Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Its Christmas Eve.

Our Candlelight Service Begins at 6:00 pm.

In the last three weeks, we have seen one or two people saved in every morning Service, including yesterday.

and now…



its SNOWING!!!!

Couldn’t ask for a more perfect Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What’s Happening Now…

I promised last week a couple posts on personal and professional developments over the last eight or 9 months. Today I’ll try to tackle the personal stuff. Pray I get it right.

The single biggest change to my life this year has been my diet. I discovered a book called “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis and read it over our Vacation in North Carolina this June. When we returned I was determined to implement the wheat-free lifestyle and began doing so on July 2. Since then, with the exception of one mistake, I have not had a slice of bread, pasta, cake, cookies or any of the multitude of processed foods that contain wheat. And I haven’t felt this good in 4 or 5 years. I have lost 24 pounds WITHOUT EXERCISE, and while having ice cream, chocolate, potato chips and other “goodies” that are wheat free.

As Dr. Davis explains, wheat is not necessarily the problem, modern, genetically modified wheat is. The constant genetic manipulation of wheat that has occurred over the last 50 or so years has produced a short, fat, pesticide dependent product that causes severe gastric distress, manipulates the chemicals in the brain to desire food constantly (that’s right, bread makes you even hungrier!), and stimulates the production of visceral fat (belly fat).

I didn’t understand all the technical stuff in the book, but got enough to convince me to try a wheat-free lifestyle. I went three weeks without wheat until a family reunion in Pennsylvania for my wife’s family. There I absent mindedly ate a chicken leg that was battered and deep fried. Within 20 minutes I had stomach troubles, dizziness, nausea, etc...  Patty seriously thought of taking me to the hospital. I pulled up the book on my IPad and sure enough, all the symptoms matched what he said happens to those who “detoxify” from wheat and then re-introduce it. I laid down and was better in a few hours.

Now let me clear something up. Many think I am doing this because I am gluten intolerant. I am not. I do not eat Gluten Free, only Wheat Free. And I was not allergic or otherwise aware of any problems with wheat before I started this regime. But the elimination of modern wheat from my diet has had some very profound effects, all for the good, on my health.

Of course there is the weight loss. The reason is that without the wheat, I have eliminated a major source of sugar in my diet. That’s right, sugar. wheat metabolizes into sugar faster and more efficiently than nearly any other food source. Without this source of sugar, I am not experiencing the spikes in blood sugar that caused me to enjoy brief periods of energy followed by a “crash”. My former routine was to work for a few hours, crash, eat, work a few more, crash, then just give up on the day. Seriously, 10-12 and 2-4 each day were absolute busts. Nothing got done during that time. Now I have a steady energy level all day long.

Also, I have been COMPLETELY FREE of any indigestion since loosing the wheat.


I haven’t needed a Tums or Pepcid since July.

Most importantly though, I am not obsessed with food anymore. I can sit for long periods of time without food and don’t think about it. Sometimes I slip back into a habit of snacking, but its on almonds, fruit, and vegetables.

I still have a long journey ahead of me. I recently started working out two or three days a week, punching a heavy bag. Years of neglect and years since my birthday have left my body a bit more resistant to exercise than in the past, but I’ll slowly work up to it.

Pray for me that I keep moving forward toward a healthy body weight and fitness level.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and for the first time in my life, I will not be eating my Mother’s Turkey Stuffing. She and my sister are trying to make it from wheat free bread just for me. They don’t have to bother though, I really don’t think I’ll miss it. I’d rather give up what I want at this moment for what I want the most.

Next time I’ll  give you another personal update, then on to professional matters.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

… and we’re back!

First post in 8 months. And I was on such a roll.

Why so long without a post?

Several reasons, chiefly that I am a lazy writer. I read an article once about how most writers block is just fear. We fear what may actually come out of us, so we don’t write at all. That may be partly true for me. Not so much that I fear what will come out (I know what’s in me) but what others will think.

Also, its been a particularly tough year in the ministry. Lots of personnel issues, financial issues, and other “stuff’ that would make it hard for me to post without venting and hurting feelings.

Finally, the only comment I had gotten on my last several posts was on one with political overtones. And this year, for the first time since 1996, I stayed out of the race. Didn’t even have a single political sign in the yard. Honestly, this years choices were very much the lesser of two evils, and I'm just sick of it.

So hopefully this is the first of several new posts in the coming weeks, and the start of a new, more productive era both on the blog and in my personal and professional life.

Next time I will update on what’s happening to me personally, then a post on professional developments. Then who knows, maybe I’ll do some fun facts, maybe have a snack for everyone and then we’ll all take a nap.

