Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Let's see... Watch Dick Clark and fall asleep. Wake up later, and see the ball drop. Wow, ain't this fun.
Or... Come join us at New Harvest for fun, fellowship, refreshments, prayer, praise, the power of God, anointed preaching, ministry time, countdown, balloons, whistles, party hats. More excitement than you can handle, without the effects of a hangover.
Yeah, there's really no choice. See you tonight!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Although ministries in the church are structured to teach the youth the pitfalls of sex before marriage, both physically and spiritually, it is apparent these programs have little effect lasting effect. The church is caught up in a society which aids and promotes promiscuity among the teens, and even the preteens. TV programs aimed at grade school children promote sexual exploitation with their suggestive dress, dance, and advertisements.
The church must find ways to effectively reach the youth of our day. We must educate them, mentor them, and stir them with the passion of God. We must also guard against judgmental attitudes towards them.
Sadly, the stats of sexual immorality do not just apply to the teens. Ask pretty much any motel chain, and they will tell you their biggest hits of porn on pay tv are when the Christian groups come in. It seems that while men are going to the conference, they come back to the room to watch a little playboy.
We can't preach it to the kids if we don't live it!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The truth of the matter is that the new year does not bring an end to our problems. The economy will not change from bad to good overnight. Your problems will not cease to exist. As a matter of fact, the difference is only on the calendar. It will be a day later than before.
What the new year DOES bring is an opportunity to reflect. It is an occasion to begin again, a new start. Really the fresh start begins in you. The vows and resolutions you make today will only be as good as your dedication and determination to keep them. I need to lose weight, and that is one of my goals. But my pants are not going to fall off of me simply because it is a new year. It will require much discipline, exercise, and determination on my part. The resolution I make today must be followed up a month from now, two months from now, and on.
I am looking forward to the new year. But I know I will carry some present needs and problems with me into the crossing into 2009. I want to get closer to God, become more like Him. I want to be more loving, more forgiving. There are other personal goals I have. I am making a fresh start. The new year provides an opportunity for reflection and new commitments.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Yes, I got in the dog house when Zach and I came home with the little thing you could hold in your hand. I had just returned from a missions trip to El Salvador, and I missed Zachary's 4th birthday party. And although maw maw had the gifts covered, I had something else in mind. So we came home with the dog. For those of you not in the south, that is pronounced dawg :)
Buster likes to ride in my truck, ride in the convertible, and ride with Zach and I on the golf cart. He also has no problems getting in the car with you and licking your face while you whiz down the road. He has been known to eat things like seats, iron, rocks, and pretty much anything that looks appealing to him.
I was over at Zach's house today. I saw Buster, and he licked me. Sometimes its good to get a lickin'.
This blog has no spiritual significance that I know of, but I hope you enjoy it. Have you had a similar situation? Let me know.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I challenge you to finish the year with the enthusiasm you plan for the new one. We should finish strong. Through the years there have been athletes whose strong finishes propelled them into a position of winning. From great quarterbacks to boxing greats, a flurry of energy at the end brought a win out of apparent defeat. As the people of God, it is important to finish strong. The Apostle Paul said "I have kept the faith, I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course." He knew the value of a strong finish.
The finish line of 2008 is not the end, but just a crossing line to another mile. There are more opportunities ahead for us, more souls to reach for Christ. I want to invite you to reach inside you for an extra kick- and finish strong
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
May you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our savior, and spend time with your family. I enjoy all the things which traditionally go along with the season. Yes, I realize that some of the things we do have no biblical foundation. For example, we do not know the actual date of Christ's birth. And the story as we tell it in our Christmas plays is somewhat inaccurate. By the time the wise men arrived to where Jesus was, he was probably two or three years old. And I know that our observance of Santa Clause and gifts under the tree bother some of you.
To all of that, I say, "Bah, Humbug." I am not going to let you rain on my parade. I enjoy everything about this holiday, including the opening of gifts, the Christmas tree and lights, and even old Saint Nick.
Zach, my four year old grandson, told my wife Trish that he wanted us to get Jesus a birthday cake. So we have one. Tomorrow, when our family gathers around to open gifts, we will have dinner, and afterwards we will cut the cake, and wish Jesus a Happy Birthday.
I know Jesus will enjoy his birthday. Although some of the things we do on his day are not really about them, I have a feeling he enjoys them- like families gathering together, sharing, loving, and enjoying one another. I believe he is blessed when we are blessed.
In the Robbins household, we will open the presents, eat a big dinner, and cut some cake. We will take plenty of pictures. And if we forget, (we won't), there's a four year old that will make sure we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!
Although I do not know everyone who reads my posts, I love you. I hope you have a blessed and Merry Christmas.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
As I was walking out with my items, I was thinking about what she had said, and was glad I had the response that included the word Christmas. I wasn't being preachy, I just want to use Christ in my "holiday" greetings.
As you know, Walmart has greeters at the entrance, along with people assigned as you are leaving. I am not sure what their title is, but they are basically the checkers, in case the alarm goes off on something that wasn't scanned properly, or to catch anyone who might be trying to steal an item. There was a lady as I was exiting, one of these checker persons, who also had a greeting- but this one didn't say "Have a Happy Holiday", she said "Have a Blessed Christmas."
Wow- two ladies, both with greetings, and both were cordial. But I found myself somewhat offened by the non offensive "holiday" wish, while I was blessed by the "Blessed Christmas" wish. The first lady was probably doing what she was supposed to do, and the second one, I'm sure, would be offensive to some- but not me.
