Sunday, June 21, 2009

Looking for Jesus

We're on our annual family vacation this year. It is a time when we sit on the balcony, make home made ice cream, go to the water park, and of course, the beach. Some other things are included, but it is all just a week about a whole lot of nothing.

Remember the Seinfield series that aired on TV a few years ago? It is now in syndication, and was a big hit. One season of the series included a bit where Jerry and George wrote and produced a sitcom about their own lives, and the story line what "the show about nothing." That pretty much sums up the family vacation thing we do. No pressure to run, to go, to do. If any of the family wants to do something, everyone can, but no one is pressured to participate.

And so far, I am enjoying the week doing nothing. Books to read, bible of course, prayer time, and family time. And we have the joy of having a couple from our church along this year, and thier precious little one. The pic above is of my grandson Zach, who is five, and of 'Em, who is two. Zach and Em are somewhat like brothers and sisters. In the picture they are sitting on the deck of our rented house, and enjoying themselves.

Zachary has a keen memory. Last year he saw a picture of Jesus on one of the big motor homes in the campground area. It was located on the windshield, and the eyes of Jesus followed you along, as you passed the big bus. Zach saw this while cruising through the campground on the golf cart. Oh yeah, I forgot, that is another one of the "nothing" things we do. So Zach told Em about Jesus in the campground, and he, she, and whoever is driving the cart, have looked for Jesus this year. But no site of the motorhome with the image has been seen as of yet.

Like Zach and Em, I, too, am looking for Jesus. This vacation is giving me an opportunity to replenish my soul and be revived. Trish and I want to return home with a fresh touch from the Lord on us. We are privileged and blessed to be able to oversee a church of wonderful people. It is imperative that we see HIM. Sometimes in the busy pace of life, we lose sight of what is important. We need times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.

I remember one time in the heat of the Brownsville revival, we went down. It was just after Mother's day, and little known to us, they had taken a few days off. So, other than intercessory prayer, the revival did not pick back up until the end of the week, at which time we were heading back home. When Trish and I made the trips to Pensacola, rather than staying near the church, we went about 10 miles or so to Pensacola Island, and stayed right on the beach. The white sands and blue water of the Gulf were relaxing. Only attended two services, and one of them was only a prayer meeting. But we came home revived and stirred. Truthfully, I saw Jesus in white sand and blue water.

Yeah, I too, am looking for Jesus. I haven't seen the bus with the picture, but I have seen him this week!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I will be preaching this Sunday in Ohio...

If you are a member of my family or church and you read this, you will probably be a little shocked. The title to the blog is somewhat of a "tease" like they do in TV when they are telling you what is coming up, and get you to stay tuned past the commercial.

The fact is, I am not preaching this Sunday anywhere. I am going to be out of town on family vacation. It is one of the rare times I am away from my pulpit on Sunday morning. Even though we plan a trip of this kind with our family annually, I usually do not travel with them, but wait until after Sunday morning service.

Vacations are fun times, aren't they? I have looked forward to this time to get away and relax. I don't want to leave the impression with some of my church family who may read this blog-- I really am not trying to get away from them. I just want to get away, period. The fact is, I enjoy being in ministry, and love the people the Lord has given me. I love preaching and worshiping the Lord, and I love the fellowship and fun times. Trish and I enjoy the opportunities to connect and build our relationships. In fact, she is planning a beach retreat in the fall with the ladies of the church.

I will not be preaching this Sunday. I will not be in a pulpit in a church in Ohio. But I will be there, sort of. I have mentioned several times the value of networking, as in Face Book and Twitter. A pastor whom I have connected with on Twitter asked if anyone had a good father's day sermon. I responded with the thought and scripture. It is one I have used in the past. He responded back and said that the Lord had put some things in his heart, and that my response was just what he needed. He would take the scripture, title, and thought I had given him and tie it into what the Lord had put in his heart. Essentially, the Lord used me to just fill in the pieces of what the Ohio pastor had. So when he gets up on Sunday morning and shares, the value of what the Lord has given me will come through... at a church in Ohio that I have never been, through a pastor I have never personally met.

No, I'm not bragging. I just stand in awe of the things God can use. That's why I write, blog, tweet, and post on facebook. God can take the things inside of you and use them to reach the world. I encourage you to share the good things of God. I encourage you to let your light shine!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Honoring Dads

Sunday is Father's Day. It is a day set aside to honor dads. I have joked at church that Father's Day doesn't carry the same value as Mother's Day. Whether there is an element of truth to that or not, we need to dispel it. One reason may be that fathers have not fulfilled their part in the raising of the child. We have to change that. There needs to be a culture change, a mindset change, and a structure change. Men need to step up to the plate as priest of the home, and both in the nurture, love, and admonition of their children.

