at Saddleback Community Church in Orange County tomorrow to participate in
A Conversation about Tomorrow.

Letter from Rick Warren to Rob
(and 249 other Senior Pastors)  (view more)

I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find another pastor who would be making the trip to hang out with Rick Warren in this informal setting.

Lord Willing, I'll head south down the road later this morning--all by myself. You know I enjoy drive time--time to think, to sing, to listen, and to . . . drive.

Just a little over a year ago, a man named
Tom Robershaw wrote me this note from southern California:


Dear Pastor Rob:

I was excited to come across your church's website while surfing the web.  I have been involved for the last six months with the Liberian Ministries (  It sounds like God has impressed on both your group and ours the same desire to spread the Gospel to and help the people of Liberia. 

. . . Two gentlemen, Carl Hadley and Rodney Edwards, have been with Liberian Ministries from the start and would probably be the right guys for you to talk to about possible ways for us to help each other.
Anyway, God bless you and your congregation.  I've added you guys to my "favorites" on the web and look forward to future updates.
Kind regards,


I almost chose to ignore his suggestion to look at their website. I was so very busy with other matters...but I did, in fact, click on the link. The rest is history-in-the-making. In the year that has elapsed since this letter of introduction, Tom has watched quite a network of individuals work together with cooperative, pioneer spirit.

So you can guess that I was greatly blessed to receive an invitation from Tom to have dinner with him and his wife, Kim. Further, I was invited to stay in their guest room tonight. I just did a quick search of my gmail files and saw a photo of their daughters that he sent me in April. Tom and Kim have twin toddlers: Chloe and Olivia. Tom has a background in Finance; they live in Tustin, California.

Anyway, I'm supposed to meet Tom and Kim at 6:00 p.m. tonight. They just happen to be local members at Saddleback, so they will point me in the right direction tomorrow morning.

While I'm at Saddleback, I think I'll see if it is possible to bring the teens there to visit on our way home from Tsunami. My Teacher's Assistant, Jenn Rodriguez, wrote to me yesterday to ask about the future of our top-secret Sunday School project. I quickly wrote back with some ideas to motivate her and other teens who will remain after I leave FBC Galt. We've been working on a Cause which is definitely greater than ourselves. Hopefully, City Council Woman, Barbara Payne, will catch my vision and help me finish my immediate time with these teenagers. We'll see.

Meanwhile, Jim Fugate continues to minister faithfully at the bedside of his wife, Doris. She has pneumonia and was hot with fever last night--all this while enduring the effects of chemotherapy. On the way to visit them at the hospital last night, I listened to a CD with Jim's sermon from "A Theology of Suffering and Healing.

Jim Fugate, a deacon at First Baptist Galt,  preached the first of four message back in 2004. His message is split up into six tracks. He was fasting that week:

Jim Fugate 1                Jim Fugate 2 
Jim Fugate 3                Jim Fugate 4 
Jim Fugate 5                Jim Fugate 6

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm writing this entry at 10:45 Sunday night. It has been a long, wonderful day of serving God's Purpose for my life. During the 8:30 Worship Service, I felt led of the Lord to choose Sunday Evening, December 24th, as my final time in the pulpit as the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Galt, California.

I dearly love celebrating the four Sundays of Advent. This year the final candle (the Christ Candle) will be lighted on a Sunday night: Christmas Eve. As has been our custom, we will have a Candlelight Service, with special music, and bring our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to a close.

That seems like a good time to also finish nearly 10.5 years in that pulpit. What a privilege to serve God's people as the pastor of a local church. I hope that we will enjoy some high attendance Sundays during this Christmas season.

I also announced to our church that our friend, Howard Gabriel, passed away. In Sunday's journal, I mentioned that our son, Joe, had assisted Howard in posting some of his stories and family heritage online. May Howard's wife (Mona) and grown children (Anna and Howie) find some comfort in reading Howard's entries for years to come and perhaps share these stories with generations yet-to-come.

Here is Howard's Blogger Profile (click here). Joe sent me these links to the websites which toward which he helped to empower Howard in the 21st Century:

Gabriel's Children Stories

Gabriel Geneological Stories

Dr. Gabe's Health Articles

I was blessed to receive this important announcement from Pastor Shamas in Pakistan:

From: Rt. Rev Shamas Pervaiz

 < >

Nov 26, 2006 8:03 AM

To: Rob Patterson < >

Respectable Pastor Rob,
Greetings to you, your family and your people in Lord.
Thanks for Pray for my Father. God answer our prayers and my father discharge from hospital yesterday.

He is much better now.
Pastor, I pray all time in Hospital and also I pray on Doctors. and they Check free and they give much medicine free to My father.

Brother God help us.

Because alot of my brothers, sisters and children pray for my Father.

Especially, I am thankful to you all because you all pray for my Father.

God Bless You

Your Brother in Lord

Pastor Shamas

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I tried to get to bed early last night. So, it took me awhile to gather my thoughts when Mona Gabriel called around 11:30.

She calmly informed me that Howard Gabriel (her husband) had passed away earlier in the day.

This may not be entirely accurate but here's what I think I heard her say:

She and Howard were traveling and had picked up Howard's mother. I believe that they were on the road when Howard starting showing symptoms. He died 15 minutes later.

As I recall, last Thanksgiving, Howard first noticed that the stress of his job had been taking a toll on his health. Later, in February, 2006, Howard went through 4 bypass heart surgery. During his hospitalization and recovery, Cathy and I drew close to Howard. Click here for February, 2006
Howard is mentioned in my journal starting on February 12th, 13th . . . and beyond.

Joe was still in Liberia for our 80 Day Adventure during Howard's hospitalization. Howard was such a great conversationalist that we were especially drawn to pick his brains to help us as parents. He was an amazing man--such that we wanted our son, Joe, to come under his influence.

So, after Joe's return from Liberia, the two of them shared some special time working together on a webpage for Howard's creative output.

Now it is time for me to arise from my bed and ready myself to lead our Worship Team and to preach God's Word. I will dedicate the songs of this Sunday morning to my memories of Howard Gabriel and to Mona--his faithful wife and mother. May Howie and Anna (both dedicated Christians themselves) find abiding peace as they learn of the depth of Christ's comfort for those who mourn.

Scroll down to yesterday to review the Scriptures and a special song chosen for today.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I've been experiencing some congestion in my chest and that affected my sense of well-being yesterday. I came home with the bulletins and musicians' binders and worked on putting them together from the couch.

I tried to get to bed early because I have an ongoing appointment to gather with other men to pray at 6:00 a.m. The funeral for Beverly's daughter is at 2:00 this afternoon.

If anyone wants to prepare themselves for Sunday Morning's Message, here are the texts for 'Your Strategy for Saving Others'.

Matthew 9:9-17     1 Corinthians 9:19-24

One of the songs we will sing tomorrow is an old hymn which looks forward to a time in 'the sweet by and by.' Doing a bit of research revealed that there is a very human story attached to the writing of this hymn. Be prepared for a midi soundtrack, should you decide to click here.

I awoke at 3:15, checked email, and wrote back to a precious sister who wrote to me after I had gone to bed. So, now its 4:25 and I think I'll try to get some more sleep before the alarm goes off.

