Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found amoung us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Caution - Falling People

is this the front or back door?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Gospel of Peace

This morning, Patty and I had the honor of standing up with Jeff and Trish as they dedicated their son Paul Fields at church this morning. It was a joy and an honor to stand up with them during this dedication.

But the sermon after the ceremony was just awesome. It was about something we all need to learn about...and that is conflict resolution. Especially in the church, because sad to say, there is conflict that goes on at church all too often.

Here are some notes I took from this morning...

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Peace is not just the absence of conflict but the presence of harmony.

Unresolved conflict is toxic.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (New International Version)
26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (New International Version)
10If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Ephesians 2:13-17 (New International Version)
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

There is no more God like work to be done in this world than peacemaking
-John Broadus

What do you do if you have wronged someone or they have wronged you? Make Peace! If you reach out to try and reconcile with someone and are rejected or pushed away. Know that you tried to make peace and leave it at that. You can't make someone else accept your peace offering, but you can at least know that you did the right thing.

I was blessed by todays message and it is one we should all hear. It doesn't matter if you believe in God and Christianity or not. These could apply to any situation.

So go...make Peace...for blessed are the peacemakers.


Friday, March 27, 2009

You have to wonder...

Sometimes you have to wonder about how church people treat each other. Most of us believe in the same Jesus and want to follow Him. But when we disagree on small things and then turn our backs on folks that don't believe exactly the way we do, then you have to wonder...

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together we have to talk.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
in The New York Times (1960)

Worth Thinking About: "We simply need to be natural and real. If Jesus is a real person in my life, I won't be around you too long before you begin to know that. And one way you know it is because I'm showing God's love toward you, not because I'm preaching at you. We must plainly and simply love people." (Jerry Cook)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Pastor of Rothesay Vineyard, David Hayward, posted these words today. Words that I think all churches should read & heed...

If we are a community that values authenticity and diversity, then we need to constantly remind ourselves to not take offense when one of us falls. We are in danger of becoming judgmental if we forget how much we have been forgiven ourselves. We will, at one time or another, stumble. Compassionate people and healthy communities know how to rehabilitate others with grace, not only to the dignity of their own personal lives, but to the life of the community with safety and without shame.

In making these proclamations of who we are by grace, we must be careful not to let pride slip in. We must remember that we are who we are only because of grace. We will not look down on one another. Nor will we consider ourselves any better or any worse than any other community. If we love diversity, then we also appreciate the many local expressions of the body throughout the world, including ours.

Thanks for sharing this David (aka the naked pastor)



I am more on the side of Free Choice than being The Elect. I believe that God offers all Salvation but that we have to make that choice to choose Him.

FWIW...here is a great post written by Richard Dahlstrom I read on the BWC Blog.

The New Calvinism... be careful

(Excerpt below)

The tired old argument between Calvinists and Arminiests about the nature of free-will and God's sovereignty is a classic example of how dangerous, in some settings, certitude is. The reality is that we're treading on the ground of mystery when we try to ascertain the interplay of man's choice and God's activity. Both are true, in ways that can't be harmonized adequately this side of eternity. There's some MYSTERY here, and when we fail to leave the mystery as mystery, offering instead a systematized answer, we do damage to the scriptures, and the systems we create run the grave of risk of distorting the character of God, as is evidenced by the doctrine of a limited atonement, which is a logical consequence of Calvinism, yet not in keeping with God's character in the Bible. (Mystery is nothing new by the way. We accept the mystery of the trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus, without trying to disect it. We tried, early on in church history, and decided it couldn't be done.)

But now, suddenly, at the beginning of the 21st century, after 2000 years of failing to dissect the argument well enough to settle it, a few men have come along and figured it out for us. The answers, missing for literally millenia, are now here. "Thank you! Thank you! I can sleep now at night knowing the mystery is solved."


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yesterday, my plan was to go to the gym right after work. But my wife called me at work and asked if I would like to go for a walk with her after she got off of work, due to the fact that it was just so nice outside yesterday. At first, I said maybe. But it was for a selfish reason, because I knew that if I went to the gym I would not want to go for a walk, and I value my gym time. Don't get me wrong, my wife and I give each other space to do stuff we each enjoy. But after I thought about it a bit after our conversation over the phone, I was immediately convicted of something. Patty REALLY wanted me to go for a long walk with her, and I tried to get out of it. So I called her back and told her that I would not go to the gym and would walk with her. Let me tell you this. It was the right decision and I know it meant a lot to her. Later that evening, she even thanked me for doing it. We had a wonderful conversation and time together as we walked (briskly I might add because Patty walks very fast) about 2 and a half miles.

