Pastor Rob Patterson First Baptist
Church of Galt
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Today, at Club 163,
we read and discussed the material from Day 9 of
The Purpose Driven Life.
The chapter was entitled
What Makes God Smile?
I was reminded
of a song that I assimilated as a theme at the
little black church where this pilgrimage began
back in 1982:
has smiled on me;
He has set me free.
God has smiled on me;
He's been good to me.
Here we are at the end of Black History Month in
America. I have done my best to draw attention
to the war-torn nation known by some of her
citizenry as America's forgotten step-child:
Yesterday, my good friend,
sent me an email about the possibility of having
an Ultrasound machine donated to the
Greater Love Medical
Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia. All
we would need to do is figure out to transport
it to Pastor Wesley.
learned of this exciting news and wrote back
saying that he also has been given the
opportunity to ship two huge generators to
Liberia. They are being given at great sacrifice. However, the
challenge remains for him to Deliver the Goods.
I typed a public prayer to the Lord and then the
software glitched but I know the prayer is
still seen by the One Who Smiles upon obedience.
If anyone finds this message and can help us get
these items to Liberia, please do so.
you for your words of concern. We had the exact
same conversation here. The top shows list was
based on actual click through statistics with
everything R-rated and above being screened
out (there shouldn't have been a naked butt for
Even with the screening, we weren't that happy
with the results. We definitely plan to clean
up our front page content which should be
everyone. We featured the cuteoverload slideshow
because we're hoping there will be more shows
Short term, we're going to look at moving the
top show previews off the front page.
As a heads up, our medium term plan is to let
people volunteer to screen content and flag
offensive content. Then you when you browse, it
will be in non-offensive mode which should be
safe for everyone.
Monday afternoon: I sent
this letter to the folks that sponsor these cool
slideshows (Rock You):
To Whom This May Concern at Rock You:
I have really enjoyed looking at the slideshows
that my kids put together with your software and
Then, the company was sold/renamed and this
feature of TOP SHOWS was featured.
I am disappointed.
I am the Pastor of a small church and have
encouraged people to 'catch kids bein' good.'
Affirm them in their generational distinction.
However I viewed a slideshow listed as one of
the top that was of a young woman showing her
cleavage and then her naked butt (bootylicious
the slide said) and it confirmed my concern of
the Top Shows feature.
I don't think you ought to feature slide shows
like that when your loose affiliation with
myspace would lead one to believe that the no
nudity or offensive material agreement would be
The slideshow I viewed was soft-porn really.
Come on, our kids are getting deluged with this
stuff everywhere they look. Before, the
Slideshow creation page wasn't luring our young
people to that kinda stuff. It was a place where
creativity could be developed--not lust for
stuff that is gonna hurt them eventually.
PLEASE clean it up. You don't have to resort to
that stuff. I don't wanna have to catch you bein'
bad. I'd like to catch your company bein' good
and delight in sharing this cool site with
Pastor Rob Patterson
father of four who use myspace and rockyou!
Monday, February 27, 2006
A rainy day at the Epicenter. Other than
attending Club 163, talking with Pastor
Hendon, and calling in to Jennifer, I haven't
ventured out much. So, let's discuss yesterday
morning a bit:
Our church gathering was comprised of an
interesting cross-generational mix. We were
entertaining a large number of visitors so I
took note of our presentation. As folks were
coming in I noted that the lead guitar was a tad
bit too loud for my 48 year old ears. (I had
protected the left ear with my finger the night
before when I caught Jerry's gig at Orangevale's
Club Retro. So, I know loud...)
The kid, Greg Bayles, was playing some
great guitar licks. Still, I saw some of the
attendants plugging an ear as they stepped into
the sanctuary, so (shepherd that I am) I asked
the Sound Guy to turn Greg down--just a bit.
Pastor Dan Malloy was struttin' like
Mick Jagger to those old-familiar suspended
4th chords in the song Walk by Faith. I
can't help but draw the comparison. I have been
similarly complimented more than once myself:
"You remind me of Sonny Bono!"
Our guest psalmist, Chaya, was a joy to
experience. 25 years old, married to Rick, there
with her sister--the complete package--in
process. I hope to see her finish well.
Iona's cellphone would later ring
during the sermon. She wouldn't be able to
discern the higher kilohertz of her ringtone
amidst the ambient noise. That's church!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
I woke up at 4:30 but stayed in bed until
5:15. I checked the email and discovered someone else
keeping strange hours this morning:
is 2:30 and I just noticed that you had called.
Sorry I did not check the messages when I got
home from Oakdale last night. If you happen to
get up as you are prone to do call me. More than
likely I will still be up. One of those I can’t
I will call you about 7am if I have not heard
An hour later:
This is a 3:30 story so if it needs to be
reworked send it back with suggestions:
The Rooster Who Would Not Lay an Egg
to see the Bedtime chat I had with Joe
(in Liberia) before I went home to the
aforementioned resting place.
Joe sent in his devotional interaction
Saturday, February 25,
Here are my plans for this day:
Today, prayer meeting is at 6:00
Men's Breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
these events are at
Men's Conference (in Lodi)
for more information
Friday, February 24, 2006
I had a pleasant back-and-forth with Pastor
Bobby Gilstrap online last night. He is so busy
with all his responsibilities it might be hard
for him to blog. I hope he finds the time
because I would be interested in seeing an
insider's view at what he goes through.
Thursday was my day off. I hung out with Andy
Herrera. We went to Howard and Mona's house
and hauled away the brush that their son, Howie,
had trimmed. Howard, Sr. is still in the
hospital recovering from heart surgery.