Friday, November 24, 2006

We enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving at home with our immediate family. Early in the morning, Macdonald Wreh called me from work to extend his greetings. Then I wrote to my friend, Dave Hendrix, in Colorado Springs. I then called to Coldwater, Michigan and, in two phone calls, had the opportunity to touch base with several members of my family.
This was followed by a pleasant conversation with my friend, Pastor Ken Hendon. They were having a Thanksgiving Day Service at his church at noon.

Pastor Shamas Pervaiz from Pakistan wrote to me, so we exchanged a couple letters in the morning. His father is seriously ill and has been hospitalized. I received my first letter from this pastor in March and made a slideshow of photos he had sent me (click here).  We have shared many chats and letters since then. Here is the most recent slideshow I made of photos Shamas has sent (click here).

Although my laptop internet connection had taken me all around the world on this 21st Century Thanksgiving Morning, I also had a full day of enjoying the blessings of my own little family--watching movies and eating.

After an overflowing day, Cathy and I went on a long walk before going to bed. We talked about how wonderful our Wednesday Night Fellowship had been. There were 25 adults who remained for the Bible Study after the meal. Ronny was on-fire as he led the Scripture reading and discussion. We had first-time visitors, great music, good food, wonderful fellowship... (abundant life is right there . . . in the ellipsis).

I have had some correspondence with Karen from Texas over several weeks. She is part of the Stonegate Liberia Team. They are are leaving for Liberia this Thursday. Karen has asked that we pray for their team and the trip. Of course, that is my desire. (click here for the team's blogspot)

I have enjoyed my interaction with Karen. She is a grandmother and maintains a filter (called Safe Bee) on their home computer. She was curious about my approach to Internet Safety. Our back-and-forth discussion has been helpful to me. I would be interested in hearing from others about this matter. Does your family have a strategy for protecting yourselves from falling into snares on the Internet?

My Friday Visitation Partner, Beverly, is being visited by all sorts of family. The Memorial Service for her daughter, Susan, is tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. Today I will be preparing the music for the memorial and working on the message for Sunday morning. I hope that our sanctuary will be filled with people who are hungry for a revelation from God's Word.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The turkey is in the oven and should be ready to pull out just before noon. Derek and Linda at Cafe Latte are from Cambodia. They are closed for Thanksgiving. Yesterday, Joe and I had stopped by on a walk. I asked them if they prepare a turkey for a thanksgiving meal. Derek informed me that when they came to this country in the late 70's, they studied all about our history. So, yes, they learned about the Pilgrims and our custom of making turkey. He told us that they hadn't eaten a turkey before. Turkeys were like pets. They ate chicken and duck but turkeys were just left to run around with the chickens.

Greg Brayton sent me this link to artwork by his wife, Sally. That's how I first met Sally--in a high school art class. She was obviously the best in the class. It is fun to see her still having fun with art in her old age (click here). Maybe on this Thanksgving Day, we should make a visit over to Greg Brayton's website and see what new project he's working on:

On our walk we ran into Baker and Alex Kanode. Alex turned 16 this week and his been showing up for wrestling workout during this Thanksgiving Break. Joe and I are working on a nickname for that kid. So far, we're calling him Grizzly (or the Bear, Grizz, the Grizzard King...any other ideas?). Alex knows how much we all want to see him stick with this test of endurance. Stay tuned. If he does then we all have to take responsibility to show up for his matches. Last night I learned that Alex has challenged Glenn Greene to a rematch. Apparently they have faced each other one time before.

May everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving.

If you're all alone and don't have anyplace to go for a Thanksgiving meal (or even leftovers) , feel free to call us: 

(209)  323-0727

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Last night I gathered all the components of my police uniform and carefully dressed for the City Council Meeting. Police Chaplain Dress Blues comes complete with a silver-plated nametag and a real badge so heads turn when I'm fully vested.

Hmmm...what to do with this rare opportunity. On the way to City Hall, I stopped by the Tuesday Fellowship "Losing Weight God's Way". Robin McCall made a comment that got many laughs. Only Barbara Tavarez missed the punchline--she did note, however, that I blushed.

From there, I went over to Tommy, Joe, and Bryan's house. I thought they might come 'under conviction' upon the sight of a uniformed preacher knocking on the backdoor. No laughs there--they didn't answer. I was having an important conversation with Mike McCall during the drive so it was still time well-invested.

Once I arrived at City Hall, I was greeted by Pastor Larry Brand, Pastor Tim Stevenson, and Pastor Mary Sanders (the other three volunteer chaplains). We had a photograph taken of us together. My third son, Daniel, was also there for a school assignment. He has had to attend and report on various civic meetings. It was a blessing to have my son there with me. I introduced him to a number of community leaders.

Then, he came to sit with me after the swearing-in ceremony was over. Together we watched and whispered about the form and content of Mayor Clare's trip to the Sundance Seminar. The mayor's trip to Anchorage at the invitation and expense of Robert Redford. Mayors of strategic locations in America are being taught about the effects of Global Warming. As catalysts, they are being challenged to provide purposeful leadership in their sphere-of-influence. I was reminded of time I spent watching Al Gore's movie with my firstborn, Joe, on August 9, 2006 (click here).

Hope to see you at the Potluck-Bible Study Fellowship tonight at 6:30. Call me for more information: (209) 323-072

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hmmm... I have just watched several video clips about the Michael Richards apology on Letterman. I wasn't watching the news so I missed the story when it first broke. In fact, the only slight hint of this situation impinged upon my consciousness when I was putting some gas into my car on Sunday afternoon. Our gas pumps come equipped with video newscasts.

An interesting slice of contemporary american experience. I appreciated hearing Sinbad's entire discussion of this situation and the big picture. From my perspective, the Big Picture is even bigger.  (click here: ABC News Michael Richards)

I have enjoyed Michael Richard's work since since seeing him on Weird Al's movie UHF. The Seinfeld DVD set I purchased a couple years ago had an interesting commentary. Richards' reputation for memorizing his lines and firm resolve to stay in character is discussed by his co-stars. Noteworthy is Diane Sawyer's mention that when Richards does stand-up, he is 'performing without a net.' There is certainly a teachable moment here for any man.

Tonight the chaplains have been asked to attend the swearing in of our new Chief of Police. I had the privilege of hearing Chief Loren Cattolico speak at Rotary last Friday. It will be interesting to see how this man continues to exercise leadership in our police department and among the myriad special interest groups in our community. I'm always interested in watching other leaders interact with the general public to see what works . . . and what doesn't!

One of the first public gestures by our new chief was to publish a Citizen's Complaint Form:

"Please feel free to express yourself on any matter which you feel should be directed to my attention. Every letter of complaint will receive my personal attention. Remember law enforcement is everybody's business, and your Police Department can only be as good as the citizens of Galt want it to be."    (click here for a pdf copy)

In last Sunday's sermons, I addressed the hesitancy that our nation's President may face to actually name the Name of his Savior. There have been times in which I have experienced the unspoken pressure to omit the Name of Jesus in public settings. However, the only Name in which I have a legitimate prayer is in the Name of Jesus. Therefore, right here/right now, in the relative comfort of this column, I pray for this town's chief Law Enforcement officer: 

Father, our Creator,

First, I thank you for hearing this simple public prayer. On behalf of all who choose to be law-abiding citizens, I ask that You may empower Chief Cattolico to exercise patient integrity as he leads an extraordinary team of crime-fighters in Galt. May he shepherd his flock with firm resolve that together they will all courageously serve a Cause greater than themselves.

