Thursday, July 30, 2008

Yesterday our staff had a prayer meeting (Matt, Emma, and me). I asked the Lord to bring that day to our remembrance months from now when some time has passed and His Will has been done

Prayer must be at the core of anything we are attempting to do in a local church (preach, teach, outreach). Ideas for ministry are birthed in the prayer meeting. At least, that's how it works for me! This is why I enjoy praying with a few other people. I enjoy hearing the vision as I listen.

At the altar, my decision to follow Jesus is continually affirmed. As our Enemy strategically plans his agenda to steal, kill or destroy, the battle will be won in prayer and in praise to the Living God. I must continually resolve to praise Him in all circumstance. That resolve is strengthened by simple action of slowly arising from the posture of prayer and taking the next step.

During my years at Seminary (GGBTS), I met a guy named Todd and a girl named Timberley. We enjoyed fellowship in classes and during times of worship and prayer together. It was fun to watch them during the early days of their courtship and to learn of their marriage.

They also were called by God to serve as missionaries in Indonesia. Recently, I received news that their daughter, Anna, had been killed in an accident. They will be returning to the States to be with family for a season.

Todd and Timberley have asked for prayer:

Pray for the impact that Anna’s death has had on our community. Pray that God would be glorified and many would c
ome to know the Savior that Anna loved.

Pray for Anna’s little Indonesian friends who found her body after the accident. They are still having dreams about Anna and miss her very much. I have attached a picture so that you can see who you are praying for. My hope is that when we return we can continue the relationship with them and their family.

Today, I also received a note from Karen, a friend from Texas.  I met Karen online during the months that Stonegate was preparing to help Pastor Wesley in Liberia. In today's email, she shared of tragedy that has recently occurred in her life.

On Saturday, July 26, my precious husband had a massive stroke which eventually resulted in his passing on Wednesday, July 30. He was able to communicate with us for a couple of days after the stroke and told me he was not scared. He did not lose his sense of humor and milked it for extra head and neck massages!!

How precious of our Lord to allow me several days to minister to him and prepare my own heart for the possibility of letting him go. My very large and loving family who know so well not only how to live, but how to usher a loved one into heaven were with me and the boys every step of the way. Kyle and I have been married for 41 years.

His funeral is Friday at 11:00 at our church home in Midland, Stonegate Fellowship. I love you all. I thank God for each of you and your love for us. It is well with my soul, actually better than well. Love, Karen

Lord, Jesus, bless these two precious families as they mourn the loss of their loved ones. Glorify Your Name in their lives. Fill them with Your Tender Mercies and let them experience the bittersweet joy of being poured out upon the people groups to whom you have called them to be witnesses.

Later in the day, Bob Knapp sent me a note that Greg and Cathe Laurie lost their son in a car accident last week. He sent me a link to a website where I watched a video of this Dad speaking to the church about the recent loss of his son, Christopher (33)  click here

Wednesday, July 29, 2008

Back in Auburn from two days in Galt. We were able to visit Joe and Sharon in their new apt. and have lunch with them before his first day on the job at the U.S. Bank in Stockton. The University of the Pacific is directly across the street from their modest dwelling. It is a beautiful campus with Big Trees and Internet Access (Dad is well pleased).

In case you don't have it, my new, local cell number is (530) 366-2924. Give me a call if you would like to share a prayer request or a testimony of God's faithfulness in your current circumstances.

At the close of Sunday's Video at Iglesia Bautista de Bell Road, I asked the Lord to move us along in regards to the house. I prayed aloud that perhaps He was allowing delays and was watching to see if our desire to be on mission in the neighborhood would grow.

Again, the
comments on this story of a fire in the neighborhood confirm the need for the Gospel to be lived out in the Greens (click here). It looks like our closing on the house in the Greens might be happening next week.

