Thursday, October 29, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes...

"Maw Maw, we need to talk. Turn the radio off." My five year old grandson said to my wife, Trish. She was taking him home from church after the midweek service. Although Zach's mom was at the service, he had asked that my wife take him home, so she obliged. The request to turn off the radio was a little unusual for him. Although my wife did not tell me the station that was playing, the dial is usually on His Radio. Zachary loves His Radio.

This Wednesday night service was different. Rather than dismiss the kids and youth after praise and worship, we kept everyone in the sanctuary. Our midweek attendance has been down lately, with school activities and sickness, and I wanted to have all available people for a meeting that was needed. Our annual Harvest Festival would be coming up in 3 days, and I wanted to make sure we had all bases covered. This is a major outreach for our church, and requires much planning. The meeting I had called for was one that was of the round table kind. Except there was no round table. It was an open format, with a couple of key people telling where we were, how we would do things, and what was needed. Talk was going on in several directions. This is where the problem arose...

I didn't know there was a problem, and in reality, there wasn't. At least not from my vantage point of assessing everything. But as Maw Maw was driving Zach home, he needed to talk. Trish relayed the conversation he had to her. It was something like this:

"Maw Maw, I have been in a lot of meetings. This one was not done right. Everyone was talking. When a meeting is taking place, everyone is supposed to be quiet, and you listen to the person up front."

As I said, I had asked a couple of the outreach leaders to the front. In the midst of their communication, people were responding back and forth. There was also one lady making rounds and talking to people while this was going on.

A meeting out of order? Not really. But what stirred me was that the kids learn early. Zach understands a lot more about flow, order, and reverence than a lot of adults. He may have misinterpreted this one, but at least he is watching.

Art Linkletter used to do a show called, "Kids say the darnedest things". Yeah. You can learn a lot through a child. One of the perks of being paw paw is that this time around I am actually still enough to listen. And I am loving it!

Got any kid stories about church? I'd love to hear yours.

Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pastor Appreciation

Friends within our community know that Trish (my wife) and I serve as pastors of New Harvest Church. I often write to my people and community. The thoughts are from my perspective. They may or may nor apply or be relevant to you. This note is to the church we are privileged to serve. I thought I would share it with everyone for a couple of reasons. 1) To remind congregants to take the time to express their appreciation for their pastor 2)A view from a pastor's perspective

A Pastor Appreciation service will be held for Trish and I this Sunday at the church. It will be a special time where honor will be given. Lunch will follow the service, with great food and fellowship. That is pretty much all I know. It is one of the few times as pastor where I am out of the loop and not in control regarding the direction and flow of the service.

The month of October is set aside as a time for the recognition and honor of pastors. Serving as pastor is both one of the most rewarding, and most stressful occupations you will ever experience. A recent survey states that 80% of pastors, and 84% of their spouses deal with constant discouragement. I could give you other stats regarding pastors leaving the pulpit, but that is not my purpose here. Before I move on, I want to challenge you: honor your pastors. Your pastors aren't perfect. He/she will make mistakes, will make some decisions or say some things you may not agree with. But they have the responsibility to guard your soul.You should stand with them and help them strengthen the local church.

Here are my thoughts in advance of Pastor Appreciation...
1) Trish and I are honored to be honored. Thank you for entrusting your souls and your family into our hands.
2) We are blessed to have you in our lives. God is so good to allow us to have people like you in our church family.
3) Sometimes we forget to say thanks. Thanks for serving, giving, praying. Without your combined efforts, we could not have a strong local church that extends its mission to the community, region, and world. Thank you for all you do.
4) We love you. More than words can express. You are more than people we preach and teach. You are in our hearts.
5) You are family to us. A few of you are our natural family. All of you are our spiritual family. As family, we worship together. We sing together, pray together, play together, and cry together.
6) Our desire to see the glory of God captured in the hearts and lives of all. To see a church blazing with the fire of the Holy Ghost, reaching, rescuing, and redeeming lost and hurting humanity. To take the gospel of the kingdom to the nations of the world, beginning at home. It is to raise up our sons and daughters, to empower and train them for the call of God on our lives. Thank you for catching this vision with us!

