Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sorry, I need to vent a little. I try to stay positive on my blogs. I realize there is enough bad news in the world. I generally want to encourage and bless. And I haven't intended to say anything right now. This week has been a rough one for me. I will explain...

I hate cancer. I will get a little more plain. Cancer is hell. My grandfather died with it. My mother in law died with it. My son in law has battled it for four years. Last June we found out my dad had cancer. After treatments and surgery, the reports were positive. Cancer gone, dad would probably die from old age before he would from cancer. But complications arose in January, and he has gone steadily downhill since February.

He has been unable to eat for a couple of weeks now. Insure was given, but he could not take but one or two a day. Back in the hospital on Tuesday. On Thursday we got the word, the cancer has returned. The doctor said they can do no more. This morning we were told it would be very soon.

Sitting in a hospital room watching mom hold his hand and rub his head. Watching my siblings talk to daddy and attempt to get a response. Same with grand kids and great grand kids. Dad will come home tomorrow, but not because he is better.

I hate cancer.

Thank you for your prayers for us during this time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pray for us

Got some bad news concerning my dad today, who is in Charlotte Medical Center. I would appreciate your prayers for him, and for the family during this time.

I am not sure when I will feel up to writing, but at the moment I intend to take a break. I am drained emotionally. Just wanted to let you know. I appreciate those who check out my blogs, and are blessed by something I say. I may be away from my writing for only a few days, I don't know.

Love and Prayers,
Pastor Ronnie

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Silence is golden?

An old adage says "silence is golden." The proverb dates back to ancient Egypt, and continues to be used today to express the thought that sometimes saying nothing is preferable to speaking.

There is great truth conveyed in the expression. Sometimes it is better to say nothing at all. There are times when a sharp word or critical word can do much damage. Solomon continually expressed the truth of governing our speech in the book of Proverbs. The man of wisdom never put it in the words of silence is golden, but the thought is conveyed there. In Proverbs 25:24 he said "it is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a big house." He was saying to get away from contention, even if it means to go to the farthest part of the rooftop away from it. Yes, sometimes silence is golden.

But silence can also be troubling. The silence of a man and woman in a house not speaking to each other. The silence of a cold heart. The silence of a friend not speaking. Sometimes lack of communication can send the wrong signals, even if it was not intended to.

I am a communicator, a talker. Sometimes too much. I blog, I tweet on twitter, I constantly talk on facebook. I talk on my cell phone, I text. I preach and teach. I am constantly speaking. I enjoy talking, and I enjoy listening. It is good to have people to talk to. I appreciate my family and friends more than they will ever know. I cannot imagine not talking. I can't imagine silence.

But sometimes I feel the Lord is calling me aside. It is during those times that my communication with people is not as frequent. And I usually don't announce that I have "stilled myself" so that I can hear from heaven. I don't write as much, don't joke as much (I am a natural jokester), I don't say as much. But I have found that sometimes those close to me can misread my silence. My silence to them can be an indicator of something wrong.

Don't know why I'm blogging about silence today. One thing is, I don't want you to misread my silence. It is not to you... it is unto Him.

Silently signing off until the next time when I holler back at you.
Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The D word...

Its not a word we like to hear. I have preached it many times through the years. And yet, I find myself needing a little of it myself, this "D" word I am speaking of. OK, here it is... DISCIPLINE.

There, I said it. Scared you, didn't it? You're ready to exit off the blog now, this is not going to be pleasant. Like a gory scene in a movie we don't want to see, we tend to flip away from a subject we don't want to hear. And my intention is not to "preach" this one to others today. It's to remind myself.

Some things only come through discipline. The athlete who wants to be on the top level of competitiveness understands that he must subject himself to the necessary adjustments of diet, exercise, and training to accomplish the goal. Victory won is worth the sacrifices made.

Yet in church today we don't make the sacrifices we should. We preach about them, but seldom make adjustments. And we get offended at anyone who suggests any element of discipline is necessary on our part. I know that our relationship with Christ is by grace, and not of works. I am not attempting to revert to the clothesline mentality of some narrow minded believers. Having said that, where is the call of total abandonment to the Lord? His glory is only found in the face seekers of His divine presence.

So today I am feeling drawn to discipline. I know He is working on me. I will admit there are times when I am not sensitive enough to realize the need. And when I see it, I must submit to it. I hope you as a reader do not get the impression that I am attempting to be preachy to you today. That is not my intent at all. What I am doing is sharing my heart in what I feel He is saying to me.