We will see.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Report from NAS in Russia
On July 11th, the New America Singers stopped for refreshment and a concert at Bell Road Baptist Church more

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Movement on our house has slowed down. That particular circumstance has dampened the fire of personal revival. So, I have prayed this morning for the Lord to give us what we most deeply need. Therefore, I will look back to testify of God's faithfulness to guide our steps no matter what the circumstance.

On Tuesday afternoon, Cathy and I went out for three hours of visitation with Jimmie and Chet. We visited three households and enjoyed the company at each stop. On the first visit, a sister named Minnie testified of Christ's redemption in her life. We were all mutually edified by her testimony.

The visits were important because both occurred as a result of weaving reminder into the prayer at the close of Message 54: Stewards of Circumstance:
Lesson 2-Bells and Whistles

What is the point of trying to go on to Lesson 3 or beyond when we have left things undone which were clearly seen as personal assignments from the Spirit?

My admonition to brothers and sisters everywhere is to go back to one's last altar and judge oneself.

We had a sweet time of prayer last night. I introduced an old hymn that Jimmie shared that she had not seen or heard it before. Elfreide knew it from the old country:

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
Words: Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153.
Music: Hans Hassler, 1601

Here is a youtube video of a fellow finger-picking the old tune on an acoustic guitar:  click here

Here is an organ version as harmonized by J.S. Bach: click here


At the prayer meeting, we sang it acapella.

This morning at 11am, our own Faye McKinley is scheduled to share her testimony at Joy Fellowship.

post-script: As I was publishing this entry, I received a phone call from a distressed brother and shared the truths that keep Christians built up (edified) in Christ (a current key word to consider in all things: oikodomeo). As we were talking on Truth, another call came in--also a sign from the Spirit about work-in-progress. That led to an appointment at 1pm.

Just now, Pamela from Crown Financial Ministries arrived for a 10:30 appointment so I am off to meet with her. More later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here is a link to the Centrifuge Blog: click here

hmm: about the area where we are trying to buy a place to live. This story stirred up comments that confirm the mission field called the Greens (click here).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hot off the editing-block, last Sunday's Message has some fun special effects in the remix. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Stewards of Circumstance:
 Lesson Three--Barnabas Steps Up
God is about to raise up a leader to take his
      3,000-plus member Mega-Church to the next level.   
Jesus has selected Saul of Tarsus.
      The boys in Jerusalem are afraid of him. Saul might
       never get the chance to go to bat for them unless
       someone first goes to bat for him!

It was challenging to edit this sermon because I seemed to be a bit tongue-tied yesterday. For several weeks, I had to go to Speech Class when I was in the first grade. Some of that impediment still impedes when I speak yet today.

It is 8:30am. Three vehicles filled with young people just left for Jenness Park to attend Centrifuge, 2008. Brandon and Pastor Matt will make sure to keep us updated via the Internet.

I was pleased to look around the circle as we prayed and took note of the precious, beautiful young lives who will be well-fed (spiritually and physically) this week.

Whew! We were at church until 11:00pm. last night. It had been a long day but full of ministry. After the morning service (and movement at the altar), we were graced with a meal at Chevy's. Our new member, Curtis, joined many of us for this luncheon. Then, he came to the Spanish Service with Cathy, Jesse, Elba, Jorge, and me.

The Spanish music time was quite enjoyable but during the sermon (in Spanish), I went into my office to begin preparing the morning message for the Internet. Those who stayed to watch Pastor Francisco Camarena heard about the 7th Commandment (Adultery) and were challenged with application for their lives.

Two other new members, Art and Darcy, joined us for the evening message in the Coffee House. Tim and Brandon Willette are doing a great job in this teaching venue.

I seemed to be a bit tongue-tied yesterday. Someday, I'll tell the church that I had to go to speech class when I was in first grade. Some of that impediment still impedes yet today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pastor Matt and Justine came by last night. I was quite worn out from the long day (it was only 10:30pm). We had walked around Downtown Auburn from 4:30 - 5:30, then went to see the movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth. It reminded me of the type of movie that I enjoyed as a kid. It is still playing at the Old State Theater.

