Friday, August 29, 2008


I watched a little of the speech last night from Senator Obama, at the Democratic Presidential Convention. I had not watched any of it prior to this, and I had missed the interview of he and Senator McCain last week by Rick Warren. I try to stay out of the political thing in the church, although I believe we all should vote. I have had some problems with both sides in regards to their platform, and have expressed that to those who have asked me. I was somewhat stirred by the promises of hope for better things in the speech last night. He almost had me, until he spoke of the gay rights and abortion stance. It makes it difficult to turn your head to those things we view as being in opposition to the word of God. On the other hand, there are injustices which the Republicans do not seem to address. So I have decided at this point to remain undecided.

Have you ever had those times when you wish you could have a do over? I have them on numerous occasions. You say something that you wish you hadn't said. Insert foot in mouth. You try to take it back, only to realize you are probably making it worse! I did that the other night, and embarrassed a young lady, and myself as well. I am reminded that God uses imperfect people.

Fay was a little storm with a big impact. It never made it to hurricane status, but it did a lot of damage. It was a slow mover, and it whalloped Florida three or four times before moving out. Now, another one is coming-- Gustav. This is supposed to be a big one, and it may hit New Orleans. It's been three years since Katrina, and they still haven't recovered.

I saw the sad picture of Meth last night. What is does to a life is horrific. I know God can deliver, and we are praying that He will move. To the one who visited our home, I want to saytThank you for coming, and allowing us to pray. God has put within you dreams that He can fulfill.

I know some of you are battling physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Some of you have relationship problems. Some have received bad news from the doctor. God has the last say, and He can heal you, deliver you, and make a way. We are standing with you and for you in prayer. I spoke Wednesday night on praying breakthrough prayers. That's what we are believing for in your life- breakthrough!

Thanks for reading my blogs. I appreciate the comments you give me.

Y'all be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I got sticker shock yesterday... No, not at some enormous price for a product I was buying. I received a couple of stickers. Let me explain.

We have a daycare at the church. I mingle among the kids pretty much every day, but that is about it. A general walk through, speaking to the little ones, teachers, and staff. I take a few moments to love on them, and then move on. I had decided yesterday that I wanted to have a weekly "chapel service", sort of like a kid's church thing. I had the teachers bring the children into the sanctuary at 11 am. We opened with prayer.

I asked the kids if anyone wanted to lead the prayer. My grandson, Zach, said he would. He prayed an awesome prayer, asking the Lord to bless our time. We then played a dvd of praise songs, with kids singing. The children loved it. They sang, danced, and had a great time. That was followed up by a bible lesson on Jonah and the whale.

I had anticipated spending about 30 minutes altogether with the kids, but they didn't want to leave. So they stayed right up until lunch time. The last part was filled with more singing and dancing. It was during the time that I received my "sticker shock". I actually received it twice.

You see, our kids are rewarded with a sticker for good conduct. They may get one a day, or they may receive several. My grandson, Zach, usually comes home with a sticker on his shirt. The kids are proud of them, and they serve as a note to parents and grandparents of good behavior. So the stickers are seen as a reward. To give your sticker to someone else by the child is to bestow your reward upon someone else. That is what two little girls did to me. Neither of them saw the other do it, so it was an instictive thing they did-- it was their way of blessing me for taking the time to spend with them.

I was greatly moved by the two little stickers on my shirt. They had absolutely no monetary value. But they told me that I need to continue to take the time to make the investment in people.

I hope you get a sticker today.

Y'all be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Take a retreat so that you wont retreat

I talked to a dear friend the other day. He is burning the candle on both ends, and is tired. It was apparent that he needs to get away. The pressure and duties of ministry are getting to him.

I understand the dilemna of my friend. I, too, have been at a place where I was tired mentally, physically, and spiritually. Someone a number of years ago labeled this type of situation as burnout. You may be facing that today. You may be going through the motions. You may be taking the journey, but not enjoying the trip.

Jesus told his disciples on one occasion to come apart and rest awhile. The bible said they had no leisure, no rest. They were busy doing the work of the ministry, and just needed some time to relax and unwind.

