Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful for things I've never been thankful for before

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am thankful. But my thankful list goes this year beyond things I have ever considered. They probably make no sense at all to most. But here goes my "thankful for things I've never been thankful for before" list:

1. I'm thankful for a persistent headache that wouldn't go away- No, I don't enjoy headaches. But this headache led me to a doctor's visit. I had ran out of blood pressure pills. Not only that, but the blood pressure medication I was on wasn't controlling my bp. The doctor wanted me to come in. While there he insisted I have blood work. Previous blood work had indicated high PSA count, and he wanted follow up on that. The blood work came back that the PSA had increased since the last tests.
2. Further testing by a specialist revealed Prostate Cancer. I am thankful for a good God in the time of bad news. Yes, I have been thankful for that before. What I haven't been thankful for is a bad report. And I'm not actually thankful for the report. But I am thankful for the ability of medical doctors and the tests to confirm a need that should have attention.
3. I am thankful for the skill of the surgeon.
4. I am thankful for the care of a hospital and their staff.
5. I am thankful for medication that helps control and alleviate pain.
6. I am thankful for stitches and staples. I detested my staples, but I know they were serving a purpose to hold in place until my body was doing the healing that was needed.
7. I am thankful for a catheter. From day one, it bothered me. I was annoyed by it. I wanted it out. But I am thankful for the purpose it served.
8. I hate the C word. But I am thankful that teams are constantly working, exploring, trying to develop cures for each variety. I am thankful for fundraising groups which raise funds for research. Our church has raised funds for the relay for life cancer drive before. But I don't know that I've ever appreciated as much as I do now those who are behind the scenes at work in the hope that one day this disease wont take innocent lives from us.

I may think of other things I am thankful for that I've not been thankful for before. But this is it for now. I know I did not make my list of other things, such as God, my family, my church, etc that I am thankful for. That is for another writing, another list... Today I am thankful for the "unthanked" things!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Missing Church

Not quite a couple of weeks since I had surgery. I missed last week at church. It seems like it has been forever since I was last there. I don't know how people make it without going, or who rarely go. I miss the fellowship of the saints, the stirring that comes when we collectively gather, and all the things that go with church life.

I had my wife in place to preach tomorrow's service. I am thinking about preaching, if I am able to attend. She is ready, but more than willing for me to take it, if able.

God bless you. I hope each of you have a great day in the house of the Lord!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today's service was sweet! The presence of the Lord was strong. The praise and worship was great, and I enjoyed preaching and ministering to people. I love those times when you get in the flow of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we have had larger crowds, and greater stirrings. But I have no complaints. God is good!

I'll have surgery in the morning. It has consumed my thoughts lately. It was good to get in the presence of God today and get refreshed!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rescued from the pit

Many of us watched, at least some portion, of the miners being rescued from the pit. They had been held as unwilling captives in the mine for over two months. What seemed at first as an impossible situation became a beautiful story of rescue.

There is another rescue operation that is going on. God cares enough to come down into your pit, pull you out, restore you, and make you whole!! And we get to be a part of the process!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How's your serving?

My wife and I just returned from a 3 day trip to the mountains. We took our grandson with us, and had a great time. While there, I was reminded of a valuable truth that applies in pretty much every area of life. It deals with serving, or being served.

On Thursday, we had lunch in a well known franchise establishment. It wasn't high end, but it is a place we enjoy eating. The food is pretty good, and priced modestly. We had no complaints regarding the food. But the service was terrible. My tea glass sat empty for about 15 minutes. The waitress brought my soup out, and my wife's soup out, but never brought out my grandson's salad, until about 30 minutes (after I finally asked for it). My wife never got a refill of her diet coke. And when I asked for a "to go" box, it never came. Guess who didn't get a tip? The poor service negated the good food.

The next day we went into another place for lunch. The food was great, and so was the service. The waiter did not wait for our glasses to get empty, he brought refills. He brought more bread. He was on top of the game, before we asked for something. Not only was the food great, but so was the service.

The two days got me to thinking about how people come to our church. They may enjoy the music and singing, the preaching. But how are we coming across in the serving department? Do we help them find the restrooms? Are we friendly? I believe it is our responsibility to serve well, both in the world, and in the church. People need Jesus. Let's make sure it is an enjoyable experience!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Day I will Pray

It should be a regular part of our day, shouldn't it? This thing called prayer. As a Christian, we know that prayer is important. It's just that sometimes we forget. We get so busy. We get caught up in other things. And if we're not careful, we don't pray.

The old hymn says "Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bare, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." I want to carry everything to the ONE who can take my cares, my burdens, and my life in His hands, and make my life complete.

I am praying today. Praying for you, and for myself. I hope you'll pray as well!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beautiful for situation

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. Psalm 48:1-2 KJV

I awoke this morning with these two verses going on in my head. They were being rehearsed in my mind to the tune we used to sing them, many years ago, when we would sing bible verses as choruses. I haven't thought of this tune, nor the bible verses, in a while. I sensed it as a reminder from God to me. Thanks, Lord. It is very timely, and a needed word.

I thought about the words. I began to meditate on them, and, with dictionary and concordance, explored the thoughts. "Great is the Lord." The dictionary defines great as remarkable in magnitude; chief or preeminent. Strong's concordance defines the word as bigger, far more, exceedingly, mighty and great, great things. "Great is the Lord." Yeah! Our God is remarkable, preeminent, great and mighty, far more than anything or anyone! And he is "greatly to be praised." Lord, we praise you today for your greatness.

My thoughts ran to the second verse. I grew up with the King James Version of the bible, so that is what came to my mind. "Beautiful for situation." The dictionary defines situation as mode of being. I thought about the situations of life. What is your mode of being? What situations are you presently going through? Are you suffering a marriage breakdown? Going through divorce? Having problems paying your bills? Is your health suffering? Your situation may be difficult.

I know this- My situation may be ugly, but God is beautiful. And Mount Zion is beautiful. Zion represents his church. The church has been attacked by both the secular world, and the religious. But hope is offered in the church. Love is offered in the church. It stands as a messenger of the King and his kingdom. Beautiful for situation. When you are struggling, Zion offers prayer, an encouraging word, a family of faith. I have been called "churchy." I guess it is supposed to be a negative thing. But I am for the church. The local church preaches the word, evangelizes the community and world, feeds the hungry, cares for the sick, offers hope. It is a city set on a hill.