I agree with the Wal Mart checker/greeter. I hope you have a Blessed Christmas!
Monday, December 22, 2008
I go back a long way of in ministry. I pioneered the church I presently pastor, and have been here a long time. New Harvest is a great church with great people. We are located in a rural area. North Carolina's unemployment rate is the highest it has been in 25 years, and Rutherford County ranks among the highest. The difficult economic situation this year has made it even more difficult for the church.
Typically this year we see a decrease in giving. We have people who tithe on a regular basis, and some who give occasionally. Some are regular givers, except for this time of year. What people fail to understand is that the church budget and pastor's wages do not end in November and pick back up in February. So each year at this time I play Santa Cause. Giving decreases as our members take their tithes and offerings and spend them on Santa.
I have friends in ministry who know of no such problem. They have never had a budget deficit. I have not had such luxury. So, in what has already been a difficult year financially, becomes more so. When the funds are not there, they are not there. As a result our ability to continue to shine the light to the community, region, nation, and world becomes affected. I am amazed at how many people want to send money to Africa or some TV preacher, but don't want to support the local church. The only way the local church in your community can be there and be relevant is by the support of its people.
I apologize if this seems like a gripe at my people. It is really a concern that I have for the churches across our nation. Our nation is suffering great difficulty in this financial crisis, and the ability of the ministry is being affected. I realize there are those who are not within the local community of Forest City, that are being affected by the same concerns. If I can help one person to give a special offering this year to their house of worship, my Santa Cause blog has been worth the effort it took to write it.
Oh well, I've got a few more weeks to play Santa Cause :)
Having said all of the above, I love my church, love my people, and love the Lord.
Y'all be blessed, and have a Merry Christmas!
We have experienced many ups and downs through the years. We have had our share of laughing, crying, holding each other's hands, and plenty of praying. Vacations with the kids, playing Santa, and all the experiences that go with church life- some pleasant, and some difficult. But through it all Trish has stood by my side.
Marriage and family values are things which have been somewhat fragmented and forgotten in our society today. That is sad. We haven't had the perfect marriage (there are none), but we have stood together through thick and thin- for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse... as the vows of marriage go. The strength of our marriage is in the central figure of it. That is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
She is still the most beautiful woman in the world to me. (She will not let me post pictures of her because she has put on a little weight and intends after Christmas to go on a diet) I love her more today than I did the day I met her. She is the sparkle in my eye. My pet names for her are Sunshine and Pretty Girl.
Happy Anniversary, Sunshine. I love you!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Jesus spoke on several occasions about bringing joy into our lives. He said that he had come that we might have life to the full. The word full in the text is defined as living to the max, abundant, overflowing. In other words, he wants us to enjoy life. Being a Christian doesn't mean that I have to wait until I die and go to heaven to have and enjoy life. I can have abundance of life, joy, and peace right now.
Often our response to situations causes us to lose our joy. Being negative minded can rob you of your joy, your peace, and even your health. We must learn to discipline ourselves to respond in every situation with a God kind of response. Exercise faith, keep believing, hold on- those are not just mere words, they are important truths to grasp when facing life's battles.
I am around kids daily. Our church has a daycare, and each day when I enter, I go through the classes. The children hug me, and I hug them back. They are so full of love and joy. Our church kids do the same. And our youth group has grown. I find myself getting hugs all the time. I guess it's one of the perks of getting older :) But the kids and youth are full of life. I don't enjoy being around people that don't enjoy themselves, don't want to have fun.
I frequently talk about my grandson, Zach. He is now 4 years old, and comes home with me after lunch at the daycare daily. Wow, he is full of energy and joy. Trish and I sometimes feel as if we are out of place around some of the folks our age. They want to sit around and do nothing.
Not me. I want to race you on the go carts and win. I want to beat you at Checkers. I want to play and run. Look at the lights, sing Christmas carols, play that game they call Chinese something (can't think of it) where you swap gifts around. I want to see the glimmer in the eyes of someone who has just accepted Jesus, and to hold a baby in my arms that has just been dedicated to the Lord. I want to marry a young couple and tell him that he can kiss his bride. I want to stand in the rain, see the mountain peaks, watch the ocean waves come in.
I want to live life to the full. I wont begrudge the money I spend on gifts (it's less this year) or any of the other things that go with the season. When someone tells me their kids are grown so they "don't do Christmas" or don't put up the lights or Christmas tree, I feel sad for them. And I think how hard it must be to grow up. I've decided if that is what it means, I never will.
Gotta run-- I am in my office today at church, but gotta run and hug some kids. Tonight we're going with them to see the lights. Yay, Me!
Pastor Ronnie, signing off- And living life to the full!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Over and over again you hear it, see it, read it. Happy Holiday! From the commercials to the news, the expressions of "holiday" are everywhere. The word holiday is used in the place of Christmas. After all, we do not want to be offensive. No mention of Christ, someone's feelings might be hurt. You can't even say Christmas tree, it is a holiday tree.
It's funny, we can say Happy New Year, we can refer to all the other holidays, but we can't mention the birth of Christ. Forget for a moment that Christmas has become so commercialized that we don't even focus on the true meaning, the birth of a Savior. Christmas has become lost in "Holiday".
I feel like if I hear it one more time, I might throw up. In the non offensive world we live in, I am offended. The secular humanistic society we live in today has convinced everyone that we must not allow this obtrusive, offensive, vulgar word to exist!