Serving diligently under Chief Cattolico's authority, may each of our sworn officers remain faithful to their vow of service. May they be kept safe from those who plot evil or in any way work against Law and Order in this small corner of American culture.

In the Name of Jesus I pray.   AMEN.

The general public is invited to attend this ceremony. We will start with a meet & greet at 6:30 with the formal swearing in at the City Council Meeting at 7:00 (click here for map)

Monday, November 20, 2006

I have a full day ahead of me. Coming into the office I have interacted with several people who are serving the Lord in various capacities (Ana, Jimmie, Kat, Virginia, Eli). Now, the activity has settled down and I am going to try to sort through the paperwork that amasses at our church. I plan to do this while listening to sermon tapes from past weeks. First, however, I want to decompress what yesterday (Sunday) may have contributed to the Big Picture.

My Sunday School class seemed to be engaging for all who were there (ages 13-20). We were discussing issues learned during my semester of church-planting studies from seminary. Certain paragraphs from the Purpose Driven Church (pp. 160-161) were read and discussed by the students. We were privileged to have Aimee Sayre visiting with us during her break from CBU. She has really missed our church fellowship. Even though she has the opportunity to attend one of the 'coolest' churches in the state (Sandals at Riverside), she shared that, instead, she attends Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church--which is more traditional and has many elderly people.

I think that it was helpful for the younger students to hear this testimony from Aimee. It may help them to better understand the various dynamics involved in this matter of American church-shopping. Aimee is one of our 'satisfied customers' and yet our text and discussion challenged her modus operandi for outreach when she was in high school.

Our class has been targeting a unique church-plant idea as a vehicle to discuss all the points brought up in Rick Warren's dated text. Of interest to the class was his observation that the average American will not drive to a church where one must endure more than a dozen stoplights. That assertion was cause for us to stop and consider our attitudes and behavior.

Yesterday's Worship Service messages were grounded in two events which can be found in 2 Chronicles. (God's Word to Solomon: 2 Chronicle 7 and the events recorded years later in 2 Chronicles 20). The apostle Paul has given us the encouragement to consider Old Testament history in an illustrative manner. Joe was asking me about my belief in this pattern I employ--reading devotionally and making application for my own life. Here is one of the passages which have taught me to do so: click here

The demographics of the congregations gathered for our 8:30 service and the 11:00 services were noticeably different. The songs were exactly the same. The Reading of Scripture, the pre-sermon altar time, and the sermon points were very similar but there was definitely some differences in my delivery. It will be interesting to note what exactly those differences were as I listen to the tapes during this day. 

This particular message had a contemporary application more panoramic in scope than my normal local church sermon. Why? I suppose it was reflective of issues with which I have recently been confronted. The Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites are the combined forces marching against God's Kingdom. I could have named contemporary armies energized by unseen forces but that might have limited this message's impact in the life of any given hearer. Three important points concluded the message which has been entitled Responding to a Revelation.

Trust God and don't be afraid: We need to remember that GOd knows all, every situation any of us are facing. He knows every person involved. He is able. He is here. He is the perfect expression of Love that never fails.

Trust God and don't be afraid: We need to remember what He has already done our lives up to this very point.

Trust God and don't be afraid: Remember that He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. It ain't over till it's over. We should examine ourselves and consider what we tend to do when we are facing a trial. Do we praise? Do we doubt? Do we go for the quick fix? Do we humble ourselves, pray, seek God's face, and turn from any wicked way revealed to us by the Holy Spirit?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

 "If a fellow was lookin' for a new church . . . We're sort of lookin' for a new church because of a situation with the pews." 
This video serves well as a companion piece for the ichurch article. A new friend, Larry, shared it with us.

Well, we're not exactly the coolest church in town but if you yearn to live in response to a revelation from God, please come visit our church at 8:30 or 11:00 any Sunday morning.

   map to the epicenter

Before I forget, I will want to share what I learned about Leonardo Da Vinci in school Friday. An illegitimate child, the young man apprenticed at Verrocchio's Studio. He would soon surpass his mentor. A significant work in which he participated at the studio was Verrocchio's The Baptism of Christ.

In addition to his study of mechanics, painting, and sculpture, Leonardo conducted experiments with light and shadow. The three-dimensional depth of objects in his sketches was defined by light and shadow. Illuminated by candle, the artist would paint a view of draped fabric, then change the location of the candle and paint it again. This technique, chiaroscuro, made his paintings superior to those of his peers. Yesterday we had a Disney DVD playing and it began to freeze. Rather than get upset by the technological inconvenience, I studied the frame-by-frame change of shadow and light. I immediately thought about chiaroscuro. It helps to bring these animations to life.

Leonardo also observed that detail and color changed as and object receded in the distance. He took the state of this technique, sfumato, to a new level. Note the background in Mona Lisa.

I listed certain facts on the board during the students' viewing of the history Channel video. A commissioned work that Leonardo never finished was the Adoration of the Magi.

The question which surrounds that mystery stirred an interest in digging deeper. I googled Leonardo Da Vinci on Friday night. I learned that he wrote his private journals from right to left in a mirror image. Interesting.  Try it yourself: click here

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Before Prayer meeting this morning, Eli, David, and I walked a block west of our property to see the new construction taking place at the property of the River of Life Celebration Center.

Cathy and I had stopped in last week to say, "Congratulations" and visited with Deanna Brand and the little guy who had been run over. He was spinning around in his wheelchair--happy as can be.

Yesterday, my first class as a substitute began with a 15 year old coming up to me with a smile and saying, "Hi, Pastor Rob". I didn't recognize her by name until roll call. It was Erin Brand (Pastor Larry and Deanna's daughter).

During the class I received a tragic phone call. My Friday Visitation partner, Beverly shared the sad, sad news that her daughter, Susan had died in the hospital.

No more words about that . . . Just Pray for Mom.

Here's some mail that may be of interest. Let it be known that I definitely have some problems with recommending involvement with myspace. However, I have made the decision years ago to be a part of the solution to the problems I see. So, here is what I have been doing to contribute:

--Original Message--
Date: 11/5/2006 10:38:18 PM

Subject: nudity on myspace

THIS FRIEND REQUEST has a pop up with graphic nudity. Please remove this page immediately. (here I pasted in the FRIEND REQUEST).


Today, I received two replies to what I had sent them on November 5th:


The profile/content/group has been deleted.


Dear Customer Care:

Thank you for the reply. I'm a substitute teacher for the local high school in my town (also a Police Chaplain, a Rotary Member, and a pastor).

I speak openly about the good things that can happen on myspace so if you ever need a positive spokesperson, I have a good analogy to share.

Thank you again for your consideration of this matter and for taking the appropriate action.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Why did I wake up at 3 a.m. this morning?!