All right, I’m done for today….

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Friday, March 09, 2012

Random Randomness


Its been an eventful few weeks since my rant about social media. I’ve been trying to come up with a single topic for my next post, but nothing is developing into 500-700 words. So lets pick a few hot topics out of the air, and limit the comments to around 150 words or so per topic.


Kirk Cameron

Kirk went on Piers Morgan Live (Any one else NEVER watch this show before?) and was ambushed with a Carrie Prejean question on gay marriage. Kirk showed great humility, love and respect as he gently stated the Biblical Truth that homosexuality is a SIN. Just like lying, stealing, coveting, etc. But the elite Hollywood crowd - who think they basically run the country, because the unwashed masses bow before them and desire nothing more than to be celebrities themselves – attacked Kirk with the full force of twitter, Facebook, and press announcements. Truth is truth folks, doesn’t matter if society has “grown” or “changed its understanding”. The Bible says its an abomination, its an abomination. I’m just so tired of people picking and choosing what they want to believe. Believe the truth. Then live it, even if your flesh hates it!


Joshua and the Captain of the Host

This past Sunday I preached the next installment of “The Story of Us” in the Morning Service. The text was Joshua 5 and his meeting with Christ just before the battle of Jericho. I love this story. It thrills me to see my Lord described as a warrior in battle armor with a sword drawn and ready to fight! The response to the sermon was awesome. Especially the final point about the invisible war going on around us. I postulated that when the walls of Jericho fell, it was not a magical thing where God just made it happen supernaturally, but that it was the result of His ringing the city with His Angels. When the Trumpet blew the 7th day, I think the Angels struck the wall and drove it into the ground! There is an invisible war raging all around us daily. We need to recognize that, and look for signs of its effects on our lives.


The Republican Primary

Two months ago I had a post ready to publish saying the race was over, Romney has won and its time for the party to rally around him. Then Newt Gingrich won South Carolina. Then Rick Santorum surged. And this week’s “Super Tuesday” contests still didn’t settle the race for good. I don’t think a drawn out battle is going to hurt the nominee like the mainstream media and republican establishment keep saying (remember the bitter war between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama in 08?). And I won’t be totally happy no matter which of the top three (Ron Paul is a sideshow at this point) eventually wins. I still wish Huckabee would have ran. But whoever it is (99% sure it’ll be Romney) we have to rally and be proactive. If the current President wins re-election, say goodbye for good the the America you grew up in. We will see the Government, Debt, Trade Deficit, and our taxes grow to monumental proportions, and we will eventually be looking to China to bail us out. Hopefully Jesus Returns for the Church before that happens!


The Middle East

Isaiah 17:1…The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.                                                                                 

This is one of the few prophecies of Scripture that absolutely COULD happen before the Rapture that has not happened yet. Damascus is the oldest continuously occupied city on earth that has never been totally destroyed. In 2008 tensions between Lebanon and Syria were so high war seemed immanent.  Leon Panetta was grilled by John McCain this week as to whether or not the USA has an entry plan for military intervention in Syria. Israel has explicitly said it’s a matter of WHEN, not if, they strike Iran’s Nuclear technology. Things are progressing, building to a deadly crescendo that will result in massive loss of life and possibly a complete game-change in the middle east- where the Jewish Nation would find themselves in a position to rebuild the Temple and pave the way for the events of Revelation 6-19 to begin. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!

All right, four different topics are enough for one post. Next time I’ll try to stick to one!

Remember, if your reading this, drop a comment below and let me know. It would be a great encouragement to keep writing!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Why I don’t do social media

I have long railed against social media. I hate what Facebook has done to good decent people who suddenly feel loosed to say whatever spews out of their mind simply because sitting behind a laptop keyboard feels anonymous.

But I am a creature of change. I embrace new technology and try my best to understand shifts in culture and mindsets. So it was with great trepidation that this morning I dipped my toes in the waters of social media. I opened a Google+ account. It lasted about an hour.

I refused, and still refuse, to participate in Facebook because I see no redeeming value, no positive outcome from spending yet more time each day reading what is the literary equivalent of vomit, things better left to digest and eventually, discretely, remove from the mind. Facebook, from all that I have seen, is little more than a bully pulpit for all that is banal, trite, trivial and unsavory that is stored in the human mind. There are some things that are best left unsaid. And I have seen, and heard too many stories of people who have gotten themselves into deep, deep doo-doo through Facebook. I don’t need it, don’t want it, and refuse to participate in it.