We can talk about some of the particulars sometime but I don't wanna 'write' it. A face-to-face review would be better. After the movie, Cathy and I went on an adventure drive to Ophir to visit our friends off of Slowdown Road.

Visionary Designer, Wolfgang, gave us a tour behind-the-scenes. Much like the underground and behind-the-walls at Disney World, it is eye-opening and amazing.

If you ever get the chance, you won't wanna miss the Hen House (with automatic water, produce recycling, and 5-6 fresh eggs a day), the 220 pump box, the feeding of the cats (and skunks), Dad's swamp cooler, the DVD collection, and more...

It is nearly 7am. This morning I have scheduled a stagecoach trail hike with Joe, Sharon, and Cathy. I will have the three of them listen to the Word of God for tomorrow's message. There was a 'different' message which became Lesson 2 last Sunday. So, this message with Barnabas has become Lesson 3 in the Series.

Stewards of Circumstance
Lesson 3: "Barnabas Steps Up"

Acts 9:18-31
Romans 7:1-25
Luke 6:27-42

Cathy and I will again stay over with Curt and Jean tonight.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I just received some great news! Our son, Daniel, has been hired by Dawn Landscaping. I'm thrilled because I know the owner personally and he will be a good boss for this precious son of ours.

I drove to the Deacons' Prayer Meeting this morning and prayed with Wolfgang from 6:30 to 7:30. Jimmie, Chet, and I are now planning to go out on Visitation someday next week.

"This generation of Christians
     is responsible for this generation of souls."

  --Keith Green

Pastor Matt and I worked together yesterday. We continued in the far-reaching process of laying a prayerful foundation for recruiting and equipping young people.

I woke up at 5:00 and started refreshing my memory on video-editing toward that end. BellRoadRadio should soon become what I have envisioned during my earliest days of the AuburnCalling (awat).  The video (above) is a further tweaking of what we made yesterday. Thanks to Grace Earl for video-recording the night of April 11th.

Ryan Schuyler at Gold Country Media replied to a question I asked this morning:

Hey Rob- Video servers changed TODAY!
I love it. So the formats supported are the same,
and the file size is the same, but the quality is much better. Upload a wmv file at under 20 megs and everything will be great!   --Ryan

Bell Road Concert Series

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"If something is worth doing,
                   its worth doing (bad...)"

On Sunday afternoon, Cathy and Mary both told me that they wish I hadn't used the case of the Kids Camp DVD as an object lesson to affirm my belief in that unusual truth.

You will need to listen to last Sunday's Message (Stewards of Circumstance: Lesson 2) in order to gain the perspective from whence I was attempting to teach.

I was trying to make a point of the video's ultimate value for us (even if five hours of sorting through and editing many clips of raw footage would not meet with whole-hearted approval of a Sunday Morning audience).

The Editor had written me the day before (Saturday) and asked if she could "go for it." She knew that she was working with less-than-desirable equipment but still wanted to do the best she could as a "Steward among the Circumstances."

My mention of the 6-minute video was with the trust that the Editor would understand what I was doing. She is, after all, my dear Sister-in-Christ and I was simply being spontaneous. I was 'acting' the part of the church critic in order to demonstrate the ugliness of unchecked judgmentalism and condemnation when allowed a voice in the church.

The passage being preached was:

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
   Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
 and you will be forgiven.

    Give, and it will be given to you.
      A good measure, pressed down,
         shaken together and running over,
               will be poured into your lap.

       For with the measure you use,
                 it will be measured to you."

The Editor points out the irony that some who have come to her defense may have missed the point of the passage.

Cathy knew that I was 'acting' the part of a mean-spirited religionist. She said, "It just doesn't look good on you. The character's bite was too real!"

The girls in my family said,

"Nobody else is going to understand...."

So, I called my Sister-in-Christ on Sunday night. I am thankful that she had not taken offense toward me for my remarks. She said, "Well, I liked it!" She was content with her work. Fortunately, she has enough self-confidence that my remarks had not troubled her.