Andy and I had a great time hanging out and
serving church members in a simple, practical
way. During our time together, Andy told me that
he reads this blog. He likes being able to keep
track of me and senses what kind of day I'm
having. I could tell that Andy truly cares about
me (us) and I appreciate that their are friendly
readers out there. Andy Herrera's great grandson
may someday search the Internet and find his way
to this page. If so, let it be known that Andy
bought me lunch!
These stats show that yesterday, we had been visited
by some individuals from these particular nations:
There may have been more but these are the
ones that the software could identify. I'm
currently simmering an idea
with a couple friends from Estonia, so it is
good to see that they were probably checking out our
website from Estonia (or Sweden).
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Well guess what? Pastor Bobby Gilstrap
started his own blog on their church website.
You know what was funny? He sent a email to
everyone about it right? He mentions in the
email that it was "inspired" by whateva.
Well, he didn't even explain what it was, didn't
give a link to check mine out or nothing....man,
I tell you, that was no publicity for me at all.
Anyway, I just thought that you might want to
know that your website ideas are expanding and
other people are getting into making their
church websites modern. Pretty cool huh?
Maybe we can learn something from Pastor
Bobby Gilstrap. I can already
see that he doesn't 'name names' in his blog...
are the 'self-googlers' ever gonna find
themselves? lol I'm expecting Oprah
Winfrey to show up here someday.
He's definitely got
some stuff goin' on in my home state, so
everybody click away.
Tell 'em pastorob sent ya...
Bob's Brand New Baby Blog:
This is my third attempt at entering a blog
today. I'm having problems with my laptop and
after losing two different entries, I've changed
Now, I'm all out of stuff to write. See how easy
it is for me to give up.
John Lennon once cried, "I'm a loser..."
That's how troubling circumstances sometimes
make me feel.
Lord Jesus shares some words of comfort when
we've been troubled by the one who comes only to
steal, kill, and destroy. This morning, the Holy
Spirit has reminded me that in Christ Jesus I
Life is my
light to find my way through this day's toil
to me, all you who are weary
and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from
me, for I am gentle and humble in
heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For my yoke is easy and my
burden is light."
I'd better do as Jesus has instructed me.
Otherwise, all that remains is what man has to
offer (the blues). So, I'm gonna do it God's
Way. I hope that you will turn toward Jesus and
learn from Him today as well.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
It was a long night at the City Council
meeting last night. They were still in session
when I left around 11:15 p.m.
Instead of writing about that or other matters
that are too much for me to process, I will
share this brief email (and my quick reply) from
this morning's pre-Club connection:
What would you say
that Joseph is driven by?
We haven't read
<of the Purpose Driven Life> yet.
It's gonna start in a few minutes. I just
said to Mama, however, "Yeah...this is gonna
be a good one...DAY 3...it asks:
are you driven by?"
I remember how
you and I co-preached this point in Estonia
back in 2003. Remember that particular
service in Tartu?
you remember the sacrificial gift that was
given to Pastor Leho to pass on to you? He
said the amount ($30 USD) was given by an
elderly Estonian woman with a heart for
missions. She wanted YOU to have it. If you
recall you would then apply it to your
summer trip with the New American Singers.
What are you driven
by? I'll have to think on that one. At
different stages in your life I may have had
a different answer than what I may suggest
on Day 3 of PDL season 3. I've gotta ask it
of myself now at CLUB 163.
for my further reply to Joe
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
for Pastor Wesley's reply
be brief. Club 163
is about to begin so I have to get started
of the Purpose
Driven Life. Here is a copy of a letter
that I sent today:
Dear Pastor Wesley:
As you know I
have continually tried to enlist interest
and support from other pastors (or churches)
for your ministry.
have developed an important relationship
with Pastor Ken Hendon--a
fellow pastor in our Delta Valley
Association. Pastor Ken is an
African-American (46) who is the founder of
a new church in Stockton, California. My
first meeting with him was at an
Associational Prayer Summit one year ago
Two weeks ago,
Pastor Ken agreed to sit down with me at an
Internet connection and view, in real time,
some of the materials we have collected
and published on our website. He had never
before heard of Liberia but since this month
(February) is Black History Month, he was
especially interested in your nation's
Before the session concluded, he remarked "I
want to go to Liberia and take my son with
For me, this is an important juncture. Other
than this sign, we have had no commitment on
the part of any other pastor in our
association to go (or to help) with the
situation in Liberia. This is probably just
another sign of 'drained' American church
leadership--too busy with other matters to
consider yet one more issue--regardless of
want to treat this commitment on the part of
Pastor Hendon with utmost respect and, in a
timely manner, help him to raise the
awareness necessary to raise the funds for
his tickets and mission in Liberia.
He preached at
our church Sunday night. In his
introductory comments he said, "I came to
Galt to pick up some chairs, I left
Galt...going to Liberia!" The news that he
was going to Liberia was received with
joyful laughter by our gathered worshipers.
Pastor Ken Hendon is a
bi-vocational pastor. As a hairdresser in
Oakland, he has subleased a spot in a Beauty
Salon for many years. I told him about
Deacon George's similar profession--noting
that, last I knew, his 'shop' was on the
write and tell us when a good time to travel
would be if you were thinking of American
summer months? (anytime from June-August). I
suggested a total of 13-14 days.
Pastor Ken is
a dynamic expositer who is well-versed in
traditional, exuberant, African-American
preaching style. His doctrine is sound and
his heart is generous with time, talents,
and other treasures.
has agreed to serve as a liaison with the
other 40-some churches in our association to
rally alongside us in supporting Pastor
Hendon's plan to visit you this summer. She
will certainly be proactive in this endeavor
because she, herself, has confessed a
calling to live in Liberia for up to one
year and assist with your Medical Clinic.