Maybe it is because I went to bed at 10:30 and fell asleep earlier than usual. It had been a long, long day.
So, I checked my email and that resulted in writing a piece on myspace:

for your ears only  (view more)

Yesterday, I was the teacher for several classes (German II, German III, and German IV).
Having never studied German, there was no teaching involved--just giving directions and monitoring progress.
As expected these students were much more accustomed to a well-ordered classroom. I copied down the names from the attendance sheets so that I'll have a record of contacts made that day.

Under my name, Mr. Patterson, I also wrote my myspace address. When someone in each class first voiced, "Myspace? You have a myspace?!", my comment was,

"Yeah, I've been on myspace since
  there were only 8 million...."

Not exactly ooohs and ahhhs....but I had definitely earned the nod of approval--rather than a magna-cum-lately (a-what) lol

When I substitute teach, I usually announce that I have had four kids attend Galt High School. Then, I'll name whichever ones that might be known to that particular class. Usually someone will smile and say something nice about him/her. That's good.

Yesterday, I named my son Jerry. Most of the kids who knew him would ask, "Did he work at Togo's?"

"Yeah, he used to be in the band A Skylit Drive. Now, he's our drummer at the 11:00 service at our church.

For some classes, I mentioned that I'm the Sunday School teacher for High School. Then, I'd ask "Does anyone know Jen Rodriguez? She was a senior last year." In each class there was someone who would smile and nod. Then, I could say, "Well, she's my T.A. So, if anybody would like to come to church it's just down a block on A Street."

So, as Elton John goes to Moscow with his song-and-dance. I'll go to the local High School with mine.

Last night, before Band Practice, Mike McCall came down to the church and we went for a long walk. I had some weighty words about the importance of our mutual calling. Mike is a gifted guitarist, a team player, a gifted teacher/preacher, and a good friend. He first came to our church in 1999 and went on our first missionary journey to Estonia in April, 2000. He went back on the second trip there in 2003. Then, in 2005, he and his wife, Robin, went to Liberia for one month. I am grateful that God brought them into our lives. 

At 8:00, I will begin another day at the High School. I'm substituting for Mr. Beck today. Daniel took a class with him--the year he raised a pig and sold it at the State Fair. That was a first for Daniel. So, it will be interesting to meet other kinds of kids who are in Ag Science for whatever reason. Mr. Beck has a good name among the people. Cathy has been in his class many times--interpreting in sign language. She told me that most likely the lesson plan will direct me to show a movie today. That's alright with me. I'll get to learn something too. I'll also be able to work on my sermon. Yesterday, during the students' independent class work, I was able to plan the Order of Sunday's Service and select the songs for Sunday.

I hope that if it is possible for you to join us that you will:  map to the epicenter

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I attended both Bible Studies last night. I was with the Seniors in our Fellowship Hall from 6:00-6:45. This was a well-attended study--vibrant and engaging--fifteen people including me. They were learning all about Paul's First Missionary Journey in Acts 14. Pastor Mac had handed out a very helpful map showing the various towns mentioned in the text. There was definitely an excitement about this lesson.

Then, Alex and Cathy picked me up to attend the Study with Ronny Shindy out at Glenn and Renee's home. This, too, was well-attended (nineteen people including me). I'm the song leader in that group. We had a very good time reading and discussing John 4:1-21. We stayed after for conversation and prayer. After taking Alex home, we didn't get back until 10:30. I was exhausted.

Then, I was awakened this morning by a call from Galt High School wanting me to be a substitute teacher today. It is my day off but I haven't been a teacher there in months so I accepted. It will be for a German class. That will be interesting, I'm sure. Due to the specialized subject matter, I suspect that the classes will be well-ordered with few behavior problems. We'll see.

I was also asked to teach Agriculture Science tomorrow. Friday is usually my Visitation Day with Beverly. Still, I accepted the opportunity because it will give me the chance to meet an additional hundred students.

In our town, I am one of four volunteer Police Chaplains. One must be proactive in order to build relationships with the officers. I haven't been very involved for the last couple years. However, a couple months back, I went to a lady's home to be with her upon discovery that her husband had died. I stayed through with her until her family arrived and met with the Coroner. 

Yesterday afternoon, Cathy went with me to the swearing in ceremony for five new police officers. As I introduced myself to each one, I made a commitment to come down to the station and go on a ride-along in order to get to know them. I also met the new chief of police. Tomorrow, he will be the guest speaker at our Sunrise Rotary Club. That starts at 7:00 a.m. If anyone would like to hear what he has to say, please call me and I'll invite you to come as my guest. I'll even buy your breakfast. Seriously.

I have to run. It will be a full day. We have music rehearsal for our Worship Team and I have to finish selecting the songs for our secretary to be able to complete her related tasks.

I am excited to think about what will happen next with the Ultrasound and Microscopes which have arrived in Liberia. While Joe was spending his 80 days there, Al Warren was brainstorming about the Medical Clinic they were building. He procured the donation of these items from a Baptist Medical School in Nashville.

It has taken great diligence and cooperation but, together, we've seen this all the way through.

It has been picked up, crated, picked up, stored, loaded on container, shipped overseas, sitting in the port, legal stuff, resisting extortion, release of container, unloading, and delivery. Thank you, Denise Shumaker, Al Warren, Rodney and Gayle Edwards, Sunrise Rotary, Jerry Yates, and Virginia Parker for making this happen. I wonder what will happen next?!
 Click on photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't forget: Bible Study this morning at 11:00 a.m.

Bible Study Fellowships Tonight: 

6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall  or
7:00 p.m. at the Greenes'

Call me for more information: (209)  323-0727

Sunday evening, just before I left our Sanctuary, a spark was ignited within me concerning my next sermon. Years ago, I was admonished to never 'save up' a sermon for a more worthy setting: "Preach what you've been given today. You'll have another sermon for that bigger day when it comes."

At a metro conference in the late eighties, Mike Bowling and I went to hear the Chicago pastor, Jim Queen, tell other inner-city pastors to "Preach out of the overflow." He warned us to not hole ourselves away in an office all week--studying. Rather, he emphasized that we get out on the street, walk the beat, and get to know the people who live there. Then, on Sunday morning, "...preach out of the overflow."

As far as I know, I will not be preaching anywhere again until Sunday morning. I have a preaching plan scheduled through January, 2007. It is noteworthy that I have varied from the plan somewhat in recent weeks. I have been receiving specific guidance in my study of the Scriptures. I have preached in response to revelation. I assert that it should be normative for pastors, preachers, and teachers to hear from the Lord. When we hear God's Voice, we should not harden our hearts but respond appropriately. That is being obedient to the revelation.

Here is a trustworthy saying:

"If you don't use it, you could lose it."

Yesterday morning, before those gathered to pray, I paraphrased a story about a King's response to the threat of terror. I voiced an observation from this personal experience: Our leaders don't seem to know how to pray. We are confused about what is appropriate outward behavior in a corporate context.

As I was speaking, personal conviction that arose. That unction caused Sunday night's spark to ignite into a small flame. I had been touched with a simple yet profound sense of spiritual direction.

I thought to myself, "Yes, I should preach this very passage on this coming Sunday morning."

Why the link to Elton John yesterday? (I have never really cared much either way for Elton John.)

Why the recent focus on Lennon, Bush, Rapture, and Public Journaling?