I had an email exchange with two good friends about some personal issues I am dealing with and I thank God for good friends and great advice. I appreciate these guys because I can be totally honest with them and they are totally honest with me. They know who they are and I am glad for their friendship and counsel.

I am looking forward to going to our small group Thursday. I have talked with Obie and he has said that I could help at Drop-In every other Thursday so that Patty and I can go to small group on the other Thursdays. We've tried a few different groups, and this is the one that we feel a part of and that is the best fit. Unfortunately, it meets on Thursdays, the same night as Drop-In. But there is another guy that has stepped up to help and he is there to help Obie every Thursday, which has allowed me to ask Obie if I could step back every other Thursday to attend small group. Thank you Obie and thanks to Rich for stepping in and helping us out.

Lots going on in the upcoming weeks. We are going to the Phoenix Roadrunners final home game the 28th. We are standing up with Jeff and Trish Sunday the 29th as they dedicate their baby at the late service. April 3rd we will be attending The Worship Gathering led by Kim Gentes at our church. The 4th we are going to the orphanage. The 5th is our annual church picnic which is always a fun time. I go on my 5 day work trip from the 6th- 10th which I always enjoy because I am out in the field all week and get to talk to my volunteer weather observers and inspect the equipment. We are going to a marriage seminar the 17th and 18th called How to Fireproof your Marriage which is being hosted by our church. The 29th is the Black Label Society and Sevendust concert with Jon and Shelly from Amadeo Church. So lots going on.

Last and certainly not least, my baby girl Shannon, turns 20 this Saturday the 28th. Hard to believe, but it's true. They grow up fast.

That's all the news from here. Be blessed.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The Limbaughization of Evangelicals

Check out this post by the internet monk and tell me what you think.

The Limbaughization of Evangelicals


from "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Clairborne

". . .When people begin moving beyond charity and toward justice and solidarity with the poor and oppressed, as Jesus did, they get in trouble. Once we are actually friends with folks in struggle, we start to ask why people are poor, which is never as popular as giving to charity. One of my friends has a shirt marked with the words of late Catholic bishop Dom Helder Camara: 'When I fed the hungry, they called me a saint. When I asked why people are hungry, they called me a communist.' Charity wins awards and applause, but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for charity. People are crucified for living out a love that disrupts the social order, that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them. . ."

". . .For Jesus did not seek out the rich and powerful in order to 'trickle down' His kingdom. Rather, He joined those at the bottom, the outcasts and undesirables, and everyone was attracted to His love for people on the margins. (We know that all are poor and lonely anyway, don't we?). . . "


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Loving Others

What part of loving others is it that we don't understand? God commands us to love Him and to love others. I was reading a post by Carl Tuttle called Your Brother Isn't Your Enemy. Sometimes we will have disagreements with others. Why is it that we shun others who don't believe the way we do or disagree with us on what I like to call "stupid shit"? You know, stuff like Politics, Doctrine, etc. Does it really matter? Carl ends his post with these words, and they are excellent words of advice.

When you are tempted to criticize and attack a brother or sister in Christ, remember “Your brother isn’t your enemy, even when he acts like it!”


Friday, March 20, 2009

Aliens Among Us

I found an article written by Jack Legg over on the BWC. Below is an excerpt from it and I'll include a link to the full article at the bottom. I'd have to say that I agree with him. How about you?

Suppose I meet an illegal alien on the street. (For the sake of argument, I know he’s illegal because he is holding a big cardboard sign in front of him that says, “Hi, everybody! I am here illegally!”) He has fled his home country to seek refuge from poverty, disease, and war. Or maybe he just wanted to move. Regardless, he is hungry, he has no place to stay, and he has only the clothes on his back.

If Uncle Sam wants to pick him up and kick him out of the country, fine. Go ahead, Sam. Do your thing. I won’t stop you. But what Uncle Sam decides to do with this man has absolutely no bearing on my commitment to my fellow man.

