return to:'sblog.htm                          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:

   God 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: Liberia.

Yesterday, my good friend, Al Warren, 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.

Rodney Edwards 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.

RockYou Team Responds

Hey, thank 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 sure).  
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 friendly for
everyone. We featured the cuteoverload slideshow because we're hoping there will be more shows like that.

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.

RockYou Team

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 server.

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 similar.

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 others.


Thank you,
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.

Ironically, 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!

Gotta run.

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 who is keeping strange hours this morning:

It 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 sleep times.

I will call you about 7am if I have not heard from you.

Al Warren

An hour later:

This is a 3:30 story so if it needs to be reworked send it back with suggestions:

CLICK HERE: The Rooster Who Would Not Lay an Egg


CLICK HERE: 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
 through Day 45

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Here are my plans for this day:

Today, prayer meeting is at 6:00 a.m.
Men's Breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
these events are at the Epicenter

Stand Strong Men's Conference (in Lodi)
 click here 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:

Canada 8
Belgium 7
Estonia 5
Netherlands 4
Hungary 3
United Kingdom 3
Argentine Republic 1
Australia 1
Finland 1
Sweden 1

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

Hi Pastor Rob,

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, I tell you, that was no publicity for me at all. lol 

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?

Love, Eva

Maybe we can learn something from Pastor Bobby Gilstrap. I can already see that he doesn't 'name names' in his blog... else 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...

Pastor 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 stations.

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.

The 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 have Life and that Life is my light to find my way through this day's toil and trouble.

Come 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
. 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:

On 2/22/06, joe patterson <> wrote:

What would you say
               that Joseph is driven by?

my reply:

(Click here for my further reply to Joe)


We haven't read Day Three <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 asks:
              what 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?
Hey, 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.

Click here for my further reply to Joe

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Click here for Pastor Wesley's reply

This will be brief. Club 163 is about to begin so I have to get started reading
Day 2
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.
Finally, I 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 (January, 2005).
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 history.

Before the session concluded, he remarked "I want to go to Liberia and take my son with me."

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 the urgency.
Therefore, I 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 street.
Could you 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.
Miss Parlee Halfin 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 LiberianMinistries 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 spirit. 
Hoping to hear from you soon,
Pastor Rob Patterson

Click here for Pastor Wesley's reply

Late afternoon Monday update: I just finished a phone conversation with the precious wife of a good friend:
Dave Hendrix. Although I've tried to google Dave's name on several occasions, I haven't been able to locate him.

However, this email was delivered to me today:

Rob Patterson, how are you and your family!!!!?
I called Pastor Clark to get a hold of you and he was able to provide me with your blog.
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 recipient".
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

Today is
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 DAY ONE.

In Rick Warren's book, today's devotional reading would have the seeker meditate upon this scripture:

“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 assertion:

“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 11:39-40

In my second sermon yesterday, I reflected upon this truth: "If I live my life right...if I don't screw helps my mother's life (and early death) make more sense."

Likewise, if you 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: click here

is featuring a sample of Pastor Wesley's radio show script: click here

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: click here

Saturday, February 18, 2006  Day 39 of 80

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: CLICK HERE

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 conclusions.

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 Ms. Payne.

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 (Horizon).

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.

Tonight, Cathy 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 in Stockton).

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    Day 38 of 80

click here
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 local church.

Later in the afternoon, I met with others connecting members of 'the Church at Galt' in order to discuss our future plans for joint efforts.

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.

click here to meet the individual children at the Children's Home in Liberia

Thursday, February 16, 2006  
Day 37 of 80      click here 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. 
                                    Isaiah 40:29-31

We're just 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
40 Days beginning on Monday, February 20th

I hope that some other people will join us for another read-through of
The Purpose Driven Life 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.

Yesterday, Cathy 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 Sunday mornings.

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. Lucretia, an 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 visit.

Pastor Wesley 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  
Day 36 of 80

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 this
Slide Show 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 Crystal Meth. Throughout our years of ministry, Cathy and I have seen lives devastated by addiction to this drug.

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 Christ.

Lord, Jesus, I pray that we will remember to S.E.E.K. for You to actively guide our steps today and always.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006   Day 35 of 80

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 reflection today.


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 Underoath were huddled in a circle around the drummer before their performance. I had moved up toward the front.

I heard a voice ask another:

"What are they doing?"