Why vote? (I did vote.) Why write to a local candidate about the single most important issue which underlies any American election?

Why pray?!

Some men came and told Jehoshaphat,

"A vast army is coming against you. . . "

"Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him."

This man, Jehoshaphat, was a leader I have chosen to emulate for many years.

He stood up in front of everyone and prayed. As a leader of a small group of people, I pray with this ever-present knowledge.

Fact: The Thief comes only to steal, kill, and to destroy.

My method of modeling integrity-in-prayer is with the hope that others will begin to pray in the Name of Jesus--the One who offers us an ever-abounding life.

In the biblical story, the King's prayer begins with an interrogative. He asks God one of those 'rhetorical' questions, you know? 

The King's question directs all those who choose to listen to an obvious answer.  < Is God listening? > 

 "O LORD, God of our fathers,
   are you not the God who is in heaven?"

...then the King starts preaching. . . as he prays.

This model for corporate prayer resonates with my own passion for prayer. The King was praying the Word. He was rehearsing what he knew to be true. He may have raised his voice as a symptom of his growing confidence in the strong tower of a right relationship with his Creator. He may have been walking back-and-forth with his eyes wide open--arms lifted high, his face turned upward.

"Power and might are in your hand,
  and no one can withstand you. O our God . . ." 

The leader prayed. The leader preached--on and on . . . while everyone stood there.

He quoted Solomon from that day when the Temple was first dedicated in God's Name.

Finally, (as Ralph Eichenbaum would say), he came up for some air...and concluded the long-and-winding prayer:

". . .we have no power to face this vast army
  that is attacking us. We do not know what to do,
  but our eyes are upon you."

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

click here to read the entire glorious story.

 It's Wednesday, but Sunday's Comin'....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who said it? 
"From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book. But the reality is that organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."

**oops, I should have put a warning here. There is ample use of vulgar language in this interview. With that in mind, click here for  a recent interview with Elton John. Other keywords to watch for in the complete interview: Moscow, Lennon, Gay, Mom, Music, Hatred, Peace, Africa. awat for any like-minded believers out there: write me (

Last Wednesday, I watched George Bush in the post-election news conference. It is interesting to me as I watch his facial expressions and listen to his phrasing of a prepared speech. Fahrenheit 9/11 gave me the frame of reference with which I must look at George Bush in order to see him as most of the Warped Tour kids see him. My own kids watch shows which periodically feature George Bush impersonators. They laugh especially hard at the David Letterman bits about Great Moments in Presidential Speeches. Comedy writers are also always watching--on the lookout for new material.

Not many were watching but I had to fulfill my official leadership role most of the day yesterday. The last appointment of the day was with the church clerk to gather and compile materials for the proper observance of our by-laws. When I was in the 11th grade, I served as the Parliamentarian for the local chapter of the Distributive Education Clubs of America. I didn't ever have to do business meetings again until I became involved in a local church. I have decided today to enlist a Parliamentarian to sit next to the clerk at our Business Meetings. Oh, what fun.

I've also continued to have some comments at the youtube site for the Lennon piece. It isn't all really friendly but some good discussion may start as a result. I am puzzled that I cannot see all the comments and sub-comments without refreshing and reclicking. So if you go there, poke around a bit.

myspaceblog: ongoing youtube slices (view more)

Here's a video that Joe compiled using random personal, photos that he had discovered on my last laptop. It is in the shop for warranty repair, so
it is probably good that Joe had copied these particular photos into this presentation of his song.

Think on These Things 3:03
From: joepatterson

For several day I have been expecting a letter with updated photos from Pastor Shamas Pervaiz in Pakistan. View Slide Show

Monday, November 13, 2006

Yesterday, after our first service, a sister came up to me and said,

"Pastor, I really needed that today.
   You always FEED my soul!

No, it wasn't a dream.

  At least I don't think so...

Then, when I went outside, I saw three girls in yellow TeamKid T-Shirts. They were standing right outside the doors--singing songs and doing special choreography for songs learned on Sunday nights.

Hmm...was I dreaming?

A visitor, was standing watching the girls with a smile on his face. He got choked up when he told me that he was glad that I had talked about reaching out to teenagers. He said that he is into cycling and spends much time in bike shops where there are kids who look pretty scary. All their tattoos could scare people who go to church. He, however, realized this morning that he has a burden for teens.

I asked him to email me. I wanted to continue the conversation about his passion. However, a little girl was waiting to talk to me before heading in for Sunday School Assembly. She handed me a Church Communications Card with these words penciled in: 

"Paster Rob you're the best  
  I like the songs you sing on sunday  
   ples sing  fomr the hiest    Love  Lexi"

Dreams do sometimes come true!

Have a great Monday, ya'll.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

 I woke up at 4:00 this morning. Wide awake and ready to write. Checking my email, I noticed that someone had posted a comment at the youtube site for this song. I'm glad that I've had a nibble. Negative comments are sometimes the most helpful as a forum in which an artist has the opportunity to clarify meaning. The posting at google video doesn't handle comments the same way as youtube. Here's youtube:

  From: pastorob    Views: 226

So, here is the nibble from a 30-something person:

"Lennon wasn`t a coward like you. Do you not have your own talent that you must twist Lennons words to fit your twisted agenda. Unlike you, Lennon was enlightened. Wether you are on a hill are not, only you know...but you are certainly a fool. In the words of Lennon himself..."imagine there`s know religion"...what a better place the world would be."

I posted a quick reply but they have a 500 character limit. So, I needed to put it into four sections. To see how youtube comments work, make sure to scroll down to click on 'all comments' because some are listed as replies to comments and are indented. I'm still learning about how this all works.

Is that worth my time on a Sunday morning? I don't know. I'm just fishing and it's relaxing for me. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will prepare me better to fix my eyes on the center of the target (this has to do with age). I don't expect someone in his 30's to know the message of the sixties.

Yesterday, after the funeral, R.B.'s granddaughter, Kim stuck around to talk awhile. Her daughter has been coming from out-of-town for several summers to attend our Vacation Bible School. She stays with the great-grandparents. It has been fun to watch her grow up over the years.

Kim hadn't seen the Youth Video from last year. Since her daughter hadn't been able to attend on the last night, she didn't get a chance to see it either. So, I showed it to Mom and sent a link for her daughter.

So You Think You Can... American Idol
?  12:00

Yes, twelve minutes is a bit long time for a VBS Skit. However, it is totally Youth-generated. They made it up and courageously faced the fear of getting up in front of their peers.

Set apart some time and watch it all the way through the end. Otherwise, you will not get the point. There were several unchurched youth in attendance that week. These precious souls showed great interest in producing this video clip for Family Night. I love being around teenagers.

By the way, after Ms. McTwist, and the Peppermint Twins, you'll see my son, Jerry. This is classic Jerry. He was the teacher for Youth VBS this year. He pulled some dance moves out of his hat and got in the act.

I'm happy because Jerry is our drummer for both services this morning. Rodger has agreed to let Jerry be the primary drummer for our 11:00 service from now on. That will be good for Jerry.