She has been a Licenced Vocational
Nurse for 45 years. Miss Parlee
reviewed the testimonies of Carl
Hadley, Carolyn Chambers,
and Dr. Brownell from
DVD that I sent to you. I watched her 'watch
them' and as she nodded her head at their
statements, I sensed a witness in my spirit
that her desire is also that of a kindred
Hoping to hear
from you soon,
I just finished a phone conversation with the
precious wife of a good friend:
Although I've tried to google Dave's name on
several occasions, I haven't been able to locate
However, this email was delivered to me today:
Rob Patterson, how are you and your
I called Pastor Clark to get a hold
of you and he was able to provide me with
I am writing to make a request.
David is going on a men's retreat with our
church (Mountain Springs Church, Colorado
Springs, CO). As a part of the men's
retreat he is supposed to receive letters
from significant people in his life. The
letter is supposed to be hand-written and
express love, appreciation, memories and
encouragement. It will be a private letter
that is sent to David in care of "Adventure
Weekend, 5767 Creekwood Ct., Colorado
Springs, CO 80918"
It took a long time for me to track you
down so unfortunately you won't have
much time to get this in the mail. I would
be happy to provide you with a FEDEX account
number which can be used as "bill
These letters are a surprise for the men
and I understand they are changed by knowing
how much people care and love them.
So, everyone, we've gotta keep this a secret
until after the weekend!
Well, I'd better write that letter and find
the nearest Fed Ex office. Remember, it's
President's Day--so I'll have to use Fed Ex
and charge it to my buddy, Dave.
Dave Hendrix is, perhaps, the most
important person in my life. Seriously, he
was used of God to help me at several
junctures. He knows that I have a good
memory of certain days and nights--in
ministry, cross-country sojourns, in
personal friendship, prying into personal
matters and, most of all, in music. In fact,
if you were to look at the Audio Download
page, you will not find his name mentioned
once (only because all those liner notes
came as the result of Dave writing to me in
the last year of the last
millennium--admonishing me to add liner
notes to song titles).
Monday, February 20, 2006
Day 41 (of 80) for Joe's Spiritual
Adventure in Liberia.
In order to
help our firstborn transition from adolescence
into real adulthood, I have challenged Joe to
start working through
'The Purpose Driven Life'
for this second half. So, today is
In Rick Warren's book, today's devotional
reading would have the seeker meditate upon this
“For everything, absolutely everything,
above and below, visible and invisible
…everything got started in Him and finds its
purpose in him.” Colossians 1:16
For Day One,
Warren also challenges the reader with this
“The purpose of your life is far greater
than your own personal fulfillment, your
peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s
far greater than your family, your career,
or even your wildest dreams and ambitions.”
Remember how the book begins?
"It’s not about you."
I agree but also remember
that Hebrews Chapter 11 tells us that it is ALL
about you: you in
Christ... along with Abel, Enoch,
Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph,
Moses, Rahab, those marching around Jericho,
Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel,
and the prophets.
"And these all, having
obtained a good report through faith, received
not the promise: God having provided some better
thing for us, that they without us should
not be made perfect." Hebrews
In my second sermon yesterday, I reflected upon
this truth: "If I live my life right...if I
don't screw up...it helps my mother's life (and
early death) make more sense."
will live your life in Christ
with hopeful expectation and faithful steps of
obedience, then you will fulfill the purpose that your
God-oriented ancestors were seeking as they
sought to do God's Will in their generations.
Sunday Night, February 19, 2006
Yesterday, Joe and I had another chat.
Go ahead and get an inside look at normative
interaction within the Patterson household:
is featuring a sample of Pastor Wesley's radio
We had a full day! A good day. Pastor Ken Hendon
delivered the goods tonight. Man, I enjoyed the
evening's festivities. He can preach...and the
church preached right along with him. Now,
that's what I'm talkin' about!
Tomorrow marks the first day of 40 more for Joe
(and us). Joe has caught up his devotional
responses all the way through Day 40:
Saturday, February 18, 2006
As a natural step in my personal study of my
family lineage, I signed up to have my Y
Chromosome tested and entered into a database
alongside 100,000 DNA samples from the world's
remaining indigenous people groups. Most of you
know that I have accepted the Bible as the
Owner's Manual. In its introduction to Human
History, I learned that all people on this
planet can trace our family history back to one
man and one woman. Sure, that was a long time
ago but I'm guessing that eventually (though DNA
research) we will learn that we are all truly
related...and I think it will be the Story
passed down by Moses.
My Genographic Public Participation kit arrived
in the mail today. I'm taking part in National
Geographic's 5 year study of DNA and human
migratory patterns. This kit contains a DVD, two
swabs & test tubes, a map, a couple pamphlets, a
confidential ID password to track findings on
the IBM and National Geographic websites for
years to come. Wow! I feel like a kid who just
got his Secret Decoder Ring from the Bazooka
Bubble Gum company.
To learn more about DNA:
Remember what I gleaned from my Old Testament
seminary professor, Dr. Samuel Tang? I am free
to benefit greatly from any serious
research--regardless of the organization's
worldview. After careful consideration of
others' hypotheses, I will come to my own
conclusions about the validity of the
researchers' presuppositions and their resultant
Stay tuned. I'll be talking more about this
controversial project in the months ahead.
Yesterday morning I heard a speech by a ninth
grader at Rotary Club. She had been on a trip to
Iceland/Greenland with a group of international
students studying Global Warming and the effects
of pollution on the food chain there. It was an
interesting slideshow shared by this student
(whose name escapes me).
Afterwards I took Jim Dougans (the church
planter strategist with PCUSA) on a long walk
around this town. First I showed him our
sanctuary and grounds, then we walked to Galt
Bible Church and over to St. Christopher's
Catholic Church. We went in and spoke awhile to
Father Jerry Ryles. He showed us a new
statue of the patron saint (Isadore) for migrant
workers. We hung out awhile and watched the
priest lead the gathered worshipers in the
preliminaries of mass. That is still new
territory for me. I have never had much exposure
to Roman Catholicism.