Sorry, but you're not going to hear Happy Holiday from me. You're Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, or something else? I love you. I respect you even if I don't agree with you. I won't intrude on your celebrations, or even your choice not to have one. But this holiday celebrates the birth of the ONE who gave His life for us. I'm not going to omit it just to please a world gone mad.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I remember pulling up into the driveway. Everything we owned was in the house, including what Christmas presents we had already purchased for the two kids we had at the time. Things which money could not replace like family pictures were gone up in smoke. The only thing spared was the clothes on our back. We had no insurance on the house, so when someone says they lost everything, that pictures us.
We were young in the faith, and I remember pulling up into the drive and speaking blessings and scriptures of faith. John 10:10, 1 John 4:4, Romans 8:37 came to my mind, and I spoke them as I prayed. I remember it just like it was yesterday.
I am glad to tell you that we were able to make it through that difficult time in our life. It wasn't easy, but God helped us. And through the years, He has been faithful to help us in other times of hardship and crisis. From death to disease to disappointment, He has always been there.
I can't promise you that you will not face pain and disappointment. What I can promise you is that God will see you through.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The holidays also are typically a time of added stress for those who are going through a crisis of some sort. You may have an aging parent whose health is deteriorating, a loved one battling a disease, or going through a separation or divorce. You may feel stressed, worried, all alone.
It is important in these times to remember the important things of life, and to value them. My aging father is battling cancer, and will have surgery in January. He says this may be his last Christmas. The fact is that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. But when you are facing such things, you value the days you have. There are so many things we take for granted. Like family, friends, loved ones.
I remember hearing the song several months ago by Trace Adkins, "You're going to miss this." The song tells the story of a young lady going through several phases of her life, and the point of the story is to value the precious days. Days of growing up at home with mom and dad, of marriage, of raising the kids.
This year I need to remind myself to value the things that are important. No, I can't spend as I want to on the family as in the past. But I have them. I have a loving home, a wife who has stood with me through the years. The old Beatle song says "money can't buy me love." I have a wonderful church family. Most of all, I have the Lord in my life. He has saved me and given me a purpose. He has given me a hope and a future.
Remember us in your prayers. Continue to pray for my dad, and for my son in law, Michael. Michael has had some set backs from his stem cell transplant, and is going through some great difficulty. Please remember him and Tina, and encourage them.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thanks....I Think! Dear All,
My thanks to all those who have sent me emails this
I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one
about rat droppings in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel
with every envelope that needs sealing.
Also,I now have to scrub the top of every can I open
for the same reason.
I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a
sick girl (Penny Brown); who is about to die in the hospital for the
I no longer have any money at all, but that will
change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program .............
Or from the senior bank clerk in Nigeria who wants me
to split $7 million with me for pretending to be a
long-lost relative of
a customer who died intestate.
I no longer worry about my soul because I have
363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.
I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though
I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
Thanks to you,
I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I
forward e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five
Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca-Cola
because it can remove toilet stains.
I no longer can buy gas without taking a friend along
to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm
I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will
drug me with a aftershave sample and rob me.
I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask
me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to
Uganda , Singapore and Uzbekistan .
Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it
bites my bum.
And thanks to your great advice,
I can't even pick up the $5.00 I found dropped in the
car park because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting
underneath my car to grab my leg.
If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70
minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00pm this
afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you
to grow a hairy hump.
I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beauticians relative once removed.
By the way....a South American scientist after a
lengthy study has discovered that people with low IQ always read their e-mails with their hand on the mouse.
Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late!
That's it for today. You can catch more of Pastor Manning's blogs at www.legacyoutreach.org
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Churches and ministries across the nation are being affected. Focus on the Family cut 202 jobs last month. From the national ministries to local churches, there has been an impact.
Each year during the months of December and January, we have seen our tithes and offerings decrease. Sadly, some of the decrease in giving is due to the members of the church taking the money (or at least a portion of it) they give in tithes and offerings, and spending it on gifts for Christmas. What is a difficult situation for the church becomes even more difficult. Finding a way to manage when the funds are not there affects everything the local church does. Lights left on, heating an entire building for a group meeting of 20 people, buying needed goods, materials, all those things that you would normally do become an added burden to the budget.
I am a family man, and I understand the desire to buy your children and family gifts. I know all the traditions of the Christmas season. I just want to pass on to you that there are churches who depend on and need its people to be faithful in their giving. Even during the Christmas season.
We usually have a candlelight service during Christmas. It is always a beautiful thing. I don't want the candlelight service to be a necessity because we don't have the funds to pay the power bill. Thank you for supporting the church. It is a lighthouse to the community and world. Your gifts help it continue to do what it is purposed to do. Support it. That is the best Christmas gift you can give to your family. Where would you be without the church?
Monday, December 8, 2008
New Harvest Church (and Kid's Zone Child Care) was in the Spindale Rutherfordton Christmas Parade this past Saturday. We had a group of about 30 including children, teens, and adults who participated in the event. The parade actually consisted of two parades in one setting. It first travelled through Spindale, and then moved on to Rutherfordton, a few miles away.
The theme was "Sweet on Jesus" Candyland.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The bible does not give us this woman's name, but we do have some history. Her history was one of pain and disappointment. She had suffered with a disease for twelve long years. She had invested all of her income on trying to get better. But nothing and no one was able to help her or provide the relief she needed. We have a saying here in the South that indicates how we feel sometimes when we find ourselves at rock bottom: "broke, busted, and disgusted." I am sure if we could ask the nameless woman how she felt during these years of sickness, she would have expressed something in that vein.