Today's message is entitled:

   "Target-Practice through the 553rd Hymn"

    8:30 or 11:00
(map to the Epicenter)

I chatted with Pastor Wesley before I went to bed. He is also a very early riser some mornings. I told him that Rodney has journaled very well during his Mission Trip. Rodney, Gayla, and David are scheduled to leave Liberia this morning. Here is Rodney's report about the 2nd Day of the Crown Financial Seminar. It was focused toward Business and Government leaders.

 (click here for Saturday in Liberia)

Cathy's Dad called us last night. It was good to hear his voice. I'm happy that the last words he spoke to Cathy,

"I love you too, Gal..."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

disclaimer:  A man cannot give more than he has received. Besides, I can't really write about 'everything' that happens in a day. I'm sitting on some really good stories but other people involved wish to remain discrete, so here's all I've got for you.

Yesterday morning, Superior Court Judge Hinkie addressed our Rotary Club. Since he is about to retire he decided to discuss the political decision which resulted in the loss of our ability to have our day in court 'locally'.

While listening to the Judge speak about politics-as-usual, I thought about how his chosen topic had impacted me personally. He was recapitulating his personal involvement in California's consolidation of the courts. Apparently, 'we' had voted for it. Only the mayor seemed to remember when it was that 'we' had voted for that!

Before the days of consolidation, I'm pretty sure that three of my sons had appeared before this very Judge. He presided over a community courtroom in the room next to the police station at City Hall.

  <Where was that? Oh...just west of McDonald's>

It was years ago; our children were all still in elementary school. Jerry and Daniel had been cited by a policeman for not wearing helmets while they rode their bicycles. As I recall the Judge allowed the boys to do community service to pay their debt to society--as volunteers at our church!

A few years later Joe was cited for jay-walking in front of McDonald's during the lunch hour at high school. He, too, chose to do community service (again through our church!).

Recently, my son Daniel received his second citation. He hadn't put on his seat belt as the passenger in a friend's truck on the way home from school. This time, however, in order to go to court with my son, I had to drive all the way to Sacramento and pay $3 for parking before having the chance to ask the Judge for Community Service.

After Friday's speech by Judge Hinkie, he fielded questions and entertained comments. I quickly shared my experiences and mentioned that, in the earlier cases, I had a positive experience going before the court with my boys in order to resolve these minor infractions. The process allowed us to learn about the court system and offered a teachable moment as I instructed each boy about how one ought to to conduct oneself when called to appear before a magistrate.

That last trip to court, however, was definitely not a positive experience. I hadn't even realized that the system had changed.

According to the Judge, consolidation has resulted in increased court costs and decreased revenues. The effectiveness of our local police is hindered through lost time and the expenses of travel to the capital. Work among gang members is undermined because it is treated as low priority there.

Spurred on by my comment, the Judge stated the high percentage of court appearances are for minor infractions, misdemeanors and traffic violations. He asserted that most law-abiding citizens who came before him would readily admit when they were guilty. Just having the opportunity to speak to the circumstances surrounding the offense was valued. If they felt that someone had truly listened to their side of the story, then their first impressions about the Justice system would be more positive. He expressed that my experience was being shared by others. The Mayor chimed in about having to go all the way to Sacramento with his son about a minor infraction with a Jet-Ski.


  "Does the Holy Spirit show up at Rotary Club?"

I will say it again:

In the parking lot, after Rotary, I had a chance to speak at length with the Lutheran pastor about local church issues. I was reminded about the feature story in Leadership (Summer, 2006) which addresses the iChurch (click here). I didn't mention the article but it had been the focus of my opening illustration when I spoke to the pastors of the Delta Valley Association last Tuesday. I asked those in attendance,

"How many of you pastor the coolest church in your town?"

I think I'll send this link to my friend in ministry.

Then I had a brief conversation with a member of our city council about local politics and our shared hope of developing a sense of community in our community.

Later in the morning, a new church member and I had a good conversation about our church's spiritual health. He had a great analogy about a mighty river of living water. I record in writing so I'll remember it in practice.

Enough local stuff. What's happening in Liberia?

David Bearchell's secretary wrote to us yesterday:

asked me to give an update as to how well the conference today went.  He said it was amazing.  About 450 Pastors showed up, they had enough material, the presenters did a wonderful job and half of the pastors stayed to become trainers."

Rodney's journal entry from Friday: click here.

I am so glad that we have continued to assist Pastor Wesley in meeting other people who will come to trust him as we do.

This great news about the STS conference came in just before Cathy and I went to the cemetery for a family graveside service. I was asked to preside over their special family gathering and honor the memory of Ray and Dolores as a couple. Since Cathy and I had ministered at Ray's bedside with songs, we were asked to come prepared to share some music.

Ray and Dolores had their ashes combined in one niche at the Galt Cemetery. I really enjoyed being able to speak of their lives together. We truly do mourn differently than the world mourns.

After the graveside service, we went to the homestead for a time of relaxed conversation with Ray's extended family. We had a great time in dialogue with Ray's sister-in-law, niece, and great niece. At one point, Ray's brother, Phil, came to sit next to us and joined in the table fellowship. "Uncle Phil" is a cool guy.

On the way home, Cathy and I acknowledged that God's grace is making a way for us to endure the trial we face in connection with her family-of-origin. That sweetness of family-fellowship simply hasn't been there through the years. It is bittersweet for us to see the photographs of Ray enjoying life with his wife, raising his family, smiles abounding, lifting his grandchildren and showering them with a fullness and depth of emotion.

Come see for yourself. The public memorial service for Ray Dick is
TODAY at 11:00 a.m.  (here's a map)

    Hope you can make it.


Friday, November 10, 2006

As a devotional time after rehearsal, our Worship Team (the A Street Band) sat and watched the special video that Jennifer prepared for the Ray Dick Memorial. It was truly a worship experience in itself.

My second time watching this presentation of Ray's life stirred up the part of my being where tears come forth. That's a good thing. Cathy and I have wrestled with our emotions involving her father's terminal illness and the distance involved. Mourning is a profound process.

Ray's photos helped us to mourn--not only our loss of him but all human loss. Ray possessed the fruit of the Holy Spirit in great abundance. He gave away fruit to others freely every single day. We both want to grow to be more like Ray.

This afternoon, I will be conducting a graveside funeral for the family members.

I encourage friends and the general public to attend his Memorial Service on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11th at 11:00 a.m.  (here's a map) Perhaps going to a funeral doesn't sound like fun to you. In this case, I'd have to simply say, "Ya'll come--see for yourself!"

Liberia: I noticed that Rodney was able to update the daily log. Good stuff. I can see that this trip is monumental. I thank God for Rodney, Gayle, and David trusting God for a great work during this entire trip.

STS: Wednesday (click here) In Wednesday's entry, Rodney discusses the unloading and transport of the Ultrasound machine. Near the end of this entry he again reflects upon the struggle for those who know nothing else except bribery.

STS: Thursday (click here) More important facts are learned by simply taking the time to read Rodney's entries. Make sure to check regularly for photographs. If he hasn't had time to upload the current day's photos, make sure to click back to previous day continually until you find the last batch that has been uploaded.

A couple days ago, Rodney wrote about going with Pastor Wesley to meet Dave and Audry Waines at EquipLiberia. Later, upon Rodney's recommendation, we looked at Dave Waines' website and watched this video. His family's sacrifice has really touched our hearts as another avenue of experiencing grief about Cathy's Dad.