Thank God for vacations. Most of you have probably taken one by now, and with summer coming to an end, may take another one within the next couple of weeks. Vacations give us the time to enjoy a break with our family and friends.

I don't want to lose the victory by letting my life burnout. Sometimes I need to take a retreat. A few years ago, Trish and I made a habit of getting away a few days about once a quarter to relax, pray, and just get refreshed. It helped us tremendously, and we stayed fresher in the Lord. We haven't done that in several years, and I know that the little retreats were great booster times that empowered our ministries and lives.

I know my good buddy is not going to retreat- he is a mighty man of faith and power, and will not go backwards. But I also know he needs to get away from the pressure of the duties in front of him. Like him, you may need to do so, as well. If you don't have the time to take off your job, or the money to take a few days to the mountains, I encourage you to take some time off in your busy week to find a quiet and relaxing place. Go to a park, a lake, a coffee house. Get a good book, a praise CD on quietly, and unwind.

Y'all be blessed!
Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We start a series this Sunday that I am calling the Leadership Summit. I have never been one that is great at staying with a series, but I feel compelled to do some structured teaching, and it seems the Sunday morning format is the one that I am to do it. A summit is a high point, and I believe the Lord is calling His church to the high point in him.

And so, systematically, we will discover, or rediscover, the practical truths of the Christian walk that leads us to greatness. What makes a church strong in its community? What builds a believer into a mighty man or woman of God? It is those daily choices in life of dedication, devotion, discipline.

A lot of what people call revival, or a mighty move of God, just seems to me to be "noise". If you make enough noise with some people, and have a little "crazy" in with it, you have stirred their flesh. I am long ago over wanting someone to tickle my flesh. I need something deeper, something stronger. I need to go up the mountain to the presence of God, back to the word, back to my knees in prayer. I need to get concerned about the lost again. I need to help the church evangelize the community and the world. These are the things that I believe are the essence of true revival in a people.

I am old enough to remember one of the first commercials of Wendy's. It was some old ladies opening their burgers, only to find a little piece of meat hidden beneath the buns. They call the burger place, and say, in disgust, "Where's the beef?"

I want to get the beef back in the church!

Y'all be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie

Saturday, August 9, 2008


We often think of two types of people in the church: Those who want the Lord's presence, and those who want His presents. To want the presents of the Lord is viewed by some as being childish and spiritually immature. I have agreed, in part, to this thought. I don't want to be someone who is only after what I can get from Him. I want HIM!

And so, of the two, we understand that the divine presence of the Lord is more valuable. Who He is, is greater than what He gives or does. And so, we should seek after His face and not His hand. I want to be a pursuer of the Lord, and not just the stuff.

However, you don't have to seperate the two. The presents of the Lord are not in violation of the presence of the Lord. God gives unto us graciously and bountifully of His blessings. It is the Father's good pleasure to give to us the kingdom. The scripture says how much more the heavenly father will give unto us... on an on, the scriptures relate the image of God who rewards us with both His presence and His presents.

Those near me receive both my presence and my presents. I lavishly bless them with all I have and am to what measure I am able. I am limited in my abilities to bless, but the Father is not. I encourage you today to get His presence AND His presents!

Be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The above slogan is posted on a church sign near my house. It has been on the marquee sign for about a year now. When the letters were first put on the sign, I assumed whoever was responsible for lettering it would catch their mistake... or, that someone in the church would notify the proper church sign authorities, and get it corrected.

I'm sure you know, but just in case, I will tell you-- the sign is mispelled. Jesus is not the anwser(not an English word), he is the answer. I'm a stickler for spelling. Occasionally I will mispell something, but it usually is in haste or a typo. And, I have watched daily as I pass by, thinking the sign will be changed, but it remains the same.

By the way, the sign may be mispelled, but the church with the said sign definitely has the answer, or as they say, the anwser. The church is growing, has great outreach ministries, and is alive and well in the community. It is evident that the place is on fire for Jesus!

It reminds me of a story I remember reading years ago. I googled it to try to find it, but couldn't. The essence of it was someone who had written a letter in a work place full of mispelled words. As well as I remember, the story went on about someone correcting all the mispelled words... then the owner of the business came by, saw what was going on, and with some mispelled words of his own, finished by saying, the object here is to sell, not spell. Bottom line, that should be what we are doing in the kingdom. We don't have to have it all together, and put on a professional type presentation. Our objective should always be to magnify Christ. After all, remember...