My word for today is a D word. DISCIPLINE... discipline myself spiritually, mentally, and physically. Make adjustments to my food intake, to what I see on TV and how much I view. Discipline myself to my online time. I discovered facebook 3 months ago. I have reconnected with some old friends, kept connect with ones I already have, and met some new friends. But I have spent way too much time there. So I am attempting to reel myself in. Not saying I am stopping, but I am trying to avoid some of the time consuming nonsense that goes along with some of these things. I will watch TV with my wife and grandson and occasionally a sports program. I will do a little facebook time but wont get caught up in all the games on it. And I will avoid conversations with the opposite sex without the presence of my wife in the room to monitor. I am working on other areas that need it.

I am hungry for something else. I heard insanity defined as keeping on doing the same thing and yet expecting a different result. We have had some great results at the church I pastor. But I am not satisfied. I want more. I have been telling the Lord that. I hear him telling me I need that D word to get there.

I must decrease, He must increase. There must be less and less of me, more and more of Him.

Pastor Ronnie

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Worth the investment

It has been a very busy time for us since the first of the year. Ministry duties have pulled on me. In addition, there has been much work going on at the church. When small town churches take on additional responsibilities, often some of those duties fall on the pastor and his wife. I am not complaining in stating this. It is encouraging to see lives being changed. It is a blessing to see growth. And, although some projects we have taken on have taken more time and energy than I originally estimated, I am glad we have done so.

From time to time I tend to pull back and evaluate my efforts. I don't want to be spinning my wheels and not getting anything accomplished. At my age, I don't want to expend energy in areas that are not productive. And so the process goes on, at least in my mind. Is this venture worth the funds, resources, and energy it takes? Are the results there that support what we are doing?

And so, here I am in Mid March, thinking. It is Sunday afternoon. Spiritually, I am pumped! Mentally and physically, I am exhausted and drained. I need a break, a retreat. I have neither the time nor the funds to take it. Is what we're doing worth the investment?

Yeah, the kids are worth it. Yes, the youth program is worth it. Cut the outreach? Don't worry about feeding the hungry in our community? Forget about missions? No, they are worth it. When I think of every area, I don't see anything that I want to pull back on. I awoke this morning at 5 AM with a fresh mandate and a new challenge of outreach. No, we're not pulling back.

Its worth the investment. Being visible and active in the local community is what we are called to do. YOU are worth the investment. As long as I am alive, I intend to pour my heart into blessing, encouraging, and stirring you.

Love and Prayers,
Pastor Ronnie

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A glimmer of hope?

CBS news headlines began with a caption saying "Glimmer of hope?" The story was about the current economic climate of the nation, and the week's upturn in the stock market. The brief article stated there seemed to be a little light, but that we are far from over the downward spiral of job losses.

I live in the real world, and am much aware of the struggles people are facing. The church I pastor is located in an area that was hard hit two decades ago when the cotton mills began shutting down. Then the furniture industry was hard hit. Low paying jobs and no jobs are common here. When the people in the community can't work, it affects everything else. Yes, especially the church.

But I haven't intended to write another blog about the economic struggles of the community, nor the church. (I have written those blogs, and they are the most googled of any) To tell you the truth, I rarely listen to network news lately. There is so much negativity that it is depressing. The thing that caught my attention was the caption, along with the question mark.

A glimmer of hope? Glimmer is defined as a faint light. Hope is defined as to desire with expectation of obtainment. And so the question posed by CBS was this-- Is there a faint light shining that will bring an expectaction of obtainment? Or you could put it simply like this-- Is there a light shining?

My answer is that YES, there is hope. There is more than a glimmer. The light of Christ shines in the darkness. The kingdom of God is not paralyzed by the greed of man. He is still on the throne. The Good News is that there IS hope, that Christ lives. The reason the church exists is because there is hope.

You wont find it on the news. You wont find it in the morning paper. But you will find it at your church this Sunday. There will be a praise team or a choir singing about it. There will be teachers in Sunday School or children's church teaching our precious little ones about it. There will be a man or woman of God behind the pulpit sharing this hope. The hope is that no matter what you've done, how you've lived, where you've been. No matter your skin color, education, or what side of the tracks you live on... THERE IS HOPE!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A distant heart

This morning in my prayer and meditation, the Lord brought a scripture to my remembrance. It is found in the gospel of Mark, chapter six, verse six. Jesus said "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." NIV

You know how it is sometimes when you see something, and then you REALLY see it? As I opened my bible it seemed as if the verse leaped out at me. I know in actuality that it did not, but when my eyes fell upon that scripture, I sensed the Lord speaking to me.

Honor is important. Honor speaks of reverence, of paying respect to. When I think of honor in relation to the Lord, I think of worship. Often in our "worship" services, I challenge the people to praise the Lord, lift Him up. Enter into worship, I say. Give him honor.

Our words are important. They carry weight. They release life or death. Confession is a principle we understand. But what Jesus says in this verse moves me this morning.

These people honor me with their lips, but... There it is, the BUT. I would have been okay if he had not have put the BUT in there. I was trucking along pretty good until I came to the BUT. It seems my BUT is in the way sometimes.

