Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Senator Biden made a statement the other day that generated some negative publicity for his running mate, Senator Obama. He said, "mark my words, we're going to have a crisis to test the mettle of this guy." To test the mettle means to test the courage or fortitude of; to see what someone is made of. Athletes are given mettles for winning the games. The testing of someone is to see if they are mettle worthy. While Senator Biden's comments were meant, I assume, on his part to be a statement that Obama could pass the test, his words were jumped on by the McCain camp. They quickly ran spots stating that Obama could not pass the mettle test, while he, McCain, could.

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,
Pastor Ronnie

Monday, October 27, 2008


Our annual harvest festival is coming up this Friday. This is our 7th straight year to have this event in the present format we are doing. And, over the years of ministry, we have done so many times. Of course, the occasion to many is known as Halloween.

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.

Yes, I have read the history, and yes, I understand darkness and witchcraft. But I believe that every day is the Lord's day. We don't celebrate Halloween at New Harvest Church, but we do offer a safe and fun event for the entire family, in a Christian environment. And, if someone shows up in a costume dressed as a witch, I am not going to send them to hell. I am going to love on them. I teach my church family to avoid the symbols of darkness associated with the day, but we don't stand at the entrance and exclude someone who may not meet the appropriate "Christian attire."

You know, some folks see a devil in everything. I'm not one of them. I'm not locked into a 100 year time warp, and afraid of something because of age old "demons." If that is where you are, it's ok. I'm just not there. If your convictions are that you can't step out of the house on October 31, it wont bother me. And if you don't want to put up a tree at Christmas, that will be your decision. But I plan on getting out on October 31, eat some candy and have some fun. All the while, I plan on shining for Jesus. And come mid to late December, I'll be taking some kids to see some lights and putting out some decorations... and still shining for Jesus.
Come and get on the hayride, pulled by a tractor. Join 20 others on it, from toddlers to seniors. Play the games, enjoy the inflatables, get in the cakewalk. Win prizes, see the crowd of people standing in line for trunk or treat, where they get tons of candy. More fun than you can handle. All free of charge. Yeah, that sounds pretty devilish to me-- I had better stay in and hide until sun up the next day, I sure don't want the devil to get on me:)

Go ahead. Look at the pictures on our website from last year's event. The kids were simply having fun, and so were mom and dad, grandma and grandpa. I dare you to see the devil in there. No, I see Jesus in all of it!

Happy Fall Festival,

Pastor Ronnie

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Rutherford County, NC remains among the high unemployment counties of the state. Our local newspaper, The Courier gives the following information: In just three months, nearly 1,000 in Rutherford County have lost their jobs. Continental AFA announced its closing on July 25, dropping 200 employees; Hanesbrands, Inc. shut down its Forest City plant a month ago with 470 employees; and the Town of Forest had to layoff at least 30 employees as a result of the plant closings. A Steve & Barry’s store also closed recently. It employed 100 work­ers at its peak.“ This is a terrible loss for the coun­ty, especially for families that are involved in the closing,” said County Manager John Condrey. “ I can only say that the county is working very hard to recruit new business and work with existing companies to cre­ate jobs. The current financial situa­tion of the country makes this a very challenging time for job losses.”

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.

Pastor Ronnie


Remember the old McDonald's commercial? It said something like, "you deserve a break today, so get up and get away." The jingle continued, to McDonald's. Although I have frequently visited the fast food giant more than I could ever remember, I never thought of my time there as taking a break and getting away.
Truthfully, all of us need a break occasionally. You will find me blogging about this about once per quarter. I don't get to break that often, but I feel I need to. A few years ago, after our kids had all left the nest, Trish and I would take a little break and get away. We found it to be very refreshing. There is nothing like pulling aside from the normal busyness of life and relaxing. We often would take our bibles, a couple of good books, and just pray and relax. Nothing else would be on the agenda. When we would return home, we were refreshed. As a result, our ministry at the church was often blessed and refreshed because of our refreshing. Yeah, we deserve a break today.
Truth is, the budget has been tight. We've been needing to get away, but it has been difficult to do so. Now we're headed to the mountains. We're going to spend a few days there, thanks to an offering from the church. Some of our people put on an appreciation service, collected an offering, and pretty much insisted that we get away (thanks to those who did this, you know who you are). So we're mountain moving in the morning.
Zach, our grandson, is going with us. He has been planning this since our family getaway at the beach in June (pictured with me above). He said the other day that he was ready to go to the mountains and stay for a year. It seems he is burned out from spending a half day at the daycare. Boy, life is rough!
You deserve a break today, so get up and get away to McDona, er, ah, to the mountains. Pigeon Forge, here we come!
Pastor Ronnie

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I think the saying is a jingle to an old tv beer commercial. Wherever it originated from, it just came to my mind as I sit here relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. We had an awesome service this morning. As pastor, I tend to evaluate everything. It's just one of those things pastors are prone to do, I guess. I reflect on everything from the attendance, to how people respond, to the excitement level, to the offering level. I haven't seen the offering amount yet, but the others were pretty good. It was a great day.