The word translated beautiful in the King James Version of the bible in the Hebrew is the word noph. It means elevation or height. So the literal translation is "beautiful in elevation." Isn't that awesome? God is great, and highly exalted. Zion is beautiful in elevation. In the midst of all the turmoil, all the pains and difficult situations in life, God reigns. Let the church rejoice!

This I know. Whatever my situations in life may be. God is beautiful. And so is Zion. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, church.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Max Lucado and a hymn

I got up this morning with a lot on my mind. Much is going on, and I wanted to clear my head. Church is tonight, and I want to be fresh when I stand before the people of God to deliver the message. I put on some coffee, grabbed a book, bible, and notepad, and went outside to relax and meditate. There was a slight breeze, and while summer is not yet ended, the morning air gave an indication that fall will soon be here. Nearby a woodpecker was busy hammering on a tree. I love outdoors. The atmosphere was refreshing to me.

I'm not sure why I picked up this particular book. I have had it several years. Roaming through my library, the words on the cover spoke to me.."Just like Jesus." Sipping on my coffee, my fingers opened up a chapter called "The greenhouse of the mind." In this chapter, the writer reminds us to guard our thought life. As I read the chapter, it reminded me of sermons I have preached on the subject. One of the verses Max used was Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."(NIV) Another translation states, "Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life."

It sort of hit me between the eyes. Bam! Not in a bad way, but in a good way. As a reminder from God. I have been dealing with some negative thoughts lately. After a five year push by my family doctor and my wife, I had some tests done. The doctor had discovered My PSA was high. High PSA is linked with cancer. I hate the C word. My grandfather passed away with it, my mother in law, and last year both my dad and my son in law. So biopsies have been taken, and I am now waiting for the test results to come back.

Meanwhile, thoughts have ran through my head. Fear and anxiety, worry and doubt. All those things I have taught and preached against for over thirty five years. I know the faith words, I know how to confess. But I find myself struggling. Judge me if you wish. And in saying this, I am not after your pity. One of the things in writing and communicating, is you open yourself up to people who do not know, nor appreciate you. I have on several occasions thought of discontinuing both the blog and social networks because of this. Then someone encourages me that I am helping them, and they appreciate the transparency.

I don't know Max Lucado personally. But he sure did help me. As I read chapter nine, I was encouraged. Coffee, Lucado, and birds chirping. Some prayer and meditation. Feeling better. I hear the words "It is well" in my spirit. Thank you, Lord!

And an old hymn comes to my mind. I haven't heard it in a while. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at his word. Just to rest upon his promise. Just to know thus saith the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him. How I've proved him o'er and o'er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. Of for grace to trust him more." The song was written by Louisa Stead in 1882, after the accidental drowning of her husband. As the song ran in my head, I am reminded to trust God no matter what I am facing.

I felt God speak to me this morning through a book and a song. Thanks, Lord for the reminder. You are good, and have everything in control. I will trust You!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blessings disguised as problems

I find myself attempting to encourage a very dear friend this morning. She is a member of the church I pastor, and finds herself having to cancel a vacation this morning. Plans to celebrate the 10 year wedding anniversary with her husband were put on hold. Her 3 year old daughter would not get to see the ocean for the first time in her life.

This lady is a vital part of our church, and is like family to us. A couple of days ago she had become sick. Praying she could get some meds in her and go on, she was pressing ahead. But upon awakening this morning and stirring around, she realized she was not feeling well enough to make the trip. And so, the plug had to be pulled.

I hate when things happen to our plans, don't you? I know the pain of having the rug pulled out from under your feet by an unexpected and unwelcome situation. But things happen in life, don't they? And often, things which we initially see as problems turn out to be blessings instead. Look through the bible, and you will discover this truth.

I'm not sure how or if this applies to my friend. I know God didn't make her sick, and I'm not saying God didn't want her to go on this trip. What I am saying is that there may be a blessing in this that is not evident at the moment.

I know from experience. I have had life's problems that turned out to be opportunities, which turned into blessings!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If only... even though

I remember coming across an article a number of years ago. I can't find it, and can't recall exactly how it went. But the main point of the subject, I do remember. It has stayed with me through the years. It went something like this:

A man had faced numerous obstacles and problems in his life, some of which had him at the point of giving up and quitting. He decided one day to take an index card and write on it... "If only-- Even though." Every time he looked at a problem, he would put an "If only." Then he would write the problem, followed by an "Even though." Beside the even though he would write why he must not give up and quit, but press on. He would write a plan of action, a scripture promise, or a prayer prayed. It was enough to get his focus off the problem and onto the possibilities.

We are all faced with "if onlies." If only I had have gotten a better education, if only my marriage had have worked, if only they had not done this to me. If only my health was better, the economy was in better shape. If only I had not take the path I did.

But it is never too late to change. And many times to change where you are going, you must change your perspective. Change your thinking. Get your eyes off the problems and onto the promises, onto the positive things God has in store for you.

We are all faced with obstacles. Financial difficulties, peer pressure, relationship problems, health problems, and other issues come our way. Stress and anxiety, fear, doubt, and worry want to latch onto us. We must choose to direct our focus in a positive, uplifting direction.

God will get you through this. He never gives up on you. Look beyond the trial, through the storm. He has a plan for your life. You will look back at your struggle one day and realize it was just a test.

Blessings to you today. God is good!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't get bitter, get better

Life's journey presents us with opportunities that are painful. There will be times when relationships sour. A marriage dissolves, friendships erode. People say things that are hurtful. Some situations leave you feeling bitter. And yet, no matter how bad things become, getting bitter is not an option.

In the book of Ruth, Naomi says, "Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me." (Ruth 1:20) Naomi had experienced the untimely deaths to her husband and two sons. With grief in her soul, she blamed God. And she said, don't call me by my name anymore. Her name was Naomi, which means pleasant. She said, from now on, call me Mara. Mara means bitter.

