in between bites & sips ...

thanks for stopping by! here's where i put various thought, quotes or stories. most will be brief, some may be extended - but all will be somehow connected to my world. enjoy your stay!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Three Words

What a moving piece! Some are funny, some are sad - really, no commentary is needed from me, the video says it all.
Now, here are My Three Words ...

Feel free to tell me YOUR Three Words by commenting on this post. Pics and videos would be AWESOME!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Reason I Love My Wife

She genuinely cares for people.

Not that I don't care for people - but Mary Jo takes it to a higher, more nobler level than I ever think of.

For example this morning - amidst all the chaos that is preparing my kids for their first day of the new school year today, I left Mary Jo's car with that special amount of gas left in it that I call 'EEE' for 'ExtrEmE'. You know - that danger zone that is Far, Far away from 'F', and just beyond the 'E' ... the time when driving is a true adventure, since you THINK you can make it to your destination, but you aren't positive. Then, upon arriving at your destination, you THINK you can make it to your NEXT destination, and so on, and so on. That, my friends, is called EXTREME DRIVING!

So, you guessed it, I get a call on my cell that Mary Jo managed to get exactly 90 seconds worth of driving away from our home, when her goal was to get the 240 seconds needed to arrive at the gas station. So close, yet so far.

You'd think I'd be in big trouble. Nope. Now, I'm certain Mary Jo wasn't exactly thinking 'oh, what a wonderful, loving man I have chosen to spend my life with' at that very moment - but - if she was thinking anything else, she sure did hide it well!

While I was off filling the portable gas tank, a construction worker came by our im(auto)mobile and put up a cone to alert oncoming traffic and gave our youngest child, who was beginning to work up a sweat in the backseat a cool bottle of water. Upon my return, of course I thanked him for his kindness and, after making our automobile, mobile again - Mary Jo and I went off on our seperate ways, resuming the tasks of the day.

But, this is where Mary Jo's caring REALLY comes to the forefront. My cell rings ...

'oh, oh - now what?' I wonder, as I see by the caller display that it is Mary Jo.

"Rob, I think that contruction worker may have given us his last bottle of water. Do you have any water at the church you could bring to him and the other workers?"

WOW! My wife is GREAT! What a great idea! What a great opportunity to show appreciation for their thoughtfulness!

As it turned out - the only cold beverage I had was some cans of iced tea. I brought them to him and he (and especially the guy working the machine) seemed to truly appreciate it. Over the course of the ensuing conversation, I let him know that I worked at the church up the road.

Thank you, Mary Jo! Because of your genuine care for others, I was able to demonstrate how God rewards those who bless others.

I love you!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mother Theresa ... Angel or Agnostic?

The linked article below this paragraph was the center of a discussion in another forum on the web - a discussion I couldn't help but add my 2 cents to! It seems that Mother Theresa wrote some letters might reveal her awareness of her own hypocrisy, her disbelief in the existance of God and the saving work of Jesus. Her moments of doubt & struggles with faith seem to have stemmed from her observations of the horrible state of the world - and her questions about how God could allow such suffering and pain.

Was Mother Theresa really an angel sent from God? Or was she an agnostic who simply loved people and was driven to do all she could to change her world?

The following is a re-working of my post on those discussion boards ...

Just because the world is messed up doesn't mean that there isn't a good and loving God. Part of what makes God good and loving is that He entrusts - He entrusted the world into humankind's hands. The state of the world is OUR fault, not His. There are so many more points I could offer to this argument, but, I'll save them for another time. Suffice to say, I completely disagree with you on this point, and would be pleased to elaborate if asked to.

Also, not all religious people are hypocrites as you make them out to be. They often appear hypocritical because we make them out to be perfect - when - any truly religious person knows that "all have sinned ..." and "there is none holy but God" - therefore - even I, as a Pastor of a church, sin. I am not perfect. I don't pretend to be perfect. But, I'm sure there are some people in my congregation or in my community that THINK that I THINK I am perfect - this would then make me look to be a hypocrite, when in fact I am not.