While there is a challenge for the man to accept his responsibilities as a husband and father, we need to change another mindset that prevails-- that of thinking of them as lesser value and worthy of less honor in the home. And so, on this Father's Day, I encourage you to make it a special time for dad. A card with a special note, even a homemade one is a great way to express your love. A call, a visit. Make Sunday after church a special time for dad with a cookout or take him out to his favorite place to eat.

On this Father's Day, I will enjoy my family. as we will be on a family vacation. Not all my kids will be there with us this year, but it will still be a special time for us. I will also pause to reflect at some time during the day on the memory of my dad. He passed away this past March, and this will be my first time without him.

Pastor Ronnie

Monday, June 15, 2009


Trish and I take a family vacation once a year. For the past several years we have gone to Ocean Lakes Campground, just south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We have again planned our vacation there. We rent a house that can accommodate our family. Some of them are able to attend, and some of them are not. This year, we are blessed to have a couple from the church and their child going with us. They are like family to us, and we are looking forward to the trip.

We don't usually plan a lot of activities while there. Rest and relaxation is the main event for the week. A little shopping, of course the eating, and probably some park rides for the kids. And, while the others may plan some other things, Trish and I just plan on doing a lot of nothing.

I have looked for this week for several months now. The fact is, I need it. I need some time...
Some HE time. I plan on taking my bible, notepad, and a couple of good books. I will sit and look at the water and relax, read some books, and pray. Read the word of God, and allow Him to speak to me. Getting away and getting still is good for me. This HE time will replenish my soul.

I also need some WE time. We (the family) have been through some things the past year. I want go into details here, except to say that it will be good to get away and have fun with the family. While away we will celebrate Trish's birthday (my wife) and Father's Day (for me). However, Father's Day will have a sad note this year. It will be the first year without my dad, who passed away this past March. We will connect and have fun. The We includes a special little girl in our lives and the couple I spoke of earlier. They are also family, though not in the flesh. They are one of the few relationships we have in ministry where we can be ourselves.

I also need some ME time. Yeah, I said it. I need time for me. When in ministry, you are constantly serving others. It is part of the call. I don't mind serving. But sometimes I get tired. Tired mentally, physically, and spiritually. People complaining about things that don't really matter. People not supporting the church, not praying, giving, serving. Makes it difficult for the pastor and his wife, especially in a small church where everyone counts and every dollar counts. The me time will not solve the problems, but it will give me a few days to be replenished.

Jesus spoke to the disciples on one occasion, and told them to "come apart and rest awhile." The bible says they were busy and had no time for recreation. I have often said that if we fail to come apart, we will come apart. Burnout occurs when we are constantly giving and giving, and giving.

So, after this Wednesday's service, I am "Out" as Ryan Seacrest says on American Idol. Although we will not be leaving until Saturday morning, I am signing out. I will run by the Friday Night After Graduation Party at the church to open with prayer, and stay for a few minutes. But I am basically off the clock.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thinking about dad and mom

A year ago today my dad had surgery for cancer. He began to go downhill after the surgery, and passed away March 30. As Father's Day approaches, I find myself thinking more about him. It will be my first Father's Day without daddy. It will also be the wedding anniversary of mom and dad. Mom got a bee sting today which caused a breakout and swelling. She was admitted in the Emergency Room at the hospital, and had to stay a couple of hours for treatment.

Living and dying are a part of our cycle. We all face burying our loved ones. I know I am not alone in this journey. God is my strength.

I came home today from attending our church Kid's Camp with excitement about the past few days with the children. My joy is somewhat tempered by my reflections of the family.

Kid's Camp with the kids

I just spent the past few days at camp with our Kid's Church team. I don't usually attend these type events, but decided to do so this year. This was a great event for our kids. They enjoyed the fun events at the camp, as well as the activities that our team presented for them.

Our team, which included some of our youth, did an awesome job. A couple of rainy evenings did not dampen the spirit of the group. My grandson, Zach, is five years old. This was his first camp. One of the reasons we decided to do our own this year was the fact that most church camps do not include the children until they are seven years of age. I am glad we made this decision. Zach is already looking forward to next year's event!