So, when I find myself standing face to face with someone from outside one of our artificial borders, I’ll buy the guy a cheeseburger. I’ll make sure he has a place to stay for the night. And if he gets sick, I’ll make sure he gets the attention he needs. I’ll play with his kids and help them with homework and eat with the family and invite them to church. I’ll help teach him English and learn about his culture. I will listen when he speaks, and look him in the eye, and treat Him as the Image-bearer he is. Maybe I’ll even let him stay in my spare bedroom until he gets on his feet.

I’ll do all this, not because he is my fellow American, but because he is my neighbor. That used to be enough.

read the full article here



The single clenched fist lifted and ready, Or the open asking handheld out and waiting. Choose: For we meet by one or the other.

- Carl Sandburg,"Choose," from Chicago Poems.

Follow the Leader

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Skindred - Rat Race

Reggae with a hardcore flair. These guys came out a few years ago and I bought their CD. I really liked them, still do. Well they're back now with a new CD called Rock Roots Riot. I bought tix to Ufest this year which is May 2nd and these guys are on the bill along with Chevelle, Drowning Pool, Saliva, Nonpoint, Static X and many more. I get to check these guys out live and I am sure they will not disappoint.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Absurdity of it all

I was reading Kingdom Grace's blog (One of my faves and it's in my sidebar) and really enjoyed this post today. Do enjoy will ya?


Ukelele Folkster Todd Baio

If you like Folk Music with a Ukelele flavor, you will absolutely dig my friend Todd Baio's site. Please check him out at this site, or just go to my sidebar and click on Ukelele Folkster Todd Baio.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

What is Truth?

I read an excellent entry on TheOoze today written by Chris Burgett here. Enjoy!

What is Truth?

My soul screams
The sound echoes through the abyss
The weight of the darkness freezes me
While my search for Truth blinds me
Just at the edge of my vision I see it
The movement of the white dove appears
For just an instant the darkness drips from my heart
Allowing me to feel hope of knowing once again
But the light is gone just as quickly
Replaced by the empty smiles of religious mannequins
The darkness claims me once again
My soul screams

Who do you worship?

John Calvin or Christ? Think about it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

You just need to be a flea
against injustice. Enough
committed fleas biting
strategically can make even the
biggest dog uncomfortable and
transform even the biggest
- Marian Wright Edelman

Potrait of a True Friend

This goes out to all of my true friends, you know who you are. I can only hope and pray that I am the same kind of friend.
Portrait of a True Friend
I can't give solutions to all of life 's problems, doubts,
Or fears. But I can listen to you, and together we will
Search for answers.
I can't change your past with all it's heartache and pain,
Nor the future with its untold stories.
But I can be there now when you need me to care.
I can't keep your feet from stumbling.
I can only offer my hand that you may grasp it and not fall.
Your joys, triumphs, successes, and happiness are not mine;
Yet I can share in your laughter.
Your decisions in life are not mine to make, nor to judge;
I can only support you, encourage you,
And help you when you ask.
I can't prevent you from falling away from friendship,
From your values, from me.
I can only pray for you, talk to you and wait for you.
I can't give you boundaries which I have determined for you,
But I can give you the room to change, room to grow,
Room to be yourself.
I can't keep your heart from breaking and hurting,
But I can cry with you and help you pick up the pieces
And put them back in place.
I can't tell you who you are.
I can only love you and be your friend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

War & Peace

We must be prepared to make
the same heroic sacrifices for
the cause of peace that we
make ungrudgingly for the
cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Birthday Girls

My wife Patty's birthday is on St. Patricks Day March 17th. My daughter Shannon turns 20 on March 28th. My parents and my grandma drove up from Tucson last night and we all went to The Olive Garden to celebrate.
Clockwise from left to right...my dad, my grandma, my mom, myself, my daughter Shannon and my wife Patty.
Patty opening her gift.

Shannon opening her gift.

Father & Daughter

Mother & Daughter

Four generations. Grandma Morgan, my mom, myself and my daughter Shannon. I'll give my grandmas's age. She's 87 and will outlive us all. She swims and walks everyday.