I am sitting here flipping channels between the football games and the nascar race that is on. I am in what my grandson Zach calls "the comfortable couch." It is one of those small ones, we used to call them love seats, but I'm not sure if that is the actual term. In my "comfortable couch love seat" double recliner next to me is my beautiful wife of 37 years. It is not really cold, but we are sharing a throw my daughter gave me for Christmas that has "daddy" on it. Mom has more of it than daddy.

I don't have a ton of money, in fact the account is very limited. I guess if I counted things as some do, I could be disattisfied with what life has given me. But I am content with where I am in life. No, I haven't arrived, and there is definitely room for improvement. So, yes, things can improve and get better.

But I've got a God who loves me so much He gave His only Son for me. I've got a wife I am more crazy about than the day we married. I am blessed with 4 wonderful kids who are grown, and a great daughter in law and son in law. And I've got a grandson that thinks Paw Paw is second only to Maw Maw (I can live with that). I've got a church that is exciting to attend, and people who love and support Trish and I. No, I don't have everything. But I am so blessed to have the important things. AND IT JUST DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!

(The pic above is an oldie of years gone by when our kids were small)

Y'all be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie

Friday, October 17, 2008


Like the economic downturn and the devalued dollar, some lives are in a tailspin. Problems and adversities tend to cause us to look at ourselves and think maybe we somehow deserve the calamities that have come upon us. I want to speak an encouraging word to you today. Your worth is not linked to how well things are going in your life. Your worth is determined by the ONE who formed you.

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.

Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Struggling today? Feel as if the weight of the world is on you? I've got some good news for you. You can make it past the present pain. There's a Heavenly Father watching over you, who loves you so, so much. He knows how it feels. He understands disappointment. Our God has promised to be with you in every situation, and His promises do not fail. You can trust Him. He loves you with a love so great that He gave His only begotten Son for you. Wow, what a sacrifice, what a love.

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,
Pastor Ronnie

Sunday, October 12, 2008


We were SO blessed today. Our church blessed us with an Appreciation service. They said nice things over us, some cried over us, and they blessed us with an offering. We had a great dinner, with plenty of food and desserts. On top of that, the morning worship service was awesome. Our attendance is growing, and we are sensing God is up to something big!

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


Our women's group at New Harvest met last night. It was one of those "womany" times where they cooked, ate, fellowshipped, shared, and of course, they prayed. My wife returned home excited about their time together. It is good to connect. And it is good to pray.

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.


Y'all be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie

Thursday, October 9, 2008


They're having an appreciation service this Sunday. We don't have a Pastor's Aide Committee, or a designated group to do this kind of thing. So if or when it happens, it usually is one of those grass roots kind of things where someone approaches someone else who approaches someone else, who approaches others... and it gets to rolling. I suppose it happened that way this time. I am sometimes aware of the day, and sometimes I am not. Apparently this "appreciating group" had planned on surprising me with the day-- and then someone decided this past Sunday they needed to publicly announce it, just in case everyone wasn't notified.

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,
Pastor Ronnie

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


My heart is hurting. No, I am not speaking of physical chest pains. I am talking about an inward pain that is nonetheless just as real. The burden of people who have come across my path this week with real needs are on my mind and in my heart. The burden of a precious lady whose husband has been ill. She is now facing surgery for cancer. The teenager who is in the hospital dealing with some personal issues. She is one of the sweetest girls you will ever meet. She has a poor self image. We are lifting her up to be set free from every wrong choice in her life. My heart is heavy for the near 500 who lost their jobs in the county, of which some are members of my church. And for the ones who are struggling financially due to sickness and loss of work. My heart goes out my son in law and daughter, as the road to recovery continues. It will be the first of the year before he is released to go back to work. Others who are suffering physically. My dad continues to receive treatment for cancer.

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,
Pastor Ronnie

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Ms. Jenny got lost this morning. She is our Kid's Church and Youth Director, and makes the trip into Forest City, from near Greenville, SC. She has been making the trips up now since the last of May, but she got turned around somehow this morning. She and daughter Savanna got lost. I am sure it seemed to them that they were out in the middle of nowhere. I did not learn until after the service what had happened. Marsha, one of our teachers, had asked me about her, as she and Jenny were supposed to meet early to lay out some plans for the kids. I told her I had not heard from Jenny. When I found out later what had happened, I knew why no call would come in.... from where she was, you can't get a signal.