The answer: "They're praying."

"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 Randy Stonehill 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 Brent Vernon 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 common with 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 later.

Sunday, February 12, 2006
    I wonder...probably need hi-speed: click here

Saturday, February 11, 2006

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 163 (Iona).

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 takers yet.

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 Vision.

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 Sermon.

Here's Joe:

Hey Papa,
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 habits.

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 that BigBrother™  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).

It ain't necessarily a pretty sight.

I mean.... 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 for prayer.

I just cruise around at random clicking on folk's friends, etc and praying for them as I go.

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 sh
ining the Lord's light as you do.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Please prepare for a lengthy entry today (and yesterday's evening edition)

this arrived from Pastor Wesley and Joe

Tonight, Jerry and I are going to see 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)

Last night our local 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 County, Liberia.

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.

Click here to learn about the Kpelle.

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
Genographic Project. It involves the partnership of the National Geographic Society and IBM. In my case, I will be tested for genetic markers found on my Y-chromosome.

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, Joseph Patterson (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).

Genographic Project is 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 history.

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 stuff!

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 
         evening update:

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 strongholds.

 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.

Andrew Niccol, 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 President."

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 on PBS. 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: click here

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 
   morning edition

  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 is time...

   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    Day 28 (of 80)

This morning we will host our monthly outreach at Royal Oaks 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.


   For more local church news: click here

   I'm serious. This Sunday, I wish I could be two places at once: our friend,
Randy Stonehill, will be with the Zellers at their new church home:

Berea Baptist Church
(north of 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 artist).

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. CLICK HERE to learn more about how Al Warren became the man he will be.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Tonight we launch the hosting of public services of 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, 2006

I suppose that most of you American readers know that, in my nation, February has been set
Photo of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chris Tucker, and the chief of the Anglolan village whose population, genetically, shares close ancestry with Tucker 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.

Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Tucker, and
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 ord
Image of a map of West Africaer 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 as it connects with much of what I have written since my doctoral research formally began on April 1, 2005.

Yesterday, my newly-appointed Friday co-host, Beverly Dunahoo, 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 LifeIssues that I have been addressing this week.

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:

Pastor Wesley
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: CLICK HERE to read the letter

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: Liberia.

Joe sent photos about how he spent his 20th birthday yesterday.

          Click here for the quick slideshow

Friday, February 3, 2006

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 Barbara Payne 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 soon.

As always we had a lively conversation and I learned a great deal from this intimate group of civic-minded leaders.

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. is Joe's birthday:

Dear Joe:
"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....
                'You have a ministry'." 
"....Happy Birthday, Dear Joseph....


if my days were already called into account,
if we were to fast-forward to
        another living-out of a February 3rd,
    then you 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 Story.

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 boast.


These links from February's stats serve as a biopsy of my very soul today. As I continually discover who's fer, who's agin', and who simply doesn't care, I'm pleased to know that you're standing with me.
underoath.mpeg 835
Homepage 152
rob'sblog 118
Consider this 103
Whateva 46
announcements 43
epicenter 42
Greater Love Children's Video 37
iona's_blog 33
Joe's Journal 29
Joe's Letters from Liberia 21
In_Liberia_for_80_Days 21
I AM pastorob 17
Al Warren Remembers 16
warrenpeace 14
wesley 14

Thursday, February 2, 2006

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 days' output.

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.

CLICK HERE 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
TimeTravel™.  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 generation.

Do you remember 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.

Even in
the '06,
I cannot assume that there will be a slideshow above (and at
other links embedded within our pages). Like other departments of any local church, sometimes, experiences technical difficulties.

If you wanna ride through
myspace, you're certainly welcome to stop and visit me: click here. That's me up there with my little brother, Mike (not long before our mother died).

Diversity brings balance and safety to high-risk investments.  I refuse to put all our family jpegs 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 there.

Club 163, Chuck Vecchiarelli, dropped by to promote a men's conference called:

    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
Brenda 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 preaching series:

   '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: CLICK HERE

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.

Rick's acronym 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 me:
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
      "Our Parallel 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 bathwater, click above and below. Then, pray before you GO.

I just saw an article about Kay Warren's involvement in the development of the global P.E.A.C.E. plan.
Click here 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 story:

      'Educating the Next Generation.'

If you have time read Beverly's story:
Click here

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

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