From there we walked to Royal Oaks
Convalescent Center and then to New Hope
Assembly of God. We stopped in and looked at
the remodeling they have done, spoke with
Lynn Ross, and then talked with Pastor
Dave Ross and his son Brandon.
Then we walked to Old Town Galt and spoke at
length with City Council woman, Barbara Payne.
Jim had been a city planner before switching to
this position with his denomination. It was
interesting to listen in on his interview with
Finally, we stopped at River of Life Celebration
Center and spoke with a couple interns there.
During this long walk, I told him what I
understood of the history in this area, the
migration of Okies and other southerners during
from the 30s through the 50's. We talked about
church planting, church history, the body of
Christ, and the diversity of ministerial
interest among the people of God. Jim seemed
especially thankful for the long walk. He will
have quite a report to submit. After his time
with me he had appointments with Curt Campion
(at City Hall), Pastor Mary Sanders
(Lutheran) and Pastor Tim Stevenson
Later in the day, Cathy and I drove to
Sacramento to visit Howard in the
Cardio-Vascular Intensive Care Unit. He looks as
though he is having a successful recovery after
his major heart surgery earlier this week.
and I are having dinner with a number of guests
we have invited to the Rotary Crab Feed. Among
these dinner guests will be Pastor Ken
and Jeanean Hendon (new church planters
Here's a photo of Pastor Ken when he dropped by
the Epicenter to pick up some pulpit furniture
for their new church.
On Sunday, March 5th, we will be attending the
Dedication Service for their new sanctuary.
Pastor Hendon told
me that he is willing to visit Liberia. So, it
is gonna be extra fun for us to spend the
evening with the Hendons and introduce them to
the others at the table. Yeah, the Crab
Dinner sounds like fun!
Friday, February 17, 2006
to meet the individual
children at the Children's Home in Liberia
Yesterday, I had lunch with a Dad and teenaged
daughter. We discussed the potential of working
together on a Cause greater than ourselves: the
Later in the afternoon, I met with others
connecting members of 'the Church at Galt' in
order to discuss our future plans for joint
Finally, after putting together the latest
photos that Joe sent me (click above), I
received an email from Diane. She had been
looking at her daughter's myspace and somehow
saw the childhood photo of my brother and me on
the pony. She told her daughter that she had a
similar photo of her on that same pony. So, she
checked out my site and wrote me an email. It
turns out that she had lived in the same
neighborhood and is a year younger than me. I
vaguely remember the family name. I think that
maybe my brother played with her sibling.
I woke up too early--thinking about issues on
the local level. Now, that I've answered morning
email and uploaded this entry, I think I'll go
back and rest before Club 163 starts.
to meet the individual
children at the Children's Home in Liberia
Thursday, February 16, 2006
for chat log with Joe
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the
weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
finishing up with this morning's meeting
of Club 163. We read and
discussed this passage from Isaiah and
three more chapters from Leviticus. This
Sunday marks Day 40 (of 80) for Joe's
adventure in Liberia.
We have prearranged to begin a
devotional pattern for the remaining
I hope that some other people will join
us for another read-through of
by Rick Warren. I am hungering for
deeper spiritual formation so I hope to
set apart those 40 Days in various ways.
Our recent readings, discussions, Bible
studies, and sermons from 2006 have just
made me hungrier for the 'on-fire'
worldview that I have known in the past.
and I visited with Fred
at the nursing home in Manteca. This old friend
has been laying in the same bed for months. Some
time ago, he was riding his scooter around town,
when an automobile knocked him over and broke
both of his feet. Poor guy!
We had wanted to have Fred come stay with us
last weekend but the doctor didn't feel he was
strong enough yet. We have a really close
friendship with this former church member.
Fred's wife, Reva,
had suffered from Alzheimer's during her final
years here. Fred was firm in his commitment to
her all the days of her life. Before moving to
Manteca, Fred had also devoted himself to our
church fellowship. He was faithful in the men's
prayer meeting and was the 'gatekeeper' for
I took along my guitar and we started singing
before we even entered the room. Fred wept much
of the time we were there but he sang along with
all of the songs I chose. While we were singing
I heard another voice joining in.
attendant, was caring for the man in the next
bed. Later, she asked where we 'do church'. Too
bad she thinks it would be too far to travel.
Still, I told her she could always stop by and
called me from Liberia. I spoke with him and
with Joe at great length.
Joe has been typing as Pastor
Wesley has been dictating a radio script for his
first broadcast. He told me that he really
enjoys that process. He has been working on a
program which will focus on 'Authority.'
Joe told me that this teaching is helping him to
better understand his niche as a supportive
follower under Pastor Wesley's authority during
these days in Liberia. I was pleased to hear the
understanding in Joe's voice.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I was happy to read Joe's letter this
morning. I promptly forwarded his devotional
answers to our in-house mailing list, but find
that going back and reading the day's questions
make the answers more meaningful to me.
Yesterday, I reviewed some of the points of my
prospectus for a 40-Day ministerial project. In
order to meditate upon the points, I assembled
in an attempt to revisit my proposed
methodology. It was running quite slow last
night but even the issue of varying internet
speed effects response from participants, so it
is helpful to me.
On PBS (Frontline) last night, there was a
special about America's growing problem with
Throughout our years of ministry, Cathy and I
have seen lives devastated by addiction to this
What surprised me in the report was the strong
emphasis on the over-the-counter drug called
Sudafed. Last month, I wrote about my experience
using this medication for congestion. I have had
this chest cold for over a month. I've used
Sudafed for 5-6 of the worst days. Cathy and I
have discussed the side effects I personally
experience from the medication. It seems to
linger with me over several days.