Bitter is like a poison that affects the soul. It arouses memories of being wronged. It causes a sense of helplessness, and a tendency to want to get back at the one who offended you. It can affect you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Some people have seemingly had more than their share of trials and troubles. There are those who have obviously been wounded by others. And yet, being bitter was not their choice. One example is that of Joseph. Although he experienced rejection by his brothers, which resulted in him being sold as a slave and led to a prison, he never sought retaliation. And when the time came that his brothers were before him, Joseph was in a place of position and power where he could have done so. But he chose to forgive. And by doing so, the relationship with his brothers was restored. There may be those who have walked out of your life who may come back into it. They may need you, and you may need them. But if your heart is cold, it will never happen.

Forgiving is better, whether it is asked for, or not. While some relationships may be restored, the fact is that others will never be mended. Some people are never coming back into your life. Either way you can't afford to be bitter. One word for bitterness is poison. Get the poison out of your life.

Don't get bitter, get better. Forgive. Let it go. Choose to move on. You can get through this.
God has more for you!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Lord is there

One of the covenant names given to the people of God in the Old Testament was Jehovah Shammah. This name was revealed in Ezekiel chapter 48, verse 35. The meaning is "The Lord is there." I am encouraged to write this morning to remind you that no matter what battles you are facing, or what you may be presently going through, the Lord is there. He has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) We could also define Jehovah Shammah as meaning "the Lord is here."

My wife has a song played as her ring tone on her cell phone. It is one of my favorites, called "Rescue." The line that comes to my mind, and the one you hear on her phone, is "I need you Jesus, come to my rescue, where else can I go?" I am reminded today that with Jesus on your side, you can make it through any crisis. You can overcome any obstacle. You can rise above adversity. If the Lord is there, or here, you can make it.

Prayer is vital in our lives. Call on the Lord. Summons him into your life, home, family, workplace, your daily walk. Lean on him.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Making an investment

This weekend we will send about 25 kids along with 10 or so adults and youth to kid's camp. I remember when we began the church 35 in attendance would have been considered a successful Sunday. Now we will have that many missing on Sunday morning, away at camp.

My wife and I attended the camp last year. It was our first of this format, where we were doing our own, without participation of other church groups. It gave our own people an opportunity to serve and to shine. What an exceptional job they did! I believe this year will be even better.

This three night, four day trip is free to our children, but it costs to hold such an event. Numerous fundraisers have taken place. Much planning work by our team, who sacrifice their time and energy, some getting off work to go. I am always blessed by the sacrifices made of our leaders. Without them, we could not do it. Yes, camp is free. No mom of two children has to pay a dime. Not one of our kids can't go because they can't afford it. And in this area, that is a big deal.

The kids will be taught about Jesus. Lessons, bible studies, games, swimming. Cookouts, fun, fellowship with friends. It will be an awesome time. All free... but it does cost.

It takes some work to pull it off. Ms. Amy, Tina, and the team has worked faithfully and diligently. They have made an investment.

We will post pictures next week of the investment. Every smile will be an indication that it is worth it all!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Time to recharge the batteries

It happens to all of us. We left the car lights on, and the battery is drained. The same thing happens to our cell phone, Ipod, or laptop. We used them, and forgot to plug them back into the power source. A need to charge the system, or to recharge, not only happens to vehicles, appliances, and electronics, it happens in our lives. We go, we do, we run. Our busy lives can take a toll on our spirit. We become drained, without energy. And when we have no spiritual energy.

As a pastor, I tend to get to that place. I plan, go, meet, preach, teach. I organize, structure, and all the things that go with the territory. Most in ministry do. If we are not careful, we can become so work oriented that we lose the freshness of God. And when I lose the freshness, both I, and the people I serve, are affected. It is from His presence that we are blessed. Not impressive speeches or well polished programs. I need the fire of the Holy Ghost to be fresh. I hunger for Him!

I got to thinking about the recharge thing this morning. I got a call from my daughter. It seems she had gotten caught out in the rain yesterday afternoon, and upon returning home, had left her lights on. When she got ready to leave for work this morning, the car wouldn't crank. She needed a boost. Later, I sat down at my laptop, and it would not power up. It had become disconnected from the power source, and the battery needed to be recharged. In both instances, they needed a fresh connection with power in order to properly function.

I hope your batteries are charged today. I want to make sure that I keep mine fully charged. I'm going to be prayed us, praised, up, and in the word. I plan on making sure I guard my mind and my heart. I need to be charged up so that I can recharge others!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The wind is blowing

I sat this morning in my lounge chair with a book and notepad in hand. My wife and I have taken a few days to get away and relax. We often get away in order to be refreshed of the Lord. But this time was different. There is a refreshing going on in our local church. It has been building and growing for about the last two months!

While away, I have been working on some things I believe are necessary to take our local house of the Lord to the next level. I sense that we must prepare ourselves for the increase God is giving us, and that which is yet to come.

I watched the ocean waves coming in. They kept coming with great intensity. I heard the rushing of the waters. I felt the wind blowing. And what I was feeling and seeing in the natural realm, I believe God is doing in the Spirit. There is a fresh wind blowing from heaven.

Get ready! The wind is blowing, the waves of God are increasing. Get ready for the overflow of God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's easier to build a wall than a bridge

I have found in life that it is easier to build walls than it is to build bridges. As a matter of fact, in the spiritual sense, it doesn't take much effort to build walls. Walls have been erected through the years, in nations, communities, homes, and churches.

We build walls through racial prejudice, walls through pride. Walls are built through bitterness and unforgiveness. We had rather shield ourselves from the risk of further hurt or misunderstanding, than to open ourselves to being vulnerable again.

You may be a builder of walls. There may be walls in your life. They serve the purpose of keeping others out, but they also keep you shut in. I have been a builder of walls before. In my deepest pain, I erected walls. I would walk the other way at the sight of one whom I perceived had caused me pain, and acted as if I never saw them. The truth is, I had. But I had built a wall. And the wall kept me locked in to the pain of my past. What kind of walls are you building?

The bible says of Job, that "the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends." (Job 42:10) These were not exactly the kind of friends you appreciate. They were accusers of Job. When he needed their encouragement, they turned on him with venomous accusations about his relationship with God. But when Job decided to no longer be bitter against his friends, he was opened to restoration of God. Blessings came. Victory returned. He received twice as much. Job went from a wall builder to a bridge builder.

Yes, I have been a wall builder in times past. But I have retired from that occupation. I am now building bridges. It takes more effort. Costs more. You build bridges, you give people the freedom of walking out of your life. But you also allow them the freedom of walking back in, if they choose to do so in the future.