Still, I took seriously what my girls had warned me about. Others might think I was being mean. That troubles me. Even with my over-the-top personality traits, I would never want to hurt someone's feelings.

On Wednesday night, I received a corrective letter from another sister in the church. It helped me more clearly see that my 'acting role' was too realistic. My sister thought that I was seriously upset with the content of the video. I figure she is isn't the only one.

Therefore, I must apologize. I am sorry that sometimes I unintentionally hurt or embarrass people as I attempt to follow the Spirit in public.

Toward the end of the Message, I introduced three people with whom I had previously shared my heart about covenantal relationships in the Body of Christ.

I trusted that they trusted me. Again, I thought I was simply being spontaneous and making a point with people I felt had come to trust me enough to not take offense.

However, due to concerns expressed by Cathy and Mary, I wrote or called the people that I had put on the spot.

I've been warned before...

People who are watching my public presentation of truth may not understand my heart. They may misinterpret my motives. The fact that they, themselves, are praying Christians causes me to humble myself.

Iron sharpeneth iron; I must not ignore my mistake in judgment. The spiritual opinions and empathetic feelings of innocent onlookers do weigh heavy on my heart as I try to work through the aftermath of this particular body-of-teaching.

If the Editor was going to be in town on Sunday, I would ask her if she would share publicly that we continue to have a solid relationship. She indeed trusts my great respect for her. However, she is going to be out of town, so that will not happen.

It is important to me that anybody who has misunderstood my motive would acknowledge that I suggested we give the Editor a big round of applause for her sacrifice of 5 hours! (I had previously stated that I could do a better job---but it would take 20 hours!) I had thought that sole statement had served sufficiently as a clue to my real support of what she was able to bring to the altar 'under the circumstances'.

I don't know what I'll do to try to make amends. I have started by saying "I'm sorry" to the one person who has thus far written to me. I wanted her to know that I was fairly certain that the Editor and the three believers that I had brought forward didn't really mind serving as a focal point in order to illustrate greater principles.

I suggested that if she would listen to the message a second time then she might better understand the importance of the truths I was trying to illustrate.

I will not ignore her rebuke or correction. There is an important need to do whatever it takes to bring balance in the Body of Christ.

I intend to continue serving as a pastor for all of the people featured in Sunday's unusual message. As far as I know, all of them are moving ahead with the hope of growing to maturity (alongside me) as co-laborers in Christ.

Some people understand the unusual teaching methods that I sometimes employ. However, I'm not as confident now that it is really worth the risk of trying something on the edge with this group of people. Still, I'm leaving the Message online (with only minor editing).

My heart was not at all about 'embarrassing' any of these precious people. I am truly sorry for having embarrassed anyone. I was short-sighted on this one.

I am reminded that sometimes we must suffer "unintended consequences" resulting from our actions.

A gracious individual cares enough about everyone involved to write to me directly with her concerns. I will always respect her for that and hope that God's Perfect Will shall be done in all of our hearts.

The Editor is my friend, Patrice. Last night she encouraged me with these words:

   "Hey, that was last Sunday.
         It's already Wednesday. Let's move on."

I am humbled by this.
   Some 'drill sergeant' I've turned out to be...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I searched the keyword church at the Auburn Journal's website and was blessed to be reminded of certain  special events we've sponsored for the good of our community. There are currently  two pages that are linked to the keyword. Most of them are connected with BellRoad:

   church: CLICK HERE

Of course, this was one of my favorite entries:

Mayberry VisionWalk (2008)
5/5/08 - 5/31/08  Posted 5/3/08 04:01 AM | 11,899 views
The Mayberry VisionWalk (May 2008) will meet-and-greet formally on four Monday mornings in May. "There is nothing quite like 'walking & talking' with creative people," says... more

Cathy and I drove back to Auburn late last night after a couple days of work around the house (and yard) in Galt.
Stewards of Circumstance: Lesson 2 is now uploaded. There was a pre-sermon pep talk before the 'sermon'. I also chose to leave the tail end introduction of new member classmates and a testimony from Brandon.