It really helps with the congestion but also
exaggerates my normal peaks. After last night's
report, I think I'm gonna find something else to
use when I'm troubled with allergies or a cold.
I had a troubling dream last night about using
my laptop in an inner-city environment. A
crack-user was being tempted (before my eyes);
he desired to grab my laptop and run. Upon
reflection, I thought again about the
possibility of Joe's vulnerability in Liberia.
Although, I haven't worried about his safety, I
must be responsible to continually remind
witnesses that there is a risk involved whenever
one share's a Life Testimony for the sake of
I pray that we will remember to S.E.E.K. for You
to actively guide our steps today and always.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Somewhere in cyberspace, we have people
linking to a live performance by Underoath. I
saw this band perform at the Warped Tour
in SF a couple years ago. While I was in
Michigan, Daniel wrote that he had seen them
perform at the Underground. At the time,
a punk rock site had uploaded a video of one of
the songs they performed there. I was just
learning how to upload video so I put a copy of
the video in my journal.
In recent weeks, I've noticed that their video
is being hit over 700 times each day. I think I
should probably write to them and let them know.
You would probably guess that this is
not my style of music but none of our own
pages are being visited near that much. This
initial point of research requires some
I've journaled this memory before. At the Warped
Tour (a 'secular' event) I had spent the day by
myself visiting the assortment of stages that
had drawn my interest and allowed the teens to
follow their own interest. I had seen and heard
stuff that I didn't like at all that day (much
of it was political commentary).
I purposed to see the band that my kids had told
me were on Tooth and Nail Records. The guys in
were huddled in a circle around the drummer
before their performance. I had moved up toward
I heard a voice ask another:
"What are they doing?"
The answer: "They're
"I didn't know that
they were a Christian band..."
We read and discussed Leviticus 16-18 and the
Parable of the Talents. It was just Cathy, Miss
Parlee, and me at Club 163.
Howard came through his surgery OK. There
was an aneurism between the chambers and it
turned out to be a four bypass.
Tara Zeller reports that
performed with excellence at their church on
Sunday night. I was glad to hear that Jebby and
Ronda also made the effort to attend the event.
At the Epicenter, we were hosting
that very hour. It was good to reacquaint
ourselves with Brent and his gifting. I publicly
challenged Brent to consider taking his buddy,
Sam, to Liberia (two for the price of one).
Monday, February 13, 2006
Today is Cathy's
birthday...she's 44. I was up at 4:30
today and headed to Sacramento. Our church
member, Howard, is having a 6 bypass heart
surgery as I write. I came home to hang out with
the Club 163 crew until just now.
Joe called on a 'computer phone' for his Mom's
birthday. They talked for nearly 2 hours! Again,
it is like using a walkie-talkie. Right now Mom
is telling Miss Parlee, Daniel and me all about
their long conversation.
Joe told his Mom that for him "the Liberian
experience is like running a car on empty."
Pastor Wesley's kids took turns getting on the
phone to talk with Joe's mom.
Jr. Boy (7) asked her for a cycle. Cathy
felt like Santa Clause as each child waited for
the chance to
speak with her. Abigail (13) also asked
for a cycle and chit-chatted for several
minutes. Eunice (12) reported that Joe
was funny and that she liked his jokes. Cathy
asked if she likes Joe's hair. "Yes," she
replied giggling. She said that she would soon help
to make the evening meal--preparing rice and
sardines. Priscilla (15) was nearby
helping to translate. She was thankful for the
gifts that had been sent with Joe. The girls had
hoped to have a chance to talk to Mary...but,
alas, the little princess was sound asleep.
Unless Joe is 'all talked out', I hope that he
will write an informative letter about the day
that he spent at the Children's Home.
Apparently, all the kids there crawled upon Joe
and clung to him. So he has that sensation in
Robin and Mike McCall. They understand quite
well what he is going through. They spent an
entire month there last year at this time. More
Sunday, February 12, 2006
I wonder...probably need hi-speed:
Saturday, February 11,
Yesterday was a
full day. It started very early with an
unleavened in-house letter to online church
members. We then received a first-timer at Club
At Rotary, I sat with Barbara Payne. I
really enjoy conversing with the former Texan.
During announcements, I extended the challenge
for one of our Rotary member to go to Liberia
(and do an international service project on
behalf of the Galt Sunrise Rotary Club). No
However, Al Luna, a local businessman
(Heating and Air), did approach me afterwards.
Al had given a donation of $1,000 back in
March of 2003 when he met Pastor Wesley during
his visit to America. That money helped to build
the sanctuary next to the Clinic. I recall that
Al also sent another gift the following year.
After hearing about Pastor Wesley's founding of
a school at the Greater Love Children's Home,
Al asked me to look into the cost of books. I
agreed to do so.
Cathy and I visited Howard Gabriel
at Mercy General Hospital. More to say about the
wonderful gift we discovered inside that man but
that is not yet ready to be unwrapped publicly.
Then we drove a few miles further to see Daniel
wrestle in his last match of this season. He
lost the match but sure impressed his Mom and
Dad with his perseverance and all-out effort.
While waiting for his match, I went for a walk
in the sun and talked on my cellphone.
Jim Dougan, a Presbyterian
church-planting strategist from Indiana called
me about his denomination's consideration of
planting a church in Galt. Jim had already been
to this website. Then, I had a long conversation
with Mary Sanders (our local Lutheran
pastor) about our cooperative efforts with World
I also was called by a woman who is planning to
come to the Epicenter for certification at the
Correctional Centers here. Cathy and I may
receive her (and her 10 month old) as boarders
during the four month process.