I am in Kingdom business. I know there will be those with me at this stage, that will not be at the next. But I will nevertheless keep the bridge open. In the future, some who walked away may be connected, or reconnected to the vision. I can't afford to have a wall to someone who I need, and who needs me.

I'm bridge building...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Shake yourself loose!

I awoke this morning with the song, "Shake yourself loose" on my mind. I think the dance team at our church has done a presentation of the song in dance. I posted a version of it from the Ramp on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sometimes we need to just shake ourselves loose. From attitudes and thoughts that are wrong. From pressures that seem to get us down. From any problems that bind us. None of us are exempt from them. I can testify from experience that it is easy to get bogged down when things come your way.

I want to encourage you to shake yourself today. The Apostle Paul shook off the serpent that attached to him, and felt no harm. What should have killed him had no effect on him. Sometimes you've just got to shake off every attack that comes against you. You can make it through this. Get up, get a word in you, stir up your inner man. You've got people to reach, lives to touch. Others need your anointing.

I'm praying for you today!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Never underestimate the silence

I am thinking about the midweek service just passed. We have been having some powerful services at the church. The Sunday and Wednesday meetings both have been great. The presence of God has lingered over us. Each service it seems the hunger and expectancy is stronger. There is growing anticipation of what God is going to do

The service really wasn't silent. I thought all in all, it was good. Those of you who have been in ministry or church life understand the thought process. We tend to rate and rank the services by volume, crowd, excitement level, etc. And in doing so, we sometimes misread and wrongly evaluate what has transpired.

So I understood the comment made to me at the end of the service. Upon leaving, one of the gentlemen, said, "Pastor, I was expecting more." His comment sort of threw me, but I brushed it off. I wasn't sure what he was basing his evaluation on. We were limited in the praise and worship, as some of the team was out. The music wasn't as kicking. Was that what he was referring to? I am not sure. And I am not writing this article to rebuff his statement, but rather, to bring to light our thought process. As a pastor, I have felt the same way many times after a service. I wanted more, and expected more.

One thing I felt for sure was this. I had given it my all. And in the preaching and teaching of the word, there seemed to be a touch from heaven. I could sense that it was an on time word, and the people were receiving.

Some people label Charismatics or Pentecostals as being all emotional. And some of them are. What I want our people to understand is I appreciate the times of the fire and the earthquake, the times of unbridled enthusiasm and excessive celebration. But I also appreciate the still small voice of God.

No, God really wasn't silent Wednesday night. He was speaking through His word. "He that has ears, let him hear what the spirit says to the church..."

Never underestimate the silent, still small voice. Tune your ear to the Holy Spirit. God is speaking.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Right is right

Right is right when no one is looking.
Right is right when it goes against the tide of popular opinion.
Right is still right when your greatest supporter turns against you.
Right is right when it looks as if your stance cost you in every way.
Right is right when you are laughed at, scorned, or mocked.

There are some absolutes.
Some values cannot be compromised.
Sometimes you just have to stand.

Because right is STILL right.

Monday, April 19, 2010

From barely surviving to more than conquering

We all go through stages in life that prove to be difficult. A job loss, break up of a marriage, health issues. Many things can lead us to a place where it seems as if it is all we can do to just survive. The creditors are calling, relationships are fracturing, and dreams are disintegrating. Days become weeks, and weeks become months. You remember a time when things were better. And you wish, you hope, you pray. If there was some way you could turn back the clock, to a happier time in life, you would.

Your life may be in the barely surviving mode. One definition of survive is to remain or continue to exist after the death of something. That may seem to define you... barely. You feel as if you are clinging to life and striving to exist. You are barely making it.

We all must learn not to evaluate WHO we are by WHERE we are. Remember that many a person who we view as being successful went through seasons of life when things looked as if they would never turn around. The key when you are in surviving mode it to hang in and hold on. Don't quit. You are not defined by what you are going through. Your Maker has called you as being "more than a conqueror." (Romans 8:37)

Think about the statement the Apostle Paul made. We are more than conquerors in Christ. It tells me that there will be some battles along the way. There may be some trials that are overwhelming. You will outlast the storm, endure the season, and win the battle!

I am glad to report that seasons change! Your change is already under way. You are shifting from the survival stage to the conquering stage!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why you hatin' on me?

I remember the song from church Sunday School. As a child we would sing it. "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the bible tells me so". It is comforting to know that He loves you, isn't it? Sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

Jesus loves me... but not everyone else does. Most of us have some "haters." Hard to believe, isn't it? My wife loves me. My family loves me. My grandson (and his dog) loves me. Most of my church loves me. And these people love me, in spite of my imperfections.

When you are in ministry, leadership, or pretty much any area in the public eye, there will be people who just don't care for you. This is a truth I have learned to live with. It has tormented me at times. People you befriend, love on, and pray for, turn against you. Some, for no apparent reason. As a pastor, I have seen people leave the church. They talk about it, talk about the leadership, and try to discourage anyone they know from being a part of it. It leaves you sometimes wondering why. You try to remember what you did, what actions on your part warranted such venom.

We must always remember to walk in grace. Forgive those who speak against you, and do not allow it to bring bitterness in your heart. Walk with God. Carry no grudges. Joseph refused to retaliate against his brothers, even though they had wronged him, and caused him much pain. And Jesus modeled the power of forgiveness on the cross. You and I must choose to respond in like manner.

Walking in love towards those who oppose you is not always an easy task. But it is the right course to take. It requires self discipline. When you see someone in the market place who has repeatedly put the verbal "stab in the back" in you, the flesh nature wants to respond accordingly, and put them in their place. But we are not called to serve the dictates of our fleshly nature. We are called to walk in the Spirit, the nature of God.

It helps to remember that not everyone is linked to your assignment. And there are people who were with you in one phase of life that are no longer attached to you. Don't take it personal. Love everyone who will receive your love. And don't waste your time arguing with those who will not.

I write this blog out of no sense of being hated on today. It is not written in response to anything that I am aware is going on. I just wanted to remind you not to get sidetracked by responding to those in "the hater's club."