Pastor Appreciation? Thanks. Whatever you will do or say. Just want you to know that Trish and I appreciate you appreciating us. Just in case we forget to say it during the service or the dinner Sunday.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Sitting here at 11:15 PM, my mind is racing. I am praying and trying to keep myself together. After all, I am a man. A man is supposed to be strong. But some things weigh upon me. I can't lay down and sleep just yet.

My wife always turns in earlier than I. She will go to bed, sometimes sit and read her bible or a good book for a little while, and then turn in. I always go in before I think she has finished her reading to get me a goodnight kiss before she goes to sleep. Tonight I went in, and the nightlight was already off. She wasn't reading. She was praying. Praying and crying.

She had a phone call earlier in the day. It was from my daughter. I could tell from Trish's voice and the tone of the conversation that it wasn't good. Our daughter is battling deep depression. You see, she cries at night, too. Tina cries because her husband recently passed away. A marriage of 5 years with a husband that fought terminal cancer 4 of those years. On their one year wedding anniversary, the diagnosis of lymphoma cancer was discovered. The last year's struggle had been hell for the both of them. Now Tina is battling an enemy herself. One of self will, or self esteem, of loneliness. And at night she cries.

My wife, Trish, cried as she talked with Tina on the phone. And so when I went to the bedroom and saw her crying, I knew. The day's struggles were on her heart. Trish is also battling. Sinus problems for the last couple of weeks, and high blood pressure. I know she is under the strain of serving in a local church with great people, but not enough funds. Overseeing a daycare that is a great community outreach, but struggles itself with parents who don't pay-- adding more pressure on us. So, whether it was her physical pain, the burden for our people and family, or just stress, I am not sure. It was probably all three. She keeps it from me. Doesn't want me to see. She holds them back. But when she goes to bed at night she cries.

Across the road from my house is the my mom's house. Mom is now in her mid seventies. Dad passed away this past spring. They married in their teens, as did Trish and I. It was a different generation. Daddy did everything for mom. She didn't even know how to pump gas or work the remote. Mom is doing well, at times. As is Tina. But, like her, she is lonely. And, although she doesn't tell me, I know.
At night, she cries.

And when I think about my mom crying, my daughter crying, and my wife crying-- I do, too.

Not sure why I am writing this. I get too transparent and too personal at times, and most don't want to read these things anyway. So I may pull this at any time. If you happen to read it through, please don't judge us. These ladies are going to be alright. They have a strong faith, and a mighty God.

But sometimes they cry.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I love my wife. Trish and I married at an early age. We have been married for almost 39 years. Most marriages do not make it when wed in their teenage years. For that matter, most marriages simply don't make it these days at all. I say that, not to demean those who have had marriage failures, but just as a matter of fact. The pressures, struggles, and temptations on couples today can be overwhelming. Both the husband and the wife must make sacrifices to insure a healthy marriage.

Trish bought me a T shirt, probably 2 or 3 months ago. It says simply, "I love my wife". It is pictured here, although blurry. The photo was taken from my cell camera. I have worn this shirt out many times during the summer, and now into the fall. It hardly fails that I get a comment and a compliment from someone while I am out.

The truth is, I do. I do still love her very much. My childhood sweetheart, the joy of my life. The best thing in the world that ever happened to me outside of Jesus. No, our marriage has not been perfect. But it has been good. Through all the trials, the struggles, and the things we have faced, my wife has stood by my side. She is truly my help mate. She helps me pastor the church. Her worship of the Lord and her prayer life challenge me.

My pet names for her are "Sunshine" and "Pretty Girl". She lights up my life. I can walk into a room full of ladies of all ages, but, in her mid fifties, she is still the pretties in my eyes.

Yeah, I proudly wear the shirt. I LOVE MY WIFE!