During our drivetime, Cathy and I listened again
to the Audio Montage and Jim Fugate's sermon
from our "Theology of Suffering and Healing" CD
during drive-time (cf. audio downloads). It was
a crucial time of preparation for this Sunday's
I have been
having some trouble with these updates, but
here is what I have. I think that I already
sent you a letter earlier about my bathing
Well, there have been some improvements.
There is now a small mirror in the bathroom
and there it was tiled a few weeks ago.
Still using the bucket, but it is nice that
there is not a dirt floor in there now.
Click here for Joe's other responses
to Days 21-32.
Friday, February 10, 2006
I can't talk right now. I think
might be looking over your shoulder (and that might be due to the fact that I
apparently have contributed to the
aberrant behavior of certain senior citizens).
necessarily a pretty sight.
well, just click on Iona's photo (below) and see
for yourself. Warning: by clicking on Iona's
photo, you will find yourself transported to
2/9/2006 5:56 PM
Hope you're having a
wonderful day hanging out with Jesus as I
am. I'm enjoying myspace as a witnessing venue
as well as a touchstone
I just cruise around at random clicking
on folk's friends, etc and praying for them as I
Sometimes I find some spaces that are
degrading, I don't stay, but I leave and
then pray for that person. Then, if I find one
who really touches my heart for the Lord, I ask
for an add. I'm glad you are here shining
the Lord's light as you do.
Thursday, February 9, 2006
Please prepare for a lengthy entry today (and
yesterday's evening edition)
from Pastor Wesley
Tonight, Jerry and I are going to
an up-and-coming band called MAE (Multi-sensory
Aesthetic Experience). We saw them
last year in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They're
currently on tour and will be at the Boardwalk
in Orangevale, California. This is a good band!
Click on this photo to see their myspace site.
Oprah's Comin' to Town
(ask Miss Parlee:
today's her birthday)
PBS station aired
African American Lives.
In the second episode, we discovered that
Oprah Winfrey's mitochondrial test
pointed to an exact match with those found among
the Kpelle people
who dwell in the rain forest region of Bong
In past stories, Oprah had thought that her affinity
for the Zulu people of South Africa might be due
to biological connection. However, certain historians had publicly stated that
DNA relationship between Oprah and the Zulu was highly
unlikely. This documentary seems to have
convinced the humanitarian that she is most
certainly not related to the Zulu.
I think that Al Warren will be interested to
learn that Oprah is actually connected with
Liberia through the
Kpelle people. Al had wanted
me to try to contact Oprah's organization for
help with our interests in that troubled nation.
I thought that it was worth a try but hadn't yet
followed through. Our own Miss Parlee (suspected
by this writer to be the descendant of an
African Queen), is gonna try to make contact
with Oprah and invite her to go to Liberia with
her to visit our friends in Monrovia. Oprah is
probably going to be surprised to learn about
her people group.
to learn about
I watched Oprah's
celebrated visit on David Letterman. That night
she shared her heart for educating the next
generation of South African women. Perhaps
Oprah's new-found interest in
the Kpelle people group
(indigenous Liberians) will, indeed,
find her making a trip there as well. That is
where we come in . . .
As a further area of personal study, I have
decided to participate in the
involves the partnership of the National
Geographic Society and IBM. In my case, I will
be tested for genetic markers found on my
Participation in this mouth-swab test promises
to determine 'deep ancestral
geographic origins in my direct paternal line'.
At this point in my genealogical line, our
oldest family patriarch,
(b. 1793) comes to New York from Ireland at the
age of 19. It will be interesting to see if the
National Geographic project will verify that
part of our family history.
I'll bet I could get my sister, Nancy, to do the
Oprah test (for mitochondrial matches
which 'identify ancestral migratory origins' of
one's direct maternal line).
a five-year study attempting to understand
migration and population patterns on earth.
Dr. Spencer Wells
and a team of international scientists hope to
map humanity's genetic tracks throughout
According to National Geographic:
"Scientists are collecting
this data from people across the globe,
particularly indigenous populations, before
modern globalization further erodes the cultural
groupings that could provide the geographical
and historical context for interpreting the
diverse genetic patterns."
Well, enough of that. What can I say?
This is all part of my
ongoing doctoral research...yeah, even the Oprah
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Well, it is nearly time for Wednesday night
Bible Study. Since it is 99˘ video day, I rented
Lord of War
(with Nicholas Cage). The day that Eva had
mentioned it in her blog, I had seen it on the
shelves but didn't know that it was supposed to
be set in Liberia. It is a fictional account of
gun-running for diamonds in Liberia.
Mary, Jerry, and I are sitting here watching the
film as I write. There is ample use of the
f-word (a couple 'bedroom' scenes--we had Mary
stand in front of the TV for those....but they
weren't really sensual. More to illustrate how
AIDS is a real part of life in Africa).
The end of the film says that the five major
suppliers of arms are the US, the UK, Russia,
France, and China (also permanent members of the
U.N. Security Council).
It also stated that the film was based on actual
events. From my study of Liberia's recent
history, I was able to discern the difference
between the fiction and the facts. The
'dictator' sure does seem to be styled
after Charles Taylor.
It is a 2-disc set with special
features so now I'm watching them before
returning it tomorrow night. That is the 'one'
area where I am able to multi-task....watching
documentaries. The writer said that in the
making of this film (in Africa) that "life
continually imitated art." The filmmakers
actually borrowed tanks from an arms dealer. It
was filmed in South Africa--not Liberia--but it
did resemble Liberia.
I don't know if I can recommend this film to
you. It is, after all, rated R (for
violence--especially against children). I'm glad
that Jerry and Mary are watching it with me. The
film helped my teens see how AK-47s are so
simple to use--even children can fire them (and
they do). Perhaps they will take Joe's mission
in Liberia more seriously.