She was dealing with an issue. It was a blood hemorrhage. According to the Levitical law, she was unclean. Add that to her problems. Not only suffering, but religion and society called upon her to be cast as unclean. Restrictions were placed upon her life because of her condition. Her condition affected her position.
This woman was actually dealing with a number of "issues." The pain, sickness, and disease were one. The financial strain was another. The unclean issue was another. I am sure discouragement, fear, and worry crept in. And what about isolation? Isolation from family, friends, church, and community were also a real part of her life. Yes, she was dealing, not just with an issue, but with a number of them. But she had one dominant issue that was engine that propelled the others. Get rid of the one, and the others would be lifeless, or at least less effective.
Like the woman in the bible, most of us are dealing with issues. It may be a marriage breakdown, a financial crisis, a sickness or disease. It may be a struggle with drugs or alcohol. Your issue may be lust. You may have an issue of unforgiveness. You probably have one dominant issue that is your greatest weakness. Yes, I have an issue, and I have issues. No, I am not telling you mine. I am just stating that we all have them.
The good news is that there is ONE who is able to give us the victory over the issue. His name is Jesus. The sick woman heard of Him, and pressed through the crowd. She touched the hem of his garment, and was instantly made whole. Healed, delivered, free-- from every issue.
Some healings are instantaneous, and some are a process. This one thing I know. I just want to lay every issue in my life before Christ, who can do what none other can.
I encourage you today to lay your issue before Jesus!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Well, I got another computer, got the hardware programmed so that I could edit the website, and after a couple of days of making some changes, it stopped working. So here we are again with old info on the front page. Plus, when I brought the website back up, everything was messed up. It's going to take a while to get things back in order.
We are having our first service tonight in the Family Life Center. The work prior to making this transition has been overwhelming. To say that I am tired would be an understatement!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I am no expert, but I have known for over a year about this thing. My finances have decreased and my expenditures have increased. I have less now than I did 2 years ago. It didn't take me this long to figure it out.
As my grandson Zach says, "I told ya."
Friday, November 28, 2008
"I told my wife, ‘Somebody has lost their purse,' and we turned around to pick it up," Vance said. "By the time we turned around somebody had run over it and money was lying everywhere."
As Vance, who is on disability, dodged traffic to retrieve the $100 bills, there was only one thing on his mind.
"We decided we would take it to the police department and turn it in," he said. "We didn't think about doing anything else. If I had kept the money, every time I would have bought something I would have felt guilty."
Shelby Patrol Officer Chris Wilkinson was shocked that in these bad economic times and this close to Christmas that the Martins turned in the wallet.
"I was kind of surprised at that much money," he said. "There's still some good people out there."
The large wallet had a passport in the wallet along with credit cards, business cards, important papers, frequent flyer cards, $1,000 in foreign currency, a recent paycheck and more than $5,000 in $100 bills. The person whose identity was found inside the wallet was a man from Charlotte. He had decided to carry cash because of the uncertainty in the economy and banking industry.
"I have had the opportunity to meet two people who have more character than most of the people I have met in my lifetime," he said. "Instead of my life being upside down, my life was restored by two people who are honest and love their beliefs enough to live them each day and in each moment. And over time, I hope I can come close to repaying them" said the man whose wallet was returned.
I know none of these people personally. I occasionally read the Shelby Star online, and ran across this article today. In these days of bad news, it is good to read a little good news in the paper.
Thanks, Martins, for being an example of honesty. Thanks, Shelby Star, for printing an inspirational story.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I am thankful for my family. My mom and dad, my brothers and sisters, and their families. I am thankful for my wife, kids, son in law and daughter in law, and my grandson. I am thankful for Michael's good report last week from his battle with cancer.
I am thankful for my church family. They are our extended family, and Trish and I are blessed by having them in our lives. I never want to take them for granted. They have caught our vision, and they support us, stand with us, and believe in us.
I know many of you are facing the financial pinch this year. You aren't going to be able to spend this year for Christmas as you did last year. Some are struggling just to make ends meet. It's ok. It isn't important what you get or don't get. What matters is that you are there, and you offer your love to those in your life. Be thankful for them, and love them. There is no greater gift.
I went through the closet last night in search for an old video tape of our kids from years gone by. Tina, my daughter, had remembered one particular year when it snowed, and she and her brothers were playing in the snow. We had recorded it on video, and Tina wanted to show it to Michael, her husband, and to Zach, her nephew.
And so I am going through what I think might be the old VHS tape. It has several scenes of the family on it. While reviewing it to see if I have located the right one (it was) I saw some scenes from 15 years ago. The dates were December 1993. There was a scene of Christmas at Jack and Mary's (Trish's mom and dad). The kids were little. Mary was with us then. She has now gone on. Later, the video takes us to Christmas morning of '93. There's mom (Trish), and our 4 kids. They are all teenagers, all still at home. As I watched, I cried. The flood gates opened. I remembered the song I heard by Trace Atkins, "You're gonna miss this." Wow! The things we take for granted. I am thankful for my family. I love them so incredibly much.
I've reminisced enough. I am praying for you today. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As in any area, there are those who will take advantage of your generosity. And there are some who could work, but will not. But I have a problem saying no to a household that has children, even if it is evident the adults could be working. Or in a household where a senior citizen needs assistance. For that matter, it is difficult to turn away anyone requesting a meal. So we pretty much help anyone, as long as our supplies last. In the past year, we have ran low, and ran out a time or two. But for the most part our ability to help has exceeded my dreams.
