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
One young man being interviewed on WLOS TV 13 in Asheville about the situation said he was moving out. His decision to leave the county follows a trend of many of our citizens, particularly of the college age - thirties group.
The local economy, which is already in terrible condition, continue to deteriorates. Every segment is affected, from the workplace, to the market place, to the church. Gas stations are with no gas, and those who do so with gas priced at $4.25 and up. Duke Power has announced a rate increase, and our dollar continues to shrink. Our church receives requests daily for assistance financially, which we are unable to provide.
This message is not intended to bring despair, but to turn our hearts to God in prayer. Join us in praying for our local economy, and for the national economy.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
But the real news to me is the disappearing of milk chocolate. It seems Hershey has replaced cocoa butter (milk chocolate) with vegetable oil in most of it's products. The Hershey Bar and Kisses are so far ok, but everything else is substitute. The Mr. GoodBar is now the used to be GoodBar, as well as its other brands. Hershey's, in an attempt to preserve its profits, decided to replace the chocolate with the fake stuff, without telling us.
The labels on their candy that state milk chocolate have been replaced with the words candy chocolate, or chocolatey. The FDA will not allow the word milk chocolate without the cocoa butter. We would not have known, had not this lady who eats a bunch every day and writes about it noticed the difference, and they featured her on the morning news. I thought my taste buds were gone south with my age. But now I find, they changed the ingredients without telling me.
This news about the economy and fake chocolate is too much. I am so depressed I think I'm going to go eat a candy bar. No, wait a minute, that won't work.
What's next? Taking the coffee out of my coffee?
That's it for today. Y'all be blessed. We're going to make it. God is still God, and He is still good!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
He announced this past Friday to the gay magazine, Washington Blade, that he is gay. Boltz said that he told family and close friends in December 2004, but only now decided to go public with the news. One reason he decided to come out now might be because he's singing at gay churches.
Boltz is perhaps best known for his song "Thank You," about a dream in which a Christian thanks the Sunday school teacher who led him to Jesus. It was the GMA song of the year in 1990. Other Boltz hits include "Watch the Lamb," "The Anchor Holds," and "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb."
Boltz is a father of four who was married for 33 years before officially divorcing his wife this year.
I find life is sometimes that way. In our personal experiences, our homes, marriages, and even in our churches. We are often faced with times of adversity. A physical sickness, a job loss, a crisis in a home, or even in a church. Those times leave even the strong in faith with doubts. They don't look the same, nor act the same. My son in law is going through a major disease of cancer. He is into the second month of his treatment of a stem cell transplant. Michael desperately misses people and is ready to get out of there- but he also has gone through a time when he did not want to be seen. A rash covering his body, extreme weight loss, and just the overall feeling has left him wanting to be in seclusion during this time. I remember my wife, after surgery a number of years ago, waking up in her hospital room to find a deacon of the church setting in her room. I had gone out to run some errands, and she was nautious. She was very uncomfortable being seen in that condition.
I have felt that way at times in church. Being a pastor for the past thirty five years, I have seen the pendulum swing both ways- the up seasons, and the down seasons. A church can go through transition. It can lose members, which causes its operating budget to fall. This, as a result, can affect how it looks and the flow of the services. You will find that people who can handle your health cannot handle your sickness. There are people that are your friends when you are happily married that become distant when you are divorced. And there are those who are "sent" to your church when it is on the up side that will "run" from it when it is going through a down cycle. The pastor is the same, the vision is the same, the building is the same, but people that run with you on your strength sometimes will not do so on your weakness.
I'll confess to you that I cannot always see the gain out of the pain. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." I love God and trust Him, but there are times when I have difficulty seeing how gain can come out of the pain. Did God cause the pain? Is that what this verse is saying? Or, is it saying that He will simply turn around every situation and make it work for our good? That is what I get out of this verse. God didn't cause the sickness, the divorce, the split, or whatever you're going through. But if you'll look to Him, He will bring you through it. And the pain of the test will serve to make you stronger. Remember, there is no testimony without a test.
I've been teaching a series on Sundays for the last several weeks about building leaders for kingdom ministry. As Christians, we have a call to reach the world. Jesus has given us the Great Commission. I have challenged our people to live a disciplined life according to the lifestyle of Christ. This means giving up your right to be right. It means denying yourself of some things. Jesus taught his disciples not only kingdom ministry, but kingdom living.
