Friday, November 28, 2008


The Martins of Kings Mountain NC were returning home from a shopping trip when they spotted a purse on US ByPass 74. They pulled to the side to retrieve the item, and discovered it had more than $5000 in $100 bills. They had no intention of keeping the money. Here is the story from the Shelby Star:

"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.

Pastor Ronnie

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I am thankful today for the blessings God has given me. First of all, I am thankful for His forgiveness, grace and mercy. I am thankful for every blessing-- salvation, healing, deliverance, victory, and more. The Psalmist said, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

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!

Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


No, we're not cooking Thanksgiving dinners today for the community. We have done that in the past, but that is not what I want to share about this morning. We have a food bank program at New Harvest Church. We call it "Helping Hands." This benevolence ministry is an outreach that consists of more than food. We also collect shoes and coats for distribution to those in need. But the food program is the main emphasis. We receive numerous requests each month for assistance. It amazes me how we are able to continue this outreach, and of the number of families we help. Wiley Thomas, one of the elders of the church, heads up this ministry for us. He keeps record of the names and numbers we have helped. Trish and I get most of the calls initially, and refer them to him. I often hear words like this, "I have never done this before, and I am embarrassed to have to ask." Or, "the funds just aren't enough, and we have children in the house-- there's nothing to eat."

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


This is the biggest traveling day of the year. People all across the nation are going home to be with family. I don't know of anything more rewarding than sitting around on Thanksgiving Day with the family. In today's hectic and fast paced world, it is one of those rare times when we purposely slow down to be with those who are important in our lives.

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,
Pastor Ronnie

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.

Pastor Ronnie

Friday, November 21, 2008


Michael Armstrong is my son in law, who has been receiving treatments for cancer. Last August he underwent a stem cell transplant. Michael received his first scan since the transplant Wednesday, and today he received the report. I have posted several prayer requests and comments concerning he and my daughter Tina in the last year or so. Here is an email he sent today. I wanted to share it with those of you who faithfully read my blog, as I know you have been a part of the prayer family.

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 :)

From Michael:
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


I sit here this morning finishing my second cup of coffee. I have spent some time in my bible study, and some time working on the church bulletin. I am thinking about some of the things which have transpired this week. Wow, it has been a challenging one! I had a toothache last weekend, so Monday morning I had it pulled (ouch). Trish, my beautiful wife, had a cold. She is recovering from it, just about well. But more pressing on both of us was a trip to the doctor for an exam. She had gone in last week for one of those yearly events, and they scheduled a follow up. Something was showing up, and they needed to run some tests.

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!

Pastor Ronnie

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!

Pastor Ronnie

Monday, November 17, 2008


Trish and I have one daughter by birth, and one by marriage. Today is their birthday. They are two of the most beautiful and precious young ladies in the world. We are enriched by them and blessed to have them in our lives. Family is everything to us. So I wanted to take a moment to say it...

Happy Birthday, Tina and Anitra. We love you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It is always good to know that you have made a difference in someone's life. That happened today in the service. Two young people gave their hearts to the Lord. I gained a new brother and sister in the process. Our services at New Harvest lately are exciting. It seems we are making an impact on our community. That is our passion! I want to reach souls for Christ, and to stir the hearts of the people the Lords my way. A teen came up to me today, and told me he enjoyed the sermon. He has only been coming for a few weeks now. What an encouragement, to know that you are touching the generations!

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,
Pastor Ronnie

Friday, November 14, 2008


This is one of the most exciting seasons we have had at New Harvest Church in a while. The Glory of God is moving among us in a powerful way. It is evident God wants to do something. In the midst of it, there is some "spiritual housecleaning" taking place. This generally happens during seasons of revival, and it is definitely happening here.

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.

Pastor Ronnie

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have a low tolerance for pain. It is pretty much a no tolerance. I don't like pain of any kind, of any measure. But life comes with pain. I have never experienced the pain of childbirth, but my wife can tell you about it. Out of that pain comes the most beautiful creation God ever made-- the beauty of a new born child. Wow! I remember that beauty of each of our children, and how my beautiful wife produced life out of the pain.

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,
Pastor Ronnie

Friday, November 7, 2008


It happened yesterday, and I was unprepared. My laptop has had some problems for a while now, so I should have been ready. But I was not. About a year ago the hinges that hold the screen up broke. I have one of those 17" ones, and I knew the replacement was going to be expensive. I had received the computer as a gift several years ago, and it was pretty much top of the line at the time.

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.

Pastor Ronnie

Monday, November 3, 2008


We are having some awesome services at the church. We are sensing that we are on verge of revival and restoration. For the last two weeks, we have held Sunday Night Outpouring services, and have decided to continue for another couple of weeks. I am hesitant to change anything at this point. I know there is more, and we are ready for it.

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."

Pastor Ronnie

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I woke up this morning with the same aches I went to bed with last night. Those aches consist of hurting from my head to my toes. My back hurts, my feet hurts, and numerous other body parts. My age and being out of shape don't help, and I keep reminding myself I've got to get at least the shape thing under control.

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,
Pastor Ronnie