Another chapter of our lives will soon come to a close. This video ministers to us as we leave the past behind us and press on toward the high calling of Christ Jesus.

Click on this frame to see the video. I've uploaded it onto my google video page. It may show faster this way.
   Saving Kids in Liberia
   8 minutes

Below are scenes from Dave's video:


Thursday, November 9, 2006

Last night, in preparation for Ray's memorial service, I learned the song called "I Can Only Imagine."
(To hear the song, please click here and you will be able to locate a music player on Beverly's myspace).

Then, at our Home Group I shared the lyrics and we sang it together. I let everybody know that I was planning to include this song as part of our Sunday morning


Before we turned our attention to Ronny for his teaching, I led in prayer and, together, we prayed for each person in the circle. By name, I asked the Lord to show each individual what the very next step should be in our lives.

Throughout the night's study, I felt called to approach one of those very people with the type of question which was posed to me after my first home fellowship experience. 

An older man named Steve looked me in the eyes on June 5, 1982 and asked me,

  "Rob, are you a Christian?"

I thank God for that one person taking the time to ask me that highly-personal question. That one question (and my response) changed the course of my entire life.

So, I did the same with a woman who has been visiting our church and now was at our mid-week group for the first time. Her sweet smile and ready response was an inquiry I wasn't expecting: "Are you?"
After an unexpected laugh, we shared a really important conversation. I am happy that I followed through with my impression that I needed to have that spiritual moment with her..
A couple days ago, Rodney Edwards wrote about going with Pastor Wesley to meet Dave and Audry Waines at EquipLiberia. Later, upon Rodney's recommendation, I looked at their site and watched this video. It really touched my heart as I listened to Dave's narration. I thought that members of the Stonegate Mission Team should probably see this particular video.

    (It may take awhile but it is worth the wait)

Click on the image to download and watch Equip's seven-minute video or if you want to save it to your computer right click on it and go down to "Save Target As..." A pop up will appear and you can save it right to your computer to watch anytime!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Ultrasound Machine in Liberia  (view more)

Royal Oaks was exceptional yesterday.

Long night dealing with extended family matters after voting. Not much time to write today.

Don't forget, we have Bible Studies today:

  Call me if you need directions: (209) 323-0727

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Yesterday morning Joe was checking his column on our local church website. Although he hasn't updated it since September, different people still view it every single day from around the world.

He has an IM (instant message) box from MEEBO in which he can see how many people are viewing his page at any given time. If the person notices that "Joe is online" then they can type a message in the box and he will hear a beep. Then they can chat instantaneously.

Such an occurrence happened Monday morning. Joe didn't know Mike Elkins (Texas) but I happened to be sitting next to him writing on my laptop. I told him that Mike had been the videographer for Stonegate's trip to Uganda and Sudan.

Here is the blogspot which Mike's team will use to report when they go to Liberia on November 30th. Click on it and see the first two entries. Mike has put together a video that features some familiar photos....
Stonegate Mission to Liberia: click here
  November 30 - December 10, 2006

Below is the chat these two young men shared. One can learn much by looking over the shoulders of younger people.
[08:22] meeboguest566732: Hey Joe, you around?
[08:22] joep19: yeah
[08:22] joep19: who is this?
[08:22] meeboguest566732: no way, this is cool
[08:22] meeboguest566732: Mike Elkins
[08:22] meeboguest566732: with stonegate fellowship in midland, tx
[08:22] joep19: dad says, you're the guy going to Liberia November 30th
[08:22] joep19: he says HI
[08:22] meeboguest566732: sweet
[08:23] meeboguest566732: this im is so cool dude
[08:23] joep19: dad put your video testimony on his page, but you probably knew that
[08:23] joep19: there is a STS group in LIberia right now
[08:23] meeboguest566732: really?!
[08:23] meeboguest566732: didn't know
[08:23] joep19: and Dad and I are just watching Andy Griffith before I head off to school
[08:23] meeboguest566732: lol
[08:23] meeboguest566732: right on
[08:23] meeboguest566732: well have good one
[08:24] joep19: you are the first one I have actually talked to on this IM
[08:24] joep19: dad and I tested it, but no one else replied
[08:24] meeboguest566732: well I am putting this on our blog this is too cool
[08:24] joep19: much of my audience couldn't understand IM
[08:24] joep19:
[08:24] joep19: did it give you good directions as to how to do it?
[08:25] meeboguest566732:
[08:25] joep19: I have all my IM programs on one web-accessed system
[08:25] meeboguest566732: right
[08:25] joep19: and then I can imbed this IM into any page
[08:25] meeboguest566732: well its pretty straight forward for anyone who ims
[08:26] joep19: yeah, and I can tell how many people are looking at my page also
[08:26] meeboguest566732: does it cover skype?
[08:26] meeboguest566732: or do you know?
[08:27] joep19: not yet, there isn't voice
[08:27] joep19: but MSN
[08:27] joep19: AIM
[08:27] meeboguest566732: ok
[08:27] joep19: ICQ
[08:27] joep19: YAHOO
[08:27] joep19: Google Talk
[08:27] joep19: Jabber
[08:27] meeboguest566732: cool
[08:28] meeboguest566732: well its good for people who don't have an account
[08:28] meeboguest566732: they can still chat
[08:32] Mike E: hey
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: did you just send me a voice clip?
[08:33] Mike E: tried
[08:33] Mike E: I wonder if everyone else can see the chat online
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: I don't think so
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: I think that they see their own blank IM page
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: because it will let me see multiple users on my page
[08:33] Joseph back in Galt: but I do think that they hear a beep whenever I send anything to anyone
[08:34] Mike E: you just have to update your msn or sometimes when you use an im combining program it stops the other msn functions

So, that's it for this morning. Make sure to check on Rodney, Gayle, and David.  (click here)

Please come to Royal Oaks at 10:00 this morning.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Before going to the office to post this entry, I rechecked and discovered that Rodney had just uploaded two days of entries. I hope you will take the time to read this. In Monday's entry, he has a paragraph about their meeting with Pastor Wesley today.

I learned about the projected cost of the educational building and about the Container which is holding the Ultrasound machine. It is interesting to watch what God is doing through Rodney, Gayla, and David at this exponential level of 21st century networking.

Monday (click here)
  Sunday (click here)

(click here)

I woke up at 4 a.m. and checked to see if there had been any uploads from Rodney and the team in Liberia. At that time there was still no posting about what had happened there on Sunday. They were going to try to attend two different churches. Rodney and his wife, Gayla, live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It is Gayla's first time in Africa. So, it is fun to look at the photographs that the two of them are uploading.

The infrastructure was devastated because of years and years of fighting. Now that God has allowed for peace to rule in that land we will continue to see major changes over the years ahead. For those of you who I suspect will someday be called to go to Liberia, it would be helpful for you to look over their photographs.

Mondays are my day for decompressing and scanning the events of Sunday. Fortunately, the last two weeks were taped and by listening to those sermons I am reminded of who was in attendance, who came to the altar, and other aspects which could be forgotten.

As I was writing there was a blip on my screen. Cathy is substituting as a third grade teacher at Fairsite today. She got online there and sent me this little note. I'm including it <below> because I have some readers who who have never 'chatted' online before.