You see, church is about more than meeting on Sundays and midweek. It is about community. It is about being there. We have a vision to reach the world, and it begins right here at home. We are located in a region of economic woes. The pay scale here is low. Many jobs have been lost. And yet we continue to do the things God has called us to do.
I hope you're not hungry today. If you are, and you're near, come on by. It's free, with no strings attached. You don't have to come to my church, you don't have to prove you're in need. We'll take your word at it.
We love you. Happy Thanksgiving
I hope you have a safe trip if you will be out on the road or taking a flight. And I pray that your thanksgiving holiday will be the best!
Love and Prayers,
Monday, November 24, 2008
Yesterday I had the privilege of performing a marriage renewal ceremony. It was nothing fancy, just a brief service of about 10 minutes, held immediately after our morning service. The occasion was the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple in the church, Jim and Deloris Heiligher. They wanted to renew their vows on their anniversary, and I was honored to assist them.
I had some remarks prepared, but went a little off the script, as I performed the ceremony. I remember telling them that in 50 years, you definitely have learned that your mate isn't perfect. You have realized they have some flaws. You have also shared in some heartaches, some fears, and some troubles. But you stuck it out, you survived. What a testimony. I mean this as no slam to anyone who has had marriage problems. I am not one of those preachers who think God has turned His back on you, and that you can never be used. I am simply saying that it is an honor to see couples who have made it in spite of adversities and trials that will certainly come their way.
I speak from experience. I, too, am happily married. Next month, my wife and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary (38, I think:). Trish and I were married far too young. But we were truly in love. And our love has lasted all kinds of storms and crisis points during the years. Today, she is more beautiful, more precious, and more godly, than the day we met. I could not imagine life without her in my life. I am sure I will blog about our marriage again on our anniversary.
It's good to be happily married.
That's it for today. Y'all be blessed.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The pic here is of our family vacation in June, just before Michael went to Duke to receive his treatments prior to the transplant. He and my grandson Zach are enjoying themselves :)
It is hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving. Despite everything Tina and I have gone through, we have so much to be thankful for. First and foremost, we have our Lord and savior Jesus Christ who gives us strength everyday to confront the battles we face. Then we have an unbelievable support group of family and friends that have helped us in so many ways. Well, it is time to celebrate. I am in REMISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No cancer cells were detected on my latest scan. Though my journey is not complete, all of the cancer is gone. I will still be out of work through the rest of the year while my new immune system is trying to take hold. Especially since this is the heart of the cold and Flu season. It will still take close to a year for me to fully recover from the transplant, but I will recover. I have been in the valley's some, but I will tell you now, it feels great to be on the mountain top celebrating. Even though the mountain top today is at Presbyterian hospital getting some red blood cells. It's all good!! I doubt I will send out another update before the Thanksgiving holiday, so I want to take a moment to tell all of you how Thankful Tina and I are to have each one of you in our lives. Your prayers, love, and support continue to encourage and uplift us and help us kick cancer's rear end!!!!!!!!!!!!
Michael and Tina
Needless to say, our week, and the one prior, was spent with reflection, apprehension, and some worry and doubt. Yes, I know I am not supposed to confess my doubts and fears. I know the scriptures and I preach the sermons. But the truth is, I am not there yet. Sometimes I do worry, sometimes I do doubt, and sometimes my mind is fearful. And I did my share of that, both last week, and this week. In addition to my concerns with Trish, there are other things. Michael, my son in law, was awaiting a scan and evaluation concerning his stem cell transplant and the cancer he has been fighting. My dad has been weak, due to the cancer and treatments he has been receiving. And of course, the responsibilities and cares of our church family. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. I have to learn to lean on the Lord over and over again.
The follow up report with Trish was good. Michael has received a preliminary report that, so far, is good. My dad is receiving strength in his body. And the church is growing. People's lives are being changed. There is excitement all around.
No, everything is not perfect. There remains problems, challenges, lack of funds, and needs. But I want to tell you we are blessed. We are not blessed in the absence of problems, but we are blessed in the midst of them. When things are going wrong, we are still blessed. God is God, and God is good.
Count your blessings today... It isn't just because the report was good that you are blessed. It is because when you couldn't carry yourself through the storm, there was ONE who picked you up and carried you.
I love you, and am praying for you today!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It's not an original from me. Someone coined the phrase "teamwork makes the dreamwork" years ago. It might have been John Maxwell, I'm not sure, and I didn't take the time to look it up. What I do know is that the statement carries a lot of weight. Other factors may go into the fulfilling of one's dreams, but teamwork is an essential.
We have seen an amazing amount of teamwork recently at New Harvest. As a result, the dreams within us of being a strong and vibrant church are becoming more and more of a reality. A call came in today to the church office. A lady was inquiring of a position in our daycare, and wanted to know the directions of the church. When told, she said, "Oh, I know where that is. That's the church I have been hearing awesome things about." It is good to know that your name is getting out in the community.
We've got an amazing group of people here. From our children's ministry, youth program, outreach, praise team, outreach, and every facet of ministry. What a powerful thing when people of various backgrounds and cultures come together for a common cause. That is teamwork!
I am thankful for our team. I love you guys!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Happy Birthday, Tina and Anitra. We love you!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Sometimes I vent here on a blog, or I share something personal. I did that for a moment last week, and decided to pull it. It serves no purpose here for me to publicly whine or cry over things which have happened. I want what I share to be uplifting- and when I read what I had written, it only saddened me. So, I pulled it.