I keep coming back and tweaking this entry as I
watch Disc 2 of this film. Even if you don't
want to watch the R-rated movie, I would
definitely recommend that you rent this DVD and
just watch the special features. It has much
about Liberia's recent history.
Funny. Some may again
tell me that a movie review doesn't belong on a
church website. However, it was our mission trip
to Estonia in 2000 that opened my eyes to some
of the aftermath of the Cold War. Liberia's
anarchy was a direct result of the vacuum left
by American withdrawal from Cold War
This film teaches that another unintended result of ending the Cold War
was that the majority of 'small arms' weapons
were later sold in Africa.
the film's writer and director, poured himself
into this project. Niccol laments that viewers
may discount this project as a left-wing film.
He objects to that possible presupposition by
pointing out "that the U.S. is the largest
exporter of arms whether Bush or Clinton is
So, what does all this have to do with Jesus?
You tell me.
Tonight after Bible
Study, I'll rush home to watch the
second part of
African American Lives
That's my plan for
February (Black History Month). Today, I spoke
with Pastor Ken Hendon and challenged him to go
on a mission trip to Liberia. After seeing some
of our webpages, he agreed to go.
Rodney Edwards wrote another letter for Joe:
This afternoon, I met with Pastor Tim
Stevenson (Horizon) for lunch. We shared our
hearts and closed our time together in a special
prayer for the City of Galt (especially for
upcoming events which connect the local churches
through our shared ministry in Lesotho).
Pastor Dave and Lynn Ross (New Hope A/G)
came in to the same restaurant. I sure like all
these pastoral folks in Galt.
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
I dropped from exhaustion around 9:00 p.m. last night. However, I slept
well and arose at 5:00. We had a wonderful time
at morning devotions with Leviticus Chapter One.
Yeah, that's right.
Miss Parlee agreed to meet with us at the church this morning to
confer with one of our newest pastors in the
association: Pastor Hendon. I'll tell ya'll
about the conference later. I've gotta go
because I want to walk there with Cathy and it
Joe wrote. He said that it rained through the night. He and Pastor
Wesley were spending the day on the building
site to finish the cement floor. He hoped that
it would set well--even with the rain.
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
This morning we will host
our monthly outreach at
Convalescence Center (F Street, Galt, CA) at
10:00 am. We would love to have you join us.
Yesterday, I taught our secretary how to create an online slideshow.
She cropped and assembled these photos shot at
our debut evening for
La Luz de Cristo.
Thank you, Jennifer.
news: click here
This Sunday, I wish I could be two places at
once: our friend,
will be with the Zellers at their new church
Berea Baptist Church
Stockton on highway 99).
However, we have another musical
guest from the east coast doing a concert at the
Epicenter on the same evening:
Brent Vernon (a World Vision
Monday, February 6, 2006
I've been serving as one of the editors
for our newest column:
Al Warren Remembers.. then and later.
I hope you will take the time to peruse these memorable passages
from my favorite idea man.
more about how Al Warren
man he will be.
Sunday, February 5, 2006
Tonight we launch the hosting of public services
La Luz de Cristo
from our corner of the earth.
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
featuring Pastor Francisco Camarena
on the big screen
Saturday, February 4,
I suppose that most of you
American readers know that, in my nation,
February has been set apart to explore Black
History in North America. On PBS (public
broadcasting system), a documentary is currently
playing which traces the family histories of
several African-American contemporaries. This
series is entitled
African American Lives.
Oprah Winfrey are among a small group of
noted Americans who
filmmaker, Professor Henry Gates, has chosen to feature.
Mr. Gates also traces the
clues of his own story as the descendant of a
freed slave: Jane
Gates. I rushed home
from Wednesday Night Bible Study in
order to catch the first installment. The first
of four episodes is being rerun this
morning as I write.
This film is of significance to me
connects with much of what I have written since
my doctoral research formally began on April 1,
newly-appointed Friday co-host,
revealed that, due to my
published research notes, she has used the
Internet to explore her own ancestry. The
continuing process of designing a cutting-edge Doctoral Project (hyperlink: a
40-Day Doctoral Project)
has been just one of the critical
that I have been addressing this
Those of you who are regular readers have
probably begun to discover that I am, in fact, a
highly-focused individual. Some, however, have
not yet realized that I have been called by God
to see this generation's needs with kaleidoscope eyes
(and I ain't talkin' 'bout
LSD). It is simply a matter of my God-given DNA
maturing in the context of a peculiar time and space.
Stay tuned for more of this tributary.
Gotta run to prayer
meeting now. Below is some stuff I wrote before
going to bed earlier this morning:
dictated an all-important letter to members of
our local church; Joe served as his amanuensis.
It arrived just
now at 1:00 a.m. So I quickly uploaded the letter:
HERE to read
God doesn't call a man like Pastor Wesley to
work in isolation--without resources. Since you
have 'stumbled upon' this paragraph, I am
challenging you to avail yourself to a cause
greater than yourself--greater than the calling
you have received up to this point in your life:
Joe sent photos about how he spent his 20th
Click here for the quick slideshow
Friday, February 3,
I just returned from our Sunrise
Rotary Club. Our mayor Daryl Clare was the
featured speaker. He is a member of our club.
His topic: A Day in the Life of a Mayor
Quite interesting. I sat with Councilwoman
and local businessmen
Jim Spaan (who came here from
Michigan back in '48). Jim is also a pilot and I
shared with him my desire for flying lessons. He
has promised to take me up in his plane sometime
As always we had a lively conversation and I
learned a great deal from this intimate group of
I'm supposed to sell tickets for a Crab
Feed in 2 weeks. I suppose that I'll put on my
Rotary shirt and go door-to-door.
That is similar to what
Beverly Dunahoo and I are just
about to do for the Lord's work in Galt. I've
asked her to fill my weekly opening left vacant
by Veda when she left us for heaven.