As for Mother Theresa's faith in God, that is between her and God - and no one can truly know for sure what she believed either in her lifetime or on her deathbed. I will say this - sometimes I wonder what in the world I am doing, giving my whole life to God as a Pastor of a church. sometimes I wonder if it's worth it all. Iwonder if there really is a God who cares. But these thoughts are temporary. I'm then reminded of times in my past when I KNEW God was real. I remember times when I KNEW God involved Himself in my life - beyond any circumstancial evidence. Then, I ask God to forgive me for doubting, and I go about the business of life!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Trade Secrets

Some readers may already know this, but I'm big into fantasy football, baseball, hockey, basketball, etc etc etc. It all started when I lived in a small town that offered very little in entertainment - and when a family member (Mark S.) introduced me to his football matchup sheet, I was instantly intrigued.

Years later, I may not be a rookie at fantasy sports anymore, but I still have the hardest time pulling the trigger on a trade. It seems that sometimes I feel the player on my roster has untapped potential, just waiting to bust out - or that the player I'd be acquiring must have something wrong with him that I am unaware of, I mean, why is the other guy trading him to me?

Here's what I do now -
1. Know my trading partner (no trust, no trade)
2. Don't go on a hunch (player X isn't suddenly going to become a superstar)
3. Remember it's a game (if I like the trade ... go for it! why not???)

I kinda wish life were so easy. But in some ways it is! If I would KNOW who I'm talking with, I could KNOW what they need/want from me or what they need/want to give me. Also, I try to take in information at face-value. Reading between the lines gets me into trouble! If I can trust someone, then I can avoid the 'hunch' and believe that their yes means yes and that their no means no. Lastly, because we take life so seriously at times, we become paralyzed by fear - fear of failure. Hey, I have made bad trades in fantasy sports at times - but that doesn't mean I lose the competition! I've made poor decisions in life, but there's no need to beat myself up over it. I've just decided to make good choices from here on out - and not worry about the mistakes along the way ... I either try to learn from the mistakes and try to not repeat them, or, at the very least, use them for great sermon illustrations!

Sermon, briefly

Dusting Off the Good Book
2 Kings 22 & 23

1.Respond to the Word
2.Be humbled
4.Make promises or renew old ones
5.Clean house
7.Defend your land

Josiah does these 7 things that we could benefit from doing! At the end of the day, the Bible says this about Josiah ..

"Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses." 2 Kings 23:25

Josiah's actions upon discovering the Law should be the same as our actions upon discovering the Bible.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sermon, briefly

k(no)w blood - k(no)w life
Hebrews 9:11-28

1. Blood is Required to Enter Most Holy Place (v.12)
2. Blood is Used to Cleanse Our Conscience (v.14)
3. Blood is Shed to Provide Forgiveness (v.22)
4. Blood is Sacrificed Once For All (v.27)

As barbaric as it may seem, without the blood of Jesus being shed on Calvary, there is no hope for our life - either today or eternally!

Monday, August 13, 2007

I never imagined I'd say ...


- to my daughter (she was 3)

Friday, August 10, 2007

New General Superintendent!

Rev. George O. Wood is the new General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God. I am very pleased to have him in this position. He wasn't my personal first choice, but I can see the hand of God in this decision and I ended up voting for him. Also, Rev. Alton Garrison is the Assistant Superintendent, Rev. John Palmer is the General Secretary, Rev. John Bueno remains as Director of World Missions and Rev. Tollie Wilson comes in as Director of US Missions.

Of local interest, Rev. Doug Clay was elected to the Executive Presbytery - I believe he was the only election to unseat an incumbant.

In hindsight - I can't imagine a better group to have possibly been elected to these positions. No one knows what the 2009 elections will bring or how the world (or A/G) will change between now and then - but for now - I believe we are in God's will as a Fellowship.

Who Will Go?

Thank God and the leadership of the A/G for Friday nights service! Like many, I ended 2 days of business sessions where there were times I agreed with the decisions of the General Council, other times I did not - but on Friday night, what I witnessed was the General Council UNANIMOUS!