From time to time you give your comments about my blogs. It is encouraging to me.
Remember, when you lay your head down tonight, you are loved by an incredible God. He thinks you are special. He never gives up on you, never lets go of you. You can make it through what you are going through.
Love and Prayers,
Friday, November 14, 2008
Growth and Increase (not necessarily the same thing) are taking place among us. To accommodate what we sense the Lord is doing, we are taking those steps we feel are from Him. Change is not always easy, but we are ready.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I am no expert on the pain subject, but understand that pain is a necessary signal for us. For example, pain comes when I lay my hand on a hot iron. The pain of the touch serves as a warning to move away, or I could suffer a more severe burn. In that case, I appreciate the pain. The alternative is to permanently damage my hand. Thank you, Lord, for the pain of the burn.
So life comes with various measures of pain. The pain of sickness, the pain of divorce, the pain of death, the pain of broken promises. The pain of disappointment, and on and on-- you get the picture. You don't enjoy the pain, but you learn from each situation in life. Or, at least you should.
The Apostle Paul said in the book of Romans, chapter eight, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to the called according to His purpose." This verse didn't say that everything that happens in our lives is good. It says that God causes everything to work together, to fit into a plan, for our good. It says "we know." We know the purpose of the pain. God will use disappointment for His appointment. Joseph passed the test, made it through the pain, and resided in the palace. The pain he endured was a catalyst for his promotion.
May God help us to learn from every painful situation. May they not hold us captive, but may they be the propelling force that pushes us to our destiny. May we capture the purpose of the pain. Like Joseph, may we understand that what the enemy meant for our destruction, God will use for our promotion.
Y'all be blessed. Have a great night's sleep. And thanks for reading my blog.
Love and Prayers,
Friday, November 7, 2008
So I had not gotten around to replacing the screen. And I tend to place files everywhere on my computer, without doing a back up. I am pretty much computer illiterate. From sermons, notes, over 1000 pictures, and about 50 pages of website files, it was loaded. Then yesterday, what I should have been prepared for, happened.
Off the coffee table it came. Into two pieces, the keys part, and the screen part, it lay on the carpet. It would not come back on. I assumed I would just need to go ahead and get the costly screen, but no. The computer guy said when it fell it shorted out, what do they call it, the motherboard or something. Which means it is worthless.
My worthless computer contains 300 sermons, 2 books, 1000 pictures, and 50 web pages. Plus tons of family and church items. Years of memories and materials are in the "worthless" computer. Money can't buy or replace those things. The computer guy said he could probably get most of it. He will retrieve my files in exchange for the computer, which he will use for parts.
He preached to me, and I didn't rebel against him. I should have been prepared, I should have saved them in one place, I should have had a back up. But, much like funeral services I have conducted, the fact is that it wasn't saved. And good intentions do not do it. Too little, too late.
That's it for today. I am in mourning for my laptop. Thanks for reading my blog. Thanks, Pastor Manning, for using the shofar blog. You honored us.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Both services yesterday were awesome. There was such a flow last night that I didn't preach, just prayed and ministered to the people. But yesterday morning something happened that I have never seen in my 34 years of ministry.
Praise and Worship was going on, and I was on the floor, just in front of my seat where my wife and I stay prior to my entering the platform. The Holy Spirit was moving, and after about 15 or so minutes and at the closing of a song, the shofar sounded. We have a man in the church that brings his shofar, and will blow it at certain times. John usually arrives a few minutes late, and I had not seen him when I opened with prayer. So when he blowed the shofar behind me, I lifted my arms and waved him to continue, which he did. I never looked back at the moment.
A little while later, I entered the platform as the worship was continuing. When I got up, I realized something- John, our shofar player, was not there. There was no one there playing a shofar. I was floored. I did not immediately say anything, but before I began my sermon, referred to the sound. About half the church indicated they had also heard it. I had to hold myself steady to the pulpit as I preached, my knees were shaking so much.
I've never been too deep in some of the things people get caught up in. Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (of which we are) tend to go overboard on sensational manifestations. I have always tried to keep the church balanced. I say that to say this-- I think an angel of the Lord may have sounded the shofar. I know this: I heard the shofar sound.
I am not sure what is going on, but I know something is happening. I say, "Yes, Lord."
Saturday, November 1, 2008
My aches and pains are due, in large part, to the massive work from yesterday's Harvest Fest. And I know I am not the only hurting who is in some pain today. Others made great sacrifices to put together what is probably our largest outreach event per year, here at New Harvest. We do some others, including the Easter Eggravaganza, the Car Show, and usually participate in the Cancer Relay for Life (we didn't this year). There are other special days and events, but the Harvest Fest is the largest work related one we do. The man hours alone putting it together are enormous.
I know most pastors are not involved in the hands on functions of projects such as this, but I am unlike most. I am a hands on type of person. That, plus the fact that we are a church of limited resources, (about 100 people in size) means that we need all the help we can get- myself included. So I am in no way saying I am the only one working in this thing.
From 9 am yesterday morning until around 10 pm last night, a team was working diligently on the event. As it wrapped up last night, and I was getting ready to leave, the tiredness and pain in my body was speaking, when I asked several, "is this worth it?"
I know the answer is a definite yes to the question. But at that moment I felt as if I couldn't stand another minute and walk another step. Yeah, it is definitely worth it. The comments and compliments and smiles I received and saw serve as a reminder that the seeds we have sown into the families of our communities are worth this tiredness that is lingering this morning.
I'll post some pics on the website a little later, and maybe one or two here on my blog.