Yes, Jesus loves me (and you). For the bible tells me so.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Cost

It cost us a lot this weekend. We had a busy weekend, as most churches do. The church is growing. It is exciting. But with added people, come increased budget needs. I don't have the exact figures in terms of dollars and cents. But lets face it, it costs to do anything these days. And ministry costs.

I am not complaining. Just thinking aloud. Thinking about the hot dogs and sodas, the candies and desserts given away at Saturday's Easter Eggstravaganza. Thinking about the man hours involved in serving and helping for the event. It was small scale compared to some things we have done. Plus the hours of prep for the youth team skit. It wasn't necessarily a money cost, other than the utilities while doing rehearsals at church. Add the praise and worship practice time, the various other parts of church that come together for the service. There's the cost of the bulletins, the ink for the copier, and things we take for granted.

I was putting up a cross in the sanctuary, and could not find our crown of thorns, which would rest at the top. So I went to the local bible book store to purchase one. It cost $70! I couldn't believe it.

Yeah, it costs to run a church. It costs to have a vision to reach the community, and the world, for Jesus. But when I consider the price he paid. He paid the ultimate price with the sacrifice of himself on the cross!

I don't mind church offering plates. I don't mind church doors and property being open for rehearsals, bible studies, fellowships, etc. At the church I pastor, it costs to run the church. But investing in souls is well worth the money we give and the time we spend.

It costs. Better yet, it pays! That's why we keep on doing what we are doing. That is why we will until Jesus comes!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gimmick Evangelism

Some pastors and leaders are not fond of using anything which has a gimmick in church ministry or evangelism. I personally think that if it doesn't compromise our values and message, then it is ok. The dictionary defines a gimmick as: an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, esp. one designed to attract attention or increase appeal. (source:

One of the challenges I have found is that of staying on the cutting edge. I don't want to lose the freshness of God, the touch of heaven. Neither me personally, nor the church. And I never want to see the church lose its passion for souls. So I constantly look for ways to stimulate the church to action. There are people in the community who need Jesus! We must reach them.

The church I pastor is small by comparison to many. Our attendance the last quarter of the year averaged around 90. It stayed at about that level through mid February. The first Sunday of the year, I preached a message, "It's Turn Around Time." We began to sense it, first in the Spirit. The winds of God have been blowing on us. Times of refreshing have come. People are crying out to God!

Sensing the stirring, I called for a special attendance day for the last Sunday in March. We advertised it within the church family for about four weeks. I challenged them to invite their family and friends to join us for worship. We planned ministry for the kids, a skit for the youth, and had special guest ministry in to sing and preach. With dinner afterward, it would be a BIG DAY if our people responded. I even put some "gimmicks" out there. Pies in the faces of some leaders, if we reached our goal. We exceeded the goal! Yeah, I got a pie in the face. They posted some pictures on facebook.

You may be thinking we grew the church for only one Sunday. Possibly, but I don't think so. The 30 or so ministry guests will return to their home churches. And some of the family and friends will return back to their church, if they had one. But we have introduced, or reintroduced who we are and what we are about to faces that hadn't been in church for a while. We showed them we cared, have fun, worship God. They had an encounter with Jesus. We accomplished our mission.

Not only that, but the week prior to the big day, we had an attendance of 135. That was on the Sunday we lost an hour, when many churches were down. I think it had something to do with excitement about evangelism, and the fire of God that is burning. And the 210 we had this past Sunday may go back down to half that, but you know what? We can do it!

Let's reach them for Jesus. I'll take a pie in the face anytime!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The controversy resulting from the new health care is causing widespread pandemonium out there! If you are not alarmed by the policy itself, you will probably be so by all the talk and reactions regarding it. Alarmists are spewing the evils of the bill, extremists are attacking homes and offices of people and their families who were linked to its passing.

And the church, for the most part, has gone hysterical. I remember the Y2K hysteria, and I believe this is worse! The church world, for a large part, acted like the world was going to end at the ticking of the clock at midnight. Now the same type fear is being carried through the pulpits, social media, and the market place.

Excuse me. I am a little old fashioned. I am old school. And I don't mean to make light of your concerns, and yes, I believe we should support certain policies, and oppose others. But forgive me if I seem to make light of your concerns. I seldom comment on facebook, twitter, or my blog about politics. I also seldom comment about religion. I am a fan of neither.

What I do believe, however, is that there is a KING who exists, and operates in his kingdom! I believe the rule and reign of God is greater than the failed policies of man. I believe God can turn the king's head, can turn things on a dime.

So, I'm sorry if I don't sign up for your petition. I won't be joining your "let's run and hide in fear" club. But I will join you for some praise... some prayer... some faith.

No pandemonium here. I've been called to the kingdom for such a time as this!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We had another awesome service tonight at New Harvest! For about a month now the momentum has been building. It is hard to describe to someone who is not familiar with our church. We typically have great services. I cannot count on one hand a dull service in the last year. But this is different. Something special is taking place.

My worship leader posted tonight on Facebook the word "Bam" in describing the service. I agree, it was "bam." It was also "wow!"

I hunger for more!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I see a cloud

I think I see a cloud on the horizon. I am not a meteorologist by any means, and I am not attempting to predict the weather. What I am, however is someone who has been around long enough to see and experience the rain of God. In church life, we often call it revival.

However, I am somewhat hesitant to use that term. It has been overused and abused. Revival has long been used to describe a series of services in which there may have been no real revival at all. The very word defined means to bring back to life, to resurrect, to live again. I am sensing that among us. I know all too well that the church can cut off what God wants to do. Our hunger, our response, our obedience, all have a part in whether this current wave of the Holy Spirit continues. That's the feeling I have this today as I reflect on our time of worship yesterday.

For the church family of New Harvest Church, of which I am pastor, I want to speak directly to you. For others who occasionally read my posts, I want to say that I believe God wants to send a fresh outpouring to everyone. What is going on here locally is not something that God is not initiating in other areas. For the last several weeks our services have been awesome. The presence of the Lord has moved, lives have been touched. Hearts are stirred. Lives are getting saved, changed, renewed, filled, healed, set free!

I am reminded of the scripture where Elijah prophesied the coming rain. The drought would be over, there was coming a deluge. He sent his servant to go to the designated point to see, and then come back with a report. The first response was that there was nothing. Elijah instructed him to go seven times. On the seventh occasion, the servant returned with the word that a small cloud was on the horizon. Elijah knew this was the beginning of the coming downpour.