Yeah, there will always be some that can only handle our gain. I've had them that flew through here and thought we were the best thing since sliced bread, then came back through and saw some pooh pooh, and they kept on truckin'. I'll tell you the truth, there are some Sundays when I think we can almost raise the dead, and then there are some Sundays when I think everyone is dead. There are some days when I wish we had TV cameras, and then there are days when I want to turn the lights out and go home. But church, as in life has both pain and gain. If you can't handle my pain, you might want to move out of the way. I may be waxing eloquent this Sunday, or I may be upchucking. That's life, and if you'r e looking for perfection, keep on looking.
Be encouraged and know that you can make it through whatever you're going through. Don't allow discouragement or disallusionment to steal your dream!
Cyberspace has allowed us to reach around the world, and I don't always know who I relating to. Thanks for reading, and take the time to respond.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Michael wanted me to thank you all for the card. It came on the perfect day. He had a rough day yesterday after being at the hospital all day & dealing with insurance stuff. I had went home for the weekend, and as soon as I returned to Durham yesterday & walked in our door Michael held up his card & said, "This came just in time." It cheered him up. I also gave him the little card & flowers that the kids made him, & that just topped it off. We have a wall of cards in our apartment. The extra special ones, usually from our 2 neices & Zachary, go on one particular side of the wall. Those 2 cards are in his special section now. Wanted to update you on Michaels condition. He's doing really well. His counts are looking really good. His white blood cells are in normal range. Yeay! He's getting a little more energy each day. He's a skinny boy now though. "Anorexia" is one of the side effects. I need Dan to come down here for a few days & fatten him up. :-) I'm going to work with him on his appetite this week. One little speed bump...One of the potential side effects of Bone Marrow & Stem Cell transplants is Graft versus Host disease. It happens in about 50% of transplant patients when the patient starts rejecting the donor cells. It starts out as a rash, and can be contained to just a rash, or can spread to other organs. Over the weekend, Michael started getting a rash. Ughh! But we knew this was a possibility going in. They are giving him steroids to keep hold of it. Please pray that the steroids work, but also that MIchael does not become immune to the steroids which would hurt him in the long run. The doctors assure us they have options for every possible scenario. But I just ask for specific prayer that he continues to progress, but that he doesn't become immune to any steroid or antibiotic they are giving him. I'm beleiving that he won't, but I am his wife, so sometimes the fear creeps in. No Worries!!! The good news is, Graft Versus Host Disease confirms that the transplant is working...Michael is fighting these foreign stem cells of his brother that are entering his body. So although they want it controlled, it's not necessarily a bad thing. We asked the doctors today how they think his progress is, and they said good. He's right on track. They said even GVHD is very common & not necessarily a detour, just a little speed bump. They are not even positive that it will delay things. We've been asking when he'll get to come home. Could be by the end of the month, could be sometime in October. Trust me, he's living for that day right now! Thanks for all of your prayers for both Michael & myself. As I was driving down the road last week I thought "Hmmm...I haven't had a breakdown or a good old cry session in a while." ...and I know it must be prayers lifting me up & making me strong. So know your prayers are working. And we'll be back soon, so save our spot at church. You know what they say about church people & where they sit...don't go there! :-) Besides, I hear little Em-Em is making sure that's covered. Tina Armstrong
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I was preparing the newsletter the other day when I noticed that there were exclamation points everywhere. Welcome Visitors! Exciting Kids Church! Anointed Praise and Worship! Those weren't necessarily where every !! exclamation point was, but you get the idea. There were half a dozen or so in the publication, and I remembered an episode of Seinfield a number of years ago. Elaine was writing a story or something, and she had put exclamation points everwhere. When she was being critiqued, she was told at every exclamation she was talking loud, shouting. In some places where it didn't need to be.
I want to live life shouting today. I want to live it to the full, as Jesus told us to do. My desire is to have his joy inside of me, and to allow his live to be seen through me. Instead of living with fear, regret, worry, or doubt, I want to live life wide open.
Stop living with a question mark. You are here for a reason. God has made you unique. You are a one of a kind, God design. Put the pedal to the medal. Life and enjoy life.
LIVE WITH AN EXCLAMATION POINT!!!
Y'all be blessed
Monday, September 1, 2008
Natural storms, (sometimes termed "acts of God" ) can bring damage to lives and properties. They can wreak havoc on lands. Spiritual storms can, as well. You may be facing some contrary winds blowing against your life today. There may be things going on today which are troubling to you. Hold on. The storm will pass. God will see you through.
We're praying for you.