...today is Joe's birthday:
"Our Light and Momentary
Troubles are achieving for us an Eternal
Glory that FAR OUTWEIGHS them all; SO...we
fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what
is Unseen; for what is Seen is Temporary but
what is Unseen is Eternal..."
"Yes, that's what I said....
if my days were
already called into account,
if we were to
another living-out of a February 3rd,
might only hear my voice's
inflection in your mind.
Only the Holy Spirit could bring to your
remembrance these ripples you have heard
oft-repeated by your earthly father.
The word 'solace' is probably only in your
vocabulary because of your Pa's commitment
to anchor our family's future firmly in the
Through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
we have continually made known among the
nations what He has done.
Although you are eight hours ahead of us on
this February 3rd, I am hoping (at 5:17
a.m.) that this day turns out to be a Happy
Birthday for you.
I can no longer say that we have four
teenagers. I've enjoyed saying that since
Mary turned 13.
By growing up, you have deprived me of that
These links from February's stats serve as a
biopsy of my very soul today. As I
and who simply
doesn't care, I'm pleased to
know that you're standing with me.
Thursday, February 2,
Woke up at 3:45 this morning. I had my
wireless laptop next to the bed so I'm doing the
'telecommuter thang'--sitting up in the dark
sending out this note.
I've decided not to write much today hoping that
you would scroll down and click around. I have
tweaked all the embedded slideshows so you
probably haven't yet seen the best of recent
I just uploaded the most recent letter from the
comedy team of
Giddens & Giddens
(our missionaries to Tanzania). I'm
missing a brief note from a couple days ago so
check back for I will add it to their page soon.
for the update from Ed and Nancy.
I just uploaded
Al Warren Remembers.
It is now 5:05. I think I'll try to catch a nap
before Club 163 begins.
Wednesday, February 1, 2006
I woke up at 4:00 again so I posted a letter
from Joe then looked through last summer's series on
Before Club 163, I assembled a brief slideshow for myspace but it hadn't posted
as of our early morning edition. Their server
must be deluged with the slideshows being
produced en masse by the youth of this
the season just
prior to the turn of this century?
Perhaps some of your friends were concerned that
our nation's reliance on an imperfect
technological foundation could potentially
foster havoc within our infrastructure.
I cannot assume that there will be a slideshow
above (and at
pages). Like other departments of any local
church, sometimes, rockmyspace.com experiences technical
If you wanna ride through
you're certainly welcome to stop and visit me:
click here. That's
me up there with my little brother,
(not long before our mother died).
Diversity brings balance
and safety to high-risk
investments. I refuse to put all our
in one basket--if you know what I mean.
Yeah, I know...big talker.
Walk the Talk.
I desire to nominate some of you for
best-supporting role in that production!
For several years, Tom and Christene have been
Vision-casting for more effective use of the
physical plant at the Epicenter.
Click on this photo and imagine entering the
double doors on the far right. You could be
greeted there by our tech-savvy secretary
Jennifer for preliminary chit-chat before
entering Pastor Rob's pristine office space.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I've been up since 4:00 a.m. working on Joe's
answers from Day 17-20. Some good stuff
Chuck Vecchiarelli, dropped by to promote
a men's conference called:
STAND STRONG TOGETHER
on February 25th 9:00-3:30
It really sounds like a good opportunity to get
our men's groups together. I had the privilege
of officiating for his marriage to
5.5 years ago. They are still happily married
and are core members at Horizon Community
Church. Chuck is a great guy and welcomes
anybody who is interested in men's ministries to
contact him at the website above.
His buddy, Richard Carr, is starting
another group-oriented website called:
Today, I will map out the sermons for the new
'Healing in the Church'
Yesterday, Joe called and we spoke for 30
minutes. We had a great conversation about the
joint-effort in documenting his trip. It was an important dialogue about
'form and content' for the published account of
this 80-Day Spiritual Adventure.
Later, I journaled the topics we addressed. We
will probably decide to publish the text of that
phone call someday in the future.
Check out this slideshow with audio clips. It is
an outflow from Sunday night's message:
Give P.E.A.C.E. a Chance:
Give P.E.A.C.E. a
Chance... in Liberia
Below is a piece I wrote
months ago. I can't remember if it is in the
archives, so I'm leaving it here until I check:
Here is an article
that challenges everything
Rick Warren has done with his Purpose-Driven
model and the piloting of his
P. E. A. C. E. plan. Like most
baptists in a business meeting, I usually wanna
hear the pros and cons of a motion. I think its
important to hear the best points that your
opponent can make in a debate.
rightly describes what our city-wide
participation with World Vision (Lesotho) is
accomplishing. Likewise, it helps me to
differentiate aspects of our practical ministry
toward the brethren in Liberia.
Matthew 25 has always spoken this to
It is 'normative' for a Christian to
assist the poor
and care for the sick.
SO NORMAL, that we ask "When?
When, Lord? WHEN did we
minister to you in these ways...?"
As I have prepared to preach the points of
Path to P. E. A. C. E." the influence of
dissenting voices has challenged me to search
the Scripture for the key verses that have
stirred up good works and mission. So, if you
want a balanced view of everything before you
decide what is the baby and what is the
above and below. Then, pray
before you GO.
I just saw an article
involvement in the development of the global
if you'd like to read it.
I spoke with Joe Walker. His wife went to
Liberia with a team of retired educators.
Beverly Walker is fulfilling a dream she has
pursued for 15 years. Al Warren sent me their
'Educating the Next Generation.'
If you have time read
I share the story
because it demonstrates a model that I foresee
happening among small groups of Christians in
the years to come.
for earlier entries:
Click here for January, 2006
Click here for Journal y2k5
Click here for Journal
for Journal y2k5