We don't have the downpour just yet. But I do see a cloud lingering over us. Get ready. It's close!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Too transparent

I am a conversationalist. I love to connect, talk, relate. Sometimes I am too transparent. When my blood pressure shot up yesterday, I posted about it last night on Twitter and Facebook. I frankly was a little afraid (I know I am not supposed to give in to fear), and really just wanted prayer.

Well, in just a few minutes on the Facebook sight, there were comments, scriptures, and prayers. And as I said, my purpose was to get some prayers coming my way. That happened, but something else did, as well. My daughter had been looking in on my facebook post, but never commented. After about 15 minutes or so of my comment, she called her mom. Trish was setting on the couch, I was in the recliner. I had not said anything about what I had done, really hadn't thought anything about it. We were watching TV together, and I generally tend to have the computer in my lap doing something. So Trish didn't expect anything, and I wasn't thinking.

That is, until the call. I knew immediately when Trish looked at me, and I overheard her saying something to our daughter that she didn't know what I had done. Ooops. In my attempt to get some prayers going, I didn't just ask for prayers. I made the statement that my blood pressure was dangerously high. (It was)

I took down the post in the midst of the prayers, scriptures, advice, and conversations. Did so without explanation. Once again, I had done it... too much information.

Ok, so here's the deal: I appreciate all of your prayers. As a matter of fact, I covet them. In the meantime, I have got to get myself on an exercise and diet plan that will reduce some of the affects of my being out of shape has on my body.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. God bless!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thank God I'm free!

Freedom is precious, isn't it? Our freedom as a nation is something we often take for granted. As an American, I am privileged to live in a land where I have freedom to worship, or not to worship. Freedom to voice my opinions, cast my vote without fear of reprisal. The blessings of our freedom is an endless list. Same thing with our spiritual freedom. As a Christian, I am blessed with the fact that I am made free in Christ. He has broken the bonds of slavery that sin had on my life. Again, the list of the benefits of this kind of freedom go on and on.

And though we enjoy freedom, we must understand that freedom isn't free at all. Our spiritual freedom came at a price of God's most precious gift, his only begotten Son. It often costs those of us who serve in the church to maintain spiritual freedom. Discomforts, sacrifices, and commitment aren't words we hear in today's Christian vocabularies. But they are written in the hearts and lives of those who pay the price for you and I to enjoy the tangible presence of God in a world which rejects Him. And our national freedom is won and preserved by the serving of men and women in the military, who risk their lives for said freedom.

Yes, I thank God I am free! Thank God for liberty in Christ. We sometimes sing the song "Freedom" and add the chorus "no more shackles, no more chains, no more bondage, I am free."

What about you today? Are you free?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A sloppy wet kiss

I love the song by Kim Walker, "Oh how he loves us." It is a beautiful description of the love of Jesus for us. One of the lines in the song says "heaven meets earth like a passionate kiss." In one of the versions of it, Kim substitutes the words "passionate kiss" for "sloppy wet kiss." Wow, what a thought! Christ's love for us is a passionate love, a deep love, a fervent love, and an exciting love!

An image comes to my mind of my grandson's chocolate lab. His name is Buster. Buster has never met a person he does not admire. If you speak to him, he gets excited. I bought him as a 4 week old pup for Zach's fourth birthday, and in a couple of weeks, Zach will turn six. Buster just turned two. He loves to ride- in the back of trucks, on the golf cart, or in our Camaro convertible (when the weather is warm enough.) I remember the time a member of my church came over. It was a warm day, and we decided we would take Buster for a ride in the convertible. I opened the door, Buster jumped in the back seat awaiting his ride. We began going down the road when Randy Brown, my church member-friend decided he was going to talk to Buster. He turned his head sideways to speak to the dog. Wrong move. Buster planted a "sloppy wet kiss on him."

We are here at Valentine week. I just wanted to remind you that you are loved... God loves you with an incredible love. When you turn to Him, get ready to be kissed with the kiss of heaven!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I was preaching a powerful message to a packed house. It wasn't in the church I pastor, although I recognized some of the faces from my church. As a matter of fact, at the back I saw a couple of my parishioners who had fallen asleep. The service was a little difficult to get into at first, but as I preached, the word of God seemed to come to life. The anointing was growing stronger, and I could sense the awesome presence of God getting stronger and stronger. It is one of those kind of services I dream for. I love the presence of God, and I absolutely love it when the Holy Spirit takes over. That is what was taking place. And then it happened...

I got a text message from my cell phone. My phone is set up with the beep kind of tone that goes three or four times when I receive a text. I had forgotten to turn the phone off. I turned to my phone, cut it off, but it was too late. I had lost it. I was awake. And although I tried, I could not go back to sleep. Neither could I remember what I was preaching, nor where I was.

Did you get it? It was a dream! No, not the text message interruption part. That part was real. The powerful service was the dream part. It seemed so real. Have you ever had one of those dreams that seemed so real you could taste it? Well, that is what this one was like.

I awoke with that dream this morning, via the text message. And while the thoughts have been racing through my mind about the anointing and power of God, I have also been thinking about interruptions. We all have them. And there are times when we cannot control them. But other times we can. I remember years ago reading an article, I think, by David Wilkerson. It was about a "conspiracy of interruptions." He stated that the enemy would seek to interrupt your quiet time with God, your prayer time, your devotions. I agree. We need to guard against unwelcome and uninvited interruptions. Let's dream the dream. Let's spend quality time with God!

Still trying to remember what I was preaching, lol

Love greater than the stench

Those who know me well know that I have a weak stomach. The sight or smell of certain things are very repelling to me. I have been known to vomit in response to some things. It is not something I am proud of, but I purposely shy away those things which elicit such a response from me... at least from most of them.

I could never work in a hospital or any setting caring for the sick. When I see or smell vomit, I am subject to vomit myself. So I generally turn and go in an opposite direction.

Generally would be the objective word. There ARE exceptions. Without being gross, I want to share from my heart a point that came to my mind yesterday. My wife had become sick. She was nauseous, and was very dizzy. Making frequent trips from the bed to the bathroom, she needed help. The bathroom in our bedroom is adjoining, and not more than five feet from the foot of the bed. But Trish's condition required that she needed help.

Helping guide her into the bathroom, where she would vomit, then back to bed. The bedroom stank, and the bathroom needed cleaning... from the vomit. It was repulsive. It was stinking. It was making ME sick.

But I didn't run. I didn't complain. I didn't walk away. I prayed. I helped as much as I could. I cleaned up after her. And I stayed by her with love. And it came to me... My love for my wife was greater than my repulsion to the stench!

As I was thinking about this, the light came on! That's the love of God toward us, isn't it?! God's love to us is greater than His hatred of the sin that held us captive. He loves you greater than your sin, your stink!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Missing church

The snowstorm wiped us out this past weekend. Inclement weather greatly affects our ability to conduct services here in the south. Everything pretty much shuts down. And the storm produces several inches of snow, with some sleet and freezing rain on top. Missing a Sunday is difficult for a church, especially in our area, and one our size. It is difficult to make up the finances lost to a closed Sunday. The Sunday before last was not snow, but it was a cold rain. This also affects attendance. Although we held services, the turnout was down.

I was looking forward to service tonight. It has been a beautiful day, and the midweek service was one I was excited about. But my wife has had a severe attack with vertigo. She has had bouts with this before, but it has been a number of years. I have been known to leave the house and go one during one of these bouts, but I am hesitant to do so with this one. She can't sit up, and has been extremely nauseous. So Trish and I will miss the Wednesday night service.

They are calliing for a possibility of more snow this weekend. I hope they miss it. I am ready for some church!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good morning, beautiful

I awoke this morning thinking about my wife. She went to bed last night not feeling well. I am hoping she is feeling better this morning. She is still asleep as I write. Trish is the love of my life, the best thing that has ever happened to me outside of Jesus. She is to me a shining example of Christ. Her devotion to him challenges me. She will be embarrassed that I have blogged about her today.

I suppose it was because of my thoughts over her as I sipped on a cup of coffee that the words to an old country music song came to my mind. "She don't know she's beautiful." As with many songs, especially of the country vein, the English isn't correct. But the statement is definitely so. My wife is beautiful in many ways to me.

As my mind continued thinking about this, I began to consider how God thinks of you and I. Throughout the bible, His thoughts toward us are expressed. I love this verse, from the Song of Solomon, chapter two and verse ten: "Arise my darling, my beautiful one..." NIV. As you know, this book is a description of a man and a woman in love, but also of Christ and the church. Yes, we are the beloved of God. He made the sunrise for you today.

No matter what you have done, His love remains. That is reassuring in this world, isn't it? Friends may forsake you. You may have experienced a bitter divorce. You may have been told that you are worthless or ugly. But, you know what? The ONE whose thoughts matter above all else thinks otherwise.

In a few minutes she will arise. I will tell her how beautiful she is. I think God wants me to tell you the same thing today.

Good morning, beautiful!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I will bless

"I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

I love the Psalms. I love to read them, quote them, and even sing them. The book of Psalms is one of my favorites of the bible. The irony of my statement is that, although I love to preach from Psalms, I confess that I don't always practice what I preach. I miss it sometimes.

For example, sometimes I complain. I get upset over trivial things. I am bothered by someone's response, or the weather, or the guy in front of me going too slow. The drive through at McDonald's didn't get my order right. These are just examples, but they relate to things that can happen during the typical week. And, unlike some, I am high energy, high maintenance type personality. I have taken the test. My dna drives me, but without the discipline of the Holy Spirit, it can also hinder me.

The last few days have presented challenges. Some good, some difficult. I awoke this morning thinking that instead of allowing the outside circumstances to dictate how my day went, I would set myself in the word and establish God in the day. A few minutes of meditation brought this psalm to my mind. Let's look at it:

I WILL- I choose to do so. It is a personal decision. No one can do it for me. I WILL

BLESS- The Hebrew word is barak. Strong's Concordance uses a number of words to define, which include abundantly bless, to kneel before, thank

THE LORD- Think about it. God blesses us every day. Have you taken time to bless Him back?

AT ALL TIMES- Not sometime. Not when things are going well. Not just when I have money in the account. In other words, my life will be an expression of praise and blessing unto the Lord.

HIS PRAISE- Hebrew word palal. A song of praise

SHALL CONTINUALLY- Constantly, perpetually, regularly

BE IN MY MOUTH- One of the words used to define this word in the original language is to boast. The Psalmist was declaring that he would boast of the goodness of God.

I hope you enjoy the devotion this morning. Be blessed, in Jesus' name!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Disappearing blogs

Every once in a while I do it. I write something that I realize some time later I wish I hadn't posted. Just did that on my blog. It was nothing much, just observations about an appearance of a young lady. But when I thought about it, I realized the blog did not meet my objective in writing.

It was not encouraging, it was not anything relational. It was not about family or friends, Jesus, or the church. And a blog doesn't have to be. There are blogs posted that are about pretty much anything. But that is not my purpose.

So if you happen to read a blog and then it is gone, I just decided I didn't want it posted. It may have been something too personal, or something such as this one. It wasn't bad-- it just wasn't something that would benefit.

God Bless!
Pastor Ronnie

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love expressed

Love is a beautiful thing, isn't it? I performed a wedding ceremony the other day of a young couple. As they held each other's hands and repeated their vows, it reminded me of the love I have for my wife of thirty seven years. Our love has not diminished, but has grown. Through good times, and bad times, joyful times, and sad times, it has stood.

Love is both overstated and understated in our English language. I love chocolate cake, I love sports, I love cars. I love my wife, family, grandchild. I love Jesus. As you see, though the same word is used, it applies to different things. And it goes without saying that my love for cake is not the same as my love for my family, or for God.

Love is more than a word. It is a choice, and it is an act. Love is expressed. It states something, shows something, does something. Read the thirteenth chapter of the book of Corinthians in the bible. Read it in a contemporary version. You will see how true love is expressed.

Love is expressed with a kiss. I have included a picture with this blog. It was taken yesterday from my cell phone. Although the pic is not good quality, it captured the essence of what I call, "love expressed." It was a beautiful spring like day here in North Carolina yesterday. Zach (my grandson) and I decided we would ride on the golf cart. We also decided to let Buster (Zach's lab) ride with us. As you can see, the moment Buster got on the golf cart, he decided to give Zachary a kiss. Zach is trying to brace himself and turn from Buster's slobber as I capture the view on my cell phone.

Have you expressed your love today to someone? Have you told God that you love Him and are thankful for what He has done in your life? What about that mate, child, teen? What about someone you work with or go to church with? No, you don't have to plant a kiss on them? But an encouraging word will do!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Help for Haiti

Like you, my heart is torn for the people of Haiti. I don't think anyone can hear the news and view the pictures being shown without being touched with compassion. The earthquake has crippled what was already a nation in dire need. Emergency teams are arriving to respond, but the need is great. The restoration process will not be overnight.

Personally, I have had a place in my heart for the nation for about 15 years. On our first missions trip to the Dominican Republic, we worked in a very poor village near the Haitian border. Our team was providing clothes to the children, food and gifts, and holding services in that particular area, as well as working on a church. On one of the days while there, we took some time to go to the Haitian border. They allowed us to cross over into Haiti. I remember walking from the D.R. into the Haiti and praying for the people of that land.

We (our church) are not personally involved in ministry, but we have some contacts who are. Friends in ministry, missionaries with links there, and pastors whose churches are actively serving in the nation. Some of them are already in contact with their people there, some are planning on going or sending relief.

Our missionary friend, Danny Stone, who serves in the Dominican Republic, has sent information about a team there, along with all their needs. I will post it in the church (send me a request if you wish to receive it). As there are many reliable avenues to send help through, I am not sure as I write which one we will use. But this I do know. We WILL do something. Our small church family has always responded, both locally, nationally, and internationally.

This Sunday, January 15, we will receive a special offering for Haiti. ALL monies received will go directly to the emergency relief there. Thank you, and God bless you, for your response.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Can't do anything but pray

I hear this often. My wife and I sit in our office talking to someone new in the church. Some are multi-talented and it seems can do anything. Others have a low self estimation of themselves. Then the words come out. "I can't do anything but pray."

Its as if prayers are the lowest form of service in the church. They do not have an ability to teach, sing, nor lead. They are not qualified to play a guitar, keyboard, or sing on the praise team. They are not good at public speaking. All they can do is pray.

But prayer is not the lowest of the "things to do" in church. In fact, Jesus stated that his house would be called a house of prayer. Not a house of preaching, teaching, singing, or playing music. Not a house of children's ministry, youth ministry, outreach, and missions. Yes, all of these are a vital part of the makeup of the church. However, prayer is the priority. Good preaching, good music, and good programs will not make up for a lack of praying.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, "A church that is not praying is playing." I agree. It is vital that we pray. As a pastor, I want every service saturated with prayer. I want the intercessory prayer team to cover every aspect of the service and ministry.

Prayer should go beyond the walls of our church and into the world in which we live. Marriages are shattered, people are hurting throughout the world. Souls lie in darkness. Someone today needs your prayer. A marriage is saved, a life is rescued, a need is met- because you prayed!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Extravagant love

I'll admit, I have used the text a number of times in the last few years. It is one of my favorites. I am speaking of the scripture in the book of Luke, chapter seven. It speaks of a woman entering the house of Simon where the disciples were gathered with Jesus. This woman is nameless, and has a reputation. It is noted that she was a sinner. What else that is noted is what struck me as the Lord brought this text to my mind.

It seems that everyone had forgotten that our coming together is not about us, it is about him. The object of adoration should have been Jesus, and yet he was neglected. That is, until this woman with a past brought her alabaster box. She poured her love upon him.

The words echoed by Jesus are that "this woman has loved much." It was not said of Simon, nor the disciples. They had seen his miracles, and shared his message. But Jesus had become common to them. They were not in awe of his presence. This nameless woman with a past brought a vial which was valued at a year's wages. She broke it upon Christ. She anointed his head, she washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.

Jesus said she has loved much. He didn't say it about Peter, James, nor John. He did not say it about anyone else in the house that day. But he did say it about a nameless woman with a sinful reputation.

I don't want to lose the awe of his presence, the wonders of his touch. It happens in church, it happens in ministry. Love grown cold happens in our hearts. Like the woman in the story, I want to love him deeply.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Going on a DIET!

Oh no, here we go again. I am going to say it. That four letter word. You know, the one we hear every time this year. It is on the top of the new year resolutions. it is the one that is abandoned by about the third week. I speak from experience. I have begun the diet thing the last two years at the start of the new year, but was not committed.

It is a difficult thing, isn't it? I personally know people who have no weight issues, and can eat anything they want. I also know those who are disciplined in this area. My wife and I have struggled for years. Several years ago she went through the process of joining Weight Watchers. It was a good system for her by holding her accountable and giving her charts and menus of food that was healthy. They taught her about portion sizes and the need of exercise. I never attended a class with Trish, but began with her. I lost 60 pounds in a process of about 8 months time, and she lost about 50 during that time. I never felt better in my life.

When I reached my goal, I retreated to my old choices of junk food and sweets. Within a matter of time, I had added the weight back, and then some. Now I am five years older, and I can tell it is affecting me. My stamina is not as strong as it was, and I feel it is affecting my ability to do what God has called me to do in the manner that is pleasing to him.

So I begin again. I have already started, as of this past Monday. I had intended not to say anything about it, as I don't want people looking at me should I slip. I am writing this blog, more or less, to record my goal. I may post it on Twitter, it is less personal for me. More of my "up close friends", those who are local, are on Facebook. I probably am not going to post it there. My trials and errors in the diet thing is known by those close to me, and I don't want it to be a conversation piece for them.

To help me avoid seeing my diet as a bad word, I have made an acronym for the word:

Discipline. It will not be easy. But I make a daily decision to reel in my desires for unhealthy foods

Intentional. I will intentionally monitor my weight, calories and fat intake, and exercise. Losing weight will not be automatic, I must take steps to insure that I progress towards my goal.

Exercise. I love to walk, ride the bike. I will take the time and make the time for this.

Time. This is a process. It will not happen in a day. I have set my goal of what I want to accomplish. I have broken it down in smaller segments so that I can rejoice in milestones reached along the way. I will occasionally eat something not on my diet list, I will indulge. But I purpose by the help of God and my commitment to reach my goal. It will take time.