The girls

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander.
- Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A good word

I really love the church I attend and am often moved by the talks, or sermons if you will. I just believe that our church has some very gifted speakers. But today, the speaker was not really a gifted speaker. Well I take that back. He spoke what God put on his heart. But his delivery was just sort of mundane. His real talent was in Worship Music. He is a nationally known Worship Leader in the Vineyard Church Movement.

He led worship this morning and also gave the talk. He was visiting us from Canada. His talk was all about God's Love, Grace and Mercy. A lot of folks tend to think of God as this guy in the sky shaking His finger at us when we mess up. There is nothing we can do where God is not there waiting for us to run to Him. His arms will always be open. He will always welcome us back.

After the talk Pastor Jack said that he felt that there were some there this morning that needed a release. It could be an addiction, a person, or a situation. Well that word was definitely for me this morning. I looked at Patty and we both went up for prayer and it is just so amazing to me how God works sometimes in our circumstances. The lady that came up to pray with us was going through a very similar experience. I will not go into details because they really should not be put into this blog. But I am just so glad that I was able to be still, and listen, and to release this situation into the hands of the only person capable of handling it. How great is our God?


Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I am currently reading a book titled The Ragamuffin Gospel authored by Brennan Manning. Here is an excerpt from pages 93-94 that really touched me...

A story is told about Fiorello LaGuardia, who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of World War II, was called "the Little Flower" by adoring New Yorkers because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel. He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.

One bitterly cold night in January 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter's husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It's a bad neighborhood, Your Honor," the man told the mayor. "She's got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson."

LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said, "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions - ten dollars or ten days in jail." But even as he pronounced the sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous sombrero, saying, "Here is the ten dollar fine, which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant."

So the following day the New York City newspaper reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents of that amount being contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.

What an extraordinary moment of grace for everyone present in that courtroom! The grace of God operates at a profound level in the life of a loving person. Oh, that we would recognize God's grace when it comes to us.


Do as I say!

Monday, March 02, 2009

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

freedom, fear, control, and law

Kent, who blogs at Faithfully Dangerous did a post back in Mid February titled Leading By Example or Playing Dictator .

He used a conversation between Mack and Sarayu from the book The Shack that I would like to share. Please enjoy:

"Mackenzie," Sarayu continued, "those that are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust us to live in them. Trying to keep the law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control.""Is that why we like the law so much---to give us some control?" asked Mack.

"It's much worse than that," resumed Sarayu. "It grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You believe you are living to a higher standard than those you judge. Enforcing rules, especially in it's more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to what you might think, I have a great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse."


Sunday, March 01, 2009

10 Years - Wasteland

Our Weekend

So Patty and I had a nice visit with my folks and my grandma Friday evening. We stayed the night at my folks house and then took off for the orphanage the next morning. We both have not been feeling very well. I can't really speak for Patty but for me it has been a roller coaster kind of experience. I felt really bad last week, then started to feel a bit better, and yesterday towards the end of the day at the orphanage I was just totally beat. Can't breathe through my nose, my chest is congested and just that typical all over body ache feeling. Patty felt worse Friday night into Saturday morning than she does today.

Needless to say, we did not go to church this morning. I seriously don't think I could have anyhow. I am doing absolutely nothing today and Patty feels like she can go grocery shopping she said. Patty told me that I should just sit up and not lay down and that should help the head congestion. I am hoping that I will be able to make it to work next week.

It was such a blessing seeing the kids at the orphanage again. I smile every time we arrive there and they all just flock to Patty. They flock to me too, but Patty gets more of the attention because it really was her that got me interested in the ministry. One of the boys that we really liked there, one of the older boys was no longer there and that saddened me in a selfish way. I was sad that we couldn't see him but glad that he was able to go back home.

We brought tons of food down for the kitchen and it was funny because the car looked like a lowrider with the trunk all low to the ground.

Coming back home yesterday, we came upon a checkpoint on the highway that had the Mexican Federales at it. We are always a little nervous approaching these as you never know if it's the actual police or the drug cartels. They are really having major problems in the border towns with the drug cartels.

The huge plus for us yesterday? Less than a 30 minute wait at the border.

Pray that I get over whatever this is that I have and can start to feel normal. I bought some cheap antibiotics at the pharmacy in Mexico, but if what I have is viral, it will just have to run its course.