Her route went through Cliffside, Henrietta, and Sandy Mush. I can tell you that on that route up 221 A north from Cowpens, you pretty much lose signals once you get towards Cliffside. Cliffside is an old mill village, the mill is gone. Three or four miles north of Cliffside you run into Henrietta, which is another old mill village. From Henrietta to Sandy Mush, the signal is faint and far between. That stretch of road is pretty much signal-less, at least on Verizon phones. I would hate to be on a stretch of road like that, not knowing where I was, and not be able to get a signal. I don't know how we ever made it without cell phones, but I am thankful we don't have to now- that is, unless you live in Cliffside, Henrietta, or going up right into Sandy Mush.

In Sandy Mush, you can get a signal. I don't know why it's called Sandy Mush, I have never seen the sand, nor the mush. For that part, I have never seen the side of the cliff either, and I have lived around here all my life. What I do know is that I have been in remote areas in third world countries and gotten signals, but somehow we don't have the technology here in good ole Rutherford County. Can somebody help us out over here? There's a church over on Countryside Drive that has some people travelling up that we need.. They need some good road signs, and a signal on their cell phone.

Ms. Jenny finally made it in. She got as far north as Spindale, which was too far up. She got turned around, got back on track, and thankfully made it to New Harvest. And we were blessed because of it. .

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way... I've had this tune in my head for several days now, since I heard the news. The news I am referring to is that several of the retail giants being concerned about the economic situation and upcoming Christmas shopping. So they have decided to jump the gun on the holiday season, and begin their marketing and sales campaign now. They want to give us plenty of time to spend money we don't have. Wal Mart is already reducing the prices of many of its items, the toys, and things which traditionally are the earmark purchases for Christmas.
What? No Halloween? What about Thanksgiving? Do we leave out the turkey? No, I don't think so. I think that you will still be able to buy the costumes and get the candy corn, still get the turkey and the pumpkins. You will just be able to get ole Saint Nick with his merchandise right along beside them.
Gotta run. I want to hurry up and miss the crowd that is rushing to beat down the doors. Yeah, right. Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride....

Thursday, October 2, 2008


We're excited about the homecoming this week. No, not at the church. Michael and Tina, my son in law and daughter, are coming home today from Durham, where they have spent most of the summer at Duke Medical Center. Michael has been receiving treatment for the stem cell translpant he received, and was released yesterday evening. He was literally "shouting" over the phone when he called to give the good new.

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.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


OK, so I'll admit it. I get this way every once in a while. You know what I mean? You get to the place where you feel as if you need about a month to get away to the mountains, beach, or some remote island somewhere. But you don't have the money nor the time to take the trip.
It's not the popular thing to admit, especially in circles I travel. Some Christian leaders and church members will crucify you for admitting that you are tired, worn down, and need a break. They tell us it is a negative confession. While I understand making a good confession, I don't think telling the truth is something we, as pastors, can't do.
This is Pastor's Appreciation month. Having been a pastor for 33 years now, I can tell you from personal experience that your pastor gets tired. The physical, emotional, and spiritual demands on his life can be draining. Pastors are leaving the ministry at an alarming rate. This statistic is true both in the mega churches, and right down to the smaller ones. The average size church is around 100 members. Those size congregations tend to place more demands on the pastor, who often makes less money and has little or no benefits.
I am not saying any of this as a complaint. I am saying this as one who knows from experience. I also know that I can blog about many different subjects on this thing called the world wide web. And the tracing technology of google lets me know that the blog gets many more "hits" when I say something about a felt need, about the hurting, and particularly about pastors. Two of my highest looked in blogs were on this subject. One of them was about David encouraging himself, and the other was about pastors needing to take a break before they break. I find it interesting that these two caught so much attention. It appears a lot of tired, discouraged, and hurting pastors are searching the internet, looking for an answer to their "tiredness."
So, my blog today is two-fold, I guess. One is to the pastors out there. I want to encourage you today to hang in there, hold on, and slow down, if needed. Take a break, pray, rest a little while before you proceed. Get yourself refreshed. To the congregants, the church, I say this- Lift up the hands of the men and women of God who serve you. Encourage them, pray for them. Give them a card with some money in it. Stand with them, and be faithful to serve and give in the house of God.
There's nothing like a little rest and some good support to get this dog huntin' again!
Y'all be blessed,
Pastor Ronnie