Sometimes I forget to say it, so I want to make sure I do this morning while it is on my mind. Thanks for reading my blog. Your comments, whether posted or just verbal to me, are a great source of encouragement.
Love and Prayers,
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
My blog today is not about which candidate I think can pass the test. It is about you and I. You see, in the real world, it is everyday people that are being tested. Paul said the faith walk is an adventure that sometimes requires a fight. (1 Timothy 6:12) The word fight is defined as a battle, conflict, struggle, war. And sometimes life contains those elements.
Yes, there are times when the struggle is great. And the battle may not be of your making. A sickness, a disease. A financial crisis. A marriage breakdown- he or she walked out on you. You feel abandoned, lonely, isolated. Your problem may be none of these, or it may be all of these. It could be something else entirely. Regardless, the odds are that we will eventually be in a fight, a battle, a conflict. You may want to run, but to run is not an option.
The single mom, the cancer diseased patient, the struggling family with three kids and an income that makes it difficult to make ends meet. Difficult times test our mettle. I know what it is to endure intense trials and to feel as if I am not going to make it. But I have come to tell you today that you can pass this test. Fight the fight of faith. Stand when you don't feel like standing. Don't quit. You can make it.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo made it. Daniel made it. Hebrews chapter eleven is a story of people who made it. Some made it when others gave up and quit. You may be going through a crisis today. It may be testing time. You can pass this test. I know you can. God knows you can. He sent me today to remind you.
Love and Prayers,
Monday, October 27, 2008
Halloween. There, I said it. To some believers, even the mention of the word is like using profanity. Some pastors spew from their pulpits, "How dare you celebrate the devil's day?!" They review the history of this dark day, and make sure their congregants are trained on the evils of this day. Some include Christmas along with it.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
These job shutdowns affect other segments of our community. The county suffers not only from high unemployment, but low wage scales. Sadly, churches are suffering as well.
While trying to stay neutral on the political arena, I said several months ago that the candidate who would address the economic situation in our nation would win the election. I believe this crisis has hit the hearts of our citizens more than other issues. Whether the nominee will be able to follow through with his promises will take a while to be seen, but it is obvious that the heart of America desperately wants help in this area. They are voting with their pocketbook in mind.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I understand pain, discouragement, and despair. Most of us have had some degree of this, if we will be honest. Some have had what seems to be more than their share. It is during the difficult times that Satan gives us what may be his biggest weapon- He tells us that God doesn't really love or care for us. If God cared for us, why would this be happening to us? As with Eve in the garden, the serpent plants the seeds of doubting God's word and His good intentions toward us.
Someone is reading this blog who feels as if they are a failure. You think you are not worth being loved. But I want to tell you the devil is a liar.
For some reason, I am compelled to continue on this thought, a link to my last blog, "you can make it." You may feel as if your best days are behind you, but I want to encourage you to hold on. This, too, shall pass.
Your worth is not based on your health or your wealth. It is not based on what you are going through. It is not based on what has been done to you. He walked out on you? They walked away from Jesus. You are suffering.. so did he. I am not trying to minimize your pain, I just want to tell you that your worth is set by God. And He never devalues His child!
God cares for you so much. He is just a prayer away. You are of great value.
I love you in the Lord. I'm praying for you. I don't have to know you to feel this way. It is the love God put in my heart. If I can help you, let me know. I don't want your money, I want you to be free and feel good about yourself.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Whatever the crisis may be- it's not too deep for God. However long the pain may have been afflicted-- there is a God who can rescue you. Put your problems in the hands of Him, and He will take control. You may not can handle it, but He can.
My 4 year old grandson thinks his dad can do anything. He pretty much thinks that of me, too. And I will do anything within my means or ability to make sure he is not disappointed. Those who know me have seen the love I have for Zach. Multiply that love one trillion times over, and you still haven't measured the love God has for you.
I know you can make it today. We're praying for you. Hang in there. This is your day!
Love and Prayers,
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Trish and I are blessed to serve such a great church. Our people are the best! Thanks everyone for the great work. The Family Life Center was decorated beautifully, and there was a spirit of excellence in it all. And what made us so blessed was that we felt the compliments were genuine, and that the people who expressed them truly love us and are committed to us.
We are honored to be entrusted with the high calling of God to serve the local church. You blessed us today. Please know that it is a blessing to serve you!
Love and Prayers,
Pastors Ronnie and Trish
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Prayer works. We've heard all the catch phrases. But they are more than little quotes about prayer. They serve as reminders that it is good to pray. We don't always see the results of answered prayers immediately. Some answers are a process. But we know that prayer changes things. And prayer changes us. The bible tells us that the effective fervent prayer of the righteous has great effect.
Paul and Silas prayed and the prison doors were opened. Daniel prayed and was delivered from the den of lions. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo prayed and were kept from the flames of the fiery furnace. Jesus prayed and the sick were healed, the bound were delivered, and the dead were raised. Yes, prayer works.
The process and timing is up to God. I don't know when it will happen, but I am expecting to see some results of last night's prayers. I'm glad the ladies fellowshipped and had fun.
AND I AM GLAD THEY PRAYED!!
Y'all be blessed,
Thursday, October 9, 2008
It feels good to be appreciated. The dictionary defines appreciate as: to grasp the worth, quality, or significance of; to recognize with gratitude; to hold in high estimation; to value highly; to honor and extol with thanksgiving.