Pastor Ronnie

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Here's an update on Michael Armstrong, my son in law. He will be having a stem cell transplant tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday. The update is from his link at CaringBridge:

The pic above is from a couple of weeks ago in our family swimming pool. It includes Michael and Zach. Zach is Michael's 4 year old nephew. Zachary thinks the sun rises and sets in Michael:)

Continue to remember Michael and Tina in your prayers. We appreciate it so much.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Michael Armstrong graduates from Pfeiffer College Saturday, August 2, with a Master's degree. It's a pretty good accomplishment, and one that we're proud of. Michael could tell the story better, but at the moment he is tied up with some other pressing needs. I hope you read on, as Paul Harvey says, "for the rest of the story".

In addition to being a husband, having a full time job with the city of Charlotte as a fire inspector, and serving in his church, he decided to go back to school. His plate has been pretty full. Oh yeah, there's one other thing that has taken some time and energy... more on that in a moment.

Michael will not be walking the aisle to receive his diploma. There will be no family members or friends there to congratulate him for such a worthwhile accomplishment. There will be no pictures of him with cap and gown, or diploma in hand. He will not even attend the ceremony.

Michael is my son in law. He and my daughter, Tina, have been married for 4 years. One day after they celebrated their first wedding anniversary, back in June, now 3 years ago, Michael discovered he had lymphoma cancer. It was stage 4.

The word cancer brings dread to many. It is a horrific disease. Michael certainly is not the only one to have this disease. As I write this, I am thinking of several friends. We visited a precious lady yesterday in the hospital, who is raising a 5 year old grand daughter. She has cancer, and will begin the process immediately of treatment. My dad just recently had surgery, and will be undergoing treatment shortly for cancer. I just received an email update from some precious missionary friends in El Salvador who have a daughter in law here in the states with cancer. The church I pastor has several cancer survivors. We (the church) have participated in the Cancer Society Relay for Life for a number of years. My point is that Michael is not the only one battling this disease. His story may be your story, as well.

Now, back to Michael-- Over the 3 year process, he has had numerous treatments. Much of it with little or no success. From Charlotte, to UNC, to Duke. Chemotherapy after chemotherapy, with all the other things that go with it. He would go back for scanning with little or no results: shrunken in one place, but other places coming up. He received a stem cell transplant of his own (harvested), and that was a tedious process. Staying confined to a small room for about 3 weeks, and then in a nearby apartment in Chapel Hill, where he would go in for tests every day. Then, what seemed like a breakthrough for a season was quickly replaced with more apprehension when the cancer began to grow again. Finally, UNC had gone through the process, and pretty much did not know what else to do. Insurance regulations had at first prohibited Michael from receiving treatment at Duke, but that changed. Upon arriving at Duke, Michael began to receive new treatment. It is an experimental treatment that only those in the stages Michael is could receive. Immediately, things began to turn around!

The reason Michael can't walk the aisle to receive his diploma is because he is now at Duke preparing for a stem cell transplant. His brother, Aaron, is there with him. Aaron is the donor. While Michael is receiving chemo for the next few days, Aaron is going through the procedures a donor has to undertake. Next Wednesday and Thursday Michael will recieve the transplant. He will be at Duke for about 2 months altogether.

Please keep Michael and Tina (our daughter, his wife) in your prayers, along with Aaron, his wife and kids, and all of their families. We are believing this will result in the elimination of every remaining fiber of cancer in Michael's body.

Michael's priorities have all been in order through this ordeal. His faith in God has remained strong and intact. His family and friends have been vital to him during this time. From church to community, to work place, many have sacrificed to help him and Tina. Fellow workers donating their vacation days for Michael to continue to receive pay, and various groups doing fundraisers, churches helping. They have appreciated every thing done. His faith, family, friends, and his future- you see, Michael has never given up. That's why he kept digging with the education. He believes greater things are in store, and he plans on being ready for it.

Keep Michael, Tina, and the family in your prayers during this time.

Be Blessed,
Pastor Ronnie