BUT their heart is far from me. Far means at a distance that is not near. It indicates a separation from. Closeness is not there. Jesus in essence was saying, their lips say one thing but their heart says something else. The heart is the main thing.

If my words are not in alignment with my heart, there is trouble. I can voice one thing and live another. It is possible to confess at one moment that I will follow him all the way, and then to live just the opposite the next moment. Ask Peter. He followed at a distance. Sometimes I feel myself drifting from him. A week has gone by and my prayer life and devotions have been neglected. I have been busy FOR him, but not intimate WITH him. I have prioritized work over worship, work over the word. I have spent too much time watching TV, on the internet, being goofy on facebook, or whatever.

In Psalms 19:14, David says, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." To be acceptable, both my words and my heart must be near, up close, intimate.

Sometimes I am sitting in the living room in my home. The day is done, and Trish and I have a rare opportunity to have an evening together. After the evening meal, we relax and the TV is on. She may want to watch a movie or something. She is on one of the sofa recliners. It is one of the smaller ones, we used to call them "love seats", I guess because it basically has room for two. I am sitting on the couch, about 10 feet or so away from where she is. While watching the tv with her, I am not really into it. I am on my computer, checking my emails, chatting with someone, or something. I tell her I love her. She responds. But at the moment Trish is not feeling love. We are close in proximity, but I have allowed other things to take away her time with me, which she regards as precious.

I'm working on things. This blog is not intended as a tool to bring someone under condemnation. I guess it may be a confession on my part. I don't want to allow ANYTHING to stand in my way with Him. I don't want a distant heart.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wow, what a God!

We had a young man preach at New Harvest Church this morning. His name is Daniel Ross. He brought a great word on training ourselves to hear and discern the voice of the Lord. It was a simple and yet profound message. What I mean by that is that it was easy to understand and get hold of, and yet a very challenging word. As I sat and listened intently, I was reminded of the Lord that I need to tune all other voices out and allow Him to speak clearly.

Daniel is a man who is on fire for God. He has a call and mandate on his life to reach the nations of the earth. He, along with his brother Dakota, are leaving for Malaysia next month. They are serving under the covering of Global Missions Training, with Apostle Irvin Rutherford.

As I heard Daniel tell his story, I realized he should be a statistic. Dealing drugs, flunking school, locked up in jail... His teen years were not exactly the material you look for when you are placing a mantle of leadership to reach the nations of the world. But it's just like God to choose the foolishness of the world to confound the wise, the weak to confound the mighty. When I look at and listen to the young man, I would not know that any of the things just said applied to him. He has the appearance, demeanor, and character of someone who has it all together.

Wow... it must be God. It reminds me of something I heard years ago, I think it was from Mike Shreve. It went something like this. If you leave the service saying, Wow, what a sermon, I have failed. All I did was impress you. But if you leave saying, What a God, then I have accomplished my purpose.

We heard a great sermon today. But the lingering thing in my spirit is not how much I was impressed with the messenger. It is this-- WOW, WHAT A GOD!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

That's why they call them Grand

I send a great big Happy Birthday greeting to my grandson, Zachary. He is five years old today. I guess you would say Zach is an average five year old, but in my eyes he is one in a million. I tell everyone that I have "spoiled him rotten." I have found that saying doesn't translate well in third world countries, and I am unsure if it translates anywhere at all for that matter other than here in the south. What I mean by the saying is that I have lavished him with love, affection, and gifts. But I don't really think Zach is spoiled, not in the sense of what we used to call "spoiled brats" who throw tantrums to get their way.

Gotta pause on the blog... my phone is ringing. It is 6:45 AM and a call this early in the morning usually indicates trouble somewhere. But no, it's Zach. He is already up and has opened some birthday presents. Excited, he wants to tell me about them, but after a minute or so of conversation, asks to speak to Maw Maw. So I now continue...

Trish and I raised four children. We married early and had a houseful. I love them dearly, and would stop the world for them if possible. I would march into hell to rescue them. They are my world. And while I have never questioned my love for them, when I look back I tend to question some of my decisions. I would now be more lenient in some areas, more understanding, spend more listening.

I get a do over with Zach. I wasn't a perfect dad, and I am not a perfect grand dad (he calls me paw paw). But I have learned that my time and my love are the most valuable commodities I can give him. I never grow tired of talking, playing, and loving on him.

Zachary wants to sing like his maw maw and preach like his paw paw. He has my bibles, the old worn out microphones from the church, and assorted instruments and karaoke machines. He got a keyboard this past Christmas. His ambitions may change at any moment, but I know we have poured our lives these past few years into him.

Yeah, they call them grand for a reason!

Happy Birthday, Zachary!