Wow! Being appreciated is an awesome honor and reward. It is one that my wife and I value and treasure. We are grateful for the appreciation bestowed on us by those we serve. And we never take for granted their devotion and loyalty to us. We know that we could not make it without their support. You see, it's good to feel needed and wanted. It's good to know that there are those who actually do care.
Appreciation works both ways. Trish and I are committed to the call of God on our lives, and to those whom we serve. We are in this because of our deep love to Him, and to you. The sacrifice we make in doing so is insignificant to the rewards of seeing the blessings of God rendered to the flock.
So this Sunday, some folks will love on us. We'll have a great dinner, and probably get some cards. Appreciation will be pronounced. We'll love it. Just in case I don't say it then, I'm going to say it now. We appreciate our church family, New Harvest Church.
Love and Prayers,
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I am burdened for lost souls. For those who have gotten discouraged and gotten out of church. For those who have fallen back into Satan's trap. We are believing for God to reach them and restore them.
My hurt is hurting with a godly burden. My hurt is for the injustice done to another. It is for the victim who could not defend theirself. My anguish is that someone who should love would resort to unspeakable and unthinkable actions. I am burdened for the past pain and for the present pain that is carried because of yesterday's wounds. My burden is for the physical and emotional needs that are carried. I find myself praying and weeping.
You know what it is like to feel the pain of others. You understand the thing when it hits you in the gut, and it really bothers you. You have looked the other way at times, but find then comes the time where you can't do that anymore. For whatever reason, like the Good Samaritan, you see someone wounded, and you know you must respond. And sometimes all we can do is pray. And so we do that. When we can't do anything else, we can pray. When we can't undo the past, we can pray. When we can't fix the present problems, we can pray. And prayer helps. And prayer works.
You see, we serve a God who is more than enough. He is able to touch, heal, restore. I preach that all the time. Today I am reminded that there are people who need that kind of God.
And so I am hurting in my heart.. hurting and praying.
Love and Prayers,
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Home never looked so good when you have been away for a while. Although Michael will remain under the care of the physicians both at Duke, and in Charlotte, he can now resume some sort of normalcy in his life.
He and Tina appreciate so much your prayers for them. Continue to lift them up, as they move forward with their lives.
WELCOME HOME, MICHAEL AND TINA!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
We had a chance to fellowship at lunch with the team, and they had some of their family and friends with them. The pizza we ordered took forever, but I believe it was a God thing, as we were able to have some good fellowship time. Thanks, y'all we were so blessed!
The Sunday night service was another powerful time, as my dear friend, Pastor Joey Turner, preached an awesome word. Many were ministered in the service, and two gave their hearts to the Lord, others were stirred and touched in different ways.
Our youth dance and drama team performed in both services, and they did a great job. We had good turnouts for both services. I appreciate everyone who came out and supported them. We are looking for more of the same. Join us this week for some more awesome services!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I'm losing ten thousand dollars... and so are you. That is, if the proposed bail out goes through. The economic experts tell us we cannot afford NOT to go through with it. They say the consequences of failure to act will result in the possibility of another great depression. We've actually already lost some money, so the ten grand is on top of that. The buyout of the AIG insurance deal cost the U.S. taxpayer $425. $10,425.00 is a hunk of change for us little folks.
I want to know where these "experts" have been hiding. I guess in their luxurious ocean front homes in Barbados or somewhere. They surely haven't been living here in the real world. Say it fast, say it slow. Say it any way you want to. Ten thousand dollars added to a household struggling to make ends meet is too much. No, I don't have all the facts, and no, I am not an economic expert. This may be the solution, I don't know. I do hope the politicians of both parties will get together and work towards a solution we can live with.
In Rutherford County, we just had another plant close down of 470 jobs. Those paychecks created other jobs in the community. They are gone. As I said in my prior blog, this effects everyone around them. I didn't lose a job, but I will lose some tithes and offerings, which is how the church operates. No, it's not about me, but it does affect me- and it affects you, too.
Ten thousand... boy, I sure could use the money I just lost. There goes that Harley I was wanting. Or that vacation to Hawaii. Or pay some bills off. Maybe buy some gas... Have you ever seen one of those programs where they light money with a match? That's what I feel I've done. I've just torched ten one thousand dollar bills. It went so fast I didn't even see it.
This is for our own good, they say. Like, eat your spinach. It will help you build muscles. I never ate a spinach I liked.. not spinach casserole, not spinach anything. For your own good. Like the whippin' you got as a child. You will appreciate this later, they said. I never remember the later when I appreciated a good spanking, although I did pass some of those kind of blessings on to my own kids. But I do realize now that the whippings were to bring about discipline in my life, which helped me make right decisions. So I guess this ten grand spinach/whippin' is working in us a greater glory.
My ten thousand dollars I just lost that I never got to hold will help Wall Street, which will help us all. OK, so now I am for it. I believe in kickin in my part. What's ten thousand to someone like you and me? We'll never miss it :)
Obama's health care program just got kicked to the curb. It may not have happened anyway, but the likelihood is greatly reduced now. He has already admitted that if he is elected, some of the things he has proposed will probably be put on hold.
Hallelujah, anyhow! In spite of this mess, we're gonna make it. Hang in, hold on, we shall survive.
On the serious side, our economy needs a jolt, and is in danger of meltdown. Although this is way over my head, I understand that something has to be done. At this moment the politicians are trying to figure out if they can work out a deal. Like me, thousands of Americans are concerned about spending 700 billion to 1 trillion dollars on bad deals made by greedy companies. This blog is a light hearted jest, but all of us realize drastic steps must be taken