Cathy: I just wanted to say I love you.
me: I love you too, babe. Daniel just returned from taking Mary to school
so, it looks like she was there on time
Cathy: I think you should put your sermons on the internet so Aimee and I can enjoy them while I'm gone.

hmmm yeah, we'll look into that

thanks for taking care of Mary.
me: especially since these last two weeks are good messages.
Cathy: I'm going to pick up the kids now. I love you. bye
You are a wonderful preacher and pastor
see you at 11:20
me: since you interrupted my blogging, I think I'll post this little chat...The good folks at Homeland Security will see how you stand by your man!
Cathy: show everyone what Cathy does while she is teaching? I must go.

Cathy's reference to Aimee alludes to the 'homesick' feeling that our the CBU freshman is experiencing on Sundays. It touches our hearts to hear that Aimee misses our local fellowship so much. Cathy also mentions that she will be gone for an extended time. Well, due to her father's diagnosis, we plan to drive to North Carolina a week from today. She desires to be close to her Dad as he endures the process of his terminal condition. I've watched Cathy serve the sick and dying throughout our years together. She is highly gifted in the area of helps and mercy. I am fully supportive of this plan. Lord willing, we will take her little dog, Capo, and leave her there with her car. Then, I will fly back to California. So, if that is how things go, then Cathy and I will probably be having many more of these types of chats over the weeks ahead. We'll see what happens.

Don't forget, ROYAL OAKS convalescence ministry takes place tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. I hope some of you will come try it out. Call me if you're interested in exploring this ministry:  (209) 323-0727

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Yesterday's door-to-door Outreach was a great success, I believe.

Many thanks are due to Shirlene's Vision and to the Senior's Sunday School Class for their willingness to go out two-by-two. I asked Jeannie Cowan if she would be my partner. We have a few stories to tell of how God touched our hearts for the people within walking distance of our church property.

Click on the photo to see the entire group of one-hour missionaries and an optional slideshow of a future harvest.

Last Night's PARENTS' NIGHT OUT was a success. Four families brought us 11 children to 'love on' from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Thanks to Don and Annette Curtis, Cathy, Joe, Daniel, and Mary Patterson for assisting throughout the evening's activities.

We hope to offer this FREE NIGHT of Babysitting on the first Friday of each month (to help strengthen marriages, offer relief, get to know families, and build relationships).

VERY IMPORTANT:  Rodney's Journal 
(from Friday)

The above link will take you to Rodney Edward's latest journal entry. Read along and see the plans and effort which are being contributed for Liberia's future.

   "Your tents have been enlarged,
        O church on the Corner of A and Palin."

Just in: Rodney's report for Saturday (click here)

Friday, November 3, 2006

Serious Stuff:

We were served notice that Cathy's father has terminal cancer and the end of his life is imminent.
He is at Mayo Clinic thousands of miles from here.

We've also lost Ray (75) this week. Cathy had a father/daughter-type relationship with him.

Here's where daily (public) journaling is open for debate.

There is much that happens to us in any given day of which I do not write. Yet, there are sometimes 'clues' between the lines that help the lyricist remember the 'why' of what he has been written.

Pastor Wesley and I were chatting about another very important matter when their electricity was cut off at the normal time. Remember, he is privileged to live in an area that has only recently had electricity restored (after 15 or more years without).

I've explained to the sisters from La Luz de Cristo that when they join us for prayer, they can go ahead and pray in Spanish.

Likewise, I would like the freedom to pray as the Spirit moves me to pray. Sometimes, in corporate prayer, we are hindered by the fear of man.
Somewhere, in the church, there needs to be room for individuals to simply 'pray through'. Of course, we need the solitary 'closet-prayer' and shouldn't use the congregational prayer time as a substitute.

How I yearn for the fellowship of like-minded believers who will make corporate prayer and worship the first priority in the church.

Last night, after 'practicing' through the songs chosen for Sunday, I asked the band to put away all music, to make eye contact, and to follow along
as I led from one song to another. Songs in the key of G burst forth from the hidden recesses of years past. The memories of other sweet times of musical agreement accompanied each song in the 30 minute medley. Fred, Christene, Ruth, Jim, Glenn, and Mike all shared last night's special concert before the Lord.

Cathy played the drum and fife at the same time. God gave her just what she needed: a time of extended praise and melodic declaration of God's faithfulness.

Here are some verses (out of context) which I have heard recently in 'the place of prayer'. Should you meditate upon these and receive a personal word of encouragement, I would be honored to hear your report.

No weapon forged against you shall prosper (click here)

When the enemy shall come in like a flood (click here)

Here is Rodney's journal for today:  click here

At this time, he hasn't posted for today. Yesterday's entry is very important to the future of this entire mission trip. 

Thursday, November 2, 2006

"It's surprising what you can accomplish when no 
  one is concerned about who gets the credit."
--a sign that sat on President Reagan's desk

I was talking with Joe the other day and admitted that it seems like I'm always expecting that at some point God is going to to do something BIG . . .

He interrupted my sentence,

  "Liberia is BIG, Daddy."

is another important day on this missionary journey that I liken to Paul's Macedonian Awakening in Troas.

  Rodney Edw
ards is leaving for Liberia this morning with his wife, Gayla, and another co-laborer, David Bearchell. They will be presenting a Crown Financial Integrity Seminar for business, government and church leaders.

We were introduced to Liberian Ministries through a brother in southern California, Tom Robershaw. He had seen both of our websites and felt that we should meet each other. Like Paul meeting Priscilla and Aquila, to learn of like-minded believers stretching out in faith, has been a great encouragement to all of us here in California.

If you click on the photo of Rodney
(above), you will be able to view an online version of the DVD that they produced in 2005. It contains an excellent history of Liberia and features testimonies of those who have helped them up to this point. If anyone would like to follow along on their trip, Rodney is keeping an online journal. click here for Rodney's Mission Journal

  Mike Elki
ns will be on the 10-person team from Stonegate Fellowship (Midland, Texas) who will leave for Liberia on November 30th.

I first became acquainted with Mike because he served as the videographer for Stonegate's last Africa Mission Trip (to Uganda and Sudan). If you click on his photo, you will be able to hear him share his heart for the mission field in a short video clip (4:39).

What Exciting Event Happens Next Locally?

Check this out:

Tomorrow evening is PARENTS' NIGHT OUT from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. We are offering Free Babysitting, Fun, Food, and Games. If anyone would like to help Cathy, Don, Annette, and I as we reach out to young families, please give me a call: (209) 323-0727

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

To promote a new season of
TEAMKID, our Sunday School Department hosted a Harvest Party Outreach last night. Someone suggested to Glenn Greene that he eat a live worm and that's when the party started getting a bit crazy! At least, Geneva started smiling.

Click on the photo above and then click on SLIDESHOW. You can set the timing and size of photos on this site hosted by Picasa.

We also used the event as a way to invite neighborhood families to experience
PARENTS' NIGHT OUT. We are offering Free Babysitting, food, games, and movies this Friday evening from 7:00 - 11:00.

On a solemn note, our dear friend, Ray Dick died peacefully on Thursday morning. He was 75 years old.


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