So, the program is 53 minutes long. I hope you enjoy it.

Busy day for me but if you wanna chat call me:

(530) 366-2924

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The New America Singers performed last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the total experience. I told Pastor Matt that Ted and Betty Campbell are role models to be emulated! I was happy to know that Matt and Justine have now had the opportunity to witness the fruit of a couple's long-range, visionary leadership.

I was running VideoStuff from the balcony so I could see that little Evan was also being exposed to this level of musical competence. Last night granted a gift to me: to watch my girl, Katey Santillan, step up to the plate and sing solo lines and important, strategic harmony. I've been a pastor to Katey since she was three. This cycle of raising and equipping kids for works of ministry is very rewarding. I hope to see 4 year old, Evan, doing something as big sometime during the next ten years of his developing life.

Ha...yes, and then there's the case of Tila (not yet 2) but she defintely will be on stage someday! I can feel it. It was fun to watch her watch the puppets last night.

The primary texts for our current expository (yet topical) sermon series are as follows:

Becoming Stewards of Circumstance
Tomorrow is Part 2: "Barnabas Steps Up"

Acts 9:18-31
Romans 7:1-25
Luke 6:27-42

Friday, July 11, 2008

I woke up at 4am today. Although I would have liked to sleep more, I couldn' I got online, wrote this journal entry, then posted a final invitation at Placeropolis for tonight's program. Soon, I will leave for our Deacons' Prayer Meeting at 6:30am.

  TONIGHT in Auburn, California
  The 2008 World Tour of the New America Singers brings them to Auburn, California. … read more

A woman named Cathy called in from Roseville last night. She had read a different announcement about the New America Singers on the Placeropolis website. She is coming tonight with her daughter and hopes to get others to come as well. Coincidentally, she had met one of our families at a campground last weekend!

Last night, Joseph and I took a 20 mile drive up the hill to Camp Alta. I wanted to check in with our younger kids during their three-day Kids Camp.

Renee, Christy, Daniel, and Ben are our Camp Counselors for this second camp of the season. It was a blessing to watch as a new generation of children are learning God's Word in this fun setting.

A couple days ago was my father's 79th birthday. It was such a busy day (graveside Veteran's Funeral, Memorial Service at Lasilla, Prayer Meeting-IntenseFellowship) that I wasn't free to call him until 10:45 (Michigan Time).

Dad recounted that all of his living children had stopped by or had called in. As usual Dad wanted to know how things are going out here in California. That night my voice had turned raspy from all the smoke--I didn't have much of a range when we sang hymns earlier.

I have earned a 'free' ticket again this year so I told Pa that I hope to go see him. I have just been very busy with our church calendar and I had hoped that we would have already closed on the house in the Greens by now.

May the Lord bless you and yours today.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here's a story at the Auburn Journal:

Family-Friendly Entertainment
THIS Friday (July 11th) at 7pm: The 2008 World Tour of the New America Singers … more

Sorry that there hasn't been any entries since Sunday. Geographic proximity to this page's software-based, internet-connection has been the limiting factor.

We had some trouble getting Sunday's Message uploaded this week. However, it is up now so please give it a listen.
Click on the player above.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The latest sermon will be uploaded above (asap). Although, we're heading to Galt tonight, I may decide to upload something at this site: CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Six in Prayer Meeting last night; Six in Spanish Bible Study, and Youth Group in the Break. A humble yet very important presence in God's House midway through the week.

Yesterday, the Patriarch of one of our newer member families stepped into Eternity. Pastor Matt and I will visit them this morning.

Here are the passages I am considering for this Sunday's Message (and subsequent opportunities to preach God's Holy Word):

Acts 9:18-31
Luke 6:27-42
Romans 7:1-25

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cathy and I went to Galt on Sunday night. I didn't have computer access there.

An important meeting this morning at 10am. Will probably write more later.