I keep struggling with this decision because I see how people are connecting differently today. Honestly, I know folks who would get over offended by a home visit, mad at a phone call, and refuse to answer an email. But I hear them talk, talk, talk about posting on Facebook “walls”. So as a Pastor charged with the responsibility of reaching out to those in need, I can see how Facebook, Google+ and others might be beneficial if used properly. But there’s the problem, is there a way to use the services properly, and without introducing yourself to content you do not want to interact with?

I tried out Google+ because of their claim that users have more control over content than on Facebook. And it made sense that since I use Blogger, Google Calendar, G-Mail and an Android Phone, Google+ would be a seamless experience. Only one problem, though.

On my front page, AFTER I had invited friends and colleagues to “link” to my account, I noticed the main, center bar of information contained a block called “What’s hot on Google+” The top story on it was a picture posted with an obscenity in bold letters. Google+ does not allow you to remove “What’s hot on Google+” I tried. I pasted code into my ad blocker, searched and searched for hacks and solutions. Nothing. My wife joined and was excited to start. The offending content popped up on her front page too. I deleted her page at her insistence, and then deleted mine. If you received an invitation from me, sorry. I’m through.

The closest I’ve come to social media (and I don’t use it socially) is Twitter. And I’ve posted around a dozen tweets in nearly three years. Just not worth it. I have too much on my plate as it is. I don’t need more drivel to read, and more obscenity thrown in my face without my ability to control it.

Ok. Enough with the old geezer rant.

I’m going to type something on my old typewriter Annoyed

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
This morning I decided to start a new book (like I need to be reading ONE MORE concurrently with the four I’m already reading!) “Jolt: get the jump on a world that’s constantly changing” by Phil Cooke. I read his “The Last TV Evangelist” a few years ago and loved it.

I didn’t know why I had the need to read this until a few pages in. On the 5th page of the introduction, I ran into the quote above. It was exactly what I needed this morning.  I made a sign of it, printed it out and pasted it next to my monitor on my office wall.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” I’ve read quotes like this before, heck, I’ve made quotes of my own like this for sermons. But the preceding words brought this thought into focus for me. “Out of clutter, find simplicity.” Man is my life cluttered right now. The church is in a state of flux. I have a Masters degree to finish. I MUST finish the graphic novel for Rick Via before the 3rd quarter of this year. My son’s are looking at colleges. Luke gets his full drivers license in a couple months. I have to get his van on the road (and find the money to do the repairs). The shed needs cleaned out. The audio room at the church needs completed. The water system needs replaced there too. Ben starts high school baseball next month (and all the travelling that entails). And I have to loose 80 pounds, get off my blood pressure meds, learn to decompress, write more, draw every day,  pray for my congregation and read my Bible. And I’m trying to read through the Harvard Classics this year.

Clutter in the life of a habitual multi-tasker is an invitation to ineffectiveness. I find it difficult to concentrate on one task long enough to complete it even when I only have one thing to do. The twisted mass of tasks I encounter each day sometimes freeze me. I find myself unable to complete even the simplest job because I am worried about the 100 others that go undone while I work on the first one.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity”

Its time I took Jerry Falwell’s advice to heart. Learn to tell the difference between what’s important and what is merely urgent. Do the important things, don’t worry about the urgent ones. They usually are not nearly as important as they seem.

“From discord, find harmony.”

Man is there discord in my life! Being a pastor, for those of you who do not know, is a series of troubles, sporadically interrupted by moments of total warfare. Everybody gets mad at me at some point. And no one has a clue what its like, or why a pastor does what he does, until they take on the spiritual, emotional and physical responsibility of being a pastor for themselves. Now I take the burden willingly, it is my calling. But to find harmony in the discord, wow, that would be awesome.

So I come to the last part of the quote: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

This is hard to accept, but I know it is more true than I can comprehend. Most great advances in human history have come through difficult times. The American Revolution, Edison’s 1,000+ failures making the light bulb, Steve Jobs being fired from the company he created, Lincoln loosing every election he ran in until the presidency, Jesus falsely accused and executed…

But in my difficulties, in the heartache and pain, in the disappointment, uncertainty and fear of loss, there is opportunity. Sometimes God has to shake you violently to get your attention. Two years ago He sent me a medical problem that I am still hesitant to talk about. In November He put my wife in the hospital. Last month He took my friend Rob to Heaven. But I have to admit that though He got my attention, it quickly faded each time. Perhaps because I failed to see the opportunities that each situation presented.

Now I find myself in yet another difficult situation. Personally, professionally, spiritually. Pray for me that I will see and seize the opportunities that arise through my problems. I know, I am convinced that the best days of my life and the life of my church are just ahead. I want clarity to see the opportunities, not just the problems.