To hear missionary group after missionary proclaim that they will go to various areas of world need brought me back to remembering why I am in this fellowship called the Assemblies of God - there was a day when I answered the question, 'Who will go?' with a resounding 'I WILL!'.

I, and lots of other pastors and leaders in the A/G have spent much time considering some important issues in the last few weeks - and we will continue to do so in the next 2 years until the 2009 General Council - but I, personally, have been re-inspired to invest the best of my efforts in fulfilling my calling - to WIN THE LOST!

I will pray for the A/G & it's leaders. I will support the A/G & it's leaders. And I will do the task God has called me to - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24).

Feels like homecoming week!

So weird. I'm at General Council in Indianapolis, IN this week. I've talked with some people from my past that I practically forgot even existed! From old friends from CBC or White Plains to new acquaintances whose names I knew but had never talked with before - I feel like I'm in a time warp or a clashing of different worlds!

It was great to be able to judge Rebecca Guglielmo in the short sermon part of the Fine Arts Festival as well as having the crew from WCWC in the audience for both her and Scooter Meyer. Great memories were recalled while talking to Doug Jenkins & Amy Jacobs from HeartSong.

In many ways though - I've been a bit of a loner so far this week. I really haven't had either much opportunity or energy to be very social. I opted out of the CBC alumni gathering tonight & have been pretty much on my own or sitting with new friends (i.e. strangers) for the various meetings or events I have attended.

Next time, I really hope Mary Jo can be with me - she knows a lot more people and chatting it up is always more fun when she's there. Perhaps tomorrow I'll do a better job of mingling while I have the chance!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Time to change seats.

Just finished a nice vacation at Lakeshore Camp - just east of Toronto on Lake Ontario - with the family. Amazingly, this was our 2nd vacation this summer! We went to Michigan in June. That was a lot of fun, living on the beach. This was fun too, but different, since it really was more of a spiritual retreat since we would all (kids & Mary Jo & I) go to services in both the morning and night.

Sometimes it's good for me to sit back and enjoy church. I don't need to worry about the music, or the sound, or the ushers, or the announcements. If I want to pray for people at the altar, I can. If I don't want to, I don't. Just worshipping without being responsible for anything is a treat now and then.

On Tuesday, I'm back on the road again - this time to Indianapolis for General Council. Hopefully, I'll be able to reconnect with a few people and collect some resources that will benefit our church. I'm also going to do some judging for the Fine Arts Festival. I'll be a judge for the Short Sermons. You know what that means? Yep, that's right - I'll be taking notes! Perhaps I'll get some great sermon ideas that I can use!!!!

All in all though, I hope these couple of weeks of enjoying being lead instead of being a leader will be healthy for me. I think it's good for all of us to change seats now and then - sure - nothing is as good as that special seat where the view is just right, and the cushion isn't too hard or too soft - but, you'd never know how good you fit in your old chair unless you test out another chair every once and a while.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Somethin' to pray about

During the week of August 6-10, the Assemblies of God will be electing a new General Superintendent (GS). Some may jokingly call the 'winner' of this election the Pentecostal Pope! In some ways this is true, not so much in other ways. For example, the GS can't re-interpret the Bible or force the rest of the individuals or churches to do or say or believe anything ... mainly because the A/G isn't a religion or denomination, but a fellowship. In a fellowship, you choose to be a part of the group, as opposed to being required to be a part of the group.

But, I digress ...

Although the GS doesn't really impact worship at Liberty A/G or any other A/G church, he or she will have a HUGE impact in setting the course for the fellowship. In many ways, our churches are at a crossroads - some saying 'a new era requires a new approach', while others saying 'let us return to our roots'. Unfortunately, these two camps seem to be beating their respective drums louder than ever - and the new GS is going to have to have the mind of God to know the beat of His (the Lord's) heart and not the sound of man's agendas and idiologies.

So, let's take some time to pray this week. Pray for God to move through our country. Pray that God will allow a group of individuals to hear the call of the Spirit and heed that call. Pray that God has His will in appointing a leader for this group of individuals. And, pray that our church be a part of a move that will prepare the